Monthly Archives: June 2014

Do you still have a best friend?

I feel a shift in the world. I’m sure that it’s not just under my feet. I think others are feeling it too. Do you feel a shift? I would say that it’s my age but my daughter feels it too, although I think she is an old soul. I have reached an age where female relationships have become even more important to me. I think I’m stepping into a new phase but I don’t think I’m stepping alone, there are many women stepping with me. I keep thinking that it’s possibly the beginning or continuation of the women’s movement, phase 3. It is time to come together as women and make some changes. Let’s nurture one another, stop competing for men, and stop judging each other for our life choices and how dirty our house is. Too many times women seem to be the first to condemn another woman’s choices. This needs to stop. If we can end this unnecessary condemnation and senseless competition we would be a force to be reckoned with.

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I received the most wonderful gift a couple of weeks ago. I was invited by a facebook friend to come and visit. We met at a felting class and have continued to get to know each other over facebook. Something I posted one day prompted her to send me this message, “Good luck with all of the changes in your life, my friend! Also, keep in mind that I am only a (long) car ride away. If you would like to spend a few days playing with felt, we can certainly sort out some dates.”I accepted immediately. The funny thing was I thought she lived about 5 hours closer than she did, but I was not deterred.

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On my way to Heather's.

Some people were amazed that I would go and she said some of her friends were amazed that she would ask me to visit. My response to all their questions was, “She’s a felter.” I was right. Heather said she, had “a spidy sense,” that I needed some nurturing and nurturing is what I got.

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One of the many wonderful meals.


Once I got to her house she fed me a wonderful meal and we began our non-stop conversation. This stream of consciousness conversation didn’t stop until I drove out of her driveway and headed home. For two whole days and three nights she took care of me. We felted, ate and talked non-stop. She has a wonderful home filled with things that she has created and I had to look at everything.

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I met one of her four daughters and enjoyed listening to her enthusiastic conversation. By 9:00pm I was exhausted and would take a shower and hit the bed. She made me want to reach out to other friends of mine and make sure they get some nurturing too.

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Me and my sista from another mista.

So I challenge us all to reach out to a friend and give her some love, whether it’s just making time to visit, having dinner together or just meeting for coffee. Make some time to have some face time.

Heather gave me a wonderful gift of being nurtured. It came at a much-needed time. Now I need to pass that on.

It all begins with the preparation; get dressed, this is the most important. I’m not worried about being beautiful but about being comfortable and the right shoes for getting wet and working right in the water is why I still have these shoes that are starting to show their many trips.


They need to be replaced but hey they still work and I’m not in any hurry. We need to load the kayaks. For this trip we don’t need two cars because we will be putting in and taking out at the same place. We have a system that works well after multiple years. We need the both of us for lifting the kayaks onto the roof of the car. I stand on the opposite side of the car and throw the straps over to John who then tightens them down.


Yup this is my car. My drumming stickers are on the other side.  lol

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John and I in many ways are total opposites. I’m the crazy side and he is the calm side but we have made it work and I wouldn't trade him for anything….well at least not today. Love you honey. Yes, we drive each other crazy. Good marriages are messy.

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We are finally on the river and ready to paddle. I’m a happy girl today even though I don’t like that extra chin showing in this picture omg.

Once on the river the city disappears and we are surrounded by wildlife. The water bugs dance around on the surface of the water racing each other here and there. The dragonflies are zipping around chasing each other and landing on my kayak for a quick rest. The birds sing us down the river as they fly back and forth.

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I’m familiar with most of the birds in Michigan but I still like watching them as they fly around on bird business. I love dragonflies. There were many of these little black winged ones dancing with each other and resting on branches and log islands in the water and along the river.

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My pictures never capture the true feeling of the trip, the coolness of the shade and the magical quality of the river itself. It’s probably the fact that I have a coolpix camera instead of something fancy. It’s a good thing we are going up river so that I can be distracted by the life around me. This Red-winged black bird was hopping along in the tree fussing at me as I floated along past him. This is the best I could do on a picture.


On this trip I saw a Baltimore Oriole and it’s nest hanging over the water. This is the first time I've seen one of their nests. This was also the first time I saw a Blue Heron nesting site. They nest together and their nests are really a platform more than a nest shape. It looks like their eggs would fall right out.

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You can’t see it in the picture but we counted at least 5 nests from where we were. We also saw a flicker and her nest in a tree, literally in a hole that they excavate out for their nest but strangely not one turtle. Usually we see tons of turtles lined up on the downed trees in the river. At the end of the trip I thought I saw one sliding into the water from the bank.

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These are Yellow Flag Iris. They aren't native but were escapees from European settlers who used the iris roots in a variety of herbal preparations. The seeds were used as a coffee substitute and flowers and roots to make dyes. Hmm, I might have to make another trip back..

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The trip back was much quicker since we were going with the current and I had to pay attention to what I was doing since we were moving a little quicker. Maneuvering all the logs and downed trees means you need to be paying attention.

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When all was done and we were out of the water we realized we had been of the river for about 5 hours. Once the kayaks were loaded the first order of business was food because I was starving!

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Until next time from this happy girl, get outside and enjoy our Mother. Love and peace.


drum heads

About 9 years ago I started something that would lead me to African drumming. The short version is that while looking for a 3D art project I met a guy whose house I ended up camping at while he taught me and about ten other people how to make a djembe. The djembe is a hand drum found in Africa. It is the primary drum used in West Africa. This one weekend introduced me to a new love, the love of West African music and more precisely hand drumming. There is something magical about drumming with others. You develop a friendship without ever speaking and feel connected to these strangers and comfortable around them. The feeling was so strong that I decided that I needed to find a way to take this into the school where I taught.

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From this one weekend would spring an African Drum group that would last for eight years moving from extra-curricular to a full time class. With the help of Ryan Edwards the first two summers after receiving a grant for the project students involved in the group made 28 djembes that would become the group’s instruments. With one year’s drumming experience I would launch myself and my students into an amazing journey of drumming. This is a passion like art that I will pursue for the rest of my life. It may be one of the most joyful things that I do.

Mpatapo last year

I haven’t been drumming for a couple of months due to circumstances of health. Drumming, however, can’t stay out of my life and reaffirmed its place twice this month. I’m helping a church group in establishing a drumming program in Columbia.

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The people involved in this are just like I was when I started; a little knowledge, great passion and just the feeling in your soul that this needs to happen. The next event happened last night.

drumming little birds 014 I went to a drum class held by my original teacher who was home from Boston; coming with new knowledge but the same passionate teaching. I was in heaven! He recorded our final exercise combining a traditional Malinke rhythm with two other techniques, which he is emailing to us. drumming little birds 013At one point I even got goose bumps up my arms. I don’t think I stopped smiling for the two hours of the class. One of my favorite quotes is from Babatude Olatunji, “The Creator wants us to drum. He wants us to corrupt the world with drum, dance and chants. After all, we have already corrupted the world with power and greed….which hasn’t gotten us anywhere – now’s the time to corrupt the world with drum dance and chants.”

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I think God loves drumming, she put it in every action of this world. Life is a rhythm. We just need to wake up and feel it.

Peace and Drum