Thursday, 4 September 2014

Shipment to the Mountain Package #3

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 previous Shipments to the Mountain here, or come back to them 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 was a week of minor irritations, setbacks, and delays, all of which seem to be a necessary part of living, and all of which are pretty small in the grand scheme of life and the world. These tiny bumps along the road can be irritating until we remember that life is a bumpy road. We've been conditioned to believe that life is a highway and that our job is to travel along it at breakneck speed. That is not our job. The job of a creative person is to turn even setbacks into learning opportunities, and to share those lessons with others through art, whatever form of art it is that we do.

Considering how hard people had to work in the past even to get materials to work with can help us appreciate how easy we have it today. We can easily take for granted that we will be able to get what we want, when we want and that the price and quality will be even better than what we want. It was not always this way. The folk musician of a few generations ago worked long hours in the fields or the factories and with the short time available to him for leisure created the ballads we still hand on today. The woodcarver of old chopped down by hand the tree he would carve by hand, and passed along his gift by hand to the person he made it for, often without money being exchanged. It is this personal contact and close interaction with the materials we form into works of art that adds value to our lives and the lives of others. It is this value, the value of personal connection that we crave so desperately in our world today. This personal connection is found on bumpy roads that often lead up hill. Few people want to travel uphill on rough roads and so few people reap the rewards of doing so. It is always worth the effort, although we may not realize it until years later. If given the option between effort and convenience, effort is often the better choice. Convenience comes at a cost that is often far greater than we imagined.

The concept of convenience is something that seems unique to the past sixty years or so. If people were given something "conveniently" in generations past, they called it at "windfall". When the wind caused tree branches to fall people did not have to work so hard chopping down wood for fuel. This fortunate find of free or easily gained wood was called a windfall and this term was extended to other easily gained items too, especial money. They viewed this happy circumstance as a gift from God. It was something that the natural rhythms of the world provided from time to time, and they gratefully accepted it when it happened. A true windfall cannot be chased after, it is by its very nature a gift. We can prepare to receive it, but cannot demand it. Such gifts usually come after a storm.

Today we have a tendency to want and even expect a windfall without the stormy weather that brings the branches down.  Perhaps the lesson is to be grateful for either the work we need to do, or the bad weather; both inspire art and both have their rewards.  Both bring their crosses and both bring their eventual triumphs. Art is work. That is why your best work is called an "opus", the Latin word for work.

This Week's Lyrics: 

No new lyrics this week, please check out these ones written earlier.

You Can't Shed Kentucky
Mile Four Point Five
Alexander's California

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

Hot off the Espresso:

10 Tips for Cultivating Creativity (How to be Creative)
Clarke's Tinwhistle Product Review Part One
Clarke's Tinwhistle Product Review Part Two
Pope Saint Gregory The Great - Patron of Singers and Musicians
The Sounds Before The Sound of Music

Quote of the Week:
"Sanctity is made up of heroic acts. Therefore, in our work we are asked for the heroism of finishing properly the tasks committed to us, day after day, even though they are the same tasks.” (Saint Josemaría)

Artful challenge for the week:

Learn Something New Challenge 

This week the challenge is to learn something new. Something you have never done before. You can choose from a list of things that you have always wanted to do, or brainstorm entirely new ideas. If you have difficulty coming up with an idea, consider doing a bit a of research on other cultures; perhaps there is a dance, an instrument, or an art form common in one culture that is completely foreign to you. Looking outside of your industry or area of study will also help to generate ideas
Once you've found the new thing you want to do, start AT THE BEGINNING and learn how to do it. Don't skip a step, don't jump to the intermediate level. Start at the beginning. Walk through the steps (crawl if you have to) but savor that very first lesson, that first page in a how-to book, that launching into the unknown that used to be a common experience for us as children. As we age, we have a tendency to look for the familiar, to stick with things we know. This is efficient; it's comfortable, it's easy. It's also profoundly boring. It is also unsafe.  We tell ourselves that sticking with the tried and true is safe, but in a world that changes as rapidly as ours, sticking with the known is anything but safe. The people who thrive in today's world are those who can learn to adapt quickly, who are comfortable being uncomfortable with new things. The skills and attitudes required to adapt quickly can be learned. You can learn them, likely you are learning them right now. How do you learn to do something new? By doing something new. 

Word of the week:


The concept of self-efficacy has been something that has interested me for a long time. We could spend hours on the nature vs. nurture debate arguing whether self-efficacy is something that people are born with or they develop over time. Let me avoid the argument by saying it is likely a bit of both. While some people may naturally have more believe in their abilities, such belief can be cultivated by reinforcement from our surroundings. Over the years it has been proven to me time and time again that one of the best ways to develop "self-efficacy" is to pick up our crosses daily. At the end of the day when we look back and see that we have made it through, our belief in our own abilities grows. The paradox is that God always gives a cross that is exactly the weight we can manage. As our ability to do more grows, the weight of our crosses does to. Pick it up anyway. Believe that you can do it and suddenly the weight is not so much to bear. Look up "self-efficacy" and increase your belief in yourself. If God believes you can do something, and you believe you can't, I guarantee you God is right and you are wrong. 

Frugal Recipe: Magnificent Macaroni

My area has a thriving start-up community. It's exciting to be part of this new economy where small companies with big ideas can become "overnight" success stories. These companies come from different sectors; anything from technology and gaming to recycling, eco-tourism and manufacturing. Before they were an overnight success though, most had one thing in common. Their founders had little or no money. While many have been successful thanks to contributions from angel investors and incubator groups, attracting that investment usually comes AFTER the founders have proven their ability to build something from nothing.   Their "overnight" success discounts the many nights, months or even years struggling to get by on less than the basic necessities of life.

One trick start-up founders use to get through the tough times is to live on ramen noodles or macaroni. We call this the "ramen noodle phase" of development and everyone seems to go through it. Many writers, artists and students have discovered this "secret recipe" to success too.  Macaroni is a part of everyone's life at some point, especially when we are working through difficult underfunded projects. Once we are over our difficult times, macaroni becomes a comfort food for which we become nostalgic. While we are in that start-up phase however, another macaroni meal can seem like a life sentence. If you are in that phase you might enjoy the lyrics to "The Macaroni Blues" .You might also enjoy this frugal recipe which can be prepared in the same time it takes to make regular macaroni, and uses only a few more easily attained ingredients.

It's great for any meal and also works well to take to a pot luck dinner.  Once cooked you can transfer it to a casserole dish and reheat the leftovers.

Boil a pot of water and cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the package. You can also use other types of pasta like penne, or rotini too. Whatever type you use, it is best if you cook it until it is "al dente" or firm.

While the macaroni is cooking, chop two sticks of celery and some garlic. Add as much garlic as you like; more if there is a threat of vampires in your area.

Saute (In case you're new to cooking, that's a fancy word for fry) the celery and the garlic in some butter or oil. Use a tablespoon or two, just enough to keep the celery and garlic from sticking to the pan. Using a spatula to stir it up a bit also helps prevent the food sticking to the pan. You want the celery to remain a bit crunchy for texture, so don't over cook it.

Pour the cooked macaroni into the pan and add some source of protein, (cooked meat or cooked fish such as canned tuna, canned beans, or tofu.). You can use whatever is your favorite, or whatever you have on hand. Use the spatula to ensure everything is mixed in well.

In the photo you will see this version uses garbanzo beans or chick peas. This recipe has an infinite variety of combinations. In addition to changing up the protein portion, you can substitute carrots, onions, or other vegetables for the celery. If you really want to go wild add multiple vegetables for improved nutrition and added color.

Next add a can of cream of mushroom soup (you can substitute other types of soup such as cream of celery or tomato; use what you have on hand). Stir gently until the soup begins to bubble; be careful not to burn it as is it will cook very quickly.

Serve in a bowl. You can add a garnish or melt some cheese on top if you like.

Listening Suggestions:
  1. Proud Mary CCR
  2. Cadillac Ranch Springsteen
  3. Cadillac Ranch Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (compare the two versions)
  4. Pretend Nat King Cole
Joke of the week:

The kidney transplant society held a benefit concert but very few people attended. When they reviewed their advertisements the reason for the poor attendance became clear. It read:

Kidney transplant society benefit concert
Organ recital, admission by donation.

Question of the week:

This week a reader asked if I would promote his open mic night...the answer is a resounding yes. I'm looking for open mic nights down the west coast. Later I hope to expand the territory but for now am concentrating on the West Coast from Vancouver British Columbia down to San Diego California. If you know of a good open mic night, even if it's off the beaten path, please e-mail me the details. My plan is to visit the best of these open mic nights in 2015 as part of the "Life is like a Rocket Tour" which will culminate at Croce's Park West in San Diego. Check back for further details or sign up for e-mail updates from this blog to stay in the loop. My hope is to meet a lot of readers on the tour down the coast and hear their music first hand. Hopefully you will be able to make it too.

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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