Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Backlog

Ugh, I am so far behind in posting anything. This week's goal is to get caught up with getting photos on the blog with their stories. But before I start on the blogs which will be back-dated, a couple of current things.

On my walk-run yesterday, (some day I will be able to jog the whole mile and a half, but until then . . .) I was struck by the shadows some tall grass and a fence were making.

I had to come back with my camera once I'd finished my exercise to take a few snapshots. It was even cooler with the wind blowing the shadows about, but you'll just have to use your imagination.


In addition to having several blog updates to write, I also need to weed the garden terribly. But in spite of my neglect it is doing well.

I have cherry tomatoes already!! Just a few, mind you, but I think this is a record for me.

The morning glories have begun their annual climb.

Onions and potatoes, melons and tomatoes, flowers and carrots, peppers and basil, pumpkins and strawberries. Love my garden.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Confused Alarms

So it's been ages since I last posted. I have too many pictures to sort through and write about. From April. But it's all good. Life is what it is.

But I did run across something that was cool to me which I wanted to remember. I have been doing a lot of fiction reading lately. It's always been something I enjoy, and it's good to have space in my life to read just for fun. In one of the books I have read this week, there was a reference to the poem "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold, written in approximately 1851. The last stanza was quoted:

Ah, love, let us be true
to one another! For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Pretty cool, no? But as I read the words "confused alarms of struggle of flight" I knew them. From another source. How cool is that?

Sometimes the spirit is too strong
Or the flesh is too weak
Sometimes the need is just too great
For the solace we seek
The suit of shining armor
Becomes a keen and bloody sword
No one gets to their heaven without a fight

A refuge for the coming night
A future of eternal light
No one gets to their heaven without a fight

Confused alarms of struggle and flight
Blood is drained of color
By the flashes of artillery light
No one gets to their heaven without a fight

An excerpt from a RUSH song. There's a reason I like this band so much. Great song with a hidden tribute that I just now learned about. It makes me smile.
 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sky Bling

Last Saturday I went to a shooter's school for display fireworks. Pretty cool stuff. I learned a lot about display fireworks, heard some stories, and I got to set off a couple of 3 inch shells. Interesting day. If I wanted to operate a show of display fireworks, I would need to have experience at two more shows (the "show" at the school counted as one of the three needed) and then pass a test to receive an operator's license.

I love fireworks. I love the big booms. I love the sparkles. Makes me smile every time I see them. But . . . to set off display fireworks I would need room I don't have. To store the product until the show I would need a magazine and enough clear space around that magazine that I just don't have. To transport the product I would need appropriate equipment and an ATF license which I don't have. And, fun as it was to set off the 3 inch shells, setting off the 1.5 inch shells was just as fun. And 1.5 inch shells qualify as consumer fireworks - no special licenses, no special equipment, no special storage facilities.

So while I could get an operator's license, I am not going to pursue it. Too much work for too little gain. A bigger budget for consumer fireworks is all I want. But . . . I wonder if I should shoot fireworks at all.

Mr. Wonderful asked, "Why not, if you love it so much?" It's not a "being frugal" issue for me. Tightwads say it's a waste of money, might as well just burn a $100 bill. No, I enjoy them. This is what I spend my "allowance" money to purchase. I don't buy $7 venti lattes. I don't buy designer clothing. But I do love fireworks.

No, the issue for me is more humanitarian. The sponsor of the shooter school explained that he gets his product from China, because it's a lot cheaper. France, Italy, and the United States do manufacture some display fireworks, but China's are much cheaper. And consumer fireworks are almost all of Chinese manufacture. I am not convinced that Chinese workers are treated well. I am not convinced that Chinese manufacturers regard environmental issues as worthy of concern. I am concerned that the reasons Chinese fireworks are so much cheaper are reasons I do not wish to support.

But my little ones love fireworks as well. And they are everywhere in our neighborhood during the 4th of July celebrations. Will one person ending their fireworks purchases make a difference? It will to this person's children, but as far as the manufacture of fireworks in China, my purchases are nothing.

So I will probably buy fireworks this year, but begin cutting back some. Much as I love Sky Bling, I just can't justify spending as much on it any longer.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pops! Concert

SO. MUCH. FUN.

Last night was so much fun. I sang with the chorus for the symphony's pops concert - the music of John Williams.
So. Much. Fun.
I still have the music playing in my head and on my lips.
:-) 

The chorus joined the orchestra after intermission. We started with the Call of the Champions written for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Four Latin words, (swifter, higher, stronger, with more clarity) with some "lu lu's" and some "ah's". Inspiring, uplifting music.

Next up was "Hymn to the Fallen" from Saving Private Ryan. Completely "oo's" and "ah's" for text. A solemn piece that at first I didn't care for at all. While I still wouldn't choose it, it did grow on me.

My favorite song of the evening followed: "Dry Your Tears, Afrika" from Amistad. It is a simply joyous song. A joy to sing.

Then we hit the Star Wars section. So. Much. Fun. to be onstage with the orchestra for these pieces. The haunting beauty of the French horn playing its solo in "Princess Leia's Theme." The power of "The Imperial March" with the timpani and trombones just a few feet away. The strings so close playing "Aniken's Theme." Then the chorus rose once again to their feet to join in "Duel of the Fates." Such a dramatic song. The lyrics come from a snippit of an archaic Welsh poem, "Battle of the Trees."
"Under the tongue root
A fight most dread
And another raging
Behind, in the head"
But the text is not sung in Gaelic, as the poem was written, or in English, but in Sanskrit. It loosely translates
"All the dread in mainly in the head."
That was a lot of fun to sing. Then the program finished with the main Star Wars theme. So cool, once again, to be onstage with the orchestra as it was played.

The sold-out house appreciated the program as well. Some had come in costume, and several had light sabers. There was long applause, and for an encore the orchestra played the theme from Jaws.

So fun to be a part of it. I am so looking forward to singing with the chorus next fall. Hayden's "Creation."  

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Zoo Trip

The Chemist had a company holiday on the 14th, so she came for a long weekend. So a trip to the zoo was in order.

Finally, we were there when the baby gorilla and mother were out. :-)

I love our elephants.

And we *had* to stop to feed the fish.

Hungry, hungry goldfish.

The hippo looked hungry, too.

Not a lot of birds were out in the Australian outback/South American pampas area, but there was this pretty pair.

And this kookaburra had managed to get to the South American side of the exhibit for a little extra snack. :-D

Isn't this anteater the coolest? He was busy digging for something today.
Love our trips to the zoo.

Friday, April 7, 2017

That's It

I have not been that sick in years. And it's been so long getting any energy to do anything back. What little energy I do have has a thousand claims on it. However, I am slowly getting better. I'm even back to taking long walks again, though not as quickly or as long as I would like. Little by little.

But with little energy to do much of anything, I would spend time zoned out in front of my computer, scrolling through facebook. Then last Friday, the hurtful things were back with a vengeance. I so thought I had gotten past this. But there it was again. As I sat there looking at the screen with all those past hurts rising up, I thought to myself, "What the hell are you doing?" I mean really. I decided then and there that I had had enough. I haven't been on facebook for a week now. And the weird thing is - I don't miss it. Facebook is sending me emails. "Your "friend" X posted a new picture and "x" people have liked." If facebook only knew. :-D

I do have to get back on this afternoon. I need to send a couple of messages to my older children. And I need to take some photos to get some school stuff on a buy/sell/trade group soon. Bleh.

  In the mean time, I have read a huge stack of books. And puttered about my house and in my garden. I am content.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Arthropods

Just before I got so very sick, I had ordered some painted lady caterpillars as part of Miss Adventures science class.

They were so very tiny when they first arrived. I wish I had taken a snapshot of how small they were for they grew amazingly fast!

Before too long, they had all climbed to the top of their little cup, attached themselves to the cloth there, and hung down in little "J's." (That beige stuff at the bottom of the cup is the food that came with the insects.)

A couple of days later, we awoke to chrysalises. I had hoped to see the little guys making their chrysalises, but we missed it. It was cool to see the chrysalises up close though.

We had to wait 3 days before moving the cloth they were hanging on over to the cage where the emerging butterflies would live.

Then it seemed like forever, but one morning we awoke to find the butterflies emerging from their chrysalises.

We kept them in the cage inside, feeding them sugar water, until the weather changed so we could set them free.

I expected to have a cage of fluttering insects, but they spent most of their time just hanging out on the sides of the cage.

After a couple of days, the weather was warm again, so we decided to set them free. They only live a couple of weeks as butterflies, and we wanted them to enjoy some time outside. Again, my expectations differed from reality. I expected to open the cage to have the half dozen butterflies all flit out of their cage together in a little fluttering cloud. Not so.

They almost had to be coaxed out one by one.
Come on. Don't be shy.

Last one.

What a fun project. I enjoyed it as much as Miss Adventure. Probably more. :-)