Thursday, December 18, 2014

Skywatch Friday:

I watched a family of swans and a beaver swim by this pond last Saturday.  The peace they left behind was priceless.  Here's some great Christmas music from The Piano Guys to go along with this image:

Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our World Tuesday: Doing the Christmas Thing

On Sunday, my nephews, who live in Newtown, Connecticut, came over to celebrate the Christmas holiday.  Our celebration of Christmas happens when it can because the boys' parents are divorced and Adella and I make the most of our time off to enjoy the beach in North Carolina.  December 14 this year was our December 25.

December 14 is also the anniversary of Adam Lanza's massacre of 20 very young children and six hard-working adults at Sandy Hook School in Newtown.  Two years ago, somebody somewhere online asked the world to cut paper snowflakes to decorate Newtown businesses after the atrocity--an even that might not have happened if Adam Lanza's parents and Newtown Public Schools had dared to notice that Adam Lanza was very, very sick and had bothered to provide the care he needed.  His parents could certainly have afforded to take care of the mental health of their son. But no.  Anyway.

The world cut those snowflakes. My daughter and I and my nephews were a part of that project. Then, last year, my daughter and I cut snowflakes to decorate our home.  In so doing, we honored the murdered babies and teachers of Newtown.  This year, we put scissors to paper again. We honored life.  Then we mailed them to family and friends in the free Christmas cards that about six charities sent to me this fall.  That was fun.

The paper we cut was last year's wrapping paper.  Funny enough, though, we couldn't remember last year's gifts, but we knew who gave us the paper. This is up there with the kids having more fun with the box than the gift.  It is also about how much we love the people who gave us our gifts.

We decorated the tree, too.  This always amounts to time travel, remembering the times when we received or made or reassembled our ornaments.  Among my favorites are the ones my friend Craig made for me in high school.  Like this Santa:

Today (Wednesday), Adella had wind ensemble practice in New Haven, so I went back into town with her and had a walk while she made music.  New Haven is a beautiful city.  It was a mild and breezy evening, so it was really nice.  Here's the New Haven tree:

I remember the years of building up to December 25 and the aggravation and frustration of trying to make everybody happy being everywhere at once.  That never worked out, and it wasn't particularly fun.  Now that I'm older and less interested in making everybody happy and doing all the junk you're supposed to do at Christmas, December has become a month of Christmas and a lot of fun.

Wishing you the best of winters.

Our World Tuesday

Monday, December 01, 2014

Our World Tuesday: Good Times at Lincoln Center

Last week, we headed down to New York City to hear Winton Marsalis.  He was part of an ensemble at Lincoln Center that was honoring the music of Tito Puenrte.
Check that.  The great Wynton Marsalis was part of an ensemble.  And he was cool.  He packed all his greatness into his trumpet and delivered it in the context of  the work of a Latin-American musician who lived to make people feel good, to smile, to move, and to smile.

We were there because Adella and I had fallen in love with Wynton Marsalis after a summer of watching him in Ken Burns's "Jazz:  The Story of America's Music."  It's a long series, so we would watch a little each night until we acquired a broad view of American culture through the lens of jazz.  Every night, we were treated to history through music through Marsalis, who made musical sounds where words were of no use to him.  We were there because we had fallen in love with America's music and with the American people through music.

This was a family day at Lincoln Center, and there were small kids shouting answers to the questions of host Carlos Henriquez and gurgling babies everywhere and it was great.  The Rose Theater is as comfortable as it is beautiful and spacious.

I used the zoom on my camera like an opera glass to get closer than I was, though I was happy to be where I was in the back row of the orchestra section and to take in everything.  Here's most of the ensemble's performance of Puente's famous "Oye Como Va," which closed this amazing event.

Our World Tuesday

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Today's Flowers: Bloom On

The cactus that spent the summer outside and pretty much neglected while Adella and I were down south is back for another round.  It's good.  I was out for a walk today, and it was cold, and I was thinking how it is in the cold weather, the way your spend time with your family and the cold weather always brings you back to Thanksgiving and Christmas and reading in comfortable chairs by the soft light of shorter days.  We're there and we're alone and we're not and the cactus from the wholesaler blooms on.  It's good.  It's all good.

Today's Flowers