Monthly Archives: April 2017

Book Review: BIG MAGIC

Big MagicWe are all creators, or at least have the potential to be. That’s one of the messages behind Elizabeth Gilbert’s book BIG MAGIC, Creative Living Beyond Fear. As a shameless believer in magic, with an interest in the nature of creativity, I couldn’t resist this book. It didn’t disappoint.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

The author digs deep into her own experiences to offer an interesting, unique and witty take on the nature of creativity and how we can harness it for success in whatever endeavor we choose. It’s a chatty style, and you don’t have to wade through loads of heavily scientific or esoteric ideas to get to the heart of the book, which is basically that we all have the right to live a creative life, but have to accept that doing so will bring challenges.

There is much reference to courage, and how we have to make space for fear. Fear is inevitable on the creative journey, and where some people say you have to conquer fear to move forward, the author says to make space for it because it will never go away. She says that the less you fight fear, the less it fights back. To give it its voice, then tell it to simply sit back and enjoy the ride. And then there’s the importance of giving ourselves permission to create, and not to worry whether our work is good or bad, if it’s high art or low art, whether or not it gets stellar or woeful reviews, etc. etc. We just need to put our best work out there and celebrate our own courage at having done so. Gilbert says we “can only be in charge of producing the work itself. That’s a hard enough job” and that we should refuse to take on any additional jobs such as policing people’s opinions.

Another interesting part of the book was the notion that ideas are all around us, floating in the ether waiting for someone who is open and ready to receive that particular idea. If that person refuses to run with it for any reason, the idea will simply float back into the ether until it finds another willing, and ready,  mind. Fascinating stuff, and it certainly gave me and my tendency to procrastinate some food for thought 🙂

I very much enjoyed this book. For me, it’s a keeper.

Singing with Macapello Choir

One year ago I told you about my Macapello Choir at a singing day at a big Choir Convention in Bristol, I cannot believe a year has passed but then it has been a challenging year.  Macapello Choir’s latest performance was on Sunday 9th April 2017 at this year’s Choir Convention.  Some of you may remember reading about last year’s Convention where we performed the song we had written ourselves, When Will I See the Sun. This year we managed to be slightly different to all the other choirs by walking onto the stage singing, yes singing and walking! Risky!!  We performed four songs in total. First walking on, two songs whilst on the stage, the fourth as we walked off again, singing! Wow despite our reservations it went down a storm!

The Convention brings together 16 choirs from the south west of England for a day’s singing.  The first part of the day consists of combined singing, about 500 people together, in four part harmonies.  We learn the songs on the day so it is always fun and a great way to meet new people.  We have a lunch break then same format applies.  Four experience musicians lead the day but in the evening each choir performs a variety of songs.  Some choirs were ambitious this year which added to our anxiety levels.  One large choir performed a piece by Bruckner another a piece by Elgar, this is the level of choral societies rather than community choirs so we were suitable impressed.  One group sang a tribute to David Bowie, other performances range from Gospel through Swing to Classical.  Standards vary of course but everyone is enthusiastic and enjoy the performance.  Accolades from one’s peers always feel special.

We had to wait until the second half to perform our songs again making us nervous.  The adrenaline kicks in once we start but our leaders keep reminding us to breath, smile, relax, focus – all at the same time! We began with Well I woke up this morning with my mind set on Freedom … a lively, uplifting gospel song.  We settled ourselves down then sang Your Children which I have told you about before.  Next was our ambitious  Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold one of the themes from the film The Hobbit. The Basses have the lead in this and as we only had 3 we were apprehensive, especially the three guys! Well, we earned a standing ovation.  In shock we walked off the stage singing Famba Naye a rousing African song which many of the audience knew so they sang along with us.  We  managed to keep within the time limit – just – 8 minutes for the whole thing! Our choir leaders Dave and Lisa were over the moon as the other choir leaders congratulated them on our achievement. Sadly I’m not able to share all the sound files.

What a night!  We sang on the coach home although we were exhausted. I love being in my choir as many of you know but an occasion like this makes me feel so proud of a group of people of all ages (top heavy on over 50’s at moment!), backgrounds and skill levels who come together to make such wonderful music.


The venue is beautiful with great acoustics.

 

 

Click here to hear Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold

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Take Me With You

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Goodreads rates this story 4.12 stars and has excellent reviews for it. I found it by a recommendation from a friend. Fortunately Catherine Ryan Hyde has a backlist because I just ordered two more of her books. So give me … Continue reading

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Happy April

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It  might be April, but it still feels like winter here in the Pacific Northwest. It hasn’t been all rain and gloom, we did have a few days of sun. And because of it after 5 months I finally had … Continue reading

Words: Misused & Misheard

Jillian here. Hope everyone is having a good April so far. Mine has already had some ups and downs but rather than focus on the downs, I thought I’d talk about word usage and misheard words that lead to some interesting conversations.

The reason I have this on my mind was a phone conversation this week with 7 people on the line. We were discussing selling some property. One guy kept saying he was “weary” of a certain kind of sale. It was clear to me he meant “leery” but he kept saying the wrong thing. He couldn’t be weary of the type of sale as no sale took place for him to be tired.

Anyway, the conversation stayed with me and I started thinking about other times I’d heard wrong choices. Lots were with children which is to be expected and lots are people singing wrong words to songs.

Both of my kids used to say “just appeared” for “disappeared”

My husband would sing “the gypsy with the gold “tattoo” instead of gold “capped tooth” – love potion song

One friend used to sing “A shy best man” instead of “a sharp-dressed man” – ZZ Top song

When I was a kid, I’d sing that walking in a winter wonderland song as “later on we’ll perspire as we dream by the fire” – instead of “conspire” – but it made sense, right? Lol

When I went to college, I was stunned to hear some people say “onliest” instead of “only”

Also in college, where I went to school, they pronounced “Jordan” as “Jerden” -thank goodness that wasn’t my last name or I’d be absent always. It took me months to realize what they meant.

You English ladies will appreciate this one. I know a guy here who is named Beauchamp. He pronounces it “Bo-champ” not “Bee-chum”

I could go on but I’d like to hear from you guys. What are some misused or misheard words/lyrics you’ve come in contact with?

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!Has anyone had an opportunity to see the movie or stage play, Mamma Mia? The play has been on my bucket list for a few years and when I saw they are in their farewell season, I knew I HAD to go. I just took a look and they have a global tour going on also, including the UK.

The movie is great. Who knew (before this movie) that Meryl Streep could sing so well! In fact, I know she must had had to work really hard to not sing well in the Florence Foster Jenkins movie. But I digress.

Mamma Mia, in my opinion, is fun for any age. It’s uplifting, FUNNY, poignant, and energetic. For me, it carried a huge dose of nostalgia, too. I grew up in an era when ABBA’s music first gained attention. I cannot tell you how often just about any of ABBA’s songs would come on the radio and my friends and I would break out in song. Yes, we even had hairbrush microphones on occasion. 🙂 It makes me smile each and every time I think about it, so when the tickets came available, I snapped a couple up.

I live near Seattle, but rarely, if ever, drive into the city. It’s crazy busy, as you can imagine, and I’m a small town girl at heart. So my sister and I took the bus into the city so we didn’t have to drive. That didn’t mean that we didn’t have ABBA blaring in the car on the way to the bus depot, though. (And home.)Waiting for Mamma Mia!

After a couple hours shopping, we settled into our seats. Once the curtains opened, we were transported to another time and place. We laughed, cried, and yes, sang! One of the best parts of this play was the ending, which turned into a dance party. We were all standing, clapping, singing, and dancing, not easy to do in a theater filled with seats.

It was totally AWESOME!

So I hope, if you smile when you think of ABBA’s music, that you get (or have had) an opportunity to see this stage play. If you don’t, or if ABBA isn’t your thing, I hope you put on some music that is and dance around the house with a hairbrush for a microphone. Because sometimes, we all need to feel young again, eh?

Thank you, ABBA, for all the wonderful memories!

If you want more information about Mamma Mia!, click here. And here’s a piece from the movie to lift you up for the day:

Held In Suspension

March has slipped into April already (how did that happen so quickly?) and spring has well and truly arrived. A few April showers and a lovely weekend gladdens the heart, raising the spirit. It’s been a glorious time for spring bulbs and flowers, the forsythia hedge at its best. I love this hedge at this time of year but during winter it’s bare, boring once leaves have been shed in autumn. At least for the rest of summer it’s a bright green. It’s been a fabulous season too for hyacinths and daffodils and primulas and now the tulips are out along with the sweet-scented wallflowers.

Now all this profusion of colour should be making the Domino household happy but since the new year, we’re living as if in suspended animation, with our breaths held, waiting … waiting. You see, last summer my husband was diagnosed with circulatory problems in his leg and the suggestion made he needed a stent fitted: a simple op under local anaesthetic as a day patient. He had an MRI scan in July, and there the story came to an abrupt halt. We assumed he was on the waiting list and, not being urgent, his time would come around in due course. So we waited… and waited…

Just after Christmas, our GP rang to ask what was happening – Had Dave been for his scan? What was the outcome? – because our GP hadn’t been informed by the hospital. I told him we’d heard nothing, not even if he was on the waiting list. Our GP said he would chase the consultant and find out the situation. More waiting… At the end of February, we were advised the op was scheduled for 17th March. Two days before this, a phone call revealed it had been put back to 28th and he would be under a different consultant surgeon. And so more waiting…

Meanwhile, we tried to carry on as normal, although Dave found it hard, he now has difficulty walking and his job involves a lot of it. On 26th March, a further call advised the op was put back yet again to 4th April. Oh boy! This was not good. Neither of us could focus on anything much. Always waiting for the postman. Hoping the telephone wouldn’t ring with a further delay. Waiting… dreading… waiting…

Last week, we had a long meeting with the surgeon, who explained for the first time what the op entailed, why the delay and why he had taken over Dave’s case. This was a good meeting because up until that point we had no real idea of what was involved: a long 4-hour two-part major surgical procedure under general anaesthetic, far more complicated than just a stent fitted. At least we knew the good outcomes now and what could go wrong. Worrying.

And yes, more waiting… but this time it was good waiting time. It enabled Dave to get a lot of planting done, potatoes, broad beans, onions in along with some summer bulbs. It also meant he could join the family in celebrating my mother’s 91st birthday last Sunday, especially too as my brother was over from Spain as a surprise for her again. It was. And a lovely day had by all, sadly no photos this time.

The 4th is tomorrow. I have to take Dave to hospital at 7 am. He will be in for several days followed by at least 6 weeks at home recuperating. So you can understand why we feel life has been on hold these past few months. At least we’re there now, we hope. Our only fear is that even though  he’s first on the list for the day, should a bigger emergency take precedence, he may be put back yet again.

The waiting’s almost over, but not quite. But then afterwards, at least we will slowly be able to get our lives back to normal, breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the summer.