Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Musings

I have been doing a daily music thing on Facebook, wherein you post LPs that are a big part of your musical history and influence.  When first nominated, I thought, "Oh bother..." but I have thoroughly enjoyed this musical journey. 

You know how certain smells can take you back in time?  Well, for me it is the same with music.  I suspect that many people feel this way.  Music transcends time, gets to a specific part of our brain that knows no time.

These the tunes of my early life.  Formative.  Affirming.  

Of course there was new music later in life, as I'm always curious and open to new 'sounds.'  Even hip-hop and rap provide inspiration at times.  "Girl" bands, like The Clicks, shot adrenaline into my bloodstream when I was in my 50s; the Indigo Girls rocked my world in my 40s.  Artists like Janis Ian came back on the scene and sparked my imagination once again.  My husband re-introduced me to classical music (he is a fan, and very knowledgeable) at a much deeper level than I had known before. 

Our new home provides even more avenues for music appreciation: we have regular concerts of every genre.  Last week we saw a group called "Horns A Plenty" which blew me away.  Look them up on YouTube.  They are great.

In these times of the utmost cray-cray and craven politics, let music be your balm, your inspiration and the fire that gets you marching in the streets.  I'm thinking of the music of Les Miserables.  The Song of Angry Men.  To the ramparts!

Friday, June 15, 2018



I've got a splitting headache from (I assume) my neck being "out."  I had a great and deep massage yesterday to help it, which it did for several  hours.  Now I'm back in ouchy mode, big time.

So, between THAT and the news out of D.C., I am a freakin' mess.  That is all.  Try and have a good weekend.

Over and OUT.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday Musings

I am pleased to report that I had a wonderfully enjoyable birthday yesterday.  I am gobsmacked that a year has passed since my lovely party in our garden to celebrate my 60th.  That was a lifetime highlight and something I will always (hopefully) remember.  I felt completely loved by family and friends and the warm cocoon of community lasted a very long time.

Yesterday I began by taking a very leisurely swim and then a soak in the spa.  After wards, cleaned and blow-dried, I took the dogs for a long walk down a path I haven't been on before.  It led to a park that was a complete surprise to me!  A swimming pool, tennis courts, a fitness circuit, athletic fields and plenty of lush green grass for the pups to run on.  Following that outing, the  hubs and I had brunch with a couple of neighbors, completely by accident.  We have a thing  here wherein you can tell the maitre d' if you'd like to share your table with other residents.  So, they ask when you come in if you'd like to share a table.  We said "yes" and joined a couple of friends who have been here 16 years and 10 years.  They were fun and interesting and we had a lively  meal with them.  We walked away commenting on how fun it is to live here and meet all these fascinating people.

In the afternoon I hauled a couple of lawn chairs out to the common area and had a nice read under the sprawling Sycamore.  I brought two chairs just in case a neighbor would like to join me.  No one did, but our next door neighbor said it was a grand idea, and she'd never seen anyone do it.    I'll keep doing it -- maybe I'll start a thing, and more people will bring their chairs out off of their porches and balconies.  It's just so nice under the trees, with the soft squishy grass between my toes and the abundant bird song.

And lastly, we had dinner out with family.  A fun time, but the grandchildren were tired from their busy weekend and practically fell asleep at the table.  One turns 13 this week, and the other is now 15.  Both thoroughly delightful people, who have (at their young age) such substance.  Truly dancing to the beat of their own drummers.  I sat next to my step-daughter, who was intrigued by my new Apple Watch, and observed as I texted my daughter on the device.  The jury is still out on whether or not this watch is worth it, but I'm giving it a shot.  I can track my heart rate on it which was the main motivation.

A big shout out to my friends who contributed to my birthday fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association.  They exceeded my goal, and I am grateful.  This was a Facebook thing, and it's a great way to celebrate a birthday.  At this point in my life I don't need any more "stuff."  So I like to see my friends gift me a donation to one of my favorite causes.  Everybody wins!

Also a grateful acknowledgement to my dear husband, who let me know often yesterday, how much he loves me.  It's the best feeling in the world to be so well loved.

A very good birthday.  A very good life.  Despite the hiccups (see last Friday's post). 

I hope  you  have a good week, and that you practice kindness and compassion, especially to yourself.

Friday, June 8, 2018


Howdy Friends.  A helluva week, I tell you.  Get thee to a retreat.  A 'health spa' if you will.  Somewhere where people will feed me excellent food that will nourish and restore me.  I want someone to lay hands on me and massage my muscles into oblivion.  Someplace I may cry freely without reproach.  Wash me clean.  Soak me in mud baths and wash me clean once again.

I am awash in self pity and I don't want to be.  I have some heart issues going on.  They don't pose any immediate danger, but they are troublesome and require additional investigation and probably medication to stabilize my heart's irregular beating.

All discovered on an EKG that my doc did when I went in for my persistent cough and chest cold.  He packed me off to a (very nice and approachable) Cardiologist.  Cardi says that alcohol and caffeine exacerbate the problem so I should cut down and cut out these substances.

Want to know one of the weird things?  She looked back on EKG history and says these issues have been going on for 5 years, just not to this degree.  So, I have withstood the test of time my friends.  I have know about my PVC condition but was told it was nothing to be concerned about.  Premature Ventricular Contractions are common, especially as we age, and are pretty benign when they occur on occasion.  Mine happened so rarely that it took many EKG to finally see one.  My latest two EKG show them happening all the time, sometimes right on top of one another.

I have an echo cardiogram scheduled, and a monitor which requires wearing for 24 hours to continuously monitor.  Trying to see the frequency of the PVC.  I reassure myself that this isn't critical, since testing is many weeks out and another appointment with cardiologist is in August.  In the meantime, I am trying not to borrow trouble, but this is troubling.  I fucking hate this.

In the meantime....we ventured into San Francisco yesterday with some new friends.  We took our favorite trip on the Vallejo Ferry and grabbed a Lyft ride to Aliotto's restaurant on Fisherman's wharf.

Bye Bye, you crazy city
I ate an anniversary lunch of sorts.  Seven years ago I sat in this same restaurant, in a very different phase of my life. I was drinking a gin martini (as if there is any other kind) and eating Oysters Rockefeller for the very first time.  It was a memorable day for many reasons, and I was on the cusp of great change.  Little did I understand it at the time.  I wanted to go back and recreate the  meal (yes, martini and all) to mark and celebrate the good choices I've made since then.  (Perhaps the martini wasn't a good choice yesterday, but dammit.)  It felt marvelous being there with my husband and a couple of new friends.  A sort of "Look, Ma!" moment.  The weather was breezy and a tad chilly, but the sun was out and we were happy.  Put that in your memory cache.

Then, and then, this morning, the second suicide this week of another famous celebrity.  I actually cried.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe because he was my age.  She was close to my age.  Maybe because it seemed they had so much good going on, so much to live for.  I just heard the stats on increasing suicides for middle aged people in this country.  It's been climbing for more than a decade.

I have friends who may be 'triggered' by these deaths, just as the increased number of suicides after Robin Williams took his life.  I worry about them.  I'm reaching out.  We are all so fragile and near the edge of a desperate decision.  A permanent solution to a temporary problem, they say.  But the thing is, many people who commit suicide have been in their 'temporary problem' for an unbearable amount of time, and are never fully free of it.  All they want is the pain to end.

So, bless them, perhaps they are now at peace.  They've left a enormous gash of grief for others to bear now.  Anger wells up in me for their 'selfishness' but I also know that the act goes beyond any such categorization. 

So, wow, yeah.  How about that week?  I'm going to be kind to myself today.  I'm going to do something for someone else today.

And I'm going to get on line and look at some spa retreats, because I can.  Because I'm bleedin' lucky enough to be able to do this.  I know this.

Be kind to yourself today, and if moved, share with me what you did for your body and soul.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Monday Musings

Not a pretty post today.  It's Memorial Day and I can't help but grieve the sickening loss of life over the centuries.  How many of these wars were necessary?  Some were, you could argue.   We are such stupid creatures.  And evil.  Don't forget the evil.

There is a stunningly depressing article in the NYT about austerity in England.  The wealthy in that country, like our country, are not really acting in their long term self interests.  After they have bled the people dry, the people will rise up against the rulers.  Or, will the people be duped into 'patriotism' by another war.  Sound familiar?  It is the one big history lesson that we (the world, here) never learn:

Don't. Fucking. Oppress.  People.

It will bite you in the ass later on, sometime, somewhere.  Not to mention it's just plain immoral.  Like the U.S., England has given huge tax breaks to corporations, while cutting social services to the bone.  In some cases eliminating them.  Public libraries, parks, firehouses and police stations -- gone.  Poof.  Gee, no repercussions there, eh? 

Now that I have you thoroughly disgusted (whether or not you agree), I'm going to sign off with this lovely photo from 2 years ago.  Love is the only thing getting me through.  How about you?

Steve Barbour