Feel Calmer Today

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I don’t know about you but I’ve always found Classical music to be extremely soothing. Maybe it’s because it’s my livelihood (being a classically trained musician) or maybe it’s just that there really is, in my opinion, no other genre of music quite as beautiful.

Brahms and Beethoven have always been my personal favorites – whether I’m under the weather or upset or sad or just want some calm music playing in the background.

So, next time you’re feeling a little blue or just in need of a little pick-me-up, put down the comfort food and the caffeine, put on a pair of headphones and just chill!

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Safe And Healthy

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Notice I didn’t say safe and ‘sound.’ That was deliberate because, at almost 86, my Dad isn’t quite as sharp as he used to be. He knows it, we all know it – we just don’t put a label on it.

What constitutes being ‘sound’ really?

Ask a person, who has lived a long hard life, how they feel and they’re just as likely to answer, “fine,” as they are to actually attempt to describe how difficult their day was beginning with getting out of bed to completing a few everyday tasks. Or, as my Dad often answers the doctor when asked that question, “how much time do you have?”

Mom, on the other hand, seldom leaves her place at the breakfast table because even the slightest exertion gets her winded. She watches her programs, she reads, she does her crossword puzzles and she organizes my Dad’s meals and meds. Mom (who’s deaf in one ear and has perfected the art of ‘selective hearing’) has a unique way of filtering sound. When she sleeps, it’s on her ‘good’ ear so she doesn’t get bothered by outside noise.

Dad, like myself, not only hears every annoying beep and bang but involuntarily waits for the next one to disturb him. And, with nothing but time on his hands, that’s a lot of disturbance.  As musicians, Dad and I are literally victims of the very sounds that we’ve spent our lives crafting for others’ enjoyment.

Is it healthier to face your demons head on or to ignore them in hopes that they’ll eventually go away? I guess that’s for each of us to discover!

Oldies But Goodies

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Some hit songs of the 60’s and 70’s are being revised with new lyrics to accommodate the aging:

  • Herman’s Hermits: Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Walker
  • The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Hip?
  • Bobby Darin: Splish, Splash, I Was Havin’ A Flash
  • Ringo Starr: I Get By With A Little Help From Depends
  • Roberta Flack: The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face  
  • Commodores: Once, Twice, Three Times To The Bathroom
  • Leo Sayer: You Make Me Feel Like Napping

 

The Write Way

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It’s hard for anyone under the age of 40 to understand how things used to be. They never had to get up off the couch to change a channel on their tv; they never had to fight over the one phone in the house that was attached to the kitchen wall; they never knew how much a stamp cost or how big a deal it was when the price increased (usually by a cent or two) and they never had to carry around gigantic copies of their MRI films. Today, everything is conveniently stored on computers. Doctors can view your entire medical history with the click of a mouse.

They don’t even hand out illegible scripts anymore.

I’ve always liked writing*. I’ve written numerous music books and a series of YA stories. Even as a young child I remember writing absolutely everything down – my favorite foods, my favorite songs, my favorite outfits, my favorite movies… As a bored middle-schooler, I often created detailed polls for my classmates to vote on – and, yet, I still managed to graduate (ONCE, at the end of my senior year, not every few years as kids these days do – starting with Kindergarten).

Much like my Mom tells me how she likes the feel of a good book in her hands (I’m a proud 3rd-generation-Kindle-r myself), there’s just something about holding a freshly sharpened pencil (with a working, not chewed up, eraser) in your hands and knowing that there’s an infinite world of possibilities lying at the tip.

So whether you’re an academic, an artist or just a doodler, a simple pencil and a blank piece of paper can add hours of entertainment and great accomplishment to your life without the need of an electrical outlet!

*Hope you’ve enjoyed my first 100 hellomuddahhellofadduh blog posts…

Waiting For Godot

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We are always waiting for something – a check to arrive in the mail; a parking spot to materialize; a job to magically fall in our lap. We sometimes spend more hours waiting for things to happen than we do actually living our lives.

Here is a small sample of a daily ‘self-induced’ holding pattern:

  • Waiting to take the perfect selfie
  • Waiting to win the lottery
  • Waiting for Ed McMahon to show up on the doorstep (well, maybe 30 years ago)
  • Waiting for Godot 

You might laugh at the absurdity of listing the well-known play but, really, isn’t that what we all do? We have our ideas and our opinions but most of us never act on them – deciding, rather, to just discuss them, over and over again, with anyone and everyone who is unfortunate enough to be within earshot.

With all the tragedy going on in the world today, we offer prayers, we speak the names of the victims, we color our monuments with their flags but, really, we do nothing. The truth of the matter is, no matter how upbeat or positive we try to be, we’re always just waiting for that other shoe to drop!

At The Mall

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I love going to the mall (except around this time of the year).* There, I’ve said it. The very best time to go is first thing in the morning. There are no teenagers skulking about, no loud music coming from the stores** and no lines. The most you will see are the velour-clad mall walkers and the new moms pushing baby carriages.

But all that changed when I decided to take my Dad along with me. First, we needed to find the bathroom (which we needed to do several more times during our venture). Then we needed to avoid every single crying or whining child. Finally, of all the many and varied types of delicious, multi-cultured food found in the food court, we needed to get… a Nathan’s hot dog. I kid you not.

So, next time I think about going to the mall I will slip out, unnoticed, and bring back some small token as a ‘thank you’ for allowing me to have my day at the mall!

*I try to get all my holiday shopping done before the end of October. No sales? Oh well. It’s worth it to avoid the holiday frenzy.

**I’ll take any other loud music over Xmas music, any day – you know, that stuff that plays on endless loops for months before the actual ‘day’ that it’s supposed to represent. And that’s why you’ll never see me in a store (even the grocery store), from now until the middle of January, without my handy-dandy, sanity-preserving earbuds.

 

Finding Your Match

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Stripes or solids? Plaids or polka-dots? Finding the right match can be difficult. Some things and some people are just meant to be together. Others, not so much.

Whether you like peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to challenge your taste in food preparedness. That said I, personally, can’t see why anybody would put ketchup on their hot dog instead of mustard but, then, I also don’t find the need for ketchup on my fries… so there’s that.

Black coffee or coffee with lots of milk and sugar? This, too, is a seemingly debateable issue between caffeine drinkers. I prefer tea so it matters not to me but stop in at any Starbucks, any time of the day, and you’ll see not only long wait lines but lines of predilection as well.

Finding your match can involve anything from your taste buds to your heart’s desire. Preferences in food, music, art and clothing can change as often as the days of the week. Traits we like about our friends and even about ourselves sometimes change as we get older. Love, on the other hand, is a many splendored thing and should always shine as radiantly as a struck match!

Read My Lips

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Have you ever yelled at the driver in front of you (when they stopped short for no reason) from the safety of your locked vehicle? Did you ever curse out the person in line in front of you (under your breath, of course) when they asked the cashier to check the price on several items or to ring up a few items separately for another purchase?

If either of these scenarios happened to you, did you really think the intended victim could ‘read your lips?’ And what would you have done if they could…?

I’ve thought, on more than one occasion, that another human being was:

1) Stupid
2) Illiterate
3) Entitled
4) All of the above

It’s amazing to me that people consider themselves above the law or think that somehow rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve seen people smoke in front of NO SMOKING signs; use cell phones after NO CELL PHONES announcements are made; talk when NO TALKING has been instructed and play loud music (with or without headphones) when there’s a clearly marked sign telling you that it’s NOT PERMITTED.

So, what makes some individuals decide that rules apply to everyone BUT them? I don’t have an answer to that. But I do know that, next time someone takes it upon themselves to ignore such warnings, I will not hesitate to speak my mind, loudly and clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding MY words!

Better With Age

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Some things (I’m told), like wine and cheese, taste better with age. Art is more valuable with age and our taste in music tends to get better with age (you might not want to admit that to your parents when you’re younger, though). 

But not everything works that way. 

You certainly don’t feel better with age. You have more aches and pains and you complain a lot more. You can speak your mind more freely because, let’s face it, you’ve got nothing to lose. Life has probably thrown you its share of curveballs and you’ve, most likely, lived through some great personal loss in your lifetime.

So live every day like it could be your last, love your family and friends unconditionally and maybe, just maybe, the best is yet to come!

Next Available Representative

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On days like today, when I no sooner fix one problem that another one crops up, I wish I was automated so I could just say: “For Spanish, press 1” or “To speak to the next available representative, press 2.” Then I could have a nice cup of tea out on the terrace and chill.

I can’t seem to make my parents understand that I am neither a handyman nor a magician. I can’t just make things work all of a sudden and I only wish that I could make some things disappear. All of a sudden I find myself solely responsible for two of the most important people in my life and I am constantly doubting my ability to handle it all.

So, before you take on any new challenges in your life (no matter how large or how small), take a deep breath, write a list of pros and cons (if that’s your style) or talk it over with the person who knows you best. And if the phone ever starts playing that mind-numbing, ‘you’re-on-hold’ music… run like hell!