Tag Archives: Ma

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!

Tattered and Torn, Loved and Worn

One day, years ago, Amy-next-door came to call. She often came to visit with her two little girls in tow to play with my youngest two kiddos as they were all around the same age. This time, she stood holding two paper grocery bags.

“Look what I found!” Amy said as she thrust the two bags into my arms.

Feeling light as a feather for all their fullness, I immediately knew they were filled to the brim with fabrics.

“I found these at a garage sale for $0.75 and I thought you might like to use them.”

More than just neighbors, Amy-next-door and I were enablers…always on the look-out for each other’s vices: she and her buttons, I and my fabrics.

As I began rummaging through the brown paper bags, I noticed they contained more than just scraps or random cuts of material.  There was a huge piece of white cotton flannel, a stack of pre-cut 10 ½ x 10 ½ flannel squares, a handful of 3 ½ x 3 ½ ones and miles of uncut flannel fabrics of varying designs and colors.

This was someone’s UFO (quiltspeak for ‘UnFinished Object’). Continue reading

The Rusty Quilter

detail of rows 1 & 2 of my quilt WIP

Detail of rows 1 & 2 of my quilt WIP

“Hello, my name is Laura and I am a rusty quilter who’s picking up the needle again.”

Geesh, that sounds kind of illegal.  No matter, quilting is and has been a very important part of my life since well, forever.  Put another way, when the country was re-discovering quilt-art in the 1960’s and 70’s, I was among those who tried my hand at it…and kept my hand in it ever afterwards.

Basic to those early projects was a deep desire to stay true to my own set of ‘quilt values.’  Specifically: recycling used clothing and jeans into quilts and wearables, both utilitarian and artistic.  One of my first quilt-based projects used old jeans pockets as squares to make a lounge pillow for my younger brother.

Yes, the times they were a-changin’.*  Continue reading

Longest Night of the Year: 2013 Reflections (part two)

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”  -Victor Hugo

my homemade cannoli

My homemade cannoli

What better way to ease into another set of 2013 Reflections than with luscious references to food?

my homemade sourdough bread

My homemade sourdough bread

This past year, I resumed my life as a ‘good cooker.’  This family badge of honor, proudly reactivated now that I have a kitchen at my disposal, has provided nourishment to both body and soul.

~ 4/13  The unfolding of my ‘horse gentler’ skills learned during our time of horse rescue being placed within a new context of use.  While making a final pilgrimage to visit Terry’s Mother in Dallas (just a week before she passed away) our ‘nephew’ Jeremy helped with a fundraiser for the ‘Horses for Heroes’ project in nearby Rocky Top Ranch.  Himself a Wounded Warrior, he opened my eyes to this realm of horse therapy for returning veterans and their families.

Shortly thereafter, to my delight, I discovered a local established horse therapy group beginning to implement a Wounded Warriors component into their program offerings.  I immediately contacted them and not only signed on as an active volunteer, but got in on the ground floor as part of the initial group starting the WW program.  In addition, I work regularly with the other students.  While my primary role is in enabling the horse(s) to be their very best while in use during therapy, I enjoy the blessings of working with the various students and their families, other volunteers sharing my passion, the therapists and owners of the stable…

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I'm wearing orange)

Gracie on Freckles, First Annual BTR Horse Show (I’m wearing orange)

We all worked hard to put on the First Annual Bethlehem Therapy Horse Show this past November.

Matt's victory salute after his horse show debut

Matt’s victory salute after his horse show debut

 

Really, really cool.

 

 

~  The many loved ones who passed on this year.  Continue reading

Between Homes

from-Swimming with Swans: vignettes of our three-year journey between homes
6/2009 ~ 6/2012

July 2010 (North Webster, IN)

“Sometimes, when you possess nothing at all, the only thing you can do is hang on to your dignity.  But even simple words can take that away from you if you’re not careful.” *

We are in transition, my husband and I.

As of June 26, 2009, we have been living life on the road.

Having sold our home in Colorado, we stored all non-portable, and “to be used later” items in a storage unit; packed two duffels with clothes, books, Bibles, toothpaste, and meds; filled the car trunk with tools, hydraulic jack, an air mattress, fold-up sports chairs, and mini basket with important papers; and the rest of the car with a greatly reduced number of items needed for our livelihood.  For my husband, that included a computer with two screens, tech stuff, a mobile wi-fi device, and business materials; for myself, two guitars, one ukulele and a satchel crammed full of selected musical scores, teaching/marketing/composing materials, and of course my journals.  Throw in our two pillows, a small “food/domestic needs” box, CDs, DVDs, camera, coffeepot, water bottles, maps and there you have our home on wheels.

Whatever we continue to take with us, has to be able to fit in our 2003 Toyota Camry, so if we have a non-disposable need other than what we have on hand, we usually do without; not only because of financial considerations, but also because it all has to fit back into the car once we’re on the road again between destinations.  Most destinations have been house-sitting/house fixing up assignments and/or visiting and helping out family and friends, with lots of cross-country traveling thrown in for good measure.

Essentially, we are between homes.  Continue reading