The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tag: Ma (Page 1 of 3)

Yeah, it's a hot summer…

"Luscious Lavender," poem by Annika Perry

“Luscious Lavender,” poem by Annika Perry


A sight for sore eyes, no? Thank you, Annika for giving me permission to share this as part of my little oasis offering to my readers – not that any of it will actually cool us down or offer any solutions to the state of our Global Warming Reality…but, well, we’re all entitled to a break.
While my forays into the medicinal properties of lavender are legendary, pushing the boundaries of application (remember my ‘loaded brownie’ recipe confession?), there is also the purple presence of this flowering herb to consider.
Mary Lou Mawicke Bruno headstone, Ft. Logan

A shortened stem leaning against Ma’s headstone before Dad passed away.


I love purple, it’s refreshing and mysterious all at the same time. It’s also a shared favorite color with my late Ma…
This color has a history with my family, interwoven into the fabric of our lives. Some of those threads include what I named early on as being Bruno’s Purple Giants – irises that were originally planted in our Boulder garden the first spring after we moved there (Fall 1969) and have been in the family ever since. Transplanted clumps bought from the local farm down the road, Long’s Gardens, they took to the earth and exploded into tall stems loaded with hugely fragrant, deeply lavender-purple gems.
As me and my bro grew up, married and moved into homes of our own, tubers were dug, shared and planted with each successive garden.
my flower child michelle

My flower child Michelle (notice unflattened iris stem to right of hat)


One such bed lined the front walk to our first home during our kids’ growing up years where specimens routinely grew taller than a kindergartener. Notice Michelle’s purple slicker? It rained that day back in 1992.
When she came home from school (kindergarten), the normally taller Bruno’s Purple Giants irises were slightly flattened by the intense spring storm…except one battered stem.
My flower child, Michelle, surrounded by a walkway of towering purple delights – yummy memories – and an image oasis for this mom to savor.
Last summer, while finishing the distribution of Dad’s estate and getting Ma & Dad’s house ready to sell, I angsted over a nagging reluctance to give up the remnants of the family tubers which had been growing in a corner of their neglected garden. Because hubby and I have not owned property since selling our home in 2009, it wasn’t in the best interest of those tubers to be dug up and then not transplanted. As much as I wanted to keep with tradition, it just wasn’t feasible.
Wouldn’t you know, my flower child Michelle, now all grown up, came up with a plan. At the end of her trip to meet with us to celebrate Joe’s b-day and help with the cleaning of the house and such, we dug a few up, packed them dry in brown paper bags and buried ‘em in her suitcase. Her thinking being, she could at least plant them at her (and her husband David’s) place in MI to get established there. Given the fact that those poor tubers were disrupted from their normal growth cycle, it was dicey, but worth a try. Imagine, those Bruno’s Purple Giants replanted in yet another family garden and available for us to dig a few for whenever hubby and I do settle into a home of our own with a place to garden.
Someday.
And that’s another oasis for me to think on – hope is as refreshing as a drink of cool lemonade on a hot summer’s day.

~~

On another note – yes a little pun – please enjoy this classic and appropriate to the theme of this post video, Summer in the City by one of my fav groups* back in the day. It brings back memories of summers in Chicago as a kid growing up before we moved to Boulder…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=158&v=U5bUmx-hk-c

*for a cool – pun intended – interview with John Sebastian, click here

just popping Up to say Happy Day

On the road to healing with Minions, music and happy day bouquets!

On the road to healing with Minions, music and happy day bouquets!


What a fantastic way to send flowers long distance! I received this ‘Bouquet in a Book’ in the snail mail a few days after my foot surgery from my blogger sista & co-honorary Manc bud, L.Marie.
Totally unexpected. Thoughtful. And fun.
Just like she is 🙂
I’m sharing my ‘adult’ pop-up book bouquet with all of you because it just might help to make your day a happy day, too – along with Stuart Minion (UKE ready to play), my jazzman Dad in spirit (represented by the statuette), my Ma’s outrageous lilies (one in a series of color studies), and a framed color copy of an art postcard I bought long ago of William H. Johnson’s Blind Singer (which has an interesting story behind it for another time).
Saw the Doc the other day to get my stitches out (ick, but whew, glad that’s done) and I’m on the next leg of my foot surgery recovery. Yep, that was an awkward pun 🙁
In three weeks I’ll be out of the Boot and closer to getting back into my ‘normal’ shoes – which implies getting back to my more ‘normal’ exercise routines. We’ll see. Until then, I discovered a fantastic YouTube Video by a youthful exercise coach on exercises that can be done while serving time in the Boot.
Caroline Jordan’s, Hurt Foot 30 minute Total Body Workout was filmed entirely while in the Boot during her own ‘hurt foot’ recovery. Already, I’ve kept up for about 15 minutes at a time in different sections of the 30 minute routine…not bad for a lady of ‘Sixty Pho’! HA! If nothing else, I should develop wicked upper arm strength (and possible sculpting), even if those glutes are neglected due to circumstances beyond my control.
Now excuse me while I do the last of three sets of TOE exercises my Doc ‘prescribed’ for me to do on a 3x’s daily basis…

just dropping By to say Hi

Okay-Okay, I’m still on my blogging break, but what say you to a quick hello?

Perhaps a bulleted update will suffice:

2003 Toyota Camry, 400K 12/28/2018

Our 2003 Toyota Camry – 400K 12/28/2018


400K reached at MM 64, I10W on hubby's 64th Birthday

400K reached at mile marker 64, I10W on hubby’s 64th Birthday!

  • Our 2003 Toyota Camry reached 400K on hubby’s 64th birthday at mile marker 64 on I10W about 40 miles south of El Paso, TX while we were driving on our way to CA from SC for the Rose Parade…turns out, that trip also counts as a literal ‘coast-to-coast’ roadtrip. Interesting, eh?
  • The Rose Parade was not as great as last year’s, but still nice to experience in person. Plus, we just like the West Coast better than the East Coast (no offense intended, just personal preference).
  • We switched health insurance companies the beginning of this year. Not only have our monthly premiums and deductibles gone down by an incredible amount, but the procedure that was denied on our old plan yet aggressively deemed as a medical necessity by my doctor is now 100% covered and approved on this new plan. So, I’m slated for my long overdue foot surgery on Tuesday. The worst part about this is that I’ll be unable to continue my meager exercise routine for several weeks and I’m already starting out at my Winter Weight High…mostly due to all those days in the car traveling cross-country. 🙁 The best part is that I probably won’t be aware enough to really care about whatever happens during the State of the Union Address! No, really, the best part is that I’ll be in tip-top shape to take on my normal rigorous hiking routine when we get back to*…Oh, I’m getting ahead of myself here…back to the bullets…
  • On January 21st, around midnight, hubby and I were blessed to see the Super Blood Moon in all it’s glory. It’s not often the skies above our little rental here in FloTown are clear, but that evening was perfect for viewing this spectacular heavenly show.
  • I’ve connected with an artist/layout person who really ‘gets’ my vision for the artwork, packaging and branding of my Swimming with Swans project. This is a major achievement. She is amazing. Bless, you, Rita.  🙂
    (Ma's Uncle) Tran Mawicke poster

    (Ma’s Uncle) Tran Mawicke poster

  • I found a reasonably priced piece of vintage poster art by my Ma’s Uncle Tran Mawicke. My favorite fine art piece of his isn’t for sale, but I’m hopeful one day I’ll snap it up…However, for now this purchase was inspired by the fact that sailboats are one of hubby’s favorite activities after motorcycles. It’s set to arrive just in time for Valentine’s day. Just feels good to have this connection to my past here with us in the present.

~~~~~

 That’s it for now, dear readers. Thank you for allowing me to pop in & say hi during my blogging break. Bye for now.

 *will fill you in on details as we get closer to timing on all of this

Sixty Pho' part two

Back to that postcard…not only did the poster quote aspect of the card resonate with my style sensibilities but it triggered a punny approach in recounting a recent milestone event in my life (as reflected in the post title). Can you guess, yet, what that might be? Hint: keep in mind the correct pronunciation of the word pho’ as the phrase Sixty Pho’ is spoken out loud.
To clarify the timeline, Joe visited Vietnam the beginning of October for about 33 days and I received the Make Pho’ Not War postcard the beginning of December – textbook status quo for overseas snail mail delivery.
By then, we had already seen our son in Chicago two days after he got back to Denver from Vietnam in early November.

Say what?

Yes, it is weird to get ‘after the fact’ stuff in the snail mail.

Now, on with the Sixty Pho’ story…

64 mugs and Alchemy Coffee Beans

‘Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?’


It’s no secret to close family and friends that this is hubby’s and mine 64th birthday year (oh dear, the bunny’s out of the bag and into the blogosphere for sure now). I’ve always wanted to have a Beatles “When I’m 64” birthday celebration when the time came and the time is – AHEM – now. I turned that fateful age in October and hubby will catch up with me after Christmas in December.
I had always thought by now we’d be in our own home again. You know, a place big enough to throw one of our famous family/friend bashes, in this case a 64th Beatles birthday bash.
Joe's birthday July 2018

Joe’s birthday, July 2018 (Michelle, me, Joe)


That was not to be, as finding home is still an elusive yet hopeful work in progress. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, hubby secretly strategized with the kiddos on how to make that bash happen regardless. So, while we all met in Colorado for Joe’s birthday during our time of getting the folks’ house ready to be put on the market (yeah, we find ways to meet regardless of the miles that separate us) a solution broke forth.
Why not meet in Chicago?
Middle child Michelle is only a few hours away in Michigan from Chicago, so she and David could easily meet us there for a weekend jaunt as a break from her PhD thesis presentation prep. (BTW: she is now an official PhD candidate as her thesis was accepted! Yippee!)
Why not meet in Chicago? Hubby and I certainly don’t mind the road trip from South Carolina to anywhere. The mileage all goes towards the goal of reaching 400K at least*, if not all the way back from the Moon at 477,800 miles!
The location seemed logical as many members of the Family still live in the Chicago area, though several of us cousins and the remaining oldsters have moved away for various reasons. Chicago is the origination point of our Family after immigrating into the US from Calabria, Italia in the early 20th century. Hence, us cousins and our respective parental siblings were born and raised there. Indeed, Chicago is still a central hub to most of us.
Planning for our Chicago destination-as-solution to the 64th birthday bash blasted off in earnest. One Chicago cousin helped in finding a great Italian place central to all locals to hold the bash, I nailed the details with the restaurant, Michelle sent out e-vites, and the boys (son and son-in-law) got on with arranging the star set-piece, “When I’m 64,” for tenor sax and oboe.
Those of us who were able to come to the party.

Those of us who were able to come to the party. Except for the end persons, the five of us in the front row are the attending cousins – I’m the only one of them who likes pictures taken, so I’m lucky to have this. (L-R: Pat, Joanne, Dennis, me, Bob)


Anyway all that to say, many of us met up in Chicago – Michelle and David from MI, Joe right after getting back from his trip to Vietnam, and a handful of Chicago cousins and cousin-in-laws for a shared 64th Beatles b-day bash – and – as an excuse to mangia together in early November before the holidays got going full blast. Of course, not everyone could make it, (mostly the lawyers in the Family who had on-going cases in session, out-of-towners, and the oldsters who couldn’t travel the distance) but it was fun.
Joe and David playing the star set-piece

Joe and David playing the star set-piece


 
Gotta make those milestones FUN or else they become more like millstones!
As mentioned before, in keeping with my wishes and the traditions of our slice of the Family**, Joe and David played the star set-piece as opener for the mangia party (would love to post their performance video sometime, but licensing issues especially with high profile ‘covers’ can be legal nightmares – most non-musicians don’t realize this is a real problem – so that’s not happening in today’s post).
 
Instead, this vid will just have to do:
(click here)

As for me and mine, the answer to that question: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty four?” is a resounding YES! How about for you and yours?

*Odometer alert: as of this writing, we are at 397,963. 🙂

One of many places Dad played back in the day.

The Green Mill in Chicago, one of many places Dad played back in the day.


**As in our musical roots

 
 
 
 
 
 
Michelle, Joe, me, hubby in front of the Green Mill Lounge in Chicago, taking in a show.

Michelle, Joe, me, hubby in front of the Green Mill Lounge in Chicago, taking in a show.


PS – We took in a show at the Green Mill the night before our 64th bash

Oh Happy Day – It's a Done Deal!

On Monday, September 17th, my bro and I signed over our folks’ house to a buyer who said, “I fell in love with this house the minute I set foot into it.”
In celebration of this event, I bring you a jam session of a favorite gospel tune, Oh Happy Day, in the spirit of my JazzMan Dad
(jump to 3:05 if you’re not a musician interested in the creative process)

Context of this piece is as follows:

Original youth group recording

This is track 5 from the 1968 album “Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord”. Lead by Dorothy Morrison-Combs Written by Philip Doddridge Arranged by Edwin Hawkins. Edwin Hawkins was a pianist at Ephesian Church of God in Christ in Berkeley, California when he came up with the popular Latin/Soul version of the song “Oh Happy Day” in 1968. In an October 23, 2009 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, he explained that “Oh Happy Day” was one of eight arrangements he put together for the Northern California State Youth Choir, which was made up of 46 singers ages 17 to 25, and the plan was to sell an album of the songs to finance a trip to a church youth conference in Washington, D.C. The tracks were quickly recorded live in church on a two-track tape machine (industry standard at the time was eight-track), but the records weren’t pressed in time for the trip. They did attend the conference, and the choir placed second in a singing competition, where they performed 2 of Hawkins’ arrangements, but not “Oh Happy Day,” which Hawkins said was “Not our favorite song.”

Me: the bassline beginning at 2:40 through to the end is fantastic! – this is a stellar example of the vibrancy of live performances regardless of the limitations of available recording equipment…wow!

And the performance you might be more familiar with:


Me: this one is a vocal improv that is relatable to the Jam.

Oh happy day (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (when Jesus washed)
He washed my sins away (oh happy day)
Oh happy day (oh happy day)

He taught me how to watch, fight and pray, fight and pray
And live rejoicing every, everyday

Oh happy day…

Two years ago on the 17th, I was scheduled to fly back to SC after a Summer of Dad visit. He, instead, changed my plans the day before by having a mini stroke. Hubby quickly cancelled that flight and rescheduled for another flight for the following week.

Dad passed away Sept 22…

September 17th, 2018 we closed on Ma & Dad’s house. Two nights before that, hubby and I slept in Ma & Dad’s empty house for the last time on our faithful air mattress.

A different sort of closing…

3 Days, 3 Quotes, 3rd Time #3

 Here I am doing my favorite blogger-tag game again: The 3 Day Quote Challenge. Half the fun is getting nominated, so I thank you Heather and Dizzy for the nomination.

The Rules:
– Thank the person who nominated you
– Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
– Share why this quote appeals to you so much
– Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day

3 Days, 3 Quotes, 3rd Time #3

Lee Krasner quote

Quote written on the wall at the entrance of the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibit, Denver Art Museum 2016 (click on photo for details)


“I’m always going to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock – that’s a matter of fact – but I painted before Pollock, during Pollock, after Pollock.” Lee Krasner
 


Lee Krasner Abstract Expressionist Artist: 10/1908-6/1984

Lee Krasner Abstract Expressionist Artist: 1908-1984 (click on photo for credit/source)

(From this article here) “Abstract Expressionism is largely remembered as a movement defined by the paint-slinging, hard-drinking machismo of its poster boys Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. But the women who helped develop and push the style forward have largely fallen out of the art-historical spotlight, marginalized during their careers (and now in history books) as students, disciples, or wives of the their more-famous male counterparts rather than pioneers in their own right…Throughout her career, Krasner, one of the earliest and most innovative AbEx practitioners, would struggle against the marginalization of women artists, even changing her first name from Lena to the gender-ambiguous Lee in the 1940s. While she introduced her husband, Jackson Pollock, to the ideas and key progenitors of the movement for which he would become the posterboy, her relation to Pollock often superceded her own reputation as an artist.”

Lee Krasner, The Seasons, 1957 (click on photo for credit reference)

Lee Krasner, The Seasons, 1957 (click on photo for credit reference)

My three nominees for day #3 are:
– Deborah at Living on the Edge of Wild
– Annika at Annika Perry’s Writing Blog
– Ms Zen
at NorCalZen

Fun February Blues Busters

February – the shortest yet longest month of the year.

Put your headphones on, crank the volume up high, & be transported to a place beyond February!

First up: father, Jay Molina (guitar) and son, Andrew Molina (uke) playing a Beatles Medley

Next up: my teenage ‘chocolate chip cookie’ song

Let me explain. Ma made the best huge choco-chip cookies, heavy laden with chips and nuts and then would freeze her doubled batch in our downstairs freezer…which was across the rec room from my bedroom. Always on a diet, I denied myself such goodies when offered but around 12 midnight, after everyone was in bed, I’d sneak into Fraulien’s room (our German Shepherd who shared the laundry room with the freezer) and dig out a few. Listening to Denver’s then underground (at the time, it was quite subversive) KLZ-FM radio station, I placed those hard-as-rock gems on top of the speaker, patiently awaiting the time to enjoy their lusciousness. As they thawed to eating consistency, I ceremoniously placed chunks of cookie into my waiting mouth. Inevitably, this song played several times during the night, accompanying my sweet secret indulgence.

Last up: I looked out this morning and the sun was gone/Turned on some music to start my day/I lost myself in a familiar song/I closed my eyes and I slipped away/It’s more than a feeling…

Shout Out: "Just a Rose" by Colin Chappell

Orange Rose from Ma & Dad's Garden 2016

Orange Rose from Ma & Dad’s Garden 2016


When I first heard this poem, my mind immediately flashed on a photo I took during my Summer of Dad – that of a lone rose thriving in the midst of Ma & Dad’s overgrown and neglected garden.

“…for my blooms have served a purpose…”

 
From Just Thinking a collection of “little writings which may produce some little thoughts” here is Colin Chappell reading his poem, Just a Rose.

Note: All proceeds from book sales will be directed to Colin’s daughter who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2007. She is still fighting, but the treatment programs have taken their toll and she is unable to hold down a paying job for a variety of reasons. She is therefore dependent on benefits from her disability provider…She uses her time to volunteer for non-profit organizations, and has been involved in giving some dignity to the women who are living on the streets in Vancouver’s downtown East-side…She has also written a number of poems, two of which are included in the book!

Introducing Maddy

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.

triolian national tenor resonator guitar

Maddy


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.
Because of that, her name* came easily to me:

                M(a) & (D)addy = Maddy.

 
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