Friday, August 30, 2013

it was a fortunate wind

I just about stepped on Bambi during my walk this morning.  We blinked at each other and she obliged me with a photo and we went on our way~marveling that the temperature is going up roughly one degree every five minutes.  As this is Football Kick-Off And Nothing Else Matters in Texas Weekend, our phones are shrieking heat alerts.

Re-reading Willard Spielgelman's excellent Seven Pleasures and found a resonating quote (by Elizabeth Bishop) for my current mind set and the sultry afternoons:  

'What one seems to want in art, 
in experiencing it, 
is the same thing that is necessary for its creation, 
a self-forgetful, 
perfectly useless, 

And speaking of books and writers, am sad to see that Seamus Heaney passed away.  Will close with some of his lines from The Cure at Troy:

Now it's high watermark
And floodtide in the heart
And time to go...
What's left to say?
Suspect too much sweet talk
But never close your mind.
It was a fortunate wind
That blew me here. I leave
Half-ready to believe
That a crippled trust might walk
And the half-true rhyme is love.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

when dragonflies dance

Felt a tickle on my nose while swimming this morning and just like last summer, when I opened my eyes, there was a blue dragonfly~just hanging out on his human lily pad.  Nice bit of magic in a week where it seems as the world has gone a bit bat-shit crazy.  From the pathos of the entertainment/music industry to the mongering of war, it has also been a good day to unplug from the news.

Enjoying the last gossamer days of summer 2013.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Was going to write a cheery little posting on my latest bribe on surviving a particularly tedious piano student and dealing with the student loan peeps.  However, have recently learned that one of my favorite and creative/energetic teachers was just diagnosed with two kinds of bone marrow cancer.  

This week has morphed into a heightened awareness of finding the minute joys in daily life and focusing on being the best teacher I know how to be.

Monday, August 26, 2013

mingle, merge, & mill

Have attended only one fair in my life and it was during my jr. high years in northern Minnesota, but something about these long summer nights just seem to call out for swooping through the skies and enjoying something deep fried.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Christmas in August

Truly don't remember the last time I was this delighted by food~just attended the 23rd Hot Sauce Festival

First there was the line for the reds~after about 30 of those, it was time for the greens.

After eight tables full of those, it was time to hit the specialty and vendor booths.  I lost count after tasting 60 kinds.  And only called it quits because there is only so much walking around a fair ground one can do when the temperature soars.  

But oh!  What a lovely festival.  I shall return.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

high summer holds the earth

(Rain on pavement on a 103 day yields a steamy, foggy drive)

This week of gorgeous sun and enormous heaps of clouds reminded me of a favorite poem/choral arrangement.  There are several arrangements, but the Barber is the first one I learned. 

'Sure on this shining night
Of star made shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.
The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night, I weep for wonder wand'ring far alone
Of shadows on the stars.'

 ~James Agee, "Permit Me Voyage" published 1934 by Yale University Press



Thursday, August 22, 2013

texture of the day

 'Little moments can have a feeling and a texture that is very real'.

~Ralph Fiennes

Close up of the pebbles in the walk on today's walk; generally there are lizards skittering across them.

Seeds for Bogart's special kitty grass/herbal mixture that we're growing. 

And as I just got three new flute students signed up today, decided it was time to dust off the silver keys and get the embouchure back in shape.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

joy combo

The new job provides two of my greatest pleasures~that of driving with the windows down in the evening and that of driving very fast.  I generally finish around 8 and the August twilights are just lovely.

And bonus points for working odd hours and not dealing with traffic!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

double bubble

A seatmate, on this recent trip, supplied the entire row with gum so that our ears could pop during take-off and landing.  I wasn't the only one a bit surprised that this coiffed and groomed lady whipped out bubble gum.  She informed us proudly that she was a grandmother and always had bubble gum in her pockets and purse.

Enjoyed the flavour of nostalgia so much that when I was lurking around the gift shops during an interminable layover, I bought my own pack.

I'll leave you with the advice to go and get a little packet of pink joy and, one of my favorite vocal warm-ups:

super bubble gum (54321)
super duper bubble gum (5544321)
super duper, double bubble (55443322)
super duper, double bubble (55443322)
super duper, double bubble gum (554433221)

Monday, August 19, 2013

still, life

To celebrate a school kicking off (and that it includes very little alarm clock action in my days), I tucked the remaining bits of Trader's dark chocolate into fresh dough and baked myself a nice little breakfast this morning.  I was busy watering my garden and didn't hear the timer, so they turned out a bit crispier than I had had planned.

As I've finally stopped trying to take photos of the moon~rising or otherwise~I ought to stop with trying to capture the morning light in my new place.  It's serene~we listen to the birds and cicadas and some rather freakishly large wasps as we (well, not so much the feline) drink our cuppa.  And I think~after 29 years of jobs~that I may have finally found a s'hedule that fits with my circadian rhythm!  It's truly lovely to have a slow morning and ease into the day.

We're still trying to figure out the basics of staying hydrated vs. having actual time to race to the restroom~as well as neutral, non-crunchy, non-refrigerated sorts of meals/snacks that can be consumed in the 30 seconds between lessons.  If I lived closer to my smallest nephew, I would be raiding his cupboard for those nifty squeeze meals.

To put it succinctly~this year is off to a mellow beginning.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

lickety split

One of the catchiest tunes I now know is Deep in the Heart of Texas and while I do know most of the verses, the main bit I hum is "the stars at night, are big and bright (clap, clap, clap), deep in the heart of Texas".  Have mentioned before how much I love finding stars all over town and this one is at a favorite cafe where I caught up with an alum for brunch.  After a jalapeno quesadilla, it was time to head to yet another ice cream venue.

This teensy store lived up to it's reputation.  Must go back to try more flavours.  Or, go when starving and have room for more than two scoops!  I had the Texas au Lait and Too Hot Chocolate this go round.

Even the cows like it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


While I prefer teaching voice lessons and conducting choirs, I am grateful for the piano students who help to fill my studio & budget.  But there are hours where I want to mash my head on the keys from the tedium of beginning players.

But then.  There is that moment when they get a little glow and something clicks for them~whether it's recognizing all the note names or getting the rhythms right.  That moment is rather marvelous.  And I feel lucky to be there when it occurs.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

quiet happys

Using my day off for marketing and laundry and trying to recreate a recipe I had on vacation.

 Very pleased that the quinoa sliders turned out fairly well for the first batch. 

And just because I'm not technically going back to school, doesn't mean that I can't have fun new school supplies for my new students.  A fun day to celebrate two months in my current abode.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Air travel is not so fun anymore.  I realize that's not a profound sentence, but after yesterday's hours spent in Chicago, that's pretty much all I've got.  Our flight kept getting delayed and certain passengers kept getting drunker and more belligerent.  (And I ran into students from the school where I just resigned~a little awkward).  We finally boarded and took off.  There were THREE babies that screeched.  The entire time.  Not just during the ear-popping take-off.  We all felt for their parents.  The darling behind me had his i-Pad.  Sans head phones.  Which he played at top volume for the entire flight.  My ride left her cell phone at home, so I wasn't sure she knew about the delays.

But she did show up~bless her heart~on a work night and drove me homewards.  Where we found that the gate code doesn't work at my place after midnight.  And my clicker was in my car.  So.  I had to climb the fences around the swimming pool.  In a skirt.  With my luggage.  To walk the last mile home.

And now I know why they gave me a cute little keychain flashlight when I signed the lease.  There are no lights in the parking lot.

But, I made it.  To find a very pampered Bogart and some very wilted plants.  And with my souvenir from the incredible antique place with which I've fallen in love~if there were a way to cram an armoire into my luggage, there would be one in my living room right now.  (The above is from the antique place's driveway--not my wilting garden).

Since the armoire wouldn't fit, I brought this motto home for this new year.

Those who know me are baffled by my rapid adaptation to Texan heat~had a good giggle at this road sign by my new studio this afternoon.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

some say

to never miss a sunset.  I say to never miss a carousel ride.  The 'phew did not care for the horses.

But could handle sitting on a gilded bench and watching the lights and the other riders wave to him.

I do not know why I'm enchanted with them~there's no childhood memory of a carousel (in fact, there's a dismal and depressing high school episode involving one) and the music is usually tinny and out-of-tune, but I love them.  And usually crave cotton candy after disembarking.

I think mayhaps on his next visit, he might enjoy it a bit more.

Picking out big boy sippy cups and a pin cushion for Mama.

 Showing me how they do laundry on the eastern coast.

Monday, August 12, 2013

nekkid cupcakes

 The quieter, family gathering was a bit more palatable for the cake tasting.

Plus, zero stress about messing up the nice party shirt.

How do you say yum?

And the other household feline had to test out the helium strength.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I revere my Grandma Dunston for so many reasons~one of which is that she elevated housekeeping to a loving act far ahead of Ms. Stewart.   One of the best parts of my childhood summers was the week I got to spend at her home.  She taught me how to embroider among many other household arts.

Her eldest daughter taught me how to thread a sewing machine and patiently guided me through many a skirt and calmly took me through millinery mishaps.  So, it was a poignant afternoon when my baby sister opened her first sewing machine and we began to figure it out.  Her first project (other than sewing a pillow case closed) is black out curtains for their eastern facing bedroom.

Meanwhile, Monkey Toes tried to fit through the cat door in the baby gate.

This little brainiac cracks me up with his daily patrol of all the baby-proofed items in the house.  He checks each/every cupboard methodically to see if they've magically opened during his nap.  Then it's a dishwasher and oven check, then a quick rattle of the nearest gate to see if someone left it ajar.

"If only..."