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It is a simple garment, this slipped-on world.
We wake into it daily—open eyes, braid hair—
a robe unfurled
in rose-silk flowering, then laid bare.

And yes, it is a simple enough task
we’ve taken on,
though also vast:
from dusk to dawn,

from dawn to dusk, to praise, and not
be blinded by the praising.
To lie like a cat in hot
sun, fur fully blazing,

and dream the mouse;
and to keep too the mouse’s patient, waking watch
within the deep rooms of the house,
where the leaf-flocked

sunlight never reaches, but the earth still blooms.

“The Task” by Jane Hirshfield, from The October Palace. © Harper Perennial, 1994. Reprinted with permission.

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So my school is doing something to boost attendance, and every month the 3-5 class that has the best attendance gets to do a scooter race. My class won for September (there’s only 10 of us, so it wasn’t TOO hard…).  Here’s a few pics and videos from yesterday’s race.  You can hear me cheering; one of my kiddos was using my camera since he couldn’t race.

 

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A few years ago (five, I guess!) when Kent and I were driving from Minneapolis to Banff to go hiking before my brother’s wedding in Kelowna, we brainstormed a list of “The World’s Most Beautiful Music”.  This was, of course, before we had smartphones, so this was totally out of our own heads, late at night, with a little help from the songs I had on my computer.  We ended up with 75 songs, and I’ve added to it.  I was hoping to get 100, but I seem to not be able to narrow it down; rather, I keep adding more (I have 115 at this moment).  Our initial criteria were haunting, often melancholy, and phrases that pull at your heart.  There are other wonderful songs we didn’t put on there, and probably some on there now that Kent would disagree with.  I thought it might be interesting to see what everyone thought.

I’ve separated the list into types of music (roughly, as some cross genres).  Maybe in the comments, put your favorite song from each genre?  I’ll try to add links to videos as I can.  If you have one you think should be on the list, tell me that too.  Of course I’m sure it’s by no means exhaustive, and I have my personal top five or so.   I have to admit, there’s a lot of choral music on there.  I am more familiar with that genre, and keyboard, than with orchestra or opera.

Choral/Vocal

  • Adoramus te Christe
  • Bach Jesu Priceless Treasure
  • Bach-Gounod Ave Maria
  • Beautiful Savior (F. Melius Christiansen)
  • Biebl Ave Maria
  • Cantique de Jean Racine
  • Chichester Psalm 2nd mvt
  • Creator of the Stars of Night
  • Dante’s Prayer
  • Duet from the Pearl Fishers
  • E’en So Lord Jesus
  • Faure Pie Jesu
  • How Deep the Father’s Love
  • Jesus I Adore Thee
  • Lauridsen O magnum mysterium
  • Mozart Ave verum corpus
  • Mozart Lacrimosa
  • My Lord, What a Morning
  • My Song in the Night
  • Prayer of the Children
  • Precious Lord, Take My Hand
  • Queen My Bijou
  • Rachmaninoff Vespers Bogoroditse Devo
  • Rachmaninoff Vespers Six Psalms
  • Rachmaninoff Vocalise
  • Rodrigo En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor
  • Rusalka Song to the Moon
  • Rutter Requiem Agnus Dei
  • Rutter Requiem Out of the Deep
  • Rutter Requiem Psalm 23
  • Rutter What Sweeter Music
  • Stay With Us
  • Steal Away
  • The Blue Bird
  • The King Shall Come
  • The Lord Bless You and Keep You with long Amen
  • The Prayer
  • Villa-Lobos Bachianas brasilieras
  • Webber Pie Jesu

Christmas

  • Bach Wachet Auf
  • Bethlehem Down
  • In the Bleak Midwinter
  • Jul, Jul
  • little tree
  • Lute Caroll
  • Lux Aurumque
  • O Day Full of Grace
  • Of the Father’s Love Begotten
  • Silent Night (with Night of Silence)
  • Stanford Scriven’s Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
  • Victoria O magnum mysterium

Folksongs

  • Carrickfergus
  • Greensleeves
  • Kathleen Mavourneen
  • Londonderry Air
  • Myfanwy
  • Shenandoah
  • The Water is Wide
  • To a Wild Rose
  • Wayfaring Stranger

 Keyboard/Organ

  • Bach Alle Menschen
  • Beethoven Emperor Concerto
  • Beethoven Moonlight Sonata 2nd mvt
  • Beethoven Sonata Pathetique 2nd mvt
  • Chopin Fantasie Impromptu
  • Chopin Nocturne in Eb
  • Debussy Cathedrale engloutie
  • Debussy Clair de Lune
  • Glencoe by NEYEII
  • Granados Asturiana
  • Highland Cathedral
  • Mendelssohn Organ Symphony #6
  • Rachmaninoff Elegie
  • Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme from Paganini, var. 18
  • Saint-Saens Organ Symphony last mvt.
  • Satie Gymnopedie No. 1
  • Schumann Piano Concerto
  • Saint-saens The Swan
  • Tchaikovsky Pathetique Symphony
  • The Lark Ascending

 Orchestral/Instrumental

  • Band arrangement of Battle Hymn with Taps
  • Dvorak Symphony 9
  • Faure Pavane
  • Gabriel’s Oboe
  • Grieg Solveig’s Song
  • Holst Jupiter
  • Intermezzo from Cavilliera Rusticana
  • Meditation from Thais
  • Mendelssohn Hebrides
  • Mendelssohn Scottish Symphony
  • Nimrod from Enigma Variations
  • None but the lonely heart
  • Ravel Pavane pour une infant defunte
  • This is My Will by NEYEII

Popular (including movie soundtracks)

  • Ashokan Farewell
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Braveheart Gift of a Thistle
  • Dead Poets’ Society Keating’s Triumph
  • Far and Away
  • Far Over the Misty Mountains
  • Fields of Gold
  • For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her
  • Henry V Non Nobis Domine
  • James Galway Concerning Hobbits
  • James Galway playing Annie’s Song
  • Hymn to the Fallen
  • Last of the Mohicans, Main Theme
  • Legends of the Fall, The Ludlows
  • Rocketeer theme
  • Schindler’s List
  • Somewhere My Love from Dr. Zhivago
  • Suo Gan
  • The Abyss
  • Time… from Romeo and Juliet
  • Trombone Amazing Grace from Gettysburg

Tonight, my favorite piece of music is Barber’s Adagio for Strings, as conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Enjoy, with your heart.

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Supper tonight.

Chicken enchiladas (with Gardein chik’n) and calabacitas.  I’d planned to make these before our company came a week ago, so no problem, right?

Ahem.

Enchiladas, in a manner quite peculiar to themselves, require enchilada sauce.  Surprising, I admit, but there it is.

I did not remember to buy enchilada sauce.  I confess.  Also, I did not get the half-and-half for the calabacitas, nor yet the Anaheim pepper I like to use instead of green.

We continue to the tale.

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Two cans of tomato puree, a half packet of taco seasoning, white pepper (enough to make me sneeze), dried cilantro, dehydrated garlic, and a bit of salt =/not = enchilada sauce.  It didn’t taste Italian, so I think that passes.

The calabacitas though…I had a small can of chopped jalapenos and put that in in place of the missing anaheim pepper.  Anaheim peppers are not really hot.  Why I always forget that jalapenos are, I will never know.

I put in some cream and almond milk in place of the half-and-half, and plenty of cheese.  I tasted the calabacitas.  Oops.

In order to eat them, I required large dollops of sour cream.  Still made my nose run and my stomach hot (I’m not THAT bad, stop laughing!).  So I, of course, had recourse to a small bowl of chocolate brownie ice cream.

All better. *bliss*

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Tea bathing

So evidently the ancient Middle-Easterners weren’t the only ones to bathe in odd (to us) fluids.  They, as I’ve read in various places, bathed in camel urinemilk, oil and ashes, or just didn’t wash at all.

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In our (relatively) clean modern times, we bathe or shower at least once a day, use smelly soaps and body washes, put on deodorant, and basically try to eradicate our own smell.  Supposedly if we didn’t wash *at all*, after a month our own bacteria would neutralize any body odor. Not going to try it.

But some trends might be worth considering.  In Japan, there’s evidently a spa that lets people bathe in wine, coffee, sake, ramen broth, or green tea.  Not sure what I think of ramen broth, wine, or coffee, though I might be willing to try a chocolate massage.  Green tea would be nice to relax in, I think, although the thought of how many people came before me would deter me from drinking.

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My computer, on the other hand (or mouse), has no such compunctions.  In attempting to save myself from my sinking desk chair, I knocked over my tea onto my keyboard last night.  Fortunately, my lesson plans had just been finished and turned in, and no sparks greeted the advent of the tea to my laptop’s innards.

Tonight, it appears that the bathing trend agrees with my laptop.  I will endeavor, however, not to allow my computer the decadence of bathing in anything else (or indeed, any more tea).

One must uphold standards — we might be sending out for camel urine next…

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Disclaimer: No Jeep belonging to the blogger was ever on the other side of the border.  Though we did see…well, you’ll have to find out.

One of my favorite transformations here in AZ is driving up from Corona de Tucson into the high desert grassland of Sonoita.  It’s wine country; looks a lot like central CA (to me!) and is a total switch from our scrub and ever-present cacti.  We have to take people there just to show them the difference a couple thousand feet of elevation makes around here.

We drive east from our house, heading to Sonoita, and as we climb, the desert gives way to golden grass, small trees, bushes and (in the winter) scraps of snow.  This time, Todd enjoyed the change, but Iryna was the one who got really excited.  Evidently it looks a lot like Crimea, where she spent summers growing up.  She hadn’t been sure she really liked the Tucson area (though she found it interesting), but we were all three amused and surprised at how happy she got as we got further into the grassland.

We didn’t see a coati on the Jeep trail (we had seen one this spring with other friends), but Iryna caught a glimpse of some javelinas.  We had started in Patagonia, a little town with several trails going off into the Santa Ritas (mountains behind our house).  As we got further into the semi-wild land, with free-range cattle, scattered ranches, ghost mining camps and towns, Iryna continued to exclaim over how similar even the bushes and trees were to her Crimean summer place.  We kept seeing border patrol — Kent commented on how many there were, compared to other trips.

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When we finally got to tiny Lochiel, we drove down to the border fence, just south of town, and drove along the border.  We weren’t sure we were supposed to drive along the border; there weren’t any signs around it, other than directional signs.  We did keep passing and repassing an SUV from Colorado with lights on top, but it seemed to be a work vehicle rather than something official.  So we drove on.  ‘Muricans and all that.  At least, no one from the border patrol was around just here!

For all the talk about building a wall, the border’s really not much more than an extra-hefty cow fence, taller in some spots than others, but mostly just stranded wire and some railroad ties.  We did notice the wire was cut in a couple places.  Cows, maybe.  Certainly there were cows on the other side of the fence — though they didn’t moo in Spanish!

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The monsoon rains had definitely done some damage; a (very steep) hill we’d steamed up this spring was washed quite thoroughly and we didn’t want to risk the Jeep.

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Kent probably could have navigated it, but the time it would take (we were already starving) would get us to Tubac too late to eat at all.  So we turned around to head back to civilization and shopping.

Only…as we came to the last part before we turned to rejoin the Jeep trail, we saw movement ahead. People running. With backpacks on. Toward the fence and one of the place the wire had been cut.  They disappeared onto the other side of the fence and we just looked at each other — wow! Kent gunned the Jeep and we went the other way, fast.

I spent the next few miles thinking aloud about whether someone in the group might have had an assault weapon they could have picked us off with, whether the blue SUV we’d kept passing was waiting for a pickup and we’d unknowingly interfered, and various reasons why they would have been running TOWARD the border.  Also, wondering if the increased border patrol vehicles had been the result of a tipoff and if we’d stumbled on the edge of a raid!

When we got to a crossroads with choices to go towards Nogales (the border town here) or back to Patagonia, I said we should go back the way we’d come — of course, given what we’d just seen!  About ten (bumpy) miles further, Kent said, “We’re almost back to Patagonia! We took the wrong turn!”  We ended up about fifteen miles out of our way, and having missed a great view around the shoulders of the southern end of the Santa Ritas.  He was NOT happy with me…

We did make it to Tubac, had a snack, and managed to see everything we’d wanted to, pretty much, before they rolled up the sidewalks at 5.  We were covered with dust and sunburned from having the roof off, and looking forward to homecooked tomatoes and onions…and more macaroon tart, which we devoured with alacrity.

And so the international travelers saw a bit more than they bargained for…

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Trigger warning: this post is all (mostly) about wonderful food.  Back. away. from. the. fridge.

I made peach muffins for breakfast (sorry, no picture) that were appreciated even by the non-fruit-lover in our midst (looking at you, Todd!).  Then Kent and Todd rushed off to the Pima Air and Space Museum to geek out over the planes while Iryna and I got down to business (or up to mischief?) in the kitchen.

Iryna concocted dark chocolate-almond meringue torte, while I attacked the butternut squash with wild rice and cranberries.  I had gathered the ingredients beforehand, since it’s quite far to the stores here, but realized in the wee hours of the morning that I had neglected to buy a butternut squash.  Only a main ingredient, no problem.  So I’d gotten up early (pre-muffins) and acquired a squash from the nearest venue. Eleven miles away. Sigh.

Iryna was meticulous with the meringue, and I took a break from squash to melt the chocolate and help dot with almonds.

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Yes, it was a decadent as it looks! *swoons*

I finished up the butternut-wild rice-cranberry combo — it made a LOT! and we headed off to meet our starving geeky boys.

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We had heard there was an exhibit of Frida Kahlo art at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, so we thought we’d check that out.  It turned out to be only biographical art by other people (though it was still interesting), so not the absolute win we’d hoped for.  But, not having been to the Tucson Botanical Gardens, we didn’t know about the butterfly house.

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Black butterfly open…

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…and closed.

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I thought this one looked like an old colorized photo.

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Blue poison arrow frog

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Three kinds: blue morpho (closed) on the left, don’t know the center, and owl butterfly on the right.

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Kent kept having them land on him because of his yellow shirt

We couldn’t get good pictures of the blue morphos’ open wings because they Don’t. Sit. Still.  Rather, when they’re still, their wings are closed.  And when they’re in motion, they are In Motion! Sort of like putting a bunch of preteen girls on sugar and crack and letting them loose in a Justin Bieber concert.  Like that.  Gorgeous, but we couldn’t even video them!

In the garden proper, there were cacti, of course, various exhibits relating to Frida Kahlo, and some surprises for us non-native Arizonans.

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Afterwards, we got the obligatory kombucha for Kent and Iryna, and rattled around down in Old Tucson.  I hadn’t seen all the neighborhoods around, and a lot of the houses were really cute and inviting.  Not the more warehouse-y style I usually see.

We met Kent’s mom at El Charro for gorgeous Mexican food: tamales, chimichanga burritos, and enchiladas.

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Again, we were too tired to do anything but fall into bed when we left the restaurant.  Day Two: Achievement Unlocked.

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Girl with a Pearl Earring-esque?

 

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