Thursday, 28 August 2014

Shipment to the Mountain #2

This post is part of a series of posts on developing creativity and sharing your art with the world; in other words its about creating and shipping, no matter what. You can read last week's Shipment to the Mountain here, or come back to it at some later time. If you'd like to see particular issues relating to creativity covered, or if you have a specific question you would like answered, please drop me a note at katrinaboguski (at) I enjoy receiving e-mails from readers and will do my best to reply with 2-3 days. If you do not get an answer by then, please resend your message as spam filters sometimes prevent messages from reaching me.


  1. Musical Notes
  2. A list of song lyrics
  3. Hot off the Espresso
  4. A quote of the week
  5. Artful challenge
  6. Word of the week
  7. Frugal Recipe
  8. Listening Suggestions
  9. Joke of the Week
  10. Question of the Week
Musical Notes:

This week's highlights involved reconnecting with some old friends whose love of singing I've always admired. While the exchanges with them, for the most part, centered around topics other than music, hearing from them reminded me how good it is to connect with people we've known for years.

Another high point of the week was the re-discovery of my Irish tin whistle which had been misplaced and largely forgotten about. It was found under another largely forgotten about item, the bread-maker. Finding the tin whistle solved at least three problems for me. If you care to read about how these problems were solved by finding the tin whistle you can do so here; perhaps reading it might solve one of your problems too.

Finally, this week's challenge to myself was to listen to other indie singer / songwriters. I attended the open mic night at Trees Organic Coffee and Roasting House in Vancouver where I enjoyed music from a variety of local performers.  In addition to hearing these live performances, I also checked out several recordings including two music videos introduced to me by Glen Trujillo of California. The imagery on the first video featuring the song The City captured my attention and reminded me of some of the themes that were going through my head when I wrote Lullaby for the Sheltered.  Both of our songs come face to face with the issue of homelessness which can be ignored easily by many in our world. Glen is currently working on some new songs as well as revisiting some of his earlier work. I'm looking forward to hearing more of the old stuff as well as the new songs as soon as they are available. More of Glen's work can be found on his facebook page. Please take a moment to check out his work.

This Week's Lyrics: 

Oh Sitio
How to Make Friends
Lullaby For the Sheltered
Mala Malo Male Wash em All Away
Life is Like a Rocket (New Version)
Leave Your Baggage at the Station

If you are inspired to write music for any of them please drop me an email.

Hot off the Espresso:

Longer Reads:

What Does a Tin Whistle Have In Common With a Bread-maker

Letters And Songs Jimi Hendrix Shrine

Quote of the Week:
"How few there are who have courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them." Benjamin Franklin

Artful challenge for the week:

Mend it Challenge 
Songs often come to me automatically. When this happens the challenge is to get them down on paper quickly before they fade away or are forgotten. If a pen and paper or keyboard are not handy, there is a tendency to keep singing the song in my head until I can write it down. That often leads to very long songs; the longer they are sung, the more verses get added.

Participating in various song writing groups gives me the opportunity to edit the songs so that the original version can be improved...and usually shortened. I am very grateful for how feedback from songwriting forums improves weak spots that are not always obvious to me, even after reading and singing the lyrics dozens of times

It never ceases to amaze me how simply going back and mending a few small rough spots can fix the whole piece. The same thing holds true in other areas of life.

Fixing a tear in some clothes, fixing a hinge on a door, or mending a leaky faucet are all small things that are easily put off precisely because they are small. Yet, when many of these little broken bits surround us, life becomes stressful, disappointing and, well broken.

The challenge this week is to fix something; anything. Use your tools or your sewing box, some glue or a hammer and a nail. Mend something broken in your life, even a broken friendship or a fence to give you healthier boundaries. What ever it is fix it. Keep the job small to start, and move on to something else if you still have time. Sometimes fixing several small things is more energizing than tackling one big project.

After you've mended something, go back and mend your art. Make an edit, do a re-write, re-arrange a melody or introduce a new step. Mend it with the intention of making it stronger, better, more enjoyable art. Share the mended version with someone new. 

Word of the week:


This word seemed worth exploring after hearing a quote from G.K. Chesterton where he said, "Ten thousand women marched through the streets shouting, 'We will not be dictated to,' and went off and became stenographers."  Chesterton's observations of society are priceless and his whit impeccable. His reference to the idea of dictation made me think of  how few people dictate letters today or bother to write them at all. It made me consider the many tyrannical dictators running around the world today dictating all sorts of insanity. It made me remember the dictation tests that used to be part of French class; and for some reason it also made me thing of Dick Tracy, whose name sounds similar to dictation when spoken very quickly.

Consider this word and its different meanings. How many other words have the same root...hint on the first one, you can look in the dictionary to find many more.

Frugal Recipe:

These recipes are intended to help you explore being creative in the realm of cooking. They are intentionally vague in order to get you to experiment, either by researching more precise recipes, or by just winging it until you're satisfied with the results. My cooking tends to be pretty spontaneous, and the results are usually better for me when I follow my intuition rather than a recipe book.  If you prefer step by step instructions, there are lots of recipes available on line for these sort of pancakes. I started enjoying these simple but delicious pancakes after hearing Dick Proenneke mention them on the PBS documentary Alone in the Wilderness. If you haven't had a chance to view this stunning work about Proenneke's largely self-sufficient life in the Alaskan wilderness, be sure to check it out the next time it is aired, or you can purchase the DVD of it online. It is pure art.

Sourdough Pancakes:

Sourdough Starter
Oil or butter

In a bowl mix the sourdough starter, flour, sugar and salt until it is the consistency of pancake batter. The amount you mix will depend on how hungry you are. The proportions of ingredients will depend on how sweet and thick you prefer your pancakes. The thinner the batter the thinner the pancake.

Add oil or butter to a hot frying pan, pour in the batter and cook until the top of the pancake starts to bubble. Flip the pancake and cook until it is golden. My pancake flipping technique could use some work. There is about a 50/50 chance of my breaking up the pancake at this point, and every now and then they work out perfectly. The fact that I'm only showing a photo of the pancake in its "pre-flipped" state suggests how this one turned out. The good news is that with 50/50 odds, my next one should be perfect.

Serve the pancakes hot. You can add syrup and butter if you prefer or some fruit. I tend to eat mine plain because they taste so good on their own. (If you don't have some already, you can find instructions for how to make sourdough starter in here.

Listening Suggestions:
  1. Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes Paul Simon
  2. Folsom Prison Blues  Johnny Cash 
  3. The Gambler Kenny Rogers
  4. The Log Driver's Waltz Written by Wade Hemsworth (this is a well known Canadian folk song that might be new to readers from other areas)
  5. The Sourdough / Miner's Song  Written by Bill Staines
Joke of the week:

A musicologist was wandering the hills of Kentucky collecting old folk songs. As he met with one family of musicians he would ask to be introduced to other families in the area who were also known for keeping their musical traditions alive. These families were dirt poor, but incredibly talented musically.  He began noticing that despite their poverty each of the old women wore an enormous diamond ring on her wedding ring finger. He did not want to be rude, but finally his curiosity got the better of him. He asked an old woman who was wearing the biggest diamond yet how it was that amid the poverty of the Appalachians, the women could afford such rings. "It's not all women who's got these" replied the old lady as she held up her ring-clad hand. "It's just us old women. When we was young our husbands were too poor to buy us gold and diamonds so they fastened a lump of coal to a brass ring" "How did you end up with the diamonds then,"  Asked the confused musicologist. The woman replied, "A diamond ain't nothing but a lump of coal that's been under pressure for a lot of years. Nothing has more pressure and lasts as long as a marriage in these hills."

Question of the week:

Every week I get questions sent to me that cause me to ponder my work from a different angle. It was the desire for this sort of exchange that inspired me to start writing a blog in the first place. 
This week's question was a real game changer for me. It came in response to an e-mail I had sent to an acquaintance whose music and photography had acted as a source of inspiration for me a few years ago. I was looking for a cheap guitar and asked if he could keep an eye open for a castoff, used one that might be floating around among his music friends. While he obligingly agreed to keep an ear open for a hand-me-down guitar, he replied with the question,  "Why don't you just buy a good guitar?" I replied immediately with some line about not wanting to spend money on an expensive instrument right now; but somehow after pushing the send button I was was not quite satisfied with that answer. The question tumbled around in my head for a few days until I realized that I was avoiding an expensive guitar in part because I was not sure what sort of guitar to buy. I wanted to hone  my skills on a cheap one before making the commitment to purchase something better.

It seems many people may be in the same predicament when considering what instrument to commit to, and might like the opportunity to learn more about how each instrument might meet their needs. This idea of trying out and researching several guitars led to the idea of writing product reviews to share with readers who may also be considering a new instrument. The first of these reviews will be available shortly. Sellers and manufacturers of instruments wanting to have their products reviewed can e-mail me at katrinaboguski (At) for details on how to submit your products.

Next "Shipment to the Mountain" ships on Thursday for anyone who wants it. Please share this post with others who may enjoy the read.



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