Kristina Furey

Odes to my puppy Aja

 

My puppy Aja loves to gently bite at me and for me, it’s only natural that I should make a song up about it.  You can find it here, at the bottom of my share page.  It is the first, of the last four videos currently on the page.  You'll see, the one where she is biting my hand.  I would be completely at home in an operetta, where people sing instead of talk.  So it’s no surprise that I have been making up songs when playing with Aja.  I did the same thing with my kids when they were young. 

When I was a child my mom came into my bedroom each morning, throwing open the shades on my window, singing “Lazy Mary,” will you get up?  She was the first person I remember, who ever sang to me.  She had a song for everything and if there wasn't one already, she’d make it up.  She had a beautiful voice but she didn't like attention drawn to her so she never really got into singing for other people, besides us kids.  Her grandmother used to play for the silent pictures (movies).  I do remember her singing too, when my great-grandmother would play the piano, back when I was a child.  

This method my mom had of waking me up, helped me learn about waking up on the good side of the bed, as opposed to the wrong side of the bed.  My mom was all about having a cheerful attitude as she went about her day and each day starts in the morning, so she would do her best to set a positive tone.  She was also, seriously into her religion, so she really subscribed to the song, “This Is The Day, that the Lord hath made, we should rejoice and be glad in it”.  I was raised in that mode of belief.  So singing songs of praise was perhaps her legacy to me and probably why so much of my time is spent humming or singing.  

Back to Aja and my silly songs in her honor.  She has a serious case of separation anxiety that we have been working on and when I put her in her pen, as we are house training her and I can’t watch her like a hawk all day and get anything done at the same time, she cries and works me like those ASPCA commercials with Sarah Mclachlan, which is what she was doing yesterday when I came up with this idea of making a mock ASPCA commercial and then before I had the chance Dan freed her.  Neither of us have the heart to put her back in the pen today because yesterday was so nerve-racking.  Today, I have been a hostage to her and Dan’s and my overindulgence of her.  Pray for me!  Here is my silly ASPCA mock song, sorry I have no terribly sad Aja video to accompany it, you'll just have to use your imagination...  Interesting thing, I was relieved to learn while looking up the commercial information, Sarah Mclachlan does not want to be forever linked to those commercials with abused animals in them.  Seems like it bothers her as much as me.  I don’t want it in my memory bank and I change the channel or leave the room to escape the mental anguish I feel.  For now, I think I will leave the house when we put Aja in her pen, for the same reason.  Years ago, when we got our first dog, we were both working outside of our home and I would come home on my lunch breaks to take my puppy out of her pen for walks and playtime.  She seemed to do okay with that arrangement but with Aja, if she knows I’m home she gets so distressed at the thought she can’t be with me or Dan every moment and we get distressed over her being distressed...  Our other dog was completely potty trained by her 13th week.  (…Exhale…)
I'm a little distressed this is not the case with Aja but all in all, she is a wonderful, loving companion and a reminder to me to wake up joyfully and embrace the day!  Now if she can only learn to embrace her alone time….

 

"Thank God For Kids"--Oak Ridge Boys

 

What I wanted for myself was thrown out the window, the moment I decided to become a mother. No wait, on second thought, I looked into the eyes of this beautiful child and thought, "He gets better! He gets protected, nurtured, supported and the best shot I can possibly get him at a life that allows him to be all he can be for himself and others." I knew when I held him in my hands, he was life and I had an obligation, a contract between me and the universe that I entered into, the moment I became and it was my job to be a guardian of this sacred gift...

When I was a young mother, I developed a friendship with an older mother, who had left a prestigious job to be a stay at home mom.  She was the PTA president at the school our sons attended. Both of us had sons in the gifted, talented program and they both shared an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that became a bond for their friendship. She and I were maybe not so different from our boys in this way... While our children played, she and I discussed our strategies, hopes and the challenges, we felt we were faced with, both in the school and in our community.  We saw our children and their well being as our responsibility and we mentioned on more than one occasion, our number one job was to get our kids to age 18-and we took it seriously.  

 

For me, this included more than just the typical parent involvement, as I took on more than one abusive teacher, took on many volunteer positions and in the process took other students under my wing.  I made teachers aware of student’s needs through conversations I had with the teachers, as I volunteered to help them. I advocated for mine and other children as I worked alongside these teachers. I challenged teachers through very deliberate and sometimes very assertive actions   Oh and on one occasion I cried over the phone, in an effort to get a particular person, who had the ability to transfer my son to a school more fitting of his needs, to do exactly that. Well, I cried while explaining the many ways I had volunteered and things I had witnessed in the schools that I was certain the school system would not want me writing in a letter to “7 On Your Side”. Things I had put much time and attention into, in an effort to make sure that they did not escalate into bigger problems and things I had not been able to change, that I concerned over, thinking they could compound into something at some point if not addressed. All of this a reason to have my son moved to a school where I had faith in the principal, as his goals were in line with my own beliefs. I managed to get him into that school and it was as I believed it would be, a blessing to him!

In the end, my time, sacrifices and efforts, paid off and my goal of getting my children to age 18 was accomplished. I am aware of how fortunate I was to be able to play a proactive role in helping to have that goal realized. However, my family was on a strict budget, so that I could be at home with my kids.  Later, that strict budget along with random luck, afforded us the ability to move to a better neighborhood, with better schools. I realize it wasn't just our hard work and our sacrifices. Many parents are working hard and sacrificing and I wish they could also have the advantage of luck. I know, every parent that is advocating for students in our school systems, are a benefit not only to their own child but to the other children in the schools, to the staff of the schools and to their communities.  For all of us, I wish more parents had the ability to be in the schools participating in their children's school lives and education, while also advocating for other students. Honestly, I believe there should be some sort of tax credit given to parents who choose to be there volunteering for the sake of children, while putting their own desires to be a success, financially and otherwise, aside or on hold. Maybe one day...

I am disturbed by the violence children are experiencing in their schools.  I won't say I'm surprised by it. I will say, we individually and we as a society, make choices every day.  If our choices are not working for us, it may be time for us to start making different choices. I believe one of the best things a parent can do for their child is to have a presence in the school. There are all sorts of opportunities to volunteer and when you do that, the staff begins to see you as approachable and solution based. They also begin to connect your child/children with your efforts and even the most challenging children are seen in a more positive light, for the help, the available parent is willing to offer. ...hmmm... I think this acceptance and willingness to extend one's self, on the parts of the children, parents, teachers and staff, is called community. I believe a community is only as great as it's weakest link. If we strengthen those weaker links we strengthen our communities.

(It's been a hard week for me. We've had so much rain and getting sunlight for me is important to my mental state and energy levels. I'm also very aware of where I was last year at this time, in hospice with my Mom. My puppy Aja, while often a delightful little ball of energy, is also a stress, as we are still learning her routines, while trying to fit them into our own and yes, our sleep has been impacted for this. Still, I try to stay positive, as I prefer a positive life and realize all the little moments add up to what your life is and what your attitude about life is but I know too well how challenging that can be at times. I also know, "this too shall pass" and I know that from experience. When I was a kid, I did not have the experiences to understand that, which made the harder moments, harder in some ways. If you have the opportunity, share those difficult stories from your own youth with adolescents you are in communication with as they may need to know that life has hard moments and beautiful moments. I can assure you the beautiful moments become more intense when you learn to appreciate them, rather than expect them. They also multiply when you are generous and share them and your good fortunes with others. The hard moments become easier to go through as you focus on the beauty that continues to surround you as you muddle through. God bless and take it easy on yourself and others!)

 

"All Along The Watch Tower"-Bob Dylan

 

Have you ever met someone and just been totally enchanted by their presence?  It is such a delightful and unexpected experience, I wish everyone could have, at least a few times in their life! This particular experience was almost surreal, as I walked into her (the owner's) establishment for the very first time and felt such pure energy. Did it radiate from her or had I miraculously stumbled upon perhaps as many people as I had met with this kind of energy in my whole life, all in the same office? If I had to guess I would say she was the source and like strong negative energy does, so does strong positive energy, have the ability to change the tone of a room, the people that occupy that room and later those they come in contact with...

 

Now one day, I had an appointment with her, pretty early in the morning and I realized as I begun to get myself ready, I really needed to do laundry. And so it was, that I showed up for my appointment wearing this trendy article of clothing, I had bought on a whim, after convincing myself I had the shape to pull it off. Now it should be noted, I had this article of clothing for a couple of months and I hadn't chosen to wear it, wondering if I should, try to pull it off... but with no other options, on it went and off I went to my appointment. Did I mention the diversity of the women that worked in this office or that the beautiful woman I had the appointment with is Muslim?  Is there a reason I would bring that up? Christian, Jewish and Muslim women working so beautifully, harmoniously, together? The owner being Muslim? Okay well, on her being Muslim, probably because I believe they tend to dress a little more modestly than some of us... ahh-hem... me perhaps...

 

During this particular office visit she smiled all bright and warm upon me and I could feel that warmth as she began to discuss her daughter.  At some point it became evident to me, this conversation, had a particular point. Now I don't remember exactly how she said it but she used the term princess with her daughter and queen was the word she used for herself. In that moment, she shined so brilliantly, upon this seed she was carefully, kindly, respectfully planting, that something within me grew. I went home and put the outfit I had been wearing in the giveaway pile.

 

Now, If you happen to have seen the Easter episode (Season 3, episode 15) of "Life In Pieces" Samantha actually gives Sofia a similar yet much more direct speech that I absolutely loved. Check it out! This, just after Sophia foolishly tries to compete to be the cutest against her toddler cousin. Basically Samantha tells Sophia that when Sophia came along Samantha was no longer the cutest and she had to learn to find something else that she was good at or made her important and focus on that as a means of getting attention.  I did learn early on that I was no princess and needed to distract people from this by showcasing my positive attributes, which most often was just shining a light on other people. I will say some things I've learned, I have relearned, over and over again in my life. For me, some things just don't stick. Lucky for me, I am an enthusiastic student of life, definitely, maybe... hopefully, for sure!

 

Okay, huge jump here... I hope you are able to easily see the connection: Last year at this time, I was at my Mom's bedside, having just been made aware, that my mom was in fact, dying.  I don't know if you've ever experienced somebody looking you in the eye, pleading for something they never mention, as they cry, “I can't do this anymore!” over and over again.  That little 11 year-old girl inside of me, the one that was so heartbroken to learn her mother had left her and her family, was clawing inside me, trying to scramble to someplace safe and then the beautiful Muslim woman came to mind and guided me.  I was reminded that I am a queen and it is my duty to secure my people and rise above adversity. I'm not a princess or a lost little girl, though I may feel lost sometimes or wish for easier times, I may wish to be adored and catered to or I may find myself at times panicked over what may be... I am a Queen, which means I have a duty and must take a stand and secure my people and our future.

I can't tell you how much I miss my mother but I can tell you I am grateful for all the wonderful things she instilled and nurtured in me.  I am grateful that I was able to get her to a place where she would be taken care of by gentle, kind, loving people, until she passed. In the time it took her to pass, I did a lot of thinking about who I am and who I am not.  I'm not here to be a princess. I am here to help nurture and secure my people. My family first, which for me has always been the case because having experienced, while growing up, the breakdown of my own family, I understand the importance of family. So today, should you find me missing from certain places, it's because I'm trying to be careful, I'm trying to keep my own priorities straight and I'm trying to manage my own health, so that I can continue to secure my people.  In this regard, I am no different then who I have always been, the girl with the Foster siblings that watches over the other kids on the playground because she understands there's a lot of injustice going on and she's trying her best to shine a light on these things, so others may see, understand and be there, when she is not because she knows only too well that there is no promise of a tomorrow.  Now perhaps I am delusional but I have always seen all people as my people even when people tried so hard to convince me I needed to form a tribe. I needed to be against things and people. THAT, does not and has not ever fit me. I may be picky at times, critical, WRONG but I am not, against people. I am a person who believes in win/win and I believe when we don't incorporate win/win, everyone loses. Maybe not today but eventually it all comes back around.

 

Lastly, If you did not catch 60 minutes interview with Wim Wenders it is definitely worth checking out. He is the director for the movie, "A Man Of His Word" where he interviews Pope Francis. I bring this up because what the Pope addresses in this movie is much of what I contemplated as my mother lay dying.

"All Along The Watch Tower" --Jimi Hendrix

 

"Somewhere Out There" from "An American Tale"

 

Somewhere out there is a plaque that reads “Fathers, the most important thing that you can do for your children is to love their mothers”.  I agree, that definitely has got to be up there as one of the very best things that you can do for your children.


It was the summer of 79.  I sat on the floor of my family’s van between my father and my mother's seat.  We didn't wear seat belts or necessarily even sit in seats back then. There was a mixtape of music coming out of the speakers.  “The Game of Love” filled the van and I watched my father reach over and grab my mother's hand. I watched attentively, as this silent show of affection wasn't normal for them.  My father had instigated it. I looked at his face and saw a tear in his eye, then I slightly glanced over at my mother's face, stoic. I had just turned 11 about 2 months before, so my experience with what was going on here was ZERO but like a bird trapped in a cage during a fire, my heart trembled nervously. I think it was my very first panic attack but it might just be the first one I consciously remember. The rest of our vacation seemed to go without any other indicator that something was wrong.  When we got back home my siblings and I were sent off to camp. I believe my brothers went to Goshen for multiple weeks. I think I went to Wo-Me-To for one week and then to a cousin's house for another week and then with another cousin to the beach for a week. I knew my mother had left to visit her parents during this time and my subconscious mind knew and shared with me, in the form of dreams, nightmares, that she would not be coming back.  


My father was heartbroken.  His mother, who helped out with us, had too many negative comments in regards to my mother during that time.  Hers was not the only behavior that puzzled me, while you would think I would have seen the most gentle loving side of people around me during that time, that's not the case.  It was quite the opposite no REAL support to us as a family unit. It felt like my family and myself we're under some sort of strange attack. Everyone had an opinion and everyone's opinion seemed to devalue my family and its individual members.  If you ever heard someone say, “don't speak negatively about a child's parents in front of them” that is very good advice! One might think that a family would be safe from these behaviors when going to church and during a time like that, one might think a family would find comfort there.  Conversations there became odd, while fishing, leading questions, rumors and looks in my direction that made me feel extremely uncomfortable seemed to be the new norm. Funny how people think they are being clever when they are not, as even a child detects their true negative intentions, whether they fully understand or it just makes them nervous and preyed upon.


Perhaps, everyone has a moment in their life similar to this one I experienced when I was eleven. A moment where the idea of the world they grew up in, fragments into shards, that pave the only path for the barefooted traveler to make their way down.  For me it was traumatizing. For me, the best way to not feel the glass under my bare feet was to find ways to disassociate and disconnect in order to be okay. Pieces of my life became more like, just a matter of fact story I told. It felt like it was somebody else's story and one I didn't take personally, less I fall into the grief.  It was an experience, a lesson and if I could transcend it through problem solving, maybe it could be woven into a net to catch others from falling into that type of experience and the grief that could accompany it. I shared my story when I thought it would be helpful or healing to someone else. I share it now because I realize, so many kids are going through what I went through and worse... With Mother's Day approaching it seems important to note.  Also because this story on 60 Minutes this past Sunday got me reflecting.


For all my own sensitivities it might seem contradictory to hear this from me but taking things personally does not solve problems.  Understanding the problem, going in with the clarity and precision of a surgeon and the intent to tend to the needs of all involved is perhaps the better strategy.  I think it was Oprah Winfrey or one of her many wise guests that said, “When you let go of what you don't want your hand is free to grab what you do want” I guess that's the best way to say letting go of the past or a problem, is the first step to freeing yourself so that you can grab the solution or the future that you deserve.  I really hope those children in the 60 Minutes news story are able to go back and do exactly that!

 

I really want to thank 60 minutes for continuing to cover the real stories we need to be made aware of and using their time to educate their viewers, making us more aware of what is going on in OUR WORLD and how we may shape a better world for us all!!

Lastly, here is a link to my Mother's Day Vlog.

LINK: "China" by Tori Amos


 


 

 

"Aja"--Steely Dan

2nd Blog (Impetuous one): NOTE: everything here is said in love and in sincerety

 

So, this morning I wake up from a dream.  I remember nothing from it except the words, "You are not incorrigible.  You are impetuous".  I have the strangest dreams...  So I had to look up impetuous, I mean I thought I knew what it meant but you know not really...  Then I headed for my synth.    to honor all mother's, wives and any female that has ever given birth to your offspring.  Mothers LOVE their children and want the best for them.  It doesn't always work out the way they plan.  My mother loved my brother and it was heartbreaking at times for her.  He loved her too, so much.  We are challenged as families but we should always take time to say "I love you" and hear the words when they come our way.  If we don't, important things that need to be said get lost.  Relationships get lost. 

In this video I spoke but it probably sounded like gibberish about a video I made and lost.  It was another songs I had attempted to show as I wrote it. It had nothing to do with the "Make Your Momma Proud" song.  It was just the reason I chose to be impetuous.  I sat on this till now 2:34pm.  Fear I guess, holding me back.  I decided I'd rather look the sad, pathetic fool than have what I need to express go unsaid.
Along these lines...  Someone recently asked me if I had seen the picture of Melania Trump smiling at Barack Obama.  It reminded me of a video I recorded, after moving from our home in Virginia into a condo there, just prior to moving to Florida.  I can't find the video now for the life of me.  Perhaps it died in my video camera along with the battery at some point, lost to the abyss.  Yet somewhere, in one of my notebooks, packed in a box was the song I wrote about a little girl I met when I worked for Images 4 Kids.  I had been combing her hair and trying to get her ready for her picture.  It was like she was catatonic or something.  She never said a word but she got this beautiful little smile on her face as I combed her hair.  There are some wonderful daycares out there and there are some beautiful people that work at daycares.  There are also some women that I would never want near mine or anybody else's child because they're just, for lack of a better word, bitter.  They made these comments, "oh look she's smiling. She never smiles.  She never speaks.  Her mom just dropped her off looking like that.  You may be the first person that's ever even combed her hair".  On and on they went as if she could not hear them.  I was so disgusted with these women!!  I turned she and I away from them and softly whispered to her and told her how beautiful she was and how lovely she looked and how her mommy was just going to love the beautiful picture of her, when we got her picture taken.  I wish I hadn't lost the video I made of the writing of that song because I remembered so much more about it in that moment and the attempt was to explain all of it, while writing a song for her.  My thought being, maybe one day she would see it or maybe there was somebody else out there that it might mean something to.  I think I called it "Mona Lisa's Smile" but it may have been crack the code to "Mona Lisa Smile."
My best friend is coming for my birthday early tomorrow and I've been trying to straighten up around here.  I'm not doing the best job but at least the guest bedroom, the guest bathroom, and the kitchen will be immaculate.  Really she's the kind of friend that is just coming to see me, not judge me on whether or not my house is clean.  So I'm taking this time to be impetuous, if I'm using the word correctly but I'll have to save looking up that song (Mona Lisa) that I wrote in that notebook for another day.  The little girl was the subject of the song.  I was the photographer's assistant.  It was my job to make sure that the children looked as attractive as possible for their pictures and I also did my best to keep them calm before they went in front of the camera.  I would explain in detail, this is what's going to happen and this is why we're cleaning your face cuz we want your mom to see all your beauty shining through and this is why were combing your hair.  Well, I always asked first, who was going to be looking at the picture to make sure I told them the right person was going to love their picture.  I'm a problem solver by nature.  It was my job as I saw it, to crack the code.  In this particular child's case, I wanted to crack the code to Mona Lisa's smile.  That what I call her.  My hope was she would always have that picture to look back on and see all her beauty shining through.  I wanted to share the writing process in a video because I really just wanted people to get it!!!  Not just listen to the song but keep their eyes peeled for Mona Lisa and help crack the code.  Don't let her get lost and end up in the wrong place or in the wrong hands.  I realize I'm a romantic at heart and perhaps I'm reading too much into it but did anybody else look at that recent picture of Barack Obama with Melania Trump and think "By God he's cracked the code!" Being a visual thinker, for me that painting came to mind.  The one of Barack Obama and the word HOPE."
Maybe that's why I needed to be impetuous this morning when I woke up.  Maybe that's why I had to cry over the keys for a little bit.  I may never be a good keyboard player but if I can show you what I see...  Maybe it will affect you and maybe it will kick off a chain of affection for those you love and perhaps might overlook, if I didn't impetuously spout off over the beauty of a person a beautiful situation or a traumatic one.  No worries over my tears, I'm okay, as long as I keep expressing myself.
My mother is gone!  A friend who was like a family member to my family is still here today because her love one bent over backwards, all for the love of his life.  What a world it would be if we would all be so willing.  Express yourself!  Don't let the moment pass you by <3
 

Blowing out the candles

 

OMG! What a birthday week!  I have received so many well wishes!  People keep asking me what am I doing for my birthday?  Well, I  Just got back from Nashville Sunday night.  It was a whirlwind of a trip but it was fantastic!!  I walked around in a sleepy little blurry bliss yesterday.   I feel sorry for anyone who honestly wants to connect with an audience, if they have not heard of Tom Jackson and read his book, watched his videos or attended any of his workshops!!  Now, he may humbly tell you he's just teaching you tricks of the trade but I'm not convinced he doesn't have some sort of innate talent in this area.  That's really all I can tell you.  You really have to see him in action, witness it for yourself.  Originally, I saw videos of him where he taught things like how to build a set list and how to utilize a stage and angles, along with other videos, including making over performances.  I tried to get Dan to watch but he was more like,  you watch it and tell me what we need to do.  Then I begged pleaded and persuaded in every way I could to get Dan to one of his workshops.  And let me tell you my skeptic engineer husband walked away just as amazed as me!   We got home and he was making changes to our songs and saying, "Hey we need to do this song this way."  Now ladies, you know he was saying what I had been saying all along but I batted my lashes and said, "That's the best idea ever!" 

 
Seriously though, Dan is a much more critical thinker than I with all his education based in math.  He does his best to keep me from tripping too high up there in the clouds but also likes impressing me with his skills and he can think out of the box, which most often leads to him finding other ways to deliver my hearts desire.  I'm the brain stormer and he is my Macgyver.  I wanted to move to Florida to live in harmony with my Seasonal Affective Disorder and their were some physical health reasons, in that I wanted to be out doors and physical year round, their were budget reasons, music reasons and because I believe the Fountain of Youth is really just being among people who don't subject you to ageism.  Also, there was my plan to get an RV so we can go on tour.  A very particular RV because I can be very particular in my visions.  Which I had.  I had visions.  I had these visions when I attended the first Tom Jackson Workshop.  In fact, I had these visions since well before then but I knew it was a step by step process.   
 
What Dan and I aren't,. Well we're not schmoozers.  Growing up I was taught. That's gauche.  Dan was taught you create for yourself, what you want.  This had worked for us in every aspect of our life.  So, we saw no reason to go to "Networking" events.  Well, except one that my friend was putting on and I really wanted to support him because he was doer and his heart was in the right place.  He really loved music and therefor musicians and he wanted to help them for no other reason then he wanted to be connected to what he loved, music, musicians and the vibes around them. Now, I've heard over and over again, you have to network but honestly, Dan and I have gotten more tracktion with our music through booking and playing music.  Which brings me back to why Tom Jackson Workshops work for me.  My husband and I learn things together, get inspired and come home with interesting ideas to try with our music.  Well, that and his work associate, Amy Wolter, made time in her busy schedule for us, last year when we needed to schedule a session with her pronto, so we could create a special moment with our song "Deeper" in hopes of helping raise money for The Anthony Fowler Foundation.  Why pronto?  Not because we hadn't planned on doing something special with the song but pronto because I was in between visits to Baltimore, MD at the time as my mother was going through cancer treatments and it was a very difficult time to get in enough practice.  We needed her help early on so in between visits we could implement her tweaks and suggestions. 
 
In 2013, Dan and I attended our first Workshop.  I had the pleasure of eating lunch with Tom Jackson.  Hey was very down to earth and I felt comfortable enough to ask him how exactly he started his business.  He was genuinely kind and willing to share as he answered me.  It was from the ground up and I was impressed that that's how he did it.  He advised me to do it the same way.  Do what you can afford and add to that.  I thought that was great advice and honest. 

My own vision for what I wanted and how I would carefully stack each piece, considerately and carefully was so clear that day...   I didn't know that while I was there that weekend my father was having his final birthday.  I didn't know about a lot of things life had in store for me.  I didn't know I would lose that vision, regain different visions or that Dan would lose his father, I would lose my mother.  I never expected, I would lose interest in music all together but that too happened for a little while.  There were moments I wanted to yell at people that said things like dreams don't come true plans do.  I disagree on both accounts.  Dreams have come true for me.  For me it is the first step in the process, knowing what I want and seeing many different versions of how it might play out because I wouldn't want my dream to turn into a nightmare for myself or really anyone.  As far as plans go.  I have started planing many things only to learn that life's plans trump my own.  Now maybe they wouldn't if say I just decided my loved ones weren't important enough to me to do the best I could to be there for them.  I suppose if my plans became more important than people, I probably would have had very little problems seeing my plans to fruition but that's not who I am.  Every dream, every plan, every choice along the way I discover more about who I am and that I suppose is the sliver lining.  So what do I do, I go back to the last place I got my needs met.  The last place I clearly saw where I wanted to go.  The last place I could see my plans coming to fruition.  There's a lot to learn from history and it's a comfortable place to fall when it's familiar in a kind way.   
 
 

The rest of my birthday celebrating has my best friend (don't worry she's reality-based) coming to visit  and we have all sorts of things planned.    

After that, I look forward to getting my new best, little cuddly buddy, "Aja" (pronounced Asia).  As in Steely Dan's "Aja"Aja because she is female had we picked a male, his name would be "Pounce" as in "Pounce De Leon (The french poodle discovering Florida)  But wait till you see Aja, I've got pictures at the bottom of my share page.  I couldn't choose which one, as I was in puppy heaven  "Call It Puppy Love"  Luckily, Dan was there to help because the little RV I want/Dream of/am planning on getting will be cozy enough with the three of us.   Things are looking up and I'm pretty psyched up over this next decade!

 

Saturday, April 21st - A legacy of love

 

Dan's and my very last performance was at the 1st annual Rally At The Railroad, last April.  If you've kept up with my blog, then you know, just shortly after that performance, Dan lost his father and I lost my mother.  It has been a difficult year since. We have put a lot on hold, including music between our mourning process and settling affairs.  Having gone through my own experiences, I can only imagine how hard it must have been for the Fowlers to lose their child and not themselves in the process. Heroically, in their time of tragedy, they grabbed hold of others in their community and restored to them, the gift of love, life and precious moments, as they made the decision to donate their son's organs.  They are creating a legacy of love and giving through the Anthony Fowler Foundation. I invite you to go to their website to learn more about the Fowlers, The Anthony Fowler Foundation and get a download of one of our original songs “Deeper” for a donation to The Anthony Fowler Foundation. http://www.affinc.org

I would also like to invite you out to the 2nd annual Rally At The Railroad, this Saturday April 21st. from noon to 4pm.  It benefits the Anthony Fowler Foundation. Again, please visit their website for all the details: http://www.affinc.org

Sadly, Dan and I will not be attending or performing this year, as we put our music ambitions on hold and have some work yet to do, before we will be ready to perform again. In our efforts to get to that place, we will be in Nashville, at a Songwriter's Performance Workshop, hosted by Tom Jackson. He is a Live Music Producer and master of creating moments onstage. He has worked with Taylor Swift and The Band Perry among many other exceptional performers. So while our hearts will be with the Fowlers and all who come out to support their efforts this Saturday, we will be in Nashville, working on ways we can continue to bring and give the best of ourselves to others like our heroes, the Fowlers! Please give them your support, in whatever you can. I know they are thankful for each and every donation towards their son's legacy, just as I'm sure they would be happy for your assistance in this and future events.

God bless and take care of yourselves and each other!

You can hear our song "Deeper" here, Get your "Deeper" download here.

 

Life, after she left-Ramblings of a conflicted soul

 

4/12 @ 10:44-I'm editing this today to add this because rather serendipitously I found this just now as I tuned into the A1.  Sally Kohn has handled this wonderfully!  Please listen and share.  Right now the interview is live but you can get the recorded podcast of it tomorrow if not later today.  

https://the1a.org/shows/2018-04-12/are-we-hardwired-to-hate

Now here is my original blog from 4/10 :-)

After my mother left, I think my father's most listened to song, for a while at least, was Art Garfunkel's “All I Know.”  Young and impressionable me, it became a theme for my own life. I have collected other themes over the years from different songs. 

“Little conversations, if I tried my very best, you know I never could say anything in 20 words or less.  Somewhere, sometime down the line, some day I may confess and tell you all but that's all.” --Concrete Blonde 


And when I couldn't find the right fit, I created my own.  I did the same when I couldn't have those difficult conversations and when I saw others in difficult predicaments, I hoped I could voice for them what they could not.

I've been interrupted, talked over and completely dismissed when I've tried to use my voice.  I've studied the room with the intensity of Larry David, come to the conclusion “This is not my crowd,” accepted it and what I needed to do for myself.  Knowing my best choice was to say, “No” and walk away. I have done this rudely before but I have since progressed to a more gentle on me, gentle on them, way of handling things and I never actually walked out on a performance, though there were a few times I thought to myself, it's a choice I could make...  Which is probably why I really love that Larry David did that.  It's very hard to put yourself in front of a bunch of people and have them unresponsive or worse, rude or mean.


I get conflicted when I want to walk away but my bigger want is to help whoever I want to walk away from, realize, how what they're doing is forming this idea in my head that I need to walk.  My thought is, what if I'm not the only one looking for an escape route?  I would prefer someone kindly, gently explain to me.  So, as much as I want to walk, I try to breath and kindly deliver what I need to say.  Though sometimes I find myself seven blocks away and out of breath before I open my mouth to say it.  ;-)  But at least I don't have to find a pay phone anymore to say it.  Cell phones, we can now call from any block we happen to find ourselves on when that courage finally catches up.  Seriously though, this all goes back to how hurt my father was when my mother left.  Granted, she left for her own legitimate reasons but I was left behind to watch my father suffer the impact.  Did I mention, she did not use her voice.  Well, I don't know, maybe she did but wasn't heard or maybe she read the room and thought, "No", I'll just go now...  I don't know but I know all about the fall out.  So even as I want to leave, sometimes I find myself with my feet locked in place, stammering in my mind, with my tongue tied, while begging God for the right words to come. The ones they will hear, feel and give into the truth of... Maybe I'm wrong but I feel like if we can combine those words, with the right inflections and tones and it can work.  We can make them feel it and then they will understand and when they understand, they will see, how to align their actions before it is to late.  My Grandmother once told me the two saddest words in the human language are"Too late".


I have seen too late and it is sad indeed!  You see, all my life I've seen those that chase others away as they build walls, break hearts, devalue others while persuading anyone that will buy into their madness to do the same, while passing the buck onto these now undervalued, likely patsies.  Oh they puff themselves up as they take others down, then wonder why they are alienated. They find more enemies and more wars. They talk tough and let everybody know how strong they are, which to others like themselves, is really just an invitation to war.  “They live in houses of stone. They build the walls all around, in two different worlds, on two sides of town. They live in houses of stone, where they don't let no one in but they never get out cuz they never give in.”(--from one of mine) I see freedom but only in my clearest moments.  When the smoke from my own wars has risen, I see not a battlefield, only the wounded. I see no enemy, only you and me. That's when I feel guilt and regret because when I take time to honestly look at you, I see things I admire, instead of the things that frighten me or anger me. I see solutions instead of pain.  I see things I want for myself in others and I realize, only a crazy person would kill off what they want or war with truth/reality. That skill, that thing, that I haven't yet developed or built for myself is right there, staring at me (maybe staring me down) while I wish they too could see, I have much to offer.  Whether we need for survival or mental well being.  We hold the pieces, that when put together, creates what we need to nurture and preserve life.  Why would I deny myself that (you/the world/my future self)? Therefore, why would I deny my own vulnerabilities, if it is through them I can secure us/you/the world/my future self?  Why? Well, because if I show them, they may be taken advantage of, I may be taken advantage of.  You/world have taught me to be protective. Often overprotective and anxious, so anxious, it can be exhausting! In my darkest moments I count my losses and I realize I am exhausted and I look for ways to leave a trace behind, let them know what I witnessed or experienced.  Save them the pain. WRITE before it is too late.   Get it right, so they get it.  Whoever needs it...  Do it for them, before she leaves or he leaves or another child is dumped into a system or an overbearing world.

“Will you be happy in your castle, when you're in it all alone?  Or will you turn around and call me? Say, “Hey baby come back home?” (--mine) Fortunate for me, my parents love affair had a happy ending.  He said, "Come back home".   Well he also said "Please" and she said “Yes”. They learned, denying their own and/or each others needs does not work in marriage. They learned, there is no leader, only a union.  One built on trust. They learned, when they worked together they could do anything they set out to do and they did!

An afterthought:  I have cautioned many a person, that you can not work with someone that works against you.  You will never get anywhere but crazy, exhausted or depressed.  This is also true in marriages. This is true in families. -- Anyway, in times such as these, that just seems important to note.

 

Heading into April

 

The past week was a really busy one.  Had a couple doctor's appointments at the beginning of the week and they went really well.  I was extremely happy to hear that my esophagus though naturally gorked, is free of cancer, YEY!  Dan and I also got to visit our puppy to be and the siblings. Almost seems impossible to narrow it down to THE ONE.  “Can't we just take them all?" I asked Dan in my sweetest, most convincing voice. He did not have to answer. I know better.  Our budget will only allow us one. Same goes for the conversion van I keep dreaming about... Dan, I and one small pooch, will be cozy as is in it...

 

I'm also excitedly anticipating our trip to Nashville, for an opportunity to glean some performance tips and tricks, straight out of the brilliant mind of Tom Jackson, author of “Live Music Method”.  We had the privilege once before of attending a workshop of his and we came home stoked with all sorts of ideas, ways we could better serve our audiences. This particular workshop is designed for singer/songwriters, solo performers and duos and for me, this could not come at a better time!  Dan and I have not performed in just about a year now. In fact we have struggled on and off in the past year just to get back to a normal practice schedule. Along with the emotional lows we have suffered in the past year, we've also had the frustration of trying not to lose, all we have gained musically.  Fortunate for us, we've been able to arrange our schedules in such a way as to take advantage of Tom Jackson's latest Workshop and with any luck, we will come back highly enthused and life will offer us the ability to put that energy into the goals we have been struggling to make for some years now. Should that not be the case, at least we get an awesome road trip, to a great location, where we get to learn about something we love doing, under the tutelage of someone we admire!  I've heard it said “It's the journey and not the destination that matters most”. I've experienced that wisdom in that first-hand.

In the meantime we have been ripping up and rearranging our song, “So Far From Home”.   So I figured this week, I would add our recorded version of the song before we started to rip it. You can find it at the bottom (on the right) of my sharing page. By clicking here.