Soothe Me, Sunday

 

Limpid

Having a hard time coping today, my stomach aches. Morning blends to late afternoon, I lie in bed trying to keep calm but swallowing too many times. I need to be exactly where I am today. I don’t care what anyone thinks.

Tomorrow is the dreaded test. Part of me is better the closer it gets but sometimes my arms tingle and get numb. I’m lying low.

Nothing new is happening, that could be part of the problem or maybe the solution, I have no idea.  Whatever is going on, the time is not yet right for change. We need to accept that. How could I move somewhere new, how could I leave my mother ? I can’t even deal with that now. A job is too important. Anywhere. I long to do something different and fun, don’t know if my husband is on board with this or not. Probably not.

Trying to keep my head in neutral, I admit that loose thoughts, like anxiety, race around my head from time to time like the Indianapolis 500/Nascar.

Race Night

Music soothes me.

There is no room for negativity in my life. In our lives. Breathe, Mama, Breathe.

The messages from my father, all those signs, means he is with me. Remember that.

Clutch those messages from above and keep them taped close to your heart where they belong.

Hold On.

Something good or different will turn up at the right time. Keep believing.

Don’t Give Up.

Smiling Buddha = Budai ... Buddha with big bel...

Music soothes me but it has to be at the right level of sound.

I will always be stuck in the past,

Thank you, Joshua Radin, Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young,) The Beatles, The Rolling Stones Jackson Browne, Bob Dylan,  Bruce Springsteen, Fun is up to date for me. Alex and Sierra (Say Something.) Some words I just need to hear.

 

Husband is cooking pork chops with apple butter and raisins, it’s iffy. I’m going to try but know that in my back pocket

a calming American Cheese sandwich on an English Muffin and a big, fat jelly doughnut from our favorite bakery is here for dessert. Man cannot live with stress alone. I can eat the pork chop, tomorrow, with pleasure.

Is it tomorrow yet? Let’s do this.

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My Top 20 (Food Pop, Pop Cop, Odd Cop)

English: A jelly donut that was bought at Dunk...

English: A jelly donut that was bought at Dunkin’ Donuts in Brooklyn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

20 RANDOM THINGS I LIKE:

The year is slowly coming to an end, the weeks are flying by. I’ve put together a current list of things that make me happy. Life can be hard, you need to appreciate the little things, here are twenty of mine:

1) Alex and Sierra (From the X Factor)

2) Miniature Almond Joys

I love these and their cousin Mounds but here you get an added crunch of the almond. I LOVE coconut, the taste lingers on your lips after you finish it. Don’t tell my dentist but if I have one of these before I go to bed I “accidentally” forget to brush my teeth. It’s so worth it. The only reason I added Mini is because if I have the regular size I start to feel guilty. ( You can’t possibly feel guilty after eating one of those.) Win-Win.

3) My Christmas (Thanksgiving) Cactus

Every year at Thanksgiving our Christmas cactus starts to sprout beautiful, bright red flowers. I guess our cactus is always early (like my whole family) and shows up ahead of schedule. Seeing some bright red color when the winter is so gray makes me happy.

4) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (the movie) The one movie that divides sisters! I love it and my sister hates it.

5) The time 8:32. On the way to junior high school, I would always look out the window while I was standing in the overcrowded, adolescent, odorous teenage filled bus. We passed a bank near our school and there was a big sign with the time, every morning we passed,it said 8:32. For some reason, that number when seen, still makes me happy.

6) Believing in messages from those who have passed on and getting them for me or a friend. Powerful. Spiritual: “Love Does Not Die” ( Post)

7) I like the way my husband orders his french fries: “Can you make them extra crispy please?”

8) My friend Denise’s nut tarts. I have a friend who bakes the most delicious, bite size nut tarts, she could sell these professionally, they are like a work of edible art. Bite sized carmelized pecan heaven, I’m almost glad I don’t see her often. Addictive.

9)  Avegelemno soup, from our local Greek restaurant. Tangy, lemony with pieces of chicken and rice. Served with soft, puffy pita bread.

10) Goldfish (the living kind not the crackers) I had a goldfish named Frank that I loved dearly, umm, it died and it was all my fault. I overfed it. I still feel guilty and this was many years ago. I’m so sorry, Frank. R.I.P.

11) The sun and the color Yellow (see my weekly posts on Yellow Magic Madness)

12)  A body of water (any kind) ocean, lake, stream, pond…This is where I feel happiest, close to water.

13) Nature. As I get older I want to spend more and more time outside surrounded by mother nature. It was not that important to me when I was younger. Age gives you experience, wrinkles too but it also gives you wisdom. I like to be outside, weather permitting, as much as possible. Even with Fibromyalgia, I try to force myself outside when I can.

14)  Vacation:  For the last few years I haven’t had anything to look forward to in a major way. Sure, I look forward to see my friends or to go out to dinner but having something special to look forward to months from now is incredibly joyful. We are planning a trip with my mom in the Spring and I am looking
forward to that, more than I can explain. I definitely need something once a year, it will be my New Rule for myself. It doesn’t have to be anything big but it does have to be SOMETHING.

15) Jelly Doughnuts: We have them on New Year’s Eve, a European Tradition but I had one the other day while my husband had a Boston Creme Pie doughnut just for the fun of it. Delicious. Thank you, Dunkin Donuts.

16) Singing out loud (and off-key) to music streaming from my computer (classic 70’s pop rock, Bruce,

17) Listening to my husband whistle, happily. My father used to whistle happy tunes all the time, when my husband whistles it also reminds me of my dad, and that’s a good memory.

18) Pizza (There is no such thing as bad pizza, when it is leftover pizza and is too dry or it loses its taste, add strawberry jam.) I’m serious.

19) Books (Real books that I hold in my hand, no techno devices) Call me old-fashioned.

20) Flashlights.

English: Evening sunshine, Rutland Water. Just...

English: Evening sunshine, Rutland Water. Just to the SW of Lodge Farm, this part of the shoreline looks most inviting. It’s just a pity that the beach is mud and there is blue-green algae in the water! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PFAM Blog Carnival – My Play List, Music For Many Moods

Today I listened to The Carpenters “It’s Gonna Take Some Time This Time To Get Myself In Shape” a worthy entry for what I am going through now being essentially homeless and in pain. With my husband on crutches due to a torn Achilles tendon I am pushing myself (no choice here) to do more physically. It also acknowledges the state of mind that I am in and allows me time to accept where I am and not get angry with myself or the situation (easier said than done.) When I am really angry I belt out: “Not Ready To Make Nice” by The Dixie Chicks, a classic song.

When I am feeling low and weary I listen to “Running On Empty” by Jackson Browne and Diana Ross singing “Good Morning Heartache” from the old movie “Lady Sings The Blues.” Both are filled with heartfelt emotion and there are times that only those songs will do. Trust me, I know. When I listen to these songs I know other people have felt the same way.

There is one song that pretty much fits all moods, all pain levels, all risks and makes me feel better physically and emotionally: Cat Stevens “If You Want To Sing Out…Sing Out, ( and if you want to be blue be blue….there’s a million things to do, you know that there are….. .”) I’ve seen the cult film Harold and Maude about a hundred times and this is the soundtrack for that movie. It’s a must-see but it’s VERY quirky.

There are oldies that I rely on when I feel okay, happy and content, I admit that lately these days are rare. “This Old Guitar” from John Denver plays or Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” I am particularly fond of “Harvest Moon.” Any Neil Young song will do in a pinch and of course there’s all CSN&Y, Carly Simon, James Taylor and Carole King tunes as well. Timeless. These songs are comforting because I know every word.

Music plays an important role in my life, not just as a chronic pain patient but as a person who has plenty of ups and downs in her life. Music should soothe, should invigorate (Bruce Springsteen.)  When I feel sad, and lonely about the death of my father I play  Evanesence “My Immortal.” When I need to cry and let my tears fall there’s always “Dance With My Father Again” by Luther Van Dross.

When I need to take a rest from frantic worry or pain, I play Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2AM) and when I need to get centered there’s “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. When I feel I can’t go on, The Corrs : “Everybody Hurts” is my 911 song. Finally, when I have a wisp of  hope and happiness, I sing out loud and strong to the The Black Eyed Peas with: “I Gotta Feeling.” “Woo Hoo!

My 911 song:

Living in Other Countries

Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA

Image by Piano Piano! via Flickr

I had the proud distinction when I was little of being the “only born American” and I wore that honor with pride. My parents and my older sister were all born in different countries and even though my parents and sister came to the United States when my sister was 9 months old, I still felt special.

At this point in my life, with my husband and our two almost grown children, I would love to live in another country for a few years. Italy, Spain, England, Holland? Greece, Israel, Japan? I love to visit different countries when we can afford it. The only place I wouldn’t want to live? Paris. I would be such an American outcast, wearing my blue jeans and long-sleeved gray GAP shirt, sneakers and clogs. There’s no way I’m wearing high-heeled stilettos and expensive outfits for any city. However, the French countryside is breathtakingly beautiful and I wouldn’t mind learning how to make cheese. For now, I think I’ll stay right here in the USA where I can wear what I want and still drink strong coffee and pastries. If, however, the opportunity came up…..I can pack quickly.

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Clarence Clemons, Rest In Peace

bruce springsteen e clarence clemons.

Image by micheleluconi via Flickr

It’s Father’s Day Eve, Graduation Day Eve, my son is at parties celebrating, my daughter is out eating frozen yogurt from the new local hangout. I’m home, feeling alone, and I just read that Clarence Clemons died. He really did die, I somehow thought that would be impossible. I don’t know why, I guess he had been through so much that I thought he would kick ass and fight back, but he couldn’t.

I’m shocked. I’m not sure why I am feeling this sad about someone I didn’t know. Some of my friends are Bruce Springsteen groupies. I’m a fan but not like they are, not even close.  If I feel lonely with my husband’s booming voice in the telephone and both kids having fun, how do they feel? They probably feel like me times 100,000. My friends Claudine and Flynn have an awesome photograph of beautiful, sweet-souled Clarence in the middle of the two of them smiling widely. I told them they should frame it and that I want a copy. Please.

These friends MADE me go to a Bruce Springsteen concert and I was so glad that I went. It truly was an experience. Springsteen is an artist like no other, that man can work a crowd like nobody I have ever seen. Well, except maybe Neil Diamond but that is such a different category altogether…..Clarence, you looked like a gentle, sweet soul; you looked like a cuddly big teddy bear and you radiated such great energy and love. You were an unbelievable artist who can’t be replaced. I can’t imagine a Bruce Springsteen concert without you. Can anybody? Rest In Peace.

The Lingering Smell Of Basil

A cooked hot dog garnished with mustard.

Image via Wikipedia

As soon as I feel the first warm hint of spring on my shoulders and see the first crocus I immediately rejoice! It’s Spring, not officially, but in my snow-sickened world it is the start. As soon as Spring is even in the air I start thinking of having barbeques, especially the one BIG BBQ we try to have every few years.  I’m imagining all our friends and family out in the back yard eating cheeseburgers from the Weber grill, dripping with either cheddar or American cheese. I think about   grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and juicy hot dogs, and bright yellow mustard. I also think of potato chips, the real kind, the ones we had as kids and not the baked, healthy, kind either. There would be Heinz ketchup, (of course I’m brand loyal) potato salad made with a touch of mayonnaise, coleslaw and perhaps a large tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and a touch of light green extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the vibrant red tomatoes and the creamy white mozzarella cheese. I love how the earthy smell of basil lingers between your fingertips all afternoon.

In addition, we may have small roasted potatoes on the grill along side smokey-sweet yellow and white kernels of corn on the cob.  Red and white plastic table cloths, bright red or blue plastic plates (preferably the ones that have three sections, love those!) and disposable cups. Napkins would be stacked high in your hands as if they were towels. Messy and barbeques to me are happy synonyms.

Once we went to a barbecue at Charlotte’s house, (“Charlotte of the charmed life” as I call her) the table was like a set directly from a page right out of Martha Stewart Living. Everything matched, the beige, ironed linen table-cloth ( l-i-n-e-n),  the highest quality count, and the china decorated with large blue and yellow flowers bursting on the plates.  Of course, all the bowls, the silver utensils, they all matched perfectly as I watched in unmitigated horror and delight. This is not what I thought I was coming to, I felt under-dressed and ill at ease. It was absolute perfection just not MY type of perfection. It was for high-class people with lots of money and so very different from our dinners and us.

We dined on steak and salmon, ( I hid my salmon) a glossy arrangement of bright green, yellow and red fresh vegetables and imported cheeses. There were no sticky fingers and plastic glasses of lemonade, just a beautiful crystal pitcher filled with ice water, ice cubes that were in the shape of tropical fruit. I was afraid to eat, afraid to get the napkins dirty so I ate slowly and carefully and with my luck, ended up leaving a stain on the tablecloth which I fervently tried to hide underneath the matching napkin. There were no s’mores at this dinner, it was too elegant. We had assorted cookies from the expensive bakery in town shaped and iced beautifully like flowers and cars and ice cream cones but utterly tasteless.

At our barbeques we have cherry, blueberry and apple crumb pies glistening on the table inside with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream readily waiting in our freezer. I make my home-baked banana raisin-chocolate chip loaf and there would always, I mean always, be a chocolate cake and brownies.

I put my nephew, Jon, in charge of music so the sounds of Neil Young,  Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and various other oldies will be playing out the window like the days when music screamed from dorm rooms. It isn’t fancy or elegant and it may just be ordinary but I guarantee you, there will be, a lot of food, including s’mores and an equal amount of laughter. Hope you can come.

Cheer-Me-Up Music (Don’t Bring Me Down)

Bruce Springsteen

It really depends on what I am feeling down about. First choice,  Bruce Springsteen gets me singing and rocking, rocking and rolling. You can count on him to elevate your mood; he’s better than Prozac. His music can get you out of your misery by the sheer joy of singing to his music. I even saw him in concert once, the best performer ever (Thanks, Claudine.)

When I need comforting and want to reminisce about the past and easier times it’s John Denver who comforts me. I think about high school and my friend Paula and our mini John Denver fan club. We were young, life was good, we just didn’t know it back then. Now we look back and remember the easiest time of our lives and probably the happiest. We lived, and breathed his songs, we argued endlessly about his lyrics, we had a crush on him. Hey, it was the 70’s, don’t judge! John Denver represented young people, happiness, nature and good times. When he died prematurely, we were crushed.

Also, old stand-byes like Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and of course, The Sound of Music are guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.

More recent cheerful music includes: “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, “hey tonight’s gonna be a good, good night, woo-hoo,” Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.” I really could go on and on but instead, I think I will put on iTunes and listen to some music, right now.

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Music Therapy (aka as cheaper than the other kind)

Ever since my  friend Linda and I were eliminated from singing in the chorus in seventh grade (with mean Mr. Patterson) I haven’t been the same and still  think he was totally wrong (not that I hold a grudge).   I have moved on and his mistake did not stop me from singing out loud and enjoying it but even being placed in the chorus?  How bad were we?  I love to sing and while I may not have the BEST singing voice I’m not horrific. I think I can carry a tune fairly well, I don’t shriek or scream, doesn’t that count for something? People don’t look askew when I sing or give me dirty looks. I have said before I enjoy it no end; the world needs people who love to sing.   Music makes me feel better and since I can’t afford therapy as much as I would like or need,  I have relied on this blog ( which has gotten me into serious trouble with some family members) and music. Music, trust me, is much, much safer.

I know I am dating myself and calling myself a nerd at the same time but in the early seventies, John Denver could take me out of any vile mood and make me smile and sing along. No, I was not “passing the pipe around” as he sang but he could always make me feel better. Always. Until he divorced Annie and then when he died. My best friend Paula and I were devastated. After not being in touch for months, we called each other that day. How could John Denver die?  We barely had forgiven him for divorcing Annie. She “filled up his senses,” he named the song after her, they adopted children ( oh wait, am I confusing him with Tom Cruise again?) Apparently  after the divorce from Annie, who we felt we all knew I think he remarried.  I mean, really.  Then there were viscous rumors, a lot of rumors about his excessive drinking, cavorting and doing major drugs.  Allegedly. That was when the John Denver fan club ended.

But dying?  That was a whole new and last chapter and one that was really sad and unbelievable to us. How could he have died in an airplane? What was he thinking? It seemed too horrible to think about; after all he was our first musical crush and the first ever concert we went to.

It took a long time after his death to play his music again. First it made me sad and angry and then with time, like everything else, I began to remember the John Denver that made me happy when Paula and I were in High School filled with some type of drama. Now I can still play his music  (and yes, I do still play his music) and feel the happiness I felt when  I was 15; kind of.  It’s not  really the same, of course, but now it’s better and soothing and I know every word to every song he ever made. RIP.

My latest choice of songs to make me forget my troubles and to smile is a song by The Kinks called “Better Day” which I have been playing every day since my friend Scott posted it. It is going to be my theme song for 2010. It’s upbeat and it makes one feel happy and hopeful like no other song.   For variety, my happy mood music always includes Bruce Springsteen( that’s for you Claudine).  I have different music for different moods; there is Josh Groban, Neil Young,  CSN&Y and of course The Beatles. There’s also time when you just need girl music: Sarah Mclaughlan, Sheryl Crow, Wynonna, The Corrs, Carole King and Carly Simon, Madonna and yes, Barbra Streisand.

Of course this is all biased but we should never, ever forget Simon and Garfunkel whose songs I think should follow the National Anthem o or at least played in the Smithsonian.  They sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline at Red Sox games, there should be a place for Simon and Garfunkel, somewhere.

There aren’t many people I would see in concert again. Saw James Taylor and he was rude and sarcastic, saw Crosby, Stills and Nash and their voices were….umm…different.  There is/was  Peter, Paul and Mary who I could not enjoy since another legend, Mary, died.

I would see Simon and Garfunkel again (perfection)in concert and maybe Carole King. I leave the Rap bands to my 2 teenagers, I know they like it but they also like that we hate it. Works every time.  It would give my husband and I a headache to go to a Rap concert, but it might be worth it to totally embarrass our kids!

So next time, before you head for the Xanax container or your favorite cocktail or 5, take a deep breath, turn on the music and listen. Listen until you find the song that makes you feel good, or if you want to cry, try a sad song. Therapy is very expensive and it is worth it bu give music therapy a try first.  Music therapy, the first step for intervention, give it a try. Because even though it helps to have someone nod his or her head at something you said, music is relatively cheap, it’s always available and you never get charged for an appointment if you don’t cancel 24 hours before the session. Try it because the beat of music, really does go on and on….

For Paula, Scott and Claudine