Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Music Nugget 13/ Best Late Than Never

       A couple of weeks ago  my brain replayed the melting scene from The Wizard of Oz and the wicked witch said to me, "How about a little Don Juan, Scarecrow?!".  Oh my...   In a couple of weeks I will be rehearsing Don Juan, an orchestral tone poem by Richard Strauss, with Kenosha Symphony.  It's difficult.  Very difficult.  Don Juan is one of the pieces on my list of works that I never really get right.  I have a "thing about it";  I've always struggled with parts of it.  And it is often on audition lists.  Ugh.
     During my viola lessons (see Viola Rehab post) I worked on this piece and made considerable progress.  I have been applying what I learned as I brush it up and I am pleased.  One of my discoveries is that some of the technical challenges are solved by simply moving my fingers a bit faster than I think they should go.  Violas tend to speak late, and I have heard conductors say "anticipate the beat".  But nobody ever said how.  Until my latest teacher.  Or else I never listened until recently.  In any case, I am discovering that my bow arm is not the fingers are. So I practice both physically and mentally; I will them to move faster.  It takes a lot of focusing, but it is worth it.  It is working, even at my advanced age (which is censored).
     What a gift to experience in the autumn of life.  Leaves are falling (hair, in my case) and soon it will be winter....but I'm going out in a bang!  I never would have guessed that I would conquer Don Juan at my age.  This is really cool.....sore muscles and all!  I am a gray tiger!! 
     Yes, old dogs can learn new tricks.  Sometimes the best is saved until last.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday 12/ Childhood Flowers

     I love flowers.  My post today is a list of flowers from my childhood and memories evoked by them.  Maybe you will remember a few of your own.

1.   Peonies at Nana's house.  She had a row of these along one edge of her backyard and I loved opening the seed pods and looking for the pea-like seeds inside.
2.   Hollyhocks alongside the west side of Nana's house and the south side of one of my homes. The flowers made great ballerinas.
3.   Violets under the edge of Nana's backporch.  It was fun to braid the stems.
4.    Pink surprise lillies at Grandma's house along the driveway (my other grandmother).  They were SO pretty.  She loved pink, and more pink flowers lined the backyard.
5.   Grandma grew zinnias in Grandpa's huge vegetable garden in the empty lot next to their home.  They were very colorful.
6.   Tulips at my first home, a duplex owned by great aunt.  She enjoyed gardening and had many flowers along the edge of the backyard.  I remember a purple clematis and tulips.  I fed dirt to the latter and apparently had conversations with them.
7.   My mother grew roses.  I remember that one was Tropicana, a pretty coral colored rose.  She would dust them regularly.
      Blue forget-me-knots grew by the backdoor, near places I often looked for a preying mantis and/or cocoon.  A cocoon hatched in the house one time.  Yes, there were zillions of tiny,baby preying manti all over our breakfast area.  I was in big trouble.
8.   We had a snowball bush, too.  It was very pretty!  I loved the big white flower balls.  In contrast, there was also a white spirea which I thought was kind of yucky.  It was messy and did not smell nice.
9.   My mother always bought an Easter lilly.  Sometimes she grew pink surprise lillies like my grandmother.  I loved watching them pop up unexpectedly in August, as I recall.
10. Pansies.  My mother and Aunt Hoto grew pansies in planters.  I LOVE pansies.  The first poem I memorized in school was a poem about pansies.  I probably talked to them, too.  Afterall, they actually had faces.
11.  We had lilacs at one of our homes.  Oh, they were gorgeous!  Our first dog, a black scottie, had been mistreated before we got her and she hid under the lilac bushes during her early days with us.
12.  Old-fashioned dark pink climbing roses at the same home as the lilacs.  They bloomed once in early summer.  They smelled really good.  I loved those roses!
13.  Phlox at Nana's house.  I made lots of chains with these.  Some posies make great toys!
14.  Impatiens in hanging pots at the lake.  My grandmother and aunts always had a few of these at their cottage, on the front porch and by the backdoor.  I remember my Aunt P painting a porch scene, with geraniums, I think.  A bright and cheerful oil painting.
15.  My aunt P  painted a beautiful sunburst of marigolds which hung above the living room couch in their regular home.  When I recall that room I always see that first.  It glows in my imagination.
16.  Petunias.  I remember these  because I never liked them.  I appreciate them now.....that's about it.
17.  Flowering trees.  My parents grew a raintree by one of their homes.  I remember giving my mother a flowering crabapple for Mother's Day one year.  At one home we had two flowering plum trees which yielded yummy plums.  We ate lots of these straight from the tree.
18.  Redbud trees in Indiana.  The best!!  Oh, how I loved those trees!  I remember taking nature hikes and learning about all the  I particualrly remember learning about the heart shaped leaves of the redbud, which appear after the flowers bloom.  Hmmmm..I seem to remember finding a walking stick insect on a redbud branch.
19.  Gardenia Plants.  My dad sometimes gave one to my mother for a special occasion.
20.  Iris.  My mother loved iris.  We always had some of these.
21.  My mother's sister had a long porch planter filled with lillies of the valley.  They smelled yummy!  Her favorite flower was the gladiola.  My mother did not like gladiolas...typical of their relationship.
22.  Waltz of the Flowers from Tschaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite.  I loved to twirl around to this, over and over.  A childhood favorite.  What did you dance to?!
    Well, I suppose that is enough.  Getting pretty boring, and I am tired!!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekly Music Nugget 12/ Practice Tip

     Lots of practicing this week so I will leave a practice tip.  When repeating a passage of music for the purpose of perfecting it, focus on very short sections at a time.  For example, if you have a problem with a two bar passage, figure out the specific problems and only practice the notes involved.  The problem might only involve two notes, so begin by playing only those two notes instead of repeating the entire passage over and over.  Playing something repeatedly with no specific purpose wastes time; playing something that is already learned might waste time (sometimes it needs to be played through...just be sure you know what the goal is ).  This process reduces mindless playing and wasted time.  Productive practicing is focused; it's work!

Friday, April 15, 2011


My weekly music nugget will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday 11/ Bag Therapy

     My new sewing area is so has lots of light!  It is so pleasant to work here.
     The room is also my office, so my computer is nearby.  I listen to classical music radio stations while I sew.  I love it!  I only had access to a small TV in my old sewing area and I find that it is much nicer to listen to music.  I am really enjoying the radio because I get a variety of music without having to change CDs and listen to ones I have heard before.  This is bringing back memories of listening to music for classes, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed doing that.  Great exercise for my brain and ears.
     My handwork is slow now because I am enjoying my sewing machine so much.  I seem to be "hooked " on bags.  It is therapeutic.
     Below is my new favorite.  French seams inside again......I love the lack of any loose threads.  A French seam is really a double seam, the first of which is a 1/4" seam sewn on the outside of the garment (bag).  Counter-intuitive.  Next the bag is turned inside out and seams are pressed.  A wider seam is sewn on the inside, enclosing the first seam.  Turn right side out again and press.  Voila'.  Works best on light-weight cloth because of the layers.
     I love the way the opening of my hanging bag looks like a flower.  I am going to find a way to play this up.....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What Is It?

     While walking along the parkway yesterday I spotted what appeared to be a dead bird straight ahead on the road.  It was black and the tip of a wing was visible.  I prepared to move away so our dog would not be sniffing it.  As I got closer I realized it was not a bird but a black glove with one finger sticking up.
     I was sure I had seen a dead bird and took appropriate action.  How often do we perceive something a particular way, take action, and later find out our understanding was false?!   Sometimes we never get close enough to find out our perspective is skewed; we never really inspect, research and/or study what we think we know.   Occasionally we refuse to see the truth, even when it is in plain sight.  We just don't "get it", so to speak.
     False beliefs can get us in trouble.  For example, believing a lie about another person can result in forming a false judgment about him or her, and spreading it compounds the problem.  Jumping to conclusions about what another person is like when you have not had or taken the opportunity to know him/her is another way perspective gets skewed.  Believing a health myth might damage us physically or lead us to refuse helpful treatment.  False spiritual beliefs can deprive us and others of joy and happiness.  This list could go on and on.
     The older I get the more important I think it is to keep an open mind.  It is very difficult to do sometimes, but it can lead to a clearer picture of truth, or how things really are.  We just might learn something new!
     A lot of philosophizing from a glove....and there is more to ponder!



Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekly Music Nugget 11/ Healing

     Several years ago I discovered that the oboe solo which opens the slow movement of the Brahms' Violin Concerto was very soothing to me.  It also relieved nausea!
     Music can help us feel better and even heal us, physically and emotionally.  Today I am sharing a link  about the healing power of music.   Pretty powerful stuff....just be careful what you listen to!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dashees Garden Tuesday 10/ Bag and Patch

     I finally have a sewing area again and I have been making a lined drawstring bag.  I love the blue polished cotton I used for it.  I have been practicing French seams.   I made them when sewing this bag; they can be seen in pic of the inside  (all blue).  They look so neat!
     I have been playing with 2 inch square stash....decided to sew and embroider some  nine patch  pocket prayers. I have seen them on other blogs.  This one still isn't done yet.   It is fun!



Sunday, April 3, 2011

On the Dock

     My sister called me last week to chat.  We talked about the death of Elizabeth Taylor and reminisced about summer visits to the lake. During our teens Elizabeth was part of our lives each summer. Our Aunt P walked with us to a little lake store and bought us movie magazines.  These were not the sensational rag magazines of today; nevertheless, they were racy for the time (early-mid 60s) and our mother did not allow us to get them at home.  We got caught up on the latest news about the stars, including Ms Taylor, who was one of our favorites.
     Those magazines were a fond indulgence.  Each morning we lay in bed and read them.  Each sunny afternoon we went swimming  followed by sunbathing on the dock with them or a book.  I think they were well worn by the time we returned home.
     Monday I threw my back out while moving and sorting.  It was a busy, stressful March and I suppose I did too much lifting and bending.  My back said "ENOUGH!!".  All of this meant it was time to take a breather, so I got back to some handwork/sewing projects and rested with lunch in front of an occasional Netflix movie.  Another fond indulgence.  I've been on the dock, so to speak.
     It occurred to me that each of the three movies I saw is about healing.  I have been pondering this topic.  This weekend is a semi-annual world conference for the church I attend (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); that means we have no church services but listen to messages from church leaders in Salt Lake City via satellite, cable or internet.  There are five sessions over Saturday and Sunday. The timing was perfect for getting counsel about healing, and I prayed for such.
     I have not been disappointed.  A beautiful message about healing was presented in the opening session .  It was comforting to have an answer to my little prayer, and so early in the conference!  I was reminded that the ultimate answer to healing is Christ.  His life was about healing; healing of any kind, spiritual, emotional or physical.
     There is much for me to ponder and study, and maybe I will get more info today....I will soon be back at the dock................and not with movie mags.........



Friday, April 1, 2011

Weekly Music Nugget 10/ Silliness

     While moving books recently I saw one of my favorite songbooks for children.  The name is Rhinoceros Tap.  Sandra Boynton co-wrote the songs with Michael Ford; Sandra did all of the lyrics and pictures.  It was published in 1996 and at that time was accompanied by a cassette tape recording of all the songs.
     When I was a graduate student in the early 80's I discovered Sandra Boynton's greeting cards.  I loved them!  They are very funny and charming.  If you are not familiar with her work, go to her website
     When I found her book of songs I had to have it.  I was not disappointed!  Inside is a multitude of her humorous drawings and some cute songs.  Some of the latter are VERY silly.....such as The Crabby Song (sung by crabby pirates), O, Lonely Peas, and Tickle Time (my favorite).
     She has written more songbooks, the latest being Blue Moo in 2008.  Samples of all songs can be heard at her website.  Click on Nifty Music, found in the green column on the left.
     If I had it to do over again I would buy Dog Train.  This one has some very funny stuff, such as Thus Quacked Zarathustra and Cow Planet.  I highly recommend these if you are tired and slap happy..........ha ha ha!!!
     If you are a Sandra Boynton fan, check out these books.

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.