Posted tagged ‘music’

“Turkey is undoubtedly one of the best gifts that the New World has made to the Old.”

November 25, 2017

When Gracie and I went out earlier, I was surprised by how warm a morning it is. The sun is shining, and there is a slight breeze. It was quiet except for music from the radio of a car being parked next door. The car belongs to a man who works for my neighbor, the landscaper. When he opened the car door, the music stopped. It was quiet again. I was still in the backyard waiting for Gracie. She took her time. I didn’t mind, though, as I got to be outside enjoying the morning for a bit.

My groceries are being delivered in a while. I open the door, and they are brought to the kitchen where I start putting them away. When I shopped, I aways hated bringing the bags inside the house as it took so many trips. Now I complain about putting the groceries away.

Last night for dinner I had leftovers. They were almost as good as the Thanksgiving meal.    They reminded me a turkey is never a single meal. It seems to last forever. First is the grand meal then hot turkey sandwiches that night, cold turkey sandwiches piled high with stuffing and cranberry sauce the next day or two then turkey salad and finally turkey soup. My dad was a champion at picking the meat from the turkey bones. I think he looked forward to it every year. Not even the smallest piece of meat escaped him. He left an empty carcass.

This weekend will be a quiet one. I have nothing planned. Tonight I’ll watch a new Hallmark movie. I don’t know what it is, but I can guess. The possible plots are easy: two people will meet on a plane or a train or at the airport and fall in love, a curmudgeon will do a Scrooge like make-over and love Christmas, a kid will get his wish, someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas will find it in his or her heart and in doing so will fall in love.

I’m watching the antithesis of those Hallmark movies on a program called Homicide for the Holidays. I figure it will counteract all the sugar from Hallmark. I just watched a detective at his desk talking on the phone about murders during a house invasion on Christmas Eve. Behind the detective were Christmas decorations. A gold garland outlined the window and cards were strung on a string across it. Quite festive indeed!

“Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual worker.”

March 24, 2016

We’re back to dreary and cold. I had put away my flannels only to pull them out this morning. I’m even wearing socks. I spent a couple of hours earlier with my neighbor, the one who became a citizen. We just chat, my way for her to learn better conversational English. She is still having trouble with has and have. I don’t speak any Portuguese beyond please and thank you so I am quite amazed with her grasp of English, a language with weird rules and odd spellings.

I remember workbooks from elementary school. We had one for arithmetic and one for English.  My most vivid memory of a math page was the one on coins. It had a line up of a reasonable facsimile of each coin. I had to figure which coins and how many I needed for something like 35 cents. The answer had to be the smallest amount of coins. A quarter and a dime would get me a check; three dimes and a nickel would merit an X. Dollars were self-evident and didn’t appear in my workbook. We’d do a page or two during the lesson, and sometimes had to finish at home.

The English workbook was filled with things like contractions, subject-verb agreement, singular and plural words and verb tenses. There were pages filled with sentences which had one blank. You had to choose between he or him, she or her and all the rest of the pronouns. I’ve come to believe that many people were either sick at home or sleeping in class and subsequently missed that particular lesson. TV dialogue is rife with errors. I hear things like, give the book to him and I or to her and I, and it makes me cringe. I’ve been told that’s the way people talk now so I should accept it, but what’s wrong is wrong as far as I’m concerned.

I think music and language are similar. If someone plays or sings a piece of music off-key, people don’t find that entertaining. They cringe. They don’t say that’s the way people sing now. I wish language was given the same respect.

I find language beautiful. The right words strung together can fill you with love or longing. They can make you laugh or cry. They have the power to hurt, to cut. Our memories are images described in words.

I accept new words and I know old ones disappear from lack of use. Language is fluid, but the form doesn’t change. A name is a noun. An action word is a verb. The object of the preposition is objective case. It’s him, not he. It’s me, not I. That’s all I’m asking.

“We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.”

September 27, 2013

Looking out the window this morning, I knew the day would be chilly. It is definitely bleak. The trees are silhouetted in the darkness of the day, in the grayness of a sky filled with clouds. The lighter limbs at the tops of the trees are blowing in the breeze. The heavy oak tree limbs barely move. The birds are elsewhere, somewhere sheltered. I will follow their example and stay warm and cozy.

I find myself talking to the television. Luckily I don’t hear it talking back to me so my sanity is not in question. Mostly I correct grammar. I have a friend who says it doesn’t make any difference if the grammar is correct or not. I totally disagree. So many people watch TV that using good grammar is essential just so people can hear it spoken. Him and I is very common. That makes me cringe. My friend is a musician, and he objects to music badly played or songs poorly sung on television. I don’t get it: I don’t get why he believes only music need be done well and grammar can be whatever. I guess I never will. I love the sounds of language well-spoken just as he loves the sounds of music well-played.

Gracie gets to come with me today while we do errands. We have three stops to make, and she gets to come inside the last stop, Agway, with me. She loves all the smells and she greets everyone. It’s a big shopping day for us at Agway: canned and dried dog food, dog biscuits, pine cat litter and canned cat food. I’ll need a loan to pay the bill.

I think I’m going to put out my mouse trap. I haven’t seen any indications they’ve returned, but I figure with the cold they might be looking for winter digs. My bedroom will be first because that’s where the bulk of them lived last winter. I just hope this time the trap remains unoccupied.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

November 3, 2012

Thank God for the newspaper. This morning I learned a ram is a male sheep, and that tidbit of knowledge has cleared up the confusion I’ve lived with for years. Is that ewe or isn’t it ewe? I suppose you’re wondering why a ram in the paper, especially the front page. It seems he escaped from the Islamic Center where he was scheduled to be sacrificed for Eid al-Adha on October 26th. The ram, on the run for two weeks, has been seen in several places but has evaded capture. Be on the lookout for a ram with brown fleece and a black face. Go ram!!

Don’t forget to turn your clocks back tonight, nothing worse than being an hour early. If you are like my friend’s aunt, you’ll stay up until 2 a.m., the official time to turn them back.

The day is dismal: cloudy, damp and cold. Tonight will be in the low 40’s but the rest of the week will have nights in the 30’s. That sounds to me as if fall is hurrying away with winter at its heels. The dog doesn’t linger outside much at night any more.

I survived yesterday.

My mother had singers and songs she loved, and she played them on the hi-fi while she was doing housework. The songs stuck in my head, and I, without realizing it, learned all the words. In a way, I carry on her music. My sister, when her kids were growing up, played the music she loves and the same thing which happened to me happened to her kids. They learned her music. Her kids are fans of Creedence, Dylan and CSN&Y among others. In a way, they carry on her music, and mine as well. I wonder, though, what will happen to my mother’s music. My nephews and niece don’t know Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Jo Stafford or Johnny Mathis, and I don’t hear those singers played much on the radio. The oldies stations I listen to play music from the 60’s on up through the 80’s. My mother’s music is fading, disappearing from the airwaves, but it stays in my head. Johnny Mathis and The Twelfth of Never still gets me every time.

Welcome to Your Year in Music

January 7, 2012

It seems many of us were born the same year so the list of years is shorter than I’d hoped. If you haven’t chimed in yet, please do so.

I made a chronological list and started with the earliest years. The songs here are those which were on the charts the longest. I chose the top two of each year.

The first two are from 1929; the second two are from 1947.

Enjoy! I’ve had fun doing this!

“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it”

August 15, 2011

Today is one of those days which comes around every now and then. It’s gently raining, a cool breeze is blowing, and I can hear the swish of the leaves as the branches wave back and forth. The birds are singing right beside my window. The animals are so deeply sleeping I can hear their breathing. My coffee was perfectly brewed. During my shower I noticed I had lost an earring during the night. I went looking but couldn’t find it. My guess is it fell under the bed, and I’ll need a flashlight to see it. I did find the back which I usually never find. I was a bit put out as I like the earrings, but I let it go and went looking for another pair in my bureau drawer in boxes where I hardly look. It took me the longest time to go through the boxes as many of the earring had memories attached, and I just sat and let the memories wash over me. There was a pair of golden cable cars my dad had brought back from San Francisco. In one box was a Christmas gift card signed by Santa, something my mother always did. Each Christmas she gave the three of us new earrings, and that year I had tucked away the card. The antique cameo earrings my mother also gave me one Christmas were there. I remember how pleased she was that I loved them so much. I went through everything in that drawer. It took me about forty minutes. The time was so well worth the memories.

I came downstairs. The house was dark the way I like it on rainy days when it feels as it the house is keeping me close and warm. I set the coffee brewing and went to get the papers. It was raining just a bit. When I came in, I got a cup of coffee, turned on the light in the den and read the papers. I did both crossword puzzles and the cryptogram. They seemed easy today. Playing in the background was my Joni Mitchell Pandora station, and all the songs were exactly right.

I am staying home today because I can’t think of a better place to be. Today is perfect.

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”

July 16, 2011

I could smell the ocean this morning so I stood on the deck by the rail just soaking it in. The water is a long way off, but many a morning the ocean makes its way here, and I love those mornings the best. The breeze is slight, and the sun is hot. It is already 80°. When I came inside after my coffee and papers, the den felt cool, still shaded as it is. The sun is working its way around the house, and, by afternoon, the den too will be hot. Tonight is movie night. We’re seeing one recommended by a friend: Next Stop Wonderland.

The renters from next door have already left. I watched them tote boxes and roll their suitcases to the car. I don’t know who will arrive this afternoon, but I hope they are as quiet as the last tenants.

I’m busy with plays and dinners and such, but I still take the time to do nothing but put my feet up and read. Gracie and I sit outside for the longest time. Well, actually, only I sit. Gracie spreads out and sleeps in the shade. I stop to watch the birds, and my friend the giant crow comes back almost every day. I’m thinking of naming him, but I suspect he already has one of his own. The feeders need filling so that’s a chore for later. The kitchen needs sweeping so I’ll add that to the list. I need to do a bit of shopping and that will be the last chore of the day.

The paper this morning had an article about music returning to Afghanistan. It had been banned for so long many of the master musicians have died, and some traditional instruments have no one who knows how to play them. I thought how awful a world without music must have been. I think how music soothes me or enervates me or even makes me smile. I think of songs like Happy Birthday which we sing no matter how old the celebrant is. I can’t imagine a Christmas without carols. I think the first song I ever learned was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The words to that song and so many others stay in my head, and I can still sing along years after first hearing them. I wish I remembered yesterday as strongly as I remember, “Up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky.”

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.”

July 14, 2011

All that heat and humidity of the last two days gave way to an amazing thunder and lightning storm last night. It was fantastic. I sat by the window so I wouldn’t miss the lightning. The rain poured for the longest time, and it was still raining when I went to bed. Today is amazing. It’s the sort of day I’d invent if I were Mother Nature. It’s 66° and breezy, but the sun is hot. Tonight is predicted to be in the high 50’s. Now, where did I put that blanket?

When I was young, I used to sing out loud. I didn’t know you were supposed to be on key. After I found out how horribly I sang, I didn’t sing out loud in front of anyone again. I still sing in the car, and I remember the 100 mile trip from Tamale to Bolgatanga on my new motorcycle, a Honda 90, when I sang out loud for almost the whole trip. I even sang Christmas carols as I remember the words to them best of all.

I am a terrible dancer. I have no rhythm. Even when I was young, I was a terrible dancer. It was only in the crush of the crowd on the dance floor that I would dance. It was my way of staying anonymous. But when I was young, I was an extraordinary skipper. I could even skip all the way to school if I wanted. I was also a wonderful hopper on either leg because I had a great sense of balance. We always walked on one railroad track to see who could go the longest without falling off. I usually won.

I could never get the hula hoop to stay on my hips. It would turn once or twice then fall to the floor. My friends could walk while still spinning that hoop. I was always a bit jealous. When I was  in Ghana, my mother sent me one of those wooden paddles with the red ball on an elastic. Many nights we went out back and had contests to see how long we could keep the ball going. I may not have had hip coordination, but I could that ball bouncing well into the three hundreds.

I was a good athlete and a darn good softball pitcher. I played basketball as well. That was in the days of half court girls’ games, and I played defense so I could never shoot the ball, and I was stuck in the backcourt. Back then you could only dribble a couple of times before you had to pass. I was the secret weapon strong enough to throw the ball down the whole court. I’d throw it to our lone, undefended offensive player waiting for the ball under the basket. She almost always scored.

I always think it a bit ironic that my blog posts music, but I still sing along quite loudly. It’s for the joy of  music.