Just Another Scintilating Sunday

Asiatic Lily Bouquet, forced to listen to Satelite Radio and blooming madly anyway.

Asiatic Lily Bouquet, forced to listen to Satellite Radio and blooming madly anyway.

This morning as I was overloading my blender with mad cancer fighting ingredients (I say mad because if they’re fighting they ought to be mad) I wondered if it isn’t about time for me to make my peace with the satellite radio.  Normally I don’t appreciate it’s noise, and there are some days when I hate it.  Those are the days when I want everyone in the world to just shut up.  So if you are dropping over for coffee on one of those days, God help you.  But no worries, today I’m feeling pleasant and chatty.  And I am blogging this without wearing any make up. I feel like what I have to say is more important than how my face looks.  Although if you were actually here drinking coffee with me you might beg to differ.  Anyway, I know there are people out there who blog naked, so this is hardly big news, but it’s as close to blogging naked as I’m likely to get.

Okay, back to the sat radio.  W has it on all the time.  When I come home he is smart enough to turn it down.  If he doesn’t and I get to it first, it gets turned right off.  He also tries to find channels with the highest percentage chance of me being able to tolerate them.  I do try to be tolerant.  Especially of people who dearly love background noise.  And this morning I was thinking that because there’s a lot of channels, there should be at least one or two that not only won’t make my head ache but that I might also actually enjoy. Yeah, well, it’s Sunday, the weather is nice, I’m in a good mood.  Pigs could fly.  Let’s try some music from the 1940′s.  I’m not kidding.  They had weird music back then and I don’t mind listening to that.  I picked up the remote, pressed select, and tried to remember what combination of zeros and fours would get me there.

Suddenly there was a deep growling voice doing hip hop rap.  I don’t care if there isn’t any such thing, that’s clearly what it was.  He sounded like a mad muppet monster, only less intelligent.  So not exactly what I was expecting.  Eventually I found Count Bassie, a definite improvement.  I love jazz, swing, big band and piano blues.  Although in small doses rather than large.  Maybe I was born in the wrong era.  The radio is still playing but I’m in a different room and can’t really hear it.  But, hey, it’s still turned on.

Speaking of “hey”, I had a delightful conversation with a little boy at work yesterday.  He was about three, with ears that he hasn’t quite grown into.  He walked right up beside me in our lab.

Him:  HEY!

Me: Hey.

Him:  Hey!  What are you doing?

Me:  I’m cleaning a pair of glasses.

Him:  Hey!  What’s that white thing?

Me:  It’s an ultrasonic cleaner, sort of like a bath for glasses.

Him:  Hey!  That’s funny!  Haha!

Mom from the doorway:  Hey!  What are you doing?  Get out of there!

So hey, he had to leave.

Aren’t those Asiatic Lilies beautiful?  A gift from K and C last weekend.  I can’t believe how they’ve lasted.  My tiger lilies in the back yard are just starting to bloom too.  I’m surrounded by lilies and Woody Herman and Duke Ellington and the voice that says “…no destination…just 40′s and beyond!”

Sort of like this post, no real purpose, just some meandering coffee talk, keeping my typing fingers limber.  Well, I’m going to go get some more coffee, how about you? Really?  But I’ve got French Vanilla cream!  Hey, where are you going?  Come back!

Summerfly

I don't normally have Fridays off, but when I do, not everyone can keep up with me.

I don’t normally have Fridays off, but when I do, not everyone can keep up with me.

Sometimes things to talk about come in the mail or mysteriously surface during a clean-up and neither will leave your head until you forcibly remove them.  At least that’s been my experience.  For today.  Tomorrow could be another whole ball of wax. (Where did that strange expression come from? I tried looking it up, but it seems no one can agree on its exact origin and after reading the third or fourth educated guess I lost interest.)

Anyway, after waiting all week for it, an invoice/receipt arrived at last in the mail today.  I am sharing part of it here because I think it’s pretty exciting.

itinerary 001

If all goes well, I will be celebrating my May 13th birthday in Athens this year.  Santorini is one of the places my brother visited and loved and thought he would like to return to see again some day but he never got the chance.  So this trip is a family holiday to remember him.  Good Gawd, look at all those island ferry transfers across the deep dark sea.  I hope they make good wine in Greece.

The other thing I’m sharing surfaced from a filing cabinet, in a file folder labeled ‘recipes’.  Who in the world prints off random recipes from the internet and files them away and ignores them for a decade?  Never mind, we already know the answer to that.  Inside this folder I also found a copy of a Christmas letter written by our cats in 1997, a three-fold religious pamphlet and a letter from a fitness spa, but there was something else in there even MORE interesting.  I can picture you rolling your eyes and sighing but sorry, that’s not going to stop me.  Here are the amazing printed words I found with no title and no explanation.

In another younger day I could dream the time away
In the universe inside my room
And the world was really mine from June until September
And if it wasn’t really so I was lucky not to know
And I was lucky not to wonder why
Because the summer time is all that I remember

A summer fly was buzzin’ every night when I was young
In the gentle world my child-like senses knew
And the world was just my cousin
And the wind was just the tongue
In the voice my lonely moments listened to

And I look at me today all the dreams have gone away
And I’m where I never thought I would be
Seeing things I never thought I would see happening to me
And I lay awake at night til the darkness turns to light
Hearing voices calling out my name
Droning over and again the same message to me

Crying who’s your partner, who’s your darlin’, who’s your baby now?
Who wakes up at night to pull you in
But it don’t matter, you’ll just make her lonely anyhow
I don’t know why you even try to win

At first I thought it was a poem but then I remembered it’s the lyrics to a song and went searching for it on YouTube.  It’s amazing what’s on that site and the stuff that comes up and how much time can go flying by while you’re sitting on the living room couch with your I-Pad and a gigantic cup of coffee.

If you don’t know this song but like the words and the kind of sad and dreamy way they sound in your head, I think you’re going to love the music.  There was some method to my madness, writing it down and putting it away in safekeeping to be discovered again on some very distant future Friday off.

Beautiful Ocean, Beautiful Tree

ocean

I took this picture! It’s the Atlantic Ocean! (Not the whole thing, of course.)

Ever wake up with some ridiculous song in your head and no clue why it surfaced?  Like maybe from the bottom of the sea while the bubbles danced about above the water?

Yep, dreams can be messed up and confusing, and that’s why I rarely try to analyze them lest real life become equally baffling.  I just google the pertinent stuff I remember which I’m pretty sure I couldn’t possibly have made up.  Here’s a link to this delightful song from my childhood.  I am sharing it along with a warning.  It WILL get stuck in your head and you WILL want to sing along.  So click at the risk of your own sanity, or to prove me wrong, whichever one works for you.

http://songs.musicsales.com/pop_play.asp?sng=200705081063

How fun was that?

Now to get that song out of your head, here’s one by Rain Perry.  It’s the theme song for “Life Unexpected” which is kind of a sappy tv show with a very far-fetched story line, but also some amazing sob-worthy moments.  And obviously a great theme song.

007
Hope you’re having a beautiful Sunday.

Bubble Bath

Imagine a romantic candle lit bathroom scene with rose petals and steamy mirrors, a glass of white wine perched on the edge of a big claw foot tub and a shapely leg rising from scented bubbles.  It’s time to pamper yourself, listen to some good music, think happy thoughts, close your eyes and relax.

bubbles

I’m impressed if you were able to get all that going on in your head, and even more impressed if you’ve done it all in real life and it works for you.

I’m afraid I have a very bad bubble bath attitude and don’t understand what all the fuss is about.  I would rather shower than take a bath.  I don’t like all that soap and how it makes my skin itch. I don’t like hot-tubs full of chemicals and flakes of dead skin either.  I don’t like soap scum, bathtub rings or rubber ducks.  Is there a bah humbug expression for this kind of thing?  I am the Ebenezer Scrooge of bathing with bubbles.

Berlinerin im Schaumbad

This is how happy it makes me to soak in a tub.  Please stop torturing this poor woman and let her pull the damn plug.

Oh well, that’s just me.  I do understand it is a little weird to feel this way.  But I can relax and listen to music and drink wine while admiring my toes without getting all wet or locking myself in the bathroom first.  However, if that’s what you really want to do, I would never try to stop you.

Just clean up that scummy oily soap ring when you’re done.

Posted for Cin’s Feb Challenge /Witchy Rambles Day 7 – Bubble Bath

Sing

linda ronstadt

Still gorgeous after all these years.

“Someone once asked me why people sing. I answered that they sing for many of the same reasons the birds sing. They sing for a mate, to claim their territory, or simply to give voice to the delight of being alive in the midst of a beautiful day. Perhaps more than the birds do, humans hold a grudge. They sing to complain of how grievously they have been wronged, and how to avoid it in the future. They sing to help themselves execute a job of work. They sing so the subsequent generations won’t forget what the current generation endured, or dreamed, or delighted in.”

Linda Ronstadt     Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir  

Posted for Cin’s Feb Challenge  on Witchy Rambles

Just Jazzy 197

soap-lock (n) a lock of hair worn on the temple and kept smoothly in place by being soaped:  hence, any lock brushed apart from the rest of the hair and carefully kept in position.

sackbut (n) a medieval musical instrument of the trumpet family

"I wear my soap-lock on my forehead and play sackbut in a marching band!"  How totally awesome is that for an answer when somebody asks what you do?

“I wear my soap-lock on my forehead and play sackbut in a marching band!” How totally awesome is that for an answer when somebody asks what you do?

Jazzy Words

Music Lessons

piano

365 Days of Writing Prompts from WordPress:  Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse.  How is your life different today because of him or her?

My mother bought a second-hand upright piano when we were kids and announced that all of us were going to take lessons and learn how to play it.  I don’t remember being given a choice about that, but we embarked on the process willingly enough.  Music lessons must have been something my parents discussed and dad agreed to simply to make mom happy, although even buying the piano would have been a major expense for them and certainly was not a necessity.  Like all good parents, they sacrificed to give their kids opportunities.  And like all kids everywhere, we did not always appreciate the things we had to do for our own good.

Mr. Rhodes was short and round and serious and I never saw him dressed in anything but a suit and tie.  He had black brush cut hair, big dark rimmed glasses and a stern and scowling look, but he was, underneath all that, a gentle man.  He played the organ at our church and his wife was our choir director.  She was also an Avon Lady, and he was a high school industrial arts teacher who taught music in his spare time. They lived in a little white stucco house near the high school and although I must have visited it a hundred times, all I remember is the tiny living room with a table chock full of Avon stuff and the piano lesson room around the corner where I would sit on a hard bench for an hour at a time in the interests of obtaining a well-rounded education.

From the first lesson he had a lot of patience with me.  I had none at all with myself.  Much like how I wanted to be able to read books after a couple of weeks in grade one,  I expected to be able to play the piano well and to do it quickly without a lot of effort.  I wanted short cuts to mediocrity.  He was more bent on slowly fostering and developing an appreciation and a love in me for all things musical.  Music delighted him.   Lesson after lesson he painstakingly taught me how to read the notes on the page, the proper fingering and hand positions, and a lot of boring stuff about dead composers and sharps and flats and major and minor keys and keeping time.  I thought all the practicing would kill me so I did as little of it as possible.

Despite my best efforts to merely survive the tedium, a lot of knowledge sunk in and eventually some talent oozed out.  He told me I was one of his best pupils, although now I think he was being rather generous with his praise.  I did get very good at sight-reading, sitting down with a brand new piece of music in front of me and playing it through without difficulty.  But I never felt like interpreting what was written into anything beautiful or sad or joyous with feeling and real emotion.  Watching a concert pianist play something classical and emote all over the keyboard with closed eyes and a rapturous face made me extremely uncomfortable.  I had no ambition whatsoever for that to ever be me.  When Mr. Rhodes would wave his pencil in the air and cry “Dolce!  Pianisimo!”  in the middle of a piece,  I would often just bang away all the harder to drown him out.

Less dedicated teachers might have thrown up their hands, but he looked for ways to encourage and motivate me.  He went out one day and bought me a big music book full of John Philip Sousa marches and told me to take it home and play my heart out.  Suddenly music was a beautiful thing.  Our piano took a real beating for a while after that.  Grandioso and fortissimo were definitely my thing.  I was never what anyone would describe as a loud or forceful person, but for whatever reason, playing the piano brought that out in me.

My brother got to quit the piano lessons when he’d had enough of them, and one of my sisters decided she wanted singing lessons instead.  I often said I wanted to stop, but I could see how much it meant to mom for me to keep going.  And Mr. Rhodes pronounced me almost good enough to take my grade eight practical and theory exams if I chose to work a little harder.  So I kept going for music lessons longer than I ever expected I would, with no real plan for ever putting them to any use.

You may find it strange to learn that I went on to play the organ at church after taking lessons on that instrument as well, and adding deep bass foot pedaling to my repertoire.   I learned to do soft and quiet background pieces, slow and funereal dirges, the kind of soothing music that can put some church goers to sleep.  But I lived for the glory hallelujah Onward-Christian-Soldier marching hymns putting fire in everyone’s soul, never mind leaving a lot of the older parishioners a little breathless and blue in the face.

My music teacher had a heart attack and died in his backyard on a summer afternoon when I was halfway through high school.  I don’t know if there were any warning signs but that wouldn’t have changed the fact that it was sad and shocking news.  I never got to tell him how bad I felt for not passing the music exams, although I brushed it off as totally unimportant at the time.  I did tell everyone I didn’t want to take them but they urged me on so I went through the motions in my usual lackadaisical fashion.   Even though I knew how disappointed he would be if I didn’t do well, I didn’t work hard enough and I’m sorry for that.  I passed the sight reading part with flying colors though. That was the only thing that impressed my examiners.

How is my life different because of him?  Well I didn’t really have much of a life going on before he and his piano were in it, so I can only imagine how different it would be without all my miscellaneous musical knowledge.  It drives me nuts to hear wrong notes and anything played or sung off-key.  I can still look at a piece of music and read it and hear it in my head.  Maybe I could still play it, but these old hands are certainly out of practice.  We couldn’t be hauling a piano all over the place when my kids were growing up, so they never got to be “Rhodes scholars” like me.

I’ve heard people say they wish they’d kept up with their music lessons, but I don’t mind that they stopped for me when they did.  It was never one of my passions.  I’m simply happy to have known someone who loved it all so very much.

365 writing prompts

Thump Ripe Melons

joan baez

365 Days of Writing Prompts ( WordPress) for January 4:  Quote Me 

Yes, I know I am a day behind, but I’m skipping the one they suggested for today because it involved the phrase ‘favourite book’ and for me there just is no such thing. Or possibly favourite anything, but for the sake of sanity, I’ll just pick a quote I like and everything will be back to normal tomorrow.  Or, you know, as close as it gets.

Do you have a favourite quote that you return to again and again?  What is it, and why does it move you?

Life is a thump-ripe melon, so sweet and such a mess.  (Joan Baez)

Found out yesterday I have been getting this quote wrong forever.  I thought it was “life is like a soft ripe melon, so sweet and such a mess” but the words are from the song Rexroth’s Daughter, and the original version of this quote (which is actually what one is supposed to get right, because, duh, it’s a quote)  is a lot better than the one I appear to have messed up. Because thump-ripe is an incredibly fun thing to say, and stating that life IS something is so much more emphatic than being vague about what life might be like.

The whole song is quotable.  It’s so sixties and folk-song-y. I also found out it was a song originally done by Greg Brown, and Joan Baez did a cover of it, so it’s not even her quote!  See??  Life IS a big mess.  Sometimes I think that’s exactly what makes it sweet.  And thump-worthy.

Anyway, enough making things up for now.  Here is the song, sounding to me at the beginning as if her guitar might have been used a few too many times for melon thumping.

Coldest night of the winter, working up my farewell
In the middle of everything, under no particular spell
Dreaming of the mountains where the children learn the stars
Clouds roll in from Nebraska, dark chords on a big guitar
My restlessness is long gone standing like an old jack pine
I’m looking for Rexroth’s daughter. She’s a friend of a friend of mine
Can’t believe your hands and mouth did all that to me
And they are so daily naked for all the world to see
That thunderstorm in Michigan I never will forget
We shook right with the thunder and in the pounding rain got wet
Where did you turn when you turned from me with your arms across your chest
Yeah I’m looking for Rexroth’s daughter, saw her in the great northwest

Would she have said it was the wrong time if I had found her then
I don’t ask very much, a field across the road and a few good friends
She used to come and see me, she was always there & gone
Even the very longest loves don’t last very long

She’d stood there in my doorway smoothing out her dress
saying ‘life is a thump-ripe melon – so sweet and such a mess’

Well the murderer who lived next door seemed such a normal guy–
You try to swallow what they shove at us, you run out of tears to cry
I heard a man speak quietly, I listened for a while
He spoke from his heart to my woe and then he bowed and smiled
What is real but compassion as we move from birth to death
Yeah I’m looking for Rexroth’s daughter and I’m running out of breath
Spring will come back I know it will and it will do its best
so useful, so endangered like a lion or a breast
I think about my children when I look at any child’s face
pray that we will find a way to get with all this amazing grace

It’s so cold out there tonight, stormy I can hardly see
I’m looking for Rexroth’s daughter and I guess I always will be.

Noise of the Day and Night

saturated noise

saturated noise (Photo credit: aalbinger)

I work in a noisy spot.  Sounds are constantly assaulting my eardrums – beeping scanners, crying kids, moms yelling at them, one-sided phone conversations, pages and announcements, random snatches of private discussions in a public place.  One afternoon we had a power outage for half an hour and the sudden lack of the cacophony of all the things usually running was just plain weird.  Sometimes my head feels like it’s humming in an attempt to block out the background pandemonium. My ears buzz.  All that noise makes me irritable and tired.

So the last thing I want to hear when I get home is the satellite radio blasting out freaking Christmas music.  The first thing I want to hear is a big fat nothing, the beautiful sounds of silence.

W, on the other hand, tells me he likes background music.  He has freely admitted this bit of insanity.  He has the radio going ALL THE TIME, night and day, because he LIKES THE NOISE.  I come home to the radio playing upstairs and the volume on the t.v. turned up downstairs.  I’m not even going to begin to try to figure out why, but it’s obvious that we need to come to some kind of noise compromise here, other than having me stomping around turning things off all the time.  I don’t want to get up to put the coffee on in the morning and have some stupid song immediately grinding on my nerves.  It’s not a great way to start the day.

This morning, once again enduring the Christmas music, I made some snarky music/noise related remark which caused W to turn off the radio and go outside to spend quality time with his snow blower.

I suppose that should have made me happy, but it didn’t particularly, so I decided to search for a channel I could tolerate for more than five minutes.  What I found, just this side of giving up in exasperation, is a modern jazz station that plays broadway hits.  Seriously.  So now who’s insane?

This is the piece that caught my attention – The Music of the Night.

The noise has been reverberating ever since.  Like for two hours.  This is some kind of record for me. And so it continues, and W isn’t even at home now.  Maybe I’m coming down with something.

English: This is a written sketch for "Ra...

English: This is a written sketch for “Radio Noise 24″, by PolyNeon. All rights belong to Dywane Thomas Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Something for Sunday

Dentist Humor

Dentist Humor (Photo credit: MTSOfan)

My dentist is a funny guy.

He is also gentle, efficient, quiet, skilled, calm, and altogether very pleasant.

It is really hard to hate him.

I didn’t intend to go back to see him again so soon, but a chunk of a very old filling came loose so I made an appointment, without having a mild panic attack.  It’s about time I outgrew this fear, wouldn’t you say?  My dentist is not all that scary, after all.  The night before I was scheduled to see him, (and the only good thing about this is the timing) another chunk of another very old filling also broke away from another molar.  My teeth are falling out of my head as we speak.  Or at least I am living with that stupid worry.

As much as I distress myself about all the work that has to be done, I’m very thankful to be in a place and time where it’s all possible and to have dental insurance that will pay for some of it.  The prep work for a permanent bridge to fill in a gap (which I’ve had for years but before now never agreed to have fixed)  has already been done.  Ouch, physically and financially.  Two more visits to completion, including a temporary and then a permanent crown.  I can do this.

He told me I made a good impression.  HAHA!  They took about four of them with that weird pink goop that hardens and sets and feels like it’s never going to come loose without cracking your jaw. He assured me that only a couple of teeth came out with it, no worries.

I came home feeling a bit sorry for myself, had a liquid lunch, took a couple of pain killers and went to sleep.  And after all that I felt a lot better.  I forgave the dental assistant for gagging me with the suction pump, or whatever it’s called.  The freezing came out of my eyeball and my nose.  Frankly I don’t care if they freeze my entire head, but why do dental people always ask complicated questions when your mouth is full of plastic and clamps and pink goop?

So what does all this have to do with Sunday?  Well, nothing really, it’s just what day of the week it happens to be, and the dentist visit happens to be what popped into my head.  And now I would like to pop it right back out again and listen to something that has nothing to do with drills and bridges and bibs around the neck.

There have been many covers of this song, but nobody comes close to Etta James.  Enjoy, and have a lovely lazy Sunday.