Advent Begins

Standard

image

image

Today the first day of Advent; my first Advent after being baptised.

I am planning on offering some reflections as I approach these next twenty-four days.

As thus is the busiest travel day of the year, we are still not home from our Thanksgiving holiday, so I thought I would share this first rejection/prayer from St. Dimitri of Rostov.

This is the prayer that appears in the Advent booklet given out by my church.
The second picture is the copyright information.

The Republicans win the Senate

Standard

The headline I woke up to was ‘seize’ the Senate, but really it was simply apathy that won the day. And before someone says it, two more Senators does not a mandate make.

Where would we be if every eligible voter votes and voted their conscience? I think Congress would have a completely different make-up.

For the most part, the Republicans I know personally all have good hearts, but the money disparity in the campaigns (thanks to Citizens United) can no longer be ignored. When “corporations are people, my friend” and women aren’t, there is a serious misconception (no pun intended) in what constitutes equality and fairness.

Does anyone who voted Republican truly think they’ve made a difference? Do they think that Republicans will turn this dwindling economy around? They won’t. They’ve had six years and have focused on social politics that get them money and votes, but not jobs when even registered Republicans have answered the polls negatively; have stated that the focus on marriage equality and reproductive rights/conception is their platform even when their constituents don’t want that.

They have had the power in the House to take care of the economy and help Americans but instead, they’ve provided gridlock worse than an L.A. freeway or the NJ Turnpike on Thanksgiving weekend and if humanly possible it will only get worse. They will concentrate on making their fortune while continuing to do nothing.

They’ve contributed to hate talk, fear-mongering, to fact-ignoring and in its place they’ve offered “if I say it, it must be true, no matter how ridiculous.”

We’ve become a nation of paradoxes:

a land of immigrants who are anti-immigration.

a land of GI Bill recipients and subsidized housing that wishes its disabled veterans would go away, preferably quietly.

a nation that promotes the porn industry in private and then blames the subjugated for how they are treated.

a nation of individuals unless your individuality is that of transgender youth wanting to use the bathroom without harassment.

a nation of equality unless you’re a woman exercising your reproductive rights or a black teenage boy walking down a street.

It’s hypocrisy at its worst, and it will only get worse.

I propose a solution to this lame duck Congress. Instead of wasting two years getting nothing done and paying for it, waiting for the next election and watching the blame game dance of pass the House & Senate, vetoed by the President, we banish them ALL and hold the election again.

We have seven weeks.

Everyone back to your corners, everyone given the same exact amount of campaign funds, no interest groups, no DNC, no RNC, and EVERY AMERICAN ELIGIBLE VOTES.

Let’s see where this country stands when push comes to shove because this – what we have now – is worse than 1775 and we know what happened then.

Instead of GOTV, how about GOYA!

Vote.

Serve jury duty.

Help your neighbor.

It’s not someone else’s problem; it’s everyone’s problem.

Where is the respect for a differing opinion? Buried under piles of interest group money.

It’s time to fix this system before it’s too late.

Quotation

Standard

Since today I’ve decided to be Sam Winchester and work in a library since a motel room wasn’t available, I thought I would share his words from season 4, episode 8, Wishful Thinking.

It is also one of the reminders that I have for myself this week that helps me accept my changes and who I might become.

We can’t go back to our old lives. We’re not the same people.

-Sam Winchester

Weekend Update – Sunday

Standard

On Sunday, I woke up not knowing what I would do for the day. My family would be home again later in the afternoon or early evening, but I still had most of the day to myself.

As I wrote in my journal, what better place to start the journey this week but at the train station.

In the last five years, I’ve been luckily been able to travel in three of those years: Wales in 2009, Denver in 2011, and Williamsburg, Virginia in 2013. By far, the trek with the least amount of travel stress was in 2013 when I took Amtrak. I would love to do that again. I loved the traveling by train.

I spent about two hours there, amid the noise of hellos and goodbyes, the Red Caps rushing about helping passengers, people asking for the bathrooms, a man working on his laptop, even a Tardis hat. I had a bag for my books and things, so I didn’t look out of place.

I took out my Kindle and read the first part of James Martin’s Together on Retreat. His first prayer was the calling of the first disciples. Jesus’ very simple, but powerful “Follow me” said out loud what I felt when he called me two years ago. I think that sometime this week, I might be ready to write about that in more detail.

After the train station, I followed the signs to a place where you could look across the river to the Albany skyline. I was surprised at how close I was to the water. To be honest, this looked like the place in the movies where you find the dead body or where the thugs take you to shoot you in the head and let you fall into the water, never to be seen again.

Despite this, there was a playground nearby with laughing children, painted murals on the highway support pylons, which after Doctor Who’s most recent episode, Flatlines, made me very, very, very nervous. I took pictures of the boats, of the water, of the bridge above me and the tall buildings across the way.

It wasn’t the Sea of Galilee that Fr. Martin was writing about, but it was still a beautiful place to meditate on a few things.

I haven’t sorted out what I’m doing with the rest of my week. I had only formally planned Monday and Saturday.

Monday, at my church was their annual Anointment Mass, and with my current health issues, I was really looking forward to going to this healing mass. It was beautiful, and very moving. There was music, which I loved singing with; most of the songs I’d had a little knowledge of, and the Fathers came to where we were sitting to anoint us and give us the Eucharist. It was very welcoming and intimate, and I got a lot out of it. They also served a lunch, and I sat with people I’d just met. It was lovely.

Out of the blue I’ve decided to drive out to the St. Kateri Tekakwitha shrine tomorrow. We’ll see what I find there.

Hopefully, all will be well, as was quoted from Julian of Norwich during the homily.

Weekend Update – Saturday (Plus Quotations!)

Standard

As part of my weekend update (thanks Seth Meyers), I’d like to share three quotes that I find encouraging for this week.

I always defined myself in terms of what I wasn’t. … Always what I wasn’t, never what I was. And when you do that, you miss the moments. And the moments are all we’ve got. … And I can define myself by what I am instead of what I’m not.

-Dr. Stephen Franklin, Babylon 5, season 3

Thought for the week: As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.

– Oprah Winfrey

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

-Harvey Fierstein

 

My family left this weekend to visit Grandma, and I didn’t know what I was going to do. I decided to start my week early. Saturday was a misty rain, and the orange leaves were practically glowing even against the grey sky. It was very reminiscent of Wales. A lot of things remind me of Wales, and then I get all misty.

I decided to pick a direction and take some photographs. I also decided to let someone else decide. After scrolling through my contacts, I stopped suddenly at Misha Collins’ contact info. (Yes, I have his number; he gave it out and sometimes he likes to surprise his fans. I haven’t been so lucky yet.) I sent him a text asking which direction I should take. I hadn’t even finished typing ‘north’ in the question, North or West, when I immediately knew his answer would be WEST, of course.

For those of you who are not fans of Supernatural, and do not know this, West is Misha’s son’s name.

So west it was.

It was raining, and every time I saw something interesting, I’d stop and take a picture of it. There was the train when I was stopped talking to my family.

There was the Episcopal Church with signature red door where the state trooper pulled up next to me to see if I was alright, double parked with hazards on in what was now pouring rain.

There was the old factory across the river and St. Mary’s Church with its shrine to the Blessed Mother. I sat there for a few minutes, glad it wasn’t Sunday and glad I was alone.

In trying to find my bearings to head back home to Doctor Who and Chinese take-out, I happened to cross over a bridge that went over what must have been the Mohawk River. I parked at the library, and listened to the rushing water, taking pictures, even filming a short video.

It was the first soothing thing I’d experienced since my family left. I do find it strange that waterfall-type water is calming to me considering I have a phobia of water, especially large bodies like lakes and oceans.

By now, the sun had come out, but it was time to starting going back home.

Wales was gone also, but my ‘retreat, recharge’ week had just begun.

 

 

October Recharge, 2014

Standard

When my writer’s conference up and left to parts unaffordable, I tried to set up my own writer’s retreats; a solid week to concentrate on me as the writer with minimal upheaval to my family and my pocketbook. I would be home in the morning to send the kids to school, and then after Mass, I’d spend the day out, writing, visiting places I didn’t typically get to visit, taking photographs and making plans.

And, of course, writing.

It was good for my depression, and good for my soul, and fortunately, it didn’t upset the household balance too much.

Oftentimes, it reminded me of my solo trip to Wales that was a godsend and a challenge and spiritual and so many other things that five years later, I still write about the wonder of it all; about the aloneness but the comfort in that aloneness; that sense I had of self, and the want to do it all again.

Yes, even the driving on the wrong side of the road, which is less a string of expletives and more a warm musing of my adventures.

The Spring Enrichment offered by our Diocese fed my soul in a similar way, although I’m not sure I would call that a retreat per se. Some parts of it were certainly that positive aloneness, time to meditate, but other portions were too exhilarating; too mind racing to be mistaken for a private retreat. It was less solitary, but it also led me out of my comfort zone in several other ways:  asking questions, introducing myself to speakers and strangers alike, getting involved in conversations, offering my opinions. I was comfortable enough to be me for a little while.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to attend a spiritual retreat. I hadn’t ever gone on one before; everything there was new to me. This was a weekend of prayer and artistry, no artistic talent needed. A retreat director, artist Brother Mickey McGrath guided us through his five sessions giving our creativity an outlet through prayer and bringing us closer to G-d, whether or not we were drawing religious symbols or objects from nature, like flowers and leaves. Except for our private rooms, we shared classes, prayer and group meals.

For this retreat, I’d need drawing paper and colored pencils and as I mentioned I’d have my own room. It was very exciting, and it was a little intimidating, and very much out of my comfort zone, but for the most part, I was looking forward to it.

All of it.

The packing, the unpacking, the communal bathroom down the hall, meeting strangers, all here for our own reasons seeking our own spiritual fortunes; the quiet, the nature, the prayer, the wonder of something new and old at the same time, all taking place in G-d’s presence.

Typically, I’m not much for being alone, but this was different.  For starters, I loved my room. A bed, a chair, a desk. It sounds spartan, but it was homey. There was a ceiling fan and a big window next to the bed. I almost didn’t want to leave the room. The wifi didn’t reach the room and cell service was spotty, but that was a good thing. It gave me the quiet space to meditate, to think, to write.

DSCN0007

It was two and a half days of good food, good company, and good meditating time. I was surprised by my drawings. I enjoyed doing the mandalas. I also think I did pretty well; my drawings came out better than I expected since I’m not much of an artist. I drew my favorite flower – the daffodil. I drew the triquetra that’s been so important to me lately.

2014-08-16 18.50.28-1 DSCN0065

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I got home, I started drawing small circular badges to use on my website. It made me feel like I’ve accomplished something artistically. I wasn’t overly critical of myself as I usually had a tendency to be.

2014-08-25 17.57.10-1 2014-08-25 15.24.29-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

I prayed. We had prayer services every day, and Mass on Saturday night plus I sat in the courtyard with my journal and prayed the rosary. It was the first time I felt connected to the rosary in a meaningful way, and it started me praying with it a little more regularly once the retreat was over.

This is my introduction to this week’s retreat. I’m doing something a little bit unlike what I’ve done before on my other ‘retreats’.

I’ve done the writing retreat and now I’ve done the spiritual retreat. Last year, I was fortunate enough to travel to Williamsburg, a gift from my best friend, which was a kind of retreat in itself.

However, beginning tomorrow (maybe even parts of today), I’m doing both, maybe more. If I can plan it out and prepare my family, I should be able to recharge my batteries on so many levels before the holidays surprise us like they do every year.

For regular readers here, I have had the new weekly format in place for two weeks now, and it seems that people like it. I do. I’m very comfortable with it, and since my family is always taking my computer, I’ve even made sure that I can post the first couple of days each week from my Kindle, my very favorite piece of technology that I own.

This week it’s hard to say if my posts will be feast or famine.

I do have plans, reflections I want to write, places I want to pray, thoughts and scripture that I want to meditate on, continuing my creative recovery through The Artist’s Way book, ending next Saturday with a full day creative retreat at a nearby Dominican Retreat Center.

I’m also using Fr. James Martin’s book, Together on Retreat as the basis for the spiritual guide for me. Having just finished his recent book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, I love his tone, his style of writing and his insights which more often than not match my own. Where we diverge, he offers questions for my own meditations. I’m looking forward to sharing my week with you.

There are so many things flying around in my head that I’m hoping to and trying to set them up in their own homes, rooms if you will, and organize them into manageable chunks.

As anxious as I am for this weekend and succeeding at my retreat, I’m also very excited.

My primary theme is to center myself spiritually through prayer and writing. Writing is my lifeblood. It is the second point of my triquetra.

My secondary theme is taking care of myself.

Focusing on me, pulling my creativity along, seeking past my comfort zone, and finding me because I’m still lost, but also combining all the positives as coping and managing tools, mechanisms for living with my depression and anxiety and letting me be me, and then be able to introduce myself to the people around me.

August Month in Review

Standard

Well, overall it looks like August sucked. Nothing like proof that your brain is in a fog. Some good things – we did our summer taste tasting (hate anchovies), went to Chuck E. Cheese to round out the summer vacation, took the family to the movies (Labor Day weekend).

Midway through the month I was able to attend a spiritual retreat with about fifteen other folks, directed by Brother Mickey McGrath. I will write more about this later on, so for now I will just say that I don’t draw, and I did draw, and I continue to draw. I don’t kid myself: I’m not an artist, but it’s not terrible, and I don’t mind sharing it. It’s an outlet for quiet contemplation that I had never considered before. I really only went for the retreat part and because I’d heard so many things about Bro. Mickey. I found so much more and am planning on attending his next retreat in February (money and scholarship pending).

My daughter and I had a Fangirls Night Out sponsored by our comic book store. There were raffles (we won Willow from Buffy!), cupcakes, a raffle and of course other like-minded fangirls. NO BOYS ALLOWED! Even the store’s owner was kicked out! It was great fun and she and I had a great time together!

My husband and I also celebrated our twentieth anniversary. With money being a problem we really couldn’t celebrate in a big way, but we decided (I thought of it – I can’t believe it, I never come up with anything good!) to go to dinner (sans kids) and a movie, like our first date. We saw Guardians of the Galaxy. I highly recommend it! Fantastic movie! And dinner was amazing. A local, rustic place with a pretty fireplace. The site has had a tavern on it since the 1700s. A nice night.

Thinking back, it’s kind of ironic that we went to Williamsburg, VA on our honeymoon when many of my fandom friends live down there now including my bf, who I obviously didn’t know back then. I think that half of them may have still been in diapers when I was there (and they were actually elsewhere). I’ve written before about Williamsburg being one of my special places from childhood. I’ve always been a history buff, and much of that came from my parents and the vacations they took us on as children, only one of them being Virginia.

I distinctly remember Williamsburg (among others) and having as much fun as we were quietly learning. Everywhere my parents took us, and later on vacations with my husband, I was always looking for and visiting the one room schoolhouses. Something about that entranced me; probably it’s Little House on the Prairie feeling.

It was neat that my husband and I chose to go there for our honeymoon: Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, shopping (one of my favorite things to do back then; now too, but we had more money back then). We rented a car, a Cougar that went 90 miles an hour if you breathed on the accelerator. We traveled the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel, something that still makes me queasy and that I’ve sworn never to do ever, ever again. (Much like driving in Wales.) I still shudder to think at the memory of being in the tunnel for so long, under the water. Recently, I’ve been lucky (with the generosity of Andy, Jenn and my husband) to have been able to get back there to see my friends for fandom fun. I’ve talked about how I used to hate being alone, but I really enjoyed those two trips that had me traveling alone-ish, and this trip down memory lane is reminding me that I wanted to write about those travels. I’ll put it on the list.

So while the written word eluded me, I’ve been drawing and this was probably the best family summer we’ve had in a long time. I welcomed back to school, but I wasn’t counting the days (hours) like I was last year.

Don’t forget that October 18 is E4K and I will be taking pledges.

I also have a couple of things that should be completed today and tomorrow, so wish me luck for more words in September.

Word Count: 6771 (wow, that sucks)

365s: 7/31 (wow, that sucks)

Movies: Defiance seasons 1 and 2
The Birdcage
Robin Williams: Weapons of Self-Destruction
The Italian Job
Babylon 5 – season 5
Amazing Spiderman 2 – reboot
Crusade – partial season
Guardians of the Galaxy

Books: A King’s Ransom – Sharon Kay Penman
Paper Towns – John Green

Posted/Published Topics: depression, suicide, Gishwhes, medical, health, cancer, religion, spirituality, social issues, summer

WIPs topics: Retreat wrap up, Gishwhes wrap up, fan vs. fandom, memoir homework, vignettes for stuff

 

Depression =/= Unhappy

Standard

(Note: I write about depression on a fairly regular basis. I don’t know how long I’ll continue to talk about Robin Williams. I am profoundly saddened by his death, and I may find that I’m repeating myself. I was shocked, and I am still in shock. It is a very sad day for many people, but my thoughts and prayers are with his family. I can remember the shock of my mother’s death, and while it wasn’t a suicide, it was sudden and unexpected. I hope that they can heal and move forward.)

 

I recently posted about the passing of James Garner. He truly was one of my longtime heroes from my childhood. Of course, he was in his 80s and I’d been expecting to hear about his passing, and was pre-sad in the waiting.

My sister does this thing on Facebook. She posts when celebrities die. It’s kind of an informational thing, but she is always the first, and it’s always a huge shock to family and friends when she misses one. Yesterday, I got a text message from her telling me that Robin Williams had died.

I gasped and stared at the phone. I had been midsentence talking to my husband and he asked what and I couldn’t speak. My eyes welled up and I put up my hand to kind of say wait a minute, I can’t say the words. I couldn’t say the words. They got caught in my throat and part of me thought that if I didn’t say it out loud, it wouldn’t be true.

Robin Williams died.

His eyes reflected my own shock. We put the television on and saw the headlines, possibly suicide. This was beyond belief. I knew that Robin had more than his share of problems over the years: drug addiction, his struggle with sobriety, heart surgery, even depression, and he’d come through it all.

His kind of genius was either snuffed out at twenty-something or he was safe from the demons.

Whenever his name was mentioned on television or in the news, it would never cross my mind that he might have died.

Robin Williams was supposed to live forever. Forever.

How is it possible that his energy, his vibrancy, his manic hilarity is silenced? How does the world keep turning when Robin Williams isn’t in it any longer?

In the past eleven hours or so, I’ve read of many fans’ shock and disbelief, some knowing that in the heart of many a comedian lives the darkness of depression, but many others asking how someone so funny could be depressed enough to kill himself. He had a great life: marriage, three great kids, a career, a ridiculously funny sense of humor, a humanitarian, money and he was well loved, not only by his fans, but by his fellow actors and his family. How can someone so happy be so sad on the inside?

I posted a statement in response to this and said, “It is so important to keep repeating: DEPRESSION HAS NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING TO DO WITH HAPPINESS.”

I was asked about this earlier this morning, and I do understand that people who are not exposed to depression might not understand the severity and the forms it comes in. I didn’t understand how depression worked just a couple of years ago, and unless people know someone with depression, most people misunderstand how serious it is.

 

I describe it as an iceberg. The part that you can see from the outside is so much smaller than the actual problem. So much of what is there is lurking below the surface, waiting to pull you under when you least expect it.

There are three types of depression (that I’m aware of). The mood descriptor is the most confusing because it uses the word ‘depression’ and we talk about being so depressed, and so when we are talking about the clinical, chemical imbalance, physical manifestations of the mental illness, it is often confounded with the much less serious depression or down mood.

When you are down and your mood is depressed, this is a normal emotion and feeling and we all get that every now and then. Sometimes there are reasons for the down mood, and sometimes it’s a lightweight apathy or boredom in a moment, and it always passes. One of the reasons that the miscues come from is that we should really use a different word when describing the depressed mood rather than depression the mental illness.

This comes and goes and everyone gets in this kind of mood now and again. It comes, it goes away, and that’s all normal.

The second form is situational depression. This might need medication temporarily or it might need close observance. It definitely should be seen by a doctor to make sure that it is situational. This type crops up when something big hits you unexpectantly: someone dies, you can’t afford to fix your car and can’t figure out how to get to work, you get seriously ill, a friendship ends – the kinds of things that pop up and are more than just a minor sadness that will pass. It is serious, but it’s not clinical. There is a reason for it and everyone’s reaction to the same stimulus will be different. This strikes me as an emotional response but more than a simple moodiness.

Clinical depression (and I don’t know that this is what Robin Williams had, but clearly he had something), (and this is what I’ve been diagnosed with) is that feeling of nothing. Mood swings, bursts of inappropriate emotion in both happy and sad directions, lethargic, nothing feels right, everything feels empty. For me, I just stopped. Everything. I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t cook, I didn’t want to do anything, and it was well beyond just being lazy, and ever worse was that I didn’t care that I felt this way. It didn’t matter; nothing mattered and I was okay with that.

My husband would ask if I wanted to use the computer and I’d shrug. I’d sit in the dark, not doing or looking at anything; not sleeping. I thought about the logistics of driving my car over a bridge, and how reasonable it sounded. My best friend would get on the phone with me and ask if I was drunk – I was so out of it – brain fog: I couldn’t remember things; I didn’t know if I’d eaten or when I’d showered last. I forgot appointments and my children’s assignments. It’s serious, and in retrospect, I’ve always had some form of depression with varying degrees of severity. I didn’t realize it until I was suicidal, and it has nothing to do with cheering up or having a good job or being happy.

It’s also scary because you’re alone and at the point you don’t care about being alone, it’s already almost too late.

I also liken my recovery to being an alcoholic. There is always the chance that it will come back or rather it is never gone. I need to be vigilant and aware of how I’m feeling and if I’m in a normal mood or if I’m coming on a more depressive one (like I’ve been feeling recently).

I’m on medication, I’m in therapy, I have coping mechanisms and friends who understand and support me when I’m having a bad time of it, but I can also feel it most of the time and I’m in a constant state of checks and balances to make sure that my meds are working. When it’s really bad, I go back to my lists, listing every infinitesimal detail of my day, including eat breakfast and take a shower.

I hope this isn’t too much of an info dump. These are questions a lot of people have about depression and its misrepresentation in layperson circles, including my family that just don’t get it (and that’s not their fault), so I go to people who do understand; people who can support what I need when I need it.

Writing this makes me feel a bit better. It’s good to be able to change the idea that someone who commits suicide is weak when really it’s that they can’t control the avalanche when it’s coming down on them and burying them alive.

 

Basket of Tea

Standard

On my dining room table (or on my kitchen cart) sits a basket of tea. This is mypublic basket of teas. The regular grocery store varieties. Stash and Twining’s in green tea with jasmine or green chai or chai spice which is a black tea as well as lemon ginger, which I don’t really care for and PG Tips. I just bought two boxes of Ginger Breakfast Black tea and one Honeybush, Mandarin and Orange and I’m gradually acquiring matching metal tins for three or four special loose teas.

The private basket in my office holds all of my loose teas, some of which I chose from a local place, the rest sent by my friend to try different kinds: Lady Londonderry, Moroccan Mint, and Mexican Chocolate. I had planned to do a tea tasting on my blog but never started the project.

Now might be a good time.

I do go through a space where I drink one kind for a long time and then switch over to another. I went through a Star Trek phase and only drank Earl Grey, hot.

On the morning that I began the first draft or snippet of this, I had the ginger black for the first time in more than a year. I was very lucky to have found it in the grocery store. Up until now, I’ve always had to order from a catalog.

The green tea with jasmine is the one I tried during Lent when I gave up soda. I was told that the green would counter the negative effects of the diet soda. I don’t know if it did, but I have been good and limited my soda intake to two cans a day on most days, and none for breakfast anymore.

I have green and black Moroccan Mint and I prefer the black tea. I prefer black teas in general.

I enjoy British tea, especially PG Tips. This is perfect with milk and a tiny bit of sugar. And it’s always wonderful. It also reminds me of Ed whose quintessential Britishness can be defined by his tea-brewing.

I also enjoy the Chinese tea that I found at my local store: Pai Mu Tan and Wu Yi Oolong. I believe those are their names. It tastes exactly like the end of the Chinese dinners I had in the restaurant when I was a kid growing up in New York.

Tea is that comfortable friend who sits in your lap and holds your hand. Tea turns the pages of the book and reminds you to use a bookmarks. Tea makes all things better. Tea understands. Tea comforts and reminds and is thoughtful.

Sweet, Sweet Music

Standard

I haven’t done a proper meme in a long time, so when I was asked to put my iPod/MP3* player on shuffle and list all the songs, no skipping, I thought it would be a cool thing.

This is my list of the first twenty songs that came up on shuffle:

  1. Cold As Ice – Foreigner
  2. Some Nights – Fun
  3. No Sunlight – Death Cab for Cutie
  4. Who We Are – from Hunger Games – Imagine Dragons
  5. Long, Long Way From Home – Foreigner
  6. One Day More – Les Mis
  7. Balthazar, Impresario – Frank Turner
  8. Bixby Canyon Bridge – Death Cab for Cutie
  9. Half-Truism – Offspring
  10. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly
  11. Agony – from Into the Woods
  12. Wanted Dead or Alive – Bon Jovi
  13. Bad Moon Rising – Credence Clearwater Revival
  14. Hey You – Bachman Turner OverDrive
  15. Night Moves – Bob Seger
  16. The Blood of Cu Chulainn (instrumental)
  17. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  18. Dumbledore’s Army – WROCK music – Andrew Blake
  19. You Get What You Give – New Radicals
  20. The Gambler – KennyRogers

Typically when I talk about my musical tastes, I describe it as either twenty years old or twenty minutes. There is no in between. In looking at this list, I can see that my Supernatural soundtrack has taken over a bit – that is mostly the classic rock that you see here. I’ve also noticed that when I say ‘twenty years old’ at this point, I mean thirty since I’m talking about the 80s synth pop and second British invasion plus alternative.

I still listen to alternative. In fact, it’s the only thing I listen to on the car radio. My sister or my husband will tell me about a new song they think I’ll like, and I have to disappoint them by saying that I’ve been listening to that on my radio station for almost a year, sometimes more. See Flogging Molly, Frank Turner, Fun, Death Cab for Cutie, Adele, and Mumford and Sons.

It looks like at least four genres up there. Or more. Let’s see: country, wrock, classic rock, rock, alternative, top 40, Broadway soundtrack.

I like to sing in the car. The music up loud, the windows open, singing the wrong words. It is so freeing!

I’ve often said that the only musical instrument I play is the car radio. However, when I was in middle school, I could play bits on the piano: Stairway to Heaven including one chord, the theme from All in the Family, Do Re Me from A Sound of Music. I could also play bits of Color My World on the guitar, but that’s it. My fingers are too small for guitar playing.

I tried to take violin in elementary school. I was okay, but my pinky wouldn’t reach across, and I couldn’t make. I still have a very small pinky.

In college I took Folk Music in America and part of the class was assembling a lap dulcimer and learning how to play it. I could play Go Tell Aunt Rhody and Simple Gifts (my favorite) in my sleep. My friend taught us Smoke on the Water. Each note had a number, so after a time I could play anything albeit slowly. It’s made out of cardboard and it’s twenty-seven years old, but I still have it and it still works. I can even tune it since it’s tuned to itself. I could never read music, but I’m learning a bit from the church’s hymnal. You can teach an old dog new tricks.

2013-07-29 20.34.26

This is a recent picture of it. My daughter took it to school during music week.

Every time I think I have no interest in music, one of these memes comes along to remind me that I really do like music and sometimes I need to remember that.