I Believe In Music – Musical Intelligence, that is.

It’s the last in a series. My first post on Multiple Intelligence theory attracted a lot of attention, so the folks in the social media and marketing offices decided to capitalize on it with a series of posts. I wrote many of the drafts, and I edited and contributed to the others. Here’s the last in the series: the Musical Intelligence. Those who know me and my family will not be surprised by the reference to the history of the well-known Suzuki method of learning to play an instrument.

My only regret is that the social media Powers That Be did not include my tribute to Barbara Dryer. Barbara was co-founder of Connections Academy and leader of Connections Education. She passed away in early September from a very aggressive breast cancer. As she faced her own mortality, Barbara took the time to create a smooth and workable succession plan. Her brilliance and her dedication to online learning will live on.

When I met Barbara in person, I mentioned that I was the music teacher at WCA. She smiled broadly – I can only call it a grin! – and asked, “What’s your instrument?” I knew immediately that she was a musician, too. I will always remember how brief and yet exciting our chat was, and how enthusiastic she was about this partnership between Juilliard School of Music and Connections Education.

And so, in honor of her memory, here it is: The Language of Music.

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Early Morning Marketing

The downtown Farmers’ Market is winding down a bit. It’ll continue through most of October with the last weekend of September off for the big Octoberfest celebration. We were awake and ready earlier than usual, so we loaded our pockets with parking meter change, grabbed the shopping bag on wheels, and headed downtown. Amigo was sound asleep; he didn’t even miss us.

We spent only half the time we’d plugged into the meter, but we managed to fill the bags with good food despite the shorter time period. Earlier than usual and cooler than usual, there were far fewer shoppers on the Avenue. We moved a little faster through the smaller crowds.

Those that were there found good deals on peppers, potatoes, apples, and the big fall seller, squash of all kinds. We bought acorn squash, butternut squash, and a little green and yellow zucchini squash, too. The big winter squashes will store well in our cool back hallway pantry. We’ve been able to store the thick-skinned squashes into December and even January some years. The thin-skinned zucchini will be supper tomorrow night.

So now, without further ado, here is one of the last batches of goodies from the market.

Mmmmm.

Mmmmm.

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Tomatoes, Tomahtoes

Everything currently in my life revolves around tomatoes. Saturday night – salsa. Sunday – a quick stop at a small farmers’ market yielded a BIG BOX of tomatoes for a very small price. Upon further review, I got a deal. A few are bruised, all are ripe, several have marks that make them unaesthetic, but they’re all ripe and fairly solid. Tonight, I load up the crock pots with tomatoes and start the sauce process.

Last week I brought a quart bag of cherry and yellow pear tomatoes to work. I knew some of my coworkers would enjoy nibbling on them throughout the day. Heck, I enjoy nibbling on cherry tomatoes all day when I’m at home! Someone else had gotten there ahead of me with big tomatoes! Well, ’tis the season.

In our closet-lounge

In our closet-lounge

I took it in stride by arranging all of the lovely tomatoes on a platter. By the end of the day, all were gone.

That brings me to a piece of educational philosophy for you.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is knowing not to serve it in a fruit salad.

And with that, I’ll go find my crock pots.

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Fall Market Days

We’re buying a little less at the Farm Market these days. The freezers are filling up, and we’re getting low on containers, too. That’s usually a sign that I don’t need to prep quite so many peas or so much corn. In that case, we buy mainly what we’ll cook and eat in the next week.

Saturday's Take

Saturday’s Take

I had to set up the still life on the table with the canning books and jar lids because the kitchen counter was full. See below.

Salsa Time!

Salsa Time!

I convinced “Chuck” to help prep the tomatoes. The kitchen smelled of onions, tomatoes, and vinegar. Yum! The only drawback of last night’s salsa marathon is this: there are no chips in the house. We’ll take care of that later today with a quick grocery run.

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Pepper Sauce

Or is it Peppa’ Sauce? It’s a Southern dish, a spicy hot vinegar that goes on everything and anything, if I’m to believe the comments. I found it when a friend had too many peppers. This was one suggested solution. I had just the right bottle, so I tried it myself.

Pepper Sauce!

Pepper Sauce!

It’s more formula than recipe. Measure enough vinegar to fill the bottle. Heat the vinegar to a simmer. While it’s heating, prep the peppers by slicing into the skins to enable the vinegar to best soak in and absorb the pepper flavor. Add whole peppercorns and a few cloves of garlic, minced. Pack the peppers into the bottle, and then pour in the warm vinegar. Voila!

If we don't like it, at least it look pretty.

If we don’t like it, at least it look pretty.

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The Broad Side

Readers, I feel like I’ve made it big. My article about depression is live on The Broad Side.

This piece is groundbreaking for me. I published under my own name, not my Daisy moniker. I took a few posts from my major depression of 2011 and pulled them together to form a coherent whole. I had posts from the beginning, the middle, and the end (my recovery), so I found a representative piece from each time period.

This took courage, my friends. If I’m really going to make headway in breaking the stigma attached to mental illness, I needed to use my own name in discussing my depression.

Please take a deep breath and click over the The Broad Side. When you’re finished with my piece, feel free to stay a while and peruse other articles. If you enjoy reading me, you’ll find a lot to like on The Broad Side.

Here it is. Read it slowly and thoughtfully, please. Remember, it took courage.

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Parsnips?

The greens are certainly huge. I thought that meant I could harvest a few parsnips.

The greens look good.

The greens look good.

But seriously, folks, even the rabbit wanted nothing to do with these funky looking root vegetables.

Today's garden lesson:

Today’s garden lesson:

Straw bales might not be the best growing medium for parsnips.

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Market Day, Labor Day Weekend style!

My cloth bags had a workout!

My cloth bags had a workout!

It was a busy trip to the market today. Nice breeze, good music, nice people, and good food for sale. The wheeled bag was quite heavy by the time I finished, and I had two bags over my shoulder as well! From left to right: butternut squash, peas, lettuce, carrots, yellow beans, brussel sprouts, poblano peppers, apples, corn, more apples, and more corn. I have a busy weekend ahead!

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Hornets, beans, and Clifford the Big Red Dog

It’s been a random day – or several days full of randomness.

Chuck started cutting the lawn Monday evening, and he came too close to a hornets’ nest. They stung him and chased him around the house. He had trouble knocking enough off that he could come in the house! Several stings on the left hand, a few on the right, and he was in pain and more than a little freaked out.

The exterminator came Wednesday. He found the nest, sprayed it, and informed Amigo that the bees would be “angry today, but dead by tomorrow morning.” Result: Chuck didn’t attempt to mow again until Thursday.

Thursday he stepped outside to start the mower and the rain started.

The lawn looks like a wheat field. Or alfalfa, maybe. I’m thinking we should expand the garden and just quite mowing altogether.

Something about the first week of school makes me crave smoothies. Maybe it’s the transition from summer break to being a schoolie again. It could be the heat and mugginess. There’s also the possibility that I just like the smoothies from City Center Plaza, and City Center Plaza is only a few blocks from my workplace. On the way to the smoothie place, I saw this.

Someone spilled the beans.

Someone spilled the beans.

I helped set up our book fair for the upcoming first day of “school” on Tuesday. We asked the driver of the truck if he ever sees kids waving at him. Why? He has Clifford the Big Red Dog and a few other classic characters painted on his truck, bigger than life. We teachers decided that Scholastic should paint Clifford on our vehicles and pay us to drive them around town.

So then Amigo and I went to a local pub that has a great Friday fish menu. I tucked a napkin into my shirt to prevent clam chowder spills and I had a frightening realization.

I was wearing a Milwaukee Brewers shirt in a Chicago Cubs bar.

I left the napkin covering the logo on my chest until we left.

So, readers, all in all, life is good. School starts Tuesday, and I’m looking forward to meeting my students and their families. Good times are ahead! Meanwhile, I’ll relax and have a weekend.

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Cutting Corners & Cards

Amigo complains that I’m a “Green Freak” when I look for alternatives to gift wrap and tags. He doesn’t know that I have another use for old cards – decorative tops for canned goods.

It all starts with two lids, one regular and one large. Those are the patterns, templates, tracers, whatever you’d like to call them. If I have a choice, I’ll cut out a large one because I know I can make it smaller if I need to. Add a box of cards (holiday, birthday, etc.), a scissors, and I’m ready to work.

Getting to work!

Getting to work!

I cut apart the cards to make gift tags or round tags for my canned goods gift giving.

Finished Circles

Finished Circles – in two sizes

More finished circles

More finished circles

Some cards are too special to cut into pieces.

This one is a keeper.

This one is a keeper.

The rest are now in a manila envelope on my bookshelf Any time I’m giving away a few jars of goodies, I can reach for some nice, classy pictures to decorate the tops.

Okay, readers, let’s build on this. What other uses do you have for cards? Do you scrapbook? Make new cards from old? Leave a comment sharing your ideas.

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