The Curviest Music in History

La Paz Music Statue

John Philip Sousa once said, “Jazz will endure just as long as people hear it through their feet instead of their brains.”

I’m not sure if it was jazz or some other beat that inspired the creation of these three curvaceous musicians, found in a plaza a block or so off the Malecon in La Paz, and since the descriptive tablets have either been removed or never existed, I may never know.

What I am certain of, is that the music that inspired this public art had to be the kind you hear, not just with your feet, but with every part of your body.

I imagine the sculptor hearing a street musician play a tune, while another joins in. I imagine a balmy breeze spreading the salt air from the bay throughout the city, and people out and about in the evening, listening to the combined voices of singers, instruments, sea birds, rustling palms, and ocean waves.

My friend Carmi says that this week’s Thematic Photographic theme is “curvaceous.” I’m pretty certain these sculpted musicians played the curviest music in history.

The Mess of Humanity


My friend Carmi hosts a photography meme on his blog, and recently (though I think it changed last night, or will change later today) his theme had to do with messiness.

What better mess is there than the one made of cookie crumbs, drips of coffee spilled over the edge of mugs, and crumpled napkins? This mess isn’t the result of a tantrum or a break-in, but is, instead, the natural by-product of good conversation.

It’s evidence of my trip to Mexico to spend time with my mother, who is one of the most generous people ever to populate Planet Earth.

Our adventures, this trip, weren’t terribly grand. We soaked in the sun and sipped lots of espresso, bobbed in her pool, floated in the ocean, and ate several excellent meals in restaurants and at her table.

If I didn’t get a lot of writing done, I came home feeling like my soul was well-rested, and my mind is brim-full of stories I’m getting ready to share.

There’s another kind of messiness, though, the kind that wells up from the place of our deepest emotions. While I was relaxing south of the border, my husband was here, and a skirmish among our dogs ended with the messy reality of putting Miss Cleo to sleep.

This was a decision that would have been made within the year, anyway, but a part of me feels like I failed her for not being here, and failed my husband for making him do it without me.

Human death, too, tainted my trip: My great-aunt Peg died last week. She was nearly 97, and died in familiar surroundings, wrapped in the arms of people who loved her, and comforted by her strong faith in God.

Oddly, that knowledge means that while I feel her loss, I’m less emotional about it than I am about my dog.

But all those tangled emotions, joy and sadness, grief and solace, pleasure and pain, are part of the Mess of simply Being Human. And, just as in improv, where there are no wrong answers, just high and low percentage choices, in life, there are no wrong feelings, just wrong actions people sometimes take in reaction to them.

My own mind is messier than usual right now – too much time, and too little being required of me, I think. I’ll be working, these next few weeks, to reorganize mentally as well as physically.

But not completely, because sometimes I think it’s the messes we make that keep us interesting.

Rubber (Glass?) Ducky, You’re the One

I meant to post this last night, but after a morning of dropping the foster dog, Dexter, at adoptions (He was adopted. Congratulations to Dexter’s new family, and Happy Whatever Holiday You Celebrate!), having an early lunch of tacos, making lemon pound cake (which involved finding and washing the juicer so I could use real lemon juice), and an afternoon of good company with good friends, all I wanted to do last night was soak in the tub and watch a few episodes of Warehouse 13 on Netflix. Duck-Ornament

In any case, my friend Carmi hosts a weekly (and fairly loose) meme called “Thematic Photographic” on his blog, and I haven’t participated forever, but I noticed that the current theme is “Mellow Yellow.” No, he’s not celebrating a defunct brand of soda with that title (well, not directly, and anyway, they didn’t use the Ws in that) but all things yellow.

I could have taken a picture of the lemons that went into the pound cake (five of them), or the finished product, but since I made my friends work for their dessert by helping me hang ornaments on my Christmas tree, I thought a picture of an ornament would be most appropriate. And what better choice of subject could there be, than my whimsical rubber duck ornament.

Which is made of glass.

I suppose you’re thinking, “That makes it a glass duck ornament,” which, technically it is, except it’s modeled on the classic bath-time Rubber Ducky toy. Which makes it a glass rubber ducky. Or a rubber glass ducky. Or…hey, look at the adorable duck ornament nestled in the dark green faux pine needles!

(And on that note, I’m off to meet friends for brunch. Potato pancakes, anyone???)

Happy Holidailies

Seven Days: a Lesson in Perspective

Click image to embiggen
Late last week, Chris and I received some devastating news: his brother-in-law, a man I know to be brilliant, vibrant, kind, and funny, who has been fighting brain cancer for about a year, was given a new prognosis: days to live instead of months. As soon as we heard, we began making plans to head north to Iowa, intending to say goodbye, which we prefer to attending a funeral. (I dislike seeing people I love looking like wax fruit, and prefer to see people when there’s still some there there.)

We’d barely had time to process the news, what with church on Sunday, a Valentine’s Day dinner that had been planned for a while, and various other ordinary distractions, when we received another call, this one early this morning, with even worse news: He’d slipped into a coma, and the estimate was now seven days.

Our car is in the shop, and won’t be ready til Friday, so we can’t really leave any sooner than we originally planned, but this means our plans for a nice vacation to Seattle for our anniversary next month (15 years! Woo!) may have to be scrapped, or at least tabled. I’m not complaining – family comes first, and it’s important that we go, and support Fuzzy’s sister and daughters, and help where we can, and make our own goodbyes.

But I can’t help but think about what seven days can mean.

For a person in a coma, seven days can mean the difference between an easy death, or one full of pain.
It can mean the difference between people holding your hand and saying goodbye, or people visiting your grave.

For an Olympic athlete, it can mean the difference between attempt and success, or the difference between being known in your own community, or throughout the entire world.

For a traveler, it can mean the difference between a room in a friend’s house, a cushy hotel, and their own bed.

For a dog in a shelter, it can be the difference between being a stray, and being rescued, or adoption and euthanasia.

Seven days can be merely a week, or an infinite amount of time. Or both.

Last October, we spent seven days in New York and New Jersey, celebrating a wedding, visiting old friends, reconnecting with family, and exploring old haunts. On Columbus Day, Fuzzy and I visited Fort Hancock, NJ, and climbed the Sandy Hook lighthouse. He took the picture at the top of the post.

Seven days before that, I’d had the flu.
Seven days after, I’d realized how much my New Jersey childhood still informs my being.

Seven days from tonight, we’ll probably be in Iowa.

Thematic Photographic: Night

Ring Around the Moon
Click to enbiggen

Carmi says that the theme for this week’s Thematic Photographic is “Night,” so I’m offering this picture of the moon taken from my back yard near Dallas just as Hurricane Ike was ripping Galveston apart, and just before I fished the frog out of the pool.

Fuzzy had the good camera in Hong Kong, so it’s not great, but there really was a ring ’round the moon, and I swear it’s not a picture of a flashlight beam.

Thematic Photographic:Angles


Originally uploaded by MissMelysse.

Carmi’s Thematic Photographic theme from this week is “angles,” and the image that sprang to my mind was this one, of a quilt my Bubbie sewed from hand.

It began as one of those kits to make a single square, and she ended up having my mother buy several more.

The quilt was originally a gift to my mother, but it goes with the colors of my house.

This is actually a thematic offering on two levels – I took the picture from an odd angle, because the quilt hangs over the side of the bridge that serves as our upstairs hallway.

Thematic Photographic: Close-Up

Carmi meant for this week’s theme to be macro photography, I’m certain, but I think he’ll cut me a little slack for the picture I’m submitting. You see, it was 3:30 in the morning, and I’d finally found batteries for the camera, and had gone outside to shoot the red ring encircling the moon, when I heard a splash.

At first, I thought one of the dogs had fallen into the pool, but that wasn’t the case. It also wasn’t a skunk, or one of the raccoons that thinks my swimming pool is it’s personal bathtub. It was frog. I watched him swim the circumference of the pool, pausing now and then, and finally I realized that he couldn’t get out.

Of course, I snapped a few pictures before reaching for the skimmer – he backed right into it, and didn’t jump out until I’d set it gently on the ground.

I think it’s the best shot I could have taken without actually getting in the water.
Anyway, meet Froggy:

When I say "jump" you say...