Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feeling Proud

Yesterday the copies of Juan Carlos' first book arrived in the mail. While it's not a book that will top (or even make the bottom) of the bestseller lists, it is still quite an accomplishment for him and one that I think he is still a bit surprised about. As someone who has lived with JC while the manuscript was being written and who watched him go through the editing process, I find it incredible that anyone has the patience to write books, let alone try to make a living doing it. It is grueling, painstaking work. And the editing! Oh, my friends, the EDITING. So here it is:

I have mentioned before how extremely lucky I was to marry JC, for just about every reason imaginable. But one thing I have always admired and envied is his motivation to work and to set aside what he wants in order to do what needs to be done. I don't think I have ever had to ask him to do anything, he just gets things done. There are only two people that I have seen work like JC works, and one of them is his mother. So I guess he comes by it naturally. At times I can get in a mood and complain  about how much work I have, but then I just look at Juan Carlos and it makes me shut up immediately.

Juan Carlos is in Spain right now doing a presentation for a university that has an exchange program with Stonehill, and when he arrived they surprised him with a newspaper interview. He was pretty nervous but it turned out to be a good experience for him.


This has been such a trial for him and such a ghastly amount of work, but something that has helped him grow and develop as a scholar and a writer. I am not going to say I am in any hurry for him to start another book, but I appreciate what an accomplishment this is for him. And I am very proud to be his wife.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Model UN

It was my singular opportunity to travel with a group of Model United Nations students to a conference this weekend. It has turned out to be a fun and enlightening experience! We had a bit of a complication because the state of Rhode Island has decided that any child that wants an H1N1 vaccine has to get it through the school and only on the day that the state decrees for the distribution of the vaccine. You don't show up that day, you don't get it. Our day was the day after we were to have left for the conference. So of course half the team had to stay, get their shots, and join us halfway through the conference. It has been a great exercise in resiliency. We had a few frustrated moments with the kids who arrived late and didn't know what was going on once they got to their committe sessions, but most everyone has caught up now and is having a good time. We did get to take a tour of a nearby university yesterday, which was very nice. Can you tell where we are from this picture?

It has been fun to watch the kids as they reenact the International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda, discuss and propose resolutions to world issues, and deal with legal issues involved in international dispute. They even have sessions where they wake them up at 1 in the morning and they have to go deal with crisis situations, like wars breaking out or political assassinations and their aftermath. I have never been remotely interested in politics, domestic or otherwise, but I have to admit that it's great to see that there are young people around who are. And now I know why when kids get back from the Model UN trips they are always totally dead in class. Well, we are going home tomorrow and at least there are only two days before Thanksgiving break.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Most of my friends know I am not a very emotional person. I always say I got it all out in my teenage years and early twenties. It's not to say that I don't have emotions--I just don't like it when they take control. Mostly I keep them on the back burner. However, every few years those pesky feelings do come out and force me to acknowledge them. I am having one of those times right now. One of the things that has always affected me emotionally and also helped me to deal with emotion has been music, and in particular, participating in music making. Maybe it is the control you have to have to create something beautiful with your voice or with an instrument, but it has always been an emotional outlet for me and something I have loved for as long as I can remember. The holiday season is coming up and I am getting ready for the holiday concerts that I will be doing with the Boston Pops. I think it will be good to get into the spirit of the season; however, most of my holiday performances in the past have been more religiously focused. I think this one will be less so, although I plan to enjoy it regardless. I have also been spending a lot of time at the piano lately going through many of my favorites, and it is wonderful to get in touch with them again, like spending time with old friends.
I have been listening to some pieces lately that have really touched me emotionally over the years and are very healing music. The first is O Magnum Mysterium, a Christmas piece by Morten Lauridsen that I sang in college. No matter how terrible I feel, this piece always makes me feel better, and usually more peaceful. This version is the Brussels Chamber Choir and they do a lovely job for such a small group.

Latin text

O magnum mysterium,

et admirabile sacramentum,

ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,

jacentem in praesepio!

Beata Virgo, cujus viscera

meruerunt portare

Dominum Christum.


English translation

O great mystery,

and wonderful sacrament,

that animals should see the new-born Lord,

lying in a manger!

Blessed is the Virgin whose womb

was worthy to bear

Christ the Lord.


The second is called The blue bird, by Mary E. Coleridge and C.V. Stanford. The choir at my school is learning this one right now and we always hear them practicing during my Spanish 3 class. It is particularly nice to listen to while taking a quiz! This version is the Boys Air Choir. This song is gorgeous and boys' voices just add another dimension of ethereality. The words are not life-changing or sentimental, but the combination of voice and words is very calming.

"The blue bird"

Mary Coleridge (1861-1907)

The lake lay blue below the hill,

O'er it, as I looked, there flew

Across the waters, cold and still,

A bird whose wings were palest blue.

The sky above was blue at last,

The sky beneath me blue in blue,

A moment, ere the bird had passed,

It caught his image as he flew.

Be aware that neither of these pieces are going to motivate you to get up and go run a marathon or change the world, but they may bring you a sense of peace and tranquility for a few minutes, as they do me. And these days I really need it.