Sometimes It’s the Little Things

clas tub + candles

 Feels Like a Little Bit of Heaven

Fifty Things About Me That Are Totally Irrelevant:

  1. My middle name is Gayle. Just think about that for a minute . . . Lolita Gayle. Can you perceive any possible rhyme or reason why those two names might be linked together in any way? Me neither. It has always dumbfounded me as to why my parents chose this for my middle name, and I have always hated having Gayle as my middle name. It’s not the name that I hate, per se. It’s the name in conjunction with my first name. No poetry there. No melody. No logic. But what can you do? My cup of teadaughter hates her middle name also, and her father and I thought that it went very well with her first name, so I suppose that it’s just one of those parent things.
  2. Whenever I go to a bar, I order three things simultaneously: whatever liquor I’m drinking, for example Kahlua and cream, plus a glass of iced water, and a cup of hot tea. This is one of the reasons that I like to go to places where the wait staff knows me. They don’t look at me like I’m crazy when I place my order. Why do I do this? Why is my middle name Gayle? Exactly. Actually, I like to drink all three things at once. I pace myself by drinking water throughout the night, and I like my hot tea. I’m not a big drinker in the first place, so my combo works very well for me.
  3. I have only had short hair a few times in my life, and the times that I did have it, I hated it. I’m just not a short hair person. I feel like I look like a monkey when I have short hair. Of course when I was a child, my mother used to chop off my hair regularly. She would see a hairstyle that she thought was very chic, and then I would lose hair. I hated it when she would do that.womens-collage
  4. I have always been a flaming liberal, and females who say that they aren’t feminists don’t really understand the true definition of the word.
  5. I have two crooked toes. They were never broken, but the fourth toe on each foot is curved like a comma. It has never really bothered me unless someone asks me about it.
  6. Speaking of toes, I have Filipino toes, as in, I can pinch with my toes and pick up things with my toes. I know, also very strange, but trust me, this is not an unusual trait among Filipinos.
  7. Cats make me have asthma attacks, which is a shame since cats love me, and if I enter a house in which a cat resides, said cat will make a beeline for my face.
  8. My favorite thing to do when I go out is singing Karaoke. That’s because I’m a ham and a thwarted Broadway star. I had planned to run away to New York after high school, but it never happened.
  9. I’m a classically-trained pianist, but never felt that I was very good at it, even after 14 years of lessons.
  10. I have been a vegetarian a couple of times in my life, and there was no particular reason for it other than I got tired of eating red meat. I’ve never been a vegan and don’t even have the least idea as to how one does that.
  11. I love Beethoven as much as I love the Beatles, Frederic Chopin as much as I love Kenny Chesney, Stravinsky as much as I love Springsteen. My playlists usually cover about four genres of music.
  12. Cayman Islands beachMore than just about anything else, reading is my favorite way to pass the time. Reading on a tropical beach is even better. Reading a good mystery on a tropical beach with an umbrella drink is the best.
  13. My favorite holiday is Christmas. I love to decorate the house and to buy the perfect presents for the people in my life. No one else in my family gets as excited about Christmas, and that always makes me a bit melancholy.
  14. I make lots of lists—grocery lists, shopping lists, to do lists—and I lose them almost as soon as I make them, which kind of negates the whole purpose of lists.
  15. painted toenailsI always keep my toenails painted. When I went into labor with Alexis, I took the time to paint my toenails and mop the kitchen floor. One of the things I hated about having back surgery was my inability to paint my toenails for a while.
  16. I have worked as a writer, editor, marketing director, resume writer, newsroom supervisor, grants writer, proposal development specialist, graduate teaching assistant, university English instructor, membership coordinator, publications manager, 6th grade public school teacher, senior education specialist, and research and development assistant. The job that I hated the most was teaching 6th grade for Norfolk Public Schools. The job that I loved the most was teaching at a university. The environment that I enjoyed working in the most was at an arts museum. The environment that I enjoyed working in the least was for a non-profit help group.
  17. I have been to the following countries: England, Scotland, France, Germany, Morocco, the Philippines, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, Honduras, Belize, and Spain. The places that I have not yet been to that still want to see include Ireland, Wales, Greece, Costa Rica, Australia, China, and New Zealand.
  18. A job that I think I would have been good at? Being a crime analyst (in the lab, not in the field). I love solving mysteries, and it seems that analyzing evidence would be one of those jobs that would continue to evolve.
  19. The major that I seriously considered and actually regret not pursuing is marine biology. I considered pre-med, psychology, and anthropology. I ended up getting two of my degrees in English, but I have always been interested in life under the sea. I did take my LSAT’s because I was going to go to law school when we moved to northern Virginia, but then I got pregnant with Alexis and changed my mind. 
  20. Tartan 27 Sailboat
    Tartan 27 Sailboat
  21. I almost bought a 27-foot boat when I was in college that I wanted to live on. Do I regret not doing this one? Absolutely. How often are you that free in your life? No ties, no debts, the ability to make life-changing decisions. I was completely stupid for not following through on this one, and the only thing that held me back was fear.
  22. My best feature? My legs. My worst feature? Everything else.
  23. My favorite flower is lilac.
  24. My favorite scent is Calvin Klein’s Eternity.
  25. My favorite colors are black, red, and purple, in that order.
  26. I love black leather boots, my full-length black leather coat, and squooshy black leather hobo bags. My favorite leather designer is Kenneth Cole, and I don’t believe that you can ever have too many boots or purses.
  27. black bootsI love cashmere but cannot wear it because it gives me a rash.
  28. I love silk and wear it as often as possible.
  29. I love the smell of freshly cut roses, but hate the smell of rose-scented candles.
  30. My favorite jeans are Levi’s, and I cannot imagine ever paying $200 for a pair of jeans.
  31. My favorite jewelry, besides my wedding rings, are my crosses. I have a gold Claddagh cross, a gold crucifix, and three rosaries. I am not Catholic.
  32. I would have been a good lawyer because I like to win.
  33. Among the things that I like to collect are watches, especially ones with big faces and leather straps.
  34. My mom pierced my ears with a needle when I was 12.
  35. I have one tattoo on my back. I want to get at least two other tattoos.
  36. I am claustrophobic in crowded places: elevators, coliseums, rallies.
  37. I can curse without moving my lips.
  38. gem_aquamarineI spent several formidable years of my childhood in London, England. I went to a public school, and I had a very proper British accent. I haven’t been back to England since I was a child, and I would love to go back just to see how much it has changed.
  39. My birthstone is garnet, but my favorite stone is aquamarine.
  40. I am stupidly jealous, and more than once have made an idiot of myself because of it, but it stems from my insecurity.
  41. I believe that if you make a promise, you should keep it even if it’s to a small child. If you know that you aren’t going to keep the promise, don’t make it. Broken promises cause disillusionment.
  42. Keeping information from someone is the same thing as being dishonest. I know. This is probably a woman thing.
  43. I could go my entire life without watching the NFL and never miss it.
  44. I want to live in the mountains and by the sea.
  45. I love good coffee, Belgium chocolate, and angel hair pasta.
  46. I love fresh seafood, but refuse to eat lobster because I think that they should be allowed to live on the bottom of the ocean for as long as they can.cupid's bow lips
  47. I miss wearing suits and heels.
  48. I always have something on my lips, at least gloss, throughout the day.
  49. I would love to pursue another degree.
  50. Nothing is better for stress than a hot bath, lots of candles, a glass of wine, and someone washing your hair for you.
  51. This is the longest amount of time that I have spent thinking about just myself in forever, and I only did it because I couldn’t think of anything else to post.

More later on a different subject. Promise. Peace.

High School Should Be Abolished

The Boardwalk Trail in Trail of Cedars Glacier Natl Park by Janson Jones
Trail of the Cedars, Glacier National Park, Montana by Janson Jones of Floridana Alaskiana

“The Long and Winding Road . . . ” ~ Paul McCartney, The Beatles

“Will Never Disappear. . .”

pathwayI picked up my son Brett from school today. When he got in the truck, I could tell that it had been another bad day for him. My heart aches so much for him as he is certain that the rest of his life is going to be as bad as it is right now.

Even though most of his teachers and his counselor have been extremely understanding and have agreed to work with him, he is still suffering the pains of the anxiety and depression, and I have little doubt that almost all of it is caused by school.

When he asked me if his life is always going to be so bad, I just wanted to cradle him in my arms and hold him and never let go. That’s the mom in me talking, but it is also the person in me talking who has been and continues to be terribly unsure of herself, even after all of these years. I know how it feels to believe that life just sucks and that it is never going to get better. I know how it feels to believe that you are worthless. I know how it feels to bear the burden of putting on a good face just to make it through the day.

And because I know these things, it makes me wish that he could just skip these years and arrive at a better point in his life.

“I’ve Seen That Road Before . . .”

stone stepsI mean, I actually didn’t have a horrible time in high school. I did pretty much whatever I wanted, managed to still get good grades, cheered, and belonged to every club I could join. But the truth is that it was all a big act: my attempts to fit in, to belong. And I always wore this façade, one that reflected someone who knew what she wanted and wouldn’t let anyone stand in her way.

I have to tell you that maintaining that kind of façade really takes its toll. I would move through school at this frenetic pace for weeks and weeks at a time. I would go to all-night study sessions, take my advanced courses, work part time four or five times a week. The pace I set for myself was insane now that I look back on it. But then the inevitable crash would come, and I would get sick and be out of school.

At the time I suspected that I was manic/depressive, as it was called then, but only from the little bit of research that I had done on the subject. Of course, information was not a mouse click away at the time, and research meant pulling books and articles from shelves and reading them on the library’s time. I just knew that I had these extreme highs that would shift on a dime.

My mother, of course, would say things like “snap out of it,” and “you’re just making yourself sad.” Or the best one: “You have your period.” To be fair, though, even though I cast my mother as uncaring, it was not that so much as uninformed. My mother came from a very small town in North Carolina and had no formal education. What she knew about depression was only what she might see in movies. And in her generation, mental illness was a big stigma: People did not talk about such things as it would end up on their permanent record.

Permanent record. You won’t believe how many times I used to hear that. I asked my mom one time where this permanent record was kept. She told me not to be a smartass.

But I digress . . .

“The Wild and Windy Night . . .”

Dark-stormy-cloudsMy main point is that high school is an unendurable test of strength, will, character, and emotion. Think back to your high school days: Did you love them? Do you look back on them fondly? Bigger question: Would you go back?

No. Absolutely not. No way. Never. Fry some chicken and call me for dinner but N-O.

I was telling Brett that there are some people who never leave high school because it was the best time of their lives. We all know those people, and we usually feel sorry for them.

But in retrospect, there are only a handful of people from my high school days that I still care about. One of them is dead; he died much too young of cancer. One I was married to (no, we were not high school sweethearts, ugh). One is his best friend and was my best friend. One reads my blog regularly and has come in and out of my life for years and has always been in my life because we have known each other much longer than high school. And one is a gay man who lives with his partner up north.

There are other people who I remember fondly, There are moments that I remember fondly. There are incredible adventures that I will never forget. But that was then. I’ve moved on, matured, grown, aged, changed and changed again.

“That the Rain Washed Away . . .”

silver-birch-forestWhat I was trying to tell Brett was that all of those popular people in high school, the ones who everyone knew and envied, or wanted to be like or hated just a little because they were too popular or too handsome or too privileged—those people are not who they were in high school.

For example, one of the really sad stories from my high school concerns the football star, the quarterback. He was actually a quiet, troubled soul, but few people knew that. Everyone just knew that he could throw a ball. A few years after high school, he killed himself. I won’t even try to surmise why he might have done such a thing. No one can ever know another person’s demons.

Or take some of the beautiful people in high school, the pretty blondes, the handsome jocks: Some of them are on their third marriages. Some are with spouses who they thought would treat them like queens only to find out that their husband is a monster who beats them behind the privacy of their closed door.

Some never made it to 20. They died from drug overdoses, suicide, homicide, illnesses. The ones other people looked down on, the brains, are working for GE, fortune 500 companies as engineers, NASA.

“Why Leave Me Standing Here? Let Me Know the Way . . . “

Standing AloneWe can never know where life will take us. Most of us would never have guessed that we would be in the places we find ourselves today. Some of us have done much better than we ever hoped. Some of us have done much worse. Fate is fickle, and life is hard.

When we are in high school, everything seems possible at some point. Then nothing seems possible the next day. We go from highs to lows in the blink of an eye. Maybe it’s because of a rejection letter from the college we really wanted. Maybe it’s because we lost a parent or a sibling or a best friend. Maybe it’s because our family’s circumstances changed, and what we once had was taken away. Maybe it’s because we have no support system at home. Maybe it’s because we have no home. Who knows?

All of the petty grievances we had with people in high school seem so small once we move on and have to deal with real world issues: paying the mortgage, working with a boss who is sexist, finding out our spouse is cheating, losing a job because of circumstances beyond our control.

How can breaking up with your one true love at 16 prepare you for such things? It can help you to understand loss, but without a broader context, that loss will seem overwhelming at the time.

How can failing English or Trigonometry not make you feel like a failure? It can’t at the moment, but in a broader context, it can help you to learn how to overcome failure, and as long as no one rubs your nose in that failure, you may be able to deal with it in a way that does not tear at your sense of self.

“Many Times I’ve Been Alone and Many Times I’ve Cried”

Wild and Windy NightI’m not trying to diminish all of the emotions, feelings and flailing that a young person in high school endures. It is precisely because of the constant bombardment of things that so many young people take their own lives. As I wrote about in a previous post, being bullied when you are 13 and unable to sort through all of the emotions can cause a young person to snap. And how sad and utterly wasted.

If only there were some way to go inside the heads of these young men and women and let them know that in one year or two or three, their lives will be different. They won’t have to endure humiliation, verbal abuse, or whatever obstacles they face now because they will have the power to get away from that source of pain. If only they can hang on long enough.

I’m not naive. I know that not everyone escapes. I know that for some, the abuse continues. I know that because of economic circumstances, some will never be able to touch even the periphery of their dreams. And some will continue patterns begun in high school that prevent them from ever really maturing emotionally.

Many an alcoholic and drug addict are born in high school. Those bullies grow up to be spouse and child abusers. Some of those who endured constant ridicule grow into people who survive by belittling others because that is all that they know. Others who had to lie and live in secret grow into adults who always keep their true selves hidden. And some who were never able to overcome their childhood fears grow into individuals who continue to be victimized their entire lives.

But there is always hope, and with luck, maybe the sorrows that they endure during this emotional, hormonal, confusing time will help them to become stronger people, or at least give them insight into how they don’t want to raise their own children, the things they should never say or do to their own children because they have the emotional and physical scars to remind them of how much words can hurt.

“. . . You Will Never Know the Many Ways I’ve Tried”

Solitary Walk on BeachIf high school was the apex of your life, and you still look on it fondly, then good for you. Cherish your memories. But for most of the rest of us, it’s a period that we are glad is in the past. We might go to a reunion to see a few familiar faces and say hello, and probably, we want to gloat a little inwardly at the beauties who have gained weight and the arrogant young men who are now balding and pot-bellied.

Sometimes, revenge is sweet when it is never served at all, when we just let life take care of things. When we just allow fate to dip into the well and present its own version of just rewards.

I wish with all of my heart that the high school years could somehow be avoided, jumped over, or abolished altogether. But that is not reality. As much as I might want to cosset my son and keep him from pain, I know that I have to step back and allow him to finish this particular journey in his life. I can be there to support him, but I cannot bear this burden for him, nor would I want to if I could.

“Don’t Leave Me Waiting Here/Lead Me to Your Door”

sunrise through treesThere is an old Spanish proverb that says “The journey is more important than the inn.”  Only when we are a little older and a little wiser and a few years removed from the hardest legs of our journey—only then do we begin to understand that life truly is a winding road, filled with twists and turns and hillocks and vales.

Until then, we must endure all of the more arduous legs of our individual journeys and bide our time for the smoother paths. And if we can be patient, sometimes along the way the light will shine through the trees to help us along our paths.

Let me leave you with this beautiful memory of Paul, George and Ringo together live with John in video. More later. Peace.

 

 

Looking to generate more traffice for your blog? Visit condron.us where you will find a whole community of bloggers, writing about topics in all areas. Join the forum and add your opinions to open discussions. Or submit your blog to the blogroll and browse blogs from writers who are posting in your subject areas. CONDRON.US

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