Musings on Unreasonably High Expectations

I have to admit something.  More than one somethings, actually.

"freshly pressed" by Rob Slaven  Some Rights Reserved via Flickr CC
“freshly pressed” by Rob Slaven
Some Rights Reserved
via Flickr CC

I would love to open my Tromp Queen page some day to find that one of my posts is featured as FRESHLY PRESSED.  This unspoken (and most likely unreachable) goal has been in my head ever since I first noticed the Freshly Pressed area here in WordPress land.  I’ve written some pretty deeply personal posts — as well as some humorous, some insightful, some crafty — hey, why not me?  (I so humbly ask of myself).

"Flickr Day!" by Murilo Cardoso  Some Rights Reserved
“Flickr Day!” by Murilo Cardoso
Some Rights Reserved

I also post photos on Flickr occasionally.  I would love to find one day that one of my photographs is featured as an EXPLORE image.  (Go to Flickr.com, click the Explore then on the drop down menu choose Recent Photos.) Hundreds are featured each and every day, why not one of mine?  (I so humbly think to myself).  People tell me they really like my photography, that I have a “good eye” — surely it could happen some day, right?

"At Carnegie Hall" by Steven Severinghaus  Some Rights Reserved via FlickrCC
“At Carnegie Hall” by Steven Severinghaus
Some Rights Reserved
via FlickrCC

I’m a musician, too.  A professional pianist, in fact.  I don’t like to admit it even to myself but — I do not like to miss even one single note when I play. If I’m not perfect, it is hard to let go of that one
(or — gasp — more than one)
error.  I know the journey and the process are supposed to be the most important, but deep down inside I want each and every performance to be stellar: perfectly beautiful in every way.  How’s that for putting pressure on yourself?

How does one balance these incredibly unrealistic expectations?

I tend to rely on my old favorites of denial and avoidance.

I make it more difficult on myself by not even admitting that I truly have these hidden goals.  How can I be disappointed if I never admit to having such desires?  Denial.  Works nearly every time.

Avoidance?  Don’t post.  Don’t tag.  Don’t upload photos.  There.  No chance of being disappointed if you don’t try.

Then I hear the voice of my sensible self reminding me of the JOY I experience of just making music, of taking photographs of things that interest/inspire/awe me, and of writing/organizing my thoughts whether anyone hears/sees/reads any of them or not.

I recently read a journal that I was required to keep as part of my student teaching training semester (30 years ago now!).  My supervising teacher told me to always keep high expectations, to never give up, to make the students work to reach my expectations.  She said (this was referring to middle school choir students) that you have to PULL it out of them.  Be strong.  Make your voice heard.

Thankfully, these are the words that I carry in my heart.  I don’t give in to the desire to lower my expectations but I don’t let perfectionism rule my life.  I will not worry about whether or not I’ve reached my goals. I’ll just keep puttering along — working and dreaming — singing and playing.

As always, I aspire to inspire.

 

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Hold Fast: March Inspirations 4

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescastle/9537465539/sizes/h/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamescastle/9537465539/sizes/h/
Image by Jeremy Seto (JamesCastle)
 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/
 via Flickr CC license

February Haiku Project Continued: 19 to 24

February Haiku Project Continued:  19 to 24

image by Conrad Kuiper via Flickr CC
image by Conrad Kuiper via Flickr CC

Stark shadows on snow.
Branches cast graphic shapes:
Nature’s modern art

Fragile bunny tracks
Trail the length of my sidewalk.
Snow too deep for hops?

image by Nedra via Flickr CC
image by Nedra via Flickr CC
image by The Tromp Queen, all rights protected (please don't copy)
image by The Tromp Queen, all rights protected (please don’t copy)

Anything better
than a roomful of girl teens
laughing and talking?

(Answer:  No! life is good)

 

image by Bob Haines GSFC Photo Club via Flickr CC, stained glass Library of Congress in DC
image by Bob Haines GSFC Photo Club via Flickr CC, stained glass Library of Congress in DC

Late afternoon sun —
Long winter shadows on snow —
Golden light shimmers

Ebony sketches
As ink on pastel batiks —
Twigs, branches, sky glow.

(I wrote this thinking about tree branches silhouetted against the sunset, but this stained glass window captures the look, color, texture, and the feeling so I’m going with the “non-literal” illustration this time.)

Absolutely Amazing SUSHI Art

Absolutely Amazing SUSHI Art

All images by 生活童話 via Flickr Creative Commons Attrubution/ShareAlike license.

Click here to see this person’s photostream.

I just happened to find these photographs of mind-boggling incredibly creative sushi.  ENJoY!

After looking around more, I suspect this person did not actually take these photos.  I will try to track down the source.  If anyone knows the source, please share.

I found this article as I was googling around:  http://mentalfloss.com/article/52830/art-sushi

It shows more incredible examples of this type of detailed sushi art.

Invasion of Huge Mutant Arachnids!!!

For Immediate Release:

Milwaukee Suburb Attacked by Gigantic Spiders

This intrepid reporter is sounding the alarm!  Please send assistance.  The spiders are everywhere and they are spreading FAST.

From whence did they come?

Townfolk are brave and are resisting the urge to panic.

Stay Calm and Carry a BIG Spider Stick!!

This is a real website and real advice.

Get Rid of Spiders Method 1 of 3: Take Immediate Action — 

Make a Spider Stick, via WikiHOW
Make a Spider Stick, via WikiHOW

Step 1:
Make a spider stick. Take an stick-shaped object, such as a broom or mop handle, and tie or duct-tape a rag or towel on one end. When you’re finished, you should have a padded end that is shaped like a ball.

  • Make sure the rag ball is secured tightly to the stick. You don’t want it falling on the ground when it’s covered in spiders.
  • If you wish, you can spray the rag with an insecticide; this would kill any live spiders that you pick up. However, if you’d prefer not to use a chemical, you can skip this; the spiders will get wrapped in their own web anyway.
Approach the spiders in question, via WikiHOW
Approach the spiders in question, via WikiHOW

Step 2:
Approach the spiders in question. Look in the corners where your walls meet the ceiling, under old furniture, and anywhere else you have spiders in your house. You’ll find most spiders hanging out on their webs.

Remove the spiders and their webs, via WikiHOW
Remove the spiders and their webs, via WikiHOW

Step 3:
Remove the spiders and their webs. Use the stick to dispatch spiders and remove their webs. Be thorough, since spiders may have laid eggs in their webs that will hatch sooner or later.

  • Pin spiders against the wall and press down with the stick.
  • Use a spinning motion to wrap the webs around the rag, leaving no shreds hanging.
Throw the bag away.  (I want to say DUH here, but that would sound snarky! Please we're gonna need some HUGE bags for these arachnids!) via WikiHOW
Throw the bag away. (I want to say DUH here, but that would sound snarky! hee hee. Plus we’re gonna need some HUGE bags for these arachnids!) via WikiHOW

Step 4
Throw the rag away. When the job is done, place the rag in a plastic bag, unwrap the tape, and slip it off. Tie the bag and throw it away. Repeat the whole process about every two months, or as often as necessary.

(Obviously this whole post is a joke, but the WikiHOW article is NOT!  I think the whole spider killing advice thing is hilarious!!)

BOO!  HAH!

Phiddippus clarus. Sam Droege via flickr
Phiddippus clarus. Sam Droege via flickr

Earworms

Heliotrop vua flickr creative commons by Don Burkett
heliotrope via flickr creative commons by Don Burkett

Old Tunes

As the waves of perfume, heliotrope, rose,
Float in the garden when no wind blows,
Come to us, go from us, whence no one knows;

So the old tunes float in my mind,
And go from me leaving no trace behind,
Like fragrance borne on the hush of the wind.

But in the instant the airs remain
I know the laughter and the pain
Of times that will not come again.

I try to catch at many a tune
Like petals of light fallen from the moon,
Broken and bright on a dark lagoon,

But they float away — for who can hold
Youth, or perfume or the moon’s gold?

Sara Teasdale
Moonlight on the Water, via flickr RobW_'s photostream aka Robert Wallace (creative commons)
Moonlight on the Water, via flickr RobW_’s photostream aka Robert Wallace (creative commons)

Who knew Sara Teasdale wrote a poem about earworms?

I love this poem just for its inherent beauty, but also because it highlights a common (nearly constant) problem I have:  songs stuck in my head.  

I nearly ALWAYS have some sort of music running through my mind.  I think this is why I don’t often have a radio playing even when I am home alone:  I already have a station going in my head!

 

image from ComposerBase dot com

This week my inner song cycle has been full of choral music because I recently accompanied a high school choir concert.  I frequently have a mix of Broadway tunes and classic rock going, too, though.  Throw in a few children’s songs (I taught elementary music and children’s choir for several years), a few hymns (church organist and choir director), a few pop tunes (60′ to 80’s era mostly) and random other items from my iPod — and, well, you get the idea.

My least favorite thing to get caught in my head is some operatic aria that I don’t even know the words for (usually in a foreign language to boot).  This is a job hazard when I accompany voice students for their lessons and recitals — and it happens frequently.

One day, I was wondering how many people have this constant stream of music in their heads so I recently used my Facebook status to ask what my friends had playing in their heads.  It was quite a mix, but not many people replied.

As I looked into this phenomena, I discovered Vicky Williamson — a psychologist who researches and collects earworms.  She said, “It’s an interesting everyday phenomenon. It happens to at least 90 percent of people once a week, [they] get a tune stuck in their head.”  If you are interested, you may read the whole article here:  Why That Song Gets Stuck in Your Head.

Other articles about this topic:

I’m curious:  What is playing In YOUR head?

(Journey is a frequent camper in my head)

Don't stop believin'
Don’t stop believin’

Beautiful Bodies (not what you think!)

As a follow-up to my other post, Mesmer-EYE-zed, I am sharing more of the beautiful macro photography of Sam Droege’s flickr photostream: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

This post features the bodies and wings I especially like in Sam’s images.  Click on any image in the mosaic to start a slide-show.

Mesmer-EYE-zed

Tabanus Fly, Sam Droege via flickr
Tabanus Fly, Sam Droege via flickr

Mesmerized:
transfixed, enchanted, spellbound, hypnotized, fascinated

I’m not usually fascinated by insects, bugs, creepy-crawlies, etc. But the images in the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab photo stream on Flickr by Sam Droege are indeed mesmer-EYE-zing.  (All are Creative Commons licensed, attribution)

I’m sharing a several of my favorites.  Check out Sam Droege’s photostream for hundreds more!

Augochlora regina, Sam Droege via flickr
Augochlora regina, Sam Droege via flickr
Megachile lanata, Sam Droege via flickr
Megachile lanata, Sam Droege via flickr
Tabanus atratus, Sam Droege via flickr
Tabanus atratus, Sam Droege via flickr
Anthophora bomboides, Sam Droege via flickr
Anthophora bomboides, Sam Droege via flickr
Augochlorella aurata, Sam Droege via flickr
Augochlorella aurata, Sam Droege via flickr
Sam Droege via flickr
Sam Droege via flickr
Exomalopsis analis, Sam Droege via flickr
Exomalopsis analis, Sam Droege via flickr
Bembix americana, Sam Droege via flickr
Bembix americana, Sam Droege via flickr
Habropoda laboriosa, Sam Droege via flickr
Habropoda laboriosa, Sam Droege via flickr
Chrysidid Wasp. Sam Droege via flickr
Chrysidid Wasp. Sam Droege via flickr
Bombus griseocollis, Sam Droege via flickr
Bombus griseocollis, Sam Droege via flickr
fly in air 3x detail, Sam Droege via flickr
fly in air 3x detail, Sam Droege via flickr
Chrysochus auratus, Sam Droege via flickr
Chrysochus auratus, Sam Droege via flickr
chlorion aerarium, Sam Droege via flickr
chlorion aerarium, Sam Droege via flickr
Bombus huntii, Sam Droege via flickr
Bombus huntii, Sam Droege via flickr
Yellow Jacket Mimic Fly, Sam Droege via flickr
Yellow Jacket Mimic Fly, Sam Droege via flickr
Phiddippus clarus. Sam Droege via flickr
Phiddippus clarus. Sam Droege via flickr