The l o v e project

It is the last Friday of June, which means that it is time for the We Are the World Blogfest or #WATWB. This is the first #WATWB that I have participated in for almost a year and I am glad to see the blog hop is still going strong. Now more than ever we need stories of love and connection.

Professional musicians are one of the groups hardest hit by the pandemic. This article was written back in March, but 3 months later, not much has changed: Classical Musicians Say Coronavirus Cancellations are Financially Catastrophic. With live concerts still being cancelled for safety reasons, musicians have lost most of their paying gigs. Teaching is still happening, and a bright spot is the rising of online music ensembles.

The L O V E Project 2020 stands for “Liquid Open Viral Ensemble.” It is the world’s largest online symphony orchestra. I found out about it on Facebook about a month ago. Their goal is to have 1000 musicians playing Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture. As their website says,

[O]nce there was a quarantined violist from COVID-19! . . . The violist begins to wonder how music could go on in these conditions; and in these conditions he thinks of an idea to let the music start again while the whole world is waiting. 

I especially love that it started with a quarantined violist. We violists do tend to think outside the box! It sounds a little like a viola joke gone right for a change. My own community orchestra has also been doing some of these types of videos, (as I blogged about in April) so I already knew how to make a video of myself playing the viola part while watching the conductor and listening to a track on earbuds.

It’s really hard to get such a video perfect, though, especially for a piece that is over 7 minutes long. After practicing several days, I did 4 or 5 takes, and they all ended up with different mistakes. I finally submitted one with 2 mistakes. The mistakes are in places where the viola part is in the background, either scrubbing away with repeated 16th notes to add some drive, or drowned out by the winds. It’ll add authenticity–live performances are rarely perfect anyway. And with 999 other musicians (139 other violists), I’m sure I’m not the only one.

When I submitted my music video I was also asked to make this invitation video. It felt a little cringey to record it at first, but I found I really enjoyed watching everyone else’s, which you can find on this YouTube Channel, so it was worth getting over that self-conscious feeling.

They have started putting the videos they have together, but they haven’t received all 1000 yet. There are already musicians from around the world: Italy, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Monaco, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine, China, Malaysia, Japan, Brazil, Venezuela, Canada, and all over the USA including here in Silicon Valley. They still need string players, especially violin IIs. So there is still time to send in your video!

There is something amazing about all of these musicians, young and old, amateur and professional, coming together to play this masterwork of Mozart’s.

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.”
― Kahlil Gibran

We Are the World Blogfest,” posted around the last Friday of each month, seeks to promote positive news. There are many oases of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.

We are the World Logo

Co-hosts for this month’s #WATWB are: Sylvia McGrath, Susan Scott , Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, and Sylvia McGrath, Susan Scott , Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, and Belinda Witzenhausen. Please stop by their blogs and say hello!

Thursday doors: if it’s not a door, what is it?

I have to give this homeowner credit for a sense of humor.

Walking to my car from the CalTrain station in Mountain View I came upon this door. Or at least it looks like a door: it has a handle, steps leading up to it, and a small roof to keep you dry if 1. you were knocking at this non-door, and 2. it was actually raining here in droughty California.

A door this is not

Other people must have thought so too, or the owners wouldn’t have had to paint those words on it. I wonder what is behind the door to make them take it out of commission.

You can find the real door–same design, same color scheme–a bit to the right.

The real door

I don’t know these people–I was just walking home from my train–but I really like the color scheme they chose. The contrast between the door and the surrounding wall is satisfying. It blended in very nicely with the setting sun.

I’m also using the process of editing this simple post to learn how to use the WordPress block editor. I failed at this last week and went back to Classic, because I couldn’t find the menu that would let me add my featured image and tags. It’s surprisingly non-intuitive. The internet told me that if you just opened up and edited a post you would get that menu. But you actually have to click the settings icon to see it, or at least I did. And then you have to click the jetpack icon to see how to share the post on your social media accounts.

These aren’t that difficult of tasks in and of themselves, but every new step is a stumbling block at first. I hope that eventually getting familiar with the block editor will make blogging easier again!

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments at Norm’s blog

Thursday Doors: The Garage

I have to hand it to Norm 2.0. During my whole almost-year off blogging he kept the Thursday Doors challenge going every week, through a quarantine and a pandemic. As I watched the emails come and go, I wondered if Thursday Doors would go the way of some of the other blogging challenges I’ve participated in. But no, here it is, right on schedule, like a long-lost friend. Only I was the one who went away.

Like everyone else’s, my traveling has come to a screeching halt, but I still have many unused door photos. I have so many unused door photos in fact that I am not sure anymore which ones I have blogged about and which ones I haven’t. So rather than try to deal with that hot mess, I am going to celebrate something that has been an unexpected pleasure: my new garage doors.

BelmontGarageSnow
Our snowy garage in Belmont MA

Our old house in Boston had a little “one-car” garage that we used as a garden shed and a place to store bicycles and toys and hide the garbage cans from the yard critters. It was separate from the house, too, so there was no way to just come inside directly after your harrowing drive through the snowy wasteland. The garage door pictured here is “new” as well; the one that came with that house was painted black and made of particle board. By the time we replaced it it had rotted through in the bottom panels and probably was not even good for keeping the garbage cans safe from the raccoons. And even on the new metal door, there was no opener–there were no cars in there, so why would we need one?

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The original CA garage doors, from the Zillow listing for the house we bought

When we moved here to CA five years ago, not one but two garage doors with openers came with the house. After years of parking our cars behind each other in the driveway and arguing about whose turn it was to be first, having a 3-car garage was an almost embarrassing luxury. And then we promptly filled up even that garage with stuff. It turns out that California houses don’t have basements, so the stuff has got to go somewhere! However, when I got my electric car (not a Tesla, a VW Egolf), I needed to park it in the garage to charge it, and we found a way.

GarageJunk
Junque

Then one night I was coming home from a rehearsal while my husband was away on business. I pushed the button, as usual, and not as usual, nothing happened. I drove closer and pushed the button again. I saw that something was happening; the light was on, and there were some noises coming from the garage, but the door wasn’t rising.

I parked in the driveway and looked closer. The garage door was about halfway up, and it was stuck. I couldn’t really move it one way or the other. My teenage son who had been home at the time said that he had heard a noise coming from the garage while he was making his dinner. He had gone out into the garage at the time but not seen anything. Then he pointed out that the spring on one side looked different from the spring on the other side. It was broken.

Together, my son and I tried to close the garage door so as not to leave it open overnight. As we pushed something cracked. The door split where the opener was attached, but we finally got it down, and it looked normal from the outside.

BrokenDoor
The broken door. Crack . . . craaaaack

I checked google to see what my options were. My son had been doing this too while I was gone and we determined that it was a good thing we hadn’t been there when the spring failed. We didn’t think we wanted to touch it again. We wanted to call someone who knew what they were doing.

The next morning I did that. The business owner came quickly and analyzed it. He said even if it could be fixed, we should replace this door with something more current, and safer. The old door was one big piece, and as it opened it jutted out into the driveway. We had learned to park our cars a certain distance from the door. Because of this opening method, it could injure someone when it opens, even if it was in perfect working order. He hauled it away on the top of his truck.

HaulingDoorAway

And, in just one day, he installed the new ones. They are quiet, safer, and even have windows. They are sealed at the bottom so dirt and leaves aren’t always blowing in. We probably should have replaced the old doors when we moved in.

 

 

NewDoorsFeatured

Better late than never.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments at Norm’s blog.

My 4000th Find

I started this blog in Belmont MA more than 5 years ago, around the time of my 1000th geocache find. You can read more about that here.

Soon after, we moved to California  and I embarked on a geocaching streak at the end of 2015 that ended up lasting for 1111 consecutive days. Those days included my 2000th find (which I didn’t notice or remark upon) and my 3000th find (which I did).

I ended the streak at 1111 days because of my new full-time job as a middle school science teacher. One night a few hardy souls and I gathered at Donut Wheel in Cupertino to eat some donuts and talk about streaks and caches we had found. I brought Hallie, the doll I won for liking and following a geocaching “cozy mystery” author’s Facebook page.

EndOf StreakEvent

I was sad to see the streak end, but it was necessary. I reaped the first-year teacher whirlwind, and later that busy-ness was amplified by the COVID-19 quarantine and a full-scale shift to distance learning for me and 212 6th and 7th graders.

Last year was also almost the end of my blogging too, but I’m hoping to change that this summer. That is, if I can figure out the Gutenberg block editor on Word Press. So far my attempts at using it have not been promising. In fact, this afternoon for this post I gave up and am writing with the classic editor again. But, in the past 3 months I have of necessity learned how to use Zoom and Microsoft Teams. How bad can it be?

Okay, enough complaining about the block editor. What about my 4000th find?

By now I had had let my premium membership lapse, but my husband still had his. He was working on a series called the “100-mile hike” and he needed one that was accessible from a back entrance to the park it was in.

TheHills

It was a beautiful sunny day, not too hot, and you almost wanted to be singing that “the hills are alive with the sound of music.” We passed some cow gates and climbed a short distance. We mostly didn’t see other people and with those whom we did see it was easy to keep a safe social distance. I found 7 of the 8 I needed in this park and its immediate surroundings.

One of them, in the rocks at the base of a lonely tree, was hidden by my husband a few weeks ago, and I didn’t realize it until I had the cache in my hand.

LonelyTree

For the 4000th, we went back to an old cache I hadn’t found the first time. This was a cool cache because it asked you to triangulate with ropes in order the find the exact location of the container. This is kind of the way GPS technology works too, combining the signals from at least 2 satellites. The container was right there where the two ropes met, and and it was a quick find on a quiet suburban trail.

4000FindsCoin

I bought this coin for my husband quite a few years ago now, when we still lived in Massachusetts, and now it applies to me too.

Karenview