Tag Archives: Music

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

This week, the theme from Sheetalbravon is ‘A Glimpse into your world’She invited us to show the things we love that make our world spin or things about our world that make us delirious with joy.

The immediate world that fills me with inspiration and amazement is my garden. My morning routine, especially in the summer, is to visit the garden while I drink my coffee. After coffee, with the gardening tools in hand, I check the flower bushes, trim the dead branches, or dig up weeds.

I started feeding birds from 2014 and the regular visitors are Ruby Throat Hummingbirds, mourning doves, American Finch, American God Finch, Scrub Jay, Song Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, and a few I couldn’t quite identify. Over the years, there were baby Mourning Dove, baby House Finches, and One baby Hummingbird born in my garden.

There are other animals such as squirrels, stray cats, and lizards roaming during the day or at night.

I have many hobbies, more than I have time to fully enjoy each of them. Not included in the images here is photography, which I started as a teenager when the photos were black and white. Another hobby is ceramic. I did the whale free hand with clay. I made it into a nightlight for my baby daughter. When my daughter was nine years old, we took a ceramic painting class together in the summer. It’s something we continue doing separately until these days.

I learned to draw and watercolor painting as a young adult. After retirement, I took classes on both and used some watercolor painting to illustrate the poems in my book.

My immediate community of 35 years is a church fellowship and the group of ladies. They are a part of my world for fun, for friendship and support. Some of these friends’ kids and my daughter grew up together. The ladies gave a bridal shower to Mercy for her wedding. Some friends still send gifts to my granddaughters as their own.

Music has been my world since I was a kid. I didn’t have a family background to nurture my love of classical music. It seems to be a natural favorite. The first time I performed Handel’s Messiah was when I was still in Hong Kong.

Most of my family except for one sister are in Hong Kong. Lynton’s family is my extended family, and we see each other regularly.

The biggest world to me is my daughter’s family. My granddaughters lighten my heart and give joy every day. My daughter has a TinyBeans.com account where she posts multiple photos and videos daily to chronicle the kids’ growth and family activities. There was not one day I go without checking on what they do. Nora’s birthday on March 22, and I wish to visit them.  

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Thank you for reading. I hope to hear what the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

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My Favorite Christmas Music/Dance/Movies – White Christmas

This week I present another of my favorite Christmas music/dance/movie

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, October 1954

White Christmas

Plot

Having left the Army following W.W.II, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, as the lodge owner, who, they learn, is having financial difficulties; his quaint country inn is failing. So, what’s the foursome to do but plan a yuletide miracle: a fun-filled musical extravaganza that’s sure to put Waverly and his business in the black!

The Story Behind “White Christmas”

The White Christmas first aired during the Kraft Music Hall radio show December 25, 1941. Then-host, Bing Crosby, crooned the carol which is special at the time. Pearl Harbor had been attacked just a few weeks before.

It turns out, the song has a sad back story too. It was written by Irving Berlin, a Russian-born immigrant who did not celebrate Christmas, as he was Jewish.

Berlin’s three-week-old son had died on Christmas day in 1928, so every year on December 25, he and his wife visited their baby’s grave.

He wrote “White Christmas” for a musical that eventually morphed into the movie Holiday Inn and ended up winning an Academy Award for the song. In 1954, it became the title track of another Bing Crosby Christmas musical, White Christmas.

Crosby’s rendition quickly became an American favorite. It was constantly requested by troops during Bing’s USO appearances overseas, which gave the singer some mixed feelings. He didn’t want to come that far to make them sad. For this reason, several times he tried to cut it out of the show, but these guys just hollered for it. Clearly, they identified with the wistful lyrics about holidays at home. Since then, “White Christmas” has been an all-time favorite.

Bing Crosby sings “White Christmas” in Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn, 1942

Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye sing “White Christmas” in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, 1954

The King’s Academy, WPB, FL performed “White Christmas” in February 2018

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My Favorite Christmas Music/Dance/Movies

When I was teaching, my Christmas field trip was taking the students to watch the stage performance of The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. After I left the classroom, instead of driving to see the performance, I kept the tradition by watching The Nutcracker movie at home.

All the ballet pieces in The Nutcracker are beautiful. I chose two versions of the following dance.

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker (The Royal Ballet 2017) 2:39 minutes

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker (Bolshoi Ballet 2010) 3:31 minutes, the dance finished at 2:47 minutes

Do you like it? Which version do you prefer?

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Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway

Ann-Christine invited us to explore the theme of Hideaway and would like to see our interpretation.


There is no time like this when we all need a hideaway. A place in which we could find safety, calmness, beauty, feel the contentment of being, and sustain the patience of riding out the storms.

My garden is my hideaway. Nature and the little creatures speak to me and I find comfort in their messages. The branches bend when the wind blow. The roots reach deep to draw water and nutrients. The flowers dance in the breeze. Some plants go dormant in the winter. Some creatures migrate south in the cold season. They don’t fight against nature but make the best of what nature offers and maintain their balance at their present state.

Music is my great hideout.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway

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Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Xenia at Tranature is the guest host for Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge this week. She invited us to look at the theme of Sanctuary.

We have been in lock down because of Covid-19 since March 11. The initial projection was to close schools and stores for several weeks. Five months have gone by, we see new surge of cases in many countries. This is an unsettling time of the history.

Xenia’s theme is timely for us to think about and find sanctuary among the chaos.

 

Sanctuary is the tranquility where the mind and soul find serenity and peace. It could be in the ocean, a park, or your garden.

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It seems to be miles away but Laguna Lake is in the midst of the residential homes.

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My garden

Sanctuary is the harmony where the chaos, strife, and discords dissipate. It could be somewhere in the forest or the perception through our filtered lenses.

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Trees find their way toward the sun at Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is the quietness where the demands, interruption, and disturbance fade away. It could be a bench under a tree or in the depth of your heart.

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Benches like this one are facing the water around Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is a resting place where the struggles, conflicts, and confusion subside. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.

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Tucking the head under the wings is a perfect way of napping for the ducks.

Sanctuary is a hobby you emerge yourself in for leisure and pleasure. You may find it in reading, hiking, or fishing. I find mine in singing and painting.

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This family enjoyed fishing at Laguna Lake

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My watercolor painting

Sanctuary is a haven where one finds security, love, and care for the young.

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A content mama duck with eight fuzzy ducklings

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

 

I love to hear where you find your sanctuary. Please share with us in the comment. Thank you!

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107, Ann-Christine invited us to look at the difference in the winter when we compare the Northern Hemisphere with the Southern Hemisphere. 

The first time I saw snow was my first year in Portland, Oregon. It was in November. I walked along the hallway from one classroom to the next. My eyes glanced through the floor to ceiling window. A thin layer of white stuff drifting down in the air. I stopped and observed. Each layer above seemed to get thicker and whiter. I realized what happened and called out while jumping up and down, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing!” Some male students walked by and looked at me. Probably the last time they saw and heard of it was from their little kids.

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When I finished school in Portland, I went on to Seattle Pacific University for my second graduate study. The city welcomed me with seven inches of snow. When the snow came to a pause, I put on my knee high, custom made leather boots and my leather gloves to make the first snowman. The leather gloves got hard and stiff after they were dry. My boots were fine, probably they were made differently.

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Is winter warm or cold? I think winter is warm because it’s the time for events such as Christmas concert, Christmas light cruise, Christmas parties with family and friends, and my daughter’s birthday the day after Christmas.

One New Year, we visited my sister’s family in Vancouver B.C. We couldn’t go skiing in Whistler B.C. because the heavy fog came in. We managed going to a nearby mountain for my husband, niece, and nephew to do snowboarding.

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Back home in southern California, our chorale started rehearsing for the Messiah concert first week of November, leading to the two performances before Christmas. This is the highlight of the year for me.

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The adult fellowship group at church has many Christmas parties. One year we had a catering dinner at a deluxe retirement home. The chef built a gingerbread village every year. He made one gingerbread house at a time throughout the year and froze them. By early December, he assembled the village with a train track and an electrical train going around it.

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The last two years, we went on the Christmas Light Cruise and watched the Christmas Boat Parade.

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Two years ago was the first-time snow and Christmas met. My husband and I went to Portland, Oregon to spend the holiday with my daughter’s family. I saw snow before the plane landed and was so excited to have a white Christmas.

Most exciting of all during Christmas time is my daughter’s birthday on the day after Christmas. Here, Mercy opened the birthday card from her daughter Autumn.

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Is winter warm or cold in your part of the world? I would like to hear from you.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

 

 

SoCS 2020.07.18: You Raise Me Up

Linda G. Hill’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS for July 18, 2020 is “link.” I love to play this week. 

I’ve heard the song You Raise Me Up and loved it, but it brought more attention to me when my sister sent me a YouTube link with Chinese subtitle. I felt in love with song all over again and looked into the background of the song as well as the performer who sang this in the center of Maastricht, Netherlands. Here are the info and the links.

You Raise Me Up

You Raise Me Up” was originally composed by Rolf Undsæt Løvland as an instrumental piece and titled “Silent Story” in 2001.  Løvland is a Norwegian composer, lyricist, arranger, and pianist. Together with Fionnuala Sherry, he formed the Celtic-Nordic group Secret Garden. Løvland later approached Irish novelist and songwriter Brendan Graham to write the lyrics to his melody. The song was made by and for Løvland himself and performed for the very first time at the funeral of Løvland’s mother

The song was performed early in 2002 by the Secret Garden and became a minor UK hit. By 2005, the song reached a massive world-wide success.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Raise_Me_Up

Martin Hurkens

In his biography, the unemployed baker Martin Hurkens credited her youngest daughter for signing him up for the RTL program “Holland Got Talent” behind his back. He hesitated a little, then decided to participate in this great program. To his surprise, he reached the finale. Singing was always his hobby and he turned his hobby into a profession.  He “seized the opportunity with both hands.”

After winning the finale, he received more and more requests for performances. In addition to these performances he also recorded a video clip in the center of Maastricht of the song: “You Raise Me Up.” This video became popular on YouTube and Social Media and has been watched all over the world. He received many requests for performances in China, Taiwan, and Japan.

http://www.martinhurkens.nl/biografie

I chose the YouTube link with English subtitle.

 

Lyrics

When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up to more than I can be

 

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Brendan Graham / Rolf Løvland

You Raise Me Up lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

 

 

SoCS 2020.07.18: You Raise Me Up

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #87 – Reflections

Welcome to my blog! I’m honored to be the guest host for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #87 – Reflections.

“Reflection photography, also referred to as mirror photography, is when you use reflective surfaces to create an artistic echo of a scene. This type of photography can add an interesting spin to locations that are hot spots for photographers such as oceans, lakes, puddles, and even rain drops.” – befunky

I am fascinated by the reflection photographs in the lakes, the rivers, the building windows, the sunglasses, the mirrors, and the puddles. This week, you may find the photographs from your archives or take new photographs using reflective surfaces to create mirror images. Here are my examples:

 

“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” – Henry David Thoreau

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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles, CA

We live about twenty-five miles from The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in Los Angeles, California. This is our favorite spot for a day trip. The Chinese Garden was recently reconstructed and new features were added to the beauty.

 

“Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.” Indra Devi

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The Tagus River in Toledo, Spain

We went to Spain in the summer during a local holiday. It was hot but tourists had the roads by themselves because the local people headed to the beaches. While in Toledo, I caught this scene in the calm river.

 

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience which is bitterest.” – Confucius

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Whale Watching Cruise, Newport Landing, California

Our family was on a whale watching cruise from Newport Beach, California. We didn’t catch any sight of the whales but we saw some dolphins. The above shot was not really planned. I did it just for fun.

 

“Self-reflection entail asking yourself questions about your value, assessing your strength and failures, thinking about your perceptions and interactions with others, and imagining where you want to take your life in the future.” Robert L. Rosen

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Gym at La Habra, California

After the Yoga class several Saturdays ago, I stayed behind to take photos of the mirrors. This is the aerobic room with mirrors on four walls. The mirrors created infinite reflections. There was only one other member in the room, yet the mirrors reflected endless images of this person.

 

“Anybody who has gone through a life-changing experience will tell you there is a different understanding of what is real and what is important, and when you are going through different moments, you can reflect and go, ‘I have been through worse.’” – Delta Goodrem

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Kyoto, Japan

On this sunny day in Kyoto, Japan, our family took a train to Nara Park to see the deer. This photo was taken before we went down to the subway station.

 

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

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Fullerton, California

In southern California, we learned to appreciate rainstorms. The winter of 2018-2019, there was two and a half months of on and off rainstorms, in fact, it was on more often than off. It brought us a good amount of rain to lift the drought. So far, we only had 5 days of rain in the winter of 2019-2020. The cities may reinforce the water rationing this year.

 

 “A day is not always bright, and nights are not always dark. All that matters is what’s inside, because day and night are a reflection of you.” – Avantika

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Guilin, China

Seven people in our family took a trip to China. This photo was at a light show at Guilin, China.

 

For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #86 this week, we invite you to be creative to find any reflective surfaces to show us your reflection photographs.

 

We appreciated Patti’s challenge last week to invite us looking at the subjects from different perspectives.

Have You Seen These Great Posts from Last Week?

John at John’s Space gave us different perspectives of white Aspen trees from the distance and closeup.

Ana atAnvica’s Gallery showed the interesting perspectives of Eiffel Tower both in the day and at night

Sue at The Nature of Things took us on a tour of the orchids from different perspectives at the Chicago Botanic Garden Annual Orchid Show.

If you’re new to the challenges, click here to learn how to join us.  Remember to link your post to the comment below and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find your post in the WP Reader.

 

For the rest of March, please follow the usual weekly schedule:

I look forward to seeing your creative and artistic reflection photography. Thank you for your participation and support. Please have an enjoyable week ahead of you!

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #81: Find Something Red

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Patti invited us to a photo scavenger hunt to find things that are red.

This scavenger hunt was harder than I thought. I found out that most of my photos don’t have too many red things. I’m glad to find some to share with you.

In early 2019 we went to my nephew’s wedding in Hong Kong. This is my granddaughter at the wedding cake cutting area outside of the banquet room.

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I captured this photo with the Royal Guard standing at the Tower of London.

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Mozarts Geburtshaus was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg, Austria. Mozart was born here on 27 January 1756. The Mozart family resided on the third floor from 1747 to 1773.

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This is the art exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, a science and technology museum in Portland, Oregon. The artist collected insects and small birds around the world and used them to create amazing art displays.

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This piece of artwork is by the same artist. Every tiny dot in this artwork is a real insect.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #81: Find Something Red

 

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #79: A Window With A View

This week, Amy invites us to explore “A Window With A View” and asks us to share some photos we’ve captured through windows.

“Throw open your window and let the scenery of clouds and sky enter your room!” – Yosa Buson

Summer Palace, Beijing

Summer Palace, Beijing, China

Several years ago, nine people from our extended family traveled to China and Hong Kong. While in China, we visited Beijing, Xi’an and Guilin. This photo was the view from looking out the window of the Summer Palace.

 

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Great Wall, China

The tour guide took us to one entrance where some of us went to a steep side of the Great Wall and some went on the other side for a leisure walk. The Wall seems to go on forever from the view of the Wall window. As of Jul 31, 2019, the length of the Great Wall is 13,170 miles (21,196 kilometers).

 

“I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.” – Bill Withers

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I saw this beautiful design of a mirror at Laguna Beach, California where we visit often. After positioning myself several times, I found an angle to take this photo without seeing my reflection in the mirror.

 

“The window of opportunity opens and closes as fast as a camera’s shutter.” – Warren Criswell

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Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Hubby and I went to Spain three years ago for our anniversary. We visited Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona in that order of our itinerary. I love the architecture in Spain.

Alhambra is the palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada. The name Alhambra, signifying in Arabic “the red,” is probably derived from the reddish color of the tapia (rammed earth) of which the outer walls were built.

 

“My favorite journey is looking out the window.” – Edward Gorey

Innsbruck, Austria

Our hotel room in Innsbruck, Austria

Hubby enjoyed the view from our hotel room in Innsbruck, Austria.

When we travel, hubby likes to have a hotel room with a nice view. I argue that we don’t stay in the room long enough to enjoy the view. Eventually, I understand that we are not “on the go” all the time during the trip. A window with a nice view makes our stay pleasant.

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #79: A Window With A View

 

 

 

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