Sunday, July 29, 2012

The blog is moving!

The new website is up! In order to make it easier for you to see everything I do, I'm moving the blog over to there. If you have a blog reader, be sure to change the address for my blog to The RSS address is

I'll leave this blog site up, because it holds the archives of the last eight years, but all new blog posts will be over on my real site. If I do it right, traffic will be redirected automatically.

Catch you on the flipside!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Buenos Aires knockers and doors

I'll get back to storytelling soon, really, but I have a few more posts of Buenos Aires to put up.

I don't know why I'm so fascinated with doors and door knockers. Is it being the granddaughter of an architect that focuses my attention on architectural details? Whatever it is, here are a few of the pictures I took of knockers and doors.

Noble beast, complete with scrollwork.

Somewhat more restrained.

This is the door knocker I bought at San Telmo market. I propped them on the chair in the apartment, just to take the picture. I'd drooled over one of these in Lima, but didn't buy one until Buenos Aires. Soon I'll have it put on my front door in Kansas City.

A modern door, still with that European look.

Side by side in San Telmo.

They may be old, but they're sturdy.

The grafitti doesn't touch the doors.

I love the letter flaps in these doors.

Nice and neat, across the street from my modern apartment building.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Crooked fingers in Argentina

Yes, I have crooked fingers. I've written about them before. 

I tried a new tactic in Argentina, after my experiences in Peru, where the kids noticed my crooked little fingers in about 95% of the performances. Here's the most common scenario: one kid would see that there was something different about my fingers. He or she would nudge the kids on either side to point out this oddity. They would look at their own fingers, then at mine, then whisper about it. They might start to show off their "double jointedness" as we called any kind of strange bending in our fingers when I was a kid. In the process, they were so engrossed in the idea of something different that they didn't listen to the story.

Partway through the Argentina tour, I decided to be proactive. In each performance after I showed the US map and talked a little about my family, I said "I want to tell you something else about my family. We happen to have crooked fingers." Gasp! The audience was fascinated, I think in part because I gave them permission to look at something strange about my body. Afterwards, I let them touch my fingers if they want to. It's just a finger, a bit more bony than most, and crooked, but still, just a finger.

In Argentina, five times, I had a treat--four kids and one teacher, at different schools, showed me their own crooked fingers. I've never seen so many outside my family. Occasionally I'll see crooked fingers at a school in the US, but not often. I only got a picture of one set, on the last day at St. Luke's School. There was another set at this school, but the two kids weren't related.

Not as crooked as mine, but it's still noticeable. In my family, there is a range of crookedness. Mine are the second-most.
It's genetic. My father and grandmother had this trait, as do two of my sisters and all three of my brothers. The medical term, I believe, is clinodactyly. I found a blog post other than mine about crooked little fingers and wasted quite a bit of time reading all the "me, too!" comments before I came to my senses. I guess that's my version of nudging the person next to me and whispering.
My nursery school art project, plaster painted with gold paint. Crooked as can be.

Another post on schools in Argentina

Students at St. Gregory School in BA. This was a school where I was in a music room, not a cavernous hall. It's so nice to have that intimate feel and not to need a microphone.
I had good intentions to blog regularly during the tour in Buenos Aires. However, with 63 performances in four weeks and a cursed headcold for half the time, I didn't have the energy. I'll try to catch up now.

There really was no such thing as a typical day. I might perform only in the morning or only in the afternoon. I might have three shows at one school and nothing more for the day. I might do one show at a school far to the south and then travel for an hour to another school for three performances. Some days I didn't have to meet the taxi until late, say 8 a.m. or even noon, though usually it was 7 a.m.

The schools were different one from another. The level of English varied from almost native to very poor. Some schools had auditoriums, some used echoey common areas, some put me in classrooms or music rooms. If it was normally the time when they were studying in Spanish, the teachers might not understand English.
These children had a good level of English. Even at schools where the level was lower, the kids understood this stretch.
The students wear their uniforms, sometimes with their warm school jackets.
I'm wearing my fleece vest and scarf in this school, as I did quite often. Schools in many countries are not kept as warm as in the US. It was winter in Argentina.
This high school boy really was paying attention. He turned so that Yoli could take a picture that included the girls in the row ahead of him listening while leaning on each other's shoulders.

I performed at private schools, not at state schools. Most were wonderful. I only had one school where the teachers were talking among themselves, and fortunately, the children ignored them. I only had one school where the kids were poorly behaved and I had no help from the teachers. That may have been partly because of the low level of English, partly because it was a difficult space, partly because I was feeling bad because of my cold.

Generally, the students in Argentina were well behaved and we all had fun. I left a few minutes for questions at the end of the show usually and the students were brave about asking. Some of them have since become my Facebook friends or have liked Trixie's Facebook page or have sent me e-mails. Some have subscribed to my Youtube channel.

On my last day, I was at St. Luke's. It was a fabulous end to the tour. Everybody at the school was welcoming. I was in the brand-new library, a pleasant intimate space. The librarian, Sol, reads to the students every week. They were anticipating my visit. The level of English was excellent, even among the youngest listeners.

This was the day DreamOn was filming the performance. We had only one problem: between the first and second of three sets, the power went out on the whole block. Fortunately, the kids were such good listeners I didn't need the microphone and the videographer was able to reposition me to take advantage of the natural light from the windows.

I left that school feeling good about the performances there and about the whole tour. Whew!