Thursday, June 28, 2007

Now, I GET IT!!!!!

Last night as I was driving home I had an a-ha moment. Actually, I had 2 but I can only remember the content of one. Anyone who has 2 kids less than 2 years apart can probably relate.

This particular a-ha moment was music related. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have been a musician practically since I was born. My primary instrument was violin, but over the years I had lessons on recorder and piano, and viola - which almost became my primary instrument during my highschool years.
Most of my musical experiences up to high school were pretty much fed to me by my father. He was a dance-band and orchestral musician, so Classical music was the biggie with Montovani and the like a close second.

One summer when I was in High School, my brother and I went to sleep-away music camp for 3 weeks. I got in on a viola scholarship, which meant I had to play viola in most of the groups I was scheduled to participate in. They did let me play violin in one quartet. However, to my GREAT disappointment, the music that was selected for that quartet to play was (horrors) a MODERN selection. With "MODERN" being spoken with the same disgust as a dirty word. It was dissonant and had a meter that constantly shifted. It wasn't the Mozart or Vivaldi I was used to - that I knew I could play.

I despized that piece of music - I was depressed that the only chance I had to play the violin was compromized by my lack of appreciation for the "ear-shattering" dissonance of the piece. I don't even remember who wrote it. I do remember that it was a brand new piece and that our little quartet would have been only the second formal performance of it. I say "would have been" because the four of us disliked it so much that it was never performance ready. Our coach - who picked the piece and LOVED it - was highly disappointed in our obvious disrespect and disdain.

That summer, I was introduced to another idea. The idea that music was linked to or could draw out our emotions. I heard one of the counsellors comment that the Brahms trio my brother's group was playing "made them cry" it was so beautiful....

That was new for me. I had always looked at music as a very mechanical thing. You played the notes on the page - with the inflection required by the composer - loud/soft/fast/slow etc. That gave me something to think about, and aspire to. But I didn't connect any of that to my dislike of the "Modern" quartet.

Years have passed - about 25 now - and I've been through a lot. Relationships have come and gone. My life philosophy has undergone stress and modification. I understand and appreciate everything from Gregorian chant to Heavy Metal. I don't ALWAYS want to have to listen to either, however. AND - my big a-ha moment - I LIKE music with"tight" harmonies. AKA dissonance. I frequently prefer it, in fact, and have for many years now...

Jazz, folk, rock, "Modern" classical.... It resonates deep within my heart and soul.

It is about emotions, it's about fear and loss, it's about getting to the other side.
It is about LIFE.
And Modern Life is not always - or even usually - harmonious.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Peace & Enviromentalism Continued

You must BE the change you wish to see in the world.
Mahatma Ghandi

Continuing to stand on the soapbox I got up on yesterday...
Peace and ecology go hand-in-hand. A lot of things are really about "have"s vs "have not"s.
If we can each make a smaller impact on the world around us it can only help the planet and all of mama earth's citizens in so many ways....
What Ecological footprint are you leaving? - Reusable Solutions

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Solstice 2007 - Dreaming of Peace

Ours is a SMALL planet, but this planet is essential to us.
We cannot yet survive independent of it. We need its fresh air and water... we need the warmth of its sun filtered through its atmosphere...we need its gravitational pull on our bones. There is enough potential for Mama Earth to throw us off her back -all on her own - violent earthquakes - waves - monster volcanic erruptions.... We need to stop fighting each other and Her and live like the family we are. Sharing our resources; finding ways to stop laying waste to the fields and oceans; doing what's right for humanity.
We're all connected - in oh, so many ways........ - UNESCO's Transdisciplinary Project "Towards a Culture of Peace" -The Peace Project - World Peace Project for Children - Peace Pole Project - World Peace Prayer Society - The Everest Peace Project

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In anticipation of Father's Day

I was forwarded the following in an email - not sure who it is attributed to - but it is great!
10 Commandments of Daddy
Fatherhood, you might argue, is too complicated to be reduced to capsule form. But complexity only adds intrigue to the quest for guiding principles. And do we need guiding principles. After all the emotions, all the yelling, and all the laughter, I have distilled the duties and demands down to a decade of Dad dicta. Herewith, on behalf of all God's children and their male parents, the 10 Commandments of Daddy.

1. Hey, Dad, be big
In spirit, that is. Consider some of the big guys who have gone before you: Father Time, God the Father. You can't give this role a walk-through. You've got to play it. The kids expect stature from you. You're the anvil on which they hammer out their deal with the world. Be a presence in their lives-and in their minds.

2. Hey, Dad, be small
Yes, this contradicts the first tip. Don't be so big that you suck all the air out of the room. Give your kids space to move around in, to test their thoughts and strengths. Take a backseat three or four times a week. Say, "Maybe." Say, "I don't know." Now and then, tell the kids you're sorry-assuming you behaved badly. You'll feel brand new.

3. Hey, Dad, come home
Lots of fathers have two jobs. If that's your situation, God bless you, pal. You'll get no heat from me. But if you can pay the bills without working double shifts, get home when you can. Nothing good can happen until you do.

4. Bob and weave, Bubba
Stay light on your feet. Don't make too many hard-and-fast rules. Don't insist on having your way with the kids just because the rest of the world isn't always overly interested in the sound of your voice. There is a difference between authority and power. Have the first; don't abuse the second.

5. Never dance in front of their friends
Remember the cautionary legend of the father who once picked his kids up at a junior-high dance and actually went into the gym and did a few seconds of the Hully Gully with Margie Costanzo. His adult children still have embarrassment nightmares.
(Renee's addendum: This one depends on the execution - if it is appropriate to dance and the embarasement comes from NOT dancing then it needs to be done.)

6. Save your money, big man
If you're not careful, the kids will send you to the poorhouse three dollars and twenty-nine cents at a time. Think college tuition. Think down payment on their starter homes. Although it's true that money can't buy happiness, it can buy lots of other stuff.

7. Spend your money, tightwad
F. Scott Fitzgerald said the sign of a first-rate mind was the ability to have two opposite opinions at the same time. You're a first-rate mind, Dad. So spring for the glowing monster trading cards. If you've got the money, pop for the musical princess crown. What are you saving your money for, pal? College? Hah! You can't possibly save enough. There is the future, and then there is now. This is it.

8. Never go on a ride with the word whirl in its name.
Especially the Space Shuttle Whirl at the Great Escape near Lake George, New York. It's tougher to be a good father when your nervous system is permanently compromised. Stay on the ground and wave.

9. Let 'em be-they're not your second chance
We become most upset with the kids when they remind us of... well, us. Help them follow their own path, not your road not taken.

10. Love their mother
Hug Mom. Often. In front of the kids. Sure, sometimes marriages end, but the obligation to a woman doesn't. Be grateful to her. Speak to her with respect. Try to make her laugh. Listen. Even if you're not married to her, figure out how to love her.

(Renee's addendum: same goes for Moms)