“The only time I know the truth is when it reveals itself at the point of my pen.” ~ Norman Mailer

Sunday night. Clear and mild, 60 degrees.

Hello again. Just a brief update. I’m still cleaning things here. I’ve deleted broken links, well, most of them. I haven’t cleaned the sidebar carefully yet. I’m looking for new gifs, new images, new things . . . The theme is temporary. I’m still mulling over a few choices, trying to decide if I want a complete departure from my old look, or something similar.

To that end, if you’re visiting, could you take a sec and just let me know if you like this style, or if you find something like my old theme easier to read. Of course, if you have  completely different suggestion of something else, I’d love to know. Also, I’m thinking about resurrecting a couple of my regular posts like Two for Tuesday, and Friday leftovers; plus, I’ve thought of something interesting for future Mondays.

This major makeover is harder than the other ones, having been absent for so long. So many new things to try on WordPress, not the least of which is the option to upgrade to get rid of ads on my site, something I’d really like to do. Of course, the whole nature of blogging has morphed mightily during my absence. I haven’t even explored if people still write like this or post my predictable wordy blongs. Granted, I’m just not cut out for a limited number of characters—not to mention my complete aversion to that particular medium because of 45’s insistence of governing via Twitter. I mean really………

Anyway, just wanted to post a quick update, no flora or fauna to accompany. Hope you are all well out there in the ether. Take very good care of yourselves.

More later. Peace.

An appropriate oldie but goodie, The Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

 

I sit and watch the years go by . . .

Picture Collage

Eamonn and Kelsie, Norview H.S. Senior Prom 2009 

“It is the evening of the day” ~ “As Tears Go By,” by The Rolling Stones

Eamonn 1995
Eamonn Four Years Old

Tonight, my eldest son is going to his senior prom. He is taking his girlfriend of six months, Kelsie. May I just pause here for a moment and tell you how old this makes me feel?

In my eyes, Eamonn is still a young boy in grade school, sweet-looking and acting, except for when he is acting mischievous. He and his brother Brett are best of friends, and everyone gets along; in particular, Eamonn and I get along wonderfully. He still believes in me and hasn’t reached the point at which I become stupid and out of touch.

Would that I could bottle that period of time, and dab a bit of its essence on my wrists whenever he is acting like a complete and total jackass, in other words, like a teenager on the precipice of manhood.

 “I sit and watch the children play”

Eamonn 1st & Brett Kindergarten
First Day of School (Eamonn 1st grade & Brett Kindergarten)

But that is not possible. Time passes. Your children grow into teenagers, then into young adults, then into adults. You hope with every fiber of your being that at some point, the lessons that you have tried to teach them and the codes by which you live will kick in and that they will become honorable people, caring people, people who realize that life is more than what is within their small circles of being.

All that you can do is hope, that and try to take comfort in knowing that you have offered the best of your wisdom. But if we are to be completely honest as parents, we must also acknowledge that we have shown them many of the disappointments that life has to offer: a failed marriage, a short temper, an absorption in work. You have shown them these things even though you never intended to do so.

And the world has shown them more than you ever wanted them to know: wars, intolerance, bigotry, racism, sexism, warped views of the roles that men and women can actually play.  If you have been careful, you have tried to balance those images with how you would hope they move into adulthood: more tolerant of others, less disparaging of people who are not exactly what you want them to be, more aware of how much they need to participate in their families, more willing to treat their significant others equally and with respect.

At some point, you realize when they are growing up that you have absolutely no control over certain external forces: the things they see and hear at school, what they choose to do when they are away from you, how they treat their friends, boyfriends, girlfriends. And most especially, how responsible they are in their choices about alcohol, drugs, and sex.

“Smiling faces I can see”

I know that Eamonn has tremendous respect for his stepfather. He loves and admires Corey, which I hope will translate into a desire to emulate the kind of man that Corey is.

makemie woods spotlight
Summer Camp: Eamonn top row, Brett Below

Nevertheless, Eamonn has still not forgiven me for divorcing his dad. He has said it more than once, and always, he says that divorce is the most selfish thing that a parent can do. Even though Eamonn still blames me for the divorce, he always follows those hurtful comments with a statement that he is glad that Corey came into our lives.

I have tried to explain to Eamonn that one of the main reasons that I asked his father for a temporary separation was so that we could get some distance between us in order to reassess what was important. In my eyes, that was our family. I did not want our children to be raised in an atmosphere that was continuously clouded with arguments and accusations.

So I asked his father for a separation. At the time, I never wanted it to be permanent, nor did I want our relationship to end in divorce. I never dreamed that his father would fall in love with someone within two months of leaving us. I never anticipated that he would be so angry at me that he would never consider coming back home. But that is how things played out between us.

In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened. I was no longer walking around on egg shells. The children were no longer subjected to a hostile atmosphere.

“My riches can’t buy everything; I want to hear the children sing”

Brotherly_Love
Brett & Eamonn Ready for Combat (unfortunately)

Certainly, it was very hard being the single parent of three children and working full time. Things did not always go smoothly. But I promised myself that I would not be one of those women who brought a series of men in and out of the house, leaving the children feeling confused and alienated. The end result was that I didn’t date anyone; truth be told, I wasn’t all that interested in dating anyone.  I went out on Friday nights with some friends, but I was always home before 9. I was very content spending one night a week out with my friends.

I was trying desperately to be a good role model, and I know in my heart that I did the right thing when it came to getting involved or dating. Then I met Corey. Neither of us were looking for a relationship, which is why we were able to talk so openly to one another. There were absolutely no expectations, especially on my part because of the age difference.

But a funny thing happened along the way: we fell in love. I introduced Corey to my children gradually. By the time Corey and I got married, there was already an incredibly strong bond between the five of us.

“It is the evening of the day . . . I sit and watch the children play” 

I Am Just Too Pleased With MyselfCorey had a lot of learning to do about parenting, but he adapted and learned, and managed to open my eyes along the way. We all adapted and grew to be a fairly close family. I know that I complain at times about Eamonn, but the reality is that he’s a teenager, and I’m his mother, and the two things don’t always mesh very well. But we love each other. There is never any doubt of that.

 Thankfully, my sons have had a remarkable role model in their stepfather, and a good idea of what it means to have a positive, loving relationship. Corey and I have a big argument about four times a year. When we argue, we try to keep it private, and we do not call each other names, especially in front of the boys, which is so different from how it used to be with my former spouse.

With any luck, the boys, especially Eamonn, will remember these things once he has a family of his own or even when he gets into a serious relationship. He will remember what it means to be an equal partner in a relationship. He will remember how sometimes, one person in the relationship has to do more of the care-taking. But I hope that the thing that he remembers most once he is grown is how important it is to say I love you often, even when you are angry or upset, and to mean it; and also, to love the members in your family openly, with hugs and kisses and a genuine pat on the back for a job well done.

“Doin’ things I used to do . . . They think are new.  I sit and watch as tears go by.” 

In the meantime, I’ll sit here tonight and remember how handsome he looked as he got into the car with his girlfriend. I will wish fervently that he remembers his promise to me to act responsibly, and that he and all of his friends make it home safely.

Eamonn in Papa's hat close up
Eamonn at 1 Wearing His Papa's Hat

No matter how old your children get, you never stop worrying about them, even when they are making you feel as old as dirt.

He probably does not realize it yet, but tonight marks the ending of one chapter in his life and beginning of a new one. He will be graduating in a few short weeks, and he will have to make some life choices. I will be here to help him if he will let me, but I realize that in the end, they must be his choices, even if they are not the ones I would have him make.

Nothing says that I have to let go of all of the pictures in my memory of Eamonn as he has grown through the years, from the moment that I first saw him, to his school pictures in grade school, to his first serious girlfriend, and now, in this closing chapter on high school.

I have always felt so fortunate to have had Eamonn as he came along a few years after we lost Caitlin, and with his arrival, I was finally able to open my heart again, not just to him, but to everyone who mattered to me. Eamonn taught me how to take chances again, and nothing that happens, nothing in the world will ever diminish the importance of Eamonn being my saving grace.

Just as his sister before him and his brother after him, I will have to let Eamonn go at some point, but that does not mean that I will ever love him less than with all of my being.

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.

 

 

                                                                                                             

   

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