Why I blog….

quirkyjazz:

I’m reblogging your inspiring post. So many of your reasons are my reasons for writing, too.

I’m reblogging it also so that I will be reminded to write my OWN reasons for blogging.

Thank you for a great, thoughtful and thought-provoking post!

Originally posted on It Goes On:

A few days ago I read a blog post discussing the reasons that people blog. The main point that I took from the post was the poster likening blogging to Facebook and accusing those who blog of showing narcissism through their choice of what they post about.
Whilst I understand this person’s reasons for blogging are to raise awareness of issues in the world, I believe that they overlooked the fact that by highlighting these issues, they were in fact  highlighting their PERSONAL opinions of these issues thereby negating their argument. However, it is that person’s right to blog about whatever they wish – just as it my right to blog about whatever I wish to also.

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image by Charles Nadeau via Flickr CC license (attribution)

Beautiful Streamers

Layers of Rainbow Fabric Invite Visitors to Get Lost in a Sea of Color –

Katie Hosmer recently posted this beautiful blog entry featured on My Modern Met.

Whole Brain Help

Neural Connections In the Human Brain  Two-dimensional brain Researchers at Brown University have created a computer program to advance analysis of the neural connections in the human brain.   Credit: Radu Jianu/Brown University   [Reciprocal link back Neural Connections In the Human Brain]

Neural Connections In the Human Brain
Two-dimensional brain Researchers at Brown University have created a computer program to advance analysis of the neural connections in the human brain.
Credit: Radu Jianu/Brown University
[Reciprocal link back Neural Connections In the Human Brain]

Even though I’ve been teaching music for years, I’m always looking for better and more efficient techniques and ideas to keep me and my students motivated and engaged.

I’ve noticed a huge change in student attention spans and self-discipline over the years.  Lest you get excited, the trend is downward for both.

I follow and am a member of many Music Teacher blogs, pages, and professional organizations.  I keep reading the comment “Try Whole Brain teaching” on music teacher Facebook group comments.  I looked it up and I plan to try some of the ideas with my new students.

You can find information here:  http://www.wholebrainteaching.com/

I like the simple Five Classroom Rules.  I plan to incorporate this into my 5th and 6th general music classes.

If you’ve tried these “Whole Brain” tips and strategies, please share your successes (and failures).

 

Exit the Vortex

vortex

Image from page 173 of “The electro-therapeutic guide, or, A thousand questions asked and answered” (1907)

Just when you think everything is settled and sailing along fairly smoothly, opportunities and options may appear that send it all back into the blender.

I sometimes use the phrase “I got caught in a vortex” to excuse my (occasional) lateness or my (frequent) disheveled appearance.

My life seems to have gotten caught in a vortex again this last month or so.  I admit it freely; I could have avoided getting caught in this vortex.  I actually sought it out this time, though.

Sometimes you’ve got to toss the question out there.  If I’m not happy, what can I change?  What can I do to make change happen?

If you can’t make external changes, the changes must come from inside — change your expectations, change your attitude, change what is in your control, explore options that seem “impossible.”  In my case, exploring the options made the changes happen — both externally and internally.

Image from page 27 of "Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation" (1920)

Image from page 27 of “Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation” (1920)

I’ve been having knee problems since sometime last spring.  I am not sure if it was walking miles and miles for several days on the concrete sidewalks of NYC, having my knee crammed into the back of a seat at the Broadway show we saw, twisting it as I got off the bus one time (when it wasn’t lowered and I thought it was).  Or if it is an accumulation of too many years of standing, dancing (yes!), hiking and too many years of carrying too many pounds.  At any rate, this summer I went through several doctor appointments, a little physical therapy and finally an X-ray.  The reading of the X-ray determined I needed an MRI on my knee to clarify or pinpoint the issue(s).  I decided to take a whole day of sick leave to take care of this appointment (plus the wonderful mammogram that also needed done).  The day chosen for these appointments was Tuesday, September 23.

Going back a couple of weeks — I had tentatively decided to look for a different part-time teaching job.  After school started this fall, I had several surprises of a negative sort pertaining to various aspects of my current job.  I was unhappy and frustrated, and decided it would not hurt to see if there might be anything more reasonable for me t0 do.  I applied for, and interviewed for a job at a school closer to my home (meaning less time driving) and with a much more reasonable work/time load to pay ratio.  I was able to do the interview after school one day so I didn’t need to cause any undue drama or alarm at my current job.

WAGXERS MANUSCRIPT OF A PART OF THE SCORE OF DIE MEISTERSINGER 294 RICHARD WAGNER hauser.

Image from page 322 of “Modern music and musicians : [Encyclopedic]” (1918)

Also, several week ago — I applied for a free-lance choral editing job at a well-known music publishing company with headquarters here in Milwaukee.  I just happened to see a request for applicants from one of the senior editors at this company (who also is a well-known composer/conductor).  The request was posted on a Facebook page for Wisconsin Choral Directors.  It sounded like an interesting opportunity and a great place to get a foot in the door so I sent my cover letter and resume immediately.   I assumed there would be many, many applicants and had no great expectation that I might ever hear anything more about it — but I thought it was worth a try.

Both of these opportunities were “Blown’ in the Wind.”  (That song kept running through my mind during the day all this came together.  You’ll see why.)

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

On that Monday, September 21, I had pretty much decided I would not be hearing an offer from the interview the previous week.

Twenty-four hours later I had two job offers and the opportunity to completely rearrange my work life.  I took the chances.  I seized the day.

I didn’t have much time to consider but the options fit so perfectly together.  Everything seemed to align all at once.

The answers were not blowin’ in the wind, they were etched in the sand under my feet.

Since I already had the whole day off on that Tuesday, I was able to visit the new school to meet with the principal, see the school and visit the music room (which I hadn’t been able to do the night I interviewed).  I also had time that afternoon to meet with the choral editors at the publishing company to discuss what they needed me to do.

Image from page 134 of "Religious emblems and allegories : a series of engravings, with suitable letter-press, designed to illustrate divine truth" (1868)

Image from page 134 of “Religious emblems and allegories : a series of engravings, with suitable letter-press, designed to illustrate divine truth” (1868)

Long story short, I resigned from my current job that night.  I taught just three more days, finishing out the week and saying many tearful goodbyes to the wonderful students and teachers there.

I started teaching at my new school the very next Monday, and started training at the editing job the next afternoon.

I’m feeling refreshed and challenged in many new directions.  I’m incredibly thankful for these opportunities and have had a very strong sense of peace about the whole thing (even while I was in the vortex of it all!)

 

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

 

 

 

Back-to-School Soul Food

image by The Tromp Queen, CC license; sunrise over Lake Webster

image by The Tromp Queen, CC license; sunrise over Lake Webster

Matins

I cannot ope mine eyes,
But thou art ready there to catch
My morning-soul and sacrifice:
Then we must needs for that day make a match.

image via Flickr CC by Marc Crumpler "early morning rainbow"

image via Flickr CC by Marc Crumpler “early morning rainbow”

My God, what is a heart?
Silver, or gold, or precious stone,
Or star, or rainbow, or a part
Of all these things, or all of them in one?

My God, what is a heart,
That thou shouldst it so eye, and woo,
Pouring upon it all thy art,
As if that thou hadst nothing else to do?

Lotus flower

Indeed man’s whole estate
Amounts (and richly) to serve thee:
He did not heav’n and earth create,
Yet studies them, not him by whom they be.

Teach me thy love to know;
That this new light, which now I see,
May both the work and workman show:
Then by a sunbeam I will climb to thee.

image by Cindy Cornett Seigle via Flickr CC: Some really pretty sunbeams. Sullivan County, Indiana.

image by Cindy Cornett Seigle via Flickr CC: Some really pretty sunbeams. Sullivan County, Indiana.

poem by George Herbert 1633

 

 

 

The Colorful Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi Credit & Copyright: Jim Misti and Steve Mazlin, (acquisition), Robert Gendler (processing)

Ineffable Creator,
Who, from the treasures of Your wisdom,
has established three hierarchies of angels,
has arrayed them in marvelous order
above the fiery heavens,
and has marshaled the regions
of the universe with such artful skill,
You are proclaimed
the true font of light and wisdom,
and the primal origin
raised high beyond all things.

 

M.Giuliana D.M.  ray of light, via Flickr CC license

M.Giuliana D.M.
ray of light, via Flickr CC license

Pour forth a ray of Your brightness
into the darkened places of my mind;
disperse from my soul
the twofold darkness
into which I was born:
sin and ignorance.

image by Brian Wolfe "good teacher" via Flickr CC license

image by Brian Wolfe “good teacher” via Flickr CC license

You make eloquent the tongues of infants.
Refine my speech
and pour forth upon my lips
the goodness of Your blessing.

image by jane Hewitt "good teacher" via Flickr CC

image by jane Hewitt “good teacher” via Flickr CC

Grant to me
keenness of mind,
capacity to remember,
skill in learning,
subtlety to interpret,
and eloquence in speech.

Image by Manuel, via Flickr CC

Image by Manuel, via Flickr CC

May You
Guide the beginning of my work,
direct its progress,
and bring it to completion.
You Who are true God and true Man,
Who live and reign, world without end.
Amen.

image via Flickr CC license 2.0 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike by Trey Ratcliff "Islamic Peace"

image via Flickr CC license 2.0 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike by Trey Ratcliff “Islamic Peace”


–St. Thomas Aquinas

These beautiful prayers were posted on a friend’s Facebook wall recently.

The words have stayed with me.

I decided to add a few photos and share them here.

I hope you find a spark of inspiration.

 

ALSO — I recently discovered these great poetry books.  Great stuff for those who ASPIRE to INSPIRE!

Teaching with Fire: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach, edited by Sam Intrator and Megan Scribner

Teaching with Heart: Poetry that Speaks to the Courage to Teach, edited by Sam Intrator and Megan Scribner

Leading from Within: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Lead, edited by Sam Intrator and Megan Scribner

 

Photo credits:

lotus flower image:  via Flickr CC by Richard IJzermans: A beautiful lotus flower in the forbidden city, Beijing China.

chinese opera portrait MET online
Image

100 Peking Opera Portraits

Sometimes when browsing various websites, one comes across beauty that must be shared.

While perusing the Metropolitan Museum of Art website, I stumbled upon “One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters by Unidentified Artist.”

The costumes, masks, and poses are fascinating.  What wonderful fabrics and textures and amazing details!

I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to share here.  If you have a few spare moments, please click the link to see all 101 of these beautiful portraits.  Enjoy!

Now I’m left wondering what the story behind all these characters could be —

 

One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters Unidentified Artist Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

 

One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters Unidentified Artist Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

 

One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters Unidentified Artist Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

 

One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters Unidentified Artist Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911) Date: late 19th–early 20th century Culture: China Medium: Album of fifty leaves; ink, color, and gold on silk

Marily cover

LIFE images

Marily coverThis evening I stumbled upon some lovely images from years gone by.

Capturing the essence of a dancer is never easy, and capturing Gene Kelly must have been quite a job. A LIFE photographer did it here, though.

“Gjon Mili,” LIFE noted, “who would rather photograph dancing than almost anything else in the world, recently trained his high-speed camera on the nimble feet and lithe body of MGM’s brilliant dancing star Gene Kelly.” What’s wonderful about Mili’s work in these pictures—made, it’s worth stressing, seven decades ago—is the technical brilliance and economy that he brings to bear on Kelly’s explosive artistry.

Another transporting series of photographs from long ago and also far away — is this set of scenes from Jackie Kennedy’s visit to India in March of 1962 taken by Art Rickety for LIFE magazine.  What a wonderful smile she had!  Her timeless sense of style is evident: the pearls, simply elegant dresses, and grace.

LIFE photographer JR Eyerman photographed a 22-year-old not-yet-famous Marilyn Monroe hard at work taking dancing, singing, and acting lessons from various teachers in Hollywood in 1949.  One can capture a glimpse of her charisma but also a very clear sense of her vulnerability in these photos.

Here is another set of Marilyn Monroe photographs that were never published in LIFE magazine.  They were taken by Ed Clark in LA’s Griffith Park in 1950 before MM became a huge star.  I’ve never seen any of these images before.

 

 

image by Kellan, via Flickr CC (Goodbye (redux))

One Mom’s Advice for How to Succeed at College (and Life)

image by Kellan, via Flickr CC (Goodbye (redux))

image by Kellan, via Flickr CC (Goodbye (redux))

To my nearly 19-year-old son as he prepares to leave for college next week:

Dear Ben,

You’ve seen these lists.
I’ve posted at least one list on your Facebook page.
I KNOW you read everything I post on your page, so maybe this is redundant.

Anyway.

 

via Flickr CC image by Rachel:  Sunday Drive

via Flickr CC image by Rachel: Sunday Drive

It is amazing to me how fast these years have gone. You don’t realize yet how fast time truly does fly. Soon you will. It picks up speed during college and never slows down after that.

Remember Grandma always says, “It’s Monday; then it’s Friday. It’s Monday; then it’s Friday.” She’s right.

First of all, let me say that I’m incredibly proud of you and that I love you more than you can imagine.

I can’t resist the urge to impart some words of wisdom before you go, though.   Brace yourself for the forthcoming flow of wisdom because here it comes!

image via Flickr CC by CameliaTWU  Senescent maple leaf  Herastrau Park, Bucharest, Romania

image via Flickr CC by CameliaTWU
Senescent maple leaf
Herastrau Park, Bucharest, Romania

1. LISTEN TO ADVICE, but find your own path. People will tell you which class to take, which Prof to avoid, which dorm is best. What is true for another person may not be true for you. Gather information, investigate and decide important questions for yourself. Don’t rely on what “everyone” tells you.

2. GO TO CLASS. This really should have been number 1, but I’m not that great at lists, following advice or thinking in a linear fashion. But you already know that and I digress. There is no way to succeed without BEING THERE. Yes, sleep is important. So is eating and socializing. But the main reason you are there is to LEARN stuff, to gain knowledge — and you can’t do that if you aren’t in class. Seriously. Don’t skip. Figure out how much each hour of class costs and imagine throwing that money away or burning it. That is what you are doing when you skip.

3. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. I could have said “make friends” but I believe there is more to it than just making friends. You will find people who make you better at being you, who make you feel more alive and more interested in the world. Avoid the people who create turmoil; those who are more interested in what you can do for them than in who you are. Making friends is fairly easy, but keeping them isn’t as easy. Invest time in people wisely. Choose carefully. Some of the friends you make in college will be your friends decades from now.  One of the best ways to do this is to be in and to stay involved in a music organization.

4. Find your PASSION. (I know — trite but true). In your baby book, there was a page for “Mother’s Wishes for Baby.” I couldn’t put into words what I wanted for you at that time, but this is what I wanted to say then and still want to say now:

I want to you be healthy. I want you to have enough challenges so that you grow in faith and courage but always enough tools, resources, and friends to meet those challenges. I want you to have a job that doesn’t feel like work; a job that you love so much that you are thankful each day you get to do what you do and get paid for it. I want you to have confidence, compassion, joy, respect, curiosity — LOVE. Aspire to inspire.  In short:  Do what you love and love what you do.

5. TRAVEL. Save money and plan for trips. When opportunities to travel arise, turn over every rock to make it happen. Go, see and do.

6. THINK DEEP THOUGHTS. Let your imagination run. Dream. Set some incredible goals. Have great conversations. Have some adventures. Keep your sense of humor. (You’ve got this one down pat, already!)

7. BEWARE OF THE VORTEX. Don’t sit alone in your dorm room (unless you are studying or have homework!).
Please be aware of how much “screen time” you are spending. Don’t be that guy who sits there for five days playing video games and eating Cheetos. You are better than that.

8. REACH OUT. If you feel overwhelmed, depressed, out-of-sorts, unhappy or lonely — call someone. You can ALWAYS call home. :)  Also — If you are lost or confused in a class, go see the Prof.  Just do it.  It is the best way to get back on track.

9. While I’m on the home topic — FAMILY IS FOREVER. Hopefully you’ve already picked this tidbit up. Family will be there at the hospital, at your life events, at whatever. We’ve got your back.  Through thick or thin you are stuck with us (in a good way).

10.  KEEP YOUR WORD. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Don’t lie. You don’t have to say everything you think out loud, though. Be kind. Have integrity. Stand up for what is right, even when it is not the easy thing to do.  Learn to say “no.”

11.  Be a good neighbor.  Always vote.  (Sliger family rules!)

 

Love,

Mom

 

image by Martin LaBar Bradford pear leaf, sooc via Flickr CC

image by Martin LaBar Bradford pear leaf, sooc
via Flickr CC

Freebies Found: Fun Fling!

Sometimes you CAN get something for nothing!

Here are some fun things I’ve found recently:

from imaginegnats.com‘s “about” page:

i first learned to sew alongside my mom, but lost interest in the craft until my early twenties when i got my own machine. over those last fifteen years, i’ve experimented with modern quilting, accessories and garment sewing, pattern design, hand-printed fabric, and textile design.

imagine gnats started as a little etsy shop, selling small sewn items to help support my family and also to give me a creative outlet in a corporate world. it’s come a long way in just five years… from a hobby to a full-time job. my love of sewing and design has grown as well, and now my own sewing patterns help and inspire others to create.

i am proud to have created patterns for garments that are easy to sew and easy to wear. imagine gnats patterns feature classic silhouettes with a modern twist that incorporate clever details and practical techniques.

 

Find all the freebies this site offers HERE:

http://imaginegnats.com/category/patterns/imagine-gnats-patterns/free/

 

 

Cerisy Skirt: Free pattern from imagine gnats.

Read the directions and make your own pattern HERE.

 

Another great freebie from this site:

Free quilt pattern!

Blog post HERE.

Download free pattern and tutorial HERE.

I’m bound and determined to knit again sometime soon.  I have yarn, needles and a project all picked out.  The free pattern is HERE.

Honest Warmth Shawl free pattern from Lion Brand Yarn

It is the “Honest Warmth Shawl” pattern from Lion Brand Yarns. I found the photo on Pinterest and tracked down the pattern.
You might need to create an account on the Lion Brand website in order to get to the patterns, though I think they have a “guest” route, too.

I really like this free printable:  It simply says “just begin.”  If you search around a bit, you can get other colors for the background.

justbegin_aliedwards_cornflower1.jpg

justbegin_aliedwards_cornflower1.jpg

I like this one, too.

viat Sarah Jane Studios, Sing your song free printable

 

This next one is pretty utilitarian, but there are SO MANY cool options!  Printable Paper.

1,352 papers you can download and print for free. We’ve got graph paper, lined paper, financial paper, music paper, and more. Printable Paper has been featured by LifeHacker, Kim Komando, Woman’s World magazine, and the Today Show.

For me, the music paper section is the most interesting.

This printable music paper (also known as manuscript paper or music staff paper) is available with various number of staves per page, in both page orientations, and in four paper sizes (legal, letter, ledger, and A4). Also available are chord charts and tablature paper.

 

Speaking of paper, I love pretty note cards and such.  You can find millions of free fonts, textures, and printables on Pinterest or by doing a Google search.  I found these great little cards from Coconut Cards.

Rreebie printable cards from Coconut Cards.  Follow the link above to download and print your own.

Rreebie printable cards from Coconut Cards. Follow the link above to download and print your own.

Michael Miller Fabric Challenge Top Nine!

quirkyjazz:

Michael Miller fabrics are wonderfully inspiring! I love the 9 finalists shown in the post from the Modern Quilt Guild. May they help creative energy begin to flow for all who see them.

Originally posted on The Modern Quilt Guild:

Michael-Miller1-e1347659734652

We had over 750 entries for the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge! Everything from clocks to quilted jackets. The competition was fierce…but we were able to narrow it down to the nine top entries. The rest is up to Michael Miller to pick the top three!

Those three lucky winners will be announced on August 1st and they will receive a posting on the Michael Miller blog and “A year of Free Fabric”.

MMF Top 9

Tammy Lawson-Indianapolis MQG, Colleen Molen-Individual Member, Deb Westerberg-Lake Superior MQG, Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill-Southern Connecticut MQG, Judy Durant-Seacoast MQG, Kim Simpson-Melbourne MQG, Abby West-Individual Member, Cath Hall-Portland MQG, Michelle Hart-Phoenix MQG

Click on the photo to see the gallery.

Congratulations to all of you! As well as all the participants. Check out #mqgfabricchallenge and #michaelmillerchallenge to see some outstanding projects!

Are you or your guild interested in becoming a part of the MQG? Read about membership here.

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Passion

Every once in a while I hear or see an interview that immediately draws my attention and holds it.  Often the topic might be something I know very little about or may be about something obscure or something I am not at all interested in —  but the person speaking about it is SO passionate that I can’t help but care!

Carlos Santana

I heard Carlos Santana in an interview such as this one evening on PBS.  He made quite an impression on me.  He speaks with such insight and obvious passion about his music — about life — about screaming charisma and conviction.

(African Music) It pitches your whole existence into a state of joy that can’t be bought. (It has) intensity of spirit and joy.

Real musicians remind the listener of a forgotten song inside them. And when you hear that forgotten song, you know, you get chills, you get tears, you dance, and you don’t even know why,

Music is to glorify the light in you.

I give a chance to give voice to the invisible ones.

Victory is won already, you know?  And the only enemy is fear.  (They) talked about that a lot. You transform fear with your supreme joy, you know? (Commenting on what he learned from Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu).

Listen to the whole interview here:

 

 

or here:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/july-dec13/santana_12-09.html

 

I’m also intrigued by non-famous passionate people.  I enjoy hearing them talk about their work.

In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

An interview I saw on a PBS Newshour last fall completely bowled me over.  This woman’s passion for knowledge and for exploration nearly burst through the TV screen.  I wish every child could have a science teacher like Carolyn Porco,  the leader of the Cassini imaging team at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

 

 

 

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/july-dec13/cassini_11-29.html

Read more about the mission and see more photos here.

Saturn and Earth from Cassini. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

 

Tiny Tethys and Saturn’s rings. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 

Possible variations in chemical composition from one part of Saturn’s ring system to another are visible in this Voyager 2 picture as subtle color variations that can be recorded with special computer-processing techniques. This highly enhanced color view was assembled from clear, orange and ultraviolet frames obtained Aug. 17 from a distance of 8.9 million kilometers (5.5 million miles). In addition to the previously known blue color of the C-ring and the Cassini Division, the picture shows additional color differences between the inner B-ring and outer region (where the spokes form) and between these and the A-ring. The Voyager project is managed for NASA by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. NASA/JPL

See?  I got pulled into the vortex!  These images are absolutely stunning and amazing.  Check out more of NASA’s space images here.

 

Speaking of ordinary people who are extraordinary:

If you have never heard this young woman speak, please consider watching at least part of this video.

Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai, 16, rose to international fame when she was shot in the head last October for speaking out against the Taliban’s ban on girl’s education. Malala made a remarkable recovery, becoming the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. Margaret Warner talks to Yousafzai about her mission. —PBS Newshour.

 

I always enjoy hearing about the “behind the scenes” people — the people in the trenches — the people slogging through some tedious, long, possibly dangerous or nearly hopeless project.  I found this story, featuring the work of National Geographic photographers who happen to be women, intriguing not only because of their obvious passion for their work and for this project but for their insights and the resulting art.

You can read the transcript here.

 

I come to the conclusion that passionate people make the best art.  They make the best music, the best photographs, the best books. They also make pretty terrific teachers, scientists, and well — people in general.

Antique Archaeology (via Facebook)

 

Many of my friends know that I am “hooked” on Antique Archaeology, a TV show featuring Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe.  These two guys drive around the country in a white van, looking for “rusty gold” (i.e. what most people would call “junk”) to buy and sell.  I love the show because they are passionate about what they do.  They are passionate about preserving history and historical objects.  They meet interesting and passionate people who care about the same things.  Who knew people could get so excited about rusty old signs and dirty old motorcycles?  I’m drawn to the LOVE they have for what they do, and to the respect they have for each other, for the items they buy and sell, and for the people with whom they deal.

 

 

Another show I admit being “hooked” on is Project Runway.  It is one of those “someone gets cut from the group every week” shows. The premise is fashion designers working on tight deadlines and tight budgets to create fashion forward and on trend garments which meet specific parameters set by the show’s producers and hosts.  The fashions are judged and then the worst and best designs are chosen.  “One day you are in, the next day you are out” is Heidi Klum’s famous line from the show.  The mentor for the designers is Tim Gunn. He is passionate about his job and about helping each of the designers bring the best out of themselves.  The designers are (mostly) passionate about what they do and about what they are creating.  When people care and have a lot at stake, tempers can flare and drama can occur.  But wonderful things can happen as well!  Often kind, wonderful, beautiful moments come about in the midst of all the stress and self-doubt.

 

And because I never seem to know when to stop…a few last thoughts and quotes to leave with you:

Many charismatic and passionate (and famous) people spring to mind: Martin Luther King, Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, Jacques Cousteau, Jane Goodall, Neil deGrasse Tyson.  Not many of these people would leap to mind as “passionate artists” but they all share a passion for their chosen life’s work —  and for humanity.  Maybe each of these folks will get their own blog post about this topic some time in the future! We shall see.

Jacque Cousteau nearly convinced me to become a marine biologist!

via melanieandbill.com

via 33mediatumblr

via25mediatumblr

viaemediatumblr

 

 

 

 

Sensory Links

 

photo by TTQ, CC license

photo by TTQ, CC license

My Facebook status a couple of days ago was this:

I’m enjoying the sound of birds singing and the sight of a cozy cat sitting in a sunbeam. Simple joys.

Add in the feel of a cool summer breeze and the smell of a good cup of freshly ground coffee brewing…ahhhh.

I intentionally tried to touch on the various senses.  I could have added that my legs were covered with an incredibly soft and light wool throw (gray and white large plaid with fringe).

Many months ago, I read this wonderful blog post (Sound Memories) on The Glass Bangle.

http://theglassbangle.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/sound-memories/

 

When I read it, I immediately wanted to write about the sensory links in MY past — but I saved the link in my draft posts, time moved inexorably forward, and I let the inspiration slip away.  The idea still interest me, though: What are the sounds, sights, smells, and sensations that remind me of my childhood?

I grew up in a very small town in Northeastern Indiana near a freshwater lake.  Most of our summer days (and winter ones, too, when we weren’t in school) were spent in, on or near the lake.

image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

The sound of lapping waves on a boat or seawall or shore definitely brings me back to my childhood.  The smell of “my lake” does, too.  It isn’t necessarily a “fishy” smell.  To me it smells fresh, fun, summery.

Webster Lake, image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Webster Lake, image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

I remember the feel of bare feet on a white-painted wooden pier as I walk out over the water, peering down through the slats to catch glimpses of small fish darting every which way in the greenish water.  I see water weeds and lily pads swaying in slow rhythmic movements.

Water lily, image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Water lily, image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

 

I close my eyes and can still feel the wonderfully warm sensation of “laying out in the sun” on either the pier or on our old pontoon boat.

 

Tan Lines from Typical Summer Activities

Getting Tan; image by Gabriel Jordy via Flickr CC

Getting Tan; image by Gabriel Jordy via Flickr CC

My fingers touch the rough terry texture of the towel beneath me.  I hear WLS or WMEE on the old FM radio (that we once dropped IN the lake, but miraculously is still worked after it dried out!).  Those summer songs!  Any top 40 hit from June, July or August from the mid to late 70’s turns me back to all of these senses as fast as a time warp whenever I hear them.

photo by TTQ, CC license

photo by TTQ, CC license

Since we lived in a tourist area where people came to enjoy the lakes in the summer months, staying in cottages and cabins, I had a summer job every year from the time I was 14 or so. My first job was working on the Dixie Boat.  This paddlewheel boat took hour-long scenic cruises around our lake three times every evening and about 8 times on Saturdays and Sundays.  A man from our church owned and ran the boat and we lived just a couple of blocks away from the dock so it all fell together.  The job was to pop popcorn and sell ice-cold bottles of pop during the hour-long boat ride.  The concession stand was “down below.”

Popcorn Machine, by Adam Jackson via Flickr CC license

Popcorn Machine, by Adam Jackson via Flickr CC license

So not only does the smell of REAL popped corn popping in an old-fashioned machine (as you might see in a movie theater for instance) connect me to this memory, but the sound of a very large diesel engine and a paddle wheel does, too!  It was so loud that it was often hard to decipher what the customer was trying to order!

The Dixie Boat's paddlewheel; image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

The Dixie Boat’s paddlewheel; image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Another sound that reminds me of home is the sound of a pressure cooker!  My mom used this odd appliance to cook meat quite frequently through my childhood years.  Dad was a “meat and potatoes” guy and worked long hours, so Mom always tried to have hearty dinners ready for him when he got home each evening.  I think the idea is to cook the meat faster, keep it more moist and tender — but what I remember is the loud whistle sound and the sound of the chattering top piece when she finally released the pressure.  Do people still use this appliance?  Apparently so!

pressure cooker

pressure cooker

Flickr CC, image by Philip Howard: Childhood Chores.  Doing dishes.

Flickr CC, image by Philip Howard: Childhood Chores. Doing dishes.

Another sound that reminds me of my childhood is the sound of dishes clinking around in dishwater (in a sink) and the sound of silverware, glasses or pots/pans being put away.  My mom always did the dishes by hand (my sister and I often had to help, of course), but she usually ended up putting them away herself. She did it energetically so there was always a lot of collateral noise. Mom was kind of a fanatical housekeeper, too.  She did laundry a LOT (still does when she has the chance, in fact! She LOVES it). She ran the vacuum cleaner nearly every day.  So — the sound of a washing machine or vacuum cleaner can bring me back to childhood, too.  This doesn’t automatically happen, though, because I hear all of these sounds pretty frequently.

My dad used to whistle as he worked out in the garage on his woodworking.  He listened to an old radio tuned to a hard-core old school country station.  He would sometimes sing along with the radio.  I remember hearing “Cool Water” many times.

The smell of sawdust brings me back to all of that, as does the sound of a scroll saw or lathe (which I don’t hear very often).

"Sawdust" by Jen R, via Flickr CC license

“Sawdust” by Jen R, via Flickr CC license

My dad had a Barber shop on the main street of our small town.  He would sometimes send my sister and I “uptown” (a couple of blocks down the street to the local drugstore) to buy an assortment of comic books for the shop.  I pity the poor boys who had to read the comics we bought!

Donald Duck and Robert the Robot, Image by Tom Simpson: via Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0

Donald Duck and Robert the Robot, Image by Tom Simpson: via Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0

We always got Archie, Donald Duck (and the three little ducks), Richie Rich, Casper, and similar titles. We also bought the “boy” ones, but not as many of those.  Maybe Dad bought those himself?  I’m pretty sure we got MAD magazines, too, when we could. Whenever I see or hold a comic book (or smell that newspapery smell they have), I remember these trips “uptown.”

Dum Dums image by Liza Lagman Sperl via Flickr CC license 2.0

Dum Dums image by Liza Lagman Sperl via Flickr CC license 2.0

One of the perks of being the daughters of the Barber was that we got free access to the stash of Dum-Dum lollipops!  He gave these tiny suckers to young customers after their haircuts, of course, but we could have one any time we stopped by.  If I have one of these little lollipops now, I still imagine standing in his shop or sitting in the big barber chair (if he didn’t have a customer at the time).  I always had the sense that I was a visitor there, though.  It was definitely a manly atmosphere there.

Barber Chair, image by Randy von Liski of Bob and Gale's Barber Shop in Springfield, IL via Flickr CC

Barber Chair, image by Randy von Liski of Bob and Gale’s Barber Shop in Springfield, IL via Flickr CC

George's Barber Shop on SR 13 in N. Webster, IN.   Image from a 1991 calendar.

George’s Barber Shop on SR 13 in N. Webster, IN. Image from a 1991 calendar.

 

My memories are not just my hometown, though.  The smell of cinnamon and molasses reminds me of my Grandma Schwob.  She made these delicious baked apples that were topped with little cinnamon red hots AND marshmallows!  They had their own apple trees so that added to the deliciousness, I’m sure.  I will post her recipe on my food blog, The Heat is ON!,  in the near future.

image via Flickr CC by Joey Rozier, photo entitled "naked"

image via Flickr CC by Joey Rozier, photo entitled “naked”

Her molasses cookies were thin, soft and SO good!  We spent many, many holidays there, too, so the smell of turkey and dressing brings back memories of their house and of family get-togethers we had there.

 

Image via Flickr CC, by Jenny Kellerhals

Image via Flickr CC, by Jenny Kellerhals

 

What are your sensory links to your past? to your childhood?  I’d be interested to hear.

 

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eremophilia

Eremite

Everyone once in a while, I come across a word that I have never heard before or that I may have heard but have no idea (or can not remember!) what it means.

Eremite is one of those words.  I heard it in a song that I played for our local high school choir sometime last school year.  I searched around for some insight into the word, and wrote nearly all this post many months ago while I was searching.  One of my endeavors this year is to attempt to publish all my drafts (or decide they are not worth sharing and thus delete them).

Harry L. Heffelfinger wrote:

I recently received a question from a colleague of my wife’s asking about the word eremite. I believe that the word means ‘religious recluse’. The question arose because Robert Frost made reference to Keats’s eremite in one of his poems. Could you help us to understand the word and who may have been Keats’s eremite?

An eremite (pronounced ERR-uh-mite) is indeed a ‘religious recluse’, someone who, from religious motives, has retired into a solitary life. Both eremite and hermit came into English late in the 12th century and were used interchangeably for over 400 years. Hermit is now the more common word. In Modern English, especially since the 16th century, eremite is most often used poetically or to create a certain effect. Time magazine referred to J.D. Salinger as “the eremite of Cornish, N.H.” in a 1999 article.
The Greek adjective eremos means ‘empty or desolate’. From this came the noun eremia ‘desert’. Toward the end of the 3rd century, it became common for Christians in Egypt to go into the desert, where they lived a solitary life of contemplation and asceticism. A person who did this was known as an eremites in Greek or an eremita in Latin. An eremite is, therefore, literally ‘someone who lives alone in the desert’.  *from Wikipedia

In the poem “Bright Star,” Keats speaks of “nature’s patient sleepless Eremite.” The reference is to an unidentified star which, like a hermit, sits apart from the world. Frost, in “Choose Something Like a Star,” refers to the steadfastness of “Keats’ Eremite.” I’ll leave it to those of you who are interested to look up the full texts of the poems. They can be easily found on the Internet.

Here are a few more words to expand your vocabulary:
“eremic” means ‘relating to deserts’
“eremophilia” is ‘a love of solitude’
“eremophobia” is ‘a fear of being alone’

 

I’m struck by the opposite definitions of the last two words in that short list.  “Philia” denotes an “abnormal love for a specified thing” or an “undue inclination” for something.  “Phobia” is a label we use for “extreme or unnatural fear” of something.

 

Text of the sonnet Bright Star

Text of the sonnet Bright Star (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bright Star
by John Keats
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art —
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors —
No — yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever — or else swoon to death.

Addressed to a star (perhaps Polaris, around which the heavens appear to wheel), the sonnet expresses the poet’s wish to be as constant as the star while he presses against his sleeping love. The use of the star imagery is unusual in that Keats dismisses many of its more apparent qualities, focusing on the star’s steadfast and passively watchful nature. In the first recorded draft (copied by Charles Brown and dated to early 1819), the poet loves unto death; by the final version, death is an alternative to love.

The poem is punctuated as a single sentence and uses the rhyme form of the Shakespearean sonnet (ababcdcdefefgg) with the customary volta, or turn in the train of thought, occurring after the octave.

from Frostiana, “Choose Something Like a Star”
(Randall Thompson, Lyrics by Robert Frost)

“My thoughts are stars I can not fathom into constellations.”

(Gus, from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green).

related posts:

http://onpoetry.blogspot.com/2011/11/bright-star-john-keats.html

http://poemshape.wordpress.com/2009/05/10/bright-star-by-john-keats-his-sonnet/

 

Tiananmen Square Photos, Found in a Shoebox

quirkyjazz:

I don’t reblog very often. This set of photos is historic and deserves as wide of an audience as possible, though. I’ll never forget that image of the man standing in front of the tank.

Originally posted on The China Girls:

It was a black film canister, rattling around the bottom of an old Naturalizer shoebox labeled “photos.” I opened it, wondering if it was a roll of unused film. Instead, I found a twist of white tissue paper wrapped around tightly rolled black-and-white negatives. I held them up to the light. At first I saw…legs.

Tiananmen legs

Then, people with bicycles.

Tiananmen bicycle people

Wait, that looks like the Monument to the People’s Heroes. Is that Tiananmen Square? With banners? Tiananmen monument

Next, a white form rising above a crowd, holding…a torch?

Goddess_crowd

Oh man, is this what I think it is?

View original 677 more words

Image

Roses after Rain

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Princeton roses after rain, photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

 

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune!

As fair thou art, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I:
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt with the sun;
I will luve thee still my dear,
When the sands of life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

I was walking from Princeton University to Westminster Choir College shortly after a brief summer rain. I couldn’t resist taking photographs of some lovely roses as I strolled along the sidewalk. The poem popped into my head as I was cropping the photos.  I realize my roses are not red, but the poem insisted on being included in this post.
 
 
*poem by Robert Burns
Image

Stained Glass: Columbus, Ohio — Broad St. Presbyterian

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH
Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH
Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH
Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH
Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH
Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH
Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

Broad St. Presbyterian Church, Columbus, OH
Photos by The Tromp Queen, CC license

church in NJ

church in NJ