29 May 2016

Corpus Christi

Happy feast of Corpus Christi! A momentous occasion here, with the local high school having its graduation ceremony today!
Here's a song to express the idea of today. We sang it at Regional Honor Choir and it was my favorite one we did.

Words (by St. Thomas Aquinas):

O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur;
recolitur memoria passionis ejus;
mens impletur gratia;
et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.

O sacred banquet, wherein Christ is received;
the memorial of his passion is renewed;
the soul is filled with grace;
and a pledge of future glory is given to us.

28 May 2016

Weekly Prompt Writing

From tonight's meeting:

In the distance I heard a clock chime yet again. Going on fourteen hours. Fourteen hours of darkness. Fourteen hours of sitting, listening, waiting. What was I waiting for?
Don't say it, I told myself.
Too late.
I was waiting for someone to rescue me.
Silly me, that only happened in fairy tales. Who could possibly know where I was? And besides, it had been fourteen hours. If anyone was going to rescue me, they would've done it by now.
I tried for the thousandth time to stretch my back out of its crooked position, but the effort only made my muscles tighter. My hands clenched into fists as I fought to keep the first tears from escaping my eyes.
And then something brushed against my fist. I jumped. Still complete silence. 
A hand closed over mine and I would have screamed, had I not been gagged. It turned out more as a choking, wheezing noise.
"Shut up!" whispered a voice so close to my ear it tickled. I could feel someone's hot breath on the side of my head. But it was still pitch-dark. 
And then I was blinded. I cowered from the light, but it moved so it was shining at my bound feet. 
"Sorry, my bad," said the voice. A pair of hands began untying my bonds, but I still could not see the face behind the light. 
I closed my eyes and felt the hands loosen my bonds, working their way up until the pressure released from my jaw and I no longer tasted dusty cloth in my mouth. I was about to stand up and bolt, but the hand took mine again and the light disclosed a face.
The face of my brother.
"Shall we go home?" he asked.
I nodded and followed him out of the darkness. 

21 May 2016

Weekly Prompt Writing

From tonight's meeting.

Sebastian walked into the den to see the TV screen displaying a shot of...wait, what?
"Uh, Tony, what is that?"
Antonio looked up from the couch, on which he was lounging, the TV remote in one hand and a bowl of chips in the other. "Oh, just my project for literature. Nathan and I are making a retelling of Hamlet with Legos."
"And which scene is this?" Sebastian asked, eyeing the paused shot of a Lego robot holding a teddy-bear and staring into the water at a reflection of a human.
"It's the 'to be or not to be' monologue, obviously," Antonio said, tossing a chip in the direction Sebastian's face. "He's looking into the water, contemplating drowning himself. He sees his reflection as the man he hopes to be...or maybe the ghost of his father."
Sebastian dropped into the couch beside his cousin. "Wow, that's strangely profound." In his head he added, why the teddy bear?
This time Antonio handed him a chip. "Thanks. I thought up the frames and Nathan put together the stop-motion." He clicked play on the remote and they watched the Lego mime a stirring speech. "We'll have to talk over it," Antonio explained. "We don't have the equipment to add voice-overs."
The reel ended. Sebastian grabbed a handful of chips from the bowl and trotted upstairs to escape his cousin's geeky weirdness.

15 May 2016

Piano Recital

Next week we begin planning my senior recital!!

Intermezzo Op. 117 No. 1 by Johannes Brahms. I really enjoyed this piece, despite its slight sappiness. It was a good exercise in voicing because the melody is almost always in the middle voice.

Sonatine (1st movement) by Maurice Ravel. This is one of the hardest pieces I've ever played...which is evidenced by the fact that I started learning it in June and it's still not perfect! It was fun to learn, though--one that I'll keep up so I can play it in the future, I think.

Here's to one final year of piano lessons!

14 May 2016

Spring Things

While Grandma was here we went to a nursery and saw some cool roses. Totally unedited photos.

A photogenic lunch with Grandma!

The new kittens being cute.

We went to the graduation parties of some really good friends, which was bittersweet. 

First time in quite a while we've all been in one place!

On the way home we passed by the acreage...I miss living in the country!

We accidentally had a color theme at our voice recital. 

Weekly Prompt Writing

The muffled bass line of "Brown-Eyed Girl" was echoing off the cinder-block walls, along with the sounds of people shouting, singing, dancing, and laughing. Regan glanced down at her shoes and chuckled to herself. She should've known he wouldn't show up. He never remembered things until it was too late. Sometimes she had to remind him of his own dentist appointments and family birthday parties. 
So she wasn't upset at him. 
The song changed to a slow waltz and the noise died down to a low hum. She could go back in there, but it was so cool and quiet here, despite the unnerving dankness of the basement stairs and that nearby dripping noise. 
If only Gianna were here. It was taking longer than Regan had anticipated to get used to life without her best friend. She was already counting the days until she flew out to Montana for a visit over Christmas break. It would mean missing a couple of dance classes, but it was worth it.
Suddenly the noise multiplied and a sweaty smell reached Regan's nostrils. She looked over her shoulder to see Asher standing in the doorway. 
"Sorry I'm, like, an hour late," he said. "I had to wait until Esther came home to use the car."
Regan stood up and arched her back so it cracked. "I didn't think you were coming at all." 
"Are you kidding? I'd never miss a dance." He held out a hand. "You look like you could use a good foxtrot."
She smiled and they re-entered the crowded gym. 

13 May 2016

Dad's Birthday

Happy birthday, Dad! Thanks for being an awesome essay-editor, Russian-lit-teacher, fellow listener to music lectures, fellow concert-goer, plane-ticket-purchaser, world-traveler, and all-around the best dad anyone could ask for.

10 May 2016

Two Birthdays!

Monday: Claudia turned 27! She was home sick with a sinus infection, which is bad, but it did mean she had more time to talk to us. Love you Lala, and I can't wait to see you this summer!

Tuesday: Isabel turned 21! The milestone! And one of her birthday "presents" was a statistics final. Happy birthday, Isa! I couldn't ask for a better role model!

09 May 2016

Mothers' Day

It was a very special one with both Mom and Grandma here! 

The mothers came home to this after Mass.
Outside church, with the roses from Dad. Not sure why they made me hold them...

And a photo of Grandma holding baby Dad!

08 May 2016

Thomas Graduates from College!

A happy occasion for all, with the added bonus of beautiful weather!

The fam minus Claudia and Isabel, plus Grandma and John Michael.

His cap had two tassels for his double-major!

I got an action shot of him shaking hands with the president of SDSU.

And Dad, processing out in his academic robes.

07 May 2016

Weekly Prompt Writing

From tonight's Skype meeting.

I was counting the number of seconds that went by before someone noticed me. I was blissfully at 438 when Asher turned to me. 
"You're up next, Sebastian."
I shuffled my feet. "I was planning on just observing..."
"Oh no you don't," he said, inching me toward the open door. "You may not like the idea of skydiving, but it's my birthday, so you have to do it."
"Don't you think the danger level is a little--"
"It's perfectly safe!" he yelled, and then pushed me out of the plane.
After the initial panic and regret that I hadn't written my will before leaving the house this morning, I began to notice my surroundings.
Or rather, my lack thereof. The air was paper-thin, and clouds hovered in whisps here and there. I looked down and saw the other skydivers hundreds of feet below me. Antonio was cheering, arms flung out, like he was having the time of his life.
It was a pretty cool experience, I had to admit to myself. But not one I would have done for anyone except my best friend. 
Nearing the ground, the panic set in again. What if my parachute malfunctioned? I'd be mauled on a bystanding rock and they'd have to collect my remains for a proper burial. Or what if I broke my neck? My dad didn't have the funds for those kind of hospital bills.
I tried to remember what the instructor had told us, but my mind was blurring with adrenaline.
And then I landed. I was in pain, but unharmed. And in a surprisingly light mood. 
"Wasn't that awesome?" Antonio asked, coming up to help me out of the parachute.
"No," I said, "but it was interesting. Really gives you a hands-on experience of physics."
Antonio rolled his eyes and trudged up to the waiting instructors.