Our Day Trip to Tangier Island

Thanks to Groupon, several weeks ago I bought a couple of tickets for a day cruise at Tangier Rappahannock Cruises. With the end of summer approaching, Juan and I found the perfect day to take advantage of the acquisition!  The temperature was a perfect 74H/71L. The clouds gave us a breathtaking display of beauty, without shedding a single drop upon us, and the Chesapeake Bay was bigger and lovelier than I had anticipated.

Tangier Island is tiny: 5 miles long and 1 mile wide, and only 3 feet above sea level. Its population is less than 500 people, but it’s rich in American history. Back in 1608, it was visited by Captain John Smith, who named it. On July 9th, 1645, the Virginia Council took all the male American Indians in the area, ages 11 and up, prisoners, and transported them to this isolated spot, in order to prevent further organized attacks against the English colonists. Governor William Berkeley’s own ship transported and abandoned them there.

More than a century later, during the War of 1812, thousands of enslaved African Americans gained freedom by fighting for the British against the American coastal communities around the Bay. The Virginia militia deflected a British attempt to take Norfolk in 1813, and engaged British forces throughout the war. More than 2,000 African Americans gained their freedom aboard British ships.

Today, fishing is the largest industry of the island, and most especially crabbing, mainly the soft-shelled blue crab (which is de.li.cious.)

The second largest industry of the island is tourism. There are daily cruises, mostly seasonal, and they pride themselves with having a handful (I counted 3) of restaurants serving succulent seafood. We had lunch at Lorraine’s and I must say that their crabby fries were so finger-licking good!

Back to history, in 1686, a man by the name of John Crocket  settled in the island, and his sons’ families did the same in 1814. As we rode through the island, we saw more gravestones than I’ve ever seen in one place, and so many of them had a Crocket name inscribed. Graveyards are found at the church, in backyards, in fields…

We rented a golf cart, which is the choice mode of transportation, even for the natives. We saw a church, a library, a tiny post office, a medical building, a school, and a few inns. We also visited a tiny, yet interesting museum which holds pictures and artefacts of the history and the present culture of this place.

Interesting fact: The Rev. Joshua Thomas (1776-1853) was a waterman so he moved from the mainland to the island, converted to Methodism, became a licensed preacher, and was ordained an elder. He served the Chesapeake region for more than four decades. He traveled in a canoe called “The Methodist” and conducted services for the British forces during the War of 1812. He advised the British troops not to attack Fort McHenry near Baltimore. In a prayer, he predicted they would fail. The expedition was not cancelled, and the British fleet was defeated.

Our Chesapeake Bay experience was unique and relaxing. Being in the island for just a few hours felt as if we were trapped in time. We often wondered how these people stand to live in such an isolated and tiny place! And then we were happy to return, bellies full, minds opened, hearts rested. God gave us a little reprieve from reality, surrounded us with beauty, provided us with more memories and marital friendship, and recharged our batteries to get us back to work tomorrow, first thing in the morning!

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In Need of Input

I am considering applying to volunteer with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children). I would love to know if there are people out there who could give me insight into this matter. Has anyone worked with CASA or knows someone who has? I have never been involved in this kind of work, and even though I feel compelled to pursue it, I am well aware that I am entering into completely unfamiliar territory. So please comment!

Ten New Books About Musical Theatre Singing and Performance to Add to Your Library

Thank you, Musical Theatre Resources, for this list of resources. As a voice teacher and MT music director, I need to read these! While I know some of the books on this list, some others are new to me, so thanks again!

Musical Theatre Resources

The holiday season is officially upon us, and you may be wondering what gift to get that special musical theatre performer, teacher, music director, scholar, etc. in your life.  Well, look no further!  Below, I have compiled a list of ten great modern books about musical theatre singing, acting, teaching, coaching, music directing, and more.  All of these books have different focus points, but they’re all fantastic reads.  Give the gift of knowledge this holiday season!

P.S. If you’re not sure which of these books to buy right now, I’m happy to provide recommendations based on your individual interests and goals.  Just shoot me a message.

1. The Vocal Athlete (2014)
by Wendy D. Leborgne & Marci Rosenberg

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The Vocal Athlete is the first book of its kind to address the unique vocal and physiologic demands of commercial singing from a sound scientific and pedagogical standpoint. Historical review of classical vocal…

View original post 1,905 more words

10,000 Hits

Today my stats show my blog has been viewed 10,000 times in the span of about a year. I usually do not notice that number in the middle of my admin page, but that number just jumped out at me! While I know that there are blogs out there that are viewed a thousand times a day or more, I do feel honored that my writing, though often times uninteresting or irrelevant, has been followed and read so many times.

Thank you, readers, for all your “likes”, “comments”, and words of encouragement. Writing is a form of therapy for me. This blog is the place where I express my thoughts and emotions, and I am grateful there are people out there who sometimes feel encouraged and entertained by it.

Tributes

A friend on Facebook shared how she is going to pay tribute to meaningful people in her life, not after they die, but while they are still alive. I deeply appreciate this reminder to give words of gratitude and encouragement to those who have blessed me throughout my life. Therefore, I am purposing to write a tribute a week. If I keep up with this goal, I will have expressed my appreciation to 52 of the amazing people in my life, by this time next year. At that pace, it will take me a few years to honor those whom I love. I look forward to pouring out my feelings for them on this blog.

To view all my tributes, click here.

Random Reflections in the Month of May

  1. I like sun. I like sun more than I have ever liked it before. Perhaps because winter felt long this year. I’m so grateful for beautiful Spring days, amazing temperature, green leaves, and flowers. Despite allergies, I still love this time of year. Hooray for short sleeves, skirts, and flip flops 🙂
  2. It feels good being 47. I feel experienced enough to handle things I couldn’t have handled in my 20’s, yet strong and young enough to keep up with my kids. Heck, I might be stronger than some of them ::cough:: Elise ::cough::
  3. I am still learning how to be a teacher. Just when I think I am really good, I realize there is so much I’m still learning!! Maybe by the time I’m in my 60’s and ready to retire, I will be one amazing educator!
  4. I’m thinking more in English than I ever have. I need to do more interpreting at church so I keep up with my native language. I still do math in Spanish. But other than that, I’m actually forgetting words here and there. Not good!! Gotta keep up. Gotta keep up. Gotta keep up.
  5. I’m tired of having back pain. In fact, more than tired, I’m scared. If I’m hurting this bad now, what will I feel like in 10 or 20 years?
  6. It has never been harder to parent my son, Gabriel. The difficulty does not come from the level of care he needs. In fact, the energy it takes to care for him now pales in comparison to his younger years. However, it is very hard to see him feeling so bad. He is still closing his eyes. He is still not communicating much. He has better days than others, but most days are hard. I wish so badly that he would express what he feels. If I could change anything in this world, it would be this. I have enough faith to stand it, one day at a time. But sometimes I fear I won’t make it to the next day.
  7. Starting tomorrow, I wrap up my CWorks classes with 4 great showcases (at least I hope they’re great), and in 2 weeks, my private students are having a recital. I genuinely like my job. I feel very grateful for that. I love and appreciate my students and I just have tons of fun with them. How many people can say they love their job this much? I consider myself very blessed 🙂
  8. I am memorizing Colossians 3. You should try it. It’s simply an amazing chapter.
  9. I went to the doctor last week, and he said my iron is high, reserves full, and my red blood cells healthy. Yay!
  10. My life is happy. My life is hard. My like is difficult. My life is good.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,600 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Gluten-Free Discoveries

A little over 4 weeks ago I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet. I armed myself with information and recipes and set off to discover if some of the health issues I’ve been feeling have anything to do with gluten intolerance.

Here is what I experienced: My digestion did not improve. In fact, it worsened. My heartburn did not improve either. My blood sugar may have improved, but honestly, I wasn’t measuring it. None of the other minor issues took a turn for the better either.

Yesterday I decided to eat gluten and see if I would react to it in any way. I had heard that experiencing an averse reaction would be something to be expected. But I braved it anyway. I took a couple of bites of a delicious pizza slice Juan was eating (I ate the edge only). I waited. Nothing; I did not feel bad. Needless to say, I felt relief. This morning I ate a flour tortilla. A whole flour tortilla! And nothing bad happened. I have concluded I do not have a gluten intolerance (yay!)

Freeing myself of gluten did give me one advantage: It helped me realize my intolerance to dairy. So here I go, adjusting my diet all over again, eliminating milk in all forms. I just purchased my first container of almond milk. Not sure I like the idea, but I’ll do anything to improve my digestion.

I will add gluten back to my diet, but I will continue to be careful with carbs in general, reducing them enough to lose weight and lower my blood sugar levels. Also, I bought the book recommended by several friends, Trim Healthy Mama. I will review it once I read it and give it a fair try.

Maybe I Can Be Pain Free…

I’m in pain. I’m always in pain. I have been in pain since I was a little girl. I don’t complain about it, unless I’m in severe crisis, in which case it’s hard to hide it. My last crisis happened back in the summer, the week before Tom Sawyer began (when I spent endless hours playing piano). I had so much back pain that I was hardly able to move. I ended up in the ER just to get some strong enough pain medication that would allow me to function.

I’ve always assumed that the curvature in my spine has been the cause of this pain. In fact, I’ve had several doctors and chiropractors tell me that throughout my childhood and adult life. Therefore, other than seeking chiropractic help once in a while, I have not thought that I could ever be pain free.

But yesterday I went to a sports medicine doctor (something I should have done a while ago), and for the first time he gave me hope of getting rid of the pain. Among other things going on with my back, my main problem is something called Impingement Syndrome with chronically inflamed tendons. So he prescribed a series of exercises and stretches that I need to do daily. He told me that if I’m faithful and consistent, I will find relief!!

 

Now, that is cause for celebration!!

I have begun these exercises and they are very painful. I feel I have to endure through the initial suffering, focusing on their future benefits. I don’t care how much I’m hurting now, because the thought of possible relief makes me want to jump for joy!