We Are All The Gambler

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.

 

It’s a precarious ledge we stand on, isn’t it?

Do you know when to hold your ground? When to give in?

When to walk away? When to Run?

It’s not as easy as it seems, is it?

We want to run away, we want to stay and fight.

We say it’s not worth it, yet sometimes it’s all there is.

Pick your battles.

Fight the fights worth fighting for.

Blow off the rest.

A stay in a hospital isn’t worth it.

Nor is a broken soul.

 

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep.

~Kenny Rodgers

Another Wonderful Share

I must be in a sharing mood this week! I don’t follow a whole lot of bloggers, but the ones I do I really love their work.

Brenda is one of those poets whose words remind me of windchimes. Maybe she and I share a “Friendly Fairy Tale” connection, but there’s something musical about her poems. Do go and visit her website and be enchanted like I am!

 

Gathering in the sky are low, heavy mists: snow clouds shaped by Zeus and Thor.

via Star Swords — Friendly Fairy Tales

Who Are They Singing About?

musicI’m sitting around this kinda warm Saturday afternoon, resting my pulled back muscle (which now is mostly my sciatic nerve), listening to music, trying to beat down the A.D.D. part of me that wants to run around and do a dozen things at one time.

I’ve been listening to the Rock Show on Sirius, and they’ve been playing a lot of great tunes from my youth. Ah, yes. My youth = my choices = my alternate choices. What could turn out to be a melancholy trip through the 70s through the 90s (I don’t consider anything past 2000 as my “youth”), actually turns out to be a voyage into song lyrics.

This time the words that haunt me are lyrics that sing about magical, powerful, beautiful women and whatever they did to have a song written about them. The song that struck me first was Hollywood Nights by Bob Seeger:

She had been born with a face
That would let her get her way
He saw that face and he lost all control
He had lost all control
Night after night
Day after day
It went on and on

What kind of a face could make a man lose his mind for days and nights and nights and days? Or one of my favorites, Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac:

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when
The sky is starless

What kind of woman is thought of as taken by the wind? Does she fly? Do her thoughts lift her higher and higher? What about:  Rhiannon rings  like a bell through the night — clearly an analogy to her solid, musical soul breaking the silence of the night. Pretty powerful.

There are better examples than the ones I’ve given. But you get my drift.  Super women. Gorgeous, powerful, mystical women. Ruling and running their lives just the way they want to.

What would it be like to  born with a face…That would let her get her way? To be so beautiful, talented, genuinely breathtaking that you could have anything you want? You could go to any department store and pick something off the rack and actually wear it. You would barely have to exercise to keep your marvelously thin and voluptuous body. You would have men and women at your feet. Loving you, wanting you. From a distance — right next to you. You’d always have a date for dinner or the movies. The flowers would bend in reverence to your awesomeness.

I myself have always suffered from less-is-really-less syndrome. Unfortunately, I do not suffer from extreme beauty, brains, physique, or mobility. I’ve always been on the average Joe/Joelyn side. But I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the best — truly best — at anything. From modeling to brain surgeons to ballet. To be sooooo great because everything came naturally to you.

Alas, I will have to leave those wonderings to the mystics. We make the most of who we are and what we have and leave the rest to mystics. Or writers.

But it would be great if they’d write a song about me…

and no…not Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen…

 

Music Makes Magic

1451272484709104_animateI am not what most consider a music junkie, affectionado, expert, or addict.

I really do enjoy music, though.

I have a soft spot in my heart for banging old tyme rock and roll now and then. Give me Metallica, AC/DC, Motley Crue — any of those wild hair bands. Turn it up and shake the rafters…turn up the stereo and dance in front of the speakers.

I also am a whitebread, Midwestern suburban girl. My growing up years were safe and boring. The few licks of trouble I got into were pale in comparison with others I know. And have heard of. So my imagination has to take over for my lack of experience.

I know a lot of people LIVED the 60s and 70s — hung out, burned out, wilded out their youth, gaining experience and insight I will never be privy to. The high highs and low lows of “those days” are things movies are made of. Maybe that’s a good thing in some ways.

When I’m driving home, windows open, blasting “Sandman” from Metallica, I see dark rooms with strobe lights in the corner, scents of patchouli and garlic and illegal leaves swirling above me, heads banging to the beat, air guitars and beer bottle microphones, some band (I don’t know if its THE band) on a stage somewhere, salty with sweat and concentration, letting their souls mix with the beat of the music, crashing and burning and relighting again with the rhythm of the pounding music.

I don’t see needles and junkies and fights and blood. I don’t see people throwing up on themselves and the depths of depression that are liberated with the music. I don’t see black eyes and lost dreams and sliced wrists and empty bottles of Jack or Fleschman’s.

The same is true when I listen to classical music. The upbeat symphonies like Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake or Strauss’s Emperor’s Waltz, I blast at full-speed-ahead. I see picnics in the fields with women in long dresses and men in frocks and crystal wine glasses sparkling in the sunlight. I see gowns and tuxedos waltzing across an enormous ballroom dance floor, the dresses swishing with the rhythm of the music, their beadery reflecting the glint of chandeliers and candlelight.

I don’t see alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty. I don’t see filthy living conditions, barbaric medical treatments, consumption, or life before penicillin and electricity.

I’ve never been to either world. But I wonder. Does this one-way mirrored vision make me a weak writer? Someone who can’t write about those things because I haven’t experienced these things? Or does it make me a great writer, because I can dive into my own imagination and make the world surrounding the music whatever I want?

When I hear  a ballad or a rock jam I don’t think about serial killers or drug dealers. I think of my youth — the life I lived, the life I never lived. I can identify with the 60s and 70s and beyond because I made it through them. When I hear a waltz or symphony I think of days gone by, a simpler life, of history and time travel and a time when a night out was a buggy ride to town.

And that’s where the stories come from.

Let music inspire your creativity. Let it take you places you’ve been — and places you’ve never been.

Just don’t throw your back out doing the air guitar thing….

 

Astronomy — the Song, not the Science

giphyLike lesser birds on the four winds
Like silver scrapes in May
And now the sand´s become a crust
Most of you have gone away

Come Susie dear, let´s take a walk
Just out there upon the beach
I know you´ll soon be married
And you´ll want to know where winds come from

Well it´s never said at all
On the map that Carrie reads
Behind the clock back there you know
At the Four Winds Bar

Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
Four winds at the Four Winds Bar
Two doors locked and windows barred
One door to let to take you in

The other one just mirrors it
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
Hellish glare and inference
The other one´s a duplicate

The Queenly flux, eternal light
Or the light that never warms
Yes the light that never, never warms
Or the light that never

Never warms
Never warms
Never warms
The clock strikes twelve and moondrops burst

Out at you from their hiding place
Miss Carrie nurse and Susie dear
Would find themselves at Four Winds Bar
It´s the nexus of the crisis

And the origin of storms
Just the place to hopelessly
Encounter time and then came me
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!

Call me Desdanova
The eternal light
These gravely digs of mine
Will surely prove a sight

And don´t forget my dog
Fixed and consequent
Astronomy… a star [repeat indefinitely]      ~ Blue Oyster Cult, 1988

 

This is a blog that wraps around my friends the poets.

I have written poetry — I think everyone has. Beauty is in the eyes (and ears) of the beholder. Some are just better than others at it.

I was listening to oldies music at work the other day and I pulled this song out of my flash drive repertoire. Listening to the words made me curious, so I Googled them, and here they are. And I wonder.

What do they mean?

There are lots and lots of songs (especially from the 60’s) with psychedelic melodies, lyrics, and mushroomed foundations. I suppose when you saw God from another planet anything was possible. And there are lyrics far more cryptic than those above.

But, like abstract art, I don’t get it.

I am not a scientific, linear thinker. Far from it. My stories include time travel, magic, computers that write their own stories, and women who follow shadows. But I suppose I always need one foot in reality, or else nothing will make sense.

The lyrics of songs are just as powerful as a sonnet, a haiku, or free verse. They can say so much, so little, be deep or light or anything in between. It’s just harder when it’s ME that has to figure out what it all means. Like modern art, I know there are things I’m supposed to figure out on my own. Like a Jackson Pollock painting or a Craig Haupt sketch. There is a feeling, a meaning, behind its creation. Sometimes, if the artist is alive, I can plain ask (like Craig!) Other times, if the artist is long gone, I’ve got to either figure it out myself or Google that, too.

In the end, I guess I just liked moondrops and astronomy.  And that is meaning enough for me.

****

P.S.  I just looked up the meaning of the story…I like my own imagination better.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Harps

The Harp that once through Tara’s halls

  The soul of music shed,

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Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls

  As if that soul were fled.

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So sleeps the pride of former days,

  So glory’s thrill is o’er,

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And hearts, that once beat high for praise,

  Now feel that pulse no more.

No more to chiefs and ladies bright

  The harp of Tara swells:

The chord alone, that breaks at night,

Its tale of ruin tells.

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Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,

  The only throb she gives,

Is when some heart indignant breaks,

  To show that still she lives.

jw_trinity_harp

Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

Me and Motley REALLY Ain’t Old!

I was flipping through old posts today and came across this oldie but goodie from a couple of years ago. Just think — I’m two years older than when I wrote this. And I think I need this more than ever. Happy Thursday!

Motley Crue Then

Motley and Me Ain’t Old

There has been a lot of angst going around the blog world lately. Problems, thoughts, ponderings.  It seems to be hitting the 50+ group, although I’ve read quite a few -50 uncertainties as well.  It is like we all are jugging the self-esteem balls, and we keep dropping one or two on our foot. The foot doesn’t break, but it sure as hell hurts.

Motley Crue Now

I myself was going to write a blog about feeling like I’ve really aged in the past year. You know those movie stars and rock stars that come out of mothballs for one reason or another, and you find yourself saying, “Man, have they aged!”  You know — the ones you loved in your teens or 20’s or 30’s.  You cut them no slack for having lived — whether it be through raising a family or doing drugs or surviving tragedies. You want to see them fresh and perky and full of energy. Not wrinkled or bloated. For that reminds us of … us.

I find that at 60 I’m caught between making excuses and living them. The wrinkles and extra pounds and the inability to fall asleep at night and achy legs and feet are from meds, stress, drinking caffeine, sitting at a desk all day, walking the dog, and a hundred other things.  It can’t be that I’m getting old. I mean, Keith Richards looks old. Chevy Chase looks old. Surely ~I~ can’t be looking old like that.

Can I?

This goes beyond our sound reasoning, beyond the I-loved-raising-my-family and the I’ve-been-through-a-lot-of-stuff stuff. It’s the accumulation of all those years of self criticism and/or questionable choices that’s winds up as lines on our faces and girth around our middles. It’s all those rock-and-roll concerts, college parties, and lonely nights.  It’s the sleepless nights staying up with children, hard physical jobs, and watching all those soccer games in the rain.  All these things play with our skin, our circulatory system, our psyche. We do all kinds of good things for ourselves and others. Still the legs ache at night, the circles under our eyes remain, and our hair still turns gray.

The good news is that we can always steer ourselves in a positive direction. We can become pro-active, getting involved in projects and people that keep us too busy to be counting years. We can — and do — make a difference in the world, in other people’s lives.

But still, there are tinges of regret in the eyes of the woman who looks back at me in the mirror. To be honest, there will always be a tiny flicker of sadness that I will never be as beautiful as Angelina or as smart as Einstein or as successful as Steve Jobs.  Now and then there will be a faint whisper of shoulda, coulda, woulda. Looking backwards is a natural action; regret (in some form) a natural reaction. I don’t like the idea that the road is longer behind me than in front of me. Nor do I care for the fact that there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

But then I turn on the stereo or put my ear buds in and listen to my IPod, and my youth comes rushing back to me. And I realize it’s never been gone. And will never leave me.

Come on — I know you’ve got it in you. Put on your favorite music — country song, disco song, hairband song. Turn it on and TURN IT UP. You’ll see you’re not an age — you’re a legend.

When we started this band

All we needed, needed was a laugh

Years gone by

I’d say we kicked some ass

When I’m enraged

Or hittin’ the stage

Adrenalin rushing

Through my veins

And I’d say

We’re still kickin’ ass

Kick Start my Heart, Motley Crue

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Stairway to Nowhere

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

 

 

nature-landscapes_widewallpaper_spiral-staircase-to-nowhere_25769

 

 

There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

 

 

12

 

 

Ooh, it makes me wonder

Ooh, it makes me wonder.

 

stairway to nowhere 11

 

 

 

There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking.

 

 

11

 

 

Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.

 

 

Stairway to Nowhere 5

 

 

And it’s whispered that soon, if we all call the tune,
Then the piper will lead us to reason.
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long,
And the forests will echo with laughter.

 

 

Stairway to Nowhere 4

 

 

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now,
It’s just a spring clean for the May queen.
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.

 

 

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Your head is humming and it won’t go, in case you don’t know,
The piper’s calling you to join him,
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

 

 

Stairway to Nowhere 2

 

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul.
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold.

 

 

Stairway to Nowhere 3

 

 

And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last.
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll.

 

 

15

 

 

 And she’s buying … a stairway … to heaven.

 

Sculptures By The Sea 2013

 

Lyrics — Stairway to Heaven. Led Zeppelin, 1971

Perfection

tchaikovskyPerfection.

We all seek it.

Yet it means something different to everyone.

The perfect sunrise. The perfect smile. The perfect chocolate soufflé. One person’s perfection is someone else’s faux pax.

The great thing is it doesn’t matter what someone else’s perfection is. You can have unlimited perfection in your life every day.

Take music. A great rock and roll solo. A sweet, tear-jerking melody. A choir that sounds like angels. All stir emotions deep inside; emotions that want an outlet. Need an outlet.

And sometimes music is just the thing to bring you out into the light of day.

I was listening to the following piece this morning, through earphones, simply sitting and being.The 1812 Overture by Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky was written in 1880 to commemorate Russia’s defense of its motherland against Napoleon’s army in 1812. It has been used as fireworks fodder and cereal background.

A cliche of classical proportions, it takes forever to get to the finale, building, teasing, then pulling back. Cannon fire is in some scores; a choir at the beginning in others. But Tchaikovsky knew dynamics. He knew how to tell a story through music. The struggle of the peasants. Their heartbreak. Their struggles. Their war. Their victory.

Do me a favor. Put your earphones/headphones on and take 4 minutes and listen to this finale. Let your emotions build with the music. Don’t think — just feel. Just for 4 minutes.

And tell me it’s not perfection.

Oh — and P.S. — Turn it UP —

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u2W1Wi2U9sQ

Kiss Me I’m Irish

crystal shamrock There has been a lot of sadness in the news lately –too much death. Too much depression. I’ve gotta find my happy place. So I’m not gonna to be around much this weekend — I’m going to Milwaukee’s IrishFest.

IrishFest is a grand celebration of everything Irish. Chocked full of good music, good people, and good times. I am probably Gaelic Storm’s oldest groupie (61), but that doesn’t stop me from singing loud and clear along with the band and a thousand other good-natured fans. There’s nothing better than their bawdy, good-natured music to life my spirits and connect me with my halfblood Irish roots.

It is also the time of the year that I miss my mother the most. Five feet of firey Irish glow, she was taken from me when she was only 54. She never got to sing “Darcey’s Drunken Donkey” or “Kiss Me I’m Irish” with a thousand other real and pseudo-real Irishmen; she never got to meet my husband, nor watch  her daughter and grandson sing teary-eyed  to the High King’s “Wild Mountain Thyme”; nor watch her great grandbaby dance the Irish Jig in his emerald green t-shirt.

And 30 years later, she never will know how much her daughter still misses her.

So whether or not you are Irish, grab a mug of beer or cup of coffee; listen to Gaelic Storm sing “Kiss Me I’m Irish,” (especially the jig at the end) and love the one you’re with.
Here — let me help you —

 

 

Kiss Me I’m Irish

Old song and old stories
They keep us alive
Without our past
We would never survive
I am my island
My island is me
So you know what you can do if you don’t like what you see

Kiss me, I’m Irish
I am the wild rover
My eyes they are smiling
And I’m seldom sober
I like my whiskey
And I love to dance
So if you’re feeling as lucky as me, take a chance
And kiss me I’m Irish

My heart beats a jig
And me blood, it flows green
I’ve been a rogue and a rambler
From ocean to sea
And I like a Bevy
Now and then this I’ll never deny
But I only drink on the days of the week that end with a ‘y’
I’m no saint I’m no sinner
Of that there’s no doubt
I’ll tell you the truth
I am the one that your grandmother warned you about

Kiss me, I’m Irish
I am the wild rover
My eyes they are smiling
And I’m seldom sober
I like my whiskey
And I love to dance
So if you’re feeling as lucky as me, take a chance
And kiss me I’m Irish

Dublin, Milwaukee, Cleveland and Cork
Kerry, Chicago, Armagh and New York
Belfast and Boston, Donegal and DC
Raise you glasses and sing, sing, sing, sing with me!

Kiss me, I’m Irish
I am the wild rover
My eyes they are smiling
And I’m seldom sober
I like my whiskey
And I love to dance
So if you’re feeling as lucky as me, take a chance
And kiss me I’m Irish

Kiss me, I’m Irish
I am the wild rover
My eyes they are smiling
And I’m seldom sober
I like my whiskey
And I love to dance
So if you’re feeling as lucky as me, take a chance
And kiss me I’m Irish

Lyrics and Image courtesy Gaelic Storm ©2006

The Connection

phantomThere is something about a live experience — a concert, a reading, a play — that, when done correctly, vibrates you to your very core. There is an energy, a connection, with the artist that can move mountains. And when your mountain is moved…well, you can well imagine.

Through the loving generosity of family, I attended a performance of Phantom of the Opera last night. A chance to dress up, sparkle a little. A chance to elevate myself up from the everyday grind of cleaning and cooking and sitting in front of a computer screen for 8 hours a day.  The lights dimmed, the orchestra swelled, and the doomed relationship between the Phantom and Christine began.

I am not necessarily an opera affectionado; I’ve seen maybe two in my life. But this encounter was more than listening to singing and dancing and orchestral surges. It was becoming a part of the interplay between actors telling a story. It was as if the Phantom and Christine and Raoul were living their sad, melodic lives just for me.

I tend to get a little choky and teary at episodes of soulful interactions. I used to be embarrassed about shedding tears, especially in public. Crybaby comes to mind…hormonal as well. But the tears I shed at live performances come from a different well — a well that has no faucet, no hot and cold handles. They just appear — slowly, silently, swiftly.

I don’t even know what the trigger is. This time it was the beautiful song  Music of the Night. Sometimes it’s a sappy song like Wonderful World by the one and only Louie. Sometimes it’s the crescendo at the end of an orchestral piece, like the 1812 Overture. Sometimes it’s the words. A poetry reading, or a blog that just sends lightning bolts to the heart.  I’ve cried during TV shows like Chicago Fire or endings of movies like Passion of Mind.

The triggers are always different, but the overwhelmingness is the same. It is like the meeting of souls. Someone’s words, someone’s music, someone’s painting, reaches out and strums your heartstrings like a Stradivarius. You don’t always know which way it’s coming, but you know you will always be right in its path when it comes.

I think that’s why live performances are so fascinating. So magical. When you experience what the creator wants you to experience, there is a meeting of the minds, meeting of the souls, that cannot be explained. A beautiful painting. A well-written book. A love song. An actor so perfected in his craft that you can literally see a phantom in love or a warrior before battle. You see them, you feel them. Your heart bursts with emotion with their loves and hates and the choices they have to make. Even if they’re not real.

This energy exchange crosses over into other avenues as well. There is nothing more exciting than sitting on the sidelines of a football or basketball game. The players can’t hear you or see your collection of expressions, but  there is something about screaming in tandem with thousands sitting right next to you that keeps your spirit soaring.

I don’t know Cooper Grodin (the Phantom) or Ben Jacoby (Raoul) or Julia Udine (Christine). I don’t know what their favorite junk food is or if they have a mortgage payment. What I do know about them — and other artists — is the love they have for their craft. The pride they have in having honed this love into something that others can enjoy as well. And, for the brief moment we connect, them on stage or in a movie or writing that pivotal scene in their book, our hearts are seeing the same thing. It is me on the stage; it is me dancing the ballet. It is me bursting out in song or craft and showing the world what I can do.

Make an effort to see something live this summer. A band at a local bar; a poet reading from their chapbook; an orchestra in the park  or a play or a rock concert. It doesn’t matter what avenue you take — just go and take a chance on connecting with someone who understands you. Who can instantly turn on your water faucets with a word, a note, a sketch. They will never know who you are, never know what your favorite food is or what you take for a headache.

But they will certainly feel your energy. And you theirs.

 

Me and Motley Ain’t Old

tThere has been a lot of angst going around the blog world lately. Problems, thoughts, ponderings.  It seems to be hitting the 50+ group, although I’ve read quite a few -50 uncertainties as well.  It is like we all are jugging the self-esteem balls, and we keep dropping one or two on our foot. The foot doesn’t break, but it sure as hell hurts.

I myself was going to write a blog about feeling like I’ve really aged in the past year. You know those movie stars and rock stars that come out of mothballs for one reason or another, and you find yourself saying, “Man, have they aged!”  You know — the ones you loved in your teens or 20’s or 30’s.  You cut them no slack for having lived — whether it be through raising a family or doing drugs or surviving tragedies. You want to see them fresh and perky and full of energy. Not wrinkled or bloated. For that reminds us of … us.

I find that at 60 I’m caught between making excuses and living them. The wrinkles and extra pounds and the inability to fall asleep at night and achy legs and feet are from meds, stress, drinking caffeine, sitting at a desk all day, walking the dog, and a hundred other things.  It can’t be that I’m getting old. I mean, Keith Richards looks old. Chevy Chase looks old. Surely ~I~ can’t be looking old like that.

Can I?

This goes beyond our sound reasoning, beyond the I-loved-raising-my-family and the I’ve-been-through-a-lot-of-stuff stuff. It’s the accumulation of all those years of self criticism and/or questionable choices that’s winds up as lines on our faces and girth around our middles. It’s all those rock-and-roll concerts, college parties, and lonely nights.  It’s the sleepless nights staying up with children, hard physical jobs, and watching all those soccer games in the rain.  All these things play with our skin, our circulatory system, our psyche. A day at a time, a week at a time. Until one day you wake up and you say, “Damn!” We eat right, we exercise when we can, and worship in our own way. We are kind to animals and love our kids and take up a cause like walking for cancer or volunteer at the library and do breathing exercises to relax. And still the legs ache at night, the circles under our eyes remain, and our hair still turns gray.

The good thing is that we can always steer ourselves in a positive direction. We can become pro-active, getting active in projects and people that keep us too busy to be counting years. We can try and make a difference in the world, or at least in someone’s life. And we DO that.

But still, there are tinges of regret in the eyes of the woman who looks back at me in the mirror. To be honest, there will always be a tiny flicker of sadness that I will never be as beautiful as Angelina or as smart as Einstein or as creative as Giada.  And now and then there will be a faint whisper of shoulda, coulda, woulda. Looking backwards is a natural action; regret (in some form) a natural reaction. I don’t like the idea that the road is longer behind me than in front of me. Nor do I care for the fact that there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

But then I turn on the stereo or put my ear buds in and listen to my IPod, and my youth comes rushing back to me. And I realize it’s never been gone. And will never leave me.

Come on — I know you’ve got it in you. Put on your favorite music — country song, disco song, hairband song. Turn it on and TURN IT UP. You’ll see you’re not an age — you’re a legend.

When we started this band

All we needed, needed was a laugh

Years gone by

I’d say we kicked some ass

When I’m enraged

Or hittin’ the stage

Adrenalin rushing

Through my veins

And I’d say

We’re still kickin’ ass

Kick Start my Heart, Motley Crue

Wind of Change

2It starts slow, soft, like a kitten’s breath. In the distance, barely noticeable. Soon it gathers momentum, tumbling over cornfields, ruffling the trees in city parks, bumbling around skyscrapers. You sense it before you feel it. Before you understand it.

The Wind of Change.

You don’t always know where the wind comes from, or, as often, why. Perhaps it’s triggered by a thought, a conversation, a color or a moment. But it’s a familiar sensation, a fresh scent. One you’ve felt before.

And you know this Wind of Change is coming for You.

This is not a foreboding wind; dark things don’t bother to ride the wind.  No…it’s a good sign. An encouraging sign. Maybe it’s whispering that you’re finally pregnant. Or that you’re going to finally lose 10 pounds or 50 pounds. Or that your financial future is about to change. Or that you are about to change.

Now, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t darkness trying to stop your growth; most likely you won’t win the lottery tomorrow or make up for years of abuse in a whiff of a moment.

Maybe the soft breeze is your signal to find your dream, to find your purpose in life. To move on. You know — that dream/purpose/growth that’s always with you, afraid to come out and see the light for fear of getting burned.  Perhaps the wind is telling you that things are really all right out here.

The Winds of Change can start small and stay small. Not  every breeze that comes and goes rocks your world. Perhaps the change will be as small as starting to say hi to people you don’t know. Maybe it’s starting to clean the dead debris off your houseplants. Maybe it’s looking into the mirror and once a day say, “You’re okay by me.”

When the wind blows your way, you taste the sweetness of the future, the positive vibrations of change. It’s not meant to be an overhaul…it’s meant to be a tinkle. A tingle. A psychic note that something is coming.

My wind has been tinkling my chimes for about a week now. Maybe it’s the anticipation of cutting and coloring my hair, or getting away for a week to our family cabin. Maybe I’ll get lost in a new story or discover a long forgotten gem.  Whatever it is, I know it’s going to be a welcome change.

Don’t hesitate to blow your own wind of change.

This song seems to haunt my blog today…I hope you like it too….thank the Scorpions…

 

Even Plato Rock and Rolls

Plato once said, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and gaiety to life and everything.”  Indeed. Those you who have found nirvana (no, not the band) through music, no matter what genre, will get the gist of the following story.

I consider myself an adult. Somewhere between 40 and 80, mother of two, full-time employee, loving wife, devoted mother, and average housekeeper. Mature enough to deal with menopause, bounced checks, bosses, brother-in-laws, burned food on the grill and late night (no night) kids. Yet now and then this immaturity creeps up on me.

 ‘Cuz I’m as free as a bird, now — and this bird you cannot chain —

Is there ever a ceiling to age? Is there ever an end to being young? Is there ever a reason to give up the magic of who we were — and who we still are?

If I stay here with you, now — things just couldn’t be the same — ‘Cuz I’m as free as a bird now — how bout you? — and this bird you’ll never chain —

It started one Saturday evening. The college kid was out for the night, the married son busy with his lovely wife and lovely baby, the house was fairly clean, the garbage taken out. Thunderstorms started to move in, threatening my evening of television. A movie, then. After ten minutes I was bored and antsy. Something was brewing. I just knew it.

“Let’s listen to some music,” I said to my husband, my foot bouncing with nervous energy.

“Like what?” he asked, picking up on the electricity in the tone of my voice.

“Well…how about a little Lynyrd Skynyrd?”

For those of you living on another planet, Lynyrd Skynyrd was a great country-rock band from the 70’s. So I innocently picked a song. Sweet Home Alabama. Suddenly all madness broke loose. My husband and I became…possessed. That’s the only way I can describe it. Sweet Home Alabama lead to the famous Free Bird.

Won’t you fly … freeeee bird…           

We cranked up the stereo.

dede WA WA wonnca wonnca … WA WA wonnca wonnca …WA WA wonnca wonnca … wonnca wonnca … wonnca wonnca ….

Suddenly there were no middle-aged people lying around watching TV — there was only this young guy with long, full, bushy hair and a wild-looking woman with dark curls and big glasses dancing around the room, playing an air guitar or, worse yet, an air keyboard.

Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada …

We cranked it up, our eyes closed until the end of the song. Before we knew it, listening to music became a contest. Taking Care of Business. Flirtin’ With Disaster. Whole Lotta Rosie. Dancing in front of the speakers, shaking our booties in over-sized t-shirts and shorts. My husband ran to get the next song. Dream On. A slow song. I grabbed him and we slow danced in the middle of the living room floor. Slow with a rocky beat. Soon enough the song was over. Enough mellowness.  I put on Walk this Way, and we sashayed across the floor, strutting like young dudes and dudettes. Another rock song followed, then another. My turn! I laughed and ran and picked out Fool for the City. My husband followed with Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Oh oh oh! My turn! Oh no! The song I wanted was not on that CD! Drats! I ran around, picking another rocking tune. The speakers were so loud they made the amplifier shut down. We had to shut it off and turn it on again. Couldn’t miss any of this song!

My husband put on a slow, country-rockish tune. Highway Song. I pulled him to the middle of the living room floor and we started to slow dance again. Suddenly the song picked up tempo, another moment lost in a guitar riff. We danced faster, laughing, hugging, trying to keep up with the increased tempo.

The phone rang — our oldest. Great. Hi, howya doing…how’s grandbaby..oh? …yeah…yeah…gotta go…see ya tomorrow… and we ran back to the stereo. We needed more rock and roll! We moved forward in the time warp we had created. A bit of heavy metal, Metallica, vibrated the plant atop the speaker. By the second song my head was beginning to throb. Perhaps we moved too far forward. We found another beboppy tune, Kryptonite

If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman …

The two of us, married over 30 years, sat on the sofa, bellowing out the lyrics of this song as if we were both on stage. The dogs came out to see what the loud voices were all about, then, deciding we were harmless, went back downstairs.

As our energy slowly ebbed, our choices changed. The ache in his elbow returned, my sinus headache from the rain outside demanded aspirin. We pulled out a few more mellow oldies, letting the clock tick away both forwards and backwards.

Our hearts are in the music; our lives entwined with hair bands and bald bands and country rock bands and everything in-between. We have grown up on music, have cherished it like an old friend and have never let it stray far from our world. Music has set us on fire and soothed our souls. It has brought back memories, tears and laughter; it has set the stage, not only for what has been, but for what will be.

Bob Seeger ended our time traveling for the evening. Turn the Page.

Here I go … on the road again … Here I am … turn the page….

My husband pulled me up for one last slow dance. We were 20 again, 20 going on 40 going on 60 going on 20. There is no such thing as age, only a state of mind. We “turn the page” in our lives every night we go to sleep, every morning we wake. We hummed the last few stanzas of the song, knowing our own pages were turning way too fast. I told myself I would make the most of every moment, every song, every slow dance. Every wa wa wonnca wonnca. I would turn up the volume of my life and dance with the gifts I have been given. One day my kids will understand — one day when their own pages start to turn.

Until then, it is our stereo … our rock and roll … and my turn….

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter vs Hannibal Lecter

 I just finished watching the movie Silence of the Lambs. This movie is brutal and unnerving and psychological and graphic. It forces the audience to watch in fascination one minute and hide our heads under the blanket the next. It’s kinda like people who slow down to take a peek at an accident on the side of the road ― it’s scary yet fascinating.  Voyeurism at its worst. And it makes me wonder why a simple, hard-working, middle class wife and mother, catalog coordinator, ex-soccer mom and spaghetti queen, watches a movie about someone who kidnaps women and strips them of their skin.

Why do we watch what we do? Why does society make movies like they do?  Movie making, like writing, is a bizarre connection of our deepest fears and highest nspirations.  The thought of such travesties existing outside our sphere of consciousness practically takes our breath away. Yet movie moguls make cinema magic focusing on psychos, mass murders, and psychological monstrosities all the time, and most of us have shared at least a piece of their legends. Writers such as Stephen King and Dean Koonz strip away our walls and prey on our vulnerable humanness. So I have to ask ― do movies and books reflect our true self?

 The human mind is a confusing labyrinth of thoughts, impulses and memories. That’s why it’s so easy to get lost in it. Not only do we want cuddly children and sentimental songs and feel-good endings ― we want to be confronted with things that terrorize us. Things that unconsciously test the possibility of taking us to that last fishing hole in the sky. Because of this always-changing labyrinth, we find ourselves asking eternal question, “What if?”  What if we/you/they had made a different choice? What if the chick that was captured in Silence of the Lambs decided to stop for a beer with her girlfriends and got drunk and wound up in Cleveland instead of helping the dude with his sofa? What if Melanie in Gone with the Wind had not died? If Luke Skywalker had grown up hanging around with his dad?

 When we are young, there are many choices in front of us. Our love life, our jobs, our cars, all are ripe apples to be picked from the abundant tree of life.  Life is nothing  but one big choice. But often the energy and pressures of our existence make our choices come from circumstance and necessity rather than free will. Hence, one of the trials of being human ― the ever eternal million-dollar question.

But back to the crazy movie. In watching this psychological mess, I oft-handedly wondered if this kind of movie reflected my inner self. I have many friends who talk about the movies they watch:  middle-aged love comedies; retro pot-smoking, chick-banging absurdities; historical pieces.  Some are huge fans of horror; others cannot live without s lot of sex and drama. Do these favorites define who they are? Do these choices influence their cosmic journey? Does Star Trek and Fried Green Tomatoes influence mine?

I think I make too much of a simple case of being human. For more years than there are leaves in a tree,  homo sapiens have been pigeon-holed into categories and titles and labels that may or not be true. Not only are we defined by our religion and our politics, but by our style of dress, choice of music, and our diet. Eventually, many of us figure out that labels, like time, mean nothing. They are nothing but illusions created to give us a feeling of being in control. Which is an illusion in itself. We all know there is no such thing as control ― only the temporary organization of chaos.

Are we too old to appreciate the humor of movies that showcase bare breasts, devil lawyers, psychos, marijuana, and farts? On the contrary! One of the challenges of getting older is there are so many new thoughts, impressions, and attitudes in the world that we cannot possibly keep up. The older we get, the more we want to show the world that we can indeed fit in with the aforementioned thoughts, impressions, and attitudes. And you know what? The gift of experience gives us the tools to do so. It may be that our attention span is much narrower, our need to shoot off at some erratic angle not as strong as hen we were 16…but it shows us that the more the world changes around us, the more it stays the same.

You see, the voice of individuality has never really changed. An individual can be Frank Sinatra mixed with Elvis mixed with Metallica mixed with Keith Urban.  Why can’t we like chocolate and vanilla and tooti fruiti too? Why can’t we talk about football and Texas sheet cake and transcendental meditation in the same breath? Why can’t we wear silk one day and denim the next? We should revel is our uniqueness; revel in the fact that we can enjoy all of the above and not compromise who we are.  Peeking at a horror movie doesn’t mean we are going to dismember the neighbor; watching two women run away and drive off the cliff does not mean we will get the same uncontrollable driving  urge.

I am quite satisfied with the landscape of movies and music before me. The only problem is that I keep dreaming of Harry Potter vs. Hannibal Lechter. Both powerful main characters that keep you wanting to know more. Where does this polarity leave me?

            Satisfied.