A New Year’s Resolution…?

My daughter and I went to a small community Christmas concert that showcased wind instruments. Actually, the Oakville Wind Orchestra is Canada’s oldest concert band (it was created in 1866 and it was sponsored by the Town of Oakville on 1881 and it continues to the present day!) so it was a big deal to have something with so much history in our own backyard.

It’s not like one of those big production kind of things either!  The tickets were $20 per person and $10 for students. So for a total price of $30, we got to enjoy concert band music on a nice wintry evening. The musicians were very talented and you would not have believed that the group of 45, ranging from 16 year olds to seniors, were students, teachers, lawyers, accountants, wives, husbands, etc!  My daughter and I were really quite enthralled once they started playing.

My daughter plays the flute so it was quite understandable that she gravitated toward the flute players and was particularly captivated with how the musicians’ fingers seemed to lightly fly over the little tiny holes in the instrument…

However, what really caught my attention was the percussionist who was playing the xylophone.  Actually, she had different types of xylophones. http://www.guitarcenter.com/Orff-Xylophones.gc. 

I thought, “Wow!  I didn’t think that a xylophone could sound that good!  The only xylophone I know are the ones with the rainbow coloured bars that always seemed to be the favourite of all toddlers! Definitely no rainbow colours here!”

This evening also made me rethink –perhaps learning an instrument in 2017 would be a worthy endeavour.  I’m thinking that it would be a good New Years resolution…

My choices were:

Piano? Nope, I used to take piano lessons when I was small…I have not-so-fond memories of my piano teacher’s stern look when she realizes I didn’t practice…

Violin? Maybe not a good idea since I have this fear that I might get a crick in the neck that I will never recover from…

Flute?  Nope–I already have a flute player in the family…

Guitar? My fingers are not that long…

Ukulele? Hey!  It’s small and compact and short fingers are a non-issue..and I recall I bought my daughter a ukulele when she was somehow inspired by Grace Vanderwaal (the 2016 America’s Got Talent winner)….haven’t seen it lately but I’m sure it’s around somewhere….so no additional financial outlay there!

But somehow, telling people that learning to play the ukulele as my New Year’s resolution seems rather unusual. Not that it should really matter what other people think….

…or maybe I should consider learning a language instead…? French? Spanish? Italian?

Here’s to your New Year’s resolution…whatever it may be!!

Debbie.

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Work does NOT define you…

…these were the words that stayed with me as I left my doctor’s office a few weeks ago.

I had to keep repeating it in my head since it was so profound, so mind blowing, so true. I did not want to lose the sense of wonder of this eureka moment.

Of course, I always knew that work is supposed to be just that, WORK….. but the fact that it was uttered out loud made it so earth shattering.

“People underestimate the power of having a hobby.  Find something you enjoy. But don’t overthink it.”

A hobby.

Don’t overthink.

Well, I like running…but somehow, I would not consider it as a hobby.

Don’t overthink.

Well, I like painting…again, I did not feel as it qualified.

Overthinking!!??

I thought that it should be something I can sink my teeth into and actually enjoy learning something new.

Definitely.

To make a long story short…I did discover that I like doing little home craft projects. Peter had some cedar planks and some travertine tiles left over from when he built a sauna for me in the basement.  I thought I could make something out of them.

First, I had plans for the cedar planks to make it into cedar planters.  Would be a nice addition to my garden in the spring.  However, Peter did not trust me around power tools.  He did say that I should just give him the dimensions so he can cut it down to size for me.  I did not like the sound of that since he will likely end up doing all of it.  It’s supposed to be my hobby .

So I until I know how to maneuver around with a jigsaw, I had to revert my focus on the tiles.

After a bit of research, I found out I had travertine tiles.  I also found out that the Romans used travertine to build the Colosseum. Cool, huh?!  Last but not least, I found that I really liked how heavy, how solid these tiles felt in my hand, and that each tile is different with its own unique holes, textures and colours.

I also realized that it would be a good way to practice mindfulness. Especially for a recovering perfectionist, I had to get used to the idea that “it is what it is”. I cannot change the holes in the tiles that I felt were too big, too small, or in the “wrong” place.

So, these past few weeks, I have been dabbling with these tiles with different techniques of transferring ink to stone, experimenting how one type of ink responds to heat, to moisture, to everyday use ( I’m trying them out as coasters).

Here are some of my favorite pieces.

This vintage bike was inspired by a good friend who rode her bike to work each day.  I once confessed that I fear for her life all the time since she had to share the road with people whose main concern was to somehow trick the “traffic gods” and not hit a red light!  At least with this type of bike, no one could ever say…”I did not see her!”

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This next piece was inspired by another good friend who I thought played the violin.  So when I told her I had her in mind when I was making this tile, she looked at me curiously and said “Debbie, I don’t play the violin…I play the flute!” I got a hearty chuckle out of her. I’m sure she will never let me live that down. Maybe the next time, I will make a coaster with a flute!

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I love owls.  Perhaps because my middle name is Minerva.  She is the Roman version of the Greek goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom, trade, art, and strategy/war.  She is always associated with her sacred animal, the owl.  Someday, I hope to visit Greece and check out the Parthenon, Athena’s temple.  I think I would have to wait until the economic crisis in Greece gets better….
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So, I have been busy these past few weeks in a creative mood.  Working with these tiles have been partly frustrating due to the fact that sometimes the combination of ink, acrylic, gel and stone does not turn out to be what I expected.  Although, I am getting better at not being too judgmental and critical…

I am getting better at saying “Meh…..no biggie.”

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Debbie.