Monthly Archives: March 2015

Inspiration during a simple Convalescence

Okay.  So I’m laid up a bit from a pesky back muscle spasm. In my mature wisdom, I know it is nothing as incapacitating as what many of my favorite Wounded Warriors have had to endure in a life less than half the length of my own.  But, when one is on a roll with a project that has been working its way to the top of the slush pile of my creative mind, the intrusion of this mini-disability is an aggravation.

In keeping with a term I earned back during my horse rescue days, I choose to ‘Cowgirl Up.’

Yep, being (he)artistic and horsey walk hand in hand in this lady’s life.

I confess to times of grumpiness, but mostly I’ve been reading lots, listening lots and vegging lots.  Never one to run from the creative crock pot of silence, the waiting is invigorating, but the physical stillness is my undoing!

Here then is a sampling of stuff I love, especially when I can’t position myself on my own practice stool and work on my own music.  Enjoy! Continue reading

Giving Voice (first wind-down)

This post marks the closing of what I consider to be the first part of my Giving Voice series.  While I have several more relevant articles in various stage of readiness to post, I think it’s time to take a break.  Because Giving Voice is an ongoing series, I intend to resume its ‘focus’ after an undetermined period of time.

Instead of composing some sort of summary post, I thought I’d ‘re-post’ a Swimming with Swans vignette I presented here on the blog in 2013.  Written at the close of our first stay in Las Cruces during our between homes journey, I think it speaks to the issue of ‘street people’ stereotypes in a positive and personal manner.

In doing this, I am also engaging in a blog experiment that I’m not sure will work!  Please bear with me.  Both this wind-down post and the archived vignette-post are presented in ‘sticky note’ fashion.  Theoretically, this first time published post will be ‘sticky-ed’ first and The Prophet and the Gift should follow without changing its original blog posting date.  We’ll see.  ;-)

Thank you for the many responses I’ve received during this first part of my Giving Voice series via personal e-mail, face-to-face discussions, and of course in the comments section.

No Place Like Home: Working families increasingly homeless

Quote symbolReporter: Darlene thought she had done everything right, even taking classes for her master’s degree.  She held a good job with the veterans administration for the last 15 years, had savings, college and retirement accounts, and a comfortable suburban home for her three sons…

‘They had never worried about anything.  They never had to go into the kitchen and look into an empty cupboard.  I lived a middle class life all my life.  That’s all I knew. I dropped from middle class to no class.‘  Continue reading

Snippets of an Inner Childhood Soundscape

Lately I’ve been remembering quiet times as a kid, with a sharp ear for what actually occupied my time. I’m realizing that my prayers, thoughts and stories were all relayed via inner music.  I sang declarations of love to my God, hummed certain discordant intervals when I was scared, and then snappy tunes when happy.

1959 olive green vw bug

1959 olive green vw bug, just like our own family car (we kept it till ~1977. After that, it spent its last days transporting hazardous materials within a local landfill!)

During family trips in the car, I arranged the sounds and rhythms filling my head into satisfying story soundtracks. Sharing the back seat of a VW bug with my baby bro was not the most exciting of adventures.  No, I take that back, we managed to stage plays between fights for space.

He was most talented at wrinkling up his face to accompany the different voices we made up for various characters.  In fact, he’d do my favorite character, Blob, upon personal request.  Yeah, I guess baby brothers came in handy that way.

I had a rich inner life.

my homemade cannoli

My homemade cannoli

And an enriching kid-life. A life filled with colors, aunts, uncles, cannoli, swimming, exploring and dissecting the stinky frogs packed in purchased science kits.

Stars, bonfires and leaves.

Museums, ice skating, tobogganing, and walks with cousins. Day camp, girl scouts.

Ma’s art lessons she gave to all the cousins, the smell of linseed oil mingled with freshly ironed cotton shirts.  Growing gardens – Ma’s flowers, Dad’s tomatoes, and always a peach tree.

Baby bunnies hidden in our front yard, forts built with scraps of plywood, and music.

Always music.

Ma’s opera and dorky Barn Dance albums, the old 78’s and wonderful new LP’s of musical theatre.

Dad’s jazz. Practicing alongside Coltrane, Charlie, cool blues. Crazy kid-dancing to his sax, clarinet, guitar, and cowbell.

Grandpa’s banjo and zampogna*.  You Are My Sunshine sing-alongs.

Laying on my bed at night or looking up at the clouds on a warm spring day, in my quiet times, I didn’t read.  I didn’t color.  Well, yes, I did those.  But mostly, I ‘did my music.’

Even then, ever with me, from the inside out.

My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.
~ Psalm 108:1

*more on this instrument in another post…suffice it to say, my love of goats has a family history as well!

Giving Voice: Margaret Thatcher on Unemployment

I find it interesting that unemployment has been an issue of glaringly huge proportions for quite some time within the free market world.  That there have been sound ways of alleviating it during the course of these past decades, yet left untouched by those in power is disheartening, very telling and ultimately totally inexcusable.
Quote symbol

…Characteristically she covered her own weakest flank – unemployment – by counter-attacking Labour’s  record in the 1970’s. ‘In the end Labour always runs away,’ she jeered in her adoption speech at Finchley on 19 May:

            ‘They are running away from the need to defend their country…They are fleeing from the long overdue reform of the trade unions…They are running out on Europe…Above all, Labour is running away from the true challenge of unemployment.’

Promising to create millions of jobs, she insisted, was ‘no more than an evasion of the real problem’.  Real jobs could only be created by gradually building up a competitive economy with profitable industries that could hold their own in world markets.  ‘We Conservatives believe in working with the grain of human nature, in encouraging people by incentives, not in over-regulating them by too many controls.’ ‘A quick cure,’ she repeated several times in another favourite formulation, ‘is a quack cure.’

Margaret Thatcher circa 1983 (excerpt taken from The Iron Lady by John Campbell, pg 222)

Respite with a Snapdragon

Contrary to popular belief, I am a snapdragon…

Thus began a post I wrote in September announcing the beginning of my soon to be launched ‘serious series’ now known as Giving Voice.

Several posts and weeks into the series, I just now realized I forgot about my flower promise.  Please accept my humble apologies, and notice I have rectified the situation.  The snapdragon badge displayed in the sidebar links to a little flower quiz.  It’s meant to be a ‘respite’ during the premier presentation of Giving Voice. I think it can also serve as a fun deviation from the severe winter weather most readers have been experiencing this year.

So go on ahead and click on the badge to take the quiz.  If you feel so inclined, let me know how you turn out as a flower in the comments.  I came out a snapdragon after 8 takes in a row.  I’m more partial to giant purple irises, deep red orange poppies, daisies and milkweed blossoms, but hey, a flower by any other name is still a flower!  And they do perk up the gloominess of a grey South Carolina day.snapdragons