Friday, January 31, 2020

January 31, 2020 January Birds

Backyard birding.
These 8 birds have similar interests and are congregating with each other.
They are all interested in the same thing→→→→ being fed!
Nothing much beats this recreational activity of backyard birding on a cold, cloudy day.
The last day of January......... It is the perfect month to make sure the birds are well fed, and photographed.🐦🐦🐦
The Virginia songbirds are fun to identify, especially listening to their chirps.
According to the Cornell Lab All About Birds the below photo is a Carolina Wren.
Stats include deep rusty brown above, variably warm buff below, and white throat with prominent white eye stripe. Her song is rich and loud tea-kettle tea-kettle, tea-kettle, or cheery cheery cheery. 
The Male Northern Cardinal is exquisite this time of year.
Black surrounds his red/orange bill.
His song is LOUD and sounds like cheer cheer cheer, or purty, purty, purty.

Earlier this month, I was surprised to capture this female cardinal in flight! πŸ’“

The Tufted Titmouse is easily identified by his distinct blackish forehead, tall gray crest, and pinkish/orange flank patch.
He is singing peter, peter, peter.

The male Downy Woodpecker is always a crowd pleaser.
He has a short, stubby bill, and a red hind-crown spot.
Check out the black cap, patch behind his eye, black wings with white spots, and white belly!
The Male House Finch includes a reddish-orange crown.
His bill is a stubbier bill than the Cassin's Finch.
His bill is slightly curved.
"Many people mistake a House Finch for a Purple Finch. 
It can be touch to tell them apart. 
They are about the same size and shape, but the difference is in the coloring.(The Purple Pinch is more reddish-PURPLE 😊)
The House Finch has what looks like streaking on the breast and the sides. The Purple Finch has stripes but not streaking. The House Finch has color along its eyebrow, but the entire head does not have color." 

The White-breasted Nuthatch has a bluish upper-part, white face and black cap and nap.
Coming in last, and the most obnoxious....... is the Blue Jay.
He is a beautiful bird, slightly bigger than the others, and generally noisy and bold.
Featuring black and white patches on blue wings and tail, with black bars, he usually chases the other birds away.
A weedle-eedle weedle-eedle, or jay jay jay piercing song, he is definitely shaking his feathers!
There is something mesmerizing , fascinating, and inspiring about watching birds.
You should try it.
Look at the birds of the air...............

Saturday, January 25, 2020

January 25, 2020 Challenges 'at the piano'

January 25, 2020 Today, I challenged myself 'at the piano'.

I do not have the dexterity in my fingers that I used to OWN.
Signs of arthritis are beginning to set into my 71+yr old hands/fingers.
My ability to think and respond APPEAR to be much slower than in my 40s-50s.😁😁😁
Ashamedly, I admit to not continuing 'the art of playing the piano'.
None the less........ today, I challenged myself.
As a child, young teen, and young adult, piano lessons were mandatory.
Of course, having an instructor that lived across the street helped with accountability! HA

 A clock-timer was placed near the piano to assure I had done my due diligence.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Recitals, recitals, recitals........
Practice, practice, practice.......
I loathed performing in front of anyone..... but I did. (Stage fright is real people! That feeling of failure haunts me to this day.)
Practice, practice, practice
Practice, practice, practice
As a young Mom, my love relationship with the piano continued.
(Circa May 1985, Hollins College, Caroline Victorine)
Same stage, 2 yrs later........... 1987:
Child #1 and Child#2 performing. ↴↴↴ (don't they look overjoyed???)
Fast forward 2020.
Circumstances are different now.
I'm not sure what happened, but here I am again.
They say that you never forget how to ride a bike, but you can ABSOLUTELY forget how to play the piano! The following article, however,is an excellent read. →→→ WHY PIANO PLAYING IS LIKE BIKE RIDING
So, here I am.........sitting on the bench...
Recreating the era when I stroked the ivory keys with such ease and grace...
Acknowledging that the process will take time and discipline...
Who knows where it will lead.πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘πŸ˜‘
As people age, their cognitive function decreases.
How is cognitive function related to playing the piano?
"It is your ability to think and respond. When students read music, they are decoding written directions that tell him/her to play a specific note, for a specific time frame, within a specific rhythm. Thinking and responding must be done instantaneously."
My expectations are now my own.
Slow and easy does it.
My heart is in it......... now to get the hands and brain to sync!
Thank goodness this is not a race.
One line at a time....... (actually one bar at a time.)
The Lord's Prayer by Albert Hay Malotte
Selecting 5-10 pieces from my extensive  antiquated collection of music has been a challenge.πŸ˜€
Easy, intermediate, advanced?
OK, so I can no longer CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN 😁😁😁.... but maybe I will soon be able to play it! Devoting 15-25 minuets every day, at the piano, could bring...........
"Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream!A dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life for as long as you live.Climb every mountain, till you find your dream!"🎹🎡
Scales? You bet! (Necessary to limber up my fingers)
2-handed scale runs,
Chords and their inversions,
Repetition and focus, repetition and focus, repetition and focus.
Metronome?Maybe. (Definitely tapping my foot to the beat)
One line bar at a time? Yes!
Right hand, then left hand, then together? Yes!
While I may have omitted marking the keys and pedals, I didn't hesitate to pencil in SEVERAL notes for easier reading!
Oh BTW, listen to what is going on with my granddaughter!

And look at another grandchild with King Ron.
And another video from today.... makes my heart soar!

Today I'm particularly flooded with memories of my Mom.
She played, not only reading the notes, but with her heart and soul.
She sat at the piano for hours, and soothed any savage beast that came near.
No doubt, her favorite piece was Liebestraum, by Franz Liszt.
She was able to play with her eyes closed......... and no music to read.
She played JUST LIKE THIS!!!!..... well.... almost like this ↑↑↑ πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰(click on arrow above)
In her latter days, while residing in assisted living, music (especially the piano) put a smile on her face. While I was snapping this photo February 18, 2016,  I just knew she wanted to push him off of the bench, sit down, and take his place! 😍😍😍.
Her love for the piano was obviously passed down to me........ and mine.
TODAY........ I challenged myself ♥. 
2020 is going to be a good year!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January 12, 2020 Roanoke Campground and Chestnut Ridge Loop

The end to a balmy January day.
13,000 fitbit steps,
a body filled with Vitamin D,
a soul soaked in gratitude,
and some dirt on our shoes.πŸ’“
From our house to this tree πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡, is approximately 4000 steps.
Our neighborhood backs up to the ROANOKE MOUNTAIN CAMPGOUNDS (milepost 120 on the BRP.)
10-15 minutes of walking.... and we are in a paradise of trails, nature, no cars, and few people.
Yes, it is JANUARY..... and we are soaking up Mother Nature's gift to us. 
CHESTNUT RIDGE TRAIL is one of Roanoke's most popular trails. Directly across the entrance to the campground, the sign leads you to the figure-8 trail.

Obviously, we were not loners.😁😁😁The parking lot was at capacity.
In fact, I've heard that just about every outdoor walking, hiking, climbing, jumping trail within 30 miles of the Roanoke Valley were jammed with people.....getting a dose of fresh air and sunshine.
It was the perfect day to get my new shoes covered in dirt ........ 
PS....... total walking miles for January = 38!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

January 7, 2020 Roanoke's first snow

Enjoying the Hygge lifestyle is especially easy today.
It is snowing.
For many, it involves concerns about work, children, travel, staying warm, falling on ice.
For me........ an excuse to stop and enjoy the fresh blanket of snow.
The snow, while not much accumulation, was cause to relax......

and listen to smooth jazz..........

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

January 1, 2020......... Run/Walk Up Mill Mountain.

A no registration, no t-shirt, and no timing event.
Today was the 31st Annual New Year's Day Mill Mountain Run.
The Fun Run was sponsored by the Star City Striders.
I might add that we were up EARLY for this event!
Photo credit to Ed Kohinke Sr.
Would you believe this was my 2nd participation with the C&C Runners!
WHAT A HAPPY, ENCOURAGING group of people!
(Who knew this many people would be out, so early in the the COLD!)
400+ runners/walkers took the challenge.
New friends........(Karen, Maxine, Paula...... I look forward to walking with you soooooon)
New groups, famous people, and seasoned runners!
Marion Childress was named Citizen of the Year, a model and inspiration to all.
Here is a little more about Marion..... war vet, cancer survivor, inspirational  MARION
Thank you to my knees for not hurting!
Gary Duerk played for the crowds, as we were reaching the star!
Photo Credit Hank Ebert 
Photo credit by Marion Childress

This brings back  memories of the the hikes that were taken as a young child, with my family!     ↓↓↓
 Today was a great day to begin my new year with 4.76 (11,003fitbit steps) miles.
Photo credit DAVID HUNGATE for Roanoke Times

 WSLS Local News  ( see the video)