Monday, May 25, 2009

My Music Migrant

*FLASH*FLASH*FLASH*FLASH*FLASH*FLASH*FLASH*
Edited to include a new, permanent link to the interview, with huge thanks to Susan Gleason and Jan Ozer!!

YOU HAVE GOT TO DROP EVERYTHING AND LISTEN TO THIS RIGHT NOW!!!!
It will only be available for a few more hours on the internet. I am so proud, I am just melted into a big old puddle of drool on the floor. Or whatever! My body can't contain all the emotions I am feeling hearing my own daughter on world-wide radio speaking so eloquently on her passion in life.

audio portrait of Amber on the BBC


Cheerio!


Sneak Peak

I'm still in Charleston celebrating my niece, Paz's wedding. Here is a sneak preview!



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jarring Still Life

captured with my LG phone in the gift shop at Doughton Park
Click to Mix and Solve

My new phone is making me lazy. Can you believe I spent this picture-perfect day on the parkway, and only carried my phone?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fun With my New Phone

On the lovely Beaver Dam Trail, back in the good old days before breaking my ankle.









Click to Mix and Solve

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For Ringers Only

Tonight's post is a little quiz for all my ringers.
Study these pictures of Kiriku ringing and tell me in the comments what you observe about their technique that enhances their tone. Hint: It is something that you have heard from both Debbie Rice and your very own flawed, but fervent, director.









Needless to say, Kiriku completely blew me away with their supremely musical ringing. I put together a slideshow from the concert at North Raleigh United Methodist Church. Obviously, not the same as being there, but the soundtrack for the slideshow was their exquisite opening number, "By the Seaside." click here to see the Kiriku slideshow.

Griff Gall, the Artistic Director of the Back Bay Ringers in Boston wrote this fitting review of the concert on the handbell mailing list: (all emphasis is mine. JoyBell Ringers: Pay Attention!!)

"Saturday night, at the Hancock Church in Lexington, Mass. I had the pleasure of hearing one of the most musical and technically brilliant ensembles I have ever heard. Kiriku, a small design handbell ensemble from Japan under the direction of Taiko Otsubo, performed an hour long concert that left the audience breathless and in awe!
What makes their performance amazing is how well they they respond to each other. When they are playing a melody line between positions, they lean in towards each other, and watch each others ringing so they remain connected to the musical line at all times. Their interpretation of Schubert's Ave Maria was a key example of this. The accompaniment was gentle, flowing and extremely legato. The melody line was "sung" by the bells in the top position fluidly and with incredible phrasing. Perhaps my favorite pieces where the selections from Pleiades Dances by Takashi Yoshimatsu. These exciting piano compositions spoke beautifully on handbells, what a treat to hear! The ensembles technical skills were exemplified in their final selection "Csardas" by Vittorio Monti. The selection demands virtuosity with its incredible glissandi and dramatic changes in tempo and dynamics. The audience sprang to their feet and erupted with applause after this selection.
I enjoyed watching this ensemble perform as much as I enjoyed listening to them. Their ability to watch and stay connected with each other through out their playing was engaging. Each of the ringers are constantly in a fluid motion that is grounded and organic. Michael Joy has often spoken about the ringers should look like the music, and Kiriku has this down. Their movements are not choreographed to simply look pretty, there was no wasted motions just to impress the audience, their movements add to the musical line and release the sound. After the performance, I had a chance to briefly speak with Taiko. Although we had a language barrier, her passion for creating beautiful music with handbells came through. As the artistic director of Kiriku, Taiko said "I can teach technique, but it is much more difficult to teach how to share the heart of the music." I responded by assuring her that their performance shared the heart of the music, and inspired many in the audience."


I wish you all could have been there! And all of Rejoice, too.

I'll wrap it up with just a few shots of my ringers who made the trip to Raleigh with me that didn't make it into the slideshow.
This first shot is P.L. Grove, of Velocity Handbell Ensemble, and the emcee for the evening. I only wish she was one of my ringers . . . 





This last shot is Karen, from Rejoice Ringers, and her 
unknown twin that Michael Glasgow found in his church!


And last, but not least, your puzzle of the day!
Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, May 11, 2009

Friday, May 08, 2009

Michael Glasgow's Church

Click to Mix and Solve
Really pretty church. This is where we saw the incredible Japanese handbell ensemble, Kiriku, in concert.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What's My Name?

Click to Mix and Solve

Michelle commented that they were going to the Creation Museum this weekend, and it reminded me that I still have lots of pictures from our visit last summer. So, here is Adam with the perplexing job of naming all the animals. I wonder if it was a complicated as naming your children. Probably not, since Eve wasn't there yet to say, "Oh, I know somebody named that, and they are a real (Jerk) (dork) (nerd) (flake) (moron) (floozy) . . . "

That's the Way the Cookie Crumbles



Huh??
What do you mean those don't look like cookies?!??!
I dutifully followed the directions on the cute little country tag dangling from a ribbon around the cute little mason jar full of mixin's for a batch of delicious cookies. "Cream together 3/4 cup butter and two eggs; then stir in the contents of the jar. Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake. Shazaam!!!! I just this moment realized what I did wrong! I added 3 STICKS of butter. Good heavens! What was I thinking?!?!? Well, the first pan of cookies melted into one big puddle covering the cookie sheet and oozing over the edges into smoking pools of carbon on the bottom of my oven. So that's when I decided to use the mini muffin pans to bake the next batch, and well, you can see how that turned out (or not!)
Believe it or not, I actually had the nerve to take these pathetic crumbs to Rejoice (along with another batch of chocolate chip cookies that did turn out looking the way you'd expect cookies to look.) You just gotta know you are loved like family when you can put a box of crumbles out, slap a sign on top ordering them NOT to ask questions, just eat up because it still tastes good, and they loved it and called it "granola!" HA! some granola with 3 sticks of butter! No wonder it tasted good!
I think this post has just vaporized any illusion I might have had of becoming a legitimate food blog.

My New Fashion Statement

So what do you all think of my latest fashion statement?


It's kinda cute  . . .  as orthopedic devices go. A lot more sexy than the big black boot, the recommended alternative that didn't fit.
After 10 days of DENIAL, I finally demanded an X-Ray of the offended ankle, and now I have to face the naked truth: I have a small avulsion fracture. Except it's not naked anymore. It's securely wrapped up in velcro and  hard plastic, delicately cradled in a green air cushion.
I am doing a lot of sitting, sulking, and robotically ingesting cheese and chocolates. This ain't going to be pretty.

Monday, May 04, 2009

It's Your Birthday, Michael!

Click to Mix and Solve

Did you take in that monstrous awesomeness?!?!?

What 10 year old boy wouldn't just die to have a birthday cake like that?



The Queen of Birthdays here at McPherson acres humbly bows to the birthday cake prowess of Julie Lee.

All I ever made was a space shuttle. And it just sat flat on the baking sheet.

Since I managed to cripple myself the day before this magnificent birthday celebration, you will just have to enjoy the pictures of this epic cake and imagine how much fun the monster truck scavenger hunt and the Grave Digger piƱata was.






Right in the midst of all this pre-pubescent boyness I caught this tender pink baby girl moment shared between Kim and her new (after 6 boys in a row!) daughter, Abigail.

Thanks, Michael, for inviting us to your party and we hope being 10 years old is the best ever!