Holy Shrimp…I almost forgot! SpReAd the Love Weekly Update

By the way…before we get started,

DO NOT look up “Holy Shrimp” on Urban Dictionary — I know you’re gonna do it, just don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Logo designed by Gisborne's Boy

Logo designed by Gisborne’s Boy

Now, back to STL…

WHAT A HUGE WEEK!!!

Our new total of kindnesses given and received reached 175 on Sunday!  We had one enormously huge donation that has renewed my faith in my fellow humans.  Negativity is always out there, lurking, but every time I think it just might get the better of me, someone comes along and tells me something incredible.  The giver of the kindness would prefer to remain anonymous, but trust me when I say the world would be a kinder place with more of her in it!

I do have a kind of cool story that happens to have come from my own neck of the woods…my front yard actually.  Last week Tuesday I received the following text message from my husband:

Obscurus is a man of few words, and even less punctuation  ;)

Obscurus is a man of few words, and even less punctuation 😉

Kindness must be contagious!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Don’t get me wrong, my husband is a good guy, but I practically have to light a fire under him to get him to unload the dishwasher!  I take this as a sign that the universe is soaking up all of the kindness.  He was there, at that place, at that time to offer a little assistance to an elderly woman who was stranded and alone in the snow and cold. Turns out she knows my Grandma Anna and they had a nice chat!

Plans are moving along for the March book challenge…there is still plenty of time to reflect on a book that was important to you as a youth or one that your children loved.  Let us know if you need a blog to post your reflection on.  Mini Me is busy scouring her shelves in anticipation of a guest appearance…stay tuned.

Also, don’t forget the Secret Valentine…I’ll bet if you whisper sweet nothings in her ear, Guylty can probably hook you up!

Have a week filled with kindness, and pass it on!

PS:  to the clerk who made me go back out to my car to fetch my ID before he would sell me a bottle of wine…

Your kindness counts too!

Your kindness counts too!

inter alia: “Hey Richard Armitage, I think your G-string is a bit tight…”

That got your attention didn’t it?!  Nope, this is not a further investigation in to anyone’s underwear preference…

...just a little string instrument humor!

…just a little stringed instrument humor! **

I was listening to my old new favorite collection of music this weekend and remembering how much I love the sound of the cello.   A convenient coincidence I suppose given the Richard Armitage connection, but really, my love of the cello extends back a long way.  Where I grew up, music lessons were (and still are – for now) a part of the public school curriculum, beginning in the 4th grade.  We had our choice of instruments, and I ruled out horns right away  SO   MUCH   SPIT!!  (yeck – leave it to my kid to take up the oboe!)  I was much more attracted to the strings.  I really, really, really wanted to play the cello, but it would have meant hauling it to school on the bus every other day, and that seemed like a daunting prospect since even at 10, I would likely have been playing a full sized instrument.  Violin it was.

I was a proficient violinist.  I suppose that if I had bothered myself to practice more, I could have been more than proficient.  Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…  In any case, by the time I reached high school,  I had carved out a more or less permanent place as the second chair of the second violin section.  If you know anything about string arrangements, you’ll know that melody is a preciously rare commodity in this section.   Feeling unappreciated (in my 16 year old brain) and seeking greener pastures, I changed over to the viola.  I like the sound of the viola – more mello than the violin, but without the bulk of the cello, but not quite the same.  Not a whole lot of melody to be found here either, but it put me in much closer proximity to the bass instruments (we non treble cleffers had to stick together in that sea of violins) and together we produced the back bone of the ensemble.  The vast majority of the music I encountered was classical.  I love classical music, especially Bach and Mozart, but imagine my surprise when I encountered a cello in a wholly different context.

I mentioned a while back that I had recently rediscovered the music of a band that I loved when I was in college, and that it really took me back.  This band was unique in any number of ways, not the least of which was their integration of the cello in their fusion of funk and rock .

See that guy there?  The one with the bass...yes, the one with the bass and the mohawk...he's also a cellist.

See that guy there? The one with the bass…yes, that’s him on the right too – with the bass and the mohawk…he’s also a cellist.

The bassist for this band, pictured above, is also a classically trained cellist.  The combination of sounds was something that, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I hadn’t heard before, and I liked it…a lot.  Take a listen to the two tracks here…the cello is prominent in the beginning, but is there throughout, bringing a depth to the sound that an electric bass alone can’t provide.

Big Bang Theory – “So Much More”

Big Bang Theory – “Livin’ in a Dream”

Richard Armitage has said that the cello comes closest of an instrument to sounding like the human voice…listen to this version of Led Zepplin’s Kashmir to hear what he means…

I imagine that Richard Armitage has the potential to be a pretty decent cellist….There are certainly plenty of extremely talented female cellists, but it is no secret that there are a lot of very well known male cellists.  I imagine that some of it has to do with the fact that men simply have larger hands and longer fingers which allows them greater reach over the fingering.  Longer arms can’t hurt in reaching around and gaining really deep bowing strokes either.  Long arms and long fingers Richard Armitage has plenty of!

I wonder if years playing the cello have anything to do with the famously open sitting position?

I wonder if years playing the cello have anything to do with the famously open sitting position?

**Check out a masterful list of music puns here

et alia: So you want to write racy fan fiction? OH THE FEELS!!

I have been having a devil of a time with the last few chapters of my Strikeback fan fic Recovery.  This time it’s not “choreography” or quiet time or plot details, but how to successfully convey “the feels”.  According to knowyourmeme.com,  the term *feels*

feelsWithout giving away any spoilers, my AU story of John Porter and his love interest Lindsey Tate has plowed into some deeply emotional territory, and strangely, although the whole thing comes from my imagination, I’m finding that I’m not immune to it’s tear jerking effect.

Yes, if you must know, I am! *sniffle*

Yes, if you must know, I am! *sniffle*

At the moment, I’m struggling a bit with how to adequately convey the deep emotions of the characters without descending into melodrama.  It’s not for lack of examples of how John Porter emotes.  Richard Armitage has a gift for expressing a wide range of feelings without uttering a single word – so much angst and concern!

How does he do that?

How does he do that?
Screen caps from http://www.richardarmitagenet.com

I guess there’s no help for it…I’ll just *have* to go back and watch Strikeback again to study these emotional scenes frame by frame for inspiRAtion!  (I should be sobbing through that emotional scene by the weekend!)

Sometimes we all need just a little light…Weekly SpReAd the Love Update

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”  ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Last week was thoroughly suckish for me.  I can’t pinpoint a single source…it was more like a pile up of unbearable levels of minutiae that need to be dealt with – insurance, taxes, 2nd quarter grades, rehearsal schedules, committee meetings, DRAMA, and on, and on and on.  Sometimes life just begins to feel like a dark room…you know there is a way out, but what you don’t know is how many times you’re going to trip, stub your toe, or whack your shin on the way to the door.  It is so easy to get lost without a light to guide us.  This week, light came to me in an unusual form.

As you know, I’ve been working with Jazzbaby to organize the SpReAd the Love kindness campaign.  I can’t tell you how uplifting it is to get a report of a kindness, and this week there was one that made me stop and think.  I have to give you a bit of the back story first…last week I received a kindness report from a donor who would like to remain anonymous:

Edited to preserve the anonymity of the donor...

Edited to preserve the anonymity of the donor…

Stories like this are always heartbreaking, especially when there are young children involved.  I recorded this donation in with our tallies for last week.  On Saturday, the anonymous donor emailed me again to let me know that this young mother of three had lost her battle with cancer.

Edited to preserve the anonymity of all parties...

Edited to preserve the anonymity of all parties…

Nothing can fill the hole that the death of this woman, a wife, a mother, a teacher, has left among those close to her, but I can well imagine that the memory of those children singing in the hospital will be a small ray of light in a dark time.

Stories like this always illuminate things for me too.   This story is terribly sad, but as our donor points out, being witness, even from afar, to an “outpouring of love” can have an unbelievably uplifting effect.  This is just the kind of thing that SpReAd the Love is all about…simply making a difference to someone in some way, like these children and their teachers did for Julie and her family.   Julie’s song is included in this week’s collection of kindesses.

As of today, we are up to 116 kindness donations!  Numerous people who’ve reported kindness have told me what a good feeling it leaves with them…win/win!  If you are interested in participating in the upcoming book challenge, let Jazzy or me know.  If you’re not real keen on writing a reflection, but have a book that has had a lasting impression on you, let me know…we could do a mini interview kind of thing or something.  If you need a place to post the story of your book, contact Jazzy or me, and we’ll hook you up with a host blogger.  Everybody has a book *that* book…what’s yours?

Logo designed by Gisborne's Boy

Logo designed by Gisborne’s Boy

OT: Can we get a “For she’s a jolly good old gal” ?

I still don't think that's enough candles...

I still don’t think that’s enough candles…

She’ll never read this, but I wanted to take a minute to send a little love out into the universe for my Grandma Anna who celebrated her 101st birthday yesterday.  Most days she doesn’t recognize my dad (her son)…but honestly, he’s one of ten, I might get a bit fuzzy on all of them myself…and she doesn’t know me at all anymore, but she gets up everyday, play cards, laughs at jokes, eats her birthday cake with gusto and lives her life.  Tiny herself, she’s always been a sucker for a big handsome man…

I'm pretty sure this one could still tear her attention away from that birthday cake! Photo by Robert Ascroft Courtesy of richardarmitagenet.com

I’m pretty sure this one could still tear her attention away from that birthday cake!
Photo by Robert Ascroft

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!