Thursday, February 27, 2014


Dragon's Loyalty Award presented by M. J. Joachim

This is a great thing that has been bestowed upon me. By accident, or as collateral serendipity, or something like that. Lemme explain. Last year, I took part in a blogging challenge at the spur of the moment, rather like I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) last year, and actually "won" both, by finishing. The other challenge, for those not in the know, is the A-to-Z Challenge, where, during the month of April, you write a short post every day starting with the letter "A" and finishing up with "Z". It works out because every Sunday during the month, it is "dark" (a musician's and actor's term) wherein you don't post or write on that letter. If you finish the challenge, you get a  nifty badge that you display on your blog, which I did, much like the one I got for NaNoWriMo in 2013. You also get some street cred for finishing the damned things, because you gut out the writing blocks and all the inherent other stuff, like. . . uh, life. 

Two years ago, I wrote exactly 1637 words for NaNoWriMo and quit in total misery, because I was in the throes of undiagnosed Parkinsonism and that shit ain't fun. I've been able to take everything else thrown my way, but that was truly debilitating, both mentally and physically. Now, that I'm under treatment (some people wish I weren't as I am busy making their lives a merry Hell for past indiscretions, but I was too sick) I feel 20 or 30 years younger. I believe in the quality of persistence over time and it applies to all things, so maybe this is a good award for me. Dragons live forever. 

So, too, do challenges, and friendships. This is my second year on the A to Z Challenge and I am proud to be a member of #teamDamyanti. I did have a bit of confusion over this award, which is nothing new with me. I've done such jack-a-nape things like follow my own self on my own blog, when I was trying to answer a reader's comment and argued with myself under the pseudonym of Andi-Roo over suicide, when I performed a hurried cut-and-paste job, that was really just a cut-and-paste-paste. That floated around in the cyber sphere for several hours before I caught it and fixed it. Andi's response? "Ha ha ha! Girl! You crack me up!" Of course, there's always the time I thought I was doing good for the homeless in my area, in a post, that had a horribly juxtaposed picture: 

Admittedly, some of the stuff the ex-cons at FSJ, my old homeless shelter, used to concoct between pinochle games looked worse than this, -- scrunched-up cheetos, ramen soup noodles and anything else dumped into a single-serving size potato chip bag, add water and eat with a spoon and called "goulash -- this was NOT on purpose!

I'm legally blind and have a very weak right eye, and my left eye has dark cast that makes it hard to see and read. Sometimes I have to read things 8 or 12 times, or come back and give it a go another day. I've been legally blind for 10 years, so am used to this, but it makes for some interesting interpretations and I tend to "skim" a  lot of text. So, today, I just realized that M.J. Joachim had awarded the Dragon's Loyalty Award to the entire Team of Co-hosts and their Minions, of which I am one. Color me. . . confused?

No, I'm not. Well, okay, kinda sorta. I mean, I just show up and try to do what I'm told. It is an honor and I have to tell 7 things about myself, then award this to 15 bloggers and visit them and pass on the love. Consider it done, M.J., and thank you so much for this award!

I started playing the violin at age 11, but realized my mistake and switched to viola at age 15. I did not pick up another violin until the age of 45, when some idiot in Tampa hired me to play the violin on a gig, while I was living in Charlotte, North Carolina and had a free week. I guess all the other violinists between Charlotte and Tampa died or left town that week. I had to rent one for the gig and I rented the worst thing I could find in the hopes that I would never be hired to play another violin again. It didn't work. More idiots hired me to play the violin. I still hate the violin. The only thing worse than the violin, is playing Mozart on the violin; that right there, is Hell in a barrel. Give me Beethoven, or better yet, Shostakovich, or something with lots and lots of 16th notes, except for the slow parts; I love slow parts and can e-mote like a mo-fo and have a gorgeous sound. Or rather, I should say, Wolf has a gorgeous sound.

I own a viola that was "born" 10 years after Beethoven's death in 1827. My Florenus is of the Bolognese school of fiddle-making and was built in 1837. His name is "Wolf" and he was named by the luthier who appraised him and insured him. I've owned him since I was 19, and he's lasted longer than any of my marriages. He's a much better partner, too. At 177 years old, he's considered a young adult in the fiddle world. 

Wolf's hand-carved scroll; a trademark is the crudeness of the work; the House of Florenus is known for it. It certainly doesn't hurt the sound. His 2-piece back is "matched" up; 2 "tiger stripes" run down either side of his seam.


 My viola bow was "engineered" and built by an aeronautics engineer out of Germany. Many modern bows are now built by former engineers and their sons. In the old days, bow-makers, like Tourte, Vuillame and Withers observed birds and watched the shapes of their wings as they flew. The wood is pernambuco.

The 2nd Liston-Ali fight, which secured Ali's place in the history books. Ali's trainer, the late Angelo Dundee took time out to talk to this boxing fan when he was working a young fighter in Tampa, circa 1999. This sport is rich in history, heart, love and tragedy. It is Shakespeare on a 20-foot canvas rectangle.
I am a HUGE boxing fan. Boxing is the quintessential art of physical and mental abilities melded together. Boxing history and lore is some of the most fascinating in the world, and the very best boxers possess the minds of chess-masters and the quickness of cats. The fighters have the hearts of lions and are some of the kindest people I have ever met. Boxers do not fight out of anger, but they practice an old and gladitorial sport that has lost relevancy in the modern age. Much of the arm movement and pronation is echoed in the musical world, as is the pace of a Championship Match. I've met many of my musical colleagues at boxing matches.

My only other secret is this: my psychiatrist, who is also an internist calls me his "Google" for all things "Parkinsonism" (I explained the DaTScan process to him). When I started to exhibit overt symptoms, without knowing what I had, I started to learn, from what I could glean on the internet, my own primary care physician and from support groups on Facebook and Twitter (I only had Medicaid, which did not pay for any Neurology testing or medication, at the time). My greatest source of information is YumaBev who has had Parkinson's Disease for many years, and is a dear, wonderful friend, and such an inspiration! I have Parkinsoism, or essential tremor, or "Parkie Lite" as I am calling it, for I exhibit every one of the symptoms, yet my substantia nigra produce Levadopa, thus I am on a much different drug regimen. But, as is my wont, I faced it head-on and went back over my own family's history and believe my mother suffered from it, as well, which would speak in favor of e.t., as that is a "familial tremor" and therefore, inherited. We are now facing the idea that this may also be altered by certain protein combinations, or by gene therapy. 

That's pretty much all I have to say about me; I still get to play my fabulous Wolf without it sounding like a machine gun, although my performing days are behind me.

If you have NOT participated in the A-to-Z Challenge before, I urge you to try it! It's so much fun and you'll get to meet bloggers from all over the world. If you want to plan your challenge around a theme, please, please please, contact any one of us at #teamDamyanti, or sign up here:


D Biswas said...

It's an honor to have you on the team, Mary, and I hope you're having fun:).

Thank you for sharing about yourself, you do so much despite the setbacks that you're an inspiration.

Hope all's well at the home front.

LuAnn Braley said...

New subscriber/follower from the #atozchallenge. Sister minion from another mother (AJ's Hooligans).

It's very inspiring to me that you have come through so much. I did a play once where the musical accompaniment was a viola. it was very nice.

Viola Fury said...


It's an honor to be on your team! I've led a storied life and my childhood was not easy, but we have to do the best with what we're given, and my parents, God rest their souls were trying as well. Being human, they made mistakes and I miss them dearly and wish they were still here.

I am having a wonderful time! I tend to bring along my confusion, along with a joke or two; I can't help it. My parents were always quick on their feet and I was the "straight-man" to their comedy act. Now, I can only hope to be half as amusing as they were! I love this group and it's a wonderful blend of personalities and talent. You have a fine eye, and a wonderful ability to lead us on into wherever it is we are going! I'm just glad that you know, and that I am not driving!

JC is a wonderful person and I love him dearly; his health is not so good, however. The cardiologist has ruled out a catheterization and has tested him for either a stent or a by-pass. We're just waiting to hear the news. I'll let him know you asked about him; I always try to make him feel he's part of my "endeavors." Love to you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mary - well you certainly are good at overcoming things and giving us a positive insight into your life ... Damyanti is a great helper as far as the A-Z is concerned.

I've loved participating for each of the three years so far and am part of Tina's minion team ...

Enjoy - and keep up the positive streaks! Happy week - Hilary

Viola Fury said...


Thanks so much for coming by! I really love this challenge and had so much fun reading the others posts and comenting on them. Each challenge I've taken on has brought me new friends and outlooks!

You too, enjoy and have fun!

Thanks again!


Sandy said...

Popped in from Blog Blitz thinking we might have something in common with the title of your blog Homeless Chronicles in Tampa.

I'm doing the a-z again, but this year (so far) I've only signed up 1 of my blogs (last year I did 4...argh). The blog for a-z isn't the one one Blog Blitz.......trying to organize a bit better.

Viola Fury said...


I am so happy that you are coming along for the fun/insanity of #atozchallenge!. It's wonderful to meet a sister minion from AJ's Hooligans!

I really had fun just participating in the challenge and reading/commenting on other blogs and the month went by too quickly for me. What was to have been a "plan" -- a spreadsheet, with each letter and topic for every day, went quickly off track by the letter "B" and quickly died a swift death.

A "theme" is a good way to go, be it "composers" or "serial killers" or "colors" or "sounds". Not having done a theme, I'm not very sophisticated, but the other ladies on #teamDamyanti are very, very sophisticated and have all kinds of ways to use "themes" for writing prompts.

Thank you for your kind words. I've had some setbacks, and my life has changed immensely, but as there is so much that is unexplored, and I am still curious, at the ripe old age of 58, I think there's plenty to keep me occupied. Of course, there's always Wolf to play as well! Thanks for stopping by!

Mary aka Viola Fury,">A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal BlogFest – Sign Up Now #atozchallenge #atozreveal

Viola Fury said...


I didn't get a chance to thank you for having me on as a member of this fine team! This has been so much fun and I've met so many new people!

I think you're terrific and you've done just a fabulous job with everything and still managed to do all of these outside things and travel. My hat is off to you! <3 <3 Mary

Viola Fury said...


I am so sorry to not have gotten back to you sooner! I looked at your website and what you are doing is fantastic! I was homeless for about 9 months, and when I got my Disability, I didn't move very far. I still live in the area, and there are plenty of homeless people who need help.

We do what we can here, but as you know it is a constant and sometimes, heartbreaking chore. Metropolitan Ministries is a huge presence in Tampa and they do so much to help feed the homeless.

Thanks again for coming by and I look forward to seeing you on the A-to-Z Challenge!