Happy Birthday, Happy Autumn

Bruce sp

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.

Advertisements

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.

IMG_0495[1]

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.

kate              Bourdain.jpg

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.

INGRAM ny times

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“.

SONY DSC
                                                     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.

Burt with the girls

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.

4th of July 3

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!!!

In Like A Lion

March has arrived.  With a vengeance.

Here in New England, it came in with a wild wind storm driven nor’easter.   I have to admit, it was pretty mesmerizing,  And reminded me of something my grandmother used to say about this month….”In like a lion, out like a lamb”.  Now that the roar of the wind is over, we are expecting the white noise later in the week.  Not sure yet how much.  I know so many of you have spring fever already, but I am relishing these last few official weeks of winter.  Call me crazy  🙂

2018-Oscars-Logo

Did you catch the Oscars last night???  They did a nice tribute to the military with a montage of many of the war movies Hollywood created in the last nine decades.  I found it hilarious and fitting they brought back Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway to present Best Picture after last year’s mix-up.  And I was sooooo happy Frances McDormand won.  I loved how her unity speech rallied the women in the audience, too!!!  I am really enjoying this movement of women supporting women.  It’s time we take it back from the mean girls and the others who strive to divide, break or silence us.

And it was so great to see some old school Hollywood at the show, especially since it was the 90th Academy Awards.  How beautiful did Eva Marie Saint look?

90th Annual Academy Awards - Show

And how handsome was Christopher Plummer?

Plummer

How about Rita Moreno wearing the same dress last night…..

Rita Moreno 2018

…..that she wore to the Oscars in 1962?

Moreno

I always love watching the red carpet for all the fashion, too.  What about you?  Here are some of my favorites:

Mary J. Blige:

mary j

Mira Sorvino:

Mira

Best Supporting Actor winner Sam Rockwell:

Sam Rockwell

Margot Robbie:

Margot Robbie

Jennifer Garner (my favorite of the night!!!):

jenn garner

Matthew McConaughey (sa-wooooon!!!):

Matthew

Taraji P. Henson:

Taraj

Woody Harrelson & his wife:

woody

Laurie Metcalf:

metcalf

I really wanted Laurie Metcalf to win for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Lady Bird” (great movie, btw).  I have been a big fan of hers since she played Jackie Harris on “Roseanne“.  And that reminds me-are you as psyched as I am for the re-boot of that series starting later this month?  I was such a fan so I cannot wait.  If it is half as good as the “Will & Grace” revival, I am IN!!!

For this week’s song, I chose Mary J. Blige’s Oscar nominated “Mighty River” from “Mudbound“.  Her voice is beautiful and incredibly powerful, just like the lyrics she co-wrote:

“Life is a teacher, time is a healer,
And I’m a believer like a river wild.
Ego’s a killer, greed is a monster
But love is stronger, stronger than them all.”

So how are you enjoying March so far???

All the pictures from the Oscars except the one from 1962 are courtesy of Getty Images.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

Until next time, happy digging!!!

 

A Word & A Song

Hello & happy 2018!!!

Happy-New-Year-Images-2018-HD-6

Original source unknown

I do love the start of a new year-empty page, blank canvas and the rest of those similar metaphors.  I feel energized to tackle the items I did not take care of last month due to my end-of- the-year inevitable slowdown so I could divert my energy to all things holiday.  But yesterday I started  making my to-do lists again and I am eagerly looking forward to crossing off my completed tasks.

What I do not do, however, is make resolutions.  I learned a long time ago that word just sets me up for failure and I had enough of that when I tried to learn geometry in high school.  I do better by breaking the year up into four quarters and make a couple of goals to finish by the end of each one.  They range from choosing a vacation spot and putting a budget in place for it to listing some unwanted items on ebay to trying a DIY project or new recipe.

I am aware of the recent trend to pick a word to live by in the new year.  Way too much of a commitment for me, but if I use the same principal as above and choose a word for each quarter, then I will have four words for the year which is a lot more doable for me.

Grace

Original source unknown

My word for the first quarter of 2018 is grace.  I consider myself a kind and empathetic person so I usually have no problem showing it to others.  Of course, giving it to someone who intentionally hurts me is much harder to do, so I need to work on that.  But where I fail over and over again is honoring myself with the same favor.  I am so critical, so neglectful, so inpatient and so hard on my psyche that I need to just find a way to finally silence those disparaging, mean and useless voices.  I tell other people this but I need to remind myself as well that I am more than enough and that everything will be OK.

To help with this, I am using positive reinforcement.  I am going to give myself a song each week with a great message to remind me to show myself that grace.  Since I love music so very much, I feel like this is a total win-win.  This idea came to me two weeks ago when I was sitting in the Walter Kerr Theater for the Boss’s Broadway show.  As usual, his words hit that part of my soul that brings it peace.  That whispers to my heart that as long as I hear his voice, I am home.  And I belong.  In the same world that includes him.  And my heart is full again and ready to inhale and keep moving forward.  So when he got to this verse, I quietly sang right along with him:

Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted.”

Bruce Springsteen:  “The Promised Land“.

What do you do to motivate you?

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

Until next time, happy digging!!!

IMG_20171219_222549[1]