Duet

My husband has been playing piano for about 7 years, taking lessons as an adult and learning to read music. A few weeks ago he asked his piano teacher if she knew someone who might be interested in playing along with him, as he felt it would help improve his playing if he accompanied someone. She recommended a  woman named Laura, who lived just a few blocks from us, who played the cello.

My husband met with her and came home rather discouraged. Laura has been playing the cello since she was 10 years old (she is now 91) and is leaps and bounds ahead of my husband. They decided to work on one piece that he knows well, in the hope he could keep up with her and follow along.

Last night I went with him to meet Laura. I sat at the piano and attempted to accompany her on Handel’s Largo, which I found to be a real mental exercise. I needed to read the music I was playing while also keeping my eyes on the notes above mine that were for cello so I would be accompanying her correctly. It was exhausting! Now I fully understood how difficult this must be for my husband.

They played Robert Schumann’s Träumerei, which when he plays at home he knows by heart and doesn’t miss a note. The pressure of accompanying and playing in front of someone psyched him out and he flubbed a few notes but I thought did well anyway. Here they are together.

Cee’s Share Your World

Ever ran out of gas in your vehicle?

I have never run out but I have been known to let the tank run pretty near empty. My husband fills up as soon as he hits a 1/2 tank.

Which are better: black or green olives?

I am not a fan of olives- I don’t mind black in a Greek salad and I can’t remember the last time I had a green olive.

If you were a great explorer, what would you explore?

Exploring as in travel? Exploring as in searching for new planets? I am not really an adventurous person, I enjoy learning new things and about all different topics so maybe I would like to explore more things in nature, learn more about birds and their habitats. I am not a traveler, give me a nice beach and an ocean to park myself in front of all day and I’m good.

Quotes List: At least three of your favorite quotes?

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Fly Like An Eagle

There is a river near my home that many Eagles frequent-two of these Eagles have built a nest in a tree there. I took a walk along the river this morning and much to my delight saw a few of the locals- juvenile Eagles flying around. Their heads still brown, not white as when they mature, their feathers still an uneven brown. I am still trying to master the art of capturing birds in flight with my camera so this morning provided a great opportunity. The drawback was the morning sun shining brightly, which I loved, but found made it hard to get clear shots. Once again I found myself in awe watching these majestic birds take flight from a tree, their wings spread wide and so graceful as they flapped and then would coast along. Here are three of them.3eaglesflying

One of these guys doesn’t seem to be too happy with the other.2eaglescloseup

Many buildings sit behind the area near the river, this Eagle flies by pointing out the contrast between nature and man’s modern development infringing on their habitat.dscn9840

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eagleflyingredoTaking a break and looking for breakfast

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Thursday’s Special: Focus

The theme of this week’s Thursday Special challenge is FOCUS. Paula says: We all want our images to be tack sharp and in focus, but there are situations when we prefer to have some parts of the image in blur i.e. out of focus to better isolate the subject we want to focus on (pun intended).  This technique is called selective focus.

I ventured out today to take advantage of very springlike weather for the month of February. This little Chickadee was busy cracking open a nut. My focus was on his intent, not the branches of the tree.

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The same with this Titmouse- focus on the seed and feeder and him, not the bushes behind him.dscn9727

A Nuthatch focused on enjoying the sun like me.dscn9730This Sparrow was who I was focused on, not the squirrel on the branch behind him.dscn9732

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Nature vs First Grade

Working as an assistant all day in a classroom with 19 first grade boys can be exhausting. I am usually spent by days end. At the moment I am reevaluating if I want to continue doing what I am doing or look into other options. Am I burned out after 5 years in the classroom? Am I bored by doing the same thing year after year- stapling and collating and going over tens places and blends? Maybe a little bit of everything. I have become disillusioned by some of the people I work with, the administrators who exhibit less than “look up to” behaviors. Narrow mindedness and back stabbing. I don’t kid myself; I know wherever you go you may find these same problems.

I left work and needed an airing out so went home, changed my clothes, grabbed the camera and went to the pond. First thing I sawdscn9692

Hanging out on a branch overlooking the pond was an Eagle. Maybe the same one I saw the other day as he was in the same spot. Once again he allowed me to stand close to the branch he was on and capture his beauty up close. Quite a beak he’s got there.dscn9713

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On the pond floated some ducks- Hooded Mergansers and Mallardshoodedmerganser

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One Goose- all alone- I wondered where the usual flock was. I liked how the setting sun reflected on the water.dscn9706

Sunset approaching, I always love how  the bare trees look against the sky in winterdscn9720

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As I turned to go I caught sight of what at first I thought was an Eagle, until I saw the long legs extended out behind and realized it was a Heron. I swung the camera toward the sky to see if I could capture him. It was blurry, but it made me smile to have captured the moment. 45 minutes and the nonsense of the day was forgotten and I was ready to head home renewed.

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Remembering My Brother

I received a package from my sister last week filled with old photos that had been in old family albums. I wrote about it here. In among those photos were some of my brother that I had never seen before. Two years ago yesterday he died, taking his own life after struggling with mental issues for many years. Looking at the photos I was reminded of the person he was before he became so troubled, and the life he had lived. I was glad for the reminder, to remember him with a smile instead of  sadness.louis1978

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Blue Skies Bald Eagles

I took an early morning walk around my favorite pond on Monday, taking advantage of the day I had off from work. Winter had returned, it was back into the 30’s but I didn’t mind as the sky was blue and the sun was shining. I looked out across the pond to see 2 Eagles perched in the trees at different ends of the pond.  Here’s one of them.hangingwithbirds

I took a few photos from across the pond and then continued to walk around, assuming that when I got near the side they were on they would most likely take flight. Much to my surprise I was able to stand directly beneath the tree one of them was perched in and look straight up at him. What an amazing bird to see so close up. I took a few photos and moved on, but he never left. By the time I neared where the other Eagle had been he was no longer there- I don’t know if he heard me coming or just decided to find his own spot where he didn’t have to share his catch with anyone.undereagle1

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The Weekly Smile

The weather yesterday was unseasonably warm- close to 70 in February when it should really be in the 40’s! I took advantage of this welcome occurrence by heading out for a walk. I passed a couple on the trail walking in the opposite direction, laden down with binoculars and cameras, and we said a friendly hello. Half way around I met them again and they asked if I had seen the Eagle flying around overhead, which I had. We then stopped and chatted about our mutual love for bird watching, sharing some of the local places we went to and the different species we had encountered. We laughed at how nice it was to share our information and not get a roll of the eyes or a comment like “they’re just birds!” What a pleasure to meet someone who also gets excited at spotting a never seen before bird. As we parted I continued to smile inside and out, at the warmth the sun brought to the day, at connecting with someone over a shared passion, at how being in nature blocks out all else that is on my mind. My weekly smile. What made you smile this week?dscn9585

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Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past

Paula invites us to take a look at the past. It may be a past long forgotten or a past very much present and incorporated into today’s existence.

I took a walk this morning around a local historic site near my home that I have written about previously- one of the buildings on the site was used by General George Washington, which I thought appropriate as here in the United States we celebrate President’s Day tomorrow.  This building was built in 1752 and is where George Washington set up headquarters for a time. It has sat on this land since that time.dscn9565

The house in the foreground is an example of a sandstone cottage and was built in 1678 and moved to this location a few years ago.dscn9562

This is another sandstone center-hall 4 room house with a full cellar and full garret/attic capped with a gambrel roof, built in 1774. It was also moved to this location.dscn9554

Traces of the past that remain in the present, and as I wandered the grounds today I came upon this man, very much in the present, but dressed for an Historical Event taking place later in the day. dscn9561

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Share Your World

Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

Seriously tucked in. I cannot sleep unless I am totally encased, especially with the sheets tucked in tight at the end of the bed. The blankets also need to be tucked in tight too. My husband on the other hand, prefers nothing tucked in, so I have mastered the art of keeping my side tucked while his remains totally pulled out and messy.bedroom2

Have you stolen a street sign before?

No- whatever for? A few years ago they were changing the local street signs and  giving them away. For a moment I thought it might be fun to have the street sign where I grew up, and then in the next moment thought, why and what would I do with it.

Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?

I used to but stopped. I had a growing pile that I would usually forget all about when I was shopping, so I finally gave up.

Do you have freckles?

I am freckled from taking too much sun, some freckles, some age spots. As a child I did have freckles along the bridge of my nose.

Share Your World

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The Weekly Smile

Yesterday I received a package in the mail from my sister. She had been sorting through old photo albums that belonged to my mother and sent me close to 100 photos she thought I might like to have. Many were duplicates that are in my own albums, but some I had never seen, or had no recollection of. I spent the evening sorting through them and thinking back to when they had been taken, where life has gone since then, my parents both no longer here. Though bittersweet, I smiled at the memories, at the good times caught by the lens, just remembering.

Me and my mother, taken in 1972 at the party of a neighbor, I was 15. I don’t recall ever seeing this photo before. I do remember the dress though!1972

1975 me on the piano at a family gathering with my sister and Father singing along. Another photo I had never seen before.1975piano

Me and my Grandfather in 1988 on the Shelter Island Ferry- we must have gone from his home in Southampton NY to visit my Aunt who lived there. He was 82 at the time.grandpa1988

What was your smile for the week?

Song Lyric Sunday

The theme this week is to post a song about the doubts and insecurity in a relationship. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” is a song by the English punk rock band the Clash, from their album Combat Rock. It was released in 1982. It became the band’s only number-one single on the UK Singles Chart, a decade after it was originally released. I love its beat, and no matter where I am when I hear it, it gets me moving. I saw The Clash many times in concert during the the late 1970’s and 1980’s so it take me back in time too.

Darling you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here ’til the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

It’s always tease, tease, tease
You’re happy when I’m on my knees
One day it’s fine and next it’s black
So if you want me off your back
Well, come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

This indecision’s bugging me (esta indecision me molesta)
If you don’t want me, set me free (si no me quieres, librame)
Exactly whom I’m supposed to be (digame que tengo ser)
Don’t you know which clothes even fit me? (no sabes que ropas me queda)
Come on and let me know (me tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

Split

Should I stay or should I go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
Should I stay or should I go now? (yo me enfrio o lo soplo)
If I go there will be trouble (si me voy va a haber peligro)
And if I stay it will be double (si me quedo sera el doble)
So ya gotta let me know (me tienes que decir)
Should I cool it or should I blow? (me debo ir o quedarme)

Should I stay or should I go now? (tengo frío por los ojos)
If I go there will be touble (tengo frio por los ojos)
And if I stay it wil be double
Si me quedo sera el doble
So ya gotta let me know me tienes que decir
Should I stay or should I go?

Song Lyric Sunday

A Photo A Week Challenge: Details

While walking through a street fair last summer in New York City, I looked North on Lexington Avenue and saw a large skyscraper blocks away that seemed to have interesting architecture at the top. I zoomed in with my camera to take a closer look. It was the General Electric Building, originally known as the RCA Victor Building, an historic 50-floor, 640-foot tall, skyscraper built in 1931. Built in the Gothic mode of the Art Deco style, with the four monumental electrical deities, allegories of the power of radio at the top. The rays that emanate from their heads are cast aluminum and designed for neon lighting installation. Amazing architectural details.dscn7311-2

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Details

 

Owls, Coyotes and Trees, Oh My

Sunday I visited Wave Hill , a 28-acre estate in the  Riverdale section of the Bronx, in New York City. It  consists of public horticultural gardens and a cultural center, all situated on the slopes overlooking the Hudson River. A friend and I spent the day there- attending two lectures and walking the grounds. One lecture was about the Coyote population in New York. Very informative and interesting. I had no idea there were families of Coyote living in the woods in the New York area. The other lecture was about Owls, and we were introduced to a Screech Owl- he had been hit by a car and now resides in a preserve. We also dissected owl pellets- Owls regurgitate what they have eaten, small oval pellets consisting of hair and fur and bones. I was a bit squeamish about it, but too fascinated not to do it.

The day wasn’t too cold, though it did flurry for a bit, but undeterred we walked through the grounds and ate our lunch overlooking the Hudson River with a view of the George Washington Bridge. The friend I went with is someone I work with whom I have gotten to know better over the past 2 years. We have much in common- we share a love of nature, of handwork such as knitting and crochet, we love to color and create. I consider myself fortunate to have connected with her, often as we get older those connections are few and far between. She is calm of nature, which I am not, but being with her slows the anxious, tense parts of me, which I welcome.

A wonderful way to spend a Sunday.20170205_145822

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Music

My husband has been taking piano lessons for seven years, and twice a year we need to have the piano tuned. Over the years we have become friendly with Loren, the piano technician. (long ago they were piano tuners, but no more) I am always happy to see him, his demeanor is always sunny and upbeat, and not only does he get our piano back to sounding as it should, he always sits and plays for a little while.

Here are a few photos of him and my husband, with Loren playing in the background

Music

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End of Day-End of Week

It has been a long, drawn out week with disturbing things happening at work which have zapped my energy physically and emotionally.

On the positive side, the daylight hours are growing longer and it is still light when I leave work now. Today I just had to stop to watch the sun set- I took these photos with my cell phone, no filters, no alteration of colors. I thought the colors of the clouds and the brilliance of the sun so beautiful I wanted to share. I have neglected answering your comments, and reading your blogs, I do hope to catch up over the weekend! Looking forward to seeing you then!20170202_170023

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Share Your World

What is the most incredible natural venue that you’ve ever seen in person?

Nothing immediately came to mind when I read this question. On a trip to New Hampshire I was in awe of the mountains and waterfalls, in California the giant redwoods in Muir Woods, the ocean as the sun rises over it, which has moved me to tears at times.DSCN6381

How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order? 

I am the oldest of 4 children. My brother came next and then two sisters. My brother died two years ago, I wrote about him here

 If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

A flat shoe with some sparkle.shoeWhy? Because flat makes it comfortable and as I always say, I was built for comfort- I am not a “roughing it” kind of girl. Sparkly because I like to keep life interesting by trying new things and changing things up which add sparkle to life.

What is the strangest/weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

I am not an adventurous eater. I grew up being taught to try something once and then you can say you don’t like it, but you can’t just turn your nose up to something because of the way it looks or smells. I tried sweet breads as a child without being told what they were and liked them, but then found out what they were and was pretty turned off.

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The Weekly Smile

Well this week I had a lot to smile about…. I was on winter break from school!!

I started off the week going to a paint your own pottery place with a friend- a great thing to do on a rainy Monday. I think she did a great job.20170123_143137

Tuesday I had a mini reunion with two childhood friends. We have known each other since first grade, and went through school together right through high school. We met for coffee and had a great catch up for three hours. We keep up on Facebook, but filled each other in on the details. We reminisced and shared some funny memories and stories. adriennemadelinejan2017

Wednesday my husband and I drove down to the New Jersey shore- my very favorite place. It wasn’t too cold, considering it’s January- in the 50’s, but it was windy. We walked along the ocean and then a few miles on the boardwalk. We stopped for lunch and then as we were driving out of town passed a small museum and stopped there. It was a wonderful day and really made me feel like I was on vacation.

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I started my days taking a walk, and visited some of my favorite local spots to take some photos. Lots of smiles to look back on and keep me smiling.

Repurpose

Washing the floor is such  mundane chore. My kitchen floor is very old white linoleum, and impossible to clean at this point. I was using an old Swiffer mop that no longer worked with its appropriate cleaner and pad, instead using a towel with it to push along the floor to clean it. Until today, when someone posted on Facebook “helpful hints” for using different things for different purposes. They suggested taking an old pair of cozy socks- and wrapping one around the bottom of a Swiffer. GENIUS! I have plenty of these old type of socks that I can use. Throw them in the laundry and they’re good to go for next time. dscn9469

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Repurpose

Feathers on Friday

My husband and I took a drive down to the New Jersey shore this week, as the weather was very un winterlike, with temps in the 50’s. On the way, we passed a tall structure which we found out was a water tower disguised to look like a lighthouse. As I approached it to take a photo I realized something was sitting on the edge of the roof. dscn9425

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It turned out to be a Black Vulture- a bird I had never seen before. I looked it up when I got home and found the following:

The black vulture is a scavenger and feeds on carrion, but will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. In areas populated by humans, it also feeds at garbage dumps. It finds its meals either by using its keen eyesight or by following other vultures, which possess a keen sense of smell. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It lays its eggs in caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground, and generally raises two chicks each year, which it feeds by regurgitation. In the United States, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The common name “vulture” is derived from the Latin word vulturus, which means “tearer” and is a reference to its feeding habits. The black vulture is a fairly large bird of prey, measuring 56–74 cm (22–29 in) in length, with a 1.33–1.67 m (52–66 in) wingspan.

A fellow Vulture flew in while I was standing there- I guess it’s always good to have a friend around.blackvulturepair

Not the most attractive bird I have ever seen, but a thrill to add a new spotting to my list!blackvulture3

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Foggy Morning

FOG

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

                                                –  Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) was an American poet, writer, and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. During his lifetime, Sandburg was widely regarded as “a major figure in contemporary literature” He enjoyed “unrivaled appeal as a poet in his day, perhaps because the breadth of his experiences connected him with so many strands of American life”, and at his death in 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson observed that “Carl Sandburg was more than the voice of America, more than the poet of its strength and genius. He was America.”

The Changing Seasons: January 2017

Max has left it up to us as to how we want to interpret  “the changing seasons” : a painting or perhaps a digital manipulation? One photo, a gallery with plenty of photos? Photos of the same place each month or different spots?

I have chosen the same place over the past few months and at different times of day. There is a revolutionary war house not far from where I live. General George Washington actually used it as a headquarters in 1776. The land it stands on has a river on one side, and a beautiful view of a barn on the other. I often stop there to watch the sun set behind it, or watch the many birds that congregate there. One snowfall so far, a blanket of white on the old barn.dscn9096

Quite different from the falldscn7851-2

This photo I took this past week when the combination of warmer temperatures in the morning created fog. Our winter has been unusually warm.dscn9295

A January sunset I caught on my way home from work – I just had to stop and take it in.

The Changing Seasons

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Seagull Sunday

I always find Seagulls quite entertaining. I took a walk along a local river to find flocks of them hanging around. The fishing was good as evidenced by this guy having the catch of the day.

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This group was just hanging out, maybe they had eaten already. They were not bothered at all by my presence, as I stood just a few feet from them.

I enjoyed standing at a lookout over the river and watching them fly by me, they seemed to be moving slowly- maybe preserving their energy against the cold.dscn9254

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This guy preferred bobbing along… dscn9275

and this one stood alone taking in the sights turning to watch me as I left  the dock

Have a good Monday all!