Christmas – Part Deux 1.25.14

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Between busy schedules and snow days, it took us a month past Christmas to finish our celebration. It was so nice to get together for a second time this evening. We had a simple sandwich and finger foods buffet, visited and opened some presents. I was really surprised to receive an iPod.  I had asked for one, but wasn’t expecting it at this point. Robert remembered.  AND he got me the blue one.  🙂


Sonny showed me how to synch it with my iTunes and I’m all set to go.  I’m really excited to be able to bring my music with me when I exercise.

While he was helping with the iPod, Sonny was able to get my old crashed computer files transferred across our network.  That also makes me very happy, because I will be able to access my pictures now. And that’s a gift that makes me really happy, too. It will take about 5 or 6 hours for all the files to transfer.  Good grief!  I guess I need to do a little weeding in the files.  There is stuff in there from the past 8 or 10 years. Lots of it is school assignments and things I haven’t thought about, much less looked at in all this time.  The thought of cleaning these out is a little daunting. How should I do it?  …one long marathon of deletions or one folder a day for the next couple of years?

And that just makes me think about other items on other to do lists that need doing… must keep those thoughts at bay… they have the power to kill the joy.

Must keep the joy alive.  What I need is a little music…and I know just where to find some.

Below is a link to a new song by Petula Clark, who has been around since I was a kid. She was known back then for songs such as “Downtown” (, retrieved 1.26.14)  and “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” (, retrieved 1.26.14).

But here’s the new one. It’s entitled “Cut Copy Me”. I would love to describe it, but really don’t know how…seriously can’t do it justice. What I can say is that the music ebbs and flows from gently sweet to full and rich around a steady drum beat, while Petula sings melody and harmony with careful emotion that infuses the lyrics with meaning.To fully appreciate the depth of the music, listen with headphones. And remember to watch the video; it’s really cute – an old-time computer turns itself on and displays ascii graphics of the lyrics and pictures that go along with the song.

(, retrieved 1.26.14)


Every Day Discussion

Every Day cover

One of the things I love most about my job is my teen book discussion group. It started out small and was mostly girls, but it has grown over time and now has a few boys as well. Last month I was surprised when the meeting had only boys in attendance. This month, it was 50-50 — closer to the typical mix.

We had an amazing discussion of the book “Every Day” by David Levithan. It is not for younger teens, but was good with these high-schoolers. The book could be described as Quantum Leap meets teen romance — when the romance has really good character development. It is essentially a highly engaging commentary on life, love, relationships, family, humanity, gender, race told in 40+ daily vignettes.

Because the main character is only a human essence or a soul, it allowed a very understated exploration of gender and orientation, though a couple of the teens found it more difficult to identify with the character, because s/he was in a different body each day. I thought it was a brilliant way to explore the human condition in many of its aspects.

Admiration for David Levithan!

Music Plays Me


My kitty, Mei-Mei, is never far away and especially loves to help me with the computer late at night. Honestly, she has this thing about playing with the cord on the earphones.  Sigh…

I’ve been thinking a lot about music lately. Thinking about how I push the button to start it up, but the reality is –> the music plays me…especially listening through headphones.  It pushes deep and satisfying  places in my brain. It plugs directly into my nervous system through my ears overwhelming my entire consciousness. Not only does it shut out the auditory world and distractions around me, but it focuses my attention. It pushes on places in my brain that have the power to make me move and steers my emotions. Sometimes in the silence afterwards, there is even a transitory effect of calm and serenity that feels like brain chemicals moving more synchronously and shoving hard against depression.

I keep listening to this Skrillex song, “Make It Bun Dem” (, retrieved 1.14.14). There is something about it that keeps me listening to it over and over. Am I the only one who does this?  When I feel strong attraction to a song, I can’t get enough of it. Only the presence of others who can hear me playing it is enough to make me stop. That is one of the appealing things about headphones…and cars…and being home alone.

If anyone could see the counts in my iTunes lists, they might be appalled.  A quick check just now reveals these high players on my recent favorites list: Too Close by Alex Clare,  Hayling by FC Kahuma, I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry, Superman by Five for Fighing, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses,  When the Night Kills the Day by Monochrome Hearts,  Waste by Smashmouth and  Satellite by Smashmouth… but I won’t continue…and just so you know I skipped a few in there, too.  And I have to further qualify the list by saying that this is only since I had to move exclusively onto my laptop after a serious crash on my PC. Only a small portion of my music actually showed up here when I reauthorized iTunes. This short list is just where I’ve been sticking lately.

Can’t remember ever not loving music. Mainly I listen, but I used to play piano and guitar. Even wrote some of my own music when I was in highschool. Had a gorgeous Alvarez Yairi 12-string.  It eventually fell on the sacrificial fire of practical need and once it was gone, the making-music part of me went with it… down for the count. I was also in choirs and groups in the earlier parts of my life…could sing first soprano, though my voice has much less range and is quite unpracticed these days.  Ultimately, the listening has been an affirming richness in my life.  Music is waaaay up there with things that I would have trouble living without.

I will leave you with a song that is high on my list of true favorites. Every night Robert and I fall asleep listening to the same album. It is a Windham Hill anthology called Celtic Christmas III.  We started the fall-asleep-to-music thing early in our marriage. We started out listening to Windham Hill’s Bach Variations album and graduated from there to Celtic Christmas II. When III came out, we switched to that and have been listening to it ever since…probably 16 or 18 years….every night, sometimes playing it more than once if one of us is having trouble sleeping….that’s a really big count right there!

But of all the songs on that album, my absolute favorite is – “Black is the Color” by James McNally. It begins with wavering, chirring sounds like night creatures and the plaintive calling of a flute that mellows to rich and sultry low flute. There is a gradual gathering of more musical accompaniment and drums, at first like heart beats, until it builds to this gorgeous, sensuous presence. It can bring tears to my eyes. And it is gentle. And it is soothing. And it could hold you in the steadfastness of its measures.

“Black is the Color” by James McNally (, retrieved 1.15.14)

Sweet Dreams…