Category Archives: Art

Reading Mystery

A few years ago, back when a librarian needed to check out your books for you, the older red-haired librarian at the desk (Anna would know her name) said “My, you have a wide set of topics here.” I don’t remember what I was checking out, but I do read across a fairly wide swath.  Science fiction, fiction, mystery, a variety of science, biography, history, philosophy, fantasy, kid lit, thrillers.  About the only thing I don’t read is romance if I can help it.

It was about that time that I started keeping track of how I got the idea to read a particular book. I have several categories for this – my book clubs, BookPage from the library, Writer’s Almanac, my various “lists” (English Monarchs, Presidents, Newbury & Caldecott winners, etc.) and the Trail. By far the biggest category is O&A (Out & About), a catch-all for everything else.

I’m pretty good at remembering where I find a title that I want to read, but every now and then I am surprised when I go to my hold shelf in the library. I knew from looking at my online account that there was an InterLibrary Loan titled Meetings with Remarkable Trees waiting for me.  It had the sound of poetry and many of the poetry books I look for end up coming from other libraries: I assumed it was poetry.  So imagine my surprise it’s a lovely photo book with essays about specific trees.  It’s fascinating but I’m not sure where the idea came from?  It’s not exactly the kind of thing that you find in the mainstream.

So I’ve decided it must be something that was recommended to me on the Trail. It’s about nature, so it might be Clyde (he is usually my go-to for travel books, but it seems like something he might like).  But it has absolutely lovely nature photos, so it might be the kind of thing recommended by Steve or Cynthia or BiR.  It’s a little off the beaten path, which has Bill written all over it.  The author is originally from Ireland, which means that it might have been recommended by PJ, who has a broader range of non-American authors.  I’ve haven’t gone back to the Trail and done a search: for now it’s a nice little mystery.

Do you do well at taking advice? Or do you prefer to GIVE advice?

Surprise!

Husband and I are now safely ensconced at the downtown Minneapolis Marriot. We  arrived at the hotel at about 5:00 PM on Tuesday. I was so surprised that the traffic going into downtown was negligible. The traffic going the other way was horrible. We were grateful.

Last week I was very surprised to learn that the grandmother of one of my fellow Lutheran Church choir members worked for a decade or more as both the Headless Girl and  the Three Legged Woman in the circus. It isn’t often that young woman from Harvey, ND makes the big time like that. You also don’t hear of many Lutherans in the circus. At one time there were 9 headless girls touring the US in circuses. It was all done with mirrors. Look up Olga the Headless Girl.  You will be surprised and amazed.

What has surprised you lately?  Do you have any friends with surprises?

On Your Toes

Today in 1581, the first ballet was performed in Paris. It had been commissioned by Catherine De Medici  and was called “Ballet Comique de la Reine”.  I love ballet, and so do our children. Both studied dance for many years.

The only ballets that  I have seen in live performance were by the Winnipeg Ballet, which is a very fine company.  We saw them perform Giselle and The Firebird.  We sometimes saw dancers from the company wandering the halls of our psychology department as they went to appointments to manage their eating disorders with one of our professors, an unfortunate side effect for some dancers.

What is your favorite ballet? Tell about your experiences with dance.

 

 

On the Wall

As I was turning the corner after leaving the library, I saw a man walking his big dog. Only the big dog was walking up on the retaining wall along the sidewalk.  He was walking very steadily on the wall, which was about 2 feet high, negotiating the corner with ease.

I slowed down and called out my car window to the man, asking if his dog likes all retaining walls or just this one. He laughed and said “all walls, but this is his favorite”.  He said to have a good day and I drove off.

Tell me about your favorite circus memory!

Autumn Gardening

You all know that I love gardening in the spring and summer. And that I am horrible at gardening in the fall.  I’m not sure but I think it’s too much delayed gratification.  Anything you do in the fall isn’t really going to give you results until spring.  Or maybe I’m just worn out after the spring and summer hours pulling, hacking and digging.

In any case, over the weekend I had to FORCE myself to get out and do a little clean up and plant some bulbs and tubers. I added some more tulips to the front boulevard and also two patches of daffodils.  I moved my yellow and purple dwarf iris a bit (they were getting swallowed up by lilies) and I also added some Open Your Eyes dwarf iris tubers this year

I had put this off over the last couple of weekends, using YA’s accident/surgery as an excuse and, truth be told, I have been very busy, but 2 weekends in a row, the gardening was on my list and just didn’t get done. So now I feel an immense sense of satisfaction and relief.  Why can’t I get myself to do gardening in the fall, when I know it will feel great when I’m done?

How do you get yourself motivated?

OH, sIT cLOSE!

At my mother’s residence (and nursing home) several weeks ago, she and I attended a concert in the Main Dining Room, where there is a baby grand piano. A collection of string quartets (and one trio) were performed by students from St. Mary’s University String Festival – a 10-day music camp for middle and high school musicians. 

The campers attended concerts of the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, whose dates coincided with the camp dates, and a concert performed by the St. Mary’s faculty – aka the Lark Quartet. The students also gave two concerts, one as community outreach that acted as their dress rehearsal, which is what Mom and I saw.

I wasn’t sure if Mom would last the entire concert, and in order to position us with an “escape path”, we sat to the far left, but ended up quite close to the First Violin. Now that I think of it, I doubt if she had ever sat so close to a performer before. The first few offerings by the young musicians went well enough. Just when I thought she might be falling asleep, she sat up a little straighter and looked at me out of the corner of her eye – she was REALLY enjoying this, and was enthralled with watching whomever was in the first chair position. Not only did she last the entire hour-long concert, she talked to the students as they came around to greet us afterward, and said over and over how she had never seen anything like it before. She was charmed, and so were they.

I remember at the end of my first summer in San Francisco, I got to see the traveling Broadway show Hair, twice in one week. The first time was with tickets acquired in the usual way, and we were in the second balcony so got to see, essentially, an overview. Two days later my roommate and I were offered tickets by her friend who could not attend – these were in the Third Row Center… I will never forget this experience as long as I live.

When have you seen a performance “up close and personal”?

Which do you generally prefer – an overview, or a close-up experience?

Tedium Terminator

Caregiving is many things but one of the side effects that you don’t usually hear about is the tedium. Maybe others don’t experience this but I can only run up and down the steps to fetch food and ice so many times a day before it starts to get tedious.  Stress baking and cooking didn’t help much either this weekend.  I’m even looking forward to going to the office.  Yikes!

So I was thrilled when I heard from a girlfriend that her newest grandbaby came a week early and is healthy and at home already. Thrilled for two reasons: a healthy new grandbaby is always thrilling AND I now have a project to work on.

I’m making baby blocks and I have to know the baby’s name before I get started since the number of blocks and paper squares depends on the number of letters in the baby name. Once I got going on the blocks I remembered that  I needed to make a couple of thank you notes for YA as well.  I spent a couple of relaxing hours in my studio and now I feel better.  Guess I need to come up with some projects to work on the next couple of weeks!

Do you have any go-to tedium terminators?