Happy Christmastide!

Posted by mountainmelody On 12/27/2009 08:28:00 PM 1 comments
This is the season of the liturgical year called Christmastide--also known as the twelve days of Christmas. (Learn more at Edifice Rex.) The celebration continues until January 5!
Or if you're a member of some Orthodox churches, Christmas itself doesn't come until January. Some of my friends from Eastern Europe actually celebrate twice. Interesting!
Posted by mountainmelody On 12/24/2009 08:34:00 PM 1 comments
Merry Christmas!!

fact of the day

Posted by mountainmelody On 12/21/2009 09:58:00 AM 0 comments
Most American college students have seen 100 movies for every 1 book they have read.

What do you think would be your movie/book ratio, if you counted?

I have to say that mine would come out with more books than movies, although I like both.

Good King Wenceslas

Posted by mountainmelody On 12/20/2009 06:11:00 PM 1 comments
Did you know that Good King Wenceslas was from Prague? You can read all about it here and here.
Posted by mountainmelody On 12/18/2009 06:57:00 PM 0 comments
Apparently this is what my school looks like at Christmastime:


I'd like to be there right now...or at a Christmas market in Europe.

Some other time, perhaps!


Posted by mountainmelody On 12/14/2009 12:00:00 PM 3 comments
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
-Carl Sandburg
Posted by mountainmelody On 12/11/2009 07:17:00 PM 1 comments
The Music of Christmas
Sunday, December 13, 10 AM


Posted by mountainmelody On 12/06/2009 07:57:00 PM 0 comments
1. It actually SNOWED! Yeah!! We got about an inch on the mountain.

2. Somehow I managed to exceed the usage limit on my internet plan. That means you may not be hearing too much from me in the next week. :(

3. Today I bought the first of the Christmas gifts I'll give. And there are still three weeks left!

4. I still can't quite shake that yucky tired feeling from time to time throughout the week (especially when I'm busy). ARGH. Oh well--eventually.


Posted by mountainmelody On 12/04/2009 07:15:00 AM 2 comments
My computer just told me that it's going to SNOW tonight!! And computers are never wrong!


Posted by mountainmelody On 11/29/2009 11:48:00 AM 1 comments
Lord God, we are waiting and watching. We wait, not knowing when you will come. We watch, not knowing where you will come. But you will come, just as you have promised.

You have spoken to us in an angel's song. You have come to us as a newborn child. We see your face in those who hunger and thirst, in the frail, the lonely, the sick, those who live in fear, those who suffer, those who mourn, those behind prison walls, and those without adequate clothing and shelter on these cold nights.

As we watch and wait for you, we are filled with hope. May we be found whenever and wherever you come. Stir up your power, O Lord, and come.
Posted by mountainmelody On 11/26/2009 07:55:00 AM 1 comments
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Posted by mountainmelody On 11/23/2009 09:10:00 AM 2 comments
I've been feeling more of the yucky mono feelings again lately. :(

Without an alarm, I've been sleeping 10-11 hours every night. I've also been getting tired and needing to rest during the day.

Seriously? I thought I was done with all this.

Oh well. I know it could be worse!

stick man in peril

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/21/2009 11:15:00 AM 0 comments
sign in the Vatican Museums

GA prayers

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/19/2009 08:40:00 PM 2 comments
Girl 1: Please help my grandfather, who is sick.

Girl 2: I pray for the missionary kid with a birthday today.

Girl 3: I pray that my cat will not go to my grandmother's house and get fleas.
Posted by mountainmelody On 11/17/2009 07:28:00 PM 2 comments
so. tired.


Posted by mountainmelody On 11/16/2009 05:01:00 PM 0 comments
I've been reviewing my research today. I don't think I've posted this excerpt before. It's from 1965:

A forward-looking church in Tennessee has outlined goals in preparation for the year 2006, when the church will celebrate its centennial. Plans for new buildings include a double-deck parking lot with landing deck on the roof for air cars and helicopters.

A vast Uniworld University is predicted by 2000 with microfilmed libraries instead of books and television substituting for classrooms. One has only to punch a translation button and hear world-renowned lecturers in any language.

It is estimated that by the year 2000 the average American family income will rise to $15,000 yearly, or higher.

It's interesting that some of the predictions seem way off base, but others have more or less become reality. Who knows what the future holds?

random pic

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/14/2009 11:26:00 AM 1 comments
Here's a random picture of one of two cute kids who were wandering around the Colosseum, dressed in togas. They seemed perfectly happy with these outfits. This reminded me a little of the time my friends and I went to the mall dressed in togas--but I digress!
Posted by mountainmelody On 11/13/2009 09:36:00 AM 0 comments

one of the Raphael rooms in the Vatican Museums


Posted by mountainmelody On 11/12/2009 07:53:00 AM 0 comments
I came back! Now for a few relaxing days without a dissertation to work on... :)

You can check out my trip photos on Facebook. Email me if you need the link.

all roads lead to Rome

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/10/2009 12:08:00 PM 0 comments

I had an enjoyable day today exploring the Colosseum, forum (forgive the shaky video), and Palatine Hill. Very impressive!

I'm heading home tomorrow, as long as I take the right bus and train to the airport! :)


Posted by mountainmelody On 11/09/2009 03:03:00 PM 0 comments
I went here today, among other places. About all I can say is wow!

I've had a pretty good balance of striking out on my own and hanging out with girls from the hostel. It's been really great staying in an all-women hostel. I recommend it!

I promise more updates later, when I have time.

Miss you all!

when in Rome...

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/08/2009 03:13:00 PM 0 comments
Don't wear clothes like this to church, apparently!

Don't worry--it's a bit too chilly for me to be dressed like that this week. ;)

Anyway, I had a great birthday in Rome today. Thanks for all the positive energy!

I was lucky enough to meet up with two musicologists studying 16th century Italian music. Perhaps you think that musicologists are required to be boring--but they were quite fun people!
I got a whirlwind tour of around 15-20 churches (and other sites) in Rome, along with lots of interesting tidbits related to music history. It was a great day!

Here's hoping my next two days are also good. I'll post more pictures here--and lots of Facebook--later.


Posted by mountainmelody On 11/07/2009 02:08:00 PM 1 comments
I made it to Rome, and have already gotten a great tour of the city from a new friend. Fun! My hostel is also nice and very safe. It's for women only. It's a great place to relax and celebrate finishing my dissertation!

I have to admit that traveling alone can be a little nerve-wracking, though. I've gone several places by myself, but for some reason have been especially jumpy and unsettled today. I think it may be because I'm still a little tired from being sick.

Anyway, it really helped me to find a travel companion to see the sites the afternoon. You can pray or wish or send positive energy my way, in hopes that this might happen again the other days I'm here. :)

Wish you were here too!

next stop: Rome!

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/07/2009 01:20:00 AM 0 comments
I'm either crazy or adventurous--or most likely a mix of both!

I'm heading to Rome now for a few days. Here's hoping everything goes okay.

My next post should be from Rome!
Posted by mountainmelody On 11/06/2009 02:28:00 AM 0 comments
There's a wonderful sense of community here that's hard to put into words. It's a remarkable experience to study, eat, talk, pray, and sing with people from many different countries around the world.

Maybe later I'll be able to better articulate how refreshing it is to be here. For now, here are some words from a hymn we sang this morning in chapel:
Teach us, good Lord, to serve the needs of others;
Help us to give and not to count the cost.
Unite us all to live as sisters, brothers;
Defeat our Babel with your Pentecost!

-Fred Kaan


Posted by mountainmelody On 11/05/2009 10:55:00 AM 4 comments
After more hours of work than I'd ever like to count, I just submitted my dissertation!!

400 pages
1,202 footnotes
1,335 paragraphs
85,357 words (without footnotes)
118,551 words (with footnotes)

WHEW! I'm exhausted--but very excited to get my life back!

Now I just wait until January or February, when I'll come back to Prague and defend it.


one down, one to go!

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/03/2009 07:38:00 AM 9 comments
I just completed my mock viva (practice defense). Basically you go into a room, and three people sit at desks staring at you. They grill you on your topic, and anything else they might want to ask, for an hour or two.


I have to say that I'm glad that it's over. Too bad it wasn't the real one--I have to do this all again in about three months!

I felt like things went very well, though. I answered all their questions--even responded intelligently on most of them! ;)

And they didn't recommend major changes to my dissertation. That means that I should be able to proofread it one last time and submit it by Friday. Yeah!!

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!

made it!

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/02/2009 07:15:00 AM 1 comments
Here's the view out my window on this rainy Prague afternoon. After far too many tiring hours of travel, I made it! Yeah!

I've discovered that my practice defense is tomorrow from 1-3:30 (6-7:30 AM Alabama time). Wish me luck!

(Post edited to show a new time. If nothing else, you can dream about me this morning at 6!)

I'm off!

Posted by mountainmelody On 11/01/2009 11:41:00 AM 1 comments
I'm heading for a week of studies in Prague, plus a few days of fun after that. Yay!

I have a practice defense of my dissertation on Tuesday. I'm not sure the exact time, but I'm guessing it will be in the afternoon.

I'll spend the rest of the week making final revisions on my dissertation. I need to submit it by Friday. (!!)

After that, I can relax a bit!

I'm still having more moments of "mono feeling" than I'd like (yuck), but I can usually function. Here's hoping this week will be a good one!

customer service

Posted by mountainmelody On 10/31/2009 02:11:00 PM 0 comments
Me: I'm going to be using my credit card overseas.

Credit card rep: Okay. Will you be traveling overseas, or just... (I really want to know what she was going to say here. Just mailing your card to your friend in France?)

Me: Yes, I'll be traveling.

Rep: Okay. What state will you be going to? I mean, what country?

I was tempted to say Texas, which some claim is a state and some say is its own country. But I refrained.

My other credit card company said they no longer need to be notified about overseas travel. I sure hope that's the case, and my card still works when I get over there!


Posted by mountainmelody On 10/24/2009 07:20:00 AM 0 comments
1. I'm finally feeling better. Yay! I'm not back to my normal self yet, but can finally make it through the day without dying. Now I just feel like what I thought you were supposed to feel like when you have mono: tired, no energy, etc.

2. The rest of my trip was great! We saw lots of beautiful things. I may not have much time to sort through my pictures right now, though. (Refer to 3 below.)

3. I'm spending every spare moment working on my dissertation. I have a practice defense in Prague on November 3, and hope to submit my dissertation by the end of that week. (!!) Wish me luck!
Posted by mountainmelody On 10/20/2009 07:44:00 AM 2 comments


Posted by mountainmelody On 10/18/2009 05:16:00 PM 0 comments
We saw four bears right outside our cabin. Wow!!

having fun!

Posted by mountainmelody On 10/18/2009 08:01:00 AM 0 comments
We're having a great time here in the Smoky Mountains! Yesterday it SNOWED as we drove into higher elevations. It was beautiful! See Facebook for pictures.

Then last night, as we were driving up Ski Mountain to our amazing cabin, a bear walked across the road! We all screamed so loudly that the bear seemed to hear us, even with the car's windows rolled up. It stopped, looked at us for a minute (why DO these people always scream and yell at me?), and then slowly lumbered away.

Wow! We didn't get a picture with our cameras--but I think that mental picture will stick with me for years!

Gatlinburg cabin

Posted by mountainmelody On 10/16/2009 10:37:00 PM 1 comments
a small vacation...more later!
Posted by mountainmelody On 10/15/2009 10:25:00 AM 1 comments


Posted by mountainmelody On 10/10/2009 08:40:00 AM 1 comments
I'm busy
editing my dissertation...
I know you're jealous of my dissertation work (and my lovely carpet)!
I did NOT approve of a photography session!
...and recovering from mono. Sorry, no photo.
Back later!


Posted by mountainmelody On 10/07/2009 09:33:00 PM 1 comments
I wasn't feeling that great, but I made it back to church tonight. The girls were hilarious as always! At some point they started talking about foods they didn't like. Here's one conversation.

Girl 1: Eww! I hate liver!

Girl 2: What's liver?

Girl 1: It's, um, like a thing that comes out of a cow.

Girl 2: Oh! Milk!

I'm alive

Posted by mountainmelody On 10/06/2009 07:36:00 AM 1 comments
...in case you were wondering. Feeling a little better, maybe. We'll see!


Posted by mountainmelody On 10/01/2009 08:44:00 PM 3 comments
I dragged my sad self to a meeting in Atlanta today. Now I've found out that the person who sat beside me all day has come down with the flu. Great...
Posted by mountainmelody On 9/30/2009 08:27:00 PM 0 comments
Posted by mountainmelody On 9/25/2009 09:37:00 AM 0 comments
nice church photos

just what I've always wanted!

Posted by mountainmelody On 9/21/2009 02:13:00 PM 4 comments
I received this gift from a thoughtful friend:
How did they know I'd really been wanting this?
I especially love that "kissing disease" is in the biggest print.
I wish getting rid of the real illness were as easy as taking this gem back to the store--not that I'm planning to do that, of course.

this morning

Posted by mountainmelody On 9/20/2009 11:31:00 AM 1 comments
This morning I wasn't feeling well, so I stayed home and listened to my church's service on the internet.

While I was listening, I heard a few random noises in my house. But I've gotten used to all sorts of noises, so I just ignored them.

I was paying close attention to the sermon, which was about health. When it was almost over, suddenly I heard an ear-splitting noise. It sounded like a bird in great distress: SHRIEKSHRIEKSHRIEKSHRIEK SHRIEEEEEEEEK. I've never heard anything like it before!

I thought: A bird dying inside my house? A snake eating a bird inside my house? A bird trapped inside my house?

But I really wanted to hear the last few words of the sermon, so I waited just a minute before going to look for the bird. (Crazy, I know.)

I didn't find anything.

No bird anywhere.

Who knows what happened?

I've heard more noises since then--but nothing like that one shriek. I wonder if there's a bird in my attic?

With this old house, there's no telling!
Posted by mountainmelody On 9/18/2009 04:24:00 PM 0 comments
Posted by mountainmelody On 9/16/2009 05:33:00 PM 3 comments
Posted by mountainmelody On 9/14/2009 08:09:00 PM 1 comments
Cahaba River
(back to photos later)


Posted by mountainmelody On 9/13/2009 06:51:00 PM 2 comments
http://genderanalyzer.com/ (I got 58% likely to be female...)
Posted by mountainmelody On 9/10/2009 10:02:00 PM 2 comments
Okay, enough of the "poor me" posts already. I think I'll post some pictures instead. Here's the first one:


Posted by mountainmelody On 9/09/2009 08:20:00 PM 1 comments
I thought I'd share a few things people have said to me since I've been sick. If you said one of these things, don't worry! I think they're funny:

I hope it's not something REALLY awful!

You need to take Theraflu.

I thought you had leukemia.

You have mono? Is it your head or your stomach?

And, yes, the comment I've heard ad nauseum:

Ooh, who have you been kissing??

If I were talented enough to simultaneously have a job, a dissertation, AND a significant relationship, then you'd really have to be impressed. But I don't--and I don't really mind.

So now YOU don't have to ask! ;)

living and learning

Posted by mountainmelody On 9/06/2009 08:30:00 PM 4 comments
Sorry to be such a dunce, but I've finally realized one reason people visit friends in the hospital: to cheer them up and give them company while they're stuck in bed.

Maybe I wouldn't mind this so much after all, if I weren't deathly ill and had close friends stop by. It gets old lying in bed most all day by yourself!

On a brighter note, here's a random picture I've never gotten around to posting until now:

how not to write a book review

Posted by mountainmelody On 9/05/2009 12:39:00 PM 1 comments
I've been slowly working on my dissertation, as I've felt up to it. I found this online review of a book I'm including in one chapter:

This book is very interesting Because it from the women's in the church this is something christian should have in their libaray.

I'm hoping that the final draft of my dissertation doesn't end up sounding like this. If I don't rest some more, I'm afraid it may! ;)

just kidding!

Posted by mountainmelody On 9/03/2009 07:29:00 PM 2 comments
Today the doctor told me he thought I do have mono. I'm not 100% sure why they told me earlier I didn't, but...whatever. I'm too tired to think it through at the moment!

How am I feeling? Well, I'm pretty good at faking it, but a lot of the time I feel pretty bad. Today I found myself contemplating whether it was worth it to get up and walk to the water fountain and get water so I could take another Advil. :)

Okay, enough whining from me. I'm sure I'll feel better sooner rather than later. For now, it's back to bed!
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/31/2009 06:17:00 PM 2 comments
Apparently the tests show that I don't have mono (or swine flu, or strep...). So I'm going to try a new tactic: If anyone here can tell me why I've felt so tired and awful for the past three weeks, you'll win my undying love and affection! ;)

sick :(

Posted by mountainmelody On 8/25/2009 08:22:00 PM 0 comments
I've been feeling really bad lately. Yuck!

I think I may have mono...double yuck!

We'll see what the doctor's tests say.

the good and the bad

Posted by mountainmelody On 8/23/2009 05:29:00 PM 3 comments
the good:
delicious fresh eggs I got from Ruralitythe bad:
(mostly dead) snake I found on a glue trap in my bedroom today (!!!)

making progress

Posted by mountainmelody On 8/22/2009 08:22:00 PM 1 comments
I've finished drafting all 8 chapters of my dissertation!! I hope to have to make only minor revisions from this point on. (We'll see.) According to my professor, I should be finished this spring.

I'm not going to take the time right now to count all my words, footnotes, etc--I think it's around 85,000 words or 350 pages.

And I'm not going to count the number of hours it's taken me either! :)


Posted by mountainmelody On 8/20/2009 12:27:00 PM 1 comments
It feels like this every now and then...

The theologian may indulge in the pleasing task of describing religion as she descended from heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed upon the historian. [S]he must discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she contracts in a long residence upon earth, among a weak and degenerate race of beings.

-Edward Gibbon
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/18/2009 07:38:00 PM 1 comments
apparently this is a big deal over there...
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/16/2009 06:11:00 PM 0 comments
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/14/2009 08:58:00 PM 2 comments
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/12/2009 09:35:00 PM 0 comments
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/11/2009 06:58:00 PM 0 comments
spotted at what was apparently a Very Serious Bagpiping Competition
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/10/2009 09:04:00 PM 0 comments
I saw this sign in Scotland.

I thought of it when I saw this cutout on a school playground nearby.

Gotta watch your kids around electricity!
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/09/2009 05:52:00 PM 1 comments
perhaps Wally is a more Irish name than Waldo?


Posted by mountainmelody On 8/08/2009 09:26:00 PM 1 comments
I'm always amused by the signs I see while I'm traveling (and at home too). Since I'm posting most of my trip photos on Facebook, I thought I'd post a few fun signs I enountered here.

I can't read the Dutch writing on this sign...but thanks to the picture, I think I know what it says!

Check back for more soon. :)

Posted by mountainmelody On 8/06/2009 09:30:00 PM 3 comments
I've been lazy with my blog--and even Facebook and Twitter--lately, probably because of the small trip I just returned from. But tonight I'm inspired to post after attending my first meeting of the Blount County Bloggers group. (Thanks, everyone!)

I'd like to tell you about an interesting experience I had in the Netherlands. We were settling in for our first meeting of the week when suddenly a couple came down the aisle to the front of the meeting room. They were dressed rather plainly, but looked normal enough.

But then the man started waving a Bible and talking loudly about hellfire and things like that. He kept on going, even when the meeting organizers tried to get him to leave. It was quite a sight!

Honestly, I thought this was all a show--some kind of skit or something to reinforce that although this was a Christian meeting, we didn't need to be Bible thumpers like this.

But it turns out it was real!

Apparently this couple had come all the way from Germany to protest our meetings. They were from some kind of fundamentalist sect. I'm not sure what was so controversial, but I guess they thought the group was too liberal or something. It turns out that they had disrupted several similar meetings earlier in the week.

I saw them only this one time, but it was quite an experience! I just wish I had realized it was real. I might have listened more closely--or maybe snuck out my camera! :)

still alive

Posted by mountainmelody On 8/05/2009 09:29:00 PM 0 comments
...just busy! More later--or check Facebook.
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/03/2009 06:10:00 PM 0 comments
another video
Posted by mountainmelody On 8/03/2009 01:27:00 PM 1 comments

I'm on my way home now. Here's a video of the Scottish Highlands, until I get a chance to post more.


Posted by mountainmelody On 8/01/2009 03:05:00 PM 1 comments
beautiful canals

bikes everywhere

just passing through...
Posted by mountainmelody On 7/30/2009 11:54:00 PM 0 comments
summary of an interesting forum (slightly academic)
Posted by mountainmelody On 7/29/2009 11:36:00 PM 0 comments
Posted by mountainmelody On 7/28/2009 11:46:00 PM 0 comments
where I'm staying


Posted by mountainmelody On 7/26/2009 02:47:00 PM 0 comments
I had a wonderful time exploring Ireland and Scotland, and will post a few pictures here (and lots of Facebook) when I have a chance.

This week I'm pretty busy attending a conference in the Netherlands. The bus leaves our hotel for the conference each morning at 7:30 AM, and returns around 10 PM. So don't expect too much here!


Posted by mountainmelody On 7/25/2009 03:41:00 PM 1 comments

Loch Ness


Posted by mountainmelody On 7/24/2009 03:22:00 PM 2 comments
just a few quick pictures...
many more later!

in Dublin!

Posted by mountainmelody On 7/21/2009 02:52:00 PM 3 comments
Here are two quick photos from Dublin. Much more later!
I'm not sure about internet access for the next several days, but I'll post when I can. I'm having a great time so far!

headed out!

Posted by mountainmelody On 7/20/2009 08:34:00 AM 2 comments
I'm leaving this afternoon for two weeks in Europe. I'll explore Dublin, Edinburgh, and Amsterdam, among other places. I'm excited!

I'll be on my own for the first week, and attending a conference for the second week.

I should have internet in a few places, but it won't be my priority.

Wish me luck!

fact of the week

Posted by mountainmelody On 7/18/2009 08:58:00 AM 0 comments
Nearly four in ten Americans still live in the community where they were born.

just hanging out

Posted by mountainmelody On 7/15/2009 08:02:00 PM 1 comments