I’m not much of a musician. I try, somewhat, but my efforts, combined with my innate lack of musicality, mainly succeed only so much as to bring to mind a certain phrase about flogging a dead horse.

However, I excel at playing the dog whistle. While it might not be the most tuneful instrument around I always have a rapt and appreciative audience.

Chalk that up as another reason to love a good dog.

Clap Along!

I can read music.

I took piano lessons as a kid.

I played the clarinet for more years than a person who is mostly tone deaf should, because it kept me out of the choir room – I wasn’t welcome there.

I still play the piano.

Now I, due entirely to the fact that capoeira has bewitched me beyond what is sensible, have started to learn to play instruments no one has heard of like a berimbau, pandeiro and atabaque. I’d describe this mysterious capoeira activity and it’s associated instruments to you but I’m sort of afraid that it will enchant you too. And then, even if you are also a natural music-less hermit, you will find yourself preforming this martial art in front of people, while singing and clapping and it will be all my fault and I’m not ready for that kind of responsibility.*

I know this because I would be the hermit who has absolutely no sense of rhythm (a word I just found out I can’t even spell)  and so I sing and pretend to clap in front of people because clapping is hard.

Those of you who just reached out to mentally pat me on the head with a slight roll of your eyes because we are talking about the thing we teach our babies to do before they even walk, I congratulate you.

You have rhythm!

Take a bow! Your musical life, as well as any concerts you attend will be enhanced. I hear with practice one can even sing and clap, or tap a foot and play an instrument at the same time. You are going places and you are doing it on the beat!

I, however, will be watching.

In fact if you could manage to clap so that it is easily visible to those around you that would be great. I, and others like me, need to watch your hands so that I can make my hands make the noise at the same time yours do.

Because clapping is hard.

Last night John told me, “When I get behind on the beat I just clap faster,” and then I dissolved into hysterical laughter.


A) I don’t know when I’m behind. I mean I know when I’m the only person in a room clapping at a different time than the other people, but behind? Ahead? How do you even?!?

B) He just “claps faster”… I’m not even going to tell you the things I do to try to get back on beat. It’s too embarrassing. Let’s just say “clapping faster” would be a heck of a lot easier if I could figure it out how on earth one does that.

And now, because I’d really prefer to minimize the comments that tell me I should just practice more I’d like to refer you back to the top. I have played instruments and read music since I was ten years old. I have been regularly practicing clapping, as well as clapping and singing at the same time for two and half years. Despite the fact that my brain refuses to acknowledge how it works, the concept of rhythm is familiar to me. I just don’t have it.

Of course I’m not saying that practicing doesn’t help, I have improved! I can now sing and clap at the same time so long as one of you wonderfully blessed persons is standing where I can see you clap and all the syllables fall on the beat. I figure at this rate I’ll be successfully clapping and singing at the same time in another ten years… as long as I’ve got someone next to me to watch.

So please, if you’ve been blessed with rhythm, clap nicely.  Those of us who aren’t are watching!

*  That’s a lie. I’m totally ready for that responsibility, come to class with me, it’ll be terrible and the most fun ever all at the same time, trust me… I know…


Use What Talent You Possess…


Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.

~Author unknown, quoted in The Ladies Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted to Literature, Arts, and Religion, September 1874, commonly miss-attributed to Henry Van Dyke and Henry David Thoreau

Sky Blue Daze suggested I participate in the 3 Day Quote challenge. I thought it sounded good, but then I found out, there were rules.

  • Post on 3 consecutive days
  • Post one to three quotes per day
  • Challenge three different bloggers each day


I’m not so good with arbitrary rules, but I’m pretty good at making up new ones!

So, instead of nominating three new bloggers to participate every day I’m instead going to introduce you to one a day. Partially because I’m contrary like that but mostly because I sincerely hope that you will all follow my link and find a new fantastic blogger on the other end. And, if said fantastic blogger wants to share some quotes in the next few days that’s just a bonus.

Today’s blogger needs no incentive to share quotes, Diane always has just the perfect one, or two, or three in her posts. The quotes always accompany beautiful photos in her online journal, which she calls simple but is always a beautiful, calming, breath of sea air.  Head on over to visit and hear about how she was finally able to fulfill a life long dream and started taking piano lessons once she retired. Check out her latest knitting projectfavorite book of the moment and look at a few dozen beautiful photographs.

Diane’s a fabulous hostess and she wouldn’t want you sneaking in and out the back door without being able to exchange a kind word before you leave.  So be sure you leave a comment so she knows who’s been traipsing through her garden!

Relative Weirdness

On this mornings drive to school Ivy requested number 14 on the CD. Personally, I would prefer to spend my early mornings in silence but that seemed unduly harsh, even for AM me. So earlier than I’d like to be conscious I listened to My Big Sister and heard all about the boy who didn’t want to wear his sister’s hand me down coat. While normally listening to children’s music inspires visions of smashing things (like colorful CD’s) and includes songs that stick in my head torturing me for the next three years until I accidentally sing it all on my own causing me to believe that I finally have lost it. This, fortunately, was Snacktime! by Barenaked Ladies and contains music less likely than most to drive you insane.

(Skip to number 13 to hear it for yourself.)

As the song finished Ivy giggled while declaring that it was “weird” that the boy didn’t want his sisters coat. Even my AM self knew better than to debate in the relative “weirdness” of imaginary persons. Instead I told her that we were lucky because girls can wear most all the clothes boys can but boys can’t wear all the clothes girls can.

Ivy: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, for instance, boys don’t usually like to wear skirts and dresses.”

Ivy: ” Uncle Jim does.”

Me: “Yeah…Uncle Jim in his kilt in the snow

“…. but he calls it a kilt.”

From Ivy’s silence I decided she must not have wanted to talk about relative weirdness early in the morning either.