Dusting Off Old Dreams
1 December 2015
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this project of mine. It’s been years on the boil. I thought decades ago about writing a book or two. Then I moved on to a much bigger stage in my mental browsing – how about public speaking instead? With a raft of littles under my feet and all that this entailed, that wasn’t very practical, now was it?
And so it fared a much, much worse fate than being sent to The Back Burner. I think it got packed up in an unlabeled box and tucked into this cluttered warehouse I call a brain.
And here I am, pushing a fateful age and dusting off old dreams. I have a good bit to say. Thoughts that have been ruminating in my head and in my heart for next to forever. So this is my new stage – not just my life, but my virtual podium. Friends have encouraged me for years to pursue my musings. I think the shove I needed was for that to come from within myself.
I have an affection for photographic art. Things that I see inspire this inner dialogue that need to come out to be appreciated. I jotted down a quick insight from a friend a few years back. She said, “Good thoughts about someone else, when unexpressed, are pointless.” Thanks for that N. And she was absolutely right.
So although it has taken quite some time for my stars to shine – here they are. Better late than never…
A Slow Drift
2 December 2015
I’m certain I am not the only one.
A song has randomly filled the car on my way to do my errands this morning and immediately I want to pull over, crank it up, close my eyes and drift. Savor the memories that have just burst like fireworks in my heart. This one is from when I was a kid. My parents somehow infused music into my soul without me even knowing it. My favorite romance album is theirs. I have a soft spot for Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, thanks to my Dad. This one comes from Floyd Cramer. Our Last Date. I am not sure where it fits into my chronology, but it is in there, snuggly tight.
This is not a new phenomenon for me. Or for you either, for that matter. Thousands of songs take us thousands of places in the skip of a heartbeat. Why is that? How is that? Deeper still – do I do that for someone else? Is there a song out there that trips someone else’s Reminiscent Meter of me that I may never know of?
Moments of Music – These are moments of reverence, moments of mischief, moments that I wish weren’t there at all. Ones that make me roll my eyes, or the ones that make tears soften my face. I love them all.
The Boot of All Evil…
3 December 2015
Do you ever know what is just right without knowing exactly why?
I have been in the market for new hiking boots as of late. Well, not that I hike about much at this stage of the weather, but my left knee is killing me and I am half tempted to think my orthotics could stand to be renovated. I have spent inordinate amounts of time and effort slaving over what I need, what I want, black or brown or gray or even teal (I know, right??), how much am I willing to shell out for these new foot wonders… It’s tough to pick out shoes anymore. There are way too many choices and colors and profiles – even laces are a major element. And so I cautiously waded into these murky waters alone and unassisted. Here I am, a North East Coast dweller facing the harsh reality of Old Man Winter – And no one seems to want to sell me sturdy hiking boots. They all seem to feel that I must be joking. So… here are some super cute, very trendy, lace up to my KNEES boots for $450 that may be just what I was looking for. Wow.
After striking out miserably, I digress over to the men’s section of boot-wear and lo and behold – the ANGELS sing over there! But only if my dainty size 7 women’s foot can become a men’s size 5 and then, only if they carry that miracle of a size, which they do not. The smallest they carry starts at an 8. Then why did they even tell me this in the first place? I am then carrot-led over to the boys section. Except I do not want superman snow boots. Next step: involve my spouse. He is a good sport about my rants. He even takes me on a date night to a local Outlet Mall, holds my hand romantically from store to store – but waits for me up by the exit door as I advance to browbeat the local HS student turned shoe expert about my wants and needs. Store after store, he patiently and attentively listens to my weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. In the end there is absolutely no sign of progress and he treats me to a fabulous and perfect dinner of ice cream. With toppings. I love that man.
I have now been reduced to online shopping. I love online shopping for some stuff, but boots? We shall see how this pans out…
Photo Cred to Clarissa, a Masterpiece by her own right
A Measure of Music
18 December 2015
I have often felt very overwhelmed at things and events in my life. This realization personally occurred when I was a young girl of about 12. I was striving to master the piano, as many young kids aim to do. I had a magnificent piano teacher, Ann Dobbins. Her home was beyond lovely, her grand piano was overwhelmingly lovely as well. She was quirky, patient, a smidge pushy when she needed to be and a loveable soul. When she entered my life, I was a new transplant to a new place. It was tough to fit in. I was 12, the only girl in my family of very rowdy brothers (whom I adore to this day) and starting Middle School. I was concerned about lots of stuff. Sure, most of it was trivial to the casual observer, but from my skin-point ~ it was intense! So once a week I would make the meek pilgrimage to her door, rapping timidly and feeling nervous about my weekly accomplishments in the comfort of my own piano at home. She would warmly greet me, usher me in and envelope me in this state of grace and elegance in our new friendship. And progress I did. I was so very proud of who I was becoming, of who I was and what talent (meager, I’m certain) I was blossoming out with. I felt inspired, confident, capable of tough things – a perfect list of ingredients for a newly transplanted Middle School kid from the Dakotas to the heart of Dixie.
Until that one night – that’s the night that my subconscious became a wicked, wicked thief. Picture this: A fancy dress, a jittery nervous girl, an auditorium (theater in the round type), and a massive gleaming grand piano bathed in a bright spotlight. And the rich stillness – the lights are down, the audience is masked but I feel them just the same. I hear the shuffling of the Recital Programs, I can hear the random stifled coughs, the squeak of chair hinges as they fidget waiting for me. And there I sit, bathed in that overwhelming spotlight, perched like a princess at this elegant instrument. So proud am I that I have memorized my music so thoroughly. I had had it down for weeks. We labored, Ann and I, over musical nuances, poise, phrasing and the like. She bolstered my confidence. I was so ready! But then there’s that thief part.
As I sat there I could not hear the music that had danced in my head for months. I could not remember how it started, how it phrased, where it crescendoed. I began to wilt. The paper shuffling became a roar, the cautioned coughs became urgent noises of an impatient crowd. I had nowhere to hide, nowhere to go. So I sat there. And I lost it all. To this day, I cannot play the piano. I can pluck out a few notes in the treble clef but that’s all that the thief let me keep.
This is not a memory lane moment shared to make you go, “Awww… Poor kid!” And now, “Poor adult who can’t get over such a traumatic thing!” Nope. It is to reinforce my sweet knowledge that life is like music. We strive to learn, to understand, to master one small measure at a time.
And so it is that my Life Motto has been sculpted to be this: Out of Small and Simple Things are Great Things Brought To Pass. We are small, you and I. We have small moments all day, every day. We come from small places and do small acts of grace and generous acts of love. It is good to be small. The world clamors for me to be big, to take huge swipes at life, to be bold and brave and outrageous. But I’m a simple creature. And I love knowing that the measure of my day today will add to the measure of life I lived yesterday and that of the week before. And all this will be added to the measures that I write in my life for the time tomorrows to come. My only hope is that the end result in my life’s music will be a melody worth hearing.
25 December 2015
There are signs everywhere – moral and otherwise. Don’t litter. Keep your trash picked up. Hefty fine doled out upon your bank account if we catch you littering. This roadside is cleaned up by <insert your local do-gooder here> and the like. Your mother hassled you about keeping your stuff clean. So did your roommate. Maybe even your spouse. Let’s face it – littering is bad. Never has anyone ever said to us that littering is allowed here or anywhere.
But I beg to differ.
Getting rid of unwanted stuff is a common enough thing in our lives. I have ditched that funky container of cottage cheese that’s been lurking in the back of the bottom shelf of my refrigerator for who knows how long now. In fact, I am so afraid of it I sometimes pitch the thing without even cracking open the lid just to be sure. If I don’t even remember buying it, there’s a strong possibility that this is the most solid, not to mention sane method of disposal available.
And email. There are dozens upon dozens of emails that I never even get close to opening. I get eyebrow lifting offers from lonely Russian women (I know, right??), incredible ways to make buku bucks with this one simple method, how to lose those pesky 50# by tomorrow, ads to buy everything under the sun – some of which I was not even aware they even make, not to mention the why involved in that one. Phone calls I field that make me crazy. I throw most of them out by just looking at the number on my view screen and thinking to myself,” Hmmm… Do I even know anyone in Oregon??” I have been known to throw away things that mattered once a loooong time ago, but now are just taking up space around here. I’ve got reams of magazines that I thought I’d catch up on reading someday. But then I don’t. That one is harder for me than it looks – throwing out an interesting magazine before I’ve even given the thing a just and proper flip through just to say that I did look at it. For about 1.4 seconds… I have even devoted an entire sorter section on my desk to “Stuff to Read When I Have Time”. I routinely give away clothes, cooking paraphernalia, snacks even!
But. The littering that I really mean to tell you about is deeper than these things. In fact, I believe that the Straight and Narrow Path is the only path that I am aware of where Littering is Allowed. And now is an excellent time in our year to ponder over your life and conduct that inner review of What or Who is good to keep in your life and Why. There are those items, be they living or non, that are simply put – dead weight. We keep them around for lots of reasons. I’m sure you could easily spew forth 13 really good reasons why they are still there in less than half of the time it takes to think of them in the first place. I’m not saying that you should just ditch everything that bugs you – but then again, there is stuff that you would fare much better without. Maybe the future is scarier to face without the crutch of them. Maybe the thought of what in the world would take it’s place or tide me over until I get stuff figured out stalls me. And then there’s the classic of “But that’s what we’ve always done/had/used/said/believed/pursued” thing. Or perhaps it’s a habit that you know full well is not a good one to keep. You have known this for quite some time now.
Have you ever unloaded something heavy in your life and then much later still felt that fresh breath of relief again and again? This is what I’m talking about. So I guess what I’d like to say is that littering is allowed in our lives. It really is okay to deep clean your soul, your thoughts, habits, your emotional inbox. Delaying it (yet again) is of no service to you or yields a spiffy star sticker on your forehead either. And you will live to tell about it.