Category Archives: Media

Band Memories

I had a real blast from the past this weekend when I tuned into the new MPR Concert Band Stream. I played the bass clarinet all through high school and college. It isn’t a very exciting instrument, but I had a lot of fun playing. I have a few recordings of my college band, but I don’t own many wind band cd’s. Husband was worried it would be all Sousa marches, but even he, that hoity toity cellist, enjoyed the selections we heard. He really liked the emphasis on percussion. We heard lots of Vaughn Williams, Holst, and Percy Grainger pieces for wind band, selections I remember playing,  along with more modern things .  They were very evocative for me, reminding me of emotions associated with the music, and memories of ensemble playing that I hadn’t thought about for a long time.  I do hope there are enough recordings of wind band music to fill up the daily program.

What are your memories of learning an instrument or playing in the band?

Who Dunnit?

We all know that headlines don’t always tell the story. The last few days there have been lots of articles about scientists “solving the Loch Ness Monster”.  Although I am a skeptic in general, I couldn’t help clicking on the first story I saw.  Of course scientists have NOT solved the mystery of Nessie.  What they have done is find more eel dna in the water of the lake than they expected.  All it took was for one person to say “maybe the Loch Ness Monster is really a giant eel” for the story to take off.

The same arguments for why the Loch Ness Monster can’t exist apply to a giant eel (lake too cold, not enough food to keep a giant eel alive, no bones/evidence of previous generations) but that hasn’t stopped the explosion of “Nessie is a giant eel” stories.

I don’t make it a point of following stories like the Loch Ness Monster, the faked moon landing or anything having to do with Area 51, but I look at reports if they cross my path. I do follow the work being done on Amelia Earhart’s disappearance fairly closely (TIGHAR) and I do think this mystery will be solved in my lifetime.  But Nessie, not so much.

What mystery would you like to be explained?

Library Emergency

Overheard outside my library last Monday (the electronic book return was full/closed):

“Oh no – it’s a library emergency. My book is overdue.”

I was able to reassure her that a Monday holiday is the same as a Sunday… as long as you your book is physically inside the library before it opens for business next, even using the old-fashioned non-electronic book drop (which I was able to show her), you don’t get docked. She told me that she had kept it as long as possible so she could finish it before it was due.  I completely get it.

What was the last book you rushed to finish?

Gender Bender

I have followed with some dismay the recent criticism of poor little Prince George for taking ballet lessons, and was glad to see the support of his dancing by other media figures and dancers.  Our son studied ballet for 12 years. It helped with some of his motor coordination problems from his prematurity. He channeled it into a study of the martial arts in college, and now he can break a board on his head!  He still retains some dance moves, and it is amusing to see all 6’5″, 250 lbs. of him doing a pas de chat (dance of the cat) down the sidewalk.

I did not encounter much gender bias growing up. My parents encouraged me to do what I wanted to do. I remember being outraged at about age 5 when I was told I couldn’t run around outside without a  shirt, though. Most of my cousins were boys, so I played lots of sports with them and tagged along with them as they did their boy activities like building model cars and tree houses, stockpiling fire crackers, making homemade cannons, and setting pocket gopher traps.

I remember that boys with non-traditional interests had a harder time of it.  I remember the discomfort people back home had when a boy became the first male cheerleader at my high school.  It looks like, given poor Prince George,  that things haven’t changed much. I hope he keeps dancing. Maybe he will do a pas de chat through Westminister Abbey at his coronation.

What gender bias did you encounter or witness growing up?

Blessed Relief

My typical work day consists of seeing clients in therapy, doing formal psychological testing, consulting with other staff, going to meetings, doing paperwork, writing reports, answering and sending work-related emails, and taking care of whatever else my work place might throw at me.

In the midst of all this, I keep tabs on what is happening on my phone and my private laptop that I also have at work.  (I also check the  Blog for activity). My children and Husband are frequent texters. The main job for my private laptop is to provide Bluetooth connections to my sound bar so that I can listen to Classical MPR whenever I have a free moment while I do paperwork.

Throughout the day I also keep track of all the emails I get from the Regulatory Board of which I am the chair.  I can’t deal with the emails that arise when I am working, since that would be frowned upon, even though what I do on the Board is officially State business, and I am a State employee.  I understand the reasoning for this.

I typically get 10-20 emails from the Regulatory Board office each day.  I take care of them in the evening when I get home from work. There was a flurry of activity this morning, and then, blessed quiet this afternoon. I figured out that our Board secretary is taking a four day weekend to go camping.  What a relief!

I wish I were not so tied to my technology. As I read what I just wrote, I can’t believe I do all the things I just described. This just can’t be healthy!

How tied are you to technology? How do you set limits on it and on yourself?

Urban Legend

Today in 565 AD, St, Columba reported seeing the Loch Ness Monster.  I wonder how he would feel if he knew people were still talking about Nessie today.

Around Luverne, legend has it that Jesse James jumped his horse across a ridiculously wide gap at the Devil’s Gulch in Garretson, SD, running away from Northfield and the disastrous raid there.  I have seen the gap and I seriously doubt a horse could jump it, but what do I know? Luvernites also believe that a tornado will never strike the town because of some special characteristics of the Blue Mounds formations to the north of the city. Maybe. Maybe, though, we have just been lucky.

Any legends from where you have lived or where you grew up? What is your favorite urban legend?


Bean Freak

Husband and I lived in southern Indiana for a year just after our son was born while Husband finished his psychology internship.  It was much warmer than Winnipeg, and we were introduced to many garden plants I had never seen before. Salsify?  Who knew what it was and that you could grow it in your garden?  The real surprise for me was shell out beans. Those are  beans like navy beans, pinto beans, cannellini beans and all sorts of other beans that I had never seen grown in gardens and that you harvest fresh, not dried.  We became hooked on them.

We didn’t  grow them in our garden until the last 10 years or so due to limited space, when Husband discovered metal bean poles, and we have been growing them ever since. Growing vertically really saves space. This year we are growing Hidatsa Shield Figure Beans and Vermont Cranberry beans.  The Hidatsa beans are traditional beans grown by one of the three tribes husband works for on the Rez. They are big, plumpsters that parboil and freeze well.  I love them in soup and chili.

The problem with beans like this is that they are addictive.  You want more and more. You can read about this phenomenon in this recent New Yorker article:

Most pole bean cultivars of this type need 95-110 days to mature after they germinate. We don’t have that long of a growing season., and we will buy dried beans that we can’t grow here. Recently, I was searching beans on line and found  the source listed in the New Yorker article for dozens of exotic and long season dried beans. You could get the traditional French beans for cassoulet (Tarbais beans), flageolet beans, and every exotic South American and Caribbean bean that is currently produced. Husband had to stop me (But we have two ducks in freezer. Let’s whip up some cassoulet!)  He reminded me that we didn’t have to order pounds of beans at that moment, and that perhaps we should see what our harvest will be this fall. I agreed, but I am secretly planning an order.

What have you been obsessed with? What is your favorite bean recipe?