Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Sing as I Breathe

Two more journal pages yesterday, on the theme of "Music". Yes, boys and girls, that's me singing in the lower left-hand cornor during a a recital I gave in 1979 for the benefit of a girls's club. I am possibly singing one of the pieces of music appearing on the blog pages.
I've sung ever since I could remember; while waiting at a bus stop with grandma, in department stores, skipping down a street... It was during one of my 5-year-old songfests at a bus stop with my gram that a passing voice teacher stopped and advised my grandmother to give me voice lessons when I reached 13. Gram remembered, and so I took voice lessons, taking part in contests, recitals and singing engagements, aiming at a career in opera.
But then I met a young man named Jean Chabot in Québec City in 1961, and we married in 1963. What was I doing in Québec? That's another couple of journal pages.
I didn't stop singing, however, just lowered my sights a little, and did participate in several Radio Canada television shows in the '70's, gave a few recitals, sang at weddings and funerals, and am now in the Ensemble Vocale André Martin. I still sing on the street and in stores, but it's discreet humming, not actual singing. There's always music running through my head. Where it comes from, I cannot say.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Art Journal

I recently joined an Art Journalling group. The group is given a theme to interpret, and at right is my interpretation of the first theme, "Favourite Animal." Cats,naturally!
The pages on the left are my entry for theme #26, "Down the Road". There have been 26 challenges, so I decided that since I want to do all 26, I'd begin with the first and do the new ones as they come along. Does that make sense? If not, just consider the source!
This week's challenge--Down the Road--made me think of a picture I took of the wooded area nearby in which the city has created a walking path. Once in, I forget that city roads and cars are passing all around me. I'm in a secret world inhabited by chipmunks, exotic birds, and, perhaps, fairies.
This challenge also brought to mind Robert Frost's poems, "The Road Not Taken" and "Stopping by Woods". Since it's not winter, I choose the former poem. Frost makes us reflect on our own decisions, our own choices. They are what, "makes all the difference".

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Off On a Crusade!

I've been exploring different sites featured in the magazine, "Artful Blogging", a new publication by Stampington. At Michelle Ward's Green Pepper Press Street Team, I took up the "Crusade #11 Challenge", which is to put some "noise" on one's own site, and provide a link to it on GPP Street Team's site.
Oscar Peterson provides my joyful noise. Click on this link to hear Oscar attack the ivories:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Never Cease to Amaze Me!

Someone teased me about recently turning eighteen instead of sixty-eight. After I finished basking in the flattery, I started thinking about how one views age, with me as example.
I remembered being nine, and hearing my gram comment on the death of a fifty-two-year-old man, narrated in a newspaper article. She lamented his passing at such a youthful age. I almost choked on my gum. Young! Fifty-two young! I tried to think what interesting things someone that age could do. Couldn't think of a thing.
Fast forward to me at 16, when a handsome twenty-something intern judged me to be eighteen. Preening (I pree

n a lot, don't I? Sorry), I could just imagine how maturity must just beam from every pore.
Fast forward to forty-something. As I walk past a construction site. No remarks, whistles or questionable proposals. Siiiiigh. I was definitely over the hill. Bought a T-shirt that said, "Over what hill? I didn't see any hill." Wore it proudly. Smiling.
Now, apparently, I'm beginning to look young again. Never mind that the people who tell me so are my age or older, as my younger son likes to point out. Thank you, God, for bubble-piercing children. I'm also grateful for realizing that it's interior not exterior age that counts. I plan to remain forever seven. Inside.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

When did I become a Porsche 911???

Frankly, I'd rather drive a Porsche than be one, but as fate would have it.... I visited a friend's blog and couldn't resist clicking on the "What Kind of Sports Car Are You?" link beneath the picture of her Sports Car Test. The closest I've been to a sports car was with a date who had one--never mind how many years ago--and in my Uncle Jack's Karmann-Ghia, equally long ago. What do I drive? An aqua 1994 Honda Civic Hatchback, maintained in excellent condition--okay, it needs major rust removal, but it cornors with style, and life is all about how well one handles in the cornors!
Oh, yes, to see me as a sleek, low-slung Porsche, you have to scroll aaaaaaall the way to the bottom of this blog. Sorry, but my efforts to make this layout do what I want are usually unsuccessful.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My Enchanted Backyard

My backyard wasn't a backyard in the summer. Its southeast cornor was a fairy kingdom. Tucked behind an extension of the enclosed back porch, it was kept safe from the penetrating, curious eye of the sun by a towering elm. A supple emerald-and-gold Honeysuckle vine cascaded over the rigid interlacing of the chain link fence. Its sticky-sweet perfume was a siren call to the bees and me. We drank nectar from the fragile little blossom flutes. The ravenous bees continued to feast as I communed with the warty toad who spent his summers in the oozy, chocolate mud below the vine. Portly, placid, bronzed as a buddah, he sat unblinking, snatching passing flies. What he did at night, I never knew. I did know that he wasn't a toad, but a prince in disguise. I preferred him as a toad.

The whole east side of the fence was profuse with rose bushes of pale pink, blood-red and snowy hues, purple and violet iris, sunny marigolds, zinnias in rainbow colors, and blushing pink peony bushes. This wasn't a garden, but camouflage for the dusty prairie under the foliage, where plastic horses stirred up dust as they ran wild and free.
In the northwest corner of the yard, grown-ups saw a crimson swing-set of steel tubing. I saw a steaming, tropical jungle, heard the cries of monkeys, the snarls of tigers, and the grunts of wild pigs rooting for insects in the damp carpet of leaves on the jungle floor. Their pungent, feral odor pinched my nose. The set of rings suspended by chains were vines on Tarzan trees.

Other times, the swing-set was a circus ring, where I balanced on a tightrope high above the crowd, which gasped and held its breath when I almost fell. As I landed firmly on both feet, arms raised in a triumphant vee, the music of cheers engulfed me.

The swing, its oak seat smoothed colorless by frequent rides, was a sleek, silver jet airplane. I performed loops and dives, defied gravity, soared beyond the clouds. The wind rushed in my ear and tousled my hair as I broke the sound barrier with a boom that rattled every window in the neighborhood.

On summer evenings, after supper and dishes were done, and a reluctant sun had eased down the horizon to bed, we trooped outdoors to feel the cool breeze that arose most every night. We sat in adirondack chairs, and I studied the winking stars while the hushed voices and laughter of the others embraced me. I considered the vast number of people— ancient Greeks and Romans, Cleopatra's Egyptians, neighbors of Copernicus—who had contemplated the same stars.

Eventually, the swing-set was taken apart, the house demolished, the grounds and gardens cemented over as a parking lot for a newly built student nurses' residence. But on soft summer evenings, when the ancient stars are icily smiling, I hear again the rise and fall of laughter, the low murmur of familiar voices, and I'm transported to my enchanted back yard.