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Music Practice - A Video Blog

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!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 11/17/2011 12:39AM

    Wow - after seing that I am not sure if I will post my vlog of me playing ukulele and singing the song I wrote...

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MILLISMA 11/15/2011 9:21PM

    Well, I'm impressed. The guitar is gorgeous and so it the music!!!

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VALERIEMAHA 11/15/2011 6:53PM


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PUDLECRAZY 11/15/2011 6:32PM

    Thank you, my friends. I was very shy about posting this, I still haven't worked myself up to playing more than folk songs in front of people.

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MARY1313 11/15/2011 5:56PM

    Beautiful! The guitar speaks to my soul like no other instrument. thanks for sharing!!


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MCGS62 11/15/2011 3:47PM

    Yes!! you definately must post the entire piece when you are feelin well again!

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DDOORN 11/14/2011 10:08PM

    Lovely classical flamenco playing!

I had some basic classical lessons AGES ago, remember a few things. But mostly I still own my one & only guitar a Yamaha classical guitar. I tend to play a mixed bag of jazz, folk & pop...mostly self-taught. I've ALWAYS loved the mellow sound of the classical nylon-stringed guitar. Steel-strings just sound too tinny to me. Plus I LOVE Brasilian Bossa Nova and it really only "works" on the classical nylon-stringed guitar, IMHO.


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OLDERDANDRT 11/14/2011 9:38AM

    I don't play anything but piano ( and not even that for too long emoticon), but I love, love, love the sound of a guitar. From what I just heard here, I was mesmerized! You're doing quite well! Way back when I was young and I attempted (by myself) to learn guitar, I only learned a few chords. To even think of playing strings separately was something I figured I'd learn way in the future ( never did). I really admire you for pursuing instruction and learning so much!! It's a great stress buster to play music. Keep up the great work. Hope you feel better very soon!
It IS a beautiful instrument, too! emoticon

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TRULYVISIBLE 11/14/2011 5:16AM


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FIFIFRIZZLE 11/13/2011 9:36PM

    What a beautiful piece of music, it's WONDERFUL to be able to hear and see your work. Awesome!

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    Great, I was tapping my toes!
That was my house gowing up, 3 of 4 of us playing all the time. I miss it. I played for Lucas...he's has been in a music class since 4 months and is so fascinated with strings. He sits in your lap or stands next to you. I gave him his uke, which he revered for about 20 minutes, then it became a weapon. Kids. emoticon

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TISHTOES 11/13/2011 1:27AM

    Yes, beautiful! And I hope the music made you feel better.

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WATERMELLEN 11/13/2011 12:14AM

    What a treat! Thank you!! Loved it . . . and your generosity.

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DOR2BFIT 11/12/2011 8:26PM

    That was absolutely lovely!
Hope you feel better soon! emoticon

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IUHRYTR 11/12/2011 8:09PM

    This shows how peaceful music can be. emoticon -- Lou

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 11/12/2011 7:35PM

    Those lessons have been well worth your time. How very beautiful Chris and a treat for us.

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BADASSBLONDIE 11/12/2011 7:13PM

    That. Was. Beautiful. *hugs*Thank you for posting!

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ARLENE_MOVES 11/12/2011 6:43PM

    That was so nice. Thank you so much for sharing. You are very good, but you do look sick - hope you are feeling better by tomorrow!!

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Veteran's Day and a Tribute to My Dad

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 11/15/2011 5:54PM

    I was very upset to see a program about WWII, where the POW's were ashamed because they had been caught. OMG they are the biggest heros there are! RIP Soldier, a job well done.


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PATRICIAANN46 11/12/2011 10:50PM

  They truly were the Greatest Generation. My father was also in WWII. He was a radio operator on a Destroyer. Because of his skill re: the radio, he was also called for the Korean War. He was only 18 when he joined, as a lot of others were, and always told my brother and I not to take anything that we had for granted. He always encouraged us in whatever we wished to pursue. He was especially happy when I went into teaching, because he had always wanted to be a teacher.
He died in 2000 from prostate cancer and I miss him everyday.
Thank You so much for your very moving tribute. I'm afraid that I didn't make it through without shedding a few tears.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 11/12/2011 1:51PM

    Thank you for sharing a truly thoughtful and beautiful blog. And what a wonderful picture of your young father holding you.

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WORKINGSTIFF 11/12/2011 12:54PM

    What a beautiful tribute to your father.

My dad passed away last month. He too served during WWII, but unlike your father, mine didn't share very much of his experience...I believe as an African American man it was probably very difficult.

Thanks again!

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MAWRTIAN 11/12/2011 3:29AM

    Beautiful, thank you so much for sharing. He is someone to be proud of!

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DOR2BFIT 11/11/2011 8:54PM

    Very moving tribute to your dad. I often wonder about my father-in-law and his experience in WWII. He ended up taking his own life when my daughter was 3- he never spoke about what he went through, just toughed it out I guess.

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INFLATED 11/11/2011 6:25PM

    Thank you for posting about your Dad. I have never understood why "A POW's welcome was not a hero's welcome." I know many returning soldiers from Vietnam were treated poorly. I suggest that you print off a copy of your blog. Perhaps your children will one day look at it with pride.

My Dad was in World War II, he died the year after I enlisted in the Air Force. I thank you for the tribute you wrote about your father, it touched my heart.

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BADASSBLONDIE 11/11/2011 12:33PM

    "the gift of stubborn optimism" this is an absolutely beautiful phrase. Sometimes, I see short combinations of work that just really really strike me. This is one of them.

This is a really beautiful and touching blog. Thank you and thank you to your father.

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0309COOKIE 11/11/2011 12:20PM

    What a wonderful tribute to your dad. Thank you for sharing it.

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MCGS62 11/11/2011 9:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
That is a great portrait of how our POW's are treated and is in stark contrast to how we treat the prisoners we catch --- the country always owes a debt of gratitude to our guys and it is rarely shown
Thank you for remembering you fathers honor and achievements and sharing this with US

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GRUNCLE 11/11/2011 9:19AM

    What a wonderful tribute to your dad he would be honoured. I can just imagine how he was treated when he arrived back in the states. Thank you for honouring all the veterans today, as a Veteran myself I truly thank you for your story. I am trying to go to all veteran blogs today. It may take all day and well into the night to finish. Thank you again.


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    WWII dads are the best examples of heroes for me.
Carry on the legacy!

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WATERMELLEN 11/11/2011 8:03AM

    Stubborn optimism -- a willed stance well worth emulating.

Thanks, Chris, for this very touching memorial to your dad.

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CORINNEMOMMY 11/11/2011 6:56AM

    Great, great blog! I shared it on my FB. My grandpa was in WWII. He never talked about it He passed away in 1995. It is amazing what our veterans have done. They are truly amazing people!!! We owe our freedom to people like your Dad and my Grandpa.

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Childhood and Living Outdoors

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

Climbing Trees

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CORINNEMOMMY 11/13/2011 6:28AM

    My parents have a huge farm in Ohio. Near Black Hand Gorge. So those pics of the igneous boulders are my life:-).

We live on a main artery in Westerville Ohio. I could just drive everywhere because the speed limit is 35mph.. and of course ppl go faster, but I hate wasting the gas and I love having my kids bike everywhere:-) I love the B&W pics and I share your view on the outdoors and kids. It is just concerning.

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WORKINGSTIFF 11/10/2011 10:31PM

    Loved the pix!

You must live in Southeastern Ohio if you're climbing up and down such rock formations.

My childhood (small town Ohio) included a lot of time outdoors--climbing, crossing creeks, looking for water-striders, biking, you name it.

My own "city born" children, not as much, but I always encouraged them to go outside and get dirty...

Even now at 51 I like to be outdoors so I can feel the wind or the sun on my face. My sister lives in an apartment building with no balcony. I don't know how she stands being cooped up in a box!

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MARY1313 11/10/2011 12:53PM

    P.S. wow your little face hasn't changed much over the years!

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MARY1313 11/10/2011 12:52PM

    I was constantly outside as a kid, having a great time in our little patch of woods and the creek that ran behind our house. We learned so many things in those woods from a brother that was 5 years older. What he didn't know, he would go to the library and find out. He would weave stores for us under the trees about the creatures of the little forest we had. We caught things and learned about them and then set them free. We learned about which plants were edible and which ones weren't. It was a magical time for me.

I did the same things with my kids, the free stuff, the sunrises and sunsets, the state parks, the camping and hiking, the learning. Out in the woods at night camping, I read the entire works of Edgar Allen Poe to them, and we all loved it. I played my guitar and we sang around the campfire. I miss it!

now my Grandys? Not so much. I know my son did the same things I did with his sort of, but I don't think my daughter did a lot of it.


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WATERMELLEN 11/9/2011 10:22PM

    Love this blog. I love to be outside and had a childhood much like yours. So it's not surprising I spent lots of time outside with my kids every day when they were small -- and my idea of a good time was a walk in the woods or to a swamp. (All free, incidentally . . . never ever got to Disneyworld or any of the big theme parks!!) At three my daughter knew a tamarack from a spruce, and a cedar waxwing from a cardinal. Both kids rolled their eyes about these dumb activities as teens, of course . . . but it amuses me that as young adults, they report back on their hiking activities: daughter in Australia, son in far north western Ontario, far from home and still carrying on!!

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PUDLECRAZY 11/9/2011 2:49PM

    Scooter responded with an excellent blog of her own. Here the URL to her page:


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AMDISC 11/9/2011 1:21PM

    I wish you had been my teacher! I loved to be outside when I was a kid, and I was fascinated by rocks, plants, and bugs. I lost that a bit, growing up, since I spent so much of my time indoors as school went on. Great pictures!

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LMB-ESQ 11/9/2011 11:57AM

    Oh boy... I know what you mean! I was ALWAYS outside as a kid, the more dirt the better! Weather didn't matter either. Cold? We got snowy! Wet? We got muddy! It was great! My kids grew up before video games got super popular, although they were definitely on the rise. Kids now... Dunno... I want to take them all and throw them out the door! They don't know what they're missing. Kudos to you for trying to bring some of that back into their lives. You are teaching them about their world in a way that is so much more valuable than learning it out of books! emoticon

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SCOOTER4263 11/9/2011 10:52AM

    I started to reply, but as usual my comment got longer than your blog, so it's over on my page as a separate blog.

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DDOORN 11/9/2011 9:16AM

    Wonderful to re-create the joys of your childhood for your own children!

Growing up on the south side of Chicago I have fond memories of the freedom we used to enjoy growing up back in the 60's. Visiting the park was a routine thing for us. Riding our bicycles throughout the neighborhood. All of this we were able to enjoy independently. No parents or supervision required.

But that was then. And now? Of course it's not safe for children to do such things. What we've lost over the years!

At least you are doing your part to reinvent similar joys for your children. They will just SO treasure these times for the rest of their lives!


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MCGS62 11/9/2011 9:16AM

    I like the nostalgic feel of black and white photos.
the black and white seems to convey texture better and the absence of color leaves the mind enough room for imagination.
nicely done!

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TRULYVISIBLE 11/9/2011 9:16AM

  I really enjoyed the black and white pictures. You in the tree as a child is adorable. What a cute kid you were! As I always said, you are an amazing teacher and the kids are so lucky to have you. My two nieces and nephew are still in grammar school and go to a private school in the city and I don't even think they have an outside area sadly. Their exercise is indoors. The girls have yoga and dance and the boy has indoor sports. Kids learn a lot about exploring outside on their own. It teaches them to think independently and problem solve in situations. It is not just about fresh air.

I had the family over and I live on 3/4 acres with oak tress and hills. I gave the kids a scavenger hunt on the property. They had to run around and find the clues and then identify certain flowers, trees and pictures of wild life I see here at night and I put the pictures around the property. They were allowed to use their tech devices to google and help identify these things. They got a prize at the end if they identified everything. They really enjoyed getting dirty, exploring and running around. I enjoyed seeing them in their natural environment, outside!

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JENNLRC 11/9/2011 8:16AM

    I love this. Why weren't you a teacher here! I think I can remember maybe three times that we had a class outside. I miss all that exploring and rooting around unafraid of dirt and mess on my clothes.
Great Blog, love the pictures.

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Exercise and Covered Wagon

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BADASSBLONDIE 11/7/2011 1:43PM

    Love love love love loveeee your school. :D And every time you go to body pump, it makes me want to get my butt in gear and go too.


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MARY1313 11/7/2011 12:12PM

    WOW! that is awesome! this school must be a one of a kind!


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GOLIGHTLY344 11/7/2011 12:02AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MCGS62 11/6/2011 12:31PM

    wow!! thats one heck of a prodject!

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DDOORN 11/6/2011 10:03AM

    What an awesome school!

Why can't we be drawn to our workouts the way our nose will draw us to the bakery...? :-)


PS: Thx for stopping by my blog...heading out with the bike club today...woo hoo!

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WATERMELLEN 11/5/2011 9:07PM

    I'm with you about exercise -- never want to do it until I've done it (after acquired motivation every time).

And: love to think that your wonderful school has been around so long making children's lives better!

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/5/2011 8:30PM

    Wow, how cool. What amazing pictures . . . then and now. If the walls could talk in your school . . . what stories they would tell.

Loved this blog . . . have a great weekend.

as always, Jan emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANJELIA1968 11/5/2011 5:10PM

    Love this blog, but then I always seem to enjoy what you write! You are so blessed to have a job where you find joy and fulfillment, and they are blessed to have a teacher who is committed to the children.
Keep up the good work of following your intellect and doing what needs done even when you don't want to. You're right, once you get into it, you'll find the fun! As a wise person once said, Fake it until you Make it!
Have a great weekend!!!

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CITYZOZO 11/5/2011 11:52AM

    such a cool blog.. i love the part about intellectually getting yourself up. then physically following through..yes!

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SUNRIZING 11/5/2011 11:40AM

    This was a really cool blog! emoticon

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Bread Day 2, A Concert, and a Possum

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.


French bread

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.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 11/7/2011 12:03PM

    Wow the bread is beautiful and I'm sure very good!

Thanks for sharing. I wish I could have seen Stella! LOL


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FIFIFRIZZLE 11/6/2011 4:27AM

    The bread looks beautiful, especially the bubble bread. It reminded me of when we used to get fresh bread delivered in a bin we put at the letter box. A white loaf, with a kissing crust. My job was to get the bread in the morning and my reward was to eat the kissing crust, still warm.
Thank you for the memory, Pudle.

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ANJELIA1968 11/5/2011 5:13PM

    Good luck at your Harvest Supper tonight. Hope there is enough bread! I know it is full of carbs and calories, but MY GOSH! It looks so yummy!

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CHALLENGER15 11/5/2011 3:38AM

    I still can't quite get over students making bread! So many young people cannot cook...and those loaves look so yummy!

Have a great weekend!

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0309COOKIE 11/4/2011 11:45PM

    All of those yeastbreads look wonderful, each and every one!

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TISHTOES 11/4/2011 11:31PM

    Good for you for going to a concert even though tired! Your students ARE talented, they bake bread and "bake music" too.

Never a dull moment. A possum! You are brave to deal with it.



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