Andrea Bocelli sings with the Muppets . . .

More Muppets, because I can never get enough, and I need to share this with you . . .

Joy to the World


Jingle Bells


Christmas is Coming (I am particularly fond of the Muppet carols featuring John Denver)


All The Joy That Is Mine Today

My Perfect Day



Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today

Probably few of you remember John Denver’s song “Today” (words and music by The Minstrels Randy Spark). It was one of those folk songs that spoke of love and forever, and I still like to hear it occasionally. Denver’s voice always had an innocence to it that belied the troubled man behind it.

If I could have one perfect day, just one day that I alone could orchestrate with no outside forces to interfere, I wonder what it would be, from start to finish. I’ve given this some thought, and I think that this would be my one perfect day. (First, I would have to preface it by saying that I would have no pain anywhere in my body so that I could do all of the things that I would like to do on my perfect day.) That said, here is my perfect day:

I’ll be a dandy, and I’ll be a rover
You’ll know who I am by the songs that I sing
I’ll feast at your table, I’ll sleep in your clover
Who cares what the morrow shall bring

We awaken around eight, completely refreshed and ready to go, with the sun shining through the window. The temperature is already about 60 degrees with no humidity. Corey and I breakfast outside on the back porch on strong coffee and fresh fruit: mangoes, strawberries, and pears. We drink freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juice. Fresh gardenias sit on our table, and once in a while a light breeze drifts across them and release their scent while we relax with our second cup of coffee.

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today

Then we have a long shower in our double shower (which doesn’t exist yet). Corey washes my hair, which always relaxes me. After our shower, we dress for a casual day, but we make sure we pack our bathing suits and towels. Corey puts some bottled water in a cooler, and a few Pepsis for me. I grab my camera and a hat, and we jump in the car and head towards the Outer Banks for the day.

I can’t be contented with yesterday’s glory
I can’t live on promises winter to spring
Today is my moment, now is my story
I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll sing

peaches-at-farners-marketOn the way, we stop at our favorite farmer’s market and buy a peck of delicious peaches, some ripe tomatoes for Brett, some peanuts for Eamonn, and some honey. I bite into a peach, and juice runs down my chin. It is succulent and I devour the rest, reaching over to give Corey bites in between. We are both sticky from the juice. I open a bottle of water and pour some on my hands and wipe off Corey’s face with my hands. He turns away because he doesn’t like the stickiness, but he doesn’t like the wet hands either. I laugh loudly and without restraint, and he begins to laugh too. I wipe us both off with napkins. It feels so good to laugh like that again.

A little farther down the road we pass my favorite gift store. We stop in, and I immediately go to the coffee mugs. Corey reminds me that we already have too many mugs. I find one with a hummingbird that I must have. In the meantime, he has migrated to the cooking spices. We wander through the store for about 15 more minutes, and then we get back on the road. After all, it’s beach time, and the temperature is rising nicely.

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today

outer-banks-beachWe finally get to Kitty Hawk, which is the first part of the Outer Banks, and traffic is light because it’s a weekday in late spring, and school isn’t out yet. We find a place to park in one of the public access lots, and we walk down to the beach. The day is perfect: just a few puffy cumulus clouds dot the sky; the temperature is about 80° F, and the breeze is light. Sometimes the wind off the water can make it downright uncomfortable on the beach, but not today.

We put out our towels; we’ve already changed into our suits at a rest stop. We leave our cooler full of water and Pepsi on the towel, and we take a walk down the shore. There are very few people about, a family of four about 20 feet to our left, an incredibly buff and bronze woman about five feet to our right under an umbrella reading a book, and a scattered few others here and there. We start off to the right, scanning the shore for any interesting shells, finding only two this time, before we head back. I throw myself on the towel, feeling completely relaxed, and immediately fall asleep.

After about an hour, Corey nudges me and asks if I would like to have some lunch. It takes me a moment to remember where I am, but then when I come back to the real world, I say yes. We rinse off under the outdoor shower in the lot and put our clothes over our suits, and head over to one of our favorite seafood restaurants where we have a wonderful lunch. After that, it’s time to make the drive back home.

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
ere I forget all the joy that is mine, today

As we make our way home, I feel completely relaxed and contented. We stop by our favorite sushi bar, Sakura, and order obx_sunrisetakeout. When we walk in the door, the boys ask where we’ve been, and the dogs jump all over us as if we’ve been away for months. After we give the dogs treats, we tell the boys that we spent the day at the outer banks. They are both jealous that we didn’t take them. School, we remind them. We take another long, hot, cleansing shower. Then we sit on the back porch with the tiki torches lit and eat our sushi with chopsticks. I drink a Pepsi, and Corey has one too. And then to bed and each other’s arms.

It’s the perfect end to a perfect day. Neither one of us answered our phones or texted anyone. Neither of us got on our computers. We spent the day with each other and nature. It will probably be years before we have another day like this. It’s almost like something out of a song or a movie.

A million tomorrows before I forget all of the joy that was mine on this perfect day. Peace.



On The Wings of an Eagle*


Golden Eagle in Flight

We Dare to Dream Again of Friendly Skies As We Give Thanks

Okay. I’m going to do it. I’m going to write a blog about what I’m thankful for. A Charlie Brown blog, if you will. I debated whether or not this subject matter would be too trite, too overdone in the blogging world, but then I decided that my cynicism would prevail, especially in light of my recent entries, which admittedly, have been a tad on the nostalgic side. I’ve decided to write about unlikely things for which we, as in the collective we, can be grateful, in spite of the dire times we seem to be facing.

Here goes:

  • The nation’s first president of color, a man of incredible presence, intelligence, and insight. I can only hope that the fates are good to him and surround him with good karma. If he runs his presidency with just one half of the calm, executive demeanor that surrounded his campaign, then there is hope that his White House will never be likened to a college fraternity without any adult supervision.
  • A new administration, one headed by a president who won’t mangle the English language. No matter what your political leanings are, you have to be grateful for a man who is articulate
  • An apparent real goal for an end to the Iraqi war, or at least a major draw down of troops in that country, even if it means that we will have an increase of troops in another country
  • An attempt to provide access to some kind of health insurance for everyone in the country, even if it takes a couple of years. Hillary Rodham Clinton first attempted this during Clinton’s first term in office and was roundly criticized for not sticking to her role as first lady. After that aborted attempt, nothing has ever been done nationally until now.
  • A chance to regain our status in the world as a nation that can be respected as a leader
  • A chance to turn our economy around and stop the practice of “Trickle Down Economics.” The plan, of course, was that everything would trickle down in an equitable manner. Um, so sorry, but WRONG. When Ronald Reagan took office, our country could be described as a diamond, with most of the country falling in the middle of the socio-economic ladder. What we have now is an hourglass, with almost no middle class, an upper class and a very bottom-heavy lower socio-economic part of the ladder. Anyone who tells you that America is a class-less society is still in their naive idealistic phase.
  • A commitment by an administration and apparently a nation to harness alternative energy and preserve resources. A long overdue wake-up call has finally been answered, and more and more people are doing what they can, in big ways and in small, to help the environment. As someone who has been recycling for over almost two decades, it is refreshing to see the changes all around. I don’t care if it’s trendy, as long as it makes an impact.
  • More awareness of post traumatic stress disorder as a real problem with far-reaching issues that can affect people for years
  • The fact that Sarah Palin and her family are back in Alaska, at least for most of the time, but the governator still can’t seem to find enough work to do as governor, so she hits the road every other week.
  • A big win in the House and Senate, but the pressure is on to deliver. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility Spider Man.
  • Law & Order, the original, is back on Wednesday nights.
  • Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC is kicking butt big time.
  • Virginia went blue for the first time since 1964, and Thelma Drake lost her seat in Congress to newcomer Glenn Nye thanks in large part to a grassroots effort.
  • The first amendment allows people like me to write things like this whenever I want, which still makes this the best country in the world in which to live.
  • colorado20river20from20deadhorse20point
    The Colorado River from Deadhorse Point
  • With any luck, President-elect Obama will be able to reverse some of the more egregious laws that Bush has signed into law, in particular, those that allow drilling near state parks in Utah and Colorado, and those that ease pollution laws. Because after all, it would be nice to leave a legacy to our children, you know, something like majestic trees, clean rivers, the Grand Canyon, some Golden Eagles, and maybe some uranium-free land. Or maybe I’m being naive and full of youthful idealism in spite of my age.
  • And finally, with any luck, the next few years we will see some glimpses of that hope we held onto so tightly when we stood in line to get into those rallies. When we stood at those rallies waiting to hear the words we needed to hear. When we heard those words of hope and better days and we actually allowed ourselves to dare to believe, even when our cynical hearts did not want to. Yes, we can dare to hope. Yes, we will believe.

These are the things that I am thankful for as an American this Thanksgiving. Perhaps I’ll write about what I’m thankful for personally later, or maybe not. But it’s nice to think that maybe this time next year, there will be a change a coming.

Peace be with you.

*On the Wings of an Eagle, song by John Denver