Happy Birthday, Happy Autumn

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Bruce Springsteen (original source:  Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com).

It has been one heck of a year for this man who has already racked up decades of good ones.  Since his last birthday, he has been starring in his Tony Award winning Broadway show.  It was originally supposed to run for only about two months, but due to the incredible demand for more performances, he extended it to the end of this year.  While several singers have chosen to headline residencies in Las Vegas, Springsteen has chosen a more intimate setting that has reinvented his epochal music in a new and even more illuminating way.  That is an unbelievable feat that could only be accomplished by a talent like his.  Happy birthday, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen.  You are a beautiful man with a beautiful soul.

We are also officially in the fall season.  Yay.  That deserves a song, too.  So today I am sharing two with you.

For The Bossman’s birthday, I chose the title track of his 2009 record.  In typical Springsteen fashion, he describes holding on to a vision of a better life despite all the road blocks that appear in its way.  And how love will help the dream along.

I’m working on a dream
Though trouble can feel like it’s here to stay
I’m working on a dream
Well our love will chase trouble away.

Bruce Springsteen:  “Working On A Dream

The second song honors the new season.  This iconic singer/songwriter performed here in Connecticut yesterday with a little help from some of his fellow musician friends at this year’s Farm Aid concert.  It sets the tone of this new autumn season perfectly.  And how love makes everything better.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.”

Neil Young:  “Harvest Moon“.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of the people & music I love with you.

Until next time, happy digging.

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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Hello again.  Hope you all had a great summer.  Fall is almost here.  Yay!!!

Sorry for the unplanned/unannounced hiatus.  It has been a rough summer (year actually) for me personally & professionally, and it has all taken a toll on my creativity.  When I am in that place, I do a lot of reflecting.  The older I get, that seems more normal than looking ahead.  I am trying desperately to change that, but it is so very difficult.

I am looking forward to reawakening myself with the upcoming change of season we are about to begin.  Like the quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald goes, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”.  I feel reborn when the weather cools and the leaves change.  This year I need a fresh start more than ever.

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The summer was hot and humid which was to be expected.  It was also full of loss which was not.  Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain losing their battle with depression was not only heartbreaking, but terrifying to anyone who suffers from that same disease (read:  me, although I prefer not to discuss this battle publicly).  I always hoped with more love and more success in my life I would feel more stable in fighting this demon.  But their stories only prove how much I have been kidding myself about this illness.  A few years ago I lost a dear family friend to the same battle.  We grew up together and I never knew what he was going through.  It scared me so much I had to stop looking at my fear because I was afraid if I didn’t, I was going to get lost in it and never come back.  Spade & Bourdain’s deaths so close together has made it impossible to look away.  And that is incredibly scary, too.  That is my present.

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Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain (original sources unknown).

The reflecting started with the death of one of my childhood heroes, legendary disc jockey Dan Ingram.  One of the best things about growing up in New York was listening to music radio WABC-77.  All of the DJ’s were phenomenal (especially Harry Harrison & Ron Lundy), but Ingram’s time slot of 2PM-6PM was the one I could listen to almost all the way through, and I fell head over heels in love with his voice.  It was deep yet elegant, sharp yet comforting and funny and irreverent as hell.  He was the reason I fell in love with both voices and vocabulary.  One of his daily events featured a word of the day.  I always thought he was making them up until I was in sixth grade and one of my spelling words-eloquent-was one I heard on his show.  Then I learned the words were real but his definitions were the punch line.  It made me love Ingram even more and helped expand my vocabulary exponentially.

His show also featured an honor group of the day which ranged from those in certain professions, or hobbyists and club members to every other group in between, making anyone feel welcome in his world.  He referred to his audience as “the Ingramess” but kept it personal with his signature sign off  of “Bye now, Kemosabe” while big band music played him off.  Years later he moved to WCBS-FM where he did weekend shows and he was better than ever.  When he died on June 24 at the age of 83 it was like losing one of my dearest, oldest friends.   And for those of you not lucky enough to know who this man was, here’s a clip of his genius.

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Dan Ingram at WCBS-FM circa 1990’s (courtesy of the NY Times).

The friends we make in childhood we remember forever.  And I had some of the best.  Winnie the Pooh courtesy of A.A. Milne & Walt Disney, Mr. Rogers, the Peanuts courtesy of Charles M. Schulz and the disc jockeys at 77-WABC.  All of them held a special place in my heart, but Ingram had me holding on to every word.  His comments were as important to me as the lyrics of the songs he played every weekday afternoon.  He was one of the best teachers I ever had.  My childhood was briefer than most but he was a huge part of it.  And in those memories of when my life was whole, happy and full of color, he was one of the most vibrant ones.  I had the chance to interview him by phone many years ago when I was writing an article about CBS-FM’s yearly Thanksgiving countdown and it was one of the high points of my life.  Getting the chance to thank him for being such a hero of mine was one of the greatest gifts I was ever given.  His loss has me heartbroken in so many ways.  It is like losing the last piece of my childhood.

Then less than two months later, we lost the Queen:  Aretha Franklin.  For those of you who follow my blog, you know how much I love music, so this loss is ENORMOUS.  There will never EVER be a singer like Aretha.  Her voice, her soul, her passion, her songs……sublime.  The world is truly a darker place without her in it.  Yes, we will always have the music.  But her mere presence made our world a better place.  I am just devastated.

This is not as popular as some of her other songs, but it is one of my favorites:  “Angel“.

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                                                     Aretha Franklin at her concert at Jones Beach, NY July, 2011. 

Now we have lost Burt Reynolds.   If you saw my Instagram post about him yesterday, you know the first film I saw of his was “The Longest Yard”.  His infectious laugh hit me harder than his looks.  Who did not love him in the “Smokey & the Bandit” films?  Or with Goldie Hawn in “Best Friends”?  And how great was he on one of my favorite (and sorely underrated) shows, “Evening Shade”?  And how about him with my favorite ladies on “The Golden Girls”?  He was definitely a big part of my childhood, and now he is gone too.  Sigh.

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Burt Reynolds on “The Golden Girls” in 1986.  

I know full well that loss is a part of life, but this year has just brought so many that have forced me to revisit parts of my life I try to steer clear of.  Yes, avoidance works well for me.  Sometimes.

I tried writing about these losses as they occurred, but again, avoidance & the lack of creativity stopped that from happening.  But now that the summer is over but the losses continue, I am hoping that by finally writing about them will change my luck and the trajectory of the universe for a while.  One can hope, right?

The song I have been listening to almost non stop these last few months is one I have ADORED forever.  It is a sad song about the loss of a love but it is so achingly beautiful I find myself identifying with it while reflecting on the losses of my youth.  When I remember that this horribly underrated singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist wrote this song nearly 50 years ago before he turned 25 I am blown away.  If this was all he ever gave us, what a contribution it was on its own.  But he also blessed us with “For What It’s Worth”, “Suite:  Judy Blue Eyes”, “Love the One You’re With”, “Southern Cross” and many other songs which are enigmatic, timeless and beautiful.

“Stand by the stairway

You’ll see something certain to tell you

Confusion has its cost”

Stephen Stills (via Crosby, Stills & Nash):  “Helplessly Hoping“.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of the people & things I love with you.

Until next time, happy digging.

“…That Our Flag Was Still There…”

Happy Independence Day!!!

Please enjoy my all-time favorite renditions of the National  Anthem.  The first one was recorded 35 years ago at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game by one of the greatest singers to ever walk this earth.  He sang it with the reverence the song deserved, but in his own unique passionate and soulful way.  It was a beautiful and masterful performance.

Twenty-one years later at the 2004 NBA All Star Game, his daughter would use his version to sing it as a duet with her father and it was absolutely stunning.

Enjoy & have a happy & safe 4th of July, friends!!!

Marvin Gaye:  The Star Spangled Banner.

Marvin Gaye & Nona Gaye:  The Star Spangled Banner.

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Barn Sale Fun

One of the best things about living in New England is the plethora of barn sales.  They are everywhere and I am completely obsessed.

This time around I did not buy anything, but I l-o-v-e-d everything I saw.  The one I went to happens once a month so I will definitely be back.  Look at these great items!!!

Barn sale 1

I am seriously considering buying one of these large bins.  No Idea what I would do with it, but I keep picturing it in a vertical position working as some type of shelving fixture, or lying horizontally across some hay bales chock full of pumpkins on a rustic fall front porch.  Gorgeous, right???

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Barn doors and shutters……..swoon!!!

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Barn sale 4

I am sure my fellow “Golden Girls” fans know why I took a picture of this sign.  The girls sang this jingle in season 7 episode 24 while they were waiting for Rose in the hospital (“My beer is Rheingold the dry beer, think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer, it’s not bitter not sweet it’s the extra dry treat won’t you try extra dry Rheingold beer”.)  God, I love those women!!!

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Which items did you like best?

For today’s song I chose two from one of my dad’s favorite movies in honor of Sunday being Father’s Day.  It’s been nearly seven years since he died and my world has been such a cold dark color without him.  But he and my mother gave me the foundation from which my love of music was born, and from the moment he and I first watched “Eddie and the Cruisers” together, there was no denying how much he loved it and its soundtrack.

We will not discuss the fact that it nearly drove me into a catatonic state every time my dad refused to acknowledge that these songs were NOT by my true love Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band (so so sorry, Bossman 😦  ).  My dad forgave me for a lot of things, so I must show him the same courtesy here.  So Dad, the second song is for you because I know how much you loved it.  The first one is for us & how much I yearn to relive all the tender years we spent together again.  And how I wish we had more.  Te amo, Dad.

“Oh oh oh tender years

Won’t you wash away my tears 

How I wish you were near

Please don’t go tender years”

Eddie & the Cruisers/John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band:  “Tender Years“.

Eddie & the Cruisers/John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band:  “On The Dark Side“.

Until next time, happy digging!!!

Beware The Ides Of May……..

Yesterday I survived my first-and hopefully last-tornado. 

Being from the east coast, I have had my share of hurricanes, but not tornadoes.  Hurricanes give you several hours, if not days, to prepare.  Tornadoes do not.  They give you mere minutes. 

Picture it:  May 15, 2018.  Connecticut.  I got off work around 2PM because the office A/C was not working and the temperature outside was a very humid & stifling 85 degrees.  I went home, put on the A/C, had a snack and fell asleep.  I was awoken at around 4:45PM because both my cell phones were blasting the EAS (Emergency Alert System) tone.  I keep an old cell around with my TV app on it since I am too lazy to download it to my new phone.  (I know….please don’t judge).  

Tornado OXFORD

 

At first I thought it was the usual-an  amber alert-so I did not panic.  Then the automated voice came on:  

“Tornado warning in this area until 5:15PM.  Take shelter now.”

“What?????????????”, I thought.  

Then the voice repeated itself. 

“Tornado warning in this area until 5:15PM.  Take shelter now.”

I grabbed the phone to check the time.  I had less than 30 minutes to prepare.  Then I put the TV app on to watch the local news.  I heard every other word because my mind was still reeling from the shock……until the phrase “this is the kind of storm that has the potential to take the roof off a house” was spoken.  Then, panic set in.  My heart began to race.  And I started to cry.  I was never much of a crier, but in the last few years it has become my go-to thing.  And I began to pray.

Tornado WALLINGFORD

I unplugged my computer and TV because I was taught to always do that in a hurricane in case of a power surge.  I live in a small cottage and every room has windows except the bathroom, so I threw whatever necessities I could grab-like Snapple bottles, my meds-into my pocketbook, grabbed a folding chair from the closet and went into the bathroom.  

I was terrified but tried to focus on how to stay as safe as possible during the next few minutes.  I texted “We are under a tornado watch WTH” to my dear sweet cousin, Gina, who lived in Alabama for over a decade and knew the tornado drill like the back of her hand.  She is also a former nurse and one of the best moms I have ever seen so I knew she would help me just by answering my text so I would not feel so alone.  But when she texted back “OMG”, I think I threw up a little (I can’t really remember…..it is still a blur).

Then the Gina I know, love and admire started texting me instructions:  “Bathroom safest place if there is no basement.”  Check.  “Watch means conditions are favorable.  Warning means tornado has been spotted”.  Check.  “Plug in all your communicative devices-phone, computer.  Keep things plugged in in case you lose power.”   Leave bathroom to plug in computer and grab phone chargers.  Check. 

Then I heard the rain & hail hitting the windows and heard the glass bottles in my outside recyclable bins rattling.  I heard something heavy hit my roof and the lights began to flicker.  “It’s here” I texted Gina.  In the past she told me that when a tornado is close it sounds like a train.  The lights started flickering so the news app went off.  Then the power went out and, as Johnny Cash sang in “Folsom Prison Blues“, I heard the train a-coming.  Except for when my dad died and I felt like an orphan (despite being way over the age of 21), I have never been so scared.   I texted Gina that the power went out but miraculously it came back on less than 10 seconds later.  Then I told her I was scared.  And I started praying even harder. 

Tornado A-DAMAGE

Then, oddly enough, I remembered Cloud Nine’s manager & resident Baptist, Glenn, praying to Allah in the Superstore episode where they were hit by a tornado.  That must have given me enough momentary peace to slow my heartrate down for a second and suddenly the news app came back on.  The lights flickered a few more times but the power remained on.  Thank you, Jesus.

More texts from Gina:  “R U listening to weather?   Do you have sirens?”  (Where she lived they have tornado sirens, but we only have the EAS.)  

“Just listen to weather and stay in bathroom.  It has more support.  Trying to see on radar when the rain storm will pass.”

Then the weatherman said the winds were down to 85 from 100 so I texted Gina this development.

“It is passing.  10 more minutes it should calm down”.

“Can you hear the wind?”

“What is your zip code?”  (I knew she was checking the online reports of the storm for me.)

“It says it will continue to rain but tornado warning will cease.”

I thanked her for staying with me while I was so scared.

“It is very scary.  CT NBC has a site.  Put in your zip code and you get alerts and watch where the storm is moving.”

Tornado CHESHIRE

Then her wonderful news about the storm diminishing was confirmed by the news team I was watching.  The worst was over.  I was OK, so was my house, and so was my car.  Thank you, God.

The pictures in this post are ones I found online of some of the storm damage.  These towns are not far from me.  As the saying goes, it could have been SOOOOOOO much worse for me.  I could have been in the car driving, or at a place that was not as safe as my house.  Scary.        

Thank you, sweet Gina, for ALWAYS being my hero & my biggest cheerleader.  And hats off to all you southerners who deal with tornadoes as part of your lives.  I have no idea how you do it.   

Until next time, happy digging!!!  And stay safe!!!

Back In The Game

Well, it is finally here.  No, not spring, which finally did make it to New England.  I am referring to thrifting season-it has finally begun!!!  However the sale is labeled-estate sale, garage sale or tag sale-now is the time we will see them nearly every weekend, rather than sporadically.  And I cannot wait to start digging!!!

I have gone to a couple over the last few weeks, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know I hit it out of the park at my first one by snagging this little beauty:

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I also found this gorgeous piece which I was swooning over but could not afford it (and it was way over priced), but man, was I in LOVE!!!

Antique cabinet

 

 

 

 

I also saw my dream pick up truck, the one I picture myself driving around town on Saturday mornings to local garage sales with a bulldog riding shotgun when I finally have my dream house (and dream bulldog) in the country.

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Even if I do not stop at every sale, I just love driving down the street and seeing views like this:

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There is something so exciting yet very comforting about these sales.  The suspense of what I might find underscored with the comfort of knowing I have the chance to find a treasure, a diamond in the rough, a DIY project or a combination of all three.

Switching gears to one of my other vices, did you guys hear there is another great old show getting a comeback?  It’s “Murphy Brown” and I cannot wait!!!  I will really miss Robert Pastorelli and his character “Eldin”, but the chance to see Candace Bergen and Grant Shaud (“Miles”) interact again has me on the edge of my seat.

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The original “Murphy Brown” cast from its first run (original source unknown).

And are you guys enjoying the new “Roseanne” episodes as much as I am???  It is really hitting its pace again and delving into the character’s pasts to make us understand why they are where they are in the present.  Great acting, great writing, great story-lines…..I am completely loving the show.

My other current fave show, “Superstore”, continues to entertain me as well.  The mix of these characters is one I have not seen before and each new guest character (Pastor Craig and Isaac are two standouts featured in the hilarious “Amnesty” episode) instantly becomes my favorite!!!  I just really hope we have not seen the last of Linda Porter, since her character, Myrtle, was fired despite how adorable she is.  Fingers crossed we see her again!!!  And please, God, let me find a friend like Dina!!!!  Everyone needs a Dina in their life!!!

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   The cast of “Superstore” (Courtesy of NBC). 

Now, time for a song.  One of the new tags on Facebook is asking people to name the 10 albums that most influenced them.  This got me thinking about the ones I would name and why.  Of course, “Born To Run” & “Otis Blue” would top my list, but that still leaves eight other choices.  That brought me to remember my introduction to this man’s voice.

I was watching “The Last Waltz” for the first time, and I was mesmerized.  His voice, his lyrics, his interpretation of the song and the music-all perfection.  He is one of my favorites to this day, and whether it’s a ballad or a rocker, I love every second of his songs.  And for someone who grew up on radio and continues to listen to all of it today-local, national and satellite-these words bring back that feeling of hearing my favorite song being played.  It is a primal emotional response like no other.  Music & songs allow us to time travel,  taking us back to moments in our lives that we cherish or can’t forget for other reasons.  Either way, they make us feel…..”and then we can get down to what is really wrong”.

“Turn up your radio and let me hear the song
Switch on your electric light, then we can get down to what is really wrong.

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio
Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know its got soul.”

Van Morrison:  “Caravan” (studio version & “The Last Waltz” version).

I only own the rights to my own pictures, nothing else I featured in this post.  The rest are things I love and want to share with you you  🙂

Until next time, happy digging!!!