Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


2 Comments

A Big Bubble of Unstructured Time

I found myself in the fortunate situation of having six whole hours, a big bubble of time in my world, to do absolutely anything I wanted to do. When you have as many interests as I have, six hours is hardly enough, but I was delighted to have it nonetheless.

The Garden Comes Indoors
The gardening bug has really bitten me, (no pun intended) and I could not stop myself from going to the garden center and buying a planter, some potting soil, and three small plants from the mint family.   This is entirely an experiment since plants have typically not thrived inside my place.  It is simply too dark. However, I noticed that my feral mint in the backyard  seems to be thriving in a shady, enclosed area, so maybe it would do well in my dining room. I selected three plants: another lemon balm, a Yerba Buena,  and an ordinary, garden-variety peppermint. (I am rife with puns today).  Here comes the strange thing:  when I brought them in, the place I situated them seemed to lighten, and I don’t mean from the sunlight coming through their window.  I mean that the energy in the room felt lighter.  Living things do that to a place.

Apothecary Work
Yesterday, I harvested some lemon balm from the outside garden for the purpose of making a tincture.  A what?  A tincture is any type of herb soaked in alcohol for a length of time.  A lemon balm tincture can be used as a stress reducer or sleep aid.   My tincture here is made with vodka (you would NEVER use rubbing alcohol).   I’ll let it sit in my refrigerator for a few weeks in order for the essential oils In the herbs to extract.

I also made a batch of cleaning solution:  purified water, white distilled vinegar, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil.  Armed with this solution, I washed down my counters, table tops, even my chairs.  I find this much more pleasant than washing everything down with a chemical-laden cleaner.  From an aromatherapy perspective, the peppermint oil is a mood-lifter.  This too added to the energetic brightening of my home.

Since I seemed to have fallen into cleaning mode, I threw together a spray to scent my pillows and bed linens.   Vodka and purified water again, this time in a spray bottle with a few drops of lavender, sweet orange, and vetiver oils, all to lull me into a wonderful sleep tonight.

In the Kitchen
I cook for the entire week on Sundays since I have so little time to do so in the evenings during the week.  I usually roast a bunch of vegetables as part of the menu.  I was inspired by a cooking show I saw yesterday, and followed suit by roasting chopped sweet potatoes and golden beets in a sweet and spicy rub.  Oh, oh, oh!  Cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, honey, olive oil, and salt.  If I could sell the aroma wafting out of my kitchen, I would be a rich woman.  I think tomorrow for supper, I will just have this.

Body, Mind, and Spirit
After lunch, I took a few minutes to review my planner and then write a bit in my “Raven Journal”.   This journal is the serious one, filled with all sorts of angst, a place to dump the emotional toxins. I felt so much lighter when I was done.

As the afternoon progressed, I felt the need to get outside into the sun.  I walked down to the town center, bought a cup of coffee and then meandered back home.  When I returned, I rolled out my yoga mat onto the living room floor and went through an Ayurvedic routine designed to drain lymph and detox the body.  Of course, like any yoga routine, I ended with a few minutes of savasana, a time of still, motionless meditation.   To continue the detox, I took a long, hot, soothing Epsom salt and lavender oil bath. I emerged, calm and clear-headed.  (No picture of that, you will be relieved to hear.)

And Finally
I would have liked to have had a couple of more hours. If so, I would have worked in my sketchbook or maybe drum a bit. However, knowing that I only had a few more minutes left of my afternoon before I had to leave to meet some friends, I did what I am compelled to do on a daily basis. I put my feet up and began to write.

Ljgloyd 2018

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Noisy Toys: How I Start a New Creative Project, Part II

In yesterday’s post, I shared how I engage in a new creative project. In the process of working the plan I ran into a glitch. Or, to be more optimistic, you could say I expanded my knowledge base on a grand scale. At first, I almost jumped through the loophole I articulated yesterday of admitting the plan was not workable. Instead, I powered through and made the first of I hope many recordings of my own percussion music.

To make a long story short, I had no problem mixing a very short audio clip. The problem came with sharing it. Oh, is that not the bane of the creative’s existence: showing the rest of the world your work? In order to share the audio, I ended up having to make, with great difficulty, a video. Even though I felt like I had enrolled in a crash course in film editing, I was pleased to learn some new applications, and refresh myself in some old ones.

What I learned is this:

  1. Pushing the boundaries in my creative process requires hard work and a headache. The idea came easy.   Mastering the tools and technology, well, not so much.
  2. It is not enough for me, at any rate, to create. I must also share it with an audience for it to be worth my while.
  3. Finally, I will never be happy with just one creative genre. I need to be trying new things on a regular basis. I may never be very good at music making, but I enjoyed the process. And that is just as important as the product.

Without further delay, here is my twenty-four second sound mixing experiment.

Note:  To create and share my percussion work,  I used my iPhone to access Garageband (only available for Apple products) and to shoot the video,  a PC laptop in order to access Windows Movie Maker, my email application to mail the audio and video files from one device to the other and, of course, WordPress. Oh, and the instruments:  A darbuka, an egg shaker, and a cowbell.

Oi.

ljgloyd 2018


Leave a comment

A Cow Bell, Two Shakers, and a Strumstick: How I Start a New Creative Project

I am an over-committed person (AKA a workaholic):   I have the day job. Then I have a continuous home improvement project that is going to take months, if not years, to resolve. I do things for my faith community. I drum as much as I can to relieve the stress of the first three commitments. I love to read (see the Goodreads list on this site). I do about forty-five minutes to an hour a day of cardio exercise and yoga for health maintenance.   And, of course, I write.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I can permit myself to try out new activities because of all these other activities. I believe, though, that to call myself a Creative, I must constantly push the boundaries through to new experiences. And once the permission is granted, it is simply a matter of making a plan and then working the plan.

One of the new activities I am considering is composing and recording some of my percussion work. Let me say here that I am most definitely NOT a musician, but nevertheless I have given myself permission to still explore this creative and technical genre.

So how am I doing this? First, I set the intention by granting myself permission to try something new AND, just as importantly, permission to set it aside mid-stream should I find it not a viable endeavor.   Next, I brainstormed the project on a pad of paper, grouping the dump of ideas into actionable items. For this project, I realized that I needed to review the technology I had on hand or could access without cost,  investigate online videos and tutorials for the software, and inventory my percussion instruments* and song sheets. After sorting, reviewing, and prioritizing these actions, I determined that I would start by learning if I could use my cell phone and the Garageband app on it to record and mix MP3 tracks.   Before I start working on this, I started a Project page in my planner.

So my process is: 1) set the intention, 2) brainstorm ideas, 3) sort the ideas into specific actions, 4) implement the first action and make note of the results.

If I am able to get past the first action, then I will proceed to the next, and so on until a finished product is at hand.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

ljgloyd 2018

*FYI:  I have four frame drums, two darbukas, four egg shakers, a flex-a-tone, a strumstick and a cow bell.   That’s going to be one weird and funky track if I am successful.


4 Comments

Appeasing the Muse


I have said it before: this is not a food blog. I’m write mostly about the creative process. But since my writing has been a little static for a few days, I thought I would take a little break from that and be creative in the kitchen.

What do you do with a couple of ancient squash?  OK, they’re only two months old, but for produce that’s a long time.   I roasted them, gutted them, paired them with an equally ancient pair of apples, an onion, and various spices and other seasonings. After pouring it all into a casserole, I glued it all together with big fistfuls of fontina and mozzarella.

Many times when I get loose in the kitchen, the end result is a disaster. Not so this time. It turned out quite tasty.

Who knew that one could overcome writer’s block by appeasing the Muse with mounds of hot, gooey cheese?  She’s easy that way.

Ljgloyd 2018


Leave a comment

Back to Basics Across the Disciplines

Once or twice a month I gather with others at a local drum circle. This particular circle has a lot of djembe and conga players and most of them are experienced and talented percussionists. I am learning a lot from them.

However, I am an amateur darbuka player, and my initial study of drumming was with middle-eastern rhythms– which are enormously different from the Afro-Latin beats of the drum circle players. Furthermore, once a week I practice with a band (guitarists and vocalists) who play contemporary pop/folk. So you can see that I am exposed to an ecclectic variety of musical sounds. Unfortunately, this is resulting in me developing, in my opinion, a rather eccentric drumming style where I am not particulary good at any one of them.

To mitigate this, I have assigned to myself the task of going back to the fundamentals of middle-eastern drum patterns and practicing them until I am competent in them.

I think this return to the fundamentals is important in all creative disciplines. If you crochet, perfect that single chain stitch. If you cook, be a master at hard boiling eggs or making that bechemel sauce. If you write, dust off your dog-earred copy of Strunk and White and review the elements of style.

Before Picasso started painting like this,

he learned to paint like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ljg (c) 2017

In case you are interested, I am working on perfecting a maqsoum pattern: