Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day

"Climb every mountain", the niece embraces this motto in whatever form she finds it!

Had about 10 minutes to myself this afternoon and was lucky enough to spend them sitting in this courtyard~waiting for colleagues to show up to prep the food truck for our Mobile Loaves and Fishes day.

Another cool mosaic in the same courtyard.

Early Easter gift from the sis~I am SO taking this to staff meeting tomorrow morning.  We're having our Tall Tuesday schedule, which means we have meetings from 7:30-10:30 and then!  Get to teach a full day.  And then, run Wonka rehearsals.  The arrival of this cup was perfectly timed.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Finally made it to Compline at St. David's~a lovely contemplative way to kick off a new week.  We're kicking off both a new calendar month and the final trimester of the year this week.  And I know that it will be May in what will feel like a couple of blinks~here comes the fastest time of the school year!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

the baking gods

Gifted me with this today~paging through my cookbooks to decide on how best to use this treasure!

Friday, February 26, 2016

more delights

One of the founders of the school brings around a party cart about once a month~this morning she was outside my door with goodies.  All I wanted was one of the fun paper straws, but she insisted that I needed something to go with said straw.  Shall we just say that with the hit of sugar/caffeine that the songs were zippy in Chapel this morning?? 

Actually was home while it was light enough for one of my beloved lake walks.

Gorgeous twilight~and now I need to go re-read Jane Kenyon's Let Evening Come.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

sweetness, smushed

One of my cute little piano students came flying across the dining hall today~distraught that she had forgotten to give me my Valentine at the proper time.  Thank gawd that Peeps are indestructible and one cannot even tell this had been at the bottom of her backpack for the past ten days.

I told her that I would float it in my morning coffee~she was a bit disappointed that I didn't put it in the mug that I was carrying, but then she agreed that marshmallows in tea didn't sound like a good idea.

It is the small things.  Truly.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

wrapping up

the end of the trimester...still not fond of teaching the year in segments of three (I prefer a full year term or two semesters), but am learning to fit a year's worth of curriculum into 12 weeks.

One of the seminars I took in grad school was in a Brazilian method of teaching rhythm.  

I first tried teaching it last spring~each class gets a little bit better (and I've STILL no way of writing it out in our bureaucratic forms for curriculum.)

But!  My kids are having SO much fun and they're collaborating and stomping and clapping and laughing for a full 50 minutes.  That, to me, is successful education.

Friday, February 19, 2016

anything worth doing...

Been awhile since I did the Poetry Friday thing, but this poem was one of the Writer's Almanac selections this week and when I find myself re-reading something, I like to share. 

Happy Friday!

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

"Failing and Flying" by Jack Gilbert from Refusing Heaven. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

googly glitter

Brightened my mail box over the weekend~thank y'all!

The cover to my rehearsal binder~we kicked off the first rehearsal by having the entire cast read/sing through the entire show.  Sent them home a little shell-shocked, but highly motivated to dig into the show.  (And if there is a more irritating ear worm than the tune of the bloody Oompa-Loompas, I do not ever want to hear it.)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Moreau memories

Honors Choir in Salzburg

This may be the oddest Valentine blog, but I just found out that a former student passed away a couple of weeks ago.  Both Erwin and his sister, Sherilyn, were in:  jazz, Campus Ministry, men/women's, regular choirs.  It was a delight to watch them graduate from uni and launch into their adult lives.   And now, this?

Erwin and Sam hearing Gershwin in NYC

Not much to say~simply sitting and remembering some joyful days/concerts.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Yes, it's 80-something-freakish-degrees here, but I was sent some VD monies for cheesecake and I realized that it's been far too long since I've turned on my oven.  And now that peace has returned with the kitchen plumbing, it seemed a good way to celebrate a working kitchen.  And I still had Christmas chocolate bars in the drawer~what is wrong with that picture?

Baking is, for me, a therapeutic and creative way of dealing with the world and/or the week.  I have such blissful childhood memories of baking with Grandma Dunston, and pulling out some of her utensils and pans reconnects me with that heritage.

This project had an added bonus as we're dealing with the usual backlash of posting a cast list~angry parents and sad parents and passive-aggressive parents~all clearly telling us how we are failures as teachers/artists. So, it seemed a good time to vigorously chop some chocolate and enjoy the scent of it melting.

And while I know that baking can be reduced to basic chemistry, I find the manner in which basic ingredients come together to be magical.

Genuuuwine vanilla from Grenada.

Finished products, cooling and awaiting dollops/dousings of whipped cream.  (I texted some photographic proof to colleagues so that I don't eat them all over the next two days.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

flavors of childhood

Was thrilled to find this in a drawer last night~stashed away from my SF trip last August. Some of my earliest memories include the Lunar Parade in SF's Chinatown, egg flower soup, and this enchanting candy that had a rice paper wrapping that melted like magic.  

My dentist will be equally as thrilled that I found it at 9 p.m. and ate half the box.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

words, kind

It's that time in the rhythm of the school year when things can kind of slump.  Decided it was time to do a choir project~so we created bracelets.  The idea is to go around the circle and to put a bead in a cup that triggers some association with the one person.  By the time the cup goes all the way around, the person has the makings of a bracelet and hopefully, some unexpected and hope-giving words.

I've done this a few times~usually in a retreat setting and with high school students, so wasn't sure how it would go.  It turned out to be moving and funny and all of them were excitedly wearing their beads as they left class today.

A great way to use beads on this 2016 Mardi Gras!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Gung Hay Fat Choy

The Year of the Monkey commences today~celebrated with some spicy take-away for dinner, after three hours of Wonka auditions.  I was ever so pleased that when I said the title phrase to our two Mandarin teachers today, they both exclaimed "Oh! You have an SF accent."  Guess my years of Texas living haven't decimated what they told me is a primarily Hong Kong accent.

Cheeky little monkey~my latest painting project.  Hopefully the words actually say "Year of the Monkey" and not something vulgar.  At any rate, painting him was a fun project and brought joy to my painting cohorts last week.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

the wrung, irrational soul

(gorgeous cardinal seen on today's walk.  Yes, I do need National Geographic level photos of the beautiful stuff I see.  But for now?  My phone will suffice.)

In space
(the experiment
suggested by two fifth graders),
a Canadian astronaut
wrings water out of a towel.
It stays by the towel,
transparent isinglass,
a hyaline column.
Then begins to cover his hands,
his wrists,
stays on them
until he passes it to another towel.
On earth
some who watch this
recognize the wrung, irrational soul.
How it does not leave
but stays close,
outside the cleaning twist-fate but close—
fear       desire       anger
joy       irritation
wet stuff
that is shining, that cannot go from us,
having nowhere other to fall.

"In Space" by Jane Hirshfield from The Beauty. © Knopf, 2015.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Who knew such cleverness existed?  Last week, a student was opening her bday loot during my class and I discovered such a thing as scented nail polish.  I immediately went on-line to see if it existed in chocolate form...

Ready for the world of Oompa-Loompas now!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

wish upon a star

This was the Writer's Almanac offering today~love when one stumbles upon something articulated well.

What Love Cannot Do

It cannot save itself when it expires
like a tire’s slow leak. It cannot bring back
the greediness of youth
                                           mouth on mouth,
                                           skin on skin, that gnawing,
                                           that longing you carried
until the next time
and then there is no next time.
You never see it coming but always see it leaving.
It waits by the door, bags packed,
full of stones from your life.
                                           What it can do is mark
the distance between Point A and Point B,
which feels like a galaxy,
                                           every star you ever wished upon
                                           imploding before your eyes.

"What Love Cannot Do" by January Gill O'Neil from Misery Islands. © Cavan Kerry Press, 2014.