Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pomp and Circumstance

I am sitting down and tapping away on the keyboard and feeling amazed by how rapid the four years of Yam's college experience has passed by. I can hardly believe that she is now a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). It seems as if just the other day she was graduating from high school.

Yam graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Art (concentration in Graphic Design) and an Interdisciplinary Studies minor. The commencement ceremony was held on Saturday, May 4th at 2:00 PM.

The whole family (on The Colonel's side) attended the commencement ceremony. Spud had come home a couple of days earlier via a Greyhound bus from Jacksonville (he is attending summer school at the University of North Florida), Darling-Sister-In-Law had come into town the night before and My-Favorite-Father/Mother-In-Law had come from across town. We all piled in one vehicle and made the 45 minute trip south.

The ceremony was being held in the Alico Arena on FGCU's campus. Each graduate was allowed six tickets for family members to attend (thank God The Colonel has such a small family and Yam has only one sibling). We arrived early at the arena and stood near the locked doors to ensure a quick entry once the doors were opened at 1:00 PM. Darling-Sister-In-Law and I made quick work of finding good seats once the doors were flung open. We sat left of the stage and slightly elevated. We would be able to see Yam clearly as she walked across the stage.

The graduates began to fill the arena and we all kept our eyes peeled for a glimpse of Yam in her cap and gown.

We saw her and she eventually saw us. I was impressed with the brevity of all the speeches that were made and the timely fashion in which the nearly 700 graduates crossed the stage.

Darling-Sister-In-Law and I were snapping away with our cameras. Between the two of us it was difficult to get some really good pictures of the ceremony. The indoor lighting was not conducive to fantastic photos (thank God that there was a professional photographer there so that I could and did purchase a good photo of Yam as she crossed the stage and received her diploma).

 The happy and proud graduate!

The Colonel had a perfectly wonderful idea to take photos of Yam after we had dinner so that everyone would be gone from the area we wanted to use as a backdrop. One of Yam's best friends, Danielle, had dinner with us and later took the family photo for us.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Id i op a thy

Id i op a thy
A disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown.

Id i op a thy was the title of my daughter's college senior project. Her project, along with thirteen other senior projects, was exhibited in The Art Gallery at Florida Gulf Coast University and the opening reception was held on April 18th, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM.

The Colonel, his parents and I attended the reception and when we walked through the door the first exhibit our eyes (and everyone else's) fell upon was Yam's project. Seeing her artwork displayed in a professional manner was impressive. I felt so proud of her.

Yam was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) when she was younger and had to wear a brace at night for about two years, so she chose to create a crooked spine for the sculpture part of her project. The spine was made out of metal, wrapped in wire and painted.

For the other part of her project, Yam painted spines on the backs of three of her friends and then photographed them. She then had the photos enlarged, printed on canvas and then stretched the canvases.

All of the seniors were dressed up for the opening and answered questions anyone had about their projects.

I enjoyed looking at all of the other senior projects. I heard many positive comments from others concerning Yam's project and some of her professors were there and congratulated her on a job well done.

There was a nice crowd in attendance and yummy finger foods and drinks were available.

The senior projects were all so different and interesting.

Everyone went into another room where all of the artists had to stand up and talk about their projects for about two minutes. It was good to hear directly from the artist what their projects were about and what was the idea/force behind its creation. Yam said her "autobiographical" project explored her hidden quirk (scoliosis) and she hoped the project would draw attention and encourage viewers to think about their own quirks.

It was a very nice evening. We all were and are very proud of Yam and she was very happy to see her dad, mom and grandparents there.

The following week Yam was going to have a review of her senior project with three professors. The review would last a couple of hours. Yam said she was a little nervous about it but I told her she knew her project intimately and would have no problem talking about it (Yam did say two of the professors liked to talk and she would let them burn up some of her review time doing just that). The review went very well.

Note: Yam and her senior project were featured in May's Gulf Coast Times, a 32-page magazine-style publication.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Meeting Up With Mozart

Those of us who watched the movie Amadeus 29 years ago (yes, it has been 29 years) cannot forget the beauty of it. The sets, costumes and of course the music of Mozart featured throughout.

Amadeus was awarded eight Oscars: Best Picture, Actor (Abraham), Director, Costume Design, Adapted Screen Play, Art Direction, Makeup and Sound. The American Film Institute has ranked Amadeus 53rd in its 100 Years...100 Movies list.

The Colonel and I like classical music and Mozart has always been our favorite classical composer.

The Colonel was poking around on-line and saw that the Florida Orchestra was performing Mozart's Requiem & Ave verum corpus. The orchestra was accompanied by The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay. The concert was going to be held within the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. We couldn't pass up this wonderful opportunity to listen to Mozart's music live.

I did some poking on-line and found a hotel within walking distance of the Mahaffey Theater. It was the Ponce de Leon Boutique Hotel.

The hotel was built in 1922 and was the first major hotel to be built along St. Petersburg's waterfront. It was constructed during Florida's land boom and when St. Petersburg was becoming a much visited resort city.

We thought staying at the historic hotel could add nothing but charm to our little musical getaway and it did.

We opened our room's door and entered the room through a long hallway and at the end of that hall was our very yellow bathroom (The Colonel and I thought it reminded us of a few of the bathrooms we had in some of the base houses we lived in).

A turn left at the end of the hallway brought us into our little room.

We found the room cozy and charming. We had a few hours to fill before the Mozart concert that evening so we checked out the surrounding area.

There were many little shops, restaurants and bars within the blocks surrounding the hotel. Our hotel was just a block from the waterfront so we took a stroll there too.

We decided to have our dinner at the restaurant called Cerviche. It was a tapas restaurant and it was next door to our hotel. The food was delicious.

After dinner we went back to our room to get dressed for the concert (we had looked on line to see if there was a dress code for the concert, but could not find any. The Colonel dressed in black pants with a shirt and tie and I dressed in black slacks, a pretty top and my pearls. When we got to the concert we saw some people dressed in ball gowns and others in blue jeans).

The Mahaffey Theater was a short walk along the waterfront from our hotel and one hour before the concert was to begin there was a Pre-Concert Conversation scheduled.

Two gentlemen, one being the music and artistic director, were on stage and gave a history of Mozart, his Requiem and Ave verum corpus. They pointed out that the Lacrymosa of the Requiem was the last piece of music Mozart wrote before he died on the morning of December 5, 1791. Franz Xaver Sussmayr finished the remainder of the Requiem using instructions left by Mozart. During the concert, the change in composers was evident, as the music following the Lacrymosa did not have that decidedly "Mozart-ish-ness" about it and sounded different, heavier and darker.

We could sit where we wanted during the pre-concert conversation, so The Colonel and I sat on the side of the stage. Our seats during the concert would be in the dress box area, that is to say, middle level, left of center. Below is a view of the stage from our seats just after intermission.

Listening to Mozart's music played live is a memorable, pleasant experience. Watching the conductor wave the baton, the musicians draw their bows and the singers form the words adds another layer of appreciation to the experience. Seeing these actions and hearing the beautiful music simultaneously is magically entertaining. The energy used to create the music is palatable.

The Colonel and I had an excellent mini vacation. It reminded us of our college days when we would listen to the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra (free because we were students) and the concert featuring the Royal Canadians conducted by Guy Lombardo Jr. (not free but affordable to students).