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Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm still in my pajamas

I was planning on making this Monday a wonderfully relaxing day to help me gear up for the second half of the semester.

Until my teacher, Dr. Johnson, decided to spring a test on us. Now, many of you may know this professor. He is an amazing lecturer: knows his stuff inside and out, makes you think, and teaches you how to think.  I quite enjoy everything about this class except the tests.

He reminds me of how I imagine my dad to be: intimidating, and yet quite approachable one on one. And yet I just don't see the resemblance when at the beginning of class Dr. Johnson stands up and announces to the effect: "It is my opinion that graduate classes at this institution are sub-par. I shall therefore take it upon myself to make up for everyone else's lack of rigor."


And there are only 5 of us in the class. One is vocal performance but he just HAPPENS to think how Dr. Johnson likes to think. Lucky. Two are musicology majors and so they don't have to practice or perform. Oh goodness me, imagine the time they have! Granted they have to write a thesis, etc. But they are used to analyzing music and have had many classes with him as a teacher. One is a organ performance major, but she ALREADY has a master's in musicology. From Oxford. Joy. The last is a composition major and I feel like I am on the same plane as him. Buddies, if you will, on the battlefield.

And then there is me. Who has to practice. A lot. Who has to perform. A lot. Whose Doctor just happened to have told her that she really, really would do well to get about 9 hours of sleep a night. Who just HAPPENS to have FOUR concerts this week. The week of her test(s).

I look at the mountain of studying and wonder where the top is. I mean, I have other stuff to do too... But  other classes aside, I find it rather hard to memorize the spelling of 12 or so renaissance pieces, when they are in LATIN and the most I can do is memorize them in a weird pronunciation. For example. Resvellies vous et faites chiere lye.

Not to mention how 12 eight or so minute pieces sound different from each other. We'll be tested on what they sound like in the middle with a random artist, not necessarily the one we've been listening too. Did I mention that there is one piece that Dr. Johnson owns that none of us do because the only CD available is one on amazon that costs $170?

And I don't need to elaborate on his essay tests.  Oh no. Just that they need to be detailed...very detailed.

Oh and then there are orals which are in a month and a half. Pray that another Johnson test doesn't happen that same week.

Why am I going through such detail? To calm my anxious mind and to rest my brain for another rigorous hour of studying. And well, I would normally write about this in my journal, but that would have taken at least 4 times longer than typing it. And we all know you wanted to hear about my nightmare week.

And I write before you today with fear and trepidation in my eyes. And yet I still have the hope that I can pull off another B+ on his test (which happens to be a good grade supposedly...) After all, I am actually studying, as opposed to giving up. 

I keep envisioning myself here in 4 months:

And this is why I am still in my purple plaid pajamas with an (ironic) school of music t-shirt. It reminds me, if not pathetically, that it really is a holiday today.

Friday, February 18, 2011

In a future life

In a future life I will:

1. be able to clean the bathroom once a week
2. enjoy something different for dinner every day
3. read more than music notes
4. Study from the Scriptures more
5. Study the Relief Society lesson before Sunday
6. Maybe even study the gospel doctrine lesson
7. take the time to eat more green things
8. be able to vacume our apartment once a week.
9. Actually be able to help with the dishes
10. Exercise.
11. Have dinner parties
12. Finish scrapbooking from eons ago
13. Remember to water my plants
14. Maybe even go to ward activities.
15. Paint my toenails more than 3 times a year
16. make it through days, not hours
17. have dates that will NOT consist of going grocery shopping

Friday, February 11, 2011

Leek and Goat Cheese Tart

Want an usual, alluring, romantic dinner for Valentines day? You've got to try this. The goat cheese becomes quite mellow after heat and tastes quite sophisticated. And it's not that exorbitant. Goodness, a good hearty dessert would cost more than this cute tart. I got the recipe from a William and Sonoma cookbook. I'll write the recipe verbatim, but also indicate the changes I made in parentheses.

Leek and Goat Cheese Tart

1 recipe tart pastry (or pie dough recipe)
2 T unsalted butter
1 lb leeks, including tender green parts, sliced thinly
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded Gruyere, emmenthaler, or Jarlsberg cheese (oh how I await the day when I can buy such delicacies. I settled for Swiss.)
3 T chopped fresh chives (I used a bit of green onions)
1/4 lb fresh goat cheese, crumbled.

(I didn't have a DEEP dish tart pan (2 inches) with a removable bottom. So I just used my 1 inch deep tart pan 9" across tart pan plus 4 mini ones. Shown here:)

The tart before the custard mixture

Prepare the deep pastry crust as directed and let it cool. In a large, heavy frying pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. When it foams, add the leeks, reduce the heat to low, and cook slowly until the leeks are soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips.

In a bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolk, and cream until blended. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry crust. Top with the leeks, then the chives, and finally the goat cheese. Pour as much of the egg mixture as will fit, stopping within 12 in of the rim (I just did until there was a bout 1/4-1/8 of an inch). sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese evenly over the top.

Bake the tart until the top is lightly puffed and golden and the filling jiggles only slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes. If using a tart pan with a removable bottom, place the pan on your outstretched palm and let the ring fall away, then slide the tart onto a serving plate. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings.

David and I in our cooking attire. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It helps

I don't do poetry. I've never had a class on it. I don't profess to be remotely good. But right now writing in this kind of format feels natural.

It is amazing what blasting Linkin Park will do to a mood.
Blasting so loud I can't hear myself singing to it
Brahms, Du Fay, and Holst fail me
It helps

I can focus on the task at hand:
Not failing a test
Surviving the day
It helps

What is it about music that
lifts my soul
put me through 6 years of Heaven and Hell
It helps

Thursday, February 3, 2011


It was a long week.

And it's not over. Hmm. Friday isn't really the beginning of the weekend. And Saturday is almost as bad. So guess what I did assuage my woes?

We watched Stargate. They took our beloved show off of Hulu and we searched high and low for another version of it on the internet. We weren't disappointed.

So it was one of those nights. Try as I might, doing homework would have been counterproductive. And I'll start researching as soon as I post this...

It was also one of those nights where nothing sounded good to eat and so I ate a conglomerate of stuff. Note, I was not willing to wait for something to cook. Let alone cook something. Yes, your beloved "I love cooking!" chef called it quits tonight. It was hard enough to wait for the toaster. The list will prove my humanity.

3 pieces of Toast, two with butter and one with butter and jam
1/2 a can of olives
cooked carrots with butter and brown sugar
1 stale carmel
2 recees peanut butter cups (small version)
1 pillow mint
1 small dove square

And so I say to myself: There will be more productive nights. Life goes on. Who says I have to work 24/7 to have worth? And who says a graduate student has to kill herself in order to deserve a diploma?

So what if the kitchens a tad dirty. Who cares if I didn't clean the bathroom last week. And what about doing my homework during every free moment. Do I have to? NO! And (gasp) it's ok.

At least that's what I tell  myself. We're working on the believing part.

And here is a picture of my previous stress-free self that we are trying to re-emulate.

I wish myself luck.