Friday, February 24, 2012

Drop the bridge and let us pass!

These old timers at the entrance to a car show for the local Rotary Club announce their good intentions, with their smiles.  I like being greeted when I enter a new space.

The word verification process on Blogger doesn't invite us in. If I were a spammer, I'd find a way to leave my comment because that's my job, to invade, to create a nuisance.  This complicated process of copying down two different words that are barely legible is most annoying.  I spend less time writing this post, searching for this picture, and pressing the publish button than adding a comment.

Those who want to, can take a stronger stand by moderating all comments before they go public. With the present word identification process on,  a whole lot of people like me will give up after the first try!

We should all write to Bloggers, or drop the device, or device something else.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Facebook and the return of the native.

{This memory stone sits at a boat launch on Lake Garrison, celebrating the life of a young man}

Today, as I sat here, thinking about the past and the future, I visited my hometown of Venosa (province of Potenza, Italy!) with a click of the mouse, and a scroll of the screen. For a second, I returned to my hometown without even blinking.
It cost me nothing.
It took me less than a minute.

I discovered that its wines, Aglianico del Vulture, won an exhibition in New York City recently.
I knew that wine well, as my father was a winemaker, growing these same ancient grapes.

I also learned that the town was inhabited continuously for over 600,000 years! Remains of old Lucani civilizations can be found all over the place. I knew that Greek and Roman civilizations left their mark there. But 600,000 years of habitation in the same vicinity seems unbelievable.

What an interesting world we live in. When I was a youngster, I knew just a few people with phones in their homes. A letter to The States cost as much as a steak, and people communicated with loved ones who moved across the ocean  on special occasions only.

Today, I can read newspapers from all over the world, purchase a piece of jewelry from a vendor in an unknown shop, leave a note to a farmer or an artist in big and little cities all over the map, and return to my hometown with a click of the mouse.

When communication expanded, companies were required to bring connections to rural towns as well. Schools and hospitals were the first to join the internet.  Then, it became available to every household through cable or phone lines. Of course, it's not as fast as the same communication in big cities, but it is available none the less.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Body Language.

(picture of a bath on my wish list)

So, what does your body tell you at your age?
Does it say, indulge me?
Does it say, hide me?
Look at me, look at me?

After a long trip: Get into the tub; get into the hot tub. Get into the hottest tub you can stand.
After a good meal: Take a nap! Now! Take a nap no matter what!

After you played violin/fiddle: Are you talking to me? What do you want me to do? How?  Ouch!

After a walk: I saw nothing new. Can't we see anything new? Can't you see you did this already.

After a bad night's sleep: You got stop eating big meals. You got to stop. Stop it already!

After a flight of stairs: You think you're Madonna? You'll be sorry. You'll be!

After 70 years trying to return to that  ideal weight you never had: Ah! Still trying after all these years!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The place I call home.

Sometimes, we fall in love with a place.
Today, I'll show you how it happened for me .

How did it happen for you?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The good old days!

Throughout my working life, from the mid sixties to the beginning of the 21st Century, I wished I had a second spouse, sometimes a third one.

No, I don't mean we should have more than one spouse at a time. I actually mean that one spouse is not expected to be everything and everyone to meet our needs. Yet, for women my age, it was a definite expectation.

Of course, I thought,  a wife cooks, cleans, drives children to appointments, picks up groceries and dry cleaning, pays the bills, and entertains the husband's  boss.

Women my age began to have careers, but didn't change their expectations on how to run a household. At the end of the day, we collapsed in front of television and fell asleep. Oh yes, we told ourselves, we can do this! We only had to learn to be more organized, and better time managers.  We began to shop in the frozen food department for quick meals; we picked up wash-and-wear-shirts for ease of ironing, and we gave up polishing the floors in high heels. (There is a famous set of commercials showing housewives mopping in high heels!)

Our husbands were clueless!

No wonder many of us divorced!

I'm glad to see that our children have a realistic view of marriage.
Perhaps their lives will be more satisfying.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Watch your language!

Bandon Writers, circa 2009, a year after I joined, a year after two of its members died.
Since this picture was taken we lost two additional members who were not pictured here.  The entire group here is still writing, some of them also painting, and all of us meeting regularly on Monday mornings, rain or shine, holiday or not.

These folks still meet and discuss word choice, grammatical errors, obscure notations, and the ins and out of writing and publishing, I'm the second person from the right, standing up. The first person on the right is a famous writer, John Wadleigh, a.k.a Oliver Lange, author of Defiance, the plot adapted and rewritten for the movie Reds, starring Patrick Swatzie. He can still look at your work and give you a most chilling evaluation that summarizes what needs to be done to improve the piece.  He no longer frequents our little group regularly, but drops in now and then.

Nobody else in this picture is famous YET.  Ginney Eatherton is the most prolific, working on her third book, self published, and self promoted. Look for her Looping for Love and No Broken Bones at Amazon.

A group of friends with a single vision can do wonders. We know each other's personal lives and we know each other's genre, peculiarities, strengths and difficulties. We meet outside of Mondays' meetings too, to chat, to share a piece we are working on, to cry on each other's shoulders.

Go out there and find yourself a group.
Don't know of any?
Stop by the local eateries and ask the waitresses.
Check the library for contacts.
Scour the local papers and fliers.
Write a want ad.

Sure, you have on line support, people you have never met but love what you do and encourage you to  continue writing. You are satisfied with this arrangement. You get plenty of feedback on these sites too.

But, do you get friendship? Real, touching, knowing what motivates you, what keeps you up at night, what you really want to talk about when you ramble on?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Oregon Old Time Fiddlers

Yesterday we drove 300 miles over mountains and rivers to hear Oregon Old Time Fiddlers play in Grants Pass, Oregon, at Fruitdale Grange.  These events take place often in and around the area of Medford, Grants Pass, and all around Oregon.  An excellent crowd sat in at this show, and most people got up and danced whenever possible.

The last picture/video gives you a taste of the actual music.
I don't know about you, but my feet were stomping the entire two hours we were there.

You do notice that these folks are old people; yet, some of them just started to play.
Now, I know what I'm supposed to sound like.
Off to practice I go. Wish me luck and patience!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Learning new tricks.

Hubby and I have purchased violins, tuning mechanisms, books, cases, and have signed up for fiddle classes. After three lessons, we can safely state that fiddling is great!

A real joy to listen to!
A coordinated effort of ear, memory, hand, arm, fingers, shoulder and foot tamping.

So far, we have learned the following:

1. Tune your instrument every time you play.

2. Keep your instrument in a case, carefully stored in the perfect temperature.

3. If you leave your fiddle in the car overnight, or play it when it is too drafty, the instrument will go out of tune!

4. Forget nails. Keep them trimmed, because if you  don't, you can't use your fingers to make notes.

5. Fiddling is more forgiving in style than violin playing.

6. You can join a fiddling group and just keep the rhythm if you don't know the tune.

7. There are many ways to play, to hold the bow, to STYLE!

8. Fiddling has long roots, in Europe, in Appalachia, in camps.

9. Have fiddle, and improvise. That's how new tunes are created.

10. You learn to play mostly by ear; listen and repeat.

Our wonderful teacher is Port Orford's own Diane Cassel, who taught in our school district for years before retiring.
Her daughter, Hanneke Cassel is a famous fiddle player. If you hear her just once, you want to go and learn to play the fiddle!