Saturday, November 12, 2011
I have the flu today and feel miserable. I skipped Body Pump, but did get in some practice time. I decided to be brave and record a piece of my practice session for my Music Maker's challenge to write one blog about music each month in March.
This is a falsetta from a (flamenco) Solea I am working on.
Neither the video nor the practice session are stellar, but I hope you enjoy a little window into my music practice. At least you can see how pretty my guitar is. I am so in love with it!
Friday, November 11, 2011
Dad did not grow up privileged. His generation lived through the Great Depression and suffered many hardships. He grew up the son of a factory worker (and carpenter), with eight siblings and four cousins sharing a small house. His father, who later became a loving grandfather, was overworked, stressed, and violently alcoholic, and his mother ruled with an iron hand. There were no music lessons, art lessons, luxuries of any kind.
Dad joined the army and went off to war right after graduation from high school. During transport, the train he was on was bombed. The men who survived the bombing were either captured, or shot trying to escape. He was put on an open jeep with other POWs, to be transported to prison camp. This was during a fierce thunderstorm and the men were hit by a bolt lightening. Three soldiers were killed outright, fortunately for me, my later-to-be father survived.
The survivors were taken to a German prison camp. The conditions there were not as desperate as conditions in concentration camps, but they were very desperate. Men starved to death, died of treatable medical conditions, and were reduced to using their helmets for urinals so they had enough to drink to stay hydrated. When released at the end of the war, my father was skin over bone, at 6 foot tall weighing less than 90 pounds. He had an untreated broken arm, and untreated gangrene on his toes which had frozen.
Dad felt unwelcome and alienated when he returned home. A POW's welcome was not a hero's welcome. He suffered from malnutrition, medical problems, and a life long post traumatic stress condition.
But Dad was Dad. He had both a sensitive soul and a determined soul. He went to art school, against the approval of his family, got married and moved to New York where he could pursue a career in art. He taught himself how to play guitar and played and sang with his friends, and later, to his children. After many years of struggling, working nights at Grand Central Station loading mail on trains, and painting in his studio during the day, he finally got a break. He took the test to join the Scenic Artist Union, and was able to leave his job loading mail and make scenery for Broadway plays, then for the movie industry.
The most valued gift my father gave me was the gift of stubborn optimism. If you are alive, there is hope. If you really want something, you can work hard to achieve it. Quitting is not an alternative. Hardship and adversity are not excuses, they are obstacles to be overcome.
Dad was honored for his sacrifices during WWII at a veteran's breakfast on a week before Veteran's Day, 2008. He died of brain cancer on Veteran's Day the following week.
Thank you Dad, I miss you.
And thank you to all of the Veteran's who have served our country.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
It has been a picture perfect November for the last two days, although it is due to change today and for the next few days. So, I have taken every opportunity to enjoy it.
Over the last number of years I have been concerned about the amount of time children spend inside, usually playing video games or watching TV. The time they spend outside is mostly with adult led organized activities; nothing wrong with that except that there is little time that children spend outside interacting with and exploring the natural environment and using 'playing' muscles.
As a child (living in New York City) I lived outside and the dirtier I got, the happier I was. Thank Heaven for parks!!!
Henry Street, Manhattan
Have Saw, Will Travel
Living on Houseboat in Oregon
This summer, I worked on bringing a curriculum to the class bringing more of the natural environment into our academic and physical activities. What better way to enliven children and increase their curiosity of their physical surrounding than combining art, science and PE with hiking and exploring.
What I really want to do is create an opportunity for children to enjoy challenging their muscles, and playing outside the way we did as children, to get dirty and experience the joy of being outside. I decided to make these photos black and white - a return to the time when children did this naturally.
The stepping stones were flooded so we had to cross the river on a log. I was so proud of one little boy who was terrified to balance in any way last year and took on this challenge without hesitation. And the children were amazed that this 61 year old teacher could skip across the log.
Trees are for ascending.
What better way to learn about sedimentary rocks and Ohio limestone than actually experiencing the sedimentary layers by climbing up them. We even found some fossils.
Then there are the igneous boulders, a gift from the glacier that made most of Ohio flat as a pancake. These are smooth and round and a bigger climbing challenge.
We are lucky to live at the terminal moraine so we have a more hilly terrain than much of Ohio.
One of the things I have noticed so far this school year, is that the children have now started spending more time outside on their own. Even on chilly days, they are eating their lunch outside and organizing playground games.
Do you have children or grandchildren? How are they getting to experience their outside environment? Are there ways you are encouraging living outdoors and being physically active? Feel free to share your ideas here; let's brainstorm some ways to get children outside and exploring.
Childhood is precious and fleeting, and our experiences from those years form much of who we become as adults.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
I had a great Body Pump workout this morning. It is such a wonderful way to start the weekend. True, it is hard to get up early and get going on a Saturday, especially after a long and busy week. Exercise is one of those things that I never really want to do on a physical level until I am actually doing it. Then I love it. So, I have to rely on the intellectual process to make myself get up early enough and actually go to my early morning Saturday class. I know in my brain that I will love it once the music starts, while my body just wants to stay snuggled under my blanket with a poodle on my feet.
Now I feel energized, happy from my workout, and ready to spend time working on other things.
I recently found these photos of the school where I teach. They were taken in the 1950's of a project the children wanted to take on. they decided to build a covered wagon.
That wagon got hauled around to parades, etc. for years.
Cool thing number 1: the children had an idea for a project and went for it.
Cool thing number 2: The wagon is still in the playground and very much loved 60 years later.
I love teaching in a school where children are free to come up with big ideas and empowered to follow through with them.
This is my school's 90th year, I hope it is still going strong 100 years from now.
Friday, November 04, 2011
I have to say, my students are excellent cooks. Today we tackled the yeast bread and made 6 loaves of parmesan bubble loaf, 6 loaves of challah, and 4 loaves of French bread. As much fun as they had making the sweet breads yesterday, they really love making yeast bread because they love kneading it and shaping it.
Rolling the dough for the challah.
Preparing the dough for the parmesan bubble loaf. Each of these gets rolled in garlic butter before adding them to the loaf pan.
The challah and the parmesan bubble loaf dough ready for their final rising.
Parmesan bubble loaf fresh out of the oven.
Tomorrow night is the Harvest Soup Supper. There is no way to know how many people will attend; hopefully we'll have enough bread. What we do have will be delicious!
I forgot to wear my step counter, darn it! I know I walked at least 10,000 steps today. My feet are telling me all about it.
I was totally exhausted by the end of the day, but happy to have a 'date' with my best friend. We have been so busy the last few weeks that we have not gotten together - not even to sing. This evening we went out to dinner together, then to a Bearfoot concert. Bearfoot is a singer/songwriter/bluegrassy-sort-of band, originally from Anchorage, Alaska. I heard about them from my sister in Fairbanks after my niece attended Bluegrass Camp with them. We had a fun time out and enjoyed getting some visiting time in.
When I got home, I went to tuck the chickens in and discovered a possum in the chicken feed bin. Well, Stella discovered it actually. I pulled it out with a shovel so I could close up the bin for the night. Poor Stella didn't know quite what to do with it. The possum bared its teeth at her, and Stella danced around and acted goofy. Then the possum wandered off and Stella came back in the house. She was very perplexed by the entire episode.
Now off to bed with me. I have to be up early to get to Body Pump tomorrow.
Get An Email Alert Each Time PUDLECRAZY Posts