Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Last week hubby and I drove up to MI to celebrate my b-day watching the big screen 30th anniversary presentation of The Princess Bride with our middle daughter and son-in-law. Because it was showing on my real birthday date, it was like having a mini-family feast of words (we all know this movie by heart), laughter as well as food and table-talk.
The audience was an eclectic mix of elders (us), current parents of young children, 30-somethings (our kids gen), and college students…along with smatterings of other categorical diversity.
The favorite scenes for hubby & our kiddos always begin thusly.
I was a bit concerned we as a family would be disruptive to those around us during certain favorite scenes…where we’d play act and/or get lost in wild guffaws.
For myself, I cracked up at the usual places: “Bye, bye, boys!” - “Mawage…a dweem within a dweem…”
Oh, don’t even get me started!
Thankfully this eclectic audience also had certain specific scenes that caused the same type of potentially disruptive explosive laughter. In that respect, we truly were in it together for the fun of it all.
Now we also went up to MI bearing gifts. We filled our Camry’s trunk with some special items gleaned from Dad’s estate and the finally finished Mother/Daughter Quilt Project.
My Michelle’s favorite color is no longer pink. She has grown up, become a confident, professional woman and married a fine young man. But our Mother-Daughter Quilt still speaks of the ties that bind: times past, present and future; the good times and the bad; what it means to love and be loved; forever and always…Amen.
As I sit here sipping the last of my Pinot Noir from dinner, the eve of our Wedding Anniversary, I’m reflecting on 39 years of marriage to the same hunk of a man, my TWL. As mentioned before in a previous post, he’s my James Taylor of a guy back in the day when we first met and has morphed into my stalwart protector, staunchest supporter of my (he)art and deepest devoted Father and Grandfather of our progeny.
TWL is the ‘name’ we jokingly refer to in e-mails and snail mails to each other, letters defining his initials. It is also part of the name of a solo classical guitar piece I composed and dedicated to him on the first Christmas (out of three) during our between homes experience: Gift: for TWL (actually performed in context with the Goodwill Cultural CenterSwimming with Swans: the music program presented on June 3rd).
In honor of our 39th I present to you a favorite youtube representing one of his special passions: sailing. Keep in mind that the video shows ‘motoring’ rather than actual sailing, regardless of the sung lyrics!
I guess it’s time for a current event post on the life and times of this blogger/poet/quilter/musician/cger/composer/granma/ma/good cooker/sister/aunt/cousin/wife/lover/friend/student of life/believer in miracles/dreamer/doer/getter-of hands in the dirt/ grower of plants edible and not/hoper through times of despair/vocalist for those without a voice/minister of his peace/21st century jesus person servant/sharer of truth/wise owlette/sojourner in this world/woman of faith/lover of science and mathematical conundrums/discoverer of the interconnectedness in all slices of life and heart desires/waiter of answers to promises given/wounded soul in need of rescue/rescuer of goats, horses, dogs, cats, turtles/elder lady with the spirit of youthful joy/enabler/seeker of better times ahead/contemplator of things past/keeper and hugger of loved ones gone, those still alive, those yet to be/builder of community and unity/laugher of hearty guffaws/cryer of deep tears…
Guess you can tell I’m kinda feeling groovy…been working on my SwS project presentation/mini concert set for June and it’s all coming together so fine. Also just came back from a refreshing first time discovery visit to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. One could call it an unexpected ‘Artists Date’ of the Julia Cameron kind. This trip turned out to be a truly freeing experience; perhaps due to it being ‘off-season’ but mostly because its wide open spaces are within a context of crowded eastern populations with a less touristy focus. All of which are welcome to this wilderness Coloradoan displaced in the Carolinas of the Southern extraction. Going from the clear skies of the mile high to the claustrophobic swamplands has always been hard on my psyche. But this place – OBX – offers more of a balance of wilderness spaces and touristy places not easily attained in these parts and it’s just 6 hours away from FloTown… Continue reading →
Long story short, several years ago I fell in love with a National Res Guitar at McCabes Guitar Shop in Santa Monica. At the time, I didn’t follow my gut (even though hubby encouraged me to just ‘get it’) but rather my more practical side. Part of that practical side being financial, but mostly wondering how in heck I could keep from compromising my cg-nails in playing it (even if I could always just use a pick, but still…) and the whole heaviness of the instrument and well, I ended up talking myself out of taking the plunge and entering into its wonder-world.
Zoom to Thanksgiving 2016. Hubby and I drove up to Lansing, MI for the Family Holiday at middle daughter and son-in-law’s new home. The day after our festive feasting, son-in-law and I took an adventure trip to Elderly Instruments just a few minutes’ drive into town. I like to think it was a great excuse for this mother-in-law and son-in-law to further bond as fellow musicians. We browsed the instruments, soaking in the eye and ear candy. Nothing much tempted me to pick up and caress until my gaze happened upon this gorgeous tenor resonator.
Fascinated by the four strings on a res body, I lifted it off its display stand. Son-in-law was playing a nearby steel body 6-stringer res but I was not impressed with its sound…curious as to tonal differences between the two instruments I sat next to him on the bench and began a simple strum on the tenor res. And yes, she spoke to me. That long ago urging deep inside tugged, and this time I followed my gut! Hubby encouraged me to take the plunge in honor of my folks.
I view this newest addition to my musical toolbox as a special gift given from my folks posthumously.
please, enjoy the music while you read the following, I promise it is related to the main thrust of this blog post…and since there are several guitar solos, well, you don’t really need to watch the lyrics up on the screen
Okay, so I’ve been starting and stopping in the writing of several blog posts.
I need to feed the blog, yes, but I gotta say my focus has been a bit wonky since returning from my five weeks visiting Dad. I started to write about that in a post entitled “Spider Webs, Jacob’s Ladder and Losing the Strand” but could only get so far when I’d lose the strand…(to befinished and posted at a later date).
Then on to a relatively easy Shoutout about the great Maestro Ricardo (and my friend) receiving a prestigious award at the annual GFA Convention in Denver, held just one week after I left. I wanted to attend, but those plans got trumped (don’t know if I like that term anymore…) with the Dad-card. No regrets at all, but it does leave the “Shoutout: In Honor of the Maestro Ricardo” in the queue to be sent sometime whenever I can do a final edit on it…again, the focus thing is the limiting factor here. It may never get finished and sent out since it’s more (out)dated news.
I discovered early on that I didn’t have the energy required to return to my current Swimming with Swans projects. This of course lead to frustration because I needed something to do in the realm of creating while navigating this new pattern of four weeks here and two weeks there; along with the emotional stuff that goes along with end-of-life and long distance elder care.
So I picked up the needle…that phrase is loaded, eh? I first mentioned this phrase in my post “The Rusty Quilter” that describes my history and re-introduction to quilting and fiber art.
Whole-cloth quilt top basted and ready for straight stitch machine-quilting
That said, I began in earnest my new ‘now’ project totally unrelated to anything other than as a pleasurable creative outlet: the whole-cloth quilted throw; which will be discussed in greater depth in yet another WIP blog post, as yet unnamed.
During today’s immersion in some straight line machine quilting, I listened to an Amazon Prime Classic Rock Song List.
When ZZ Tops’ tune, The Sharped Dressed Man came on full blast in my earphones and into my brain, I remembered my Jo-Jo and his new obsession with dressing snappy for work.
Joe Lilly is the Sharp Dressed Man
Here’s Joe in his Tuesday morning duds, posing in the dining room of my folks’ house, with the telltale cleaning supplies and messiness in the background. One of the fantastic things I got to do while visiting Dad was to make dinner for our kids. Some of Ma’s cooking stuff is still in the kitchen and so I was able to throw together some makeshift family favorites.
Since Joe still lives in the Denver area, he purposely carved out time to stop by after work and/or pick me up for doing fun stuff together during ‘down times’.
One such outing was going to his gig at the Oriental Theatre. Actually, my sorella-amica Lisa and I went to see our sons* at this wonderful venue. Like most musicians, he’s in several bands/ensembles. This one, Heavy Medicine**, added a horn section recently, of which Joe is their main sax-guy.
The Sharp Dressed Man with his Heavy Medicine Bandmates playing the Oriental Theatre, Denver, CO 6/2016
Me and my son – the sharp dressed man
Lots more of this mother-son stuff is in the future with each trip back to visit Dad.
Oh and on the marquee behind us is the name Leon Russell, significant in that another blog post in the queue needing to be finished is called, “The Buena Vista Social Club, Leon Russell and Dad”.
I thought perhaps a little photo collage of my time spent with Dad would be kind of refreshing for anyone interested. Usually I send off a few select photos to those on my ‘little list’, this time I’m sharing them with all of you – on my ‘little list’ and in the blog-o-sphere!
Terry got to visit with Dad two times before he had to leave. The night before Terry left, Joe came over and we had a great mini-family dinner.
Dad at 93 practicing his clarinet (2016)
One day I walked in on Dad tooting the ole liquorice stick…
Dick with his first side by side milkshake (mine is on the left for art’s sake)
After one of many ‘care conferences’ for Dad, I treated baby bro to his first ever Steak and Shake side-by-side milkshake…and as a dutiful sister, promptly got him addicted!
Dad listening to Joe play.
Later, when Joe and I visited Dad, he didn’t feel like playing. He offered both his sax and clarinet for Joe to play instead. While I held up the sheet music, Joe sight-read an assortment of Dad’s arrangements of Jazz-standards.
Joe, Dad and me
Hamming it up for the photo-op
Wondering why Dad is always wearing his cap and jacket? It’s just all part of the mix of getting older I guess since it was close to 90F outside!
Here’s lookin’ at ya!
One day, Dad did decide to shed all that baggage!
Michelle, Dad and me
Towards the end of my extended stay, Michelle came into town for a friend’s wedding.
I have to admit, back in the late ‘90’s the idea of ‘fish tacos’ made me gag. Thinking it was a dish of fish spiced up in the traditional cumin-oregano-chile-garlic manner slathered with cheese and tomato salsa, well, it didn’t entice my appetite; besides, why bother?
It wasn’t until middle daughter and newly-inducted-into-the-family-son-in-law prepared fish tacos for us one visit to Nashville in 2013 that it dawned on me: fish tacos are their own beast! Continue reading →
Have you ever tried to sing along to a Led Zeppelin song?
Not the easiest thing in the world to do.
But that didn’t deter my kiddos from sending me an mp3 of their Mother’s Day wishes and gift in a verse composed by my Michelle and sung together with my Joe to the tune of Zep’s “Going to California”.
Let me put this in context for you: Joe is in Colorado, Michelle (and hubby David) are in Michigan; they did a speaker phone call to sing this into a little thumb drive recorder attached to Michelle’s computer that she uses for research interviews.
So, it’s the non-musician in the family who orchestrated this fun Mother’s Day greeting…(transcript follows) Continue reading →
Over these past three years of Thanksgivings, a tradition of sorts has evolved. It seems our son Joe’s holiday of choice is Thanksgiving. Each Thanksgiving since landing here in South Carolina after our between homes journey, he has flown in to join us at the family feasting table. This fourth year was no different. He spent 10 days with us, kind of a combination re-group after his 2.5 month vacay in the DR and holiday time with the fam. This year we three took our walk in the Swamp the Saturday after Thanksgiving as usual only at a new-to-us spot: Woods Hole. To date, that is hands down our fav Swamp-place. But this post is about last year’s Swamp walk…
The Saturday after Thanksgiving 2014, I took a walk in the swamp with my son.
My Jo-Jo at the Lynches River Swamp, SC (2014)
Turns out, he has become more of a walker since his youthful accident a few years back which requires him to keep his ankle supple and stretched. Because my hubby was in the throes of knee problems, we took our walk without him. It made for a long-overdue Mother-Son time together. Yes, we communicate via texting, phoning and e-mailing, but there’s nothing like actually spending physical time with those you are in relationship with. There may not be much spoken, but just the living, breathing and, in this case, walking presence of another produces a deep communication that can only be transmitted in such a manner.
Me finding a prime stump at the Lynches River Swamp (2014)
Getting into each other’s head and space, without pretense is very freeing. It also helps me to sort through stuff.
That November, I was blessed to be able to focus on my Musical Non-fiction project, via my Nano Rebellion. It progressed nicely and I was pleased with my output as well as organization of said output. It also served to re-connect me with myself. A self that has by circumstances of ‘place’ not been easily allowed to come out and play.
South Carolina Swamp Cypress Trees
The Monday following our Swamp walk I took Joe with me to be a part of my regular Wounded Warrior Horse Therapy volunteer time. I was excited to show him off to the gang as most of those there have family nearby 24/7 – warriors, therapists and volunteers alike. He got along with most everyone as he always seems to do wherever he goes, especially with Jason. Funny, that, since they remind me of each other. Joe’s interest in the horses wasn’t all that much, but he did like seeing his Ma doing her horse thing anyway.
What happened there was something I didn’t expect. Doing what he always does, talk music with me comparing notes on gigging and crazy audiences; drawing others into our conversation cuz you know, everyone loves music. Between talking up his own bands and the Denver music scene, somehow it came out about my being a working musician, my dad being a pro-jazzman and that that was how he was brought up – surrounded by rehearsing musicians, learning to help set up gear for Ma’s gigs/concerts… No one there knew of my status as a musician prior to moving to South Carolina. I was just one of the horse handlers. Mostly due to the fact it wasn’t something relevant to horse handling chores or in bonding with the warriors. And also due in part to my own healing process related to the last months of our between homes experience…But that day, that ordinary Monday during horse handling chores and bonding with the warriors around the picnic table after therapy sessions, my son bridged the real me with the current me.
Havin’ a great time with my guys hangin’ around…It’s a funny thing, I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done even with the extra re-focus on providing regularly scheduled and substantial meals.
I’ve found snippets of quality time between meal prep to tweek grant wording and mull over certain sections yet to be written. My days are peppered with long walks with my son, engaging in family banter, and havin’ a great time with my hubby and son hangin’ around…
About ‘find the flaw in the fabric’: Yep, it’s another blogging placeholder, hope you enjoy it.
During my computer monitor’s time off, I place lengths of fabric over it to make it seem less intrusive in my creative space. Lately, this fabric has been staring me in the face. It seems fitting as it represents shared family memories of when us 7 (Ma & Dad, me & hubby and our 3 kiddos) toodled around London, Paris, Rome, with a spattering of New York thrown in for good measure. And then it dawned on me: there’s a flaw in the content of the fabric picture…can you find it? Please let me know in the comment section below…
yeah, it’s out of focus…your phone camera is better than my old digital…but the flaw is easily seen regardless.