Minotaurs, Ukuleles, and New Year Ponderings

The Chinese refer to 2013 as the “Year of the Snake,” but for me it will forever be my Year of the Minotaur.

It seems that whenever something finally blips its way onto my personal radar screen of awareness, it then reappears so frequently that I start to wonder just how stunted my powers of observation actually might be. I remember learning the word “segue” as a teen and then being amazed that I subsequently seemed to hear or read it everywhere.

Such was the case in 2013 with the Minotaur. Of course I knew of him before then, but only in that sort of peripheral way in which things unimportant to me tend to reside. And suddenly he was, well, everywhere I turned.

My first encounter with the bull-headed old boy came via a wonderful novel, “The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break.” It seems the Minotaur has taken a job working in the kitchen of a North Carolina diner and lives in a trailer park. How can you resist a premise like that? I certainly couldn’t.

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Surely I was more highly attuned to the Minotaur than the average bear while reading the book, I’ll admit, but spying this print in a dusty box of vintage items seemed too good to be true. I had to have it.

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Theseus doing the dirty deed. Poor Minotaur.

 

And there were other minotaur-ish encounters culminating in this sighting on a Richmond street:

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We do love our street art in Richmond, VA

 

Which brings me to 2014 and the supposed “Year of the Horse.”

Prior to hearing a radio interview with ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro, my impressions of the instrument didn’t extend beyond Don Ho and “Tiny Bubbles.”  I almost…..almost….changed the station that day, but it quickly turned into one of those engrossing interviews which require me to sit in the driveway for several minutes after reaching home in order not to miss a single word (or musical note.)

Only days later, my lovely Australian blogging friend, Master of Something Yet, posted her own musical composition accompanied by her skillful ukulele playing. Hmmm, I thought, how coincidental. The radar blipped.

THEN my beautiful sister-in-law, Christine (if I may toot her horn, she is also a Commander in the United States Air Force and a lawyer and an amazing mother to four good kids) came for a visit and announced that not only has she joined an ice hockey team, but she has taken up…..you guessed it….the ukulele. Blip, blip, BLIP.

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Is this not the most gorgeous Air Force Commander in existence? YES!

 

A few days later, I turned the page in the Richmond Times-Dispatch only to read a feature story announcing an adult music class being offered for those interested in ukulele.

All these blips should have prepared me for the inevitable.

Yes, Virginia, there is a UKEFEST.

uke

I give up. Year of the Ukulele, it is!

Here’s Jake playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”:

And I’m dying to know what 2015 will bring me! Year of the Sheep? I doubt it….

Happy New Year!

Barbara

 

 

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About Silver in the Barn

Life in a 1915 farmhouse in Central Virginia. Blogging about whatever happens to catch my fancy - sometimes nonsense, occasionally not.
This entry was posted in Art, Humor, Music, Random Ruminations and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

93 Responses to Minotaurs, Ukuleles, and New Year Ponderings

  1. Pat S. says:

    Loved this, Barb! Serendipity at its best.

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  2. Year of the sheep, must mean I’ll be doing a lot of knitting. Funny how things cross our radar screen, and stay there, isn’t it.

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  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Great post, Barbara. I love the way things weave their way into our consciousness. And yes, your sister-in-law is beautiful AND amazing – how does she get it all done? Thanks of the link on Jake, virtuoso! Looking forward to see what 2015 has in store for us!

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    • I love the way you so beautifully capture what I’m fumbling about trying to express….”weave their way into our consciousness.” Exactly. As to my sister-in-law, I can pretty safely say that she is not sitting around in her jammies at 9:42 a.m. writing on a blog!! COL!!! Happy New Year, Eliza!

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      • Eliza Waters says:

        Ha, beat you at 10:34 a.m. (True confessions!) I’d like to think that we earned the right to leisure at this point in our lives. 🙂

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      • We certainly have! Besides, somebody has to watch for the cedar waxwings and ponder the meaning of the universe which is best done in pajamas, I’ve found.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Outlier Babe says:

        I cannot believe how perfect it is that you said “cedar waxwings” and I am reading this today.

        Sunday conversation (monologue) with (to) my friend A. (no, not that friend A.–the other one), standing before a glass display case:

        “D’you know how many hundreds of times I took my boys to nature centers and miseums with displays of birds just like this? And do you think they ever learned a thing? Do you think I did? I STILL call those birds ‘brown cardinals’, even though I see they’re ‘Cedar Waxwings’–and I’ve even always wondered what a Cedar Waxwing was!”

        Had to laugh when I hit your words, because it finally stuck. Give me enough decades, and I can learn anything.

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      • What a great story, O. Babe. There are so many odd coincidences layering over our little WordPress universe. Maybe 2015 will be the year of the Cedar Waxwing? You never know….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you Barbara. I suggest it is time for the year of the JRT. Or if not that one perhaps terriers in general. Great Air Force Commander too. In fact a great post, weaving around and over and under all sorts of subjects. Greetings from Milo too.

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  5. Jodi says:

    Looking forward to seeing what 2015 holds. Always an adventure and always interesting new things to learn if only we look!

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  6. markbialczak says:

    I thought you were going to tell us that YOU were going to learn to play the uke, too, Barbara.

    In 2015, you will be see wherever you look, the TERRAPIN. Ha! My U of Maryland alumnusness coming out, I must admit.

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  7. Minotaur is also the name of the best shop for all things geeky in Melbourne. 🙂
    Funny how that works. The minute you pick up on something, it seems to be everywhere.
    Thank you for the very kind link to my little song. Your sister-in-law is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful, Heather, that anybody would name their shop “Minotaur!” How they arrived at that name is anybody’s guess but I like it. Now guess what has been blipping onto my radar just lately? Melbourne! Just read this article a few days ago…
      http://www.wsj.com/articles/insiders-guide-to-melbourne-australia-1419622774
      And now I see there is a connection there between Minotaurs and ukuleles? Hmmmm……
      Yes, my sister-in-law is a wonder and so are you. Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

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      • Ukuleles are huge in Melbourne. (Well, no, they’re the same size as your average ukulele but they’re very popular.) There’s a festival next March. Think I might have to make time for that.
        By the way, have you heard of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain? Just brilliant. This is one of my favourites. 🙂

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      • First of all, LOL at your “huge” comment. And to hear some Eagles in this mix – another of my favorite bands from my youth – well, how could this be better? Thank you for sending andI cannot wait to hear your review of the Melbourne UkeFest!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. jakesprinter says:

    Great year review my friend
    ..jake

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  9. ritaroberts says:

    Great post Barbara !. Of course we have a Minotaur in Crete as you must know. Also a huge park where a labyrinth has been built housing an enormous statue of the Minotaur. The kids love it.

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  10. KerryCan says:

    So, tell us–will you be taking the ukulele course? It seems almost foreordained that you do! I first heard Shimabukuro on the Jimmy Buffet station on XM radio a few years ago and then, like minotaurs, he seemed to turn up everywhere!

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    • No, Kerry, I don’t want to steal my sister-in-law’s thunder!!I . Were I to take up an instrument,which is not particularly likely right now, it would be the piano, I think. Happy New Year to you and yours.

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  11. I love your powers of observation and how you turn them into words and pictures, Barbara. Can’t wait to see where 2015 takes you. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. And of course, Paul McCartney likes his ukulele too. See, there’s another.

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  13. Barbara, love reading your words! Yes, your Sis-in-law is gorgeous and awesome and can’t thank her enough for serving our country to help protect the life we enjoy here! I have a new interest in the ukulele (typing it is interesting) and Jake’s video was wonderful to listen to as I typed this comment. I hope you have a most wonderful 2015! I will be here reading your words… 🙂

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    • Thank you, Pix! I also learned while writing this post that I’ve been spelling “ukulele” wrong my entire life! Thought it was “ukelele”. So happy to know you’ll be with me when we find out what 2015 turns out to be. Happy New Year!

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  14. joannesisco says:

    I think Alison said it for me. You are obviously atuned to the little radar blips the universe is sending you 🙂
    I hope the blips you are sent in 2015 are full of fun, joy, and laughter 🙂

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  15. Round here it’s always Year of the Sheep! But I beg to be spared a year of the ukelele….there are limits…

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  16. menomama3 says:

    I was hoping you were going to tell us you were taking up the Uke in 2015. My husband decided about 4 years ago he was going to master this tiny instrument and I confess I laughed. Then he showed me the Jake S. youtube videos and and I was floored. Two ukies later he has become competent and, for the first time in his life, on-trend. Have you heard this band? Have a listen. The uke has a role. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHvl6z56zGc

    Happy new year to you, Barbara. Looking forward to more of your posts.

    Susanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, Susanne! Your comment is exactly why I love blogging so much. I just never know what little treasures will be waiting for me in comments. What a great little band and they even reference my favorite rock band of all time, CSN& (sometimes)Y!!! I will be investigating more of this group’s music, so thank you for the pointer.

      Oh yes, Jake definitely upped the cool factor on the ukulele, and I am completely impressed that your husband has become competent and, more importantly, is now on-trend!!! Happy New Year!!

      Like

    • Outlier Babe says:

      Susanne, thank you for that link–great song! Not only did I enjoy it for itself, but as a greedy blogger: I have a train post in the works, and that will be a good one for inclusion. –O. Babe

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sandra says:

    I loved your post, and the way you worked your way through from Minotaur to Ukelele. Of course, as an Englishwoman, I couldn’t let the occasion pass without reference to an old music hall star from the north of England, the right honourable George Formby. Hope this link works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZYFXUg4aLc And I stand in awe of your sister in law, as I do of you and your wonderfully informative posts.

    Like

    • Now this is exactly what I’m talking about when I reference finding treasures in my comments. I’d never heard of George Formby before, Sandra, and what a story. I’ve only just skimmed the on-line biography and am completely fascinated. His story has it all! His WWII service to the troops captures my imagination (a British version of our own Bob Hope in his dedication to the armed forces), but there was so much more to him. Wow, wow, wow! Why hasn’t the BBC done a television series on him?

      My heartfelt thanks for such a wonderful last line of your comment. I think so highly of your writing and am rather aglow at the moment.

      Like

  18. nrhatch says:

    Maybe 2015 will be the year of the MOOSE! :mrgreen:

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  19. Dear Barbara, 2014 brought me to your blog and for that I am so very thankful! Yor insight, humor, intelligence, a little COL and the occassional bwaa-ha-ha! have given a smile to the start of many of my days. I’m looking forward to reading about whatever 2015 brings your way!

    Happy New Year!
    Linda

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    • And, Linda, 2014 brought me to YOU for which I am so grateful! You pull off the near-impossible which is to make me laugh out loud while reading about the Pantone Color of the Year, no mean feat! I’m a huge fan of you and your Design Snack blog and wish you and yours a very Happy New Year too.

      Like

  20. Sue Mayo says:

    If the Ukulele is good enough for Warren Buffett it should be good enough for all of us.
    Happy 2015.

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  21. suzicate says:

    The ukulele is what I hope to learn to play some day…however, I don’t have a musical bone in my body!

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  22. Terrific post! But is it the power of suggestion that I am now noticing sheep everywhere?

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  23. Sheep are probably quietly grazing their way into 2015 while minding their own business. We should probably look for them.
    And yes, I think a JRT year would be good. Charlie certainly agrees, and is ready and willing.

    A fun post.

    Like

  24. la_lasciata says:

    H, far from being a jack of all trades & master of none, is in actuality a master of many – regardless of claims to the contrary, eh, Barbara ? 🙂
    I love this post; it’s like listening to someone telling me these delightful things. Re the minotaur: have you read Mary Renault’s “The King must Die” ? – I think you might love it.
    So are you going to take ukelele lessons ? – it would be such fun !!!

    Like

    • You are the second person to recommend Mary Renault to me. And I believe it was the same book, now that I think about it. Will investigate, thanks. No ukulele lessons for moi….I will leave it to H. and Warren Buffett. The extent of my laziness cannot be underestimated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • la_lasciata says:

        Have I said this before ? … TELL ME ABOUT IT.
        [grin]

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      • No, it was other my brilliant friend, Carol, who recommended Renault’s books. If you remember easily, M-R, who was the author you feel I should read as representing a really good Australian writer? I can go back into my comments and unearth your recommendation, but as we’ve already established about my laziness……

        Liked by 1 person

      • la_lasciata says:

        You have limited the number of responses to posts, so I shall enter here the name of the WONDERFUL Peter Temple. I believe I would’ve suggested you start with the first Jack Irish book, “Bad Debts” … Try not to buy the “tie-in” copy: you need to develop your own image of Jack Irish in your head and not be influenced by the actor’s photo.

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  25. I would love to see an exploration of the archetypal meanings of the minotaur, this hyper-macho combo of man and bull. And Theseus who went into the minotaur’s maze to face off with him (maybe his own over-sized masculine ego?). He only came back out with the ingenious help of his lover Ariadne (the feminine comes to his rescue). Maybe I’m reading to much into this? regardless – Happy New Year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you might enjoy the novel, Annette, with questions like those rolling around in your head. And I do think the idea of a mythological theme park would be a great way to introduce the classics to our unwitting children. Happy New Year to you too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A mythological theme park – love that idea and you could surreptitiously teach kids (big and little) about those ancient characters 🙂 They could sell sphinx blankets instead of mickey mouse ears…

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  26. I feel like I’m reading “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” here.

    And I’ve just been educated on the identity of a Minotaur.

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  27. Outlier Babe says:

    Great post (again). Revolting sister-in-law. A super-attractive super-woman like that? Why would you want to share her with any of us, sitting at our keyboards on our derrieres in our bathrobes? ; ) (She’s beautiful and amazing, and kudos to her on all her hard work and success.)

    Regarding the post’s content: When I taught East L.A., “fifth’-graders who were vocabulary-poor in two languages–e.g. they did not know the words for “socks”, “paintbrush”, or “frisbee ” in English or Spanish (they called socks “ropa” (clothes), and the othersi and many other objects, a “thing”: “Pass me the thing next to the thing–no, not THAT thing–the red thing, next to that other thing.”)

    I knew vocabulary-building was key to my and their happiness and success during the year, and later. I prominently placed giant ten-word vocabulary lists around the room: Reading, History, Science, Math. FORTY words a week. Seems like a lot, yes? We read All. Day. Long. We group-read some Reading passages. We group-read some Science and History passages. I read out from our Math text. We always paused to explain. And: The children whose “color-day” it was got handbells, and if they heard a vocabulary word, while we were reading, or discussing ANYthing during the day, they were to ring their bell. The bells had colors, and their group was considered the winner of a virtual point. I didn’t need to keep score–it was just the thought of winning that got the kids excited.

    It’s amazing how often those big words the children had never heard before came up in casual conversation. Even when I hadn’t “casually” snuck them in. The bells rang so often, I sometimes had to collect them and switch to clapping or snapped fingers to give me a rest from the noise.

    Now to my most important point: Darn you for that book I must read now, when I’m surrounded by piles of paper and urgent tasks. Grrrr! And for forcing me to Follow you. Double Grrr!!

    Like

    • Oh, O. Babe, I can tell you are going to liven things up around the old Barn and for that I say “Thank You!” Your story about the word-deprived children strikes such a chord with me. How fortunate they were to have a teacher such as you to broaden their horizons and enrich their lives. Thank you for that, too. I think the Minotaur novel might be just your cup of literary tea. I can’t wait to hear your take on it. And my sister-in-law could be immensely irritating if she weren’t also kind and intelligent. The beauty part is just icing on an already fabulous cake.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Outlier Babe says:

        Thanks so much–and…Hah! Understand a “Follow” may not mean “Follow Through”–I have missed more posts of those I follow than I would prefer to admit. But at least this way, they yours will show up in my Reader, until WP randomly drops you, as we all know it does from time to time (drat that “feature”).

        Our city’s only library just closed for a year (because I live here, and use the library constantly–it’s all about me, me, me–what an ego.) It may be a while before I get hold of the book.

        Kind, intelligent, attractive, accomplished: Are you certain you aren’t describing yourself, Barbara?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Quite certain, but I am enormously flattered. Follow Through when you are able, dear O. Babe. I totally understand.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. THAT is hilarious, Barbara! I think with segues, Minotaurs and ukuleles on the cusp, 2015 will have to be something far more exciting that just sheep. I can’t wait to hear what it is! 😀 Have a Happy New Year! ❤

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  29. reocochran says:

    I am chuckling and speechless, will wonders never cease! Will be back tomorrow to make appropriate bumblebee comments. Smiles, Robin

    Liked by 1 person

  30. All the best for 2015, Barbara.

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    • And to you, Philip. It has been a genuine pleasure to see your glorious photographs of Cambodia and India throughout this year and to learn a bit about Cambodia, in particular, in the process. I look forward to more in 2015.

      Like

  31. Behind the Story says:

    I’d pictured Jake Shimabukuro as being older. What a surprise to see how young his is! Thank you, Barbara, for sharing the video.
    All those coincidences are probably just a case of noticing, but sometimes they’re so striking I’m tempted to think that God or the Universe is trying to tell me something. I wonder, will ukeleles turn out to have some special meaning for you in 2015?

    Like

  32. kristieinbc says:

    As a knitter (sheep = wool = yarn), you can probably guess what I’m predicting will come your way in 2015…Happy New Year! 🙂

    Like

  33. Oh, Barbara, have you found the new this season TV show called, “The Librarians”? We were watching old episodes earlier this week, and you won’t believe- one was set in a modern day labyrinth, and the main characters were pursued by…. the Minotaur! And, you must see this, Barbara… he was able to transform into a very large, angry, red-neck looking man. Reminds me of the wall art you spotted in Richmond, actually. A fun show to watch- very wacky with lots of interesting trivia thrown in to keep you listening 😉 I’m sure BH is thrilled that you have decided to forgo learning the Uke 😉 and possibly the Westies, as well? Happy New Years! Cheers! WG

    Like

  34. cat9984 says:

    I’m voting for year of the sloth

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Pingback: The Year of the Sloth | Adventures in Cheeseland

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