|December 15, 2011||Sing A Song||1 comments|
|December 14, 2011||How To Win Friends and Influence People||no comments|
|December 12, 2011||Stretch||no comments|
|December 08, 2011||The New UTube||no comments|
|December 07, 2011||Collections||no comments|
|December 05, 2011||The City of Lights||no comments|
|December 02, 2011||No More Stuff||no comments|
|November 30, 2011||The 1% Win Again||no comments|
|November 28, 2011||The Free Will To Choose Good||no comments|
|November 22, 2011||Not Food Glorious Food||no comments|
If a child hears fine music from the day of his birth and learns to play it himself, he develops sensitivity, discipline and endurance. He gets a beautiful heart. Shin'ichi Suzuki
While I write this blog, I’m listening to Kids Public Radio, the ad free, commercial-free audio network for kids. I found it while I was looking for a birthday present for my granddaughter, Maya, who is turning four this Sunday.
Maya and I have always enjoyed music together. I had a basic repertoire for her from “Oh, what a beautiful morning” for getting her dressed in the morning to “Hush Little Baby” to put her to bed.
When I asked Maya what she wanted for her birthday, without missing a beat she replied, “a guitar”. It happens there are many dusty gathering guitars in my family and I remember distinctly when I asked my mother for a sewing machine and she retorted, “I hope this won’t be a waste like the piano and the guitar.”
But of course, Maya is my granddaughter and we share our love of music, so it Maya wants a guitar, a guitar it is. I found The Herb David Guitar Studio in Michigan where she lives and asked Herb about giving Maya lessons. Here is his reply:
I spoke with Chuck about your granddaughter, and he feels that she may be just a bit too young for lessons yet. The youngest student he has ever taught was 6 years old, and in his opinion, any sort of lesson program might be too demanding and difficult for her to understand at the moment.
For what it's worth, I started taking lessons when I was 5, and I did quite well. My advice would be to go ahead and get her a guitar now if she wants one, because that means she's interested and I think it's great to encourage her. Let her play around with it for a year or so, just have fun with it and see what it's all about. Maybe pick up an instructional book or DVD geared toward beginners or young kids and have an adult help her out with it. That way she can learn some basic songs, but without the expense or time commitment of formal weekly lessons. Then see where she's at in a year or so. If it's something she wants to keep doing, look into lessons then. If not, maybe at least the musical seeds have been planted and it'll be something she comes back to a few years down the road. I took lessons from age 5 to age 12, then dropped the guitar completely and didn't pick it up again until my junior year of high school. Now I'm in my 30s, in three bands, working in a guitar shop and playing four different instruments. So it can work out.
Hope that helps!
This weekend Maya becomes the proud owner of a ¾ nylon string guitar with a teaching CD and Video. Happy Birthday Maya!
If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. Dale Carnegie
Walking through the library, I spied an updated version of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie wrote the book during the depression and ended up with a profitable business giving well thought out advise on effective communication.
The new version was a huge disappointment, but the original is as good as new when it comes to common sense instruction on social skills. So in no particular order, my favorites:
You are the creator of your own emotions. Want enthusiasm? Act enthusiastic.
People are creatures of emotion not creatures of logic.
Always think about what feelings your actions will cause. Be understanding and forgiving. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
Instead of worrying about what people say of you, spend time accomplishing something they will admire.
There are four ways in which we have contact: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.
Be in honest and sincere appreciation of the importance of others. Everyone wants the opportunity to prove his or her worth and to excel.
Be a good listener and try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. How would I feel and react in his/her shoes? Give the person hope and incentive to improve.
Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit. Smile.
In 1959, DuPont first produced spandex under the brand name of Lycra for lady’s underwear. The word spandex is an anagram of the word expands. In 1968, the French Olympic ski team made a hit with their first-ever Lycra uniforms. In the 1970s, cyclists traded in their woolens for aerodynamic spandex shorts and the versatile fiber began to find its way into dancewear and tights. In the 1980s, spandex leggings became the standard costume for rock bands and superheroes leading the way to Madonna’s trend to wear innerwear as outerwear. Today, spandex sports-looks translate into new street-wear fashion at places like American Apparel.
Spandex is a lightweight and flexible fiber that can be stretched up to five times its original length without damage. While this is practical for active wear, it makes it very difficult to sew. To prevent stretching and distortion, use a serger-overlock machine that sews the seam edges with multiply threads that stretch with the fabric.
If you have a standard sewing machine, use a zigzag stitch with a new number 14 stretch machine needle. Use a scrape to test and adjust the stitch length and tension so that the fabric does not pucker. Use sharp pins so as not to snag the fabric and good quality polyester thread.
If sewing is beyond your interest and skills try a reasonably priced pair yoga pants from such manufacturers as Old Navy. These are specifically designed to feel light, provide total comfort and flow with the body so that you can stretch your senses, your mind and your body with your spandex to move freely, remain limber and develop renewed body awareness.
Under the administration of Google, who has owned it since 2007, UTube recently received a very smart update. Every user has a customized page create with favorites, channels, history and links to facebook.
The UTube blog explains how the redesign will make it much easier to find and watch the videos of interest and really it’s about time. The old set-up was so random; now we will be able to find and keep track of what we want in an organized efficient system that can keep us engaged with meaning.
This is one Google innovation that works.
I went to visit a friend yesterday for the purpose of helping her gather some items for a memory quilt that I will make for her to grieve the recent death of her mother.
Her mother was a life-long quilter with a comprehensive workroom dedicated to her craft. There were collections of different era fabrics, scraps from old projects, in process projects, in-process family heirloom quilts and projects, every conceivable kind of large yardage for quilt backing, batting, patterns, books, threads, ribbons, buttons, and tools all carefully arranged everywhere the eye could see.
Coincidentally, this week I spent time with my own fabric collections as I prepare to make myself two quilts out of my materials of memory. My friend’s mom made me aware of my fiber-related collections gathering dust around here: the fabrics, the yarns, the thread, the needles, the tools, the notions, the books, the rugs, the handmade sweaters, the sewing machines, the loom, the clothing, and the quilts.I do often get concerned about the quantity of my collection and how I will ever use it all. The truth is, it’s not my worry. My job is to get in there and enjoy the collection while I am able and that is what I intent to do.
David McCullough’s new book The Great Journey is about Americans living in Paris throughout the 19 th century. This is fascinating history disguised as literary guidebook about the many talented Americans who choose to use Paris as the seat of their personal exploration and growth- much like people in this day use New York City.
The history of the times includes everything from the civil war in America to the building of the Eiffel Tower for the World's Exposition in 1889. McCullough connects painters studying at the Louvre to medical students training and innovations in transportation with the influences of war and peace. All in all, a fascinating view of the influence of a place on a people.
Who wouldn’t love to have enough time and money for an extended stay in Paris? Here are three of my favorite recommendations from my last trip to Paris:
Take a long walk through the 18th arrondissement, Montmartre, beginning at the white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur on the summit through the surrounding district on the Right Bank.
Visit Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres in the medieval town of Chartres about 50 miles from Paris by train.
Attend a concert at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris on the eastern part of the Ile de la Cité.
What are your Paris favorites?
Before you get too carried away with your holiday shopping take a look at Annie Leonard’s video The Story of Stuff about the way we make, use and throw away lots and lots of stuff.
Then take some time to understand and then pledge to become a partner in Patagonia’s Common Threads Initiative to reduce excess consumption and give the planet's vital systems a rest from pollution, resource depletion and greenhouse gases by buying only what you need that will last, repairing what breaks, reusing or sharing what you no longer need and recycling everything else.
Sign up for the grassroots and entirely non-profit Freecycle Network™ in your area to reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Check out Carrotmob’s over 175 campaigns to influence how businesses operate by spending money as a group when a business agrees to make a socially responsible change.
Two-thirds of our economy is based on the purchase of consumer goods. Unsustainability is caused by blindly purchasing stuff that is neither good for us or for our planet.
It’s time to buy what is healthy and useful and to stay away from what we don’t need and/or causes unnecessary harm. Every action we take together to protect the land and waters we love adds to our knowledge and confidence that we can create a sustainable world for those who come after us.
"Almost without exception, every proposal put forth by GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates is intended to preserve or expand tax privileges for the wealthiest Americans. Most of their plans, which are presented as commonsense measures that will aid all Americans, would actually result in higher taxes for middle-class taxpayers and the poor." Tim Dickinson
The 12-member, bipartisan Super Committee officially failed to agree on a single measure that would reduce our immense government debt of $15,000 billion. They were supposed to recommend $1,200 billion in deficit reductions over the next ten years.
Items not negotiated included raising taxes, revamping the tax code, plugging tax loopholes, lowering the 35% corporate tax rate, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the federal retirement program.
It turns out there was a thirteenth member of the committee working behind the scenes. He is Grover Norquist, a Republican lobbyist who runs Americans for Tax Reform and the author of The Republican Pledge to never raise taxes.
All of the GOP candidates for President have signed Norquist’s pledge. 238 out of the 242 Republicans in the House have signed Norquist’s pledge. 41 out of the 47 Republican senators and 1,300 Republican state legislators have also signed the pledge.
The percentage of America’s federal budget devoted to entitlement spending has grown from around 30% in 1970 to about 55% today. As baby boomers like me retire and medical expenses grow things are only going to get worse.
The pledge of no new taxes goes along with what is called a starve the beast strategy designed to push the country toward bankruptcy until it is forced to cut government spending on Medicare and Social Security. The reason Republicans cannot participate in serious bipartisan discussions is because it would make them jointly responsibility to their constituents for the cuts and jeopardize their ability to regain power in the next election.
As planned, the beast is starving. We are in the midst of a fiscal catastrophe. Every politician is responsible and needs to be held accountable. It’s time to get rid of Norquist and his despicable pledge.
The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. George Eliot
The laws of our universe create many random acts of nature that are outside our control, but within those limits, there is always a morally responsible and accountable individual free choice.
Each human soul has the Yetzer HaTov and the Yetzer HaRa, the individual struggle between our good and evil inclinations. We have the power to transcend our limitations through the choices we make.
We choose how we use our bodies and what we put into them.
We choose our thoughts and the words we say.
We choose our attitudes and our beliefs.
We choose our actions, our time, our work and our play.
We choose our ability to make a choice that betters humanity and to act upon it.
It’s easy to do good. The challenge is to do good well.
Despite all efforts to prove otherwise, scientists can’t say that exercise will make us thinner. If anything, exercise makes us hungrier and likely to consume more calories. After all of our huffing and puffing at the gym, we eat more low fat, high carbohydrate foods that make us both hungrier and heavier.
It turns out lean people are not those who have the willpower to exercise more and eat less. They are people whose bodies are programmed to send the calories they consume to the muscles so that it can be burned rather than to fat where it will be stored.
Carbohydrates have a significant impact on blood sugar and insulin. As you gain weight, insulin makes it easier to store fat and harder to lose it. We get fat not because we eat too much or exercise too little but because we secrete too much insulin. Carbohydrates drive insulin that drives fat.
Foods like stuffing, sweet potatoes, challah, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie, wine and soda that we always feared were not healthy actually are not.
So this Thanksgiving lean toward the turkey or the Tufurky, the green veggies and a salad and you won’t have to waste valuable Black Friday shopping time at the gym.