Terri's Airy Fairie World

Musings on Music, Tea, Gardening, Food & Life…


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Dreaming in Music…

Do you ever wake up dreaming music?

Maybe you’re just hearing it in your dreams, as a soundtrack, and then that song that is playing in your head when you wake up remains with you throughout the day, along with the feelings associated with it. This morning I woke up hearing The Old Castle from Mussorgsky’s ‘Picture’s at an Exhibition’. Here’s a link to the Tishmalov version, if you’d like to give it a listen. It’s beautiful and rich and haunting. Take the time to close your eyes and allow a story to unfold. That’s the best way (IMHO) to experience music, especially orchestral music.

Last week there was a day I woke up with ‘Soon It’s Gonna Rain’, from the Fantasticks!     I love that show! It’s my favorite musical, and so much fun to play. The orchestration is just a harp and a piano. If you’ve never seen the Fantasticks, here’s a link. Oh, and that is not me playing the harp, it’s just a random video I found on Youtube.

I’m a big fan of dreams, a vivid dreamer, a dream journaler, and so many of my dreams have been portents of things to come. I often write my dreams down, but the really vivid ones stick with me for years, their  impact resonating in my life. My first musical dreams, and the first dreams I remember, took place when I was 3 or 4. I dreamed I was a Fairie, with beautiful butterfly wings, playing a harp and singing.  It has been and is a recurrent dream, and for those who know me, it is proof that dreams can & do come true, in ways we can never imagine! During early childhood, while all the other girls were pretending they were princesses, I was pretending to be the Magic Singing Harp from Jack in the Beanstock. All of my life I knew I would eventually play the Harp,  and when the opportunity came at the age of 19, I gave it my all. Now I AM the Magic Singing Harp. I AM a Fairie, and music gives me beautiful butterfly wings. The dreams we manifest can point the way to our Heart’s desires, and help us to manifest the lives we dream of.

I often dream that I’m playing music, usually on the Harp, occasionally on the Piano (which I also play), and sometimes on instruments that I still don’t know how to play, like the Kora, a West African Lyre/Harp.

or the Guzheng, a Chinese Zither, which is a cousin to the Harp. I’m hoping to buy one of them sometime soon 🙂

or the Qanun/Kanoon, a Turkish Zither.

Thirty years ago I wrote a letter to Jalaleddin Takesh, a famous Kanoon player, introducing myself as a professional Harpist and telling him of my interest in that instrument. I asked him where I could procure a good quality Kanoon, and written instructions on how to tune & play it. He actually took the time to send a reply, informing me that as a woman, I lacked the complex thinking required to play such an instrument, and some other demeaning BS. At the time I owned all of his recordings, which were wonderful. I broke them all. There are plenty of other gifted musicians in the world, who don’t view women as incompetent or less than. I listen to them instead. And as you can see, the person playing the Kanoon in the video above is a woman.

I also have dreams where I’m composing music. That can be a little crazy, as I wake  up groping for the light switch, my journal, and a pen to jot down notes, lyrics, rhythmic patterns, etc. A few years ago I dreamed it was snowing, and I heard the opening to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and then superimposed over that was ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, by Gustav Holst. I woke up, quickly went downstairs, sat down at my harp with my practice journal (I have journals for everything), and started testing it out, and with a few harmonic tweakings, it worked! That dream became the inspiration and the title cut for my xmasy CD, MidWinter’s Canon.

Years ago I wrote a song called ‘Journey to Serenity’, which is on my Cynical Serenity CD. The lyrics were written while I was on a plane, flying from St. Louis to visit my folks in Florida. The music didn’t come to me right away, however, which can be frustrating for songwriters, and I do have a drawer full of song lyrics that I’ve never set to music…yet… Anyway, I’ve learned that you can’t force it, so I just let it go for awhile, contemplating the lyrics, tinkering with some ideas on the Harp, but otherwise believing that it would happen in it’s time. Lo and behold, a few weeks later I dreamed that I was in a plane, and it was kind of like a crazy music video, where sometimes I was playing and singing and sometimes I was sitting in my seat looking down from the sky. In the early morning hours I ended up down in my studio, playing my harp and singing softly, and jotting things down, and by the time the sun rose, the song was complete.

If you’d like to see and hear it, here’s a video.

 

About year ago, I woke up with Tom Petty’s song, ‘I Won’t Back Down’ stuck in my head. It’s probably my least favorite Tom Petty song of all time, and it haunted me for a couple of weeks. I thought I’d never get that song out of my head!

Do you dream in music? If so, what kinds of music do you tend to dream?


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The Wonderful Burden of Being Me: Creating Order amidst the Chaos…

I have, in some ways, a storybook life, where I mostly get to do whatever I want all day. I play my Harps & keyboards, sing, compose, workout, garden, make & eat awesome food, write, etc. It’s all wonderful, and although I don’t always have a lot of money, I manage to make ends meet and I am immensely grateful for all that I have, all that I am, and all that I am yet to be. My life is awesome.

Terri & Puppy

Then there is little terri. little terri is my inner child. She looks innocent enough, but in reality she’s a crazy 4 year old, who wants what she wants and wants it right now. She’s compulsive and unwilling to listen to reason.     She’s smart, precocious, and prone to Obsessions, with her current obsession being “The Wheel of Time”, a series of high fantasy books by Robert Jordan, 15 books in all!  We, and by We, I’m referring to the Me, Myself, and I known as Terri HarpLady, little terri, and Ms. Theresa (my personal inner Secretary/Office Manager/Parent), started reading the books back in July and are currently on book 8, The Path of Daggers. It’s a wonderful series, and we can’t put it down! This means I’m not sleeping enough, or doing many of the things I need to do to keep my life flowing in a manageable way, and luckily, I don’t really have a lot going on right now, or I’d be in trouble!

littleterri

Here’s another view of little terri, drawn by my Tea Sister Sil

little terri is somewhat unruly, but she is also filled with joy, wonder, playfulness, & adventure. She likes to lock Ms. Theresa in a closet somewhere in the recesses of my mind, because Ms. T is kind of bossy, and not really very much fun. Ms. T likes to organize things & create systems, dreams of creating a beautiful orderly life for us, and when she finally picked the lock and broke out of the closet, she took one look around and screamed! Here’s what our office looks like, or at least half of it.

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This panoramic view is primarily focused on our desk, which is where much of the mess lies. Granted, even when things are neater, it’s really a mix of chaos & order. We have a special system, designed especially for us, by Ms. Theresa, which includes elements of various other systems. Years ago Ms Theresa read a book, “The Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise” by Pam Brace & Peggy Jones. That book formed the cornerstone of her ongoing attempts to create order in Our lives, and her efforts continue to this day, pulling elements from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey,   “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, “The Passion Planner” by Angelia Trinidad (The best calendar ever, and yes, you need one!), and even the 12 Steps of NA.

Here is the card file, the same one I purchased back in 1983, as recommended by Pam & Peggy (known by some as the “Slob Sisters”). It’s filled with a variety of daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and yearly tasks, each written on 3X5 cards. IMG_3336 Each day has it’s tasks, and when I actually complete each card, most of which take very little time to do, then I’ve accomplished something! Clearing off my Desk, for example, is a weekly task, meant to be done on Tuesdays, but today is Wednesday, and as you can see, I didn’t do all the Tuesday jobs yesterday. Not because they were difficult, but because I did other things, including playing a gig, teaching a few students, and then spent the rest of the day reading. Luckily, this system is kind of flexible. Although for me, that can also be it’s downfall, LOL.

Thanks to this card system, I’ve realized that I work best in cycles, and although I’m chronically right brained, my alter ego Ms. Theresa, has developed certain left brain tendencies that have helped expand upon this system. Each day of the week has a special quality to it, that instills a sense of order into my meandering life, and helps me to focus on the tasks at hand.

Maintenance Mondays consist of a few hours of concentrated housework, with all members of the house participating. The kitchen always gets cleaned, and especially on the first Monday of the month, which focuses on the first floor, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th mondays being dedicated to the 2nd floor, basement, and front yard. The 5th Mondays are for special projects, like the garage. Monday is also my cookup day, where I make some staples to enjoy for the rest of the week, and plan some meals. It’s all about doing those things that will help the rest of the week flow smoothly.

Techno Tuesdays are dedicated to my desk work: clean my desk, balance checkbooks, pay bills, and other ‘businessy’ kind of things. I have plans to designate each Tuesday of the month to a specific task as well, such as updating my website on the first tuesday, etc.

Writer Wednesdays – In theory, Wednesday is the day for writing my Blog, which I’m finally doing today. I’m also a songwriter, and I have a few NaNoWriMo novels that I hope to eventually move from First Draft to something more, and a few other unfinished projects.  Of course, there will also be a rotating Wednesday monthly schedule, and a part of Wednesdays is Wandering Wednesdays, my weekly errand excursion, which usually happens in the morning. Sometimes, especially in the Spring, it becomes Wild Wednesday, a full day of gardening.

Tidy up Thurs, which fits because it’s my laundry day, also rotating through personal monthly tasks, like vacuuming my bedroom, changing my sheets, straightening up my studio, etc. It is also Tie it Up Thursday, meaning finish any projects that were started earlier in the week, so I can end the week with a feeling of completion. I also get to plan my creative ideas for Friday.

Freedom Friday! Yes, Fridays are dedicated to music & creativity! Recording myself, learning how to use Logic better, playing my Harp with wild abandon. Of course, I play music most days for an hour or 2, working on orchestra parts, or special pieces for an upcoming gig or another, but Friday is for being original and just having fun.

When I don’t have gigs on the weekends, we’re talking Slackerly Saturday and/or Slackerly Sunday. Sleep in, have a late breakfast, take a hot bubble bath, and do whatever I want, which usually includes wearing PJs all day.

This is the basis for my system, although there are many other elements. Each day I try to get through all the dailies, like practicing, working out, gardening. Then I move on to the weeklies, monthlies, etc. I also have students on and off, gigs here & there, and a variety of projects I’m juggling (way too many, to be honest).

From Chaos to Creativity…more or less!

 

 

 

 


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“You’re Standing in my Cumquat!”

This post contains several links. I didn’t plan it that way, but all of a sudden, there they all are. I suggest reading the article first, and then if any of the links appeal to you, please check them out!

The title of this post is a quote from the off broadway musical, The Fantasticks! For those who have never seen it, The Fantasticks! was written in 1960 by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, and is the world’s longest running musical. It’s been performed in at least 67 countries, and has been translated into many, many languages. It’s story is universal.

The Fantasticks is a funny and romantic musical about a boy, a girl, two fathers and a wall. The narrator, El Gallo, originally played by Jerry Orbach, asks the audience to use their imagination and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. The boy and the girl fall in love, grow apart, and finally find their way back to each other after realizing the truth in El Gallo’s words that “without a hurt, the heart is hollow”. (quote from the Greenville College Factory Theatre page).

Anyways, I love this show! It’s hilarious, and the music is awesome, including some classic songs: Try To Remember, They Were You and Soon It’s Gonna Rain. The only accompaniment is a piano & a harp. I’ve loved it since the first time I ever played it. I fall in love with it again every time I get the opportunity to play it (this is my 5th), which is what I’ve been doing for the last week or so with The Factory Theatre in Greenville, IL. It’s an hour drive each way, and last week I drove it every day, from Wednesday – Sunday. We’ve got 3 more performances this weekend, and then it’s on to other projects.

I utilize the drive time get caught up on a few podcasts that I enjoy, such as:

Bee the Wellness This is an Ancestral Health/Paleo podcast that touches on all things nourishing. Adam and Vanessa Lambert, coaches from my beloved Unveil Your Wellness group on Vimify , talk about all aspects of health & human potential: looking at, sifting through, and explaining the latest health related sciences;  interviewing a variety of interesting & knowledgable people; sharing their own journeys; and they also laugh a lot in the process. Vanessa, aka Nesta, is also an amazing singer/songwriter, and the opening and closing soundtracks feature her music. Here’s one of her songs

TAP to Music Podcast featuring Nick Johnson. In each episode, Nick interviews a different musician, sharing a few of their songs and talking about the things that inspire them, their creative process, and music as a part of their life. His guests come from all musical backgrounds, cultures, and styles. I love this show! Every episode inspires me!

So, I’ve gotten way off track here. The real point of this post was What’s a Kumquat?

A kumquat is basically a miniature orange, more or less, roughly the size of a large olive. They are first found in 12th century Chinese literature and have been cultivated for centuries in India, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and southeast Asia.  Here is a picture of my Kumquat tree, which lives in my Sunroom during the winter months, and then enjoys being outside in the summer.

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The fruits usually begin to ripen around the HoliDaze, and then over the next couple of months I get to eat a few Kumquats a week, to add a little vitamin C & Joy into my life. You can put them in things, like a salad (veggie or fruit), or make marmalade, but most of the time I just pop one into my mouth and savor the contrast between the sweet peel & the tangy sour juices. There are also seeds, which I add to my compost bucket, because they’re rather bitter.

You can also make  Salt Preserved Kumquats, similar to preserved lemon.  This is a popular way to use Kumquats in China, resulting in a traditional home remedy for colds & sore throat. I haven’t tried doing this yet, but my kumquats are at their peak of ripeness, and I’ve had an abundant crop this year (I’ve already been eating/thinning them out since early January) so I think I’m going to give it a try!

I also have a Meyer Lemon tree & a Key Lime.  The Meyer Lemon usually produce an average of a dozen fruits per year, although this year the squirrels stole some. I enjoy using them in a variety of ways, especially salad dressings. The Key Lime is a crazy lime making machine, and although the limes are small, they are abundant, and I never seem to need much lime juice at a time anyway, so I haven’t purchased limes at the store for a long time now. All 3 trees are compact, easy to care for, and easy to move, except for the lime, which is loaded with evil thorns!

I love having my own source of citrus, and if my sunroom was bigger, I’d add a few more!

 

 


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January 2016 – Week One

Dear Friends & Family,

Two Years have gone by since my last post here. Excuses 1 – 17, 33 – 39, 79 – 85, and various other random reasons, mostly not enough time in each day, trying to do way too many things, and I think you catch my drift. (Note to self – create a post with a list of excuses 🙂

How long does it take to compose a blog post?

I’ll time myself and see.

I think the hardest thing about blogging is taking the time to sit down and do it. I get all these great ideas while I’m cooking, gardening, gigging, even knitting, but then I never get around to actually sitting down and typing something.

Add to that a simple fact. If I don’t use a technology or program regularly, I forget how to use it. This also applies to driving places & various other parts of my life…basically everything except music! So, knowing that I’ll probably have to remember how to navigate Word Press doesn’t help my level of motivation, but I’m setting an intention (notice that I did NOT say New Year’s Resolution) to post more regularly this year, maybe even weekly!

2015 started and ended very busily, all good, of course! So now on to 2016, because I have a feeling this is going to be the Amazing Year of Awesomeness!!

There’s something wonderful about January (other than my birthday). I love the beginning of the year. The hub bub of December generally exhausts me (this year I played 21 xmas gigs in 24 days).  In January I look forward to Winter weather, introspection, and relative quiet. Time to sleep in, restring my harps, drink lots of tea, make big pots of soup, start planning my garden, and recuperate from the busy-ness of late Fall.

As it turns out, I’ve played 2 Gigs this week, and booked 6 more! So January may not be quite as laid back as usual. I suddenly have a music stand full of things to work on, in addition to all the projects I’ve lined up for myself this year, including:

  1. Complete the Permaculture course I signed up for last spring…the clocks a ticking! https://www.openpermaculture.com
  2. Improve my skills with Logic Pro and iMovie, and get good at recording/videoing myself
  3. Plan my best garden yet!
  4. Keep up with my Bee the Wellness Group! I’m in better shape than I was a year ago, and I want to keep it that way! If you’re interested in improving your health on all levels & exploring the Paleo way of life, the Annual Free 21 Day Transformational Challenge begins on Monday, Jan 11th. Also beginning that same day are the 21 day Unveil Your Wellness Challenge & the 21 Day Meditation Challenge. I’ll be there!! https://www.vimify.com/app/discover
  5. Continue to get better at playing Jazz.

All of these things fall under the umbrella of my main intention for this year, which is to live a fully Artistic life, feeling  Creativity flowing through me all day, every day, in all of my endeavors.

Got any intentions for 2016 that you’d like to share?

I’ll close this first post of the year with a photo of my garden in winter. It’s kind of wreck! I got super busy in the fall, and barely could find time to go out there to collect produce once a week, but in spite of my neglect, it’s been an amazingly productive garden this year, with loads of sweet potatoes, and wonderful varieties of oniony things (garlic, onions, shallots, etc), root veggies galore, greens, herbs, berries, and lots of self-seeded things. We haven’t really had any actual Winter weather in St. Louis yet, so I’m still going out there Leeks, Greens, and the occasional Root!

Happy New Year!

BTW, this took 45 minutes to write, including the uploading part, which turned out  not to be as stressful as I imagined it would be. 🙂IMG_2738