Let us give thanks . . .

 

Shadows and Reflections

 “Once you have tasted the sky, you will forever look up.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

I’ve written several posts on the subject of being thankful, including the Grace in Small Things series. Today, I thought that I would focus on things, events, and people that I have encountered in my life that have helped to shape me into the person I am.

  • Having the opportunity to see original masterpieces by Renoir, Monet, Glackens, Bernini, Van Gogh, Klimt, Morisot, Wyeth, Hopper, Sargent, Kadinsky, Pollock, Caravaggio, Tiffany, Manet, Leighton, Rembrant, Tissot, Matisse, Veronese, Rothko, as well as ancient Ethiopian art, tribal masks dating back to the 12th century, real Samurai armor and weapons, and photography by Brady, Stieglitz, Bourke-White, Mann, Strand.
  • Walking through a tropical rain forest in Africa and seeing shades of green that I never knew existed. Crossing a hanging rope bridge that was situated high in the air above a stream.
  • Sitting in the dark and listening to live performances by Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Seeing Nureyev and Margot Fontaine perform.
  • Hiding in the trunk of a car to get into a drive-in movie for free and then not watching the movie because it was too scary.
  • Going snorkeling in the Caribbean
  • Walking among the ruins of Tulum amid the huge iguanas and then eating fresh guacamole with cold Sol atop a small mountain.
  • Seeing the volcano in Baguio, Philippines
  • Riding up a mountain to get to Baguio in a bus very much like the ones you see in the movies, which was filled with villagers, chickens, a pig, old women, and my very American mother.
  • Reading some of the best literature ever written: all of Shakespeare, Michael Ondaatje, Marlow, and far too many others to mention.
  • Meeting some of my favorite poets and writers in person at literary festivals, including Chris Buckley, Mary Oliver, Tim O’Brien, Barry Lopez, Caroline Forché, Bruce Weigl, and many others
  • Working in a newsroom right at the crest of computers. Watching the paper be printed, smelling the ink.
  • Attending three wonderful universities: The George Washington, Virginia Tech, and Old Dominion.
  • Doing on-camera interviews for the museum, which sometimes meant being at the studio at 5 a.m, but still fun.
  • Performing for the Queen Mother in London in a Dances of Asia program.
  • Starring as Rizzo in Grease.
  • Participating in a drum-making ceremony with a drum master.
  • Working in a donut shop for a few months during high school and getting to bring home the leftovers.
  • Dancing on the runway at a go go bar for a story on the Norfolk nightlife.
  • Hanging out over the water in a trapeze while sailing on a catamaran in the Chesapeake Bay
  • Going cave tubing and not feeling the least bit claustrophobic
  • Hiking on the trails at Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Getting my four-cylinder Pontiac Sunbird up to 80 mph while driving home from Blacksburg one Sunday night
  • Attending grade school in London
  • Going to a military tattoo in Scotland and sitting in the outdoor stadium wrapped up in blankets because it was so cold.
  • Seeing huge statues in the mountains of Spain as we drove through the country.
  • Seeing live concerts by The Who, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Sarah McLachlan, The Beach Boys, The Doobie Brothers, Sugarland, Norah Jones, and a bunch of other people I can’t remember.
  • Playing Chopin and Mozart on a grand piano at a recital in front of 100 people.

These are just a few of the highlights. I deliberately did not include anything personal about my children, husband, family, or friends as that is an entirely different list. But putting these things down in words makes me realize how very many opportunities I have had in my life to travel, to embrace other cultures, to see stunning natural and man-made beauty.

I have done things that I never thought that I would do, and I have seen in person things that I had only dreamt of.

I have not led a life of privilege, but I have been privileged to have had these experiences. There is nothing on this list that is earth-shattering, nor is there anything that changed humanity. But individually and collectively, these moments in time have changed me in ways seen and unseen. They have moved me to tears and made me cry with delight. Trite as it may sound, I have had a wonderful life.

More later. Peace.

 

Itzhak Perlman performing Massenet’s “Meditation from Thais,” a song that I performed in recital at Virginia Wesleyan College.

 

“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.” ~ Henry Miller

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru

Massive thunderstorms this afternoon. Loud thunder booms, but no major downpours in our area. The flower garden could use a good dousing. Corey was out doing errands and said that it was raining hard in other parts of the city, but nothing here.

Eamonn is disgustedly happy to have the Trooper back in his possession, even though I told him that we still need to do a few things to it. I’m hoping that the smoke coming out of it is leftover from the problems that we just had fixed and that once it gets a good drive on the Interstate, she’ll start to run like her old self again. Corey said something about the rings, which sounds expensive. I’m ignoring that pronouncement in favor of bad gas (for the Trooper, not me).

I’ve been pricing tires, and of course, what we need won’t be cheap. Nothing ever is. Moving right along . . .

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” ~ Joseph Addison  

CharacterDumbledore Half-Blood Prince
Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Tomorrow night Corey, Brett, and I are going to eat sushi and then go see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This is part of Brett’s birthday present. He is the only one of the kids who actually likes sushi, so that gives us something to look forward to this weekend.

On other fronts, I happen to know that Janson and his wife are currently in the hospital awaiting the birth of their daughter Aurelia. He has been Twittering about the progress most of the afternoon. I love the name Aurelia. It lilts on the tongue and sounds like a fairy.

My friend Maureen who lives in Australia is awaiting news from her doctor, so I’m keeping a good thought for her as well. And David Bridger’s wife Janette is scheduled for surgery at the end of July. Finally.

Even though the medical system in this country needs fixing, I have found from hearing from people in other places that national healthcare does have some major drawbacks—like waiting for operations that are necessary or having some doctors refuse to do procedures that must be performed by other doctors. However, I still believe that this country needs a healthcare system that is available to all, and not just to those who can afford to pay the premiums.

As usual, the blogging community is awash with action. My best to everyone. I’m keeping all of you in my thoughts.

“It is what we make of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” ~ Nelson Mandela 

Okay, this topic is from David Bridger as well: You are stranded on a desert island, and you can only take ten things. You are one of the ten things. Who or what would you take with you? I’m assuming that food will be on the island so we don’t have to worry about that.

I’m thinking that I need a few different versions of this because, as you know, I have such a hard time making up my mind.

List One: This one is compiled with the understanding that I am not alone in the world, that I have family and pets.

  1. Corey, Alexis (and her significant other), Eamonn, and Brett plus myself. That’s six right there. Must have family with me on this desert island.
  2. Tillie, Alfie and Shakes. Another three. Must have the dogs, even though they take up three spots.
  3. My Lord of the Rings (three books but one story so it only counts as one. I know. I cheat). Must have reading material. But I would give up the books, I suppose, if my sons had companions.

List Two: This one is compiled with the understanding that I am alone in the world, no pets or familydeserted island 1

  1. Myself (1)
  2. My Lord of the Rings (1)
  3. A copy of The Odyssey (because I’ve never made it all of the way through) (1)
  4. Lots of writing paper and something with which to write (2)
  5. A fully-loaded MP3 player and back-up solar batteries (3) (Do solar batteries exist?)
  6. A huge bottle of 4711 cologne to remind me of civilization (odd choice, I know) (1)
  7. A dog for companionship (1)

List Three: This one is compiled with the understanding that I must take that which I need to survive and gather food

  1. Myself (1)
  2. A machete (1)
  3. Two dogs, male and female (2)
  4. Lots of writing paper and something with which to write (2)
  5. A spade (1)
  6. Something reflective (1)
  7. A bottle of 5,000 Ibuprofen (since I cannot have all of my meds) (1)
  8. A bucket
cast-away-tom-hanks-2
Tom Hanks and Fed Ex boxes in Castaway

Now the reality is that if I were to be stranded on a desert island a la Castaway, I would hope that some things washed up on shore with me, one of which should be my carryall bag. I could survive months with just the contents of my carryall bag as it contains meds, scissors, a mirror, candy, a pocket knife, my inhaler, a notebook and lots of pens, a mini screwdriver, and sunglasses.

In Lola’s system of counting, the carryall bag counts as one thing just as the Lord of the Rings counts as one thing.

And if I had my purse as well as my carryall bag, I would be in fine shape. Also, if I washed up on a desert island wearing the things that I usually leave the house with, I would have a watch, my glasses, my cross, some earrings (okay, those I can do without), and probably a book and/or notebook.

Look, I’ve always been a pack rat, ever since grade school when I decided that I needed to take a satchel to school filled with things that I might need. Alexis inherited this tendency, so if she were with me and we got stranded, you can bet that we’d have a lot of things one might need just in case.

I’m not sure about the whole ice skate as dental tools as in Castaway, but the blades would be handy as would the laces. Don’t know if I have it in me to use an ice skate as a dental tool. But unlike Tom Hanks’s character in the movie, I wouldn’t be waiting to open all of the Fed Ex boxes. He was being honorable.

I say that if you are stranded, sealed Fed Ex boxes are fair game. Although given that attitude, the boxes that would wash up on shore with me would probably be things like government proposals, mortgage payments, and car parts. I’m not sure that side steps for a truck would come in that handy on an island  . . .

 “What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.” ~ Johann Wolfgang Goethe

deserted island 3I wish that my lists were more creative, but I think that they actually reflect more about me than at first glance. For example, I could survive without another person with me as long as I had a dog to keep me company. Implements with which to write and record things are very important to me. My choice of a machete instead of just a plain knife show that I am my father’s daughter.

Granted, wanting to take along a bottle of cologne might seem crazy, but if I had nothing else on this island to remind me of home, a smell would suffice. Smells are very important to humans: they conjure happy thoughts, trigger memories, even help with digesting food. The German cologne 4711 would do that for me. It would allow me to remember that piece of me that once belonged to society.

And if possible, having an MP3 player that is full of my personal music choices would serve as a connection to the world. I would have Chopin and Beethoven, the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen, Sarah McLachlan and Annie Lennox, Pavoratti and Broadway musicals. Music, in its varied forms, is communication, and it is something that is universal.

Having music with me would help to alleviate the loneliness, even if there were no chocolate to be found anywhere.

I wonder what other members of my family would choose to take: How Brett would survive without electronics . . . How Eamonn would survive without his cell phone . . . What Alexis would choose of her multitude of things that she must have . . . What Corey would want with him for the rest of his life . . .

Each list would be very different. Of that, I am certain. What and who we value as people is as varied as the sunrises. Not surprisingly. After all, it is that which makes us individuals, unique and the same, as unpredictable as the tides.

More later. Peace.

Lola’s Best of Rock ‘n Roll List (for now)

 45s 

 I Love Rock and Roll . . . Put Another Dime In The Jukebox Baby

acoustic-guitarI’ve been thinking a lot about music lately. Let me clarify, thinking about music in an analytical way, rather than just an idle way.

This personal music appreciation phase has actually been prompted by my inability to find a notebook. You see, a few years ago I decided to compose my own top 100 rock ‘n roll song list. I would put names of songs and artists down in my notebook as they occurred to me, with my ultimate goal being to arrange the list, thereby forming my own Top Ten for posterity.

 

But I cannot find the notebook. I’ve been doing a lot of de-cluttering and throwing away, but I haven’t come across the notebook anywhere. I have a feeling that it might be packed up with my office stuff since I kept said notebook pretty handy for those instantaneous recollections from my past.

 

Anyway, without the notebook, I’ve been re-compiling the list in my head, but I thought that I might offer up some entries in a post to see what other people remember and whether or not there are any big disagreements on entries or placements.

 

So, without any further ado, here is my work-in-progress of the best rock n roll songs from the last four decades (or so).

 

born-to-run-cover1.            “Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen

2.            “Cry Baby,” Janis Joplin

3.            “Hotel California,” The Eagles

4.            “Imagine,” John Lennon

5.            “Doctor My Eyes,” Jackson Browne

6.            “Baba O’Reilly, The Who

7.            “Lola,” The Kinks

8.            “Sweet Dreams (are made of this),” Eurythmics

9.            “Whiter Shade of Pale,” Procol Harum

procol-harum-695-l10.        “Brown-eyed Girl,” Van Morrison

11.        “Layla” acoustic, Eric Clapton

12.        “No Woman, No Cry,” Bob Marley and the Wailers

13.        “American Pie,” Don McLean

14.        “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding

15.        “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Percy Sledge

16.        “Somebody to Love,” Jefferson Airplane

17.        “Major Tom,” David Bowie

18.        “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” Creedence Clearwater Revival

19.         “Layla,” Derek and the Dominos

20.        “Red House,” Jimmi Hendrix

janis-joplin-cover21.        “Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin

22.        “Star Spangled Banner,” Jimmi Hendrix

23.        “Jungleland,” Bruce Springsteen

24.        “The Long and Winding Road,” The Beatles

25.        “Oh Darlin’” The Beatles

26.        “Into the Mystic,” Van Morrison

27.        “With a Little Help From My Friends,” Joe Cocker

28.        “Our House,” Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

29.        “Lawyers, Guns and Money,” Warren Zevon

30.        “Maybe I’m Amazed,” Paul McCartney

31.        “Every Breath You Take,” The Police

32.        “Brown Sugar,” Rolling Stones

33.         “Roundabout,” Yes

moody-blues-days-of-future-passed-cover34.        “Nights in White Satin,” Moody Blues

35.        “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Simon & Garfunkel

36.        “Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd

37.        “Romeo & Juliet,” Steely Dan

38.        “Allison,” Elvis Costello

39.         “Maggie May,” Rod Stewart

40.        “Fields of Gold,” Sting

41.        Bell Bottom Blues,” Eric Clapton

42.        “Silent Lucidity,” Queensryche

43.        “Cecilia,” Simon & Garfunkel

pinkfloydthemoonjw744.        “Money,” Pink Floyd

45.        “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” Ray Charles

46.        “You Are So Beautiful,” Joe Cocker

47.        “Melissa,” Allman Brothers

48.        “Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Rolling Stones

49.        “Light My Fire,” The Doors

50.        “Respect,” Aretha Franklin

51.        “Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin

led_zeppelin_-_led_zeppelin_iv-front52.        “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Marvin Gaye

53.        “Another Brick in the Wall,” Pink Floyd

54.        “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen

55.        “Losing My Religion,” REM

56.        “Sultans of Swing,” Dire Straits

57.        “I Can See Clearly Now,” Johnny Nash

58.        “Desperado,” The Eagles

59.        “I’m The Only One,” Melissa Etheridge

blues-brothers60.        “Purple Rain,” Prince

61.        “Soul Man,” Blues Brothers

62.        “Walk on the Wild Side,” Lou Reed

63.        “Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell

64.        Kashmir,” Led Zeppelin

65.        “Life’s Been Good To Me So Far,” Joe Walsh

66.        “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” Bonnie Raitt

csny-deja-vu-cover67.        “Southern Cross,” Crosby, Stills & Nash

68.        “I Feel Good” (I Got You), James Brown

69.        “Freebird,” Lynrd Skynrd

70.        “Over and Over,” Fleetwood Mac

71.        “Unchained Melody,” The Righteous Brothers

72.        “Low Rider,” War

73.        “Everybody Hurts,” REM

74.        “Daughter,” Pearl Jam

fleetwood-mac-rumours75.        “Go Your Own Way,” Fleetwood Mac

76.        “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” Three Dog Night

77.        “Proud Mary/Rollin on the River,” Ike & Tina Turner

78.        California Dreamin’” The Mamas and the Papas

79.        “Time is on My Side,” Rolling Stones

80.        “Who Do You Love?” George Thorogood and The Destroyers

81.        “Joker,” Steve Miller Band

82.        “Sunshine of Your Love,” Cream

83.        “War,” Edwin Starr

84.        “Black Magic Woman,” Santana

85.        “Night Moves,” Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

86.        “Dream On,” Aerosmith

87.        “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” The Temptations

roliling-stones-album-cover88.        “Wild Horses,” Rolling Stone

89.        “Can’t Hurry Love,” The Supremes

90.        “My Girl,” The Temptations

91.        “Legs,” ZZ Top

92.        “Landslide,” Stevie Nicks

93.        “Glycerine,” Bush

94.        “Born to be Wild,” Steppenwolf

95.        “Uncle John’s Band,” Grateful Dead

96.        “Sunday, Bloody Sunday,” U2

97.        Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Elton John hootie-and-the-blowfish

98.        “White Room,” Cream

99.         “Long December,” Counting Crows

100.    “American Woman,” The Guess Who

101.    “God Was One of Us,” Joan Osborne

102.    “Let Her Cry,” Hootie and the Blowfish

103.    “All Right Now,” Free

104.    “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It,” REM

105.    “Shine,” Collective Soul

106.    “Iris,” Goo Goo Dolls

nirvana-300107.    “Better Man, Pearl Jam

108.    “Walk of Life,” Dire Straits

109.    “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Nirvana

110.    “Jeremy,” Pearl Jam

111.    “Horse With No Name,” America

112.    “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” The Band

113.    “That’s All,” Genesis

114.    “House of the Rising Son,” The Animals

115.    “In-a-gooda-da-vida,” Iron Butterfly

sgt_pepper

Of course, one of the truly great things about vinyl was looking at the album cover for the first time. Album covers went from just basic pictures of the artists to bold creations full of symbolism and decidedly risqué images. I’ll close now with what has often been called the best album art in history: The Beatles: Sergeant Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band.

So that’s my list. It has 115 entries because I have some artists listed two or three times, so in the Lola system of counting, those listings only count as one, which results in my top 100 (approximately) Rock and Roll songs and artists, spanning about four decades (have to leave room for hedging).
 
In the meantime, please feel free to drop me a line as to how you feel about my choices and the order in wich they are listed. More later. Peace.

 

 

                                                                                                             

   

Want more exposure for your blog? Visit www.condron.ustoday, and sign up for a chance to become part of a great blogging community. All submitted blogs can be categorized so that you get exposure among blogs that are similar in nature to yours. And while you are there, spend some time on the Blogroll, reading and commenting on blogs that you find interesting, or visit the Forum, in which you can post questions and comments about the site, blogging in general, or blogs that you find interesting. Condron.us is a blogger’s best friend.

www.condron.us