Thursday, November 29, 2012


“Music . . . can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” ― Leonard Bernstein

     How do you feel when you absorb your favorite song deep under your skin? Does it penetrate your soul? Has a song ever invoked tears of pain or joy? What images are projected onto the movie screen of your mind as harmony and melody perfectly blend you to eargasm? Does your heart swell and your stomach ache when you hear sounds so alluring and beautiful it can only be described as etheral? Music has both the power to physically energize and soothe our body, mind and heart. Music is a language written on silent waves of universal energy. It is the wordless power which connects all of humanity. A poet arranges language to stir emotions, an artist strokes canvas or clay, the dancer paints with movement but the musician creates empathy with the color and texture of sound. You not only hear music, you touch, smell and taste sound. Albert Einstein once revealed, “If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” Music is timeless. Music is a necessity of life for without it what kind of life could we tolerate? Now go and listen to your favorite song or musical composition and feed your soul. Be inspired.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...."

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?"- J.B. Priestley

     The North is where I was born and spent my childhood. Returning to visit when snow falls is like handing me a silver foiled wrapped package with a beautiful satin ribbon. It is a gift, a gift of reliving inspired moments of my youth. Most of my fondest memories are generously sprinkled with the peaceful grace of slowly drifting snowflakes. The day after this Thanksgiving the skies turned orange and purple at sunset. You could sense an impending change and chill in the air like an approaching army.

      We prepared for our battle with the elements armed with woolen scarves, hats and mittens. Magic. When I was a child I remember begging my parents to let me play outside in the snow. My siblings and I were allowed an hour or two of play to avert frostbite. If going outside meant stuffing myself into a snowsuit with layers of underclothes and five pairs of socks under heavy boots so be it. There were icicles to lick, snowmen to build and snow angels to create. The yard covered in pristine white was an open invitation for fresh footprints and the blazing of trails for others to follow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beyond Thankful

“There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more . . . secure.” ― Jim Butcher, Publicity and Advertising
**************************************************************************************       Thanksgiving is the one holiday my family tries very hard to celebrate together. This is quite an accomplishment when we are spread out across the country. There is usually someone who is unable to attend dinner in the designated city due to work schedule, distance or previous obligations. What happens when a family member is missing for dinner? We talk openly and critically about their faults, spread rumors, gossip, speculate on their lifestyle or career choice and ridicule them mercilessly. Ha..I kid. We actually do that even when they are sitting next to us pouring gravy on our stuffing. And that folks is FAMILY.
     On the flipside, if you're fortunate to have many siblings and loved ones you'll hear recollections of childhood torment such as when one of my sisters made the other eat blades of grass, chewed the feet off her Barbie doll (that may have been me) or held her under a cardboard box while she screamed. One of us was a poop Picasso and one swooned over Donny Osmond! Or you may fondly reminisce about the time one little brother hid a popsicle down the front of his pants when he got caught by our father for being in the fridge past a certain hour. One of us had an imaginary friend named "Ron Piggy". Somehow this brother also magically transformed his "D" grades to "B"'s on his report card. Besides eating, drinking and eating some more with family and extended families we have developed a tradtion over the years. This tradition happens on the following evening or an evening after Thanksgiving.(One year we held this event on Columbus Day) Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is the now infamous "Bingo Night!" Oh, yes it's bingo night and the feelings right. Oh, yes it's bingo night. Oh, what a night! Oh! What a night! We eat, drink, compete and play for small prizes such as Yankee Candles, music cd's, gift cards and food. During the Columbus Day themed bingo bash we gave away a few packages of "Genoa" (CC's hometown) salami, a (brother-in-law) handcrafted a birdhouse designed like the Santa Maria ship and chocolate gold coins. It's not the game itself or even the prizes that make it creative and fun but the opportunity to be together laughing and enjoying our silly selves. We have created memories for my nieces and nephews, who may pass our goofiness onto their own children one day.

      Live, laugh, love is a delicious recipe for any Thanksgiving dinner. And because I don't cook it's the only recipe you will get from me.

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Stay Classy America....."

" War is not just about bombs and rockets. It's about words."-John D. Suttter CNN

     As we try to understand the conflicts in the Middle East we trust our news sources to bring us accurate unbiased information. Now with the speed and access of social media such as Twitter we gain up to the minute, direct reports of the fear and escalating violence in that region of the world. These sources do more than just report on an event but are used to intimidate or empower. The words WE choose to use on a daily basis can either resolve or provoke an argument. Imagine if war was contained to spoken or written words rather than intensifying to physical acts of violence. After reading open forum comment posts on news stories regarding Israel and Gaza some would warn anonymous commenter's, " I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent." Here is just a sample of the gems I've read:
Here is a quote from BobM.--------- "You Arab trash are the ones that are not civilized. Your Muslim garbage religion wants to dominate the world going back to the Spartan era and Vlad the impaler.    or
"I'd tell you to read your history but I know most Arabs are illiterate."

 --------and another quote from MaryC.----- "What do you expect, they murdered Jesus. These people have no love in their hearts."

All I can say after reading this and more which proper decorum prohibits me from reprinting is WOW. Good night, America and stay classy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!"

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu
   The last few days have been a real exercise in patience. An online journal I spent hours creating was completely out of my control due to technical difficulties. At first I felt defeated. Then sad. Then determined. Then a little angry. If there is one thing I know about myself it's this: when plan A doesn't work, I use plan B, and if plan B fails, C or D. Damn it, it's going to work! However, swift action is not always the path we should take. Actually, I should have just chilled out for a moment or (four hours) took a deep breath, relaxed, watched some TV. Stepping away from the computer and going for a calming walk would have allowed me time to reflect on my motivations. Why am I doing this when I could be working on projects that make more money!? Why is this important to me? Do I really need to write a blog? Is this blog about the creative process or just a way to feed my ego? Look everyone at work, friends, family I have a freaking blog that no one reads. Who am I, Navin Johnson from "The Jerk" seeing his name printed in the phone book? Whoo hoo! "I am somebody!" Lisa, calm down. Breathe. Go to your happy place.

      Now in relation, for thousands and thousands of years Tibetan Buddhists have created time consuming, intricate, meticulous sand mandalas in honor and remembrance of the transitory nature of our souls and material world. They accept what they create is going to be ceremonially destroyed. It represents impermanence. All of their dedicated craftsmanship, precise placement, attention to detail is obliterated sand grain by sand grain. The sand is collected then released into water mingling element with element. It is a beautiful, delicate creative process. The difference between one mind and another mind is simply acceptance.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

" because you can't and you won't and you don't stop..."

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening - Robert Frost

     The human mind has amazing capacities and profound mysteries. Two people will read the exact same book passage or poem and come away with two entirely different interpretations. This has beautiful and tragic consequences at times. Poet, Robert Frost completed "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" in 1922 after he had been up all night writing a long poem called "New Hampshire.". When I contemplate the last lines of the poem, " The woods are lovely, dark and deep." it reminds me of those deliciously rare moments when we are captivated, held silent, stunned by observing what we believe is beautiful. Time seems to slip away when we are creating. That is why being "lost in the moment", being "in the zone" or having Zen like focus is so magical. Imagine as Frost did standing with his gallant horse looking out over a snow covered field in absolute awe. Serenity! It was dark and peaceful. The chill in the air was probably exhilarating to an exhausted writer. Those of us who grew up in frigid climates discover that even the most soot stained, industrialized city will transform into a winter wonderland following a snowfall. "But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep." He must have savored that moment like a juicy, sumptuous ripe pear. He may have felt fully awake, alive and one with the mysteries of the universe. One perfect moment of silent joy was finally his. And then suddenly... out of no where.. there is a buzzz, buzzz as he hears his phone and receives a brief text from his wife. "Robert, don't forget to pick up some milk." and "where are you? It's late!" Okay, no he didn't. It was 1922. Read the poem yourself. However, bills must be paid, children fed, a house cleaned, obligations met. But oh how we LIVE for those moments of beauty and clarity. We live for them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"and there is always something there to remind me..."

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.”
Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

     On our return from a walk one humid afternoon, I grabbed a left over slice of pizza from the fridge. Maddie followed me upstairs in full dogie "food alert" mode, nose sniffing, spaniel fanny swaying. The slice was on a napkin and teetered on the edge of my nightstand. Next to the napkin sat my trusty open laptop computer. As I stepped away briefly to check my phone, Maddie's front paws balanced her furry frame on the nightstand. She swung around victorious, her face full of crust. Unfortunately, as she turned one paw slipped and down to the floor the laptop crashed. Oh, she got her pizza alright and now I type on a computer that's missing it's shift and enter keys. The enter key is a small white button now and forget about the right side shift key.
 Every time I use my keyboard she is a constant reminder. So that is why I will NEVER get it fixed.