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First Things Fourth (or "Hello, My Name Is...")OK, this should have been the first post, but you know how things are. Better late than never.
1. I decided to join the rest of the twenty-first century and try out a blog. I have never been a conscientious diarist, so it's likely this will be sporadic at best, but I thought it would be worth a try. What will I discuss here? Primarily my main interests: music, cooking, and my family. Probably a little politics (but I'll go easy on that). I can think of a lot of things I might have put in a private diary that won't show up here, most likely. I might note from time to time what I'm reading; it's a pretty eclectic mix. (At the moment, I'm rereading the Harry Potter books. We saw the seventh movie about two weeks ago, and I realized that I had forgotten way too much of The Story So Far. I am now on Book Four.)
2. The title needs a tad of explanation, perhaps. "Schildkret" may derive from the German word "Schildkroete," which means "turtle." Ever since I learned that, I've had a particular affinity for turtles. (Why someone would take the surname Turtle is a bit beyond me.) As a lifelong lover of the "Alice" books--dare we argue that Harry Potter is one of Alice's literary descendants?--I have also felt a particular connection to the Mock Turtle. (He's the sort of thing Mock Turtle Soup is made from. So in Tenniel's drawing, he has a calf's head, because MTS is made from veal.) He's a weepy fellow who is stuck in his school days...like a lot of us professors. And of course he makes the tortoise/taught us pun, which makes him even more appealing. (That whole episode in Alice is full of groaners. The best, I think, might be the Classics master who teaches Laughing and Grief.)
3. Who am I? In January of 2011, I'll be 55. Since 1983, I have taught music and conducted choirs at various schools of higher learning: the University of Rochester, Centre College, Salem College, and since 2002, Arizona State University. I also conduct the Mount Desert Summer Chorale from late June through early August in Bar Harbor, Maine, and am the Director of Music at Scottsdale United Methodist Church. One has to keep busy. I love to cook and do most of the cooking at our house these days. I'm usually in search of the perfect recipe for something. Last fall, it was gelato. At the moment, it's spritz cookies (which are pretty but generally tasteless). I read widely and voraciously. I have opinions about everything. I have Type II diabetes, sleep apnea, and a few other challenges that mean I take two generous handfuls of pills every day and try to watch what I eat. Mostly, I pretty much do what I like; I'm not much hampered by these health issues, even though they sounded scary at first. I love art and stop in the art museum when possible in every city I visit. Traveling is fun, too, and I have been lucky to visit some interesting and unusual places. I like words and language, though I am now finding it hard to learn new languages (I have tried to learn Spanish but have only succeeded in mastering a few phrases.) Since I love words, it's probably not surprising that I like crossword puzzles (especially the cryptic crosswords Frank W. Lewis has produced for decades for The Nation), Scrabble, and have dipped my toe into the waters of poetry and fiction writing. I love theater and have recently revived my stage career, such as it is, with Ben Weatherstaff in The Secret Garden at ASU (a huge thrill). In a few months, Sue (my wife) and I will appear in the South Mountain High School production of Footloose, in which we'll play a husband and wife! I have two remarkable daughters, Elizabeth (25 at the moment) and Miriam (20). Elizabeth has a blog of her own--see the link at the right. Sue teaches dance at South Mountain High School. Elizabeth started a graduate program in Theater for Youth at the University of Texas at Austin this fall, and Miriam is a junior in vocal performance at Ithaca College School of Music in upstate New York. We have a cat, Figaro, and a big dopey dog named Buddy.
With all that in mind, you should be able to follow things here pretty well. I hope it turns out to be fun.