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2010-11-10 - 11:20 p.m.

Its National Novel Writing Month and two of the little ones have been excited about writing their novels.

I too was excited; for about a day...

Not much time for creative writing for me, despite best intentions.

I was busy traveling this weekend as it was priority to accompany the oldest to visit colleges in her hunt for the place she will call home for the next four years (or three and a half to five I suppose...)

I think however that she will have scholarships to pay her tuition in full so it won't be likely that she will want to cut the experience short in order to save money and enter the job world sooner.

I am so proud of my oldest as she is the only kid I ever met who earned and 800 on the Critical Reasoning section of the SAT; and a 770 on the English Lit Subject Matter Exam!!


So the belief in full scholarship for tuition is not just a delusional dream;but a very real liklihood for this incredibly well adjusted, well balanced, impressive kid who enjoyed being a cheerleader, a gifted math geek that took college math classes starting in middle school, an orchestra member,a volunteer in both her church and community (Habitat this summer) and of late has been so proud of her newly discovered vocal talent. She is in the select chorale at her school and her chorus, orchestra and voice teacher has encouraged her to consider studying OPERA as a voice student in college.

I heard her excited about that possibility and talking of preparing for the audition. I then heard her say she is not THAT interested and perhaps wants to just minor in that. I fortunately also heard that was said out of FEAR. My comment to her was "Don't give me that BS! I heard you say a few times that NOTHING makes you happier than making music and making OTHER people happy!"

I heard through her lack of confidence to the fact she was just saying she doesn't REALLY want to go for the voice program not because she wouldn't LOVE TO DO SO,but as I heard her really say "I AM SCARED I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH" to HERSELF.

I heard her try to deceive herself by saying "I don't really want this" because the reality is THAT IT IS REALLY REALLY HARD TO PREPARE for the audition and it is REALLY REALLY STRESSFUL and she is not sure she can handle THAT MUCH WORK and THAT MUCH STRESS as she is not sure she could handle putting heart and soul into such effort to risk NOT SUCCEEDING.

We visited a music dept and spoke with two of the THREE female vocal majors addmitted last year who stared this Fall. It was a great experience for my daughter to speak to them. I was so glad that after being TIRED from the really long and not productive tour, and then our real scope out school session of eating in the cafeteria and eavesdropping on students, that we got LOST in heading back to our car and found the arts building. I was REALLY GLAD that we went in and choose to listen in to a class and as we quietly hid in the foyer outside the space we heard the most stunningly beautiful singing of an incredibly moving piece that clearly was about Jesus' birth at Christmas. I could't recognize the work, but was happy when a young man came out that we approached him and asked if he was a vocal major that he and the girls sitting outside said "YES."

That man left, but another came and the three students were so happy to share their experience- in particular the two ladies who shared that at their audition they were both TERRIBLE at sight reading. Katerina is GOOD at sight reading.
They both attested that it is the quality of the voice,and personality, and willingness to gracefully accept criticism that seemed to be the factors in their acceptance.

One was asked "Are you auditioning for composition?" as her sight reading was so terrible.

The other was told "That was lovely, however not at all what is on the page."

Both were positive and lighthearted and thankful for the opportunity to be considered in the face of those comments and showed grace and good humor in addition to each having a beautiful unique voice that the director knew he would be able to bring out the best of.

All the students we spoke with just LOVED the program.

So Katerina admitted SHE DOES want to give it a shot and consider that possibility. SHE DOES want to prepare and audition.

She just has SO MUCH HOMEWORK at her intesive, incredible high school that is is easy to forget to make time to pursue a goal which may at times seem like a far off dream and not realistic.

But BOTH of the young woman,who were two out of only THREE admitted last year- had that same sense that they COULD NEVER be good enough to get in, but decided to overcome the fear -- if only long enough to make it through that process , get an application and audition piece prepared and give it their best.

The one girl sent hers via overnight delivery the night before the final deadline. She had an audition she had CANCELLED and then had to re-schedule due to anxiety!

I could relate...I was blessed that a SNOW STORM fell the day my FIRST interview was scheduled for the job I now have been in for three years and just love!

Yet both young women said "Its the voice that matters"

And they know they DO have a gift.

Katerina has such a rare gift too. I heard a tape of when she sang at church and it was so very beautiful that it made me cry. Another mom told me as she played it for me that there were very few dry eyes when she sang as it was so beautiful.

One of the little girls sang Silent Night at church here one Christmas and she too has that gift.Her sister here ALSO has such a gift but because the one is more overt at displaying it, the other sister doesn't think of herself as that good. Its funny how that works.Because Soren has always been so obviously gifted as a vocalist, likewise Katerina never considered herself that good. Yet she is indeed as talented- but has not actualized that talent to the degree he has as he has been involved in musical theater programs.

I think it is wonderful that Katerina left that school visit feeling confident and happy about her gift. I think it wonderful that she had the opportunity to meet students who encouaged her who talked of working through their fear.

I think it will be fabulous to watch her growth and joy as she challenges herself to learn another classical piece. For the audition she needs two pieces,in either Italian, German or French. She preformed a solo in Italian for Chorale last year so only needs to learn one more in a foreign language. The third is to be in English.

And hey, the back up of a full scholarship to an academic program should she NOT gain acceptance as a voice major studying Opera isn't so bad either! Incredible that would be her back pocket option should her dream of her first choice school not be met.

Additionally, after visiting schools this weekend it was amazing to see that her first impressions and expectations of what she THOUGHT she would like were not accurate as to which schools she DID find impressive.

We looked at one school that she wasn't even going to consider a month ago which ended up being one she was impressed with. The school she expected to like most of all prior to visits is one she said she is not now interested in applying for as it is too big. Another school I suggessted just as a possibility for a back up plan to consider is now the one she literally fell in love with.

She may want to go there more than study voice as a major, as that school DOES have a nice program as a minor. She so fell in love with that school that she might REALLY not want to consider the vocal major, not now out of FEAR of not being good enough, but because she REALLY found the school that she wants to call home.She had been intimidated at considering that particular school as they only accept 25% of applicants but her recent subject test scores made her more confident that she will be in that 25%.

Time will tell.

Two more trips for her are required before she can really tell where she would most like to be, as there are a few more schools on her list of must see (if at all possible!)

It was really a fun experience and I am so enjoying the excitement of possibilities that are unfolding at this juncture in her life!

As for me, I told her I am actively minimizing my comments on her process of learning about each school and making her own perceptions. I have told her my evaluation will be solely on the CRUNCHY GRANOLA SCALE of Cafeteria assessment.

You see, I think it is an in vogue thing to be considered a healthy, "green", cafeteria.

I will refrain from writing about my college cafeteria rankings on the Crunchy Granola Asessment until done with all the campus visits I have the pleasure of attending. Dad might experience the next round with Katerina...and to be honest the next round might have an advantage on the Chrunchy Granola scale as I think they will be regionally in a historically more hippy state than NY which is where I visited. Hmmm.... New England hippy....not sure you can get more Chrunchy Granola than that unless you go to Berkley and Katerina has decided California and West Coast schools are not in consideration as there are so many great New England Schools to choose from so why add high travel costs to her education?

Hmm...Avacados might be one good reason. Eating those reduces cholestoral.

Hey if I went to school at Berkley I wonder if regular imbibing of Avacado would be a habit I have and if now I would NOT have taken a biometric screening that demonstrated I have inherited the genetic predisposition and trait of HIGH CHOLESTEROL.

Really! I was SHOCKED at that result. I expected sugar issues, and that was fine but it was cholesterol which was an issue!

Scary as when reading what should be done dietarily there is not much room for changes other than adding avacados. I suppose cutting out eggs,adding red wine a little more often in small quantities,and an apple a day might help.But I already exercise regularly, avoid red meat, eat only whole grains and eat lots of beans and legumes and healthy nuts and oils.

I mean I have the healtiest diet of anyone I know.

But I don't eat avacados.

Time to start.

I also need to relax as there is this crazy stressful tension in my neck and back.

Off to read more of an absolutely beuatiful and inspiring site of a photographer I met when hiking in Colorado.

I'd post the link here, but instead am choosing not to as I would RATHER actually try to keep in touch as I got a recent e-mail and would like to develop a friendship. He was such an incredibly talented photographer with a day job of --get this * GASP* a LAWYER...that we both seemed to feel that kinship understood only by other creative types who decide they want to eat something other than RAMEN NOODLES as their main staple.

* Ironically, who then get high cholestoral and read articles to EAT LIKE ASIANS and realize that they need to eat things like legumes, rice and RAMEN NOODLES with veggies if they want to be healthy.

Come to think of lunch time supply of Ramen have run out.

I should spring for the $2.00 to stock up and buy a dozen more of those and avoid Cafeteria fare. My company Cafeteria would DEFINATELY FAIL on the crunchy granola criteria. Today I did enjoy Chicken Florantine and lovely sauted veggies- but it was served in styrofoam.

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