Archive for June, 2014

As a kid, we moved a lot. Sometimes there were professional movers, but mostly it was us and whoever was around to help. All those times, our nearly-century-old upright piano came, too. One time it was moved on a horse float, and another I clearly remember Mum and her brother letting it down the steep slope at the side of our house on a block and tackle. Pianos, in short, are a pain in the proverbial if you move house at all, much less semi frequently.

One of the best things invented, though, is the electric piano. The keys are weighted, so it feels like a piano to play, and with headphones, I can make it sounds like I’m playing in a huge room with fabulous echoey reverb (even though I’m sitting in my very Midwestern, dark wood paneled spare room that is definitely not Carnegie Hall). It never needs tuning, I can move it by myself, and it fits in the car…. win! I’m glad I bought it.


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Today was the birthday of a good friend, and her daughters and husband conspired to throw her a surprise birthday party this afternoon. It’s been a very long week, with another especially busy week coming up, so Husband, Daughter and I were all feeling a bit worn thin, but it was a lovely afternoon spent among friends. We ate leisurely on the back covered porch, soaking in the laziness of a summer Sunday afternoon, a welcome respite from everything else going on. We are blessed to have the friends we do.

I am tired, and not overflowing with words this evening, and in any case have always liked Kahlil Gibran’s poetry (even if it has been loved to death).

And a youth said, “Speak to us of Friendship.”
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

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Today I got to participate in an outdoor yoga class.

I’ve been doing yoga off and on for the last 27 years, starting when it was first offered in my (public) high school. It was taught by a swami in saffron robes, and required a specific parent-signed permission slip promising that there was absolutely no religious content involved. Not being known for my athletic prowess (I loathed phys ed, and especially the dodgeball-loving teacher who would put Sue Sylvester to shame), yoga was the one “sport” I actually liked… and got any kind of sporting award in. The day I got said award, I was staring off into space with a glazed expression and fantasizing about something incredibly nerdy and music related during the phys ed  portion of the weekly school assembly, and heard my name repeated three times before finally stumbling up to the stage to claim my piece of paper, aghast that anything physical I had done had garnered any attention at all.

I had to evict a tiny frog from under my mat before starting the class, capturing his squirming and tickling body in my hands, lest I squash him or her unintentionally with an overzealous downfaced dog. I was also visited by curious giant ants during the class as well, brushing them off my hands (where they had decided to start their exploration of this giant invading their grassy home) by running the backs of my hands over the pointy blades of grass. By far the highlight, though, was the shavasana at the end, having an excuse to simply lie on the ground gazing up at the leaves and branches of the oak tree that sheltered us, watching them sway and rustle in the breeze that passed by. I have no idea why we feel like there needs to be an excuse for lying on the grass, looking up at the trees and sky, but after today, I think I need to do more of it.

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It’s most likely all placebo effect, but I am quite convinced that tea is magical. I come from a long line of tea drinkers, where the immediate solution to any upset, start and ending of a day, or the winding down after a long sing, is a cup of hot tea, regardless of whether the temperature outside is soaring. Woe betide the person who says, “No, thank you,” to an offered cup of tea in my family… you’ll be given one, anyway, and most of the time we’ll forget that you don’t take milk in it, or that you’d prefer sugar. Tea is black, never green, and brewed strong, tempered with a dash of milk, and if you’re doing things absolutely correctly, brewed in a pot with the milk added to the cup first. We take our tea seriously.

Tea heals. Tea fixes. Tea soothes. It always tastes different – better -out of a mug compared to a paper cup. I know I am home when I’ve got an afternoon cup of tea warming my hand and my feet on the coffee table, shoulders starting to come down from around my ears and headache subsiding. Tea connects me with my family on the other side of this great blue marble in the sky, almost as much as music does. Tea is magical.

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I suppose it’s an evolutionary adaptation that humans, collectively speaking, fear darkness. We are at our most vulnerable when we sleep, and our eyes not well suited to seeing well in the dark. What used to be the nighttime ritual of gathering around a fire has now become solitary sitting in boxes bathed in artificial light. We are missing a great source of restoration and happiness when we forget where we’ve come from.

The summer night is rich with sound (at least if you aren’t in the city), unrestrained by the constant hum of busy streets and daytime ritual. From our back porch, crickets sing, owls “who-cooks-for-yhoo” back and forth between branches of the oaks, and small creatures snuffle. A few deep, lingering breaths on the back steps before returning to the box are enough to at least be a reminder of our birthright.

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In this technological age we have bards, jesters and all manner of entertainers at our proverbial fingertips. I have to say, though, that my favorite part of my medieval/Society for Creative Anachronism days was not (funnily enough) the sitting around watching people beat each other with foam covered swords, but the evenings sitting around the campfire playing live music and singing. There is something definitely magical about being outside at night with dancing flames, but since I can’t be setting fire to my backyard this evening, YouTu Hibe will have to suffice. Bring on the bards… they make the world a sillier, happier, and far less taking-it-all-so-seriously place.

Eddie Izzard – Cake Or Death?:



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My final assignment for the semester is done, dusted and submitted! Roll on, creative pursuits, more reading for fun, and, oh, I dunno…sleeping 8 hours a night. I really do love studying (and doubt I will ever stop), but I can’t help but feel like the roller baby at the prospect of finishing the semester.

Maybe I’ll get daughter and I some skates. 🙂



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