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January 1, 2006

Smooth Sailing in 2006

Best wishes to us all for smooth sailing in the new year.

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Posted by hgroteva at 1:00 AM

January 5, 2006

Holy Guacamole - Hook 'em Horns!

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Now, you know I'm not a big football fan - too many other things to do. BUT, last night's Rose Bowl game, in which my alma mater UT beat USC by 41-38, was riveting. It was extra fun to watch, because I'm in Sacramento working with colleagues Ruth and Susan, and we watched (and screamed ourselves hoarse) together. Vince Young (UT number 10) was incredible, both in running and passing. It was an evening of orange pride.

We visited Whole Foods before the game and stocked up on the essentials (guacamole, tostadas, etc.) and then just let it roll. After the game when we tried to call family in Austin, the message came back, "All circuits are busy." - YES!! Congratulations to the Longhorns and to UT. The last time we won the national championship was 1970, my senior year in college there. The UT tower (above) is all orange for a few nights, with the big #1 emblazoned down all four sides. Sorry I'm not there to see it in person.

Posted by hgroteva at 9:48 AM

January 6, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging - shoulder hugging

Members of our Tonk tribe love our shoulders - I'm not quite sure what it is, but they like to snuggle up like no cats we've ever had before. But hey, I'm not complaining. Since Pookie and Sadie (oldest and youngest, male and female, lightest and darkest, biggest and smallest, respectively) like to compete for shoulder time, they've now figured out how they can both get it simultaneously. They even stayed put for 5 minutes while Susan went to get the camera and take 5 shots - this was the last one! I think they're glad we're home from the holidays.

Pookie and Sadie on HG - b.jpg

Posted by hgroteva at 6:00 AM

January 8, 2006

Hook 'em Horns - Revisited

Still enjoying the afterglow from UT's victory over USC in the Rose Bowl. Here are Ruth, Susan A-L, and I cheering the team on. Looking forward to getting an official commemorative T-shirt and photo of the tower bathed in orange with the big #1. (see Jan. 5 entry below)

Ruth Susan Hal Hook em - b.jpg

Posted by hgroteva at 10:35 AM

January 12, 2006

Mozart's Manuscripts Re-united at the British Library

The BBC World Service program "The World" carried a fascinating program today about two halves of a manuscript by Mozart that have recently been re-united at the British Library. After his death, Mozart's wife Constanza sold the two halves separately. The upper half has been in the British Library since 1953, but the lower half was only recently acquired. Listen to the radio program here. It contains excerpts from Mozart's piece, written when he was 17.

You can also go to the British Library site and see "Mozart's Musical Diary," a part of their innovative "Turning the Pages" collection. It provides a fascinating view of the diary - you can turn the pages or look at them with a magnifying glass. You can also hear 75 musical excerpts from Mozart's work. I wrote about some other books in this collection (such as the Lindisfarne Gospels) after my trip to the UK last summer. See my blog post from June 24, 2005. (Note: You will need to scroll down to the June 24 entry.)

Cheers to The World and the British Library for bringing us such great stuff!

Posted by hgroteva at 11:42 PM

January 16, 2006

Viva Boomers!

The Star Tribune ran a full page article entitled "The Baby Boom Turns 60" yesterday. Although I'm not (quite) 60 yet, I am definitely a boomer, and proud of it! (not that I had anything to do with it at all...)

I especially enjoyed the sidebar that featured "greatest hits" from the 1940s, 50s, etc. Here are a comments / reflections / memories about a few of them.

1950s:
Civil defense drills -- I still remember these drills from elementary school. Each fall, our parents had to fill out "bomb blast cards," indicating what we were to do and with whom we were to go in the event of a nuclear attack. We frequently practiced what to do in the event of a bombing -- going out into the hallway, kneeling on the floor, huddled against the lockers with our arms over our head and protecting our face. As if we would survive a direct hit.... We also frequently watched films about bombs, radioactivity, and associated illnesses. People built fallout shelters underground in their back yards, stocked with canned goods, blankets, and the requisite battery-operated radio. A major ethical dilemma, explored in dramas on TV, was what to do if a neighbor were to come knocking at the door of your fallout shelter. If you just have enough supplies and resources to protect your own family, are you morally obligated to share with others (who apparently didn't plan as well as you did), thereby risking everyone's death?

"Ben Hur" - I still remember this powerful movie - I saw it with the Underwood twins on a Saturday morning in downtown Dallas. We had special student-rate tickets, and it was a BIG DEAL - a movie on the BIG screen. I still remember the scenes with the lepers.

1960s - Where to begin??!!

"The Graduate" - This amazing movie came out when I was in college; I think I saw it 4 times. The first time I saw it, I was speechless for about 15 minutes - it raised so many issues that really struck a chord. Of course, it explored one of my favorite issues - identity. And it was a great up-the-establishment film for a young adult who had no intentions of going into "plastics!"

I could go on and on. I think this is all for now; I'll add to this thread as time permits. In the meantime, in my human development course we'll be discussing life course theory. As one of the exercises in the class, students will take on membership in various different generations ("greatest generation," boomers, GenX, etc.) and talk about the cultural and world events that shaped the members of their generation. Who knows, maybe it will give them a different perspective on their parents?

Posted by hgroteva at 5:44 PM

January 27, 2006

Happy Birthday, Wolfie!

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Today is Mozart's 250th birthday - Happy birthday!! To celebrate, classical MPR (99.5 KSJN) is playing "all Mozart, all the time" today. Tune in and enjoy. Here's a link to the website; you can play the broadcast from here.

Posted by hgroteva at 8:25 AM

January 28, 2006

Basement Blues

On October 6, 2005, I wrote the following:
When it's all said and done, we enter the world with nothing and leave the world with nothing. Having "stuff" is nice, but there's a lot more to life. Less is more. That will be my mantra as I proceed to fill the dumpster in the driveway.

Here's the context.....
Back in October, our basement flooded and we have had to take everything out so that it can be renovated. It's been a long process, done in stages. Stage 1 was to get the water-logged carpet and damaged goods out and make sure we wouldn't be infested with mold. Stage 2 was to make some repairs to the outside of the house to prevent (hopefully) the problem from recurring. Stage 3 was for Mark and much of his "stuff" to move to Texas. Stage 4 - talk to tile people, contractors, etc. in order to make a plan for the renovation of the basement. Stage 5 - finished just a few hours ago - was to complete boxing up everything in preparation for the beginning of demolition - THIS COMING MONDAY!

I found this to be not only an onerous, but also a surprisingly emotional task. Of course, part of it involved going through 15+ years of "stuff" stored in the basement because there was nowhere else to put it. Treasures that were too important to throw away, but not important enough to be the stuff of our daily lives. So boxing stuff up meant going through everything from our baby books (and those of our kids), to income tax files from the 1970s and 1980s (I regret that I'm not kidding), our rather pathetic "Presto-Pine" indoor Christmas tree (which will be in the next dumpster), and all the typical stuff that lives in basements - tools, pieces of this and that, 4 filing cabinets, etc. etc. etc. It was cathartic, but I'm glad it's over. Nothing will be going BACK downstairs unless we determine that we will really use it. And we will have one bang-up garage sale this summer! It should also make it easier to move when the time comes, especially if we will be moving into smaller quarters.

Lessons learned: simplicity is good. The monks knew it, and it worked for them. At the same time, however, the memorabilia of our lives help us re-experience important events and relationships. I have a row of about 25 coffee cups on the window sill in my office. They probably look strange to visitors, but i can tell a story rich with meaning about each coffee cup, and somehow they are comforting to have nearby. The challenge is keeping the volume of such artifacts in reasonable proportion. I guess there's nothing like a periodic flood to help us travel lighter. (Maybe I'll just try to do a better job of periodic purging without being prompted by a natural disaster...)

Posted by hgroteva at 9:09 PM

January 30, 2006

Of Singing and Song

Of Singing and Song; a Treatise by William Byrd, 1588

Reasons briefly set down by the author, to perswade every one to learne to sing.

First it is a Knowledge easely taught, and quickly learned where there is a good Master, and an apt scoller.
2. The exercise of singing is delightfull to Nature and good to preserve the health of Mankind.
3. It doth strengthen all the parts of the brest, and doth open the pipes.
4. It is a singular good remedie for a stuttering and stammering in the speech.
5. It is the best meanes to procure a perfect pronunciation and to make a good orator.
6. It is the onely way to know where Nature hath bestowed the benefit of a good voyce: which guift is so rare as there is not one among a thousand that hath it: and in many that excellent guift is lost, because they want Art to expresse Nature.
7. There is not any Musicke of Instruments whatsoever, comparable to that which is made by voyce, where the voyces are good, and the same well sorted and ordered.
8. The better the voyce is, the meter it is to honour and serve God therewith: and the voyce is chiefly to be employed to that end.
Since singing is so good a thing
I wish that all would learne to sing.

from program notes, “Early Music on a Winter’s Night�
Waltham Abbey Singers
January 29, 2006
St. Mark’s Catholic Church, St. Paul, MN

Posted by hgroteva at 11:47 AM