The Boys in the Boat – Book Review 2/2/15

The story of ordinary men doing extraordinary deeds is always enjoyable, but this one is exceptional. From the inclusion of historic events and social values of the times to the details of rowing, the story is so well written you are there with them for every beat of the oars.Boys in the Boat Cover

What spoke to me most was the “swing”. If you’ve ever had the opportunity/priviledge to be involved with a group and have a “swing” moment, it gives you a senes of belonging like none other. In High School, our award winning marching band competed for awards and placement in the Annual Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Hours of marching, learning music, polishing shoes, and instruments – no detail was too small.

The drum major practiced throwing his mace by the hour. Rain or shine, we marched; we played; we cleaned; we marched some more. Perfect diagonals – perfect rows – perfect music – perfect uniforms; and the ultimate challenge was 125 students stepping off the competition line as one. All in step, same length, same style, same beat, as one – it was our “swing” and we did it. – Jjst like the boys of the boat.

What a wonderful opportunity to share in their triumph and remember our own after almost 50 years. Great job Daniel James!!!

New Moon and Walking Stars

Most of my energy and creativity has been focused on our store this past month.  After I got done moving my studio into a more creative space we decided to move the rest of the store around as well.  Now all that’s left is to put out the new merchandise we purchased on our trip the first of January and pickup and install a new sales counter.  It’s a fresh start for us after 8 years of looking at it the same old way.  We hope the customers will enjoy it as well.

For us, that new start begins with today’s new moon.  It brings new energy after the dark of the winter.  With fresh perspectives and new ideas we need to give ourselves permission to see our own starlight.  And we’ve physically done that, now for the spirits to go with.  For me there is nothing to replace the beauty of a star.

Jana Hassett's Intricate Beadwork

Beaded Walking Star

And walking stars help us stay grounded while enjoying their sparkle.  In Escalante you’ll see many walking stars on the side of houses.  They started out in Penn. as barn stars.  Placed on the ends of the barns once the builders got finished, they designated who built them by the style and color of the star.  They developed into a meaning of good fortune for the owner with the hope you’d like the barn and hire them to build one for you.  The beginnings of a trademark/logo.

Metal Walking Stars

I use walking stars in the store to decorate.  They remind me that anything’s possible if you put your mind to it.  When I was much younger I loved Perry Como’s song “Catch a falling star”. Written by Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance, it goes like this –

“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket,  never let it fade away.
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day.”

Maybe I should bead a walking star for my pocket.  May your days be full of joy and watch for that falling star – it will fill your pocket with light.

Kenichi Wins AGT 2013

Another season of Americas Got Talent (#AGT) ends and the “The Voice” steps up to take its place next week.  The winner?  Kenichi Ebina, a talented visionary whose skills appealed to the young adults who vote.  Kenichi earned the votes of those that vote in today’s technical world.  Via online, phone and twitter, they chose a dynamic family man to award $1,000,000 to and have his own show in Las Vegas in October.

If you visit his Face book page you can feel the energy from this deserving individual, who we happened to vote for.  But we didn’t expect today’s voters to do the same.  Tracy and I talk about how our opinion is no longer the majority.  As older, conservative, and personally responsible seniors watch from our small mom and pop retail store and marvel at the choices today’s shoppers make.  We have to stay current in order to sell jewelry, photography and giftware in this resort community of 700 people who depend on tourists for their sales.  We continually adapt to the every-changing market and tastes of the current generation.  As we get closer to retiring from full-time retail, we appreciate the internet and what it provides.  But we cringe at the impersonalization of the world because of it.  It breeds a lack a respect for other people and their property (which we see here more and more).

That’s one of the nice things about the judges on AGT, their respect for each other and the contestants.  Occasionally they make some pretty harsh judgments, but for the most part act with dignity and understand that “kindness matters”.  They do have a playful side that is fun to see, but they are very thoughtful in their comments, and sometimes that wouldn’t be easy.

So if Kenichi was the best, what was wrong with the other five finalists?

In my opinion, for Cami, Forte, and Jimmie Rose it was the choice of music.  Their music in their final performances didn’t give me goose bumps.  They were nicely done and had lots of emotion, but they didn’t speak to me or to the audiences.  Forte was the biggest surprise, I thought they would be second because of their commanding voices and wonderful harmony.  But they chose another opera when it should have been “Over the Rainbow” or something like that.  And Jimmie Rose should have capitalized on his Country Western voice and style by singing a classic, but he didn’t.  No goose bumps there either.

Collins Key is a one trick pony, albeit a nice one.  Young and capable, if he stays with it he might get a gig here and there because it is a wonderful trick he pulls off every time.

And then there’s the comedian Taylor Williamson.  A very funny guy, with a cute face, quirky personality and pretty good lines, but they weren’t great.  And as Howard Sterns always says, “at this point in the competition they need to be great”.  It’s all like writing a story – you have to wow them at the beginning to get their attention, play your story along and then wow them at the end.

Kenichi Ebina did just that.  With the dropped head routine as his starting act, he slowly worked his way to the finale with a show of 8+ actors – all him.  He wove a wonderful story, gave us bits and pieces about his life, and kept us coming back for more.  Nicely written, Kenichi.


Friday the 13th

For those of us born on Friday the 13th, its a day of magic.

friday the 13th

We start out in fear of terrible consequences and then something magical happens.  We tend to chase rainbows and try to tame birds by putting salt on their tails.  And the whole world is full of magic.  We get nicknames like “flubadub” and “birdbrain”, but we enjoy the sprits of 13 and all it brings.

So for all my Friday the 13th friends, have a remarkable day and use your magic wisely.