Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Music Family- Part 2

Monday, January 27, 2014

Still Going Strong

Photo credit: Atziry Hernandez and instagram.

Painting completed tonight.

Watercolor on Canson XL Watercolor paper

Friday, January 24, 2014

Doodle do

On the way into school today, I saw a bird near the entrance. I had never seem a buyers like this one! It looked like a duck, but had the neck of a goose. It stood still long enough for me to get a couple of pictures to share with friends to help identify it.

Later, I posted it on instagram and FB and hoped for a response. Sure enough, a friend posted that it is called an Egyptian Goose.

Wow! So now I know a new bird! That just doesn't happen very often!

But it helped me realize, when the student is curious, that is when the student will acquire new language. In school, I've started backwards planning with my students to help them learn more vocab. It seems to be working, because when they've become curious, they've learned more words.

I enjoy that kind of confirmation.

And the Egyptian Goose.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Just Color

With the little kids, sometimes it is enough to let them color and talk. Of course, we set up a topic of discussion, but they are free to create as they wish.

That helped me a lot today because I'm battling a headache that has lingered for two days now. Kinda bummy.

At home tonight, I cheered up with some New Girl episodes and put some Derwent pigment sticks on paper, then followed up with watercolor. Unfortunately, the markings below the word seem like a smile. I wasn't going for that, but maybe I can fix it someday...

Peace out-
Meds are working.....

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


When working with second graders today, we discovered a few new words. I asked then to pick four words they could read and define from a pile of plenty.

One boy choose fungus- amongst other stiff.

The game was simple:

Pick four cards, then think about them because you will have to define them without using the weird you picked.

The first two rounds were fine. Then-a little boy who had picked 'fungus' had to read it, then define it.

"Fungus is like what the say when they fall out of an airplane."

I giggled. Then told him I was sorry.

He thought it was funny-and so did I.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Music Family - Part 1

Tuesday nights are now Rehearsal Night for me. Again. Boy.
I drove home in tears.

But it's good to be playing music again, right?
Yes. It really is.

But there is just something that is so hard to explain.

I've been playing Clarinet 3 to get my chops back in shape, but I brought the alto with me tonight just in case they would have room for me to read some charts.
Don't get me wrong, please.
I enjoy playing.

Every time I do play, I'm hit with a particular type of grief.
There have been so many music groups of which I've been part over the years and I feel their shadows whenever I play in new situations. I mean, it's a new experience with new people on Tuesday nights in Cali, but I just feel past peeps hanging around- not ghosts, rather musical memories captured by time and feeling from long ago.

It's heartbreaking. I miss so many people.

Technology keeps us in touch, but some have passed on, and there is just no making up for time away from people like this.

I just don't think this post will really make much sense unless you have really been in musical "family" before, but I'll continue to try and explain.

One of my favorite groups to play for was the Minnesota Jazz Orchestra. Yes, we rehearsed. Yes, we played gigs. But this band-

It became a living thing. The music started coming alive! The parts of paper music became parts of us as individuals and as the whole band organism. The paper music became a sort of enhancement to each player and the group melded into one sound. Maybe that makes sense?

All I know is, I played second alto and sat between Evan and Aaron. We had our own jokes about goings on that only our group would understand, and fortunately, those types of things live on in other bands, too. As band members, we grew together.

So, leaving a band voluntarily is not really ever something people do unless it is physically impossible to be a member of the organism any longer.

I moved from Minnesota in 2007 after an amazing campfire/gathering/party to celebrate the rest of my life. I am not sure if I cried as I left that evening, but the truth is, I cried tonight. Ugh.

Yes, I'll meet new people.
Yes, I'll practice reading.
(Music, that is....)
Yes, I'll enjoy playing again.
Yes, there is a website where i can keep funny anecdotes and ephemera.
Yes, I can be in contact with any of the band mates with technology.

Time changes the organism and the only thing I have left are the memories. 
This blog is a place where I can explore the sadness that overcame me tonight.

We lost a musical friend in the MJO in 2013. His voice kept creeping into my rehearsal time tonight. It was like he needed some "time" for him to prove he was there. Boy, did he let me know.
We used to chat about "Schwee"- a sound some alto sax players make, and I heard that tonight.

I just kept playing.
The rhythms felt so natural and the notes fell out in the right places. (I cannot say that about the clarinet part, but it'll get better.)

The percussion section needs players....maybe that would help?

To my musical brother, Aaron Hilden, Rest In Peace.
You are truly gone too early.

As for the rest of you people in my musical head of memories-
Chill out. Listen to some classic Sinatra and go to sleep.

And, as readers, no matter what else you chose to do today, please let the musicians in your life know they are the best you have ever heard.

Good night

Friday, January 17, 2014

Fun Friday

Art "lessons" continue to happen at my house on Friday afternoons with two lovely neighbor kids. Who knew an invitation for three lessons would turn into twelve? Or more? I had a feeling,....

Today, we used inspiration from Pinterest to fuel our creative hearts. A Russian blog has a quick photo tutorial for painting canvas tote bags. We followed the first few steps, but the end product shows how delightfully creative my two young friends can get.

We had fun with our pointilistic pencil and paint stampings. Ashley already knows her special pink number will keep her classmates wondering, "Where did you buy that?"

On a separate note, yesterday I wrote a bit about the student who needs so much help and who really speaks no language at all.

Today, I got her to smile, look at me, and respond by nodding in the affirmative. Also, we played with our alphabet objects and she identified a toy car and spoke,"car". Hooray for the little peach!

So thankful for the many blessings this day has brought.

Love you, my friends :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014


In school today, I got a new student who is five, is from India, but speaks neither her home language, nor English. Her behavior is like that of a toddler and includes drooling. She may be reassigned, but until then, I have this sweet girl in my kindergarten group until further notice.

Oh, how it must feel to not be able to ask for what she needs, or to even say her own name.

I will pray!

The art is watercolor on Canson 140 lb. Watercolor paper.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Checks and Balances

My absolute first blog post was about finally feeling "old" when I had to get my first mammogram. Well, I had my second today and can tell you I feel a lot younger than I did before the first. Yes, reality bites and the machine presses and pinches in all the wrong places, but there is nothing like knowing I have done what I can to protect myself from an awful Kancerous invader. In response to the exam, I decided to take myself out to dinner before heading off to a community band rehearsal. I promise to get to that later, but the rest of the day must be discussed first.

As the story has it, my exam was held at St. Joseph's Center for Breast Health and Diagnosis in Orange, California. It is a beautiful office and Kancer angels are present in every facet of an office visit. One stood out today because her own mother succumbed to Breast Kancer in 2012. I was stunned by the fact she continues her work, regardless of her mother's health outcome.

At one point, her phone went off during my appointment and she couldn't apologize enough. I reassured her by telling her it happens to the best of us, and with the magic she and others perform every day in those exam rooms, a simple ringtone was nothing for me to be upset about. Also, as she moved me about, she apologized for any pain or discomfort and I quickly let her know these pains are so small compared to the arduous journey so many Kancer patients face. I told her I was simply grateful to be checked and then she shared about her mother. We shared notes of understanding and appreciation for preventive care and I was allowed to go on with my day.

Health? Check!

Long ago, I learned from a friend it is good to care for yourself after major health exams like this. She usually blocked out an entire day for self-care. Although I couldn't do that today, I really did have a couple of hours to spend after the exam, so I went on to the city center of Orange. I'd planned on a coffee shop named Kimmie's, but they had closed for the day. I decided on a The Haven Gastropub that advertised "gourmet comfort food". What better place after the squashing??

I let my senses do the ordering and my favorites popped up:
House-made potato chips for an appetizer and a Pear Cider to start-
Pan grilled scallops with grilled split Brussels sprouts-
House-made donuts with both whiskey caramel and chocolate sauces-
and French pressed coffee from the Portola Coffee Lab

Man. I was in heaven! What a treat! I left smiling and savoring every taste memory!


On to band rehearsal....
I've picked up the clarinet to get back into playing music. Ugh. I realized it had to be done when I played for the Kindergarten kids at our school back in December. Boy, I was rusty! I still am, but hopefully the trip down memory lanes will help me get back to it.

Rehearsal was in Anaheim Hills, yet another reason to spend a little more time at dinner in Orange. Traffic can be a real bear in California, especially at the time I planned to travel. But I digress....
I got there pretty early and found the band room after watching a few people headed in that direction. A friend from school told me about this band and I met her a bit closer to the start of rehearsal. I met a few new people and will have to ask their names again next week, but all told, it was a very friendly group.

What happened next was just crazy. I felt like I was in a time warp where all of the bands I'd played in before came crashing toward me and through the clarinet like a mash-up of times and places. I could sense the Municipal Band in Allentown, Pennsylvania and then on stage in Chicago at the Band Directors National Conference with the Medalist Concert Band, and then on to outdoor concerts all over Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The truth is, I have played in so many different groups of varying ability levels and commitment, that I hope to have struck a balance with this one.

I had a moment of "zen", if it might be called that.

It was the first time in ever that I allowed myself to just play and not be stressed about the perfection and competition that I couldn't listen and enjoy the efforts of those around me. Even the tuba player, a kindly grandpa type of guy, encouraged me and thought he heard all of my notes from across the room (and above his tuba, of course!). This band seems to be a balance of the things I love about making music. I made a decision, after fumbling through the first number, to just be in the "now" and to celebrate the fact I am starting anew, once again.


I appreciate the gift of life I have been given and intend to celebrate by drinking it in a little more each day.

Cheers, to good health, delightful food, and the simple joy of music!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Doodle Pattern

For this doodle pattern, I used an index card and various Papermate pens. The lines were already printed on the card, and I drew rough perpendiculars. From there, I added small pattern elements.

I am not sure this is done, but will post the finished product when it is complete.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Skipped a day.

But made up for it tonight.

I don't feel very well. It's some kind of head cold that has me feeling like I'm underwater, or have been and got water up my nose.

Perhaps having little kids coughing at me hasn't helped at all...even in California.

Anyway- I've tried attaching some process pics. For the purple heart, I used watercolor and Canson XL watercolor paper, and eventually a Sakura Gelly roll pen.

I tried to capture the dizzies I'm feeling and not much else.

The other piece is just an experiment with color. It was bright and I let the paint drip a bit, but I couldn't resist using the white gouache to mute it. There may be more to come, but it's ok for now.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Letting Go

It has to be done
in its own time.
When the right time comes,
you know.
Hold onto joy
And let go.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


To a dear friend for the loss of her feline friend today.
For her, it is filled with diet Coke.


Monday, January 6, 2014


All I can say is I am thankful my sweetie made it to Detroit today after driving eight hours from Chicago.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


I have a new favorite color.

For a long time, if you asked me, I would have said my favorite color is blue. I still love a good blue-sky day and melt over certain blue eyes. But something has changed within me and there is a new color I crave.

But, before I let on, it's important to note a certain show on PBS,with the artist Jenkins, called, "The Beauty of Oil Painting. Today, he was explaining how his trademark happens to be daisies and how, it you want them to blend into the background, you add a little blue paint to the white flowers. The more blue, the more background they become.

Back to me.

I don't want to be blue anymore.

I want magenta, fuchsia, and hot pink. It shows growth.

I want to bloom and grow and become part of the foreground. I am not Ok with the "background only" that I have become. 

Here's To Magenta!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Catch Up

"Catching up" is something we do with people we haven't seen in awhile.
I saw my ChicAgoans brother Jim and my half-sister Nicole today in San Diego.
We had some good chats and it was great hangout for all of us.

But, I'm not making art today. I'll share pictures today, but I am so tired from the day and driving home with a driver-side window all the way down because it's stuck...anyway...

I'm beat.
Enjoy the pictures.!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sisters and Brothers

For the past few months, I've invited a couple of neighbor kids over to "art" with me. We have created dough ornaments, holiday poppers and painted plenty.

Today, I had the six and eight year-olds.

We used watercolors and tried to cover the page with as many dabs of color as possible. The youngest is a boy and he finished his art quickly in order to let the pooches lick his face awhile.

The older one, an eight year-old girl, has brought some beautiful conversation time and again. Today, she took her time and created lots of splotches. Then, she told me they missed me while I was gone. The boy agreed, and clarified I'd been gone a week when I said I hadn't been gone long. Then, the girl said, "Did you know God says we're all brothers and sisters?" I agreed with her and we kept going on our art.

They had questions about where I went and who I saw. I told them about seeing my Mom in Illinois and the boy asked, "What about your Dad?"
"My Dad died."
They made "awww" sounds. I told them I miss him very much. Then, the boy said, "But he hears you! When people die and go to heaven, they are with you all the time."

I felt like I had just been hugged by my Dad. Seems he approves of what I am doing and where I am. The boy asked, "Did he know you draw cute before he died?" It was priceless. They were both happy to know he knew about my "cute" drawings before he died.

From the mouths of babes!

The art today started with watercolor splotches, had some acrylic white piled on and finished up with Pitt pen (b).

Thursday, January 2, 2014


For some reason, the start of this year has come with an abundance of hope. I am extremely thankful for this and plan to capitalize on it until at least Monday, when I go back to work.

I've been following a variety of prompts from the Daisy Yellow website over the past year and this year will be no different in that respect. I truly enjoy the uplifting support offered up by others in the group and look forward to sharing and seeing their works as time marches on.

One of the new creative challenges is to share intentions for the new year where creativity is concerned. The story of my intentions is related to SoapNet.

For me, it's kind of a funny story. Last summer while visiting my sister, we got hooked on Beverly Hills, 90210. We saw the very last episode followed by the very first episode and the tap had been set: we watched lots of episodes together and sent messages about them when I returned to California.

Well. SoapNet has ceased broadcasting.
No more Dylan, Kelly, Brandon or Donna...So, I need something to fill that time slot in the a.m., and you know it- ART IT IS!

Over the past year, I developed Ann appreciation for starting the art in the morning and being able to finish it in the early eventing. That way, I can avoid my eyes rolling because they are tired already...   Anyway.

This is a start.
I collaged and painted a thin layer of acrylic paint on top. I like the cloudy way the words peek through the paint.

Then I painted our dog, Louis.
Just for fun.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The New is In.

Last year, I filled most evenings by creating art. Then, I rushed to the midnight deadline of posting to this blog so many times. Eventually, I relaxed a bit and started planning for when to create. Finally, I cut down on the writing part and only posted art when I started working again.

But, the art stayed true.

In fact, the only day I didn't post art was Easter Sunday, and I did post photography- so I really did post art every day. Hum.

I worked through many challenges- personal and actual challenges posted through other bloggers.

Because I created every day, I met new people in-person and online, learned how to publish art and words online, and I tried many new art techniques.

I became addicted to the creative process.

I put my watercolors to the test and spread Gelatos thinly. I used markers and colored pencils, but I planned on the paints because I could cover more territory a lot quicker.

Of course, as we got news about my sister's kancer, it was hard not to be concentrated on the art, but the art is indeed what helped me cope and remain calm to her.

My own crazies happened over the summer and I am grateful to Daisy Yellow for the index card challenge. I really needed the focus pulled in and ready to create without using brain power.

My"winter's nap" is catching up with me. Nap now, drawings or art later.

For now I am going to bed.