when life is good

A Personal Blog

Tie that binds

Scrummy_ribbons_by_Lainey_Powell

The other day I received an email from my younger sister. The message said that my dear friend from college wanted to reconnect. She had lost touch with me when I moved to another part of the planet. But, the friend had searched high and low until she had found my sister’s email address and sent the query to her, which she sent to me. I have not seen or spoken to this friend since 1973! My hands became sweaty and I fired off an email to friend “M”, and I held my breath.

In a matter of minutes there was a pling which indicated: “You’ve Got Mail.” Indeed, “M” had written a very long and heart grabbing letter to me. She explained how she found me via my sister and brought me up to date with her life. This made me very happy. I could not believe she had found me. I do not have a Facebook account. I searched my files and found a decent picture of myself and sent it to “M”. She replied that she could have spotted me and the long hair in any airport in the world! That comment made me smile. As I wrote a reply, I thought of how thankful I was to have known this girl all those years ago. She was the real deal. You know what I mean? No pretense, no lofty attitude, just plain honesty all the way around. We were like sisters.

To make a long story short, we have reconnected. Pictures have been exchanged, details about the past 40 years have been read and reread. Friendship is the tie that binds the two of us together. Funny thing about this whole sequence of events. I had been thinking of “M” for years, and then just a couple of weeks ago she made contact. We took up where we left off as if 40 years had not taken place! Well, I am thankful for this intervention into my life at this stage. I am no longer 19, but I feel like I am, so that is what matters.

Before last week, I had no clue that I had meant so much to “M”. Now that I know, I am glad that she found me. Her cheerful words have changed me. Her smile brings back so many fine memories. My advice to anyone who has a lost friend out there somewhere: Find them, write to them, and you may make someone smile. What goes around will come around.

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Image: Scrummy ribbons by Lainey Powell

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‘Twas the night before Friday

Do you know the feeling? You are so tired that the only thing you want to do is sleep. Sleep for a long time, undisturbed. The other night proved to be quite loud, and for some reason or another, the following words fell into place late Friday afternoon, when I woke up from a very long nap.

‘Twas the night before Friday, and I couldn’t sleep,

I tried counting moonbeams, I tried counting sheep.

The neighbors were banging and running around,

Their footsteps and hollers, to my face brought a frown.

The noise was intense and my brain was afire

With wishes of quietness, oh, someone fill my desire!

The hours rolled by and the noise remained high,

My panic had risen and I thought I might die.

When out of nowhere a loud voice intruded,

‘Oh no,’ I did think, ‘more noise,’ I concluded.

The flurry of banging and yelling stopped not,

My headache was roaring, my skin was too hot.

I placed the earplugs deep into my ear,

Thinking to myself,’these should help, have no fear.’

Well, they did not help and the neighbors kept on,

The loudness and howling shifted into high gear!

The clock on the table told me 6 hours had passed by,

By now it was morning, I thought I would cry.

I admit I was tired and frustrated, justly so,

I wondered how long the pollution would last,

I adjusted the earplugs, and heard such a blast

From the upstairs apartment, my hopes were then dashed.

Not waiting to listen to more of the clatter,

I put on my headphones, looking like the Mad Hatter.

By now my poor eyeballs were rolling around,

So I scrounged under covers, and making no sound,

Rolled over and started to sing to myself,

‘Don’t worry, be happy tra la tra la. They’ll fall asleep soon, tra la tra la.’

The end of this story is quite simply this:

By midday the neigbors had fallen asleep,

And for 7 long hours I heard not a peep.

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Underneath the Sink

 

The other night I could not sleep. The song by Adele, Grammy winner, popped into my head. Rolling in the Deep kept turning and churning in my head until a new song emerged, based on my lack of sleep and an underlying need to empty the trashcan underneath my kitchen sink. Perhaps the rhythm of the song is what started the whole thing, I am not sure. One thing is sure, my husband said I should post it when I sang this at breakfast. Chalk it up to lack of sleep/trash under the sink. The tune fits somewhat. The ending, well, not so much.

There’s some garbage underneath my sink,

Composting silently, it’s starting to really stink.

Fragrance seeps up through the stainless drain,

Ought to reach in and grab the rot while I still can,

“Go ‘head you silly girl, “if only in your dreams.”

Just try to walk that far, it’s closer than it seems.

 

The bag is heavy and the way is tough,

It makes me wonder if I can make it without falling,

In the rough, the bag is heavy and the dumpster is near,

I toss it in and bang shut the lid.

Garbage is finally down in the heap.

Nothing more to keep,

And I made it, and I made it back inside.

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Smile

The song, based on the instrumental music written by Charlie Chaplin for the film Modern Times (1936), is encouragement for all who feel as if the rug has been pulled from underneath their feet. The lyrics, by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, were added later on in 1954. If there ever was a time for mankind to find strength from listening to beautiful music, it is now. The world is falling apart. Everyone faces some kind of trial or tribulation. Do you know of anyone who does NOT have a challenge or two on their plate?

This song makes me smile. Really. Although there are many versions of the standard, the one that hits a strong chord in my heart, is Bobby McFerrin’s genial rendition. If you have not listened to this in a while, take five, sit back, and let the words and melody wash over you like a gentle summer shower.

Enjoy this video of Bobby doing what he does best: making music.

Here are the lyrics so you can follow along:

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just
Smile

Are you smiling now?

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Thank You For The Music

I love music. When I listen to my favorite artists, I feel better. Sometimes, after listening to Bobby McFerrin, I smile and hum for hours. Music is a fine thing.

Until a few days ago, the term Music Therapy was unknown to me. While reading a bit about the topic, I discovered  that music has been used as a healing process for centuries. I stumbled across a video about the usefulness of Music Therapy for those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. The original show was aired on NPR last April. The piece introduced a man named Henry, who sat or slouched in his wheelchair, his hands and head resting on the laptop table. He appeared to be sleeping. He was not sleeping. He was not engaged. He had been in the home for about ten years. His daughter entered the room, spoke to him, but Henry did not know her. I felt my eyes fill with tears and my nose started to burn. It did not seem fair that Henry was not aware of his daughter.

But, wait, this is the moment the scene changed for the better. Dan Cohen, a social worker, programmed an iPod for Henry after consulting with the caretaker about Henry’s likes and favorite songs. The lady on the floor announced to Henry that she had his music. Was he ready to listen? “OK,” mumbled Henry. Henry was still a bit listless. But, as soon as the headphones were placed on his head, and the Music was turned on,  Henry reacted as if he had been stung by a bee. He sat up, started to sing along with the music, and moved  his hands in time to beat. It was as if Henry became alive. He woke up! The transformation is remarkable.

Now I am not a doctor or an expert on the subject of Music Therapy. But what I do know is what I saw and heard during that clip about Henry. My heart soared with Henry as he remembered things from his past. His eyes lit up like a neon sign and I felt such joy for Henry. Little did I know that the music would have such an awakening effect. This post is not meant as a review or summary of the show. I simply felt the urge to share with others what I experienced while watching an elderly man wake up from his despondent state. Henry was so thankful for the music. Shouldn’t we pay it forward to others?

If you want to watch the entire program, here is the link: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/18/150891711/for-elders-with-dementia-music-sparks-great-awakenings

Do you have an old unused iPod that you could donate to an elderly person? Contact a nursing home in your area or check in the local phone book for Music Therapy.

If music helped Henry to feel alive, music may help someone else feel alive. Thank you for the music.

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Moon landing and chocolate cake

Do you remember where you were on July 20, 1969? Can you remember what you had on? Do you remember what you ate? Do you remember that July 20 was Sunday? I remember exactly where I was and what I ate that day.

We had driven to the beach, Emerald Isle, North Carolina. We were going to celebrate two events. The moon landing and mama’s birthday. I thought that the moon landing was most exciting, to be honest with you. We stayed in an old, but very well kept Airstream trailer. My parents had bought it earlier in the year.

As tradition dictated, a chocolate cake was soon in the making. We mixed the Betty Crocker mix, poured it in a long pan, placed it in the gas oven, and waited. When the bell rang, we took the cake out, let it cool, and iced it with chocolate icing. I took a huge slice and went outside.

I headed to the nearest sand dune behind the trailer. Binoculars in hand, I sat down and gazed upward at the moon, half expecting to see the module on the surface. Then for some unknown reason, I howled like a wild banshee. Again and again. I just knew that Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong could hear me. Silly me, I was just a teenager.

My sisters ran outside and asked me what was gong on. I said nothing, and we went back in. Mama turned on the television and we watched Walter Cronkite announce to the world that the module had landed. We squealed, ate the rest of the cake, and went to bed. And that’s the way it was. Good night.

I can still taste that cake!

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Blogger award nomination

What a surprise! A sweet blogger, Cal from AZ, has nominated me for a Beautiful blogger award. Her blog is called “The Good Life” according to Cal – http://calundmark.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/am-i-blushing/

The deal is to write 7 random facts about myself. OK.

1.  I like Bobby McFerrin’s music.

2.  When I was little, I took tap, ballet, and jazz classes.

3.  I am near-sighted.

4.  My favorite animal is the elephant.

5.  My next favorite animal is the penguin.

6.  I just started this blog a few weeks ago.

7.  I love books.

Since this is new for me, I have not gotten around to reading 15 other blogs. Therefore, I am unable to nominate 15 bloggers.

But, thank you, again, Cal, for the nomination.

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“Run, Forrest, run!”

The other day while I was eating breakfast, I felt the need to go to the bathroom. My stiff knees and rheumatic fingers were of little help when I tried to get up from the sofa. After a minute of struggling to stand upright, I did manage to hobble in the direction of the bathroom. All of a sudden my husband shouted from his chair in the living room: “Run, Forrest, run!” Needless to say, I almost collapsed while laughing my head off.

What can I say? The remark set the tone for the rest of the day. 🙂

Image

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