Raftin’ and Campin’

Alrighty, back to business!

After hanging out in Highlands for the afternoon we got back in the car; wait short side story. Sarah has a Grand Cherokee Jeep that she calls Sacajawea, after the famous Lemhi Shoshone woman (although we’re not in Idaho…) that I affectionately call Sasquatch because of the large, lumbering, gas-eating nature of the car. For the first two years of our relationship the car has been somewhat useless because we’ve never had a reason to haul any major equipment or gear and even if we needed to, Sasquatch doesnt have 4 wheel drive.

*facepalm*

BUT, Sasquatch did an incredible job this weekend and thus, she’s earned her name of Sacajawea in my eyes. Good job car!

Back to the main subject. We drove from Highlands NC to Ducktown TN (which is up the road from Turtletown and near Cowtown…no, I’m serious..) — it’s about a two hour scenic drive through the Appalachians. Once in Ducktown we decided to scope out the area and look for a place to eat, and a place to either camp or find a hotel.

There is nothing in Ducktown.

I mean nothing. The “main street” consisted of 4 boarded up buildings. Not even a freaking pub to get a coke at. We head up a hill in the middle of town, which was next to our rafting put-in, to get our bearings. From there we saw a barn with a bunch of cars around it. Lo-and-behold, we had found the only thing happening in Ducktown: a barn dance…with live bluegrass music! We headed down the hill and asked a few locals where we could pitch a tent and they said that there was a great camping area down the road called ThunderRock, but it would probably be full because of the 4th of July weekend. We had nothing to loose though, so after going to Coperhill and grabbing some food we went down to ThunderRock Camp Grounds.

We were really expecting a big dish of disappointment, but there happened to be several spots open! I’m in complete disbelief because we’re camping next to the 1996 Whitewater Center on the Ocoee that we’d be rafting the next day, the weather is perfect, and everything has been going our way.

That last picture is Sarah at 7am, when we got up to tear down camp and head to OcoeeRafting, the company we rafted with.

After being assigned to our guide, “Crash,” we headed down river and then back home! Unfortunately, I dont have any pictures of our rafting trip because they’re not on the website yet, but when they’re up I’ll finish off this triple-blog with a Conclusion and some final thoughts.

To put things simply: there might have been a paradigm shift.

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Spontaneous Spontaneity which results in FUN.

Thursday morning I was sitting at home playing Forza Motorsports 3 — my new favorite video game — and trading text messages with Sarah while she was at the school. I decided to take a break from the video game for a few moments to check email, browse the internet and take the dog on a quick walk when I noticed that I had received a message from a new paintball field in Atlanta inviting Sarah and myself to a free day of play on Thursday at 5:30. I called Sarah to let her know this is something we were going to do, but she informed me that she had to babysit until 5:30.

Total bummer.

However, we were both feeling an itch to get out and do something this past weekend because we’ve been stuck in Columbus GA for the better part of two years now. Sarah in her infinite wisdom said: “Let’s go to Lake Junalusak!” (one of my favorite places in the world). My response was that we didnt have a place to stay, so she said that we can take her car and just camp out. That was fine with me, but I was sure that she was just playing around with me — it’s not like Sarah at all to just want to pick up and go somewhere without years of careful planning and organizing.

But then she said the magic words: “Let’s go rafting.”

BOOM. My head was spinning! What was going on with my girlfriend!? Who cares!? Let’s GO!

11:30- Sarah gets home from class and we head to The Outside World to see if they have any rafting deals.

12:00- We book a full day on the Ocoee (Upper/Middle combo) with OcoeeRafting.com

2:00- We leave for Alanta to spend the night with Sarah’s family.

7:00am Friday- We leave for Highlands NC.

We decided to check out Highlands because it was somewhat close to the Atlanta area and I remembered that there are some great places to park your car on the side of the road which is only feet away from some great waterfalls and creek hiking in the South.

The first of the falls was Bridal Veil Falls which we didnt take a picture of because it was pretty lame. Just a small trickle down a rock face, not impressive and frankly: boring. The second one though, Dry Falls, was worth checking out.

That’s a view from behind the falls. Pretty neat hike to get back behind there was well.

The next fall we visited was a local swimming hole known as Bust Your Butt Falls. We spent the better half of the afternoon there, swimming, cliff jumping, and exploring the area.

 there are some really good videos of us jumping off the ledge and Sarah sliding down a waterfall on our new Flikr page,found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/64846521@N08

To save my hands, I’m going to stop writing here and pick this back up this afternoon. In part 2, I’ll talk about Cullsaja Falls, Camping and rafting the Ocoee River :)

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Hello again!

Well hello again! It’s been quite some time and we really let this thing slip (mostly Lawrence’s fault), but that’s not really important. What’s important is that things were incredibly busy the last few months and we honestly just have not had time to blog very much…well, at all. Anyway, a short catch-up of what’s been going on in our life:

Lawrence made 3.0 GPA for the spring semester (go LAWRENCE), Sarah finished up her 4th year at CSU and is set to graduate in May of next year, and the biggest thing going on in our lives is we have taken the next step and moved in together! We have a puppy and now this, who knows what’s next!? How about a trip to Europe, yes please!!!

For the month of June I (sarah) was in the pit orchestra (4 people) for the show Nunsense! It was a ton of fun and the pit got to dress as nuns as well! So for 3 weeks 3 nights a week I was a Nun! Never would have thought I would be, but, there I was a Nun! It was a lot of fun getting to work with the theater department and getting to know what it’s like behind their scenes!! All and all it was great fun!

So the process of moving in together was quite easy (for Lawrence) he got very lucky and had a conducting gig the weekend we scheduled or “big move” so my awesome mom Ann drove down to Columbus and helped me move in the big stuff! We got most everything moved in a weekend and when Lawrence came home Sunday evening, he had a new house! It was quite an adventure during our first few weeks, we didn’t have a bed so the futon we got on Craig’s List doubled as the bed/couch. Eventually we got our precious bed and are starting to put the place together! Decoration and pictures seem to be the last thing up but I’m sure it will all be up eventually, just in time for me to move or go on to graduate school.

So tonight Lawrence and I watch Marley and Me and I (like in every movie) cried my eyes out. It really is a great movie, but it really does show the reality of having an animal, it’s sad but true, they will eventually leave you but it’s such a fun journey. With that being said, Rondo is doing great and right now he’s asleep on Lawrence’s lap… What cutties!

So what’s next for us? Well we just got back from an impromptu trip to North Carolina and Tennessee to go rafting, but I’m sure Lawrence will talk about that more tomorrow when he writes a little post. Tomorrow is the 4th of July which means fireworks!!! So we’re going to do something we haven’t ever done and go to Auburn for the afternoon, from what we’ve heard they have a $10,000 fireworks show which should be awesome! We’re planning to get together with some friends and just enjoy Independence Day!!!

So sorry for the long absence but, we’re back! Hopefully for good this time! I’ll try and keep on Lawrence to continue and not get so lazy about blogging… It was his idea, so he better keep it up, I know I’ll try to! Well, until next time I’m out!!! Can’t wait to read Lawrence’s post tomorrow!

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New Faces and New Places

Apparently I’m the only person here on this blog who remembers how to do so, and I thought I was the one who would never be on this thing. HA, I win!!! Well I’m back at my house, where my Mom lives, in Marietta.

I was off visiting a girlfriend’s family in Charlotte, NC. It was a really fun trip, overall, and we got to do so many amazing things. My girlfriend, Steph, picked me up on Saturday morning and we were off! Girls trip woooo!!! Our first stop was breakfast at our favorite place in the world, get ready… drum roll please!!! CHICK-FIL-A, fancy breakfast I know!! Then we were really off!!! We made it to Charlotte in record time and only made 2 stops, one for gas and one to go potty. Steph’s Grandad and step-grandmother (who will just be Grandma) greeted us at the door with their adorable dog buzz (grandma is a trumpet grad of Oberlin Conservatory) and helped us carry our things to our room.
After we settled in we had a quick snack and just relaxed!! It was so great to get to know Sally’s Grandparents. Later that evening Steph’s bf Eric arrived after a horn weekend in Boone, NC, as much as I do love Eric, I was hoping for our spring break get-away to be just a girls thing, because they’re a new couple, and you know how new couples are (love you both!!).
The first day we were there, Sunday, Steph went to Mass and the rest of us stayed home and had a nice lea-surly breakfast, and then when we were all back together we headed to the outlet mall!! LOVE SHOPPING!! The second day was sailing day! Steph’s Grandad and Grandma have a beautiful sail boat (named “High Cs”) on Lake Normon and we sailed in the freezing cold, but great sailing wind for a few hours and then headed back home for hot chocolate and dinner!
Then Tuesday, our last full day was the reason for driving all the way up: Cirque du Soleil’s Totem. We relaxed and hung out for the better part of the day and then got ready to go and eat. Stpeh’s grandparent’s were amazing and treated us all to dinner before the show. Then when we got there Steph went nuts, she wants to play in the pit of Cirque one day so she was very happy to be there. Steph told us every little detail she knew about Cirque and all of the shows, which was nice to have an almost insider view (:D). The show was amazing and I really think that Cirque’s shows could fall under the category of what Wagner refereed to as Gesamstkunstwerk, if Richard was still alive Im not sure if he’d agree with me but I do think that it is a “total” work of art. There was theater, instrumental playing, singing, visual art (in costumes and set design), and acrobatics which I think is a totally amazing art of it’s own!!! So that’s my thought on Totem and Cirque shows in general. :D
We got up this morning and hit the road in the pouring rain… It raining all the way back to Atlanta. Overall the trip was fantastic and meeting Steph’s grandparent’s was fantastic, they’re amazing people!
When I got back to Marietta, my sweet little puppy was waiting for me and soooo happy to see me home. Lawrence left this morning for ACADA, which I’m sure he’ll eventually blog about. Being home is a good feeling, however it’s not quite the same as Columbus. Columbus has really become home.

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The Stresses of Hell Week

As a junior music education major you have the joys of being done with all core classes! This is an amazing feet and I’m sooooo happy that this is the case, however, now that I don’t have core classes to add “fluff” hours it’s music class on top of music class on top of music class. This during any other week this would be great, but… It’s the week before spring break and all the professors don’t want us to worry about school over said break HOWEVER, 6 tests in one week is a bit excessive.

This is how my week has/is going to play out:

Monday: Music History listening exam

Tuesday: Transcription project due (WW Quintet) and Teaching lessons

Wednesday: Secondary Choral Methods repertoire project due, Secondary Choral Methods repertoire teaching and the written portion of the music history test. We also have the Brooklyn Rider String Quartet coming and I will be back stage with them (this is a good thing, but it’s still something else to do).

Thursday: I have a conducting assessment/taping, I’ll be conducting Finlandia

Friday: I’ll be working with 8th graders on their music for LGPE (large group performance evaluations)

Then I am done!!! What a week before spring break. During the week of no school I’ll be heading up to Charlotte NC with a girlfriend to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Totum and we’ll be out on her grandparent’s sail boat, which will be a much needed break… While I’m sunning my self on a lake, Lawrence will be in freezing Chicago for the ACDA (american choral director’s association).

That’s all for now, I need to get going to class but I’m sure you can all sympathize with stresses of your own hell weeks…

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10 Things I Hate About You

This is the second post where the both of us will be blogging, at the same time! Today we’re doing a couples post where we’ll each be listing some things we hate, about each other. Sounds sinister right?

Lawrence: right now Sarah is looking for her nail-file, so when she comes back we’ll begin. “I need to find it because I’m taking secondary guitar this semester!” – Sarah says. She’s looking under the bed right now with the puppy staring at her from above, as if she’s invading his space. It’s quite cute. While I wait for her I’ll take a few moments to talk about Le Roi David, by Arthur Honeggar. We’re about half way through with it this semester and while I wasnt too fond of it at the beginning, it’s starting to grow on me. (Puppy has now taken her hair bow and she is chasing him around the room) There’s something extra-crunchy in his chords that I just like. Aaaannnnd we’re back!

Sarah: hello bloggosphere!

Lawrence: ok for this we’ve decided that I’ll list one thing with a brief explaination, then she’ll follow. Here’s my list:

10. I hate the words “Can you do me a favor?” It’s not that I dont MIND doing favors, but those words just always happen to spew forth from your mouth, at the EXACT moment I’ve found a comfortable spot somewhere. Even if I’m standing, I get comfortable and then have to vacate that position. Also, this phrase always comes in pairs of 5-infinity.

 

Sarah: omg. Let me go get my list.

10. I hate that you dont have lists. I have a list for a list, for a list, for a list, with a list. I dont think I’ve ever seen Lawrence write anything down that has the resembelence of a list. Your lists are: sleep, eat, poop, xbox. In that order.

Lawrence: It’s true — you are the queen of listing and I should starting calling you Ms. Sticky-Note. BTW, it’s spelled Liszt, not list.

Sarah:looser.

Lawrence:

9. Your obession with all things from the TLC channel (Sarah: it’s the TLC network)…what-ever it is, it shouldnt be. People used to pay money at side shows to see the things on that television network. Midgets (excuse the lack of PC), people who can birth more than 10 kids at once, — btw this incredibly hard to write tonight because the dog is trying to eat my hands — strange addictions and people who dress REALLY funny.  So TLC rings in at number 9 for me.

 

Sarah: too many options here…humm…(SHE HAS AN ACTUAL LIST OF THIS ON HER BLACK BERRY HOLY CRAP -lawrence)…

9. Always having your phone on SILENT. Because everytime I try to call you, and I know you’re not in class, i cant get in touch with you because it’s “INCONVIENTLY” on silent AND you have this AWFUL inability to answer text messages. Yes, texting is not a viable form of communication — for you — but for me: IT IS. Answer Your Phone!!!!

Lawrence: true. touche.

8. Your frustration when learning to do something new. Now I love you, but (for those of you who dont know), Sarah and I went to play racquetball on Sunday. Sarah has never played racquetball in her life. However, she believes if it doesnt come in 10 mins. of trying, it’s an awful game that makes no sense, and that nobody will EVER be able to teach it to her. Period. (fyi: an hour later, she says “oh wow, this is so much fun….”) JUST GIVE IT A SHOT GIRL!

Sarah:

8. Your Piles. Everywhere around here there are little Lawrence piles around here. Clothes, dirty clothes, books, shoes, suitcases, wet towels that have not been hung, pieces of paper, computers, computer papers, etc… Couldnt you at least have on central location instead of 12 separate piles, all over MY appartment? You have your own apartment for your piles..go put them there.

Lawrence: but i like to leave you presents….^_^

7. Your Lists. While I cant make lists, you seem to have a list for everything. It’s borderline micro-managment and I couldnt live like that. It’s great you can, and it keeps you sane, but it drives me NUTS that you’re on your blackberry for a per-made LIST of “10 Things I Hate About You.” (Sarah: “I have a locker combo list, movies to see, To do list, lockers and combinations and ideas for teaching :)) That’s great Sarah…wonderful lol

Sarah:

7. Mumbling. You sound like Ozzy Osborne…Seriously. Not only that, but you love to talk to me, but face a different direction. I cant hear if you’re talking one way, I’m turned another, the doors are closed and the water is running. I cant hear you!!! COME talk to me!

Lawrence:

6. The fact that you tell your SAI sisters about well…everything. When I walk into the Schwob (our school), I know that half the female population knows things about me that I really, really, REALLY dont particularly care for them to know. It actually makes me really self-concious — especially when I get strange stares for no reason. (sarah says: “oops ;)”)

Sarah:

6. Leaving the cap off the toothpaste. It’s not that hard to do this. I even buy the toothpaste that has the cap attached to it, so that you can easily put it back down, but it still never fails. I STOPPED BUYING THE SCREW TOP FOR A REASON!? It gets crusty! It’s gross!

Lawrence:

5. I hate your lack of self-confidence. You’re an amazing person who has everything going for them right now, but you hinder yourself in many ways. If you would just believe in yourself you’re life would not be better: but you might be happier.

Sarah:

5. I hate that you get in your own way. YOU’VE got everything going for you, it’s like you dont want to see yourself succeed. It’s like you’re afraid to.

Lawrence: Well, it just got really mushy for a comical post. balls. (sarah laughs, homeostasis has returned).

4. Your bed making! It’s a true obsession! Like, military beds arent as a nice as Sarah Bridges’. IT’S NUTS. And the worst part is, when I do it: IT’S NEVER GOOD ENOUGH. AND NEVER WILL BE. GET OVER IT. IT’S A BED. NOT YOUR DISSERTATION.

Sarah: …I like having a made bed, and you’ve admitted there’s nothing better than climbing into bed with clean sheets…humph.

4. You’re lust of the computer. If you’re not on it for more than 12 hours, it’s like there’s something missing in your day. You’re always constantly doing something, PLUS being on your computer. You cant focus on one thing!

Lawrence: hey, ADD sucks. Get some.

3. Your need to collect my belly button lent, every evening. (I DONT COLLECT IT! I JUST CLEAN IT OUT! -sarah) I dont care. You collect it. It’s odd. I cant help that my shirts deposit lint in my belly button, but you DONT NEED TO TOUCH IT.

Sarah:

3. I hate how your wardrobe consists of 12 hoodies, undershirts, jeans and these NASTY rainbows you’ve had for years. They’re not just rainbows, they’re flipflops. You’re such an attractive guy, but you’re too apathetic and lazy to put on anything else that looks good! You have so many nice clothes that you never wear! Just go up to your apartment and put them on…please.

Lawrence:

2. The word “incapable.” ie- “Lawrence is incapable of screwing the cap on the toothpaste.” This is wrong. To say I am “incapable” would imply there is no physical way for me to complete said task. That’s not true. that’s all. Find another word please, with better connotations.

Sarah:

2. Keeping your car clean. Ugh. It’s always dirty; always smells like paintballs, rotten hamburgers, or a lethal combination of both. There are countless cups — it doesnt work that way…throw them away. When you leave your car, bring your trash with you. The dumpster is right outside, it’s only an extra 20 feet! And the trunk…you’d think a dead person was in there…

Lawrence:

1. Your Pharting. Yes, ph-arting. Unbeknownst to many, Sarah can rip one if she wants. Actually I love this because it took you 8 months to do it in front of me, and I honestly didnt believe you. But wow. It’s an experience.  (“What can i say? I take after my farter– i mean father.” – sarah). It’s ok though. Thanks for being a good sport about that one.

Sarah:

1. Your lack of concern of personal hygiene. Oh you know…brushing your teeth, once a day…maybe, doesnt count as being clean. I dont want to kiss somebody with smelly breath. Why dont you wash your hair on a regular basis? You wet it, but there’s no soap…it doesnt count. Deodorant is a necessity, not an optional thing. And — wearing the same shirt three times in one week (maybe not in a row, but) does not count as a clean shirt. You have lots of shirts. Use them.

 

So that’s all for tonight. We’d write a longer conclusion, but we’re both tired and have taken up enough of your time. See you next time!

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Joining a Choir: Why?

Why Join a Choir?

In the first segment we discussed some of the different types of choirs that one can join, and while that is worth-while and good the next question you should be asking is: Why?

Simply put, singing in a choir is incredibly fun. Singing in a choir is a lot like doing a huge puzzle with a bunch of good friends: it may be incredibly frustrating and aggravating at times but the satisfaction gained when the project is finished is hard to be matched. Do you know that feeling you get when you watch your favorite sports team win a close game? It’s a little like that, but you also get the satisfaction that the players get as an added bonus.

I think it’s also important to understand that singing in a choir can be hard work and that many do not realize this when they first join. I have seen many people attend a first rehearsal for a symphonic choir and only two-thirds of them return the next week after hearing the piece they are to sing that season, or realizing the time commitment required is more than they anticipated. But, do not let this discourage you!! You dont HAVE to put eight hours a day into your choir experience, unless you want to. The work required to create this great music is very therapeutic and I feel that it parallels Yoga very well. Any experienced Yoga practitioner will tell you that the only reason the end result of a practice session feels so good is because of the burn that occurs during the practice. Music is the same way!

Joining a choir is also a great way to meet new people, many who are like minded and share a passion for music. Many of my best friends are those I met in choirs in some capacity and the bonds that are created in the music making process can be very hard to break. In fact, many couples can be found singing in the same choirs and often, the two meet in a choir, or at a choir event somewhere!

Ok! Mythbusting time!

  1. I’m tone deaf, thus I cannot sing. Not true! Benjamin Zander put it best when addressing a group at the Goggle TED conventions. He asked, “hey guys, when you come home and didnt take out the trash and your significant other is mad at you, how do you know that? Well, their voice is higher, louder, harsher – now if you were tone deaf you couldnt hear that.” Well…that disproves that pretty quickly. But seriously, the whole “I’m tone deaf” thing just means that you are not used to producing the sustained tones used in singing and that’s ok! With a few weeks practice you’ll get the hang of it!
  2. I cant read music. This one is a little more tricky to disprove, but it can be nonetheless! While you may not be formally educated and cannot read a lick of music that is no excuse because there are countless resources that can help you learn your part. A quick Google search of “Messiah practice MIDI” returns 87,000 entries. These are sound files that only have the part you are singing, or have your part “highlighted” – you dont even need a piano! Just a CD player!
  3. I dont have the time. Musicians are a group of people who understand this. Completely. Many are time pressed and stressed out of their mind on a regular basis and this myth can be equated to that of “I dont have time to go a gym.” If you honestly dont, then no worries! But, I doubt you’ve been reading this far if you dont have ANY time at all. The amount of time needed to be committed to a choir can vary depending on the type of choir you are in. Professional choirs such as Cantus rehearse six days a week for seven hours a day. A community choir may meet once a week for one hours. Those are the two extremes, however most practice once a week for around an hour and a half plus some extra time the week before a big performance. Not that bad right?
  4. Choirs are for “loosers.” Well, a recent study by Choral America found that around 20% of the population sings in a choir of some capacity. Not to bad eh? Also, here’s a few names of people who are singing in choirs: Clay Aiken, Terry Bradshaw, Billy Joel, Joe Montana, Dawn Upshaw, Ashton Kutcher, PINK – that’s just a small list.
  5. The music is boring. While everybody may have different tastes of music, I can assure you that a choral experience is the farthest thing from boring that you can get. Challenging, exciting, fun, new, spiritual, demanding, intense, beautiful; all of these can be used to describe a choral experience, but boring is quite a hard one to draw

    Boring? I think not.

 

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