Where in the world is....Active Violinist?

Happy Summer!

I disappeared for a few months, and I'm sure everyone was very concerned! It has been a busy summer full of adventures, reunions, travel, writing, and riding. I thought I might take a second to fill you in on where I have been hiding over the last few months.

My family had a little reunion in Durango CO over Memorial Day weekend. It was awesome! My cousin and her family came all the way from New Zealand, my grandma and parents flew from Michigan, my brother and his wife joined us from Seattle, and my cousin Sarah drove all the way from Bend OR (not to mention my aunt and uncle who live in Durango, and me, Jeff, and my cousin Jenny from Tulsa). We took some fun family photos, went on a trail ride, did some hiking, lots of eating, and plenty of family bonding. It was a great holiday weekend, and the perfect way to end the orchestra season and school year.

Sometimes I forget how magnificent nature is, and then I see mountains again and am immediately reminded.

Sometimes I forget how magnificent nature is, and then I see mountains again and am immediately reminded.

Everything is better with horses, right?

I'm riding Tank. My brother (first on the right) is riding a celebrity horse that was used in  The Lone Ranger,  starring Johnny Depp.

I'm riding Tank. My brother (first on the right) is riding a celebrity horse that was used in The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp.

On our drive home, Jeff and I passed through New Mexico. I had never been before, and I have got to tell you - it is beautiful! The red rock, canyons, rock formations, all of it. It is stunning. We stopped at the amazing Ojo Caliente for the night, soaked in the mineral springs, and ate the incredible food in the restaurant! It was worth the detour!

Wow! Right?

Wow! Right?

In June, the Tulsa Symphony performed at the OK Mozart festival in Bartlesville. The grand finale took place at Woolaroc Wildlife Preserve. I had never been, and I must admit it is beautiful (but very hot and humid)!

The view from our stage - it was hot (and filled with bugs) but gorgeous

The view from our stage - it was hot (and filled with bugs) but gorgeous

Harmony Project also hosted a three-week summer camp, and we had so much fun hanging out with these kids, playing games, learning new songs, and goofing around. We celebrated Mr. Michael's birthday with cupcakes covered in frosting that I'm positive leaves stains for life.

Future violin stars!

Future violin stars!

After camp, we teachers (and board president) headed to the Harmony Project National Conference in LA to meet and work with other Harmony Project teachers from across the country to brainstorm fundraising ideas, and foster stronger relationships between each faction. I also had the honor of meeting Harmony Project founder Margaret Martin. The national conference was truly inspiring and made a case for how important programs and projects like this are in navigating a constantly changing, and very challenging world. One of these days I'll write a post about Harmony Project, I definitely have enough photos and videos of my cute students for one!

On the LA City College Walk of Fame with Margaret herself (under her tribute sign)

On the LA City College Walk of Fame with Margaret herself (under her tribute sign)

Next, I played fourth of July with the OKC Philharmonic - no photos of that unfortunately as it is very difficult to take pictures and play the violin at the same time.

I've been riding horses more this summer and the barn has become my refuge from all the stress and craziness of dissertation writing and violin playing. I started half leasing a horse named Elliot and I really appreciate the bond we have formed. Horse riding is the topic of a whole other blog post, one that I've been thinking about writing for quite some time now actually. Maybe when I'm Dr. Murray I'll enlighten you all with some of the life lessons I've learned in the saddle (and barn).

Hanging with Elliot on a weekend night - we like to party.

Hanging with Elliot on a weekend night - we like to party.

One of my dearest friends got married on a gorgeous farm just outside of Portland OR in July, and I had the honor of being one of her bridesmaids. We flew out a few days early and spent some time in the city before the wedding, but I'll write a whole post on what we got up to a little later.

Look at that gorgeous dining room! The food was just as good as the ambiance.

Look at that gorgeous dining room! The food was just as good as the ambiance.

After the wedding, I headed south to Coos Bay to play in the Oregon Coast Music Festival. I still cannot get over the grilled Tuna and fresh blueberries (the size of radishes!) I ate that week! It was just incredible! Sadly for me, I didn't get to explore too much because I still had some finishing touches to put on my dissertation but I did manage to sneak in a little time by the water.

We watched the sunset from the beach below. It was amazing! 

We watched the sunset from the beach below. It was amazing! 

A rose garden by the Sea.

A rose garden by the Sea.

After all that fun I returned to Portland for a few days to eat my weight in ice cream, pastries, and cappuccinos. I'm pretty sure I put on 10lbs of coffee froth in 3 days but it was worth it and hanging out with Madeline after the wedding was a real treat.

It may sound like I did nothing but travel this summer but in between each trip I was practically glued to my computer working on my final document.

I came rushing home to Tulsa to take some yoga photos for my dissertation and am now awaiting the final day of judgment. Fingers crossed I didn't skip out on some beautiful hikes and crazy adventures for nothing!

Ustrasana makes your heart sing! It also smoothes out those pectoral kinks after a long practice session and don't even get me started on the shoulders!

Ustrasana makes your heart sing! It also smoothes out those pectoral kinks after a long practice session and don't even get me started on the shoulders!

Now there is just a week to go before school starts and lessons resume. As a teacher, I have to mentally prepare for this too and am currently indulging in practice for pleasure. I am somewhat convinced that universities make performance degree candidates write really long papers at the end of their advanced degrees so that they will actually WANT to practice (I sure do!).

And after writing this blog post I now realize I have three more to get started on.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into my summer. What have you been doing?