Friday, May 23, 2008

Where There's Smoke . . .

We woke up this morning to hazy skies and a pronounced smoky smell. The wildfires in the Santa Cruz Mountains that have already consumed 3000 acres are still burning. Only 15% of the fire was contained as of this morning. Nature in Northern California truly is a force to be reckoned with.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Good Brain Mojo

I'm not quite sure what happened in my house this afternoon but I'd like to welcome it again and again. My son read a stack of books from school, showing good comprehension and fluency. My daughter kept asking for words to spell; she'd doing simple three letter consonant-vowel-consonant words but she's getting it right. Both kids enjoyed their Brain Quest cards that I picked up on a Costco run (for $6.79, who could resist?).

With all these brainwaves bouncing around, I'm motivated to pick up a more challenging book or do a crossword puzzle.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Just Ask

I am on a business trip to Chicago and, by chance, ended up in the front seat of the taxi returning from dinner. The taxi driver was listening to the radio as we drove, visibly moved by a contralto's aria pouring from his speakers. We began to discuss how strong and beautiful the music was and what a rich, majestic voice the soloist had.

His English was heavily accented and I asked where he was from. He hesitantly answered "Iran" and I offered that his understanding of music, especially Western music, seemed extensive. "I am a musician," he responded simply. That lead us to a discussion of his instrument of choice, the Persian setar. He explained a bit about Persian stringed instruments, the origins of the words to describe these strings, and urged me to visit YouTube to explore the sounds of the Persian oud, setar, and tar. I emerged from the taxi both far richer and more curious for the experience.

My lesson learned today is that engaging in conversation and truly listening can open the door to new and different worlds. My regret is that I did not note this patient musician's name. He deserves my thanks for sharing his passion for music and his culture.