Monday, April 20, 2009
I am really getting addicted to You-Tube. I keep watching videos of border collies doing one thing or another. I sent Carol, my fellow Lawrence anthropologist, a link to a video of 3-week-old puppies. She enjoyed it, but then I found one of 4-week-old puppies herding ducks! So I sent her that link.
So now I'm going to go look for clawhammer banjo on You-Tube.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
My friend John in Orange County, California, told me that the bombing of Dresden was much like the bombing of Guernica by the Germans. He said to this day the Spanish won't allow Lufthansa to land because Lufthansa planes bombed Guernica. But the Germans allow us to land our planes there despite the destruction of Dresden. I guess that is because the Germans lost the war, so they have to take what they got. My cousin Curt Siodmak -- he was 92 when I corresponded with him -- was very bitter about the bombing of Dresden. It was in his autobiography. It makes me hurt to think about it.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I still need to buy a capo and tuner for my banjo. The teacher said I would need these, but I haven't bought them yet. I just paid for the session on Monday, like four weeks late. But it seems to be okay.
There is another session starting at the end of May, and I'm going to sign up for that one. I'm going to stay in this class as long as I'm in Saint Louis. There doesn't seem to be a folk school or a clawhammer banjo teacher in Jacksonville.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
The piece we are learning now is called "Jake Gilly." Last week and the week before it was "June Apple." I imagine we'll learn more of Jake Gilly today.
My daughter also quit smoking. I would like to think that I inspired her!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Sky & Telescope
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Step By Step Beads
Cross Stitch Crazy
Original Logic Puzzles
I don't get some of these every month, but a few of them (like BARk, the beading, and the sci fi magazines) I'm subscribed to. The science and astronomy magazines I pick up at the store, along with the British cross stitch magazines. I am subscribed to Brain Boosters, for example, but the rest of the puzzle magazines come from Barnes & Noble.
By the way, I often drop by Barnes & Noble after my therapy session in Olivette. It's on the way to Forest Park Parkway in Clayton just off the 170. I usually have raspberry cheesecake while I'm there and maybe get a puzzle magazine or a cross stitch magazine if there are any new British ones. Then I get back on the 170 and take Forest Park Parkway home.
Obviously I like magazines. They appeal to my various interests and I usually read them from cover to cover.
Here it is: www.sudoku-puzzles.net
Well it isn't exactly new. Monks from Tibet create sand mandalas as a form of meditation -- and then destroy them when they are finished because destroying the mandalas represents the transience of life. (Look at the picture here -- the monks are using straws to blow out the sand because the mandala is so detailed.)
I started coloring mandalas at my therapy sessions because I had anxiety and my therapist had colored pencils and mandala drawings to color. I found it so helpful that we have continued to use the mandalas in therapy. The therapist also participates, coloring her own mandala.
Although my anxiety is now mostly gone because of a medication decrease, I decided to get my own mandala coloring books and some decent colored pencils. I got 36 fine Prismacolor pencils and 36 regular professional Prismacolor pencils. I also got some coloring books that are mandalas or designs or of a spiritual nature. The manufacturers of the coloring books are mostly Dover and MindWare. I like the MindWare books better. I have just about finished with one of the MindWare books, Celtic Mosaics. I don't know which one I will do next. But I am being disciplined about it. I am finishing one book before going on to the other.
By they way, there is a great website directing you to all sorts of grown-up coloring pages. It's called Best Coloring Pages and it's at http://best.coloring.ever.com. Thus, it's easy to find online coloring pages if you don't want to spend the $3.95 or $4.95 for a coloring book at Amazon.com. The only problem with the websites is that there are a limited number of coloring pages appropriate for meditation and relaxation. There are some mandalas, but not many. There are Mary Engelbreit pages, which some might find enjoyable (I colored some of these myself and liked doing them) but they may not be for everyone (especially guys, hehe). The Mary Engelbreit pages are at http://www.maryengelbreit.com/FreeFromME/ColoringPages.aspx/.
Although it's probably preferable to color mandalas than other shapes, I have found that some of the rectangular designs from the MindWare books are sufficiently similar to the mandala circles in structure to be of use. I think anything with a balanced design is relaxing. It may also be relaxing to color some of the more spiritual designs that include more intricate patterns. I have one book of wizards -- both male and female -- that fits this category. It is called Wondrous Wizards and is published by Dover.
Good luck with your coloring adventures! What's next? Paper dolls?
I am thinking about spending some time cleaning the house for three days (today -- Wednesday -- tomorrow and Friday) and if I can do it I'll cancel for Monday. That would be a sort of trial. But my fear is that I won't be able to keep it up. I don't know how this would work. I would have to get into the routine of cleaning every morning, just like I take the dog out every morning. I haven't done this for years.
See the dilemma? I'm not accustomed to cleaning the house myself, and I don't know whether I'll be able to do it.
UPDATE: Well, I'm not good at cleaning the house myself. I'm just not motivated. I tend to pick up just before the cleaning ladies come, and then I still don't do a great job. But at least the house is clean, even if it's still cluttered. So I'm going to have them continue to come every other week.
Monday, April 06, 2009
The best thing about quitting smoking is how I feel in the morning. I wake up feeling really good. I am also not coughing, except that sometimes my throat still feels a little itchy. But it isn't like it used to be.
I think the Chantix is also preventing me from gaining additional weight. My weight has remained stable. I need to lose a little weight (just one pants size) but I haven't put any weight on since I quit smoking, which is a first for me. The weight is what always makes me go back to smoking.
I highly recommend Chantix. It is VERY expensive, but not more than smoking a pack a day.
Friday, April 03, 2009
I started taking clawhammer (old timey) banjo lessons again, at the Folk Music School of Saint Louis. This place is great! So professional. My teacher is David Landreth, who is a very fine banjo player (I understand the best in the area). He's a tough and demanding teacher, which really is great because it requires discipline and practice. It's a hard class because there is no tab (written banjo music) and one has to learn in class. I am having trouble keeping up (there are five people in this class), and need to meet with people between classes to catch up. Eventually I hope to be able to get the stuff down in class like everyone else. Dave has confidence that I will be able to do it. He said he knows I could do it or else he would have kicked me out!
I think I would like to stay in Saint Louis for a while to continue with the banjo lessons. I will be here for another year because Camille will be going to Forest Park Community College for the next year, and I plan to stay here (and delay my move to Jacksonville) until she goes away to school.