Sunday, December 31, 2006

Turkish night

. listening to the music of my favorite singer, Arif Sag (pronounced 'A-rif Sah).

it will make you cry just to hear it.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Added the next day: I have received such kind comments on this post. Each one touches me, as do the comments on other posts. My sister gave me this quote a few years ago: "When you take one step toward the gods, they take 1,000 steps toward you." Is it Rumi?

Not to insinuate that you are gods, rather that the energy and love in my posts return to me one-hundred fold in the form of your reflections.

Last weekend I went to a spiritual healer. She is grounded in Celtic spirituality, but has recently begun to move toward an earth-based practice rooted in Native American beliefs. We started our healing session outside, looking over the cliff where she lives, out onto the Long Island Sound. We visited her outdoor medicine wheel in near silence, and then went to her meditation room.

This room is an altar to the earth and to all the gods. It is filled with candles, symbols from many religions; colors, objects from nature, stones, statuettes, books, and bells.
Ego was absent during the session. Jeanne "Copper Beech Woman" is a humble person who sees herself as a conduit of collective wisdom. She will never take a place in the line-up of current book-selling, self-appointed gurus.
She used reiki, blessings, prayer and intuitive healing to open an inner door for me. During the session I felt connected with a long line of many healing traditions that have been crushed and erased. Something inside of me has changed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Monday, December 25, 2006

Tin whistle

I ordered a bunch of penny whistles and Mel Bay "Fun With the Tin Whistle" books for the gift shop in the museum. They have not sold at all, so I decided to boost sales and buy one myself.

My parents, may they rest in peace, had the wisdom to make ours a musical household. We had a piano, I had a guitar and a cello. We all played recorder. My two big sisters were excellent musicians (piano and violin); the oldest one often took me to classical music concerts at the University of Wisconsin. My older brother and his wife played guitar and sang together when I was in high school. There was always plenty of Baroque music and choral music on the record player. I had an excellent choir teacher (Mr. Harr) in high school. He taught us everything about sight reading. I have always sung in choirs and early music groups. I get so sad when I see public schools cutting art and music "because they are not essential." Real (not recorded) music is very much a blessing in my life.

No one is home today, not even Tarzan, so I've been having fun sounding out tunes and squeaking every so often.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


I really like the satisfaction of cooperating with someone on a project, however small it may be. Sometimes the assistant director and I have to carry very heavy things up from the basement together. Last week a volunteer and I looked for a smelly decaying mouse corpse in the spidery basement together. I'm currently teaming up with two other museums to produce a lecture series this spring.
On Thursday, Al and I braved gale winds to take down the banner announcing our candlelight house tours. Since we work in a pedestrian-friendly town, several passers by stopped to offer advice and to chide me for not wearing a coat in such cold weather.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wet blanket

I was having trouble thinking of what to post today! Tammy was good enought to tag me. Visit her blog if you want a dose of optimism and gratitude.

The meme:
Three things I would like for Christmas.
Three things I wouldn't like for Christmas.

Preface on a Soapbox:
Here is a wonderful book that I have read perhaps four times. I cite it because it explains my feelings about gifts at Christmas. I'll sum up the book in one quote, coined by Barry Commoner in the 70s. "Less is more." This book is very dear to me, and I recommend it to all, especially at this frenetic time of year. So without judging anyone else, I try to follow Bo Lozoff and the Dalai Lama. I try to keep things simple.

Here's what I would want for Christmas if I celebrated it.... (click each image for a close-up)

Oooof! This pontificating is giving me a headache. I think I'll skip the second part about what I don't want. Anyway, thanks Tammy. I really had fun doing this.

P.S. Read about Bo Lozoff and The Human Kindness Project here .

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Yesterday I spent some time with my friend and colleague Al. We went to a Northport and visited the historical society, then walked around the town.

He is 80 years old, and so from another generation. Look at what he wore for our outing! A necktie, wingtips and a beautiful winter coat. He never swears. His intellectual curiosity makes him one of our best docents. I have never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. And this is one of the things I like best about him: he uses understatement.

When I described some visitors as "rowdy," he used the word "energetic."

I say "ridiculous," he says "there's room for improvement."

I say "riveting," he says "It's a good read."
Walking with him yesterday was an exercise in mindfulness. He walks with a slower gait, so I had to put the brakes on my usual Speedy Gonzales self.
I am so grateful for his friendship.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


The lovely kerrdelune invited me to participate in a meme. Please visit her blog. It will breath life into your spirit.

As I pulled melodies out of my head, I thought back to the cold, snowy nights in Madison, Wisconsin, where I grew up. For several Christmases in the early 1970s our family joined with several others to carol from door to door.

Muffled in coats, scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, we crunched at least two miles on frozen roads. That was before polar fleece and gore tex. Someone would call out a title and we would start to raise the song, all 20 of us. Often we stopped to knock on doors of old people or for people with young children. Both exuded a sense of delight and wonder.

When we were sufficiently frozen and hoarse we went to the Clausen's house for gingerbread cookies, pfeffernusse, and glogg. Those are very fond memories.

I whipped up this painting, imagining that these three people are singing "Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen" in 3-part harmony. Thanks kerrdelune. You have rekindled my love of this delightful Christmas tradition.

I'm going to skip my unfavorites. No need to start this beautiful day on a negative note. Here are my favorites:

"Good King Wenceslas "

"Oh Come! Oh Come, Emmanuel!"

"Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella"

"Rise Up Shepherd and Follow!", as sung by Harry Belafonte c. 1964

"In the Bleak Midwinter" listen to this one, pointed out by kerrdelune.

"The Grinch's Song" (You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Oh, it's so nice to be home.


I got back last night. There's no place like home. There's no place like home. Air travel does not agree with me, but seeing family does. Business determined my trip, but I was able to see family and even enjoy a Christmas ritual or two.
My sister and her husband do Christmas very well. Their beautiful house was scattered with stacks of Christmas books; Christmas music from the last four centuries. Sister supplied plates and bowls of pfeffernusse and gingerbread men. Brother-in-law made a fire in the fireplace. Nephew and his girlfriend selected a tree, which I helped to decorate. Cats (named China and Asia) played an endearing game of depositing numerous badminton shuttlecocks on my bed each night as feline love offerings. A 1,000 piece puzzle in the common room kept conversation running. It was lots of fun.
I'm late for work, so this is a sketch from a photo of nephew's girlfriend. Maybe I'll finish it tonight.

Thank you for the many good wishes for travel.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I'm leaving on a jet plane, I think I'll be back on Wednesday of next week.

Monday, December 04, 2006

mini gallery

My blogging group has finished reading True Balance, by Sonia Choquette. Here is a little retrospective of the icons I created to help myself understand each chakra. I did most of these on standard envelopes. It's a favorite size for me.

1st chakra: red; grounded, earthy, yoga, root vegetables, warm feet, sure-footed. Click images to see sloppy crayon or brushwork.

2nd chakra: orange, desire, sexuality, things that make you feel alive:

3rd chakra: yellow, will, clear direction, gut, solar plexus

4th chakra: green; heart chakra, give and receive love

5th chakra: blue, throat chakra, connect with universe, voice, truth-teller, no gossip

6th chakra: indigo, third eye, envision, open view, dream, see clearly what is and what could be

Here is the one that we read this week. It's the last one.
7th chakra: violet, no ego, crown chakra, embrace the Divine, embrace past lives, dissolve divisions.

The results of my profile tests rated me as having a very closed 7th chakra, but I think it's the measuring instrument that is closed. Choquette's tests place much emphasis on destiny and belief in a higher power. At this point in my life neither one fits in my belief system.
I see myself as having a fairly open 7th chakra. I may not worship a higher power, but I am incredibly spiritual, I see holiness all around me every day.
ACey wrote me with an excellent recommendation for a better book on chakras. I'm excited to look at it. Thanks to Melba for pulling all of this together. Consider coming to Melba's welcoming and wonderful gathering on Cape Cod in October of 2007. I'm already registered!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


About ten years ago I decided to abolish Christmas from my life. Why would I celebrate?