Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lucky Larry

On Monday Larry the turtle nearly drowned. Since turtles don’t have gills, they will drown if they can’t get to the surface to breathe. Larry got himself stuck on the poles underneath his sunning dock and if we hadn’t intervened, he would have been one dead turtle.

As you can see from this photo of the ZooMed Floating Turtle Dock, plastic poles pass through holes in the dock and attach to the sides of the tank with suction cups. This design allows the dock to adjust to the changing water level as evaporation occurs. The designers evidently didn’t anticipate that those poles could pose a hazard for an inquisitive and stubborn turtle.

Larry must have been trying to move one of the vertical poles just like he occasionally moves the weighted log which decorates the floor of his tank. That’s the only way I can explain how he managed to get the nubs at the front of his plastron (bottom shell) firmly clipped onto one of the poles underneath the dock. If you look carefully at this picture I found on Randy’s Turtles, you can see the little nubs that stick out from the plastron on either side of the turtle’s head. The shell between the nubs recedes a little to allow more room for the turtle to extend his neck.

I wish now I had taken a quick picture of Larry -- his body at a 90 degree angle as compared to the turtle pictured above, forming a T with the dock. His face was pushed against the glass, his head and neck sunk nearly all the way into his shell. His front legs were folded back against his shell and his motionless back legs extended straight out. His eyes were closed. It was about the strangest pose I'd ever seen.

Since turtles do sleep in odd positions, I chuckled and called this sight to my husband’s attention. He was skeptical, so we tapped on the side of the tank and tried to wake Larry up. He opened his eyes only slightly but otherwise remained motionless. We were immediately alarmed because red-eared sliders are very skittish, and our tapping should have induced frantic swimming and thrashing about. Suddenly we both realized Larry couldn’t move -- and might be dead! We ripped the suction cups off the glass, and my husband forced Larry’s shell off the pole. After a minute or so, Larry opened his mouth and it seemed there was hope. We checked his shell and thankfully it was not cracked. I held poor Larry in my hand as he caught his breath. When his breathing slowed down I put him back in the water. He swam normally, a good sign. Several times he opened his mouth very wide and finally burped up some water and particles. After that he resumed totally normal behavior and has seemed fine ever since.

So far Larry’s been lucky three times. (1) He ended up with me, bypassing the fate of most red-eared slider hatchlings. Check out this article if you want to see just how lucky! (2) His mild shell rot seems to be completely cured - a condition which, unattended, would have slowly killed him. (3) He’s been saved from drowning. If things come in three's, maybe his life will be less dangerous in the future. But if turtles have nine lives like cats are said to have, I hope his luck holds out, and my nerves as well!

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

Monday, June 18, 2007

Just a product of my times

I just hate it when I think I'm being original and then I read in The New York Times that there are lots of other "original" people my age doing precisely the same thing.

As you know from reading this blog, I'm enjoying being part of a celtic band. I love playing, singing, performing. Truth be told, I even love rehearsing. Except for two of the guys in our band (see pictures from my June 8 post), all the other people I know in bands are much younger than I am. Therefore I thought I was doing something rather unusual for my age and was taking a bit of pride in breaking out of the mold.

Well, tonight I read an article from last Sunday's Times (6/17/07) -- in the Fashion and Style section, of all places -- about the phenomenon of older folks forming rock bands. The Boys in the Band are in AARP. "The classic American midlife crisis has found a new outlet: garage-band rock ’n’ roll." Apparently lots of middle-aged men work out their midlife crises by forming bands and playing the rock songs of their youth. From Massachusetts to California these bands are springing up. So much for originality. Who knew!

Actually, that's not exactly what I'm doing. First of all, I'm a woman. Most of the people the article described were men. Secondly, traditional Celtic music is something new for me; it's not the music of my youth. Thirdly, I don't think I'm in a midlife crisis -- even though when I'm on stage I do all I can to downplay my age.

It's just that this happens to me all the time. I get involved in something -- and I don't know of anyone else doing anything quite like it -- and then I read in the paper that people my age all over the country are doing the very same thing! It's rather humbling to realize how much, albeit unwittingly, I am nonetheless a product of my own times.

Oh well, enough of that. So I'm not unique. Big deal. Back to practicing. The band is rehearsing later this week and I want to have my part down pat.

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Alternate Fingering for C#

As you can see from my profile picture, I play Irish music on a silver concert flute. One of the difficulties of this instrument is managing the keys so that the ornamentation flows in the same way that it does with the simple fingering system used by the whistle and the wooden flute. Tonight I discovered an alternate fingering for C# which enables me to make the ornaments around B more graceful.

On the silver flute C# is played with all the keys open, all fingers up except the right-hand pinkie. Well, I discovered that you can get a C# even while your left thumb is depressing the B key. It's a slightly flatter C# -- but that note tends to be sharp anyway. You can do a really fast half-roll or cut on B if you only have to move one finger.

None of my very fine classical teachers recommended this as an alternate fingering to be used in fast passages, nor have I ever seen it published in fingering charts. Therefore, I was pretty excited to have stumbled upon this fingering for C#. This type of hunt-and-peck experimentation is how Joanie Madden made the silver flute sound Irish. Yes! I can do this too!!!

For all of you who aren't flute players, I'm sorry if this post doesn't make much sense. Just share with me the excitement of a new discovery.

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

Friday, June 08, 2007

Sorcha Dorcha, the band

These pictures were taken by my friend Harry Peronius at Sorcha Dorcha's Lower East Side Festival performance.

Linda Hood (flute), Bob Godfried (guitar), Lorcan Otway (uillean pipes) and Tyler Lienhardt (fiddle).

Linda Hood (vocals), Bob Godfried (button accordion), Lorcan Otway (vocals & guitar) Tyler Lienhardt (bodhran)

and this little one which will become my profile picture.
Thanks, Harry!

Photos by Harry Peronius, used with permission.

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

Sunday, June 03, 2007


My friend Sydney ( tagged me last week. I got a kick out of her 7 random facts and looking at the blogs of people she tagged. I even discovered we have a mutual friend whose blog I was not aware of. As I was surfing around looking for others to tag, I realized this tag thing is something of an epidemic! I guess you could say I’ve contracted the disease, so here goes…

First, the rules: Each blogger tagged must write on his/her own blog 7 random facts about himself/herself. Additionally, the tagged blogger must list the rules of the game along with the names and blogsites of 7 people being tagged. Finally, the tagged person must leave a note in the Comments section of those he/she is tagging to notify them that they’ve been tagged and to invite them to read your blog.

First, my 7 random facts:

1. As a piccolo player in the Ben Davis High School Marching Band, I marched in John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade in Washington DC as well as the Orange Bowl Parade in Miami FL and the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA. I see from the link above that Mighty Marching Giants continue to be an outstanding band - certainly more widely recognized than any group I've performed with since! Who would've thunk it?

2. Growing up in Indianapolis, whose only claim to fame back then was the annual 500-mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I was about 15 years old before I realized that Race Day wasn’t the real name of the holiday on the last Monday in May. Living near the track, I heard the roar of the engines during the whole month of May when time trials were taking place. I knew the names of all the great drivers and followed the race on the radio every year til high school when as a bandmember I was able to attend in person. The band marched around the track as part of the opening ceremony. Gentlemen, start your engines! -vrooooomm

3. When I was 19 years old, I traveled around the world on a Teen Team sponsored by Youth For Christ International. I played flute, piano, and sang in a 5-member group which did cultural exchange programs in schools and evangelism in churches. We spent 3 months in India; we also toured in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Lebanan and throughout the United States. It was an incredible 6 months, and it didn't cost me a dime!

4. In India I received a week of daily rabies shots. I was allowed to stop the 14-day treatment when the pet monkey that bit me showed no symptoms after 7 days.

5. Out of all the pets I've had, my favorite was a hooded rat named Hobbes (a white rat with a black head).

6. I collect shot glasses, a hobby which began as a way to amuse myself in airports when I traveled frequently for my job. I now have 75 shot glasses. And yes, they do get used!

7. My husband and I will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary this month. I love being married that long – I hate that bragging about it gives everyone such a big clue about my age!

Now... the moment you've all been waiting for... when I reveal the names of those I'm tagging.

1. Jessica – a writer whose reflections I enjoy and the person who inspired me to blog. I guess this could be seen as payback! Sorry, Jess!

2. Dan & Cindy, Tabo & Melissa – new Brooklyn home owners. Since yours is a group blog, please feel free to respond collectively. I know you have NO TIME, so consider this a leisure activity.

3. Lorcan – my Quaker friend (no pun intended) who probably could come up with 700 random facts, so varied has his life been.

4. Daniel & Amanda – a young couple having many adventures in NYC while serving for a year as Mennonite volunteers in various service organizations.

5. Craig – a whistle player in Ohio whom I’ve never met, who shares my love of Irish music and strives, as I do, to eek out a bit of practice time despite a full-time job and family responsibilities.

6. Monica – an African-American transwoman whose blog I started reading when I discovered earlier this year that she too had posted about the song Lift Every Voice and Sing. Monica has given me much to think about and writes well on many interesting topics.

7. Stacey – my cousin in Kentucky whose daughter Sydney is the darling of her blog. Perhaps little Sydney will become an accordion-girl too, who knows? Hey Stacey, tag your boys and see if they reveal anything they wouldn't otherwise tell you!!!

OK, everyone, it's your turn. Start your engines and get blogging! I look forward to reading your 7 random facts and as well as the new blogs that turn up as a result.

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

Friday, June 01, 2007

Sorcha Dorcha in Showboat 'Round the Bend on June 2

Sorcha Dorcha strikes again! This time in Red Hook, one of the newest hot Brooklyn neighborhoods. We will be performing a 30-minute set at approximately 1 PM on the Showboat Barge. Click here for the complete list of performers.


A unique exhibition extoling the glory of the American showboat

opening Saturday, June 2, 2007
noon to 6 pm
at the foot of Conover Street - Red Hook Brooklyn NY
Donations requested

Directions are on the Waterfront Museum's webpage

© 2007, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement