Saturday, July 27, 2013

Always, Upstream

What I have learned this past week:

1.Truth is not delivered in a linear narrative. 2. In life, there are few(if any) reliable narrators. 3. Critical thinking skills are a must. 4. I have seen a glimpse of the lives of the parents of the children I teach. 5. What I had suspected was confirmed.  I have always thought I understood the cycle of poverty and have dedicated many years to the education of all children (urban, suburban, rural) at risk, gifted and talented, and everything in between.  However, after this week, I have witnessed something that makes me all the more determined.

Education is power.  With every child reached, we have a chance to break the cycle.  I really think that we should  engage the parents of these children to participate.  Perhaps this will be their opportunity to gain the education they missed earlier.  The education could be mutual.  I wonder if we could turn our schools into safe havens, where we all could have the hours to engage in wonder and be creative in our learning together. 

 In my years as a teaching artist, I have had many sessions where there was joy in the classroom.  Children, who felt challenged by writing skills, were able to find their way into my writing strategies and  literally "took off"~ Their writing expressed all that they knew and were able to reflect on "saying it."  They were anxious to read aloud.  They wanted  me to give them "thumbs up" which I did; and truthfully, most of this writing was so honest, so poignant, so-take-your-breath-away that my collaboration with teachers  made all of us (children, teachers) feel like time held still and we were all for each other.  We witnessed change.

This year, I'm going to have an opportunity to participate in programs that will make a difference, as they always have made a difference, but this year will be different.

I think my experience this past week was the missing piece of my understanding of what is truly going on. 

I  had a double dose of this reality.  I found the truth.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

If Weeds Were Currency, I'd Be Rich . . .

Mindful Quote of the Day:

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. (21)”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Photo by K.Iuppa. Brigid's Yoga Session in the Lake

 So far, this week has been hot and steamy.  Getting up early to work in the gardens before the blistering heat hits its highest mark.  Yesterday finished weeding the South garden.  This morning aiming to work in the North garden.  I made another batch of red raspberry jam in the cool of the morning.  Our farmhouse does not have air-conditioning, so we have to shut it up tight before the day advances. There is a significant difference of temperature. But when it get this hot, it's best to find a cool place to sit and read.

I've been trying to get a lot of work done. Slow but sure.   On the writing front, I have nearly finished a section of my novella that's approx 6000 words, which is an accomplishment for me.  I started this novella last summer.  Hopefully, by end of August, I will have more done.  We'll see.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer's time . . .

 Image: Wikipedia (Share Only).

How quickly sand passes through the hourglass. I wish, I wish, I wish  seems to be my mantra.  I need about 12 more hours in each day.  I need more energy.  This rainy weather has slowed our growing season.  Spent several hours yesterday weeding.  Glad to get in there. Carrots are looking good.  Growing tall  and lush, along with our lettuces and herbs.  Beans are jumping out of the ground.  Squash, which will feed two nations, has many flowers (they all come at once).Something attacked my eggplant, but the new center leaves look okay. We'll see.  Our replanting seems to be steady.  I can't believe how much rain we've had and it's muggy.  It feels tropical.  The god given tomatoes are growing fast.  Actually catching up to our first plantings.  We have tomatoes on the vines now and peppers too. Going to spend some time out there weeding today too. I just hope we have a decent harvest, especially for my sister's birthday in August.

While I was weeding yesterday afternoon.  I listened to the cries of red tail hawks.  They were soaring so high in the air. Our new chickens are laying gorgeous eggs: green-blue, pink, dark tan-brown, sand beige.Every day is Easter.  I love looking at them.  

Have been writing every day. Poems and essays. Some of the work is quirky. I have been tweaky my third volume of poetry and will be sending it out next week. It will feel good to have it out there, making its rounds.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

We Pick Up Our Chickens Today

Photo: Wikipedia. Share Only.

We're getting two Blue Marans, Orpintons, Bluff Brahma and Easter Eggers today. The Blue Marans lay "chocolate eggs" as seen in the photo.
The Easter Eggers lay green eggs.

We're looking forward to their arrival.
All of the birds are docile and friendly.
Some claim the roosters of these breeds are friendly too. Unfortunately, all of our rooster experiences have been hair-raising when they became "real" men and were in charge of the coop.  They terrorized all of us; so we're just getting hens this time.

Local Arts on the Horizon:

Free Shakespeare at the Highland Park Bowl
William Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT

One of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies, Twelfth Night is a fun gender-bending story of fools, mistaken identities and excessive passions.  Like a party that has gone on for too long, Twelfth Night exposes human excess in our pursuit for love. Full of mistaken identities, comic pranks, tomfoolery, and music, the play revolves around a pair of twins separated by a shipwreck who find themselves falling in love with all the wrong people.   
The production takes a stylistic nod to the gender bending excess of the 1970’s.  Music and Fashion is inspired by Elton John, David Bowie, the later era Beatles, the Mods and Glam Rock.  A good time will be had by all!

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
To be staged at the Highland Park Bowl; 1200 South Avenue
July 5 to 20, 2013 (all performances at 8:00 PM)

There is no admission charge (donations are solicited during intermission.)
The Highland Park Bowl is located at 1600 South Avenue, Rochester, at the corner of South Avenue and Robinson Drive. Parking is available on Robinson Drive and on neighborhood streets (please be courteous and observe the on-street parking restrictions.) Light refreshments will be sold on the premises. Bugs are rarely a problem, but repellant is advisable, to be on the safe side. Up-to-date rain-out information will be posted on our phone line, 585-234-7840. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and your favorite beverage, and enjoy this delightful tale!                                                  
COUNTY EXECUTIVE TO "THROW OUT THE FIRST LINE" OPENING NIGHT: Maggie Brooks, the Monroe County Executive, will be on hand opening night, July 5, to welcome the audience and "throw out the first line." Similar to the ceremonial throwing out of the first ball to open a baseball season, Ms. Brooks will declaim the famous opening line of the play to inaugurate this Summer's production. The Monroe County Parks Department has been our host and co sponsor of this event for the past seventeen years (since 1997.)

Declaration of Independence reading July 6: Immediately preceding our performance on July 6, various public officials from all over Monroe County will be our guests, conducting a public reading of the United States Declaration of Independence. The reading will start at about 7:45 PM, followed by our production if Twelfth Night.

Sign interpretation performance July 13: The performance of Twelfth Night on Saturday, July 13 will be sign-interpreted for the deaf. In case of rain, the sign-interpretation performance will be July 15. Underwriting for the sign interpretation performance is made possible by the law firm of Boylan Code. The interpretation is being provided by StageHands, a repertory group of certified theatrical interpreters.

First Festival of Sound and Light

Location: WAB – 740 University Ave.
Beginning in the fall of 1915, with an event that took place in Highland Park, Rochester Architect Claude Bragdon dramatically transformed his architectural work by designing theatrical events and settings, which he called Festivals of Light and Song. These projects were staged throughout New York State, including Rochester, Buffalo, and New York City. These night-time events were transformative experiences for the participants, caught up by music and lights that embraced them as they moved through previously familiar parks, transfixing the participants as if they occupied a wholly new world. A festival in New York City’s Central Park attracted crowds of over 60,000.
Drawing upon this past, Writers & Books will be staging a  rebirth of the Festival of Light & Song.  This initial  event, will take place on Friday, July 5, at 9:30 p.m. at Writers & Books. with images projected on the façade of our, quite fittingly, Claude Bragdon-designed building at 740 University Avenue. This first show will be a tribute to Claude Bragdon, involving his images, words, and a selection of music he used in his own Festival events a century ago.
This show, involving both images and sound, will be accomplished through a process known as 3-D video mapping. Video mapping uses common entertainment technology in a new, innovative way to project video or still images on buildings, façades, structures or nearly any kind of complex surface or 3D object to shatter the viewer’s perception of perspective. The projector allows bending and highlighting any shape, line or space. It creates astonishing optical illusions, a suggestive play of light and turns a physical object into something else by changing its perception of form.
Come just as darkness descends, bring a lawn chair to sit in, and take in the first of a series of Festivals of Sound & Light.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1st, 2013: Summer Awareness

 “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

                          ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices


Photo: K. Iuppa,  Fair Weather Clouds

Impossible.  July is here.  With its clouds and birds in flight. I want a gentle wind.  Sun.
Monday's daylight coming on stronger and stronger. 
 Just changed the month and days on our wooden calendar. Ritual of 25 years. It's so still outside.
Yesterday Peter found a painted turtle the size of a 50 cent piece in our old stone driveway. He picked the little guy up and bought him in the house.  I put him in an old cake tin with a little water. 
We speculated about where he came from. Couldn't find any open nests on the side of the road, or the quick exodus of his siblings.  We think he slipped out of a bird's mouth and landed on our lawn.  I bet he was stunned.  But not injured at all  He has speed!
We took him over to Howden Pond, hoping he will have a fighting chance. He seemed to like the shallow pond water, with its water irises and frog song and not too far off, we spotted another painted turtle.

Howden Pond is so peaceful.  Hidden from the world.  Teeming with wildlife (flora and fauna).

It's a perfect home for this little guy.