Bored at Truluck's

Waiting for a friend.


The paper trick to keep arms attached to the sides. The teacher says that the girls have to concentrate on not dropping the paper and they forget their steps. Eventually, the arms go automatically where they're supposed to and the dancer can concentrate on just dancing.

This is body adhesive--or in ID lingo, "Sock glue." The dancer should roll-on a ring around her calves where the top of her sock comes. This keeps the sock from slouching down.

Our school likes the long socks that come just below the knee. Some use the shorter socks but I think they kind of look like they are slouching down. Ellery likes to tie her own ghillies so I let her eventhough she doesn't do it quite "right." You're supposed to loop around the front through the stays, cross around the ankle, cross again in the front and tie around the arch of the foot. This gives the foot some support and you don't have messy criss-crossing up the leg. She's getting there though.


Heather of the Last Traipse

June 29-July 9--too quick. When Ellery writes it (she gets to come), she spells it "Grease" and wanted to know if we were going to see Dr. Zeus while we were there. At IrishDance, I was told they "yell alot" there. Malta plans didn't materialize so we flexed again and made rather loose plans for Athens, Sparta, and Mykonos. We will see how it all pans out. It's interesting how nonchalant I've become about travel plans. Now, it's kind of "I'll do it when I get there." I am so nonchalant, I forgot to let my parents know in a timely manner. Mom and Dad, did I tell you we were going to Greece-- and be in Utah around July 15th? We'll talk.

I feel I need to acknowledge some of the tools that have been indispensable this past GlobeSchool year. Cyler is not a "tool" per se but is the foundational reason I can do what I have done for Soren's education this year. A forever of thank yous--for taking my passions seriously, and taking my weaknesses in stride. Above is a universal converter. Each slider button thingy represents a group of countries. I have used this religiously and get short of breath when I can't find it easily. It is my bridge to Cyler and my bank account (hence my sanity) while traipsing. The two websites I have to mention specifically that have helped me is LonelyPlanet and TripAdvisor. And then there is Cynthia Nichols the travel agent guru who helped me with flight/hotel arrangements. She would say "Oh, I just got back from there. You'll love it." "Don't worry, you and Soren will be just fine." "Uh, it's too rainy there right now." "You can too drive on the left side of the road." "I don't suggest Tangiers." I want to gift her with something special--any suggestions? Another quazi-mentor was a little book called "Gutsy Mamas Who Travel." It is sacred text to meperiod

I have learned:

No need to buy a travel book at Barnes and Noble--in my opinion, those are for people who are not going to the location on the cover. The map given at the hotel and a chat at the front desk is a good enough start.

Although I might be called foolish or selfish for traipsing, I can still sleep well at night.

Being helpful to travelers is a nearly universal impulse.

World peace will not come when everyone is of one heart and one mind (enter Nazi, Stepford Wives, Taliban nonsense). But when one considers the other's heart and mind as of equal value to his/her own.

You will not get sick if you wear the same pyjamas A LOT of times between washings.

Everyone (not just 12yr old boys) needs a pair of what they consider "adventure pants."

The thought of getting goosed in Greece is not an appalling one, suprisingly.


Mille Colori Pasta Salad

Dees makes enuffa forr everybodee at da feast a San Gennaro, an' enuffa to keep at home forr a familia tutti bella of 4. I geev da recipe to you since you arr now Cosa Nostra. Keepa dees recipe safe orr say 'ello to my leetle fren.

Get: 2 zucchini
2 pkgs grape tomatoes
1 12 oz pkg rainbow colored rotelle pasta
1 12 oz pkg cheese tortellini
2 cans black olives
1 bottle spanish olives
12 oz mozarella cheese, small cubes or 2" matchsticks
1 pkg pepperoni, cut with scissors
1 bottle, Newman's Own family recipe italian dressing
handful, fresh basil, julienned

Slice zucchini into thin julienne strips using a mandolin. Let soak in some italian dressing.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions till al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Add ice cubes until ready to use.

Mix together olives, pepperoni, cheese and tomatoes.

Add pasta.
Add zucchini and fresh basil. Add more italian dressing to taste and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill several hours before serving.


Weeping Camel

It's slow as tar--like watching grass grow. And I thought, "You have got to be kidding me. You're going to send those boys all that way to get a fiddler? And that's going to solve it?"

And then I was amazed. Netflix this film. My kids loved it.

The power of family
The power of ritual
The power of music


Strung Up Too

Your can ask your harp tech next time he/she's in town (mine is the one and only Peter Q Wiley) to give you some spare anchors. They are great to have around. If "knot," cut 5th octave strings 1 1/4".

The two knots that then you knot again.

Slide the anchor in and pull hard on the string going towards the harp.

Pull it through the hole--as you pull, the knot will tighten around the anchor--a flashlight is helpful since most harps are kept out of direct sunlight.

The Spiney Neck.

I like to use my teeth to keep the long end out of the way while I am wrapping the pin. That way, one hand can turn the tuner and the other can guide the string into the hardware on this side.

Tune to full on correct pitch, the string can handle it. Pass by it 2-3 a day and tune. Leave the tuner on your bench and leave the extra string long to remember which one it is. If you don't have early onset Alzheimer's like me, cut it and be grateful for your short term memory. It is an amazing instrument--thousands of pounds of pressure on each string. I guess I feel an affinity toward things that are high strung--Arabs (the horses not the people-although they seem high strung as well), harps, artistic geniuses. Tension this way makes something beautiful. My "string" broke at CubScout Daycamp after Soren slept in and made us late, which made me late setting up (in the wrong spot-not his fault), which made the first group unable to finish the DaVinci parachute craft I had for them. Then Soren said, "You should be grateful I'm here helping you." (Hence, breakdown #1) 300 boys came through my station. I taped, talked loud, took questions, tried to keep paper from blowing away in the wind, and tied about 1200 pieces of string (which I should have done the day before). When we got home, Ellery very calmly told me that since I was in such a hurry to leave, she was not able to go back to get the father's day gift she had made for Cyler at the totlot, and that's why it's hard for her to breathe without crying now. (Hence breakdown #2).

Strung Up

Grail already has a G string (raise eyebrows twice, then wink) but her B string finally came in the mail today. The knot is the thing I always forget. Check here if you do too.

Home and Other Big Fat Lies

A Summer Novel--reading with the kids in the pm.
Let's say you're a kid who's small for her age and some other kids who are way overgrown decide it would be the most hilarious thing in the world to shove the new kid in the house into the clothes dryer and slam it closed. I can tell you how to get out of that dryer by kicking and screaming bloody murder so that the foster mom with the bald spot on the top of her head rescues you in front of the entire snickering ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha house full of kids.


On my way to see my band!

Jessie Burns (scottish maybe?) the fiddler had loose strings flying toward the end of the show. That's the sign I was looking for.


Just cut the top off, get a spoon for everyone and eat it like you would a communal cereal bowl.


Blow Much?

Some are calling our recent storm a tornado. I am calling it "The Weekend Stealer" because it has taken us (ok mostly Cyler) 2 days to 'clean up' the debris. Fallen trees (one that busted our sportcourt fence-it sounded like the gods had slammed down a massive pile of books on some celestial desk), branches, limbs and leaves. I thought we were done for a while with leaf madness after last fall. Ellery liked when we lost power for a few hours in the pm-we broke out candles and flashlights, played/sang with the guitar and she made a paper trampoline out of rubber bands for a pipecleaner guy she made. Soren and I mostly looked at eachother like we were lost without our screens.
About 20 bags of debris and 6 twine bundles of branches. I feel like the working girl in "Devil Wears Prada" who says "I love my job, I love my job." We love our property, we love our property.

Like we need more wood--here's one of our three (yes, three) wood piles. Want some? Come get it.

The 85mph winds were enough to slightly shift the sportcourt tiles off to the side so Cyler has had to take it apart in sections, clean the debris underneath and reattach them all. Shouldn't they have glued it all to the cement in the first place? Oh, well, not my ten acres I guess.

This little guy seems to be ok. Enough trees left to feed and house him. We were lucky--some houses lost power for over 24hrs (with temps in the 90's), some lost roof shingles, one caught on fire from being struck by lightning. Cyler was driving home from a movie with friends when he saw a neighbor waiting outside his electric fence since it would not open. I'm just happy my fertile myrtle tomato plant survived. She heavy with round and green child right now.


The Sparrow Falls

And this book has laid me out. It is adult theology with all the attendant irony and uncertainty we have to acknowledge in our present state of self-awareness. This is not a book for one who thinks God is hearts and flowers. But it is for the one who can understand how a Jew, after the Holocaust, after dignity has been stolen, after losing everyone dear, can still believe in a God albeit a God that doesn't follow the rules He sets for others. There is confession and hope of redemption at the end of this book which made it all the more heart-wrenching--and there is a sequel. I will have to put some space between me and this book for a while before I start Children of God.

This book tackles sociology, evolution, first contact between people of 'difference', intention, faith and family. But it ripped me apart--and I'm so glad I read it. I have a friend who is mad at God right now. Either that or he laughs at the farce of his life because he thought God would keep bad things from happening if he would just do 'thus and so,' this or that ritual--he and Emilio have some feelings in common.

I love what Russell (converted to Judaism from Catholicism)herself says: "The beauty of religion is the way in which it enriches your understanding of what your senses tell you. . .There's a certain serenity that comes from knowing that the ethics you draw on have been tested and re-tested by one thousand generations in every possible cultural and ethical climate, and that they have been found reliable and useful by so many people for so long. . .
The risks have to do with believing that God micromanages the world, and with seeing what may be simply coincidence as significant and indicative of divine providence. It's very easy then to go out on a limb spiritually, expect more from God than you have a right to and set yourself up for bitter disappointement in his silence and lack of action."


How Do I Harp

Let me count the ways. When I want to learn a harp piece and get it ready to perform, I first take a trip here. I am playing a piece in August, an English Melody my religion knows as "If You Could Hie to Kolob," and for Christmas, "Bring a Torch Jeannette, Isabella." Thanks Mom for the sheet music for both of these. How to get great sheet music should be a topic of future discussion. Copying your music gives you license to mark away during practice with fingering numbers, reminders about dynamics, changes in chords/notes if you want, and of course, pedal changes. And then you always have a perfectly clean original to copy for others, or to look nice in your repetoire book.
I copy each sheet separately (one sided), then overlap them side by side and tape them so they stay together on the stand and fold together easily. So then I run through the piece and pinpoint where it gets messy (pretty easy to figure out early on). Either there is tricky fingering, pedal changes, tempo/rhythm issues, tough intervals or busy work in both hands. In this piece I have two messy parts.

Above is where the RH fingering gets tricky, the tempo is quick and the LH is busy.

Above is messy part #2. I have to pedal change from 2 sharps to 3 flats within one measure. I can't change the C and A and E (jeez!) too early as they appear in the measure right before the key change. On my copied piece I can work out the hairy details, erasing and changing my mind to my heart's content. And these parts are the parts where I start practicing--not ever at the beginning. That will come in time.
PS'd: Grail broke a string today--the same one I changed a month ago. I think it was me, not her. So a tutorial in string changing would be useful!



Did you see these three accept their Tony Award last night? They were adorable--and great dancers!! The one on the left (David) got teary the second time they won for Best Musical. So sweet!


Cowboys Stadium Opening

We were gifted with free tickets for the 1st event held in the new stadium! Cyler was the scheduler for Manhattan, the contruction management company that built it. HUGE!
Inside, the cowgirl uniform seemed to consist of the three B's: babydoll dress, boots, and a beaded cross.

"I Hope You Dance" This night was all about celebrating human acheivement. 100,000 people in this building. I was surrounded by the men and women who built it. Blue collar field workers, deep Texas accents, stories of syrup lines bursting hours before the doors opening, staircase panels not showing up so they had to drywall and tape something suitable at the last minute etc. One of Cyler's colleagues met us in the elevator to go to our Star Level suite--he was still sweating after a quick shower as he had just finished working minutes before the concert started. The level of collaboration, man hours, and planning boggles me. We sat in theatre style seating with a full buffet at our fingertips with nary a concern that the building, in the eyes of its makers, is not quite finished yet. And then come the claims--so Cyler's work isn't finished as he helps figure out who owes whom $ because they didn't finish on time.

From the deck you can see the Ranger stadium and Six Flags off there in the distance.

Reba sang!!!! I like country music for its similarities to Irish folk music--good fiddle, masters of the art of melody, funny ballad-like drinking songs etc. I like Reba for her pixie-clown smile, her last minute crescendo when she holds notes, and her "go on girl" attitude. Her pianist was a gray haired maven that played a churchy-bluesy version of "America the Beautiful." I just shook my head in utter amazement at the musicianship. George Strait's band was everybit as impressive--his fiddler looked like "Einstein gone to Juliard"--a gray-haired longhair. But he could fiddle!!!
They opened the roof--it took 12 min. I sat by the "safety guy" for the project as he rubbed his face and hair repeatedly in anticipation/anxiety that it would, in fact, open. He was so happy it opened that he pulled his woman down on his lap and gave her a big kiss! Eat your hearts out Tower of Babel builders. You got nothin' on these guys.

And yet, in comparison with the universe and the work of the Great Architect, it's such a small attempt at building something that will last. I wonder if it will end up looking like the Colosseum in the next millenia. Oh well, for the moment that it exists, I love this building. It has fed my kids, put clothes on their backs, and made my son a world traveler.

Come to the River

Jordan that is. My religion like many others makes beautiful space for water in ritual. The concept of symbolic cleansing I have found in the Jewish Mikvah, Greco-Roman/Celtic religions, Muslim Wadu and Ghusl etc. Our friends' son got baptized and he seemed very excited to have this special day. Now he is a formally recognized member of the church and is on the road of Christian discipleship:) I wish women weren't excluded from participation in the administration of this wonderful ritual. "I have a dream" of a time when is it acknowledged across the board that codified gender segregation is not Biblical and not necessary for a healthy body of Christ (See Galatians 3:28). Till then I can be happy for those of all religions who use ritual to focus the mind and intention on life, love, and wise use of agency. It's an inspiration to me.


Fri night we walked around the Ft Worth Zoo with our friends, the Joneses. Looking at animals and stopping at each tasting table sponsored by local restaurants, cafes, and bakeries--I felt like I was trick-or-treating, but with nice clothes on and no kids around. Better Than Ezra played live music and it was fun to see all the colorful sundresses and maxidresses out and about.
The list of what I tasted was long, including Prime Rib sliders, avocado/jalapeno soup, chocolate fountain, sushi, pasta--M!

This might have to be a yearly thing for us.