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2017-08-16 08:49 pm



My daughter spotted this very small, very quiet green-backed heron on our walk tonight.

four more )
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2017-07-31 09:54 pm

(no subject)

There's a house along the rail trail here with a walled backyard. The wall has intriguing Asian elements, and I could see the top of a gazebo or pagoda, so I've been very curious. Last Friday when I was out biking, there was a man in the front yard of that house. When he nodded to me, I pulled over and asked if he was the gardener; he responded, "Would you like a tour?" YES!


It is truly a wonder: a double lot, with I think four water features, and not quite too many Asian decorative items, and all beautifully groomed. Bernie, the gardener, is delightful too.

two more )
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2017-06-29 08:50 pm

Conference tidbits

The purple hair was a brilliant idea. Dunno which is the chicken or the egg, but I feel more able to initiate conversations, and also like more people are approaching me. And yes, once they meet me they recognize me!


At one of my first meals, I introduced myself as "a first-timer for the second time-- I came when I was a teenager and never since." A man at the table said "Me too! What year-- I was here exactly 40 years ago!" I've been idly trying to figure out what year I came when a vivid memory came to mind. Next time I saw Tim, I asked, "do you remember the dog in worship?" and he cracked up laughing. The scripture that day had been something about dogs (Maybe "Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of those who mutilate the flesh!") and right on cue a dog ran in through an open door, barking like crazy. So apparently we were there at the same time!


There is a small lake at the center of campus here, between two very steep hills. One of the traditions of the week is a concert with brass ensembles on high terraces on opposite sides of the lake. I bumped into one of my teachers (one whose class I had dropped, but that's common so it wasn't awkward at all); and after a while this week's Guest Organist joined us. So I got quiet commentary on the concert from David Hurd, whee! From my location in the middle there was a little less than a second of lag between the two groups-- anyone want to figure out how far apart they were?
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2017-06-11 03:19 pm

Something different

I had a 'free' day off today. My church held a combined outdoor service with two other congregations, and it's not my year to play for that. Rather than go on an exceptionally hot day, I decided to go check out worship someplace else, preferably with air conditioning. Laura reminded me of a local church that has ASL interpreting, so off we went.

Watching the ASL interpreting was a blast-- she was very good. I'm not at all proficient, but I know enough that since I can hear I could figure out a lot of the signs. That was a blessing during a particularly long sermon!

We knew going in that it would be a contemporary service, and that the denomination was on the conservative side. Thankfully, there was nothing uncomfortable for me in the sermon, though I suspect that might not always be the case.

Contemporary worship music isn't my first choice, but this was reasonably well done. All of the musicians had really good pitch control, so it wasn't hard on the ears. A couple of the songs were pitched really uncomfortably for congregational singing. I was surprised and momentarily horrified when one singer picked up an accordion, but he used it beautifully-- basically much as some groups use a harmonica, adding lovely countermelodies. Mostly I wished I could commandeer the sound board and balance things correctly.
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2017-06-05 03:11 pm



We're cleaning out odd bits of sewing. Laura made this as a practice project. The panels are pre-printed, she added colored embroidery. It's available for shipping plus maybe a few dollars. Double click to go through to Flikr so you can zoom in.
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2017-05-30 07:43 pm

(no subject)

I have three piano students. Two are very energetic boys, 7 and 8. It is very hard to persuade them to practice slowly, with emphasis on accuracy. They'll both race along and guess wildly when they realize they've gone wrong. (I totally get it- I'm taking jazz guitar lessons, so the frustration of not being able to do with my fingers what I can hear in my head is fresh). Recently the kid and I happened on Despicable Me 2 on TV, and rewatched it. Today I reminded the boys of the musical puzzle scene, where Gru has to dance across a musical floor, hitting the stones in the right order to unlock a vault:


I told each boy to play his current song as if he's in that scene. Magic!
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2017-05-28 05:15 pm

Rock garden


I think we're considering the structure of the rock garden complete; just need lots more plants now. The design was a collaboration mostly between me and the kid. There are pockets that we'll fill with plants, but also paths to access them. We found a big patch of moss today so the moss 'river' is laid in. Hubby created the tiny 'cave' under a flat rock at the back. The chickadee birdhouse is 6 feet up the tree trunk in the back. It makes a really lovely place to sit and read!
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2017-05-27 09:25 pm

(no subject)


Unusual headstone-- those really are separate stones mortared together. Found in Penn Yan, NY.

more )
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2017-05-17 02:18 pm



"Button" buck-- see the stumps of antlers? He's probably just a year old or so.

three more )
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2017-05-11 03:55 pm



Detail pic of a lovely old barn I found today.

two more )
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2017-05-04 10:50 pm



White capped sparrow at my feeders.

yellow warbler

Yellow warbler. Terrible pic but nice sighting-- I seem to see just one yellow warbler per year, and here it is already!
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2017-05-03 09:04 pm



One of the main roads here used to be a yellow brick road!

two more )
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2017-04-25 08:26 am

Tree sparrow

tree sparrow

Happy to see a tree sparrow at my feeder this morning (and lucky to have my camera at hand). That red-brown cap is quite eye-catching "in person."
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2017-04-24 08:09 pm

(no subject)


Merganser from a walk a week ago. The brown crest says merganser, but the body markings are unusually vivid.

green backed heron

Green backed heron from tonight. Greens keep their necks scrunched down and then magically stretch them out to strike at a fish.
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2017-04-24 12:33 pm

Trying something new

I'm a church organist, so Sunday is always my big day. So my 'weekend' is generally the rest of Sunday plus Monday. I don't cook on Sunday, but I generally expect and am expected to cook Monday dinner, and that messes up my 'day off' plans pretty often. So recently I've told my husband I would make sure one of several pantry-to-table meals would be available for Sunday or Monday, and on the other day we'll fend for ourselves.

So... today I am going to hang out at the house, doing the stuff I want to do. I'll eat dinner early... and then I will leave the house just before my husband comes home, and go walking until sunset. My day already feels longer in a good and relaxed way.
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2017-04-20 07:46 am


After getting Nala safely indoors Tuesday, we both spent the day nibbling and napping. Late in the afternoon I got a text from my friend Jen inviting me to a movie. Hubby and I had already arranged to have dinner out, so I invited Jen to join us before the movie. Good food, good movie and good company did a lot to restore me.

Onwards to the next thing, which is Holy Humor Sunday at my church. Fun for me, as I get to go off the beaten path musically. I'll be playing Fawkes' Theme from Harry Potter-- hey, resurrection! And either the Star Wars main theme or one of the other celebration themes from the series. Still need one more piece, but hey, I have 2 whole hours to pin it down! (Hmm, maybe Maria's wedding march from The Sound of Music.) We also do some hymn texts especially for the day, or sing standard texts to the "wrong" tunes. Last year we swapped words/tunes of Amazing Grace and O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing-- try it!
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2017-04-03 06:10 pm

(no subject)

Um, new user agreement on LJ? Didn't read it all yet, logged out until I see reaction to it. Did see, as I skimmed, that they can change it just by posting a new version, and our agreement is assumed. Ummmm.....
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2017-02-22 09:47 pm


Sunday was sunny and warming, so I went walking in a large park nearby. When I got back in the car, the bright sunlight on my windshield suddenly made me see, backwards, "10*16" twice. Registration and inspection, both expired last October. Yikes!

I drove home carefully, and got on the internet to see what to do next. The answer was inspection first, so early Monday morning I called our mechanic and got a 1 pm appointment. I drove myself to work, then dropped off the car (pastor drove me home). I knew that at 130k miles, it wasn't likely to pass inspection straight off, and I was right-- I got a call that work was needed on the front suspension. Yesterday I got yet another call, that work was going slowly and the car still wasn't done.

Today I drove hubby to work and kept our other car. After lunch I finally got the call that mine was finished. I drove in, paid for it and picked up the keys. The mechanic was kind enough to give me a small discount and a free oil change to make up for the car-free days.

Next step was to renew the registration. I tried to do it online but the system wouldn't cooperate, so I headed across town to the DMV. I was nervous, as there was potentially a huge fine for being so late. I explained that I was sure I hadn't received the renewal paperwork, though that doesn't really excuse not noticing the stickers for so long. The clerk noted that my address had been changed a year ago, and asked if I had changed it on the registration as well... no, that had never occurred to me. She waived the fine! So now I have the sticker and am legal again. (I asked how to fix the online problems and the clerk replied, "I really wouldn't bother, the system has so many problems. Probably 2/3 of the people I work with say they tried online first.")

I spent the next few hours clearing up a banking snafu (new ATM cards that never arrived), walking, and finally having a relaxing dinner, before picking up my car at last.
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2017-02-15 12:34 pm

(no subject)

So, I was reading a novel yesterday, and realized with irritation that the coming plot twist was going to be "surprise, your new love might be your half brother!" Sure enough, Hero's childhood sweetheart dumped that bit of gossip on Heroine. This frustrated me in two ways.

First, relatively minor, it assumed utter stupidity on the part of Heroine's father, who really should have noticed the possibility that Hero was his son.

Second, and what really bothered me because it's such a trope in both literature and (white American?) society.... Heroine immediately runs away. She doesn't go to Hero and say, hey, Girlfriend thinks you could be my half brother, isn't that crazy? She doesn't go to her father and ask. She doesn't go to Hero's mother and ask. She doesn't even go to her uncle, or to Hero's uncle, and ask.

When my daughter was in her teens, she got caught up in a soap opera one summer, and instead of trying to stop her, I watched it with her, and discussed the relationship dynamics that were portrayed. Over and over I would say (and later she would say), "Ya know, this wouldn't be much of a problem at all if they would just talk to each other!" How bizarre and sad that keeping painful secrets and brooding on them, to the great harm of relationships, is portrayed as normal.
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2017-01-21 08:40 pm

Albany "Inaugurate Resistance" march

I've already been to one peace and justice organization meeting this month, and very much wanted to go to the Albany march today; and then Laura said she wanted to go, and that cemented it. I didn't want to deal with downtown parking, and was delighted when a friend offered us a ride in. We parked about half a mile from the gathering point and walked in, then walked a few more blocks from there to the Capital (it's Albany, not NYC, remember?)

Our local march was a Unity march rather than a womens' march, with a theme of reminding us of how strong we'll all be if all the groups feeling threatened support each other. Besides the pink hats and feminist signs, we saw the local Socialist party, Black Lives Matter signs, lots of rainbows, lots of signs about tolerance and respect. The mood and the speeches were amazingly positive. (The only boos were at the mention of DeVos; the new president was never named.) The speakers were amazingly diverse-- pretty much everything but a white man! The event ended right on time. Laura and I walked far enough, in a different direction, to let my husband pick us up.

I had had the forethought to load the crockpot with soup ingredients in the morning, so we were digging into soup and good bread within minutes of arriving home.

If you go to such an event, consider a noisemaker, if they are allowed. I was jealous of the people with cowbells, as I stripped my throat chanting and cheering.