On Humanity

 

Here’s a beautiful, collaborative post of all the qualities that make us human with words by A Frank Angle and photos by Ray Laskowitz. Enjoy.

Please stop by Frank’s blog and tell him I sent you. He’d love to meet you! 

A Frank Angle

RLHumanity “Burger” on trumpet with his band, TBC, at a second line on St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans

The majority of the world is good – I’ve written those words on past posts here because I believe it. Even when the news constantly reminds us about all the evil, I continue to believe the majority of the world is good.

Humanity is a term that refers to all of us. All … not all with a but or except … simply all. Regardless of skin color, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, location or any other qualifier or disqualifier, humanity includes the characteristics human beings have in common.

Acceptance
The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. (Brian Tracy, author)

RLAcceptance Men in support of the Lady Buckjumpers second line in Central City, New Orleans

Compassion
Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of…

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Music Magic and “The Rhythm in My Head”

I watched my son’s middle school music concert with tears streaming down my face. I know what you’re thinking. Really? But it’s a middle school music concert.

I know, I know. But I also that know that my dad would have really loved this. He was a huge jazz fan. My dad played the clarinet and I grew up listening to him play and all different types of music, including jazz.

The funny thing is, my son was not a big jazz lover until recently after my father passed. Now he listens to jazz all the time with his earbuds in and attached to his iPhone, snapping his fingers and tapping his toes. Now it feels almost as if my dad is living through my son somehow or maybe it’s just in the genes.

There’s also another huge factor. My son’s middle school jazz band is top-notch. One of the best in the country, in fact, as rated by Downbeat Magazine. His music teacher John A. Zimny (his initials are JAZ!) teaches at both middle schools in the city of Folsom, close to Sacramento.

My son wants to play in the jazz band next year. His instrument is the baritone horn. This past year, he was in the Advanced Band. He plans to practice all summer and audition in the fall. I sure hope he gets in. I was absolutely blown away by the talent of these musicians at this concert.

Most of all, I was touched by their devotion to their band teacher and to each other, and to their high level of commitment. If you ever have an opportunity to support music in the schools, please do! It’s worth every penny and they need many more pennies.

Many of the students spoke during the concert to thank Mr. Zimny for giving them the best year of their lives. One even said she loved her jazz band more than her family. Sorry family! Kids from both of these middle schools traveled together by bus, competed against each other and, for the final concert, were on stage playing together. It was grand and what a sound!

jazzband

Music has such a unifying power. Mr. Zimny told the audience that when you set the bar a little higher, you would be surprised what these kids can do. They surpassed expectations and took things further than he ever thought they could.

During the concert, my son watched in awe, snapping his fingers as he does and typing in the names of the pieces he heard into his phone.

My son between listening to pieces, inspired and all jazzed up!
My son between listening to pieces, inspired and all jazzed up!

The next day, my son gave a presentation of a poem he wrote for his English class. I was such in awe, I wanted to share it here. 

The Rhythm in My Head

As I walk through the world
I see a rhythm to things
like a way of life
while with the snap of my fingers
and the blow of my horn
I form a picture of
the world around me,
A picture full of sound and
beauty where the rhythm just won’t
stop.
Then I open my eyes and realize
the world is just too quiet.

If you want to take a listen, here’s a bit of the jazz band with Mr. Zimny conducting.

3 Days Quotation Challenge: Day 3

nils-holgersson-905284_640

I’m back for my final quote for the 3 Days Quotation Challenge. Thanks again to Charles for nominating me. You can visit him over at his blog Charles French Words Reading and Writing.

Today’s quote comes from one of my favorite writers:

The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked… that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.

— Neil Gaiman

And that’s a wrap!

I am now to nominate three bloggers to continue the 3 Days Quotation Challenge. Remember, you can put them all in one post, if you decide. Of course, you can do anything you like. The quotations you choose can be about anything you like. 

The Rules:

1.) Either once a day for three days, post a quotation, or post all 3 quotations at one time. It is your choice.

2.) Nominate and notify three other bloggers of the challenge.

3.) Thank the blogger who nominated you.

The nominees are under no obligation to complete this challenge, but it would be fun if you do. I am nominating bloggers who I think would like this challenge.

My Nominees: 

1.) Stephen Liddell and his blog Stephen Liddell: Musings on a Mad World

2.) Tom Merriman and his blog Beyond the Sphere

3.) Barbara Vitelli and her blog Book Club Mom

If you do it, great! If not, please no worries.

Thanks so much. I hope you have enjoyed my quotes about writing.

Image source: Pixabay

3 Days Quotation Challenge: Day 2

I’m back with another quotation for the 3 Days Quotation Challenge. I was nominated by Charles French to take part. Be sure to visit his blog Charles French Words Reading and Writing.

I like this quote because I truly believe a good book will find its audience. With the focus on genre and knowing your audience, I’d like to think the real focus should be the writing and the story. Call me an idealist. This quote also speaks to sharing a story because you’re compelled to do so, for no other reason than you need to write it down. It has a kind of purity that speaks to me.

Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.

—Margaret Atwood

What about you? Do you care about your audience when you’re writing your story?

Image source: Pixabay

3 Days Quotation Challenge: Day 1

quotebook

Greetings! I’ve been nominated by Charles French to participate in the Quotations Challenge in which one provides three quotations over the next three days or all in one post. I choose one quote for the next three days, mostly because I can’t choose them all at once.  Thank you, Charles, for nominating me. It’s an honor!

Be sure to visit Charles over at his lively blog Charles French Words Reading and Writing.

Probably most of the quotes I select will relate to writing in some way because I find them inspirational and never tire of reading them. Hopefully, I’ll come up with something you’ve never read before. If not, I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Today’s quote:

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

Elmore Leonard

 

It’s simple, isn’t it? But I think it says so much. It reminds me of the ballerina who floats across the stage. It doesn’t even look like she’s dancing and it’s so effortless, but THAT….that took lots of practice!

So, it is with writing. Writing that dances off the page is hard to accomplish. When writing tries too hard, there isn’t much joy in reading it. You know that feeling you have when you’re reading a book and you forget you’re reading. It’s that, too. It’s such a powerful thing.

The X-Files Re-Opened

Tonight the X-Files, the science fiction, supernatural series created by Chris Carter, returns to television on the Fox channel. That’s right. The X-Files will be re-opened. The show aired from September 10, 1993, to May 19, 2002, spanning nine seasons and 202 episodes.

In case you hadn’t noticed, my blog name has always been a kind of spin on this beloved show. The return of the show inspired me to create a new header in celebration. My mermaid is now underwater. I hope you can tell.  

Back in the day, I was a huge fan. I even went to an X-File convention. Yes, I did that! It was in San Diego and there I saw Alex Krycek (Nicolas Lea), FBI Assistant Director Walter Sergei Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) and last, but certainly not least, the genetic mutant serial killer aka Eugene Victor Tooms(Doug Hutchison), you know the guy who could squeeze his bones into sewer pipes. Remember him? He was sitting casually in a breakroom or something. I couldn’t believe the monster was before me. And Krycek? He was smoking hot! I had an extreme crush on him after that convention, eagerly awaiting each episode, hoping to see him once again.

Alex_Krycek_infected_with_black_oil
Alex Krycek, infected with the black oil. Image source: x-files.wikia.com.

The X-Files so inspired me, I even purchased a script at the convention, the first in my possession. Yeah, I was a little geeky about this. This was my Star Wars without the light saber. My Friday nights were built around catching the latest episode of the X-Files and nothing could ever interfere with that, an era when you waited for new episodes and nothing was leaked about them; social media didn’t even exist. Can you imagine?

Fox Mulder (David Duchovnyand Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) were so green. I felt like I was a part of something fresh. I had never seen either of them before and you felt like you, too, were a part of these moments they were experiencing for the first time. They had an edgy, natural chemistry. I mean were they ever going to have sex or what? They kept you guessing. The writing was inventive and intriguing, the stories spooky fun and strange, leaving you with the feeling something could be lurking around you or crawling under your skin.

xfiles
Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Are you guys even attracted to each other? Image source: observationdeck.kinja.com.

Admittedly, by the end of the series, I felt pretty twisted and turned around with each episode, and had more questions than answers. The movie which later came out, ignored all these questions with no answers in sight, but rather spawned more and more questions. Now, it’s more of a blur than ever. These questions still cling to my subconscious:

  • Whatever was that black oil coming out of their eyes and why did it have to come out of Krycek’s eyes?
  • More importantly, will Mulder ever learn what happened to his sister? Will he reunite with her? On a different planet perhaps?
  • What happened to Mulder and Scully’s son? What a minute, was it their baby?
  • Did the Cigarette Smoking Man light a cigar for Scully and her baby?
  • Are the super soldiers alien hybrids?
  • Are The Lone Gunmen still alive? Do they still believe?
  • Will Mulder and Scully still whip out those cool flashlights?
  • Did Skinner retire from the FBI and flee to a deserted island? Will Skinner be in a good mood?
  • Are the Anasazi Indians the missing link?  Maybe they can commune in the tent again and sweat out all the answers.

I’ve read there are 16 answers we must have from the 6 episodes scheduled to air. In all the pre-hype, I learned that the original theme was based on the How Soon Is Now song from The Smiths. Who knew? Chris Carter requested that  Mark Snow, the show’s music man, come up with something with jangling guitar and the iconic theme song was born! And now, a new theme song will emerge with these new episodes. Reviews have called these new episodes a little overstuffed and devoid of all their previous charm, leaving new watchers wondering what all the fuss was about. I’m just thrilled they’re back. 

As for me, my decision to discontinue cable prevents me from watching tonight’s episode. What?! Perhaps I will wander into a Best Buy searching for a new TV and just accidentally turn to the Fox channel. Or just maybe I’ll binge-watch previous seasons. That could be a whole new experience. Just maybe I could put the pieces together better, not having to wait so long in between. The silver lining is I can watch all these shows with my kids. We watched one episode and they wanted to see the next! Now that is something I could never have predicted. Watching the X-Files with my kids, while new episodes are waiting in the wings. It’s golden.

50 Happy Things: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

This post comes courtesy of Dawn Quyle Langau from TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND. She had this great idea for bloggers to unite in gratitude. At this time of year, we may start thinking about the year ahead and our New Year’s resolutions. Why not think about the year we have had instead and reflect on the things that made us smile and what we are grateful for. I think we need to do more of this on everyday basis! Thank you, Dawn, for putting this together. If you would like to add your post, instructions follow my list.

The objective is to write out a list of 50 things in 10 minutes time. Setting the timer.

Here we go…

50 Things I am Grateful for This Year (2015)

I am grateful for:

  1. My two beautiful boys; their tender hearts and their wicked sense of humor and the boundless love I feel for them.
  2. My husband who still loves me and believes in me and accepts my flawed self.
  3. My family, sisters, brothers and the times we spent together. It’s always special time.
  4. My family watching my son play water polo this year and cheering him on.
    waterpolo
  5. My little one’s precious eyelashes (I want them) and his gentle, creative spirit and watching him dance. Wow, he can dance!
  6. Clean water; where I live it’s pretty good.
  7. The generosity of my mother-in-law; she’s a lifesaver.
  8. Having a glass of wine while I cook and dance in the kitchen.
  9. Having a glass of wine with a friend.
  10. Long walks in nature.
    Hidden Valley Falls - Mar 2015 062
  11. My sister’s generosity and knowledge and helping get through an IEP process; things could have turned out much differently had she not been there. Thank you!
  12. My guardian angels in true life: Ixchel and Dipali.
  13. My blogging community. I don’t know about you, but it feels pretty real to me. I wish we could all go out for dinner together.
  14. Discovering yin yoga, giving me a peace and awareness about myself; letting me spend time on me.
  15. Getting back into a ballet class and feeling right at home.
  16. My dance teacher Sunny and her genuine smile and all her joking around.
  17. Working out and feeling good about my physical self.
  18. Conversations with my mom on the phone; she has such wisdom.
  19. My furry, feline friends: Shasta, Orangey and Lucky. I’m happy to serve them. They have no idea how much joy they give me.
  20. Feeling stronger about my writing and the creative outlet I have here.
  21. My Friday Fictioneers community. They are so talented and I feel lucky to know them.
  22. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for leading the Fictioneers every week. I admire her dedication.
  23. Health. My family is healthy and my son is taller than me now. He will eat me out of house and home.
  24. Feeling inspired by other writers. I have so many great things to read!
  25. Family time; watching movies and playing board games.
  26. When my husband cooks a meal.
  27. The sun, stars and moonbeams.
  28. Friends that don’t give up on me.
  29. Going out for sushi with my friend Ann.
  30. Making progress on my book.
  31. Snuggling under a blanket and getting lost in a book.
  32. Swimming in the ocean.
    Junior_Olympics_2015 911
  33. Downloading and listening to music right away because I can.
  34. Fuzzy socks in furry slippers.
  35. Listening to the rain and not having to go anywhere.
  36. Waking up with the sunrise and feeling productive.
  37. Staying up and watching a late-night movie.
  38. Maple lattes from Peet’s.
  39. A soothing massage.
  40. Napping.
  41. A letter from a friend.
  42. Warm chocolate chip cookies with a cup of cocoa or anything chocolate.
  43. Sleeping in.
  44. Fresh roasted coffee in the morning.
  45. Laughter and for all the people that make me laugh.
  46. Listening to my son play his baritone and how excited he is talking about music, especially listening to him hum the music.
  47. Snuggling with my youngest. I know our days for this are numbered.
  48. Staying in pajamas all day.
  49. Getting away to Napa and living in such a beautiful spot close to so many great places.
    FullSizeRender (48)
  50. All my friends who are here right now. Thank you!
If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! 

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click here3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

I hope you’ll join in the fun. Thanks again for being here now and throughout the year. I have made some incredible connections here I never thought possible.

For more posts of Gratitude, visit the Linkup here.