Musings of an Irish-American

Sometimes I think about stuff, and then I write it here…

Monthly Archives: October 2008

an ode

A desperately needed pick-me-up came to me today in the form of an ode; this was given to me today by a person who is very awesome (thanks, LT)

________________________________________________________________________________________________
Ode to Martin

Oh, Martin
He who can be
so hostile
and yet
so sweet.
He who is
groovy
and nifty
and neat.
He lives at Fiji,
home of the brave.
It is so dark,
it could be a cave.
Martin’s from Chicago-
the city, he swears.
What’s in Chicago?
That’s right-
Da Bears!
A poem of Martin
would not be done
without a stanza
about I-re-lun!
It’s green
as a shamrock
and slimy sea foam…
but to Martin Hughes
it is
home
sweet
home.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Truer words have never been written (I’d like to think).

-MJ

figuring it out

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine a couple of days ago and she said to me that she felt I was very respected because everyone knew how hard I work. I thought that was ridiculous because (1) I don’t feel like I work that hard and (2) I didn’t really think that people respected me.

And now I know why…

People around here seem to think I’m some sort of running joke, some sort of doormat. Hey, I think I have a pretty decent sense of humor, but there’s a difference between making a joke or teasing and taking it too far. I’ve had enough of being shit on; how is it supposed to make me feel when multiple people at once decide to make snarky comments about me? I’m not taking it lying down, not anymore. I’m sick and tired of it. If you think that’s funny, then you’re not worth my time.

So you see, I’m not respected, I don’t even feel like I’m liked these days.

And please, don’t bother talking to me unless you’re serious about it….

Also, please don’t think this is a huge umbrella statement about everyone I know; you know who you are.

-MJH

shut your mouth

I woke up this morning trying to piece together my life as of right now…

I was up until 2 trying to study for a Music History quiz

I didn’t practice for my piano lesson; even though I’m still hoping to pass proficiency this semester

I’m growing more and more frustrated with my incompetence in Natural Selection

I’m not getting enough sleep.

So, as you can tell, things are not quite dandy in the Land of Martin these days.

See, what’s funny is that people keep telling me that everything will be fine and, for some reason, I can’t bring myself to believe them. If I myself don’t feel prepared or ready for something, I don’t think there’s any way that that can be fine. I’d still like to think that I have some hand in the way things go these days. But what do I know?

I’ve definitely seen better days, of this I am sure.

REVISED: So I was recently referred to as an emotional “scapegoat”, a perpetual victim. I think it’s funny because that just shows how insensitive people can really be. All I can really say is that people who constantly minimize the problems of others just to promote their own agenda should shut up and realize what they’re doing before they speak. Get a grip, seriously.

Today of all days is not the day to mess with me, honestly…hope you’re happy.

back in the thick of things

Here I sit, back in Greencastle, ready to embark on the rest of this first semester…well maybe not ready, but I’m here and it’s happening, so bring it on.

It’s so surreal to leave home again just because I think I’m still battling with what “home” is to me now. I find it hard to call Greencastle “home” because it’s not where my family is; but I almost find it more difficult to call Chicago “home” because I don’t live there the majority of the year. This is not to say that either one is better than the other or that I like one better than the other, I just think that it’s hard to call either “home” because maybe I don’t know what “home” is yet.

Rehearsal tonight went better than I thought it would. (This is what happens when you spend a week worrying about something…you tend to blow it out of proportion.) I don’t know exactly what my director’s reaction was to it, only because she gave me a hug and then told me it was a “Herculean effort”. To me: “Herculean effort”=compliment, hug=pity. Maybe I’m wrong, who knows? (P.S. if you’re reading this and you’re in/near Greencastle, you best come see the show Nov. 7-9 & 13-15)

And who ever said I wasn’t a shameless self-promoter?

Hopefully this week doesn’t get me too down; the world spins madly on.
Woke up and wished that I was dead
With an aching in my head
I lay motionless in bed
I thought of you and where you’d gone
and let the world spin madly on
.

-MJH

reflecting

So today is the last day of my Fall Break…I head back to ye olde Greencastle this morning, only to start the whole craziness all over again with a rehearsal for Natural Selection. I love the show; it’s me getting it right that’s troubling me…

There was a bilingual Mass and multicultural celebration at my parish church today. I think the most beautiful thing about it was making music in both Spanish and English with a choir of people that are singing for the sole reason that they like it. I was also ridiculously happy to see that the parish was able to come together to celebrate as a community…I wish we could all do that sometimes, just get together and celebrate being a community. I think it’s a beautiful and fulfilling thing.

I was freaking out about the fact that I hadn’t utilized my time over fall break (given that last Sunday through Wednesday I hadn’t really started anything; it actually gave birth to this blog, hmm) and my mom demonstrated this amazing knack she has for going with the flow. She just said “It’s done with; I’m sure everything will work out fine.” (or something along those lines) And it’s not the first time she’s said that either…Sometimes I wish I could have that sense of how things are out of my hands (to some degree) and that everything will work out for the best. I suppose it’s mostly due to the fact that I’m a hopeless control freak who worries about everything (sounds like a catch, eh ladies?) I really admire my mom for having that ability to just take what life gives you.

I found my portfolio from my British Literature class my Freshman year of high school. There was a poem in there that sort of captures how I’m feeling/have felt about life. We wrote poems, trying to mimic Romantic aspects. It’s actually kind of sad that I wrote this poem as a Freshman in high school and I still feel this way now…

The Train

My whole life, I have ridden on the train
Going downtown, into the big city.
The thrill of the journey
The excitement of a new experience.

I used to pretend I was the conductor,
I would call the stops,
Tell everyone to board the train.
I always thought I would be a train conductor
When I grew up.

These days,
The train isn’t what it was.
Now it’s a routine,
Day in and day out
On the train, off the train.
It’s a machine recording calling the stops,
Not a person for that anymore.

I see all the people on the train,
And it makes me wonder…
“Did they ever dream of being a train conductor?
Did they ever get excited about riding the train?”
Everyone looks so sullen, so bored.
Now the train is just another trip,
Not a special experience,
Not what it was
Then.

I used to look out the windows of the train,
See all the buildings, the landscape.
Going into the Loop with its soaring skyscrapers,
Over the bright, sparkling river…
It used to be incomparable,
Now it’s just another bridge to cross,
Another station to stop at.

When I hear the recording,
It makes me realize…
Things change
For the better,
For the worse.
Now,
I’ll never live my dream…
It’s gone now,
But the train will always be there…

-MJ

ashambles, i tells ya, ashambles

What is it they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions?

I had intended of knocking my work out of the ballpark today, but I lazily rolled out of bed this morning and had a hell of a time trying to shake that sleepy feeling. I got a bit of work done and then spent a good chunk of the afternoon with one of my best friends, whom I don’t see as often because he goes to school here at home whilst I am pursuing my education at DePauw. It’s so surreal spending time with him because, even despite the fact we’re both on the edge of ending our teenage years, every time I hang out with him I’m reminded of how young and naive we once were. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy that, it’s just makes me oddly nostalgic of what once was.

Saw the movie “Sex Drive” today. Even in spite of its use of the F-word (the three letter one, mind you) and its horribly Hollywood sappy ending (the guy “friend” never becomes the boyfriend, NEVER) it was a good time, definitely has its funny moments.

I spent time at home this evening playing cards with my dad. Part of it was because of how he had nagged me about it earlier this week, since, in my time at home, I’ve been pigeonholing myself in my room and he made note of how I was secluding myself. Another part of it was because I legitimately wanted to spend time with him; I became aware of it because of an off-comment he had made when commenting about my behavior, saying that you never know how much time you’ll get to spend time with someone before they’re gone (as I’m sure you can tell, he’s a real upper; I don’t know if he meant it in a “someday I’m gonna be dead” sense or a “you’re gonna be gone next week” way). One unfortunate part of spending time with him was hearing a phone conversation with one of my uncles…

Unfortunately, an uncle of mine who lives back in Ireland has taken to the drink again. It saddens me greatly to find this out because he’s somewhat an inspiration to me musically. He’s along the lines of an Irish country singer, but he’s always had high aspirations for that aspect of his life, even though he’s never really had any formal training in it. Even after wavering away from it for a few years, he competed this past year in a TV singing competiton in Ireland called Glor Tire. You can see a poster for him here. He made it to the final 4 and, after seeing him this past December, he seemed to be on top of the world about his prospects. Now, to hear that his alcoholism has returned to haunt him yet again, it disappoints me and scares me about what’s going to happen to him. I can only hope that, with God’s help and support from our family, he can pull himself out of it yet again.

But in my real world
Things don’t always turn out so good
Like you wish they would
And in my real world
I’m a little messed up and broke, don’t you know

and so it goes

Went to the eye-doctor today; my eye sight hasn’t gotten any worse…yay for good news.

I took my time getting back home (easy thing to do when you’re depending on the CTA to get anywhere)…stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts and Walgreens…it was kind of nice to just to be out and about, even when horrible prospects loom because I neglected to do work for the first five days of break.

Made a dent in the Music History I have to catch up on…I hope some day I can look back on this day and laugh because it will mean I’m no longer in Music History, but we’ll see…

I really, really, really like Fall. Even though the lakeshore breeze cut through the air like a cold knife, it was so damn nice to just feel it. If you ever get the chance, just stand outside for a minute and enjoy the beautiful weather, no matter where it is. It’s kind of nice to just put things into perspective and enjoy the moment. (I try to relish life’s little victories)

I was talking to a friend of mine last night and I am so happy to have people in my life that can put things into perspective for me. Sometimes I get too caught up in the craziness of everything and start thinking about worst possible scenarios; it’s nice to have someone stop me and tell me, straight up, that things really aren’t as bad as I make them out to be and to just step back and re-evaluate.

I went to visit my voice teacher here from home. She’s contributed so much to the development of my voice and my talent, but sometimes she can be a bit overbearing. And yet, no matter how much I think about that, I felt horrible only stopping to see her for twenty minutes because I hadn’t bothered to make time to see her on my break because, in a way, I was avoiding her altogether. It makes me feel terribly ungrateful for all that she’s done for me and my family and the fact that she’s getting on in years and someday I won’t have the option of seeing her at all. That makes me a little sad, both in the sense that I am aware of that day and that I am an idiot jerk.

I also got to sit in on my old church choir’s rehearsal tonight. It was nice to see familiar faces and spend time with people who love to make music. (A little background: I joined this choir when I was a freshman in high school; the next youngest member is in their 40s) I know it may seem weird to enjoy the presence of people who are that much older than I am, but I have to say that rehearsing and being part of that group was probably one of my fondest experiences of high school. I think part of it was that those people saw (and still see) me as an equal, not a young person without a clue. I miss them dearly and it’s always a joy to just be around them.

I was talking to one of my best friends the other night (I’ve known him since 1st grade, so we’re pretty close). I was telling him about how I’m kind of scared that there’s a lack of respect in general in our society and our generation. I think I’ve always assumed that we’d mature as we got older, have more consideration, more respect, more class, and yet I look at a ridiculous website like JuicyCampus.com and wonder if it’s ever gonna happen. I mean, who honestly can give any weight to anonymous bashing of basically anything and not help but think”We’re in college now; cut the crap and get over yourself.”

I hope I can find something redeeming about humankind in the next, oh say, seventy years…stay tuned.

blast from the past

I woke up this morning to the realization that I have yet to do anything this Fall Break…no point dwelling on it, but it happens….

Went to lunch with one of my closest friends and his girlfriend; we spent loads of time together this past summer working at the Northwest Cafe (6088 N. Northwest Highway, Chicago, IL; a lovely place full of ambiance and charm), and I realized how much I missed working there. I wasn’t in there more than five minutes when I was back behind the counter taking money and helping out. Like they say, you can take the man out of the company, but not the company out of the man.

While spending time with my friend and his significant other last night, we went to a couple of Halloween stores and I got to thinking…when did Halloween become such a slutty holiday? Seriously. Every female costume in both places were “naughty” or ridiculously revealing (not complaining; just noting). I reached my breaking point when I saw a female doctor outfit, with the name “Dr. Anita Hardwon”. Yeah, as if barely wearing an outfit was enough…hows about a ridiculously unsubtle name to go along with it?

One thing that scares me about life is not remaining in contact with those people that help me keep my sanity…I was talking to a really good friend of mine yesterday and today with one of my closest friends from here in Chicago, and I guess what really bothers me is that, when you don’t see someone every day, you just fall out of contact with them. I know it happened with people I knew in high school, and I guess I’m afraid of it happening again after I leave DePauw…I hope those of you who know what I’m talking about call me out on not being in contact if and when that happens.

If you can, go listen to the song “An American Hymn” by Lee Holdridge (doesn’t really matter who it’s performed by; you’d have to try pretty hard to screw it up). I heard it performed last week at a tribute concert for a voice professor who died last JuneĀ  (R.I.P. Dr. Irwin). It’s such a beautiful song, just hearing it still makes me tear up.

If you’re reading this, when I said we should catch up when we get back, I was serious…if I don’t remember to, I hope you call me out on it.

I have stumbled through the night
Alone as any man can be
Then found a silent canyon full of stars
And in my heart I heard them telling me
I was home.

Hit me up if you wish

-MJH

Well, let’s see…

So, in a moment of odd want to share my thoughts and to occupy my time with what is not the work I should be doing right now, I decided to start a blog.

I don’t know where it will lead me or what I’m going to say, but I thought it might be a good way to get my thoughts out there and see what happens. I decided to use the domain nameĀ  “makingsenseoflife” mainly because that’s what I’ve been trying to do the past couple of days. Here I am, a sophomore in college, and I feel ridiculously undirected, even though my major demands that I have a very specific direction. I know I want to be a music educator, of that I have no doubt, but I don’t know if I want to start teaching as soon as I graduate (the mere thought of graduating now seems absurd, I know, but I can’t help it if I’ve always been about 10 steps ahead of myself).

Random thought: something about Fall makes me think about smooth Jazz.

Another random thought: I watch too much Boy Meets World. Is it unhealthy? Possibly. Unfortunately, I think sometimes I want my life to be too perfect…which is what TV in general is…too perfect.

I really like the song “Somebody to Love” by Queen…I also like the song “Africa” by Toto, but one has nothing to do with the other.

We’ll see how long I keep this up…sometimes I can be notorious about being all about something and then, when things get busy, just dropping stuff.

Questions? Comments? This is a blog. Go for it; you know you want to.

-MJ