December 27, 2008

Gaurang Doshi

Gaurang and me in his studio
Click on the picture to enlarge
(photo by Nadia Bakireva)

We have visited Gaurang Doshi today in his home studio in Winston-Salem. Gaurang had a very nice concert in the library several weeks ago. I really got interested in his music. He plays sarod and sitar. Both instruments produce the sound that is very unique and out of this world.

Sarod has 25 strings, 15 of them are sympathetic strings for producing resonant sound. String resonate and sometimes even hit one another making that specific sounds that you won't find in any other instrument in the world. Not even human voice... Sounds awesome! Fingers go up and down the strings to produce the sounds (compare to a guitar where fingers go up, and the movement is wasted on the way down).

For plectrum Gaurang used a coconut shell :) He played for us sitting on the carpet in his living room turned into the studio. His instrument is very precious. The lower part of it is made out of goat skin. Main part is wooden, the space under the strings are metal, probably for resonance. Strings are so thin, so tender, almost like hairs. You can barely see them.

It was an honor that Gaurag brought the instrument out to show to us. Sarod is very sensitive to the temperature. Sometimes light on the stage during the performance, Gaurang said, can change the way the instrument sounds. He has to bring the instrument on the stage way before the performance so that the instrument can adjust to the temperature of the concert hall.

Gaurang was playing sarod, and time by time he was placing his fingers in the small round box to press on what appear to be a piece of cloth . I asked him what it was. He said that strings are harsh on fingers, and he uses oil to soften the skin.

And it was absolutely awesome that he has played for us! For the rhythm he used the electric tabla sound. It could go faster or slower; the entire thing has created the meditative experience. I loved it! Soon we'll have Gaurang's consert in Winston-Salem. "My father told me, - he says, - the best you can do for your teacher is start teaching". Gaurang revere his father who taught him how to play. Now his 11 years old daughter Anusha is playing sitar. He has students who come to his studio and use his instruments to learn how to play.

Gaurang's website - click here

December 09, 2008

be water, my friend

November 30, 2008

Golden Tread book

Finished reading "The Golden Thread: Essential Principles of Self Defense" by Michael Joyce. Very inspirational reading.

I remember one day Michael came to the class and said: "I went to a bookstore to flip through some of these self-defense books... made me think "Would it really work?" - mine is so much better!" He laughed ("as he always does" :)) but it is true - he wrote a very good book. Of course you can't learn self-defense from a book. But if you are having a practical training, the book can help to put mind into what you're learning. I like his line - "Never settle with what you think you know".

"Do not play the game the opponent wants you to play. If the attacker is pushing - you pull. If he is pulling - you push. He grabs high - you go low. This is called using "the reverse energy". This is good for a wide variety of applications.

Or about blocking. Self-defense is not an art of blocking, but the art of moving and redirecting. Blocking is instinctual and arises in time of panic. You can't win with blocking. Moving is creating distance, redirecting is deflecting, and jamming - stopping the strike before it happens - are proactive techniques. Never rely on blocking as a means of self-defense.

I absolutely love this one - "You intend to move; I already moved" (Chen Zhonghua). Or this one - "Opportunities multiply as they are ceased" (Sun Tzu). Michael wanted us to come with a motto that we can use to put all the energy together. I remember the example of this "energy summoning exercise" in the movie "The Edge" (great movie!) - "I am going to kill this bear!"

Also I like the line "Buffalo will win the Super Bowl!" (page 79), i laughed :)))

Great advice i think is this one - "Focus on the task at hand by moving, not by "intellectualizing". Opportunities are like windows, and open and close frequently but shut hard and fast". I really appreciate Michael makes videos of his classes so we can watch them later on youtube to visualize, and review to get a mental visual picture of what we should be doing. Helps! Before you can "react instinctively" (page 72) you need to train your body to have the reaction you want.

Also the classes in push hands really help to learn how to redirect someones energy and instead of letting it stuck into your body (the intention of the opponent) - let it fly by. It is a very helpful technique in hostile conversations, or any energy assault. Do not play by their rules! Play by your rules. Have your rules, train your body and mind to play. And be playful! :)

"Violence endures, but so does love".

November 23, 2008

pushing hands and fencing

We have done some fencing in the park this morning. Only two people came, so it was almost one on one, pretty cool. Michael is a great coach! Here is his website - We used sticks, no real weapon allowed in Reynolda. Stick is heavy. I had trouble to hold two fingers straight on the handle. The vocabulary was new as well. Some movements were good by tai-chi kind of. But i am not stuck with the "form". I liked it!

Here are some shots from the last week push hands morning. Done with Michael's little (but digital! :) camera. All images clickable to open in larger size.

November 18, 2008

children's concert

The concert went really well! Nadia's piano and voice students performed on the stage for the first time in their lives. It was very joyful and happy event! More than 120 people came to enjoy the concert. I would like to thank parents for supporting their children's talents! Your kids are in good hands of a very talanted and very unique person. Nadia is so passionate about teaching - she loves it!

It was the first concert of Nadia's music studio that recently has celebrated the first year anniversary. Here is the link to pictures from the concert that Nadia organized in the retirement community in Winston-Salem.

November 14, 2008

Susan and Raegen

Raegen and Susan work Periodicals desk - Halloween 2008

Librarians Susan Ayers and Raegen Luntz dressed up as Steelers for Halloween helping customers at Periodicals desk! :))) Photo by Don Dwiggings, Forsyth County Public Library.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

a bit closer look

November 12, 2008

Kirov Orchestra

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Nadia and i are going to the consert tonight - Kirov Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, with Valery Gergiev, conductor. Prokofiev: Selections from Cinderella, Op. 87. Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58. Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet, Act 1.

November 11, 2008

Jean Block

Going to the funerals... Jean Block. Gone.

"It is not how much love you receive, but how much love you give..." Jean Block... We worked together for 2 years...
Many people came. Many people spoke. Many people cried.
Elegant - this is how they describe Jean and her life. Elegant...

September 01, 2008

Panagia Pammakaristos

I went to Greek Orthodox Monastery Panagia Pammakaristos to Lawsonville, NC. This is one of the monasteries founded by Elder Efrem from Mount Athos, Greece. The main monastery where the Elder resides is in Arizona, 2 hours from Phoenix. I have been there two summers ago. Mons have recreated Arizona in North Carolina! Grapes are growing, olives, lemons. Pal trees and cactus are everywhere. They grow well here. Panagia Pammakaristos, the icon of Mother of God, was venerated during a long service yesterday and this morning Monks served the liturgy. Then we all had festive meal. Greeks like to wear black, kids are not very obedient and run everywhere. They are so funny! One woman had a praying ropes as long as her own height! They were pink.

Interesting that a turtle was crossing the road when i was going to the monastery. How that turtles claimed up our mountains?

All pictures are clickable for a larger view.
All pictures are under copyright. Permission required.

the entrance

greek girl

not everyone could fit into the small church

Panagia Pammakaristos
the icon of the Mother of God

monk walking by the main monastery building

main building, the church and 'cells' are there

greek girlfriends

two girls and greek mama with a child

building where pilgrims can stay - a lot of rooms,
place for everyone.

greek girl in the monastery

greek style bell to call fro the church service

incredible cactus!

Arizona desert in North Carolina

cactus with needles that are not sharp at all

i could not take my eyes off this cactus! :)

all rights on photos reserved
copyright Наталья Тучина 2008

walk in Reynolda..

click on each photo to enlarge..

all rights on photos reserved
copyright Natalia Tuchina 2008

August 25, 2008

back from Alaska

Came back from Alaska.

I am missing Alaska's oxygen. Very much. Here is the map of my travels. No cruse. My american friends ask me "Did you take a cruse?". No. I didn't. Air-plane, float-plane, motor-boat, 4wheel drive SUV (2 thousand miles i put on its wheels!) - this was my transportation. First three islands - Kodiak, Spruce and St.Nilus island. Than main land. I have marked my run on the map with the pink marker. Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Yukon, Tok (where Alaska 1 and Alaska 2 meet :), Kenai penunsula (went to Russian Old Believers there!). You can't really see the road to Yukon and Dalton highway on the map, didn't fit. But you cam imagine that the pink line goes up from Fairbanks...

Here it is, my great adventure in Alaska mapped!

Вот так.

August 24, 2008

in search of oxygen

After Alaska it is just not enough oxygen for me in the air. In search of oxygen i went to Pilot mountain today for a hike. This mountain was a landmark for indians. It is beautiful. Looks like like a green hat. Only eagles live on the top. No people allow to climb, but they can walk around in a ribbon trail. I also hikes 2 miles Ledge Spring trail, they say it is strenuous. Not with my camera :) I stop every inch to make my shots.

In several places i noticed a red ribbon, no go. Yellow jackets are nesting. We'd better not disturb them. They bite. It is their time to do their thing. I didn't know what these red ribbons are for till i came to the start of the trail - no wonder, i went the other way around, against the clock.

Have met two Romanians - Camelia and Alexandy. She works in our grocery store, and her husband is in electronics. Mesa is their last name. It means 'a table' in Spanish. Everything is so mixed up. I pictured them, and then gave my camera to Camelia, asking her to make a photo of me. She pressed the button, it was a loooooot of blue skies in the picture, but from the third try i got a chance to be in the picture to and didn't blink :))

me :)

the knob of the Pilot mountain, only eagles live on the top

trees grow holding to the rocks

lizard with a blue tail - probably prehistorical

Camelia and Alexandry from Romania

this is North Carolina and hwy 52 that i took to come to Pilot mountain

hwy 52 goes to Winston-Salem

July 19, 2008

the girl and the elephant..

i like this picture very much... it's by Gregory Colbert

i also like another picture where the girl is standing in the field and two elephant are behind her, but i could not find that one online (saw it in a magazine)

and this one i like like very much... reaching out..

July 15, 2008

hugging trees

We have a nice park nearby, Leinbach Park. It is a city park. Walking trail, tennis courts, kids playground...

I was driving Robinhood Rd to work, and I had to stop! Trees are being cut in the park! I could not believe my eyes!

These big, healthy trees were shading the park from the Robinhood road, and it's traffic, the fumes. I could not just pass by this tree cemetery... The heavy equipment was there, workers... If i could not stop them, I had stopped myself. I got out of the car and talked to the guy who was operating big tractor. "How do you feel about what you're doing to this park?" - i asked him. He said: "I love my job!" I realized that i need to go elsewhere with my question. The question was: "Why?"

I called the city, Vegetation department. They were saying that the road needs to be wider, and to do the job they need to cut big trees in the park along the road. O, yes - in order to get somewhere faster we need to cut and knock down everything that is on our way... Trees can't say much. But people can.

I addressed my question to the Winston-Salem Journal. Ronda Bumgardner
was very responsive (thank you!) and published my question along with my photo of the cut trees. Sometimes photo tells us more that words can.

I also adressed my question to the City Council. I was rather impressed with the respond from a Council Member Wanda Merschel. She really invested her time to get to the bottom of the problem, i feel.

Here is the final respond that I have received. It is from Tim Grant, Director of the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department (forwarded to me by the City Council Wanda Merschel):

Todd M. Love (Public Works Engineering Division) has worked on this project with us. This project is a road widening on Robinhood Road. This project has been talked about since 2003 and it involves the road widening, new sidewalk and the underground placement of electrical/phone lines. I believe that City Council approved a municipal agreement sometime in 2003. I believe that this project was delayed due to funding for a couple of years. Connie Curtis was working on this project in 2003-04.

As you may know, Leinbach Park is an LWCF property (Land and Water Conservation Fund) and the city had to get the approval from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation. That approval was given in writing to the city by John C. Poole in May of 2008. The National Park Service (Edwolyn Dooley-Higgins) also gave its approval in May 2008 and they saw no negative impact on the recreational aspect of the park area.

The proposed roadway improvement will make ingress and egress into the park easier and safer for motorists and park users. There is a proposed sidewalk that will improve pedestrian travel and safety along Norman and Robinhood Road and the trail system. This project will also add an additional turning land off Sally Kirk Road and Norman Road. The new sidewalk will be 5 feet wide and a 10 foot utility easement. There will be minimal impact upon the park and no impact to the walking trail.

A new retaining wall will be installed along Robinhood Road (with stairs from the park to the sidewalk) and there will be new trees planted and landscaping improvements along Robinhood Road. We only supported this project with the inclusion of new buffer trees and landscaping. The landscaping and trees will be planted by Vegetation Management. James Mitchell has been involved with this project along with us. James Mitchell has put together a plan that will allow for a denser buffer zone than what was currently located there. We reviewed this project with our recreation and parks commission on June 3, 2008. The project is scheduled to be completed by the start of school in late August 2008.

I can be available to discuss this further or get Todd M. Love to provide further clarification as to the specifics of this project.

Timothy A. Grant, Director
Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department
100 East First Street, Stuart Municipal Building
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 734-1210 office

Tree are crying. Stubs are there - looks like a cemetery. My neighbour's 5 years old boy cryed when he came to his park and saw these trees being cut. He said: "Mommy, i want to plan a tree. Many-many trees!" They cut "only" five big trees. Others they considered to be "small". Our park is not quite the park we loved. Cars, traffic, the air quality has been compromised...

I observed how big tractor was fighting the last piece of the tree that still was in the ground. The tree was holding up like as if it was a matter of princip - hold on the the earth! The tree didn't want to give up... Do we?

What can stop us?

natalia tuchina