Dr. Who: Philosophy of Fear


I’ve been Dr. Who off and on for over 30 years. Back when my husband was in grad school, it was on every week night at 10 pm on the local PBS station. Tom Baker, Layla, K9, the Daleks, Cybermen, Sarah, John Pertwee, Unit — many years, many Doctors, many companions, many adventures.

Dr. Who has had a re-boot in the last few years. The new version is still on BBC.

My husband (who seems to be in the midst of a Dr. Who binge-watch) had Series 8, episode 4 on today. The topic of fear caught my attention.

I struggle to not let fear rule my mind and heart.
Attempting to think of fear in a different way may help.

Maybe it will help you, too, if you struggle with fear every once in a while
(or all the time…)

Clara (hearing a loud noise): What’s that?
The Doctor: What kind of explanation would you like?
Clara: A reassuring one.


Clara (spoken quietly to a child in the dark):
I know you’re afraid, but being afraid is alright.
Because didn’t anybody ever tell you?

Fear is a superpower.

Fear can make you faster and cleverer and stronger.

…If you’re very wise and very strong fear doesn’t have to make you cruel or cowardly.

Fear can make you kind.

You’re always gonna be afraid even if you learn to hide it.
Fear is like a companion, a constant companion, always there.
But that’s okay because fear can bring us together.

Fear can bring you home.

I’m gonna leave you something just so you’ll always remember.
Fear makes companions of us all.


The Doctor:
Let me tell you about scared.

Your heart is beating so hard I can feel it through your hands.
There’s so much blood and oxygen pumping through your brain it’s like rocket fuel.
Right now you could run faster and you could fight harder, you could jump higher than ever in your life. And you are so alert it’s like you can slow down time.

What’s wrong with scared?
Scared is a superpower.
It’s your superpower.

There is danger in this room and guess what?
It’s you.
Do you feel it?




Growing through concrete

Yesterday I drove to Chicago and back to see a friend. I drove through the usual mess of road construction and major traffic snarls. The closer I got to the Loop, the more bogged down the traffic got.  As I sat (at a standstill) I glanced at the cement median. Along several cracks in the concrete, I noticed grass and wild flowers growing. Not just growing — thriving.

I considered taking a photo but I couldn’t reach my camera safely. (So I found some similar photos on Flickr. See gallery below.)

I thought about how sometimes we feel like those weeds and flowers. Hanging on by a few fragile roots, in the middle of a hot unforgiving place, with just a tiny fragment of space, little or no resources — but still finding a way to not only survive but to actually bloom.

That trite saying “bloom where you are planted” has truth. I’ve had to move more times than I have wanted. Each time, the process of leave-taking then starting over commences: the good-byes, the leave-taking, then being the outsider, mustering the bravada to carry on, and finally searching for the new “normal.”

I got my first teaching job in the summer of 1985. It was in a tiny town just east of Urbana, IL. The band room was surrounded by a tar and chip parking lot. As I prepared for the first marching band rehearsals, I was pleasantly surprised to see some lovely pink lilies pop up out of the tiny seam between the building and the pavement. My mom told me they were Resurrection Lilies. I later discovered other names for them:  Magic Lilies, Surprise Lilies, Naked Ladies, lycorissquamigera, and Amaryllidaceae.

They pop up out of no where (or seem to), bloom and then whither away all in a week or so. Each year I taught there (four, to be exact), I looked forward to seeing those lilies.

Beauty finds a way. Life finds a way. Always.


Then today, I saw this posted on a friend’s Facebook wall.

From Word Porn
From Word Porn


Quote from Tupac Shakur, photo by TTQ CC 4.0
Quote from Tupac Shakur, photo by TTQ CC 4.0
Quote from Tupac Shakur, photo by TTQ CC 4.0
Quote from Tupac Shakur, photo by TTQ CC 4.0

Some things never change…

I wrote this about solo/ensemble festival in a long-ago blog post:

I can write this before Saturday because I already know what the day will be like. There will be herds of young people moving up and down the halls. Girls will be dressed in their uncomfortable finery — some sporting high heels that are clearly killing their feet. Boys may have ties or tennis shoes, and sometimes both! There will be smiles, laughter, tears and frustration. There will be donuts, hot dogs and probably BBQ sandwiches. Some will perform better than they ever have (or ever will again), and some will make huge mistakes. Some who deserve twos will get ones, and some who deserve ones will get twos. Families and friends hover, chatting quietly, and move from room to room. The tension and nerves of many performers is nearly tangible. Scraps of conversations can be overheard: “I got a one/two/one star!” “That judge is crazy/easy/hard/good/bad!” “The room is running way behind.” “Where is my accompanist/instrument/music/director/reed/room?”

Flash back to this past weekend:  I had a conversation about this topic with another Mom while we were waiting for scores to be posted on Saturday (which was our state solo/ensemble festival this year). I said there are always the same types of people every year; some things never change. There are girls in too-high heels or no shoes at all (one walked by as I said this!), girls in too-short skirts (we saw one on the way to our cars), and people in various costumes (medieval dress, sparkly show choir outfits, bow ties and suspenders, etc.)

Nerves can be covered by a veneer of confidence that is only a millimeter thick — or not covered at all. Red-rimmed, tear-filled eyes are easy to spot in nearly every hallway. After (and sometimes even before) a performance that may or may not have been an accurate showing of the musician’s ability that inner voice that says “You completely messed that up!” or “You’ve never made that mistake before — EVER — why now?” can drown out all other coherent thoughts.

Musicians are fragile yet incredibly strong at the same time. If you’ve never had to stand up in front of a group of peers, or strangers, or experts and sing, play or perform knowing you’ll be evaluated not only against yourself but against everyone else who will perform in that room that day you can’t imagine the amount of courage and fortitude that requires.


We want to be perfect and perfection is nearly impossible to obtain. (That doesn’t stop us from trying to attain it, though!)

I think that is why we sometimes play the “Diva.” We can easily hide behind the DIVA persona . “Who gives a damn what you think? I know I’m fabulous.” But all the while We still have nagging doubts: “I missed that G#!” “I can’t believe I mixed up the verses!”

The fear that we are not good enough is always there. (At least it is for me.)


It isn’t easy to let go of the ideal “perfect” performance goal. Striving for steady progress and for excellence while appreciating and enjoying the journey are much more achievable, healthier goals.

Easier said than done.  But saying it is the first step toward doing it, right?perfectionism-quote

A friend posted this article on her Facebook wall soon after I wrote this blog post. It is ON POINT so here it is:

Pianist Misses Notes In Recital, Says Pianist

“Oh my god, no. What are you talking about? I was terrible,” Hayes said, challenging Christine’s version of events. “I missed so many notes, I can’t freaking believe it. I never mess up there.”

Several audience members besides Christine also failed to notice Hayes’ embarrassing mistake, leading them to falsely conclude that the recital was a success and the 22-year-old pianist should be proud of his tremendous accomplishment. Most attendees were seated at a considerable distance from the stage and had at best a partial view of Hayes’ hands, while several among them lacked the musical education necessary to have formed a credible judgement of his performance.

Their glowing accounts of Hayes’ recital were directly contradicted by Hayes himself, who was the key eyewitness to the memory slip in the Schumann. Not only did Hayes have a closeup, firsthand view of his own senior recital, he had also been studying his repertoire in depth for several months and had better knowledge of the correct notes than anyone else present in the auditorium.

(Read the complete article which was posted on SubMediant on May 2, 1016.)


Wise Words from Bob Ross


caNdLE image by Sykez Tom via Flickr CC.

“You need the dark in order to show the light.”




-Reji simplicity is beauty
Simplicity is Beauty image by -Reji via Flickr CC.

“Look around. Look at what we have. Beauty is everywhere—you only have to look to see it.”




tree friend
A tree is a friend. Image by The Tromp Queen, via Flickr CC.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend.”





that tree2
Friend of That Tree Image by The Tromp Queen, via Flickr CC.

“Just go out and talk to a tree. Make friends with it.”

that tree
Friend of That Tree Image by The Tromp Queen, via Flickr CC.




Sandy Brown Jensen
Here I Go image by Sandy Brown Jensen via Flickr CC license.

“The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”





Mark Chadwick Fluid Painting 92
Mark Chadwick, Fluid Painting 92 via Flickr CC.

“We artists are a different breed of people. We’re a happy bunch.”

Nothing but happiness

In a person’s lifetime
there may be not more than half a dozen
occasions that he can look back to
in the certain knowledge
that right then, at that moment,

there was room for nothing
but happiness in his heart.

– Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

This quote, though it is ostensibly about happiness, makes me feel melancholy.

It is sad that we make so little intentional time and space for happiness in our lives.

Most people spend (waste) those joyful, happy moments being distracted — by worry, fear, their phone or some other electronic device, by thinking ahead or looking behind.

Whatever the cause, the moments pass by unnoticed and unmarked.

Thankfully, I DO remember some instances when I have specifically consciously realized:
THIS is a moment to remember.

There are several of these “moment memories” from when our children were babies. Becoming pregnant was not an easy road so when the babies arrived, I probably made more of an effort to be “aware” of the moments than some mothers might. Holding your very own freshly bathed, clean diapered, just fed, snuggly baby who is either asleep or falling asleep in your arms — well, there is nothing like it. I wished I could store those moments up for when they turned into raving teenagers telling me they hate me (which did happen, though I know they don’t truly mean it!)

Most people make an effort to stop and enjoy the big events: graduations, births, weddings, retirements, new jobs, new homes, etc. But even these milestone events often pass by in a whirlwind of activity or in a fog of details.

Once in a while I need to escape to a “happy place” in my mind.
This is when I draw on one of those memorized moments.

I have several of these images from which to choose. One is from a camping vacation we took with some dear family friends who had/have children around the same age as ours. We all enjoy tent camping, swimming, hiking, biking, boating, kayaking, etc.

Door County, Wisconsin. View from Eagle Trail in Peninsula State Park.  Image by The Tromp Queen, CC license 4.0
Door County, Wisconsin.
View from Eagle Trail in Peninsula State Park. Image by The Tromp Queen, CC license 4.0

My specific memory comes from a trip we took together several years ago to Clear Lake (“up North” in Wisconsin). The children (early elementary ages at that time) were playing happily in the sand or in the shallow water. My friend, Anne, and I had been sitting in our chairs in the warm sun (safely sunscreened, sunglassed and be-hatted with our crossword books and pencils in hand). Our toes were in the sand. We had eaten a picnic lunch on the beach.

Image of Devil's Lake beach by anjanettew, via Flickr CC license.
Image of Devil’s Lake beach by anjanettew, via Flickr CC license.

I’m not sure where the “guys” were but maybe they were out in the kayaks or off riding their bikes.

Image by Dakiraun, kayaks via Flickr CC license
Image by Dakiraun, kayaks via Flickr CC license

I decided to get into the water. I put a floaty noodle behind my neck and around under my arms and another floaty noodle under my knees. I closed my eyes and just floated. The lake was clear (as advertised!) and cool but not cold. The sun was warm but not hot. The sky was blue and clear, with just a few small white clouds. There were not many other people around, so I mostly heard our content and creative children at play. I heard the birds, the small waves, and distant boat sounds.

Image by Al Herrmann, "Dave, lounging" via Flickr CC license.
Image by Al Herrmann, “Dave, lounging” via Flickr CC license.

We were all happy, healthy, and safe.

I realized — it was a completely happy moment — and I concentrated to memorize the feeling and all the sensations.

Here’s hoping you find a moment soon that is filled with nothing but happiness.  
And here’s hoping you are aware of it when it happens.

To learn more about the woman behind this quote, click here.

Image by The Tromp Queen, Aug 2015 CC license 4.0
Image by The Tromp Queen, Aug 2015 CC license 4.0

Solo Dios basta

Milwaukee River image by TTQ cc
Let nothing disturb thee. Nada te turba.

Let nothing disturb thee. (Nada te turbe)
Let nothing frighten thee. (Nada te espante)
All things pass away. (Todo se pasa)
God never changes. (Dios no se muda)
Patience attains all things. (La paciencia todo lo alcanza)
He who has God lacks nothing. (Quien a Dios tiene nada le falta)
God alone suffices. (Solo Dios basta)

–prayer written by St. Teresa of Avila in the 16th century
–all images by The Tromp Queen, CC license 

Let nothing frighten thee. Image by The Tromp Queen, via Flickr CC
Let nothing frighten thee. Nada te espante.
All things pass away. Mourning  Angel--Image by The Tromp Queen, CC license
All things pass away. Todo se pasa.
God never changes. Magical mist and morning sunbeams at Turkey Run SP on Trail 3; photo by quirkyjazz, aka Jill
God never changes. Dios no se muda.
Patient attains all things. Stone steps in the arena at Ephesus in Turkey.  Image by The Tromp Queen, CC license.
Patience attains all things. La paciencia todo lo alcanza.
Image by The Tromp Queen.  Chora church, Istanbul, Turkey 2013
He who has God lacks nothing. Quien a Dios tiene nada le falta.
God alone suffices. Image by The Tromp Queen, CC license.
God alone suffices. Solo Dios basta.

the echo of a tune we have not heard

(Wise words from The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis.)

In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency.

Image by Bable Fortin
Image by Bable Fortin “Tear Here” via Flickr CC license

I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both.

Image by Mudhavi Kuram
Image by Mudhavi Kuram “Gossip” via Flickr CC license

We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name.

Image by Juan de la Obra
Image by Juan de la Obra “Yearning” via Flickr CC license

Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter.

Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past.

Image by QuirkyJazz (aka The Tromp Queen); via Flickr CC
Image by QuirkyJazz (aka The Tromp Queen); via Flickr CC

But all this is a cheat.

If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering.

Image by QuirkyJazz (aka The Tromp Queen); via Flickr CC
Image by QuirkyJazz (aka The Tromp Queen); via Flickr CC

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing.

These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers.

The Tromp Queen, CC license
Image by The Tromp Queen, CC license

For they are not the thing itself;
they are only the scent of a flower we have not found,
the echo of a tune we have not heard,
news from a country we have never yet visited.

image by dave
image by dave “Taj Mahal India”, via Flickr CC

At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in.

Image by Nishanth Jols
Image by Nishanth Jols “Together Forever” via Flickr CC

When I attempted a few minutes ago, to describe our spiritual longings, I was omitting one of their most curious characteristics. We usually notice it just as the moment of vision dies away, as the music ends, or as the landscape loses the celestial light… For a few minutes we have had the illusion of belonging to that world.

Image by Adib Roy
Image by Adib Roy “Jewel” via Flickr CC

Now we wake to find that it is no such thing.

We have been mere spectators.
Beauty has smiled, but not to welcome us; her face turned in our direction, but not to see us.
We have not been accepted, welcomed, or taken into the dance.
We may go when we please, we may stay if we can, no one cares.

Now, a scientist may reply that since most of the things we call beautiful are inanimate it is not very surprising that they take no notice of us. That, of course, is true. It is not the physical objects that I am speaking of, but that indescribable Something of which they become for a moment the messengers. And part of the bitterness which mixes with the sweetness of that message is due to the fact that it so seldom seems to be a message intended for us, but rather something we have overheard. By bitterness I mean pain, not resentment.

Image by Ali Arsh
Image by Ali Arsh “Grey Heron” via Flickr CC

We should hardly dare to ask that any notice be taken of ourselves. But we pine. The sense that in the universe we are treated as strangers, the longing to be acknowledged, to meet with some response, to bridge some chasm that yawns between us and reality, is part of our inconsolable secret.

Thank you for the Music, B.B. King

Marcelo Guimarães via Flickr CC license, BB King em Brasília
Marcelo Guimarães via Flickr CC license, BB King em Brasília

There used to be a saying that if a black performer — it was four theaters you had to play and be accepted before you would be accepted as a true entertainer. One of those theaters was the Howard Theatre in Washington, the Royal Theater in Baltimore and the master itself was the Apollo Theater in New York, in Harlem. … The fourth theater was the Regal Theater in Chicago. My manager said, “Do not go to New York trying to be Nat Cole or anybody else that’s trying to be slick, because there are people that are sweeping the floors that are much better than you’ll ever be. So the best thing for you to do is go there and be B.B. King. Sing ‘3 O’Clock Blues’; sing the songs that you sing the way you sing them. All these other people can do all of those other things, but they can’t be you as you can be you.” That I’ve tried to keep from then until now.

On the best advice his manager gave him — Quote from a Fresh Air (NPR) interview which originally aired on Oct. 22, 1996.

Image by Zach Mahone photography, via Flickr CC license
Image by Zach Mahone photography, via Flickr CC license
Daniel Go, via Flickr Creative Commons
Daniel Go, via Flickr Creative Commons
image by Ricky NJ, via Flickr CC license 2.0
image by Ricky NJ, via Flickr CC license 2.0
Thomas Hawk, Rules of the Road, Memphis, TN bridge, via Creative Commons (Flickr)
Thomas Hawk, Rules of the Road, Memphis, TN bridge, via Creative Commons (Flickr)

May you rest in peace and sing some heavenly blues.

Inspirational Centenarians

On a recent visit to a nursing home to visit an ailing relative, my mom and I had a memorable encounter with one of the residents.

Photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license
You can see part of Lily's "lawn chair cart" here.
You can see part of Lily’s “lawn chair cart” here.

Her name is Lily. She is 102 years old. She came to the door of my aunt’s room pushing a lawn chair. The lawn chair was sitting on a wooden square with wheels that must have been custom-built for her. She uses the chair as a cart. Every day she delivers ice cream to residents and to visitors. She uses coupons that a fellow resident wins at Bingo to acquire the ice cream. Lily will try to get special flavors for people but adds with a smile that she might not remember.

Lily -- photo by The Tromp Queen, CC license

As our conversation continued, she asked if we knew of any overseas service men or women to whom she could send a care package. She explained that she has been sending boxes to troops for over 10 years. Several years ago a nearby veterans’ group offered to pay the postage for all her care packages which adds up to over $1,000 each year. Other people have sent her checks or given her donations to help with costs as well.

As I mulled over all Lily said, this quote came to mind:

This quote is often attributed to John Wesley but there is no evidence he said or wrote these words.
This quote is often attributed to John Wesley but there is no evidence he said or wrote these words.

This 102 year-old woman is doing good deeds for as many people as she can every single day. Her good deeds don’t just stay within the walls of the nursing home — she makes a positive difference for young men and women all around the world by sending care packages.

Gladys Culver was my 2nd grade teacher, and she retired at the end of that school year. She is now 104 years old! She still plays piano for her fellow nursing home residents quite often. She made a difference in so many lives in my small hometown community not only as a school teacher (for 50 years!), but also as a woman of faith in my home church. I fondly remember her playing the organ for decades of church services. She encouraged my sister and me to sing duets together and to play piano duets together. (Singing was more successful than the playing.) I don’t remember her ever not having a smile on her face.

Read more about Gladys here. Here is a video interview with Gladys. You can see and hear her play the piano at the 28:30 mark. How wonderful!

I have a quilt that Gladys’s mother-in-law hand pieced and tied (completely made of 1970’s era double-knits). It turned out to be king-sized! Looking at the fabrics brings back so many memories of the clothes my mom made for my sister and me throughout our childhood. I don’t remember exactly how old she was at the time, but I’m fairly sure she was well over 90.

My Aunt Ruthie was still “taking care of the old people” even as she closed in on her own 90th birthday. She died just a few months after reaching 90. I still take inspiration from her work ethic, loyalty and generosity. “Be a good neighbor” and “Always vote” were the family words of wisdom, and she reminded us of these expectations frequently.

All these women embody/embodied the phrase “young at heart.” They seem/seemed to be living lives about 20 years younger than their chronological age. They do/did not let “old age” dictate what they could or could not do.

What needs to be done?
What can I do to help?
I will do it — that is what these women say/said.


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:



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.





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






Who Knew? Ella and Marilyn

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”
– Ella Fitzgerald

When I saw this photo, I was immediately interested to find out more about the relationship between these two amazing women.  Then I found this quote from Ella.  What a story!

I see respect and friendship in this photo.  I wonder what they talked about.  To me, it is obvious they enjoyed each other’s company, though.

Quotes from Ella:

“I sing like I feel.”

“I know I’m no glamour girl, and it’s not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I’ve got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing.”

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.”



Quotes from Marilyn:

“A girl doesn’t need anyone who doesn’t need her.”

“Ever notice how ‘What the hell?’ is always the right answer?”

“A wise girl knows her limits.  A smart girl knows she has none.”

“Most importantly, keep smiling — because life is a beautiful thing, and there is so much to smile about.”

“I believe that everything happens for a reason.  People change so you can learn to let go.  Things to wrong so you can appreciate them when they are right.  You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself.  And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Marilyn Monroe in Canada, where they were filming a movie. The image belonged to the magazine Look and was given to the USA Library of Congress in 1971.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

“Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.”


Other Who Knew? posts I’ve written:

Related articles about Ella and Marilyn from others:

March Inspirations — 22 to 24

Saturday March 22:
This quote — by Mstislav Rostropovich

“The artist must forget the audience,
forget the critics,
forget the technique,
forget everything but love for the music.

Then, the music speaks through the performance,
and the performer and the listener will walk together
with the soul of the composer,
and with God.”

Embed from Getty Images

Sunday March 23: The Chicken Soup and Ginger Ale Cure
*don’t ask.

"Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup" by Chris   Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
“Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup” by Chris
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License

Monday March 24:
Beautiful Quilts!

Three short years ago La Guilde Acadienne de Clare was formed and with a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft, the founding members decided to organize and host an annual quilt show and sale in the Sacred Heart Church. Image from  The Painted Quilt Blog.
Three short years ago La Guilde Acadienne de Clare was formed and with a lot of hard work and dedication to the craft, the founding members decided to organize and host an annual quilt show and sale in the Sacred Heart Church. Image from The Painted Quilt Blog.

Read more about these quilts here.

Inspirational Wall Slogans from Chennai India

The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance.
The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance.
Light lights another and its light does not grow less.
Light lights another and its light does not grow less.
Look for strengths in people, not weaknesses, for good, not evil.  Most of us find what we search for.
Look for strengths in people, not weaknesses, for good, not evil. Most of us find what we search for.

All Images by McKay Savage; Chennai, India October 2009.

One of Chennai’s lovely quirks of public space are these series of inspirational and motivational wall slogans in several areas of the city. The sequence is from along GN Chetty Road in Chennai as you approach Gemini Flyover and is one of the longest stretches.

You can see more of these wall slogans in McKay Savage’s Flickr Photstream.

March 2 (retroactive March inspiration post)

To Imagine. To Create. To Learn.

To Imagine. To Create. To Learn.To Imagine. To Create. To Learn.

Photo Title: Old World Inspirational Sign – HDR
Image by Nicholas Raymond. Standard Creative Commons License 3.0 unported.

I really like this photograph.  I love the brick pattern and the lovely greys and rusty orangey reds.  The arch is nice, too.  The words are motto worthy.  Nice start to my month of inspirations, I think.

March 1 (retroactive inspirational post)

John O’Donohue – For A New Beginning

This John O’Donohue quote/poem featured in Lena Jacome’s blog goes along nicely with my recent post,“Sorrow prepares you for joy.” I hope you find it just as interesting and inspiring as I do.

The Lena Jácome Weblog

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;

View original post 33 more words

Sorrow prepares you for joy.

Image by Eddi via Flickr CC license.

Sorrow prepares you for joy.
It violently sweeps everything out of your house,

so that new joy can find space to enter.
It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart,
so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.

Image by James Wheeler via Flickr CC
Image by James Wheeler via Flickr CC

It pulls up the rotten roots,
so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.
Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart,
far better things will take their place.”

– Rumi

This Rumi quote has been in my draft posts for quite a while.  I believe I found the quote through Soul Gatherings, and I saved it thinking I might have something profound to say about it eventually.  I chose a few photographs to enhance the imagery and in the process my thoughts got a kick-start.

I do read more (and different meanings) into this quote now than I did last summer, though. The anniversary of my dad’s death is quickly approaching (Feb. 4).  It will be two years since he died, and I find I still have a lot of baggage to sort through emotionally and spiritually.

Dad's funeral flowers, image by TTQ CC
Dad’s funeral flowers, image by TTQ CC

Also, most of you know I’ve been adjusting to (and grieving for what was left behind, really) all the changes this last year brought. I left a home and community of loving, creative, supportive friends after 17 years (and also left our 18-year-old son there to finish his senior year of HS).  I’m still very much up and down in how I’m feeling about and dealing with all of these issues from day-to-day, even now.

This Rumi quote has, at times, made me angry as I browsed past it in my drafts.  “Sorrow prepares you for joy? Yeah, right.  I’d rather avoid the sorrow part, thank you very much.”  I didn’t/don’t want things or people swept violently out of my life then or now — the sorrow is still very present some days.

But then the older and wiser me chimes in.  Yes, I realize sorrow is indeed an integral and unavoidable part of life. Change happens. For better or worse: It happens to us all.

image by Alexander Boyes via Flickr CC
image by Alexander Boyes via Flickr CC

I continue to have Faith and Hope.
I always believe that I’m going to slog through it,
that I will find equilibrium again,
that the fog will eventually lift.

image by OnceandFutureLaura, via Flickr CC
image by OnceandFutureLaura, via Flickr CC

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. 
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend.*

I’ve watched nature programs enough to know that after devastating, ravaging forest fires come meadows of lush new grass and rich swaths of wildflowers.

My internal voice gives me encouraging words:

Dawn over Webster Lake, image by TTQ CC license
Dawn over Webster Lake, image by TTQ CC license

The darkest hour comes just before dawn.

Olbrich Gardens, image by TTQ CC
Olbrich Gardens, image by TTQ CC

Weeping may last through the night,
but Joy comes in the morning.
(Ps. 30:5 NLT)

Arboretum Gardens in Madison WI, image by TTQ CC
Arboretum Gardens in Madison WI, image by TTQ CC

For everything there is a season, 
a time for every activity under heaven. —
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.**

first leaves, late March at Gov Dodge SP, image by TTQ cc
first leaves, late March at Gov Dodge SP, image by TTQ cc

On the positive side, I am on alert for the new green leaves and roots: both figuratively and literally.

Literally, I planted a lot of spring blooming bulbs in our new yard. I will be thankful and happy when I see them.  I look forward to fragile new growth as summer follows spring, as the roots and leaves grow larger and greener each day.

UW Madison Arboretum, image by TTQ CC
UW Madison Arboretum, image by TTQ CC

Figuratively, I have made some small forays to find and make friends and to begin to send out roots and branches (creatively, musically and otherwise).

I am thankful for each of you who read my blog.  Many of you have been hanging in here with me for pretty much the whole year I’ve been at this.  I appreciate the friendships that have sprung up, the emotional and creative support and inspiration I gather (and hopefully share), and the incredibly kind and thoughtful comments exchanged.

I just tried to find a comment from many months ago that has stuck in my mind.  I looked through all the pages of comments from all my posts and could not find it. I’m not sure who said it, but I DO remember the meaning of it.  I must have either posted something very short or re-blogged something I found interesting but did so saying I didn’t have any coherent thoughts or time to share them because of the move and all the goodbyes and such — and someone very kindly said (and I’m paraphrasing): That’s fine.  Don’t worry.  We’ll be here waiting for you on the other end of it.  When things get back to normal, we will be here ready to hear about it.  

Thank you for caring.

*lyrics by James Taylor from “Fire and Rain.”
**excerpts from Ecclesiastes 3, New Living Translation.