Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘music’

Glenn B Crowley; 1943

In My Daughter’s Eyes

Martina McBride

 

In my daughter’s eyes, I am a hero.

I am strong and wise, and I know no fear,

But the truth is plain to see.

She was sent to rescue me.

I see who I want to be

In my daughter’s eyes.

In my daughter’s eyes,

Everyone is equal.

Darkness turns to light,

And the world is at peace.

This miracle God gave to me,

Gives me strength

When I am weak.

I find reason to believe

In my daughter’s eyes,

And when she wraps her hand around my finger,

Oh, it puts a smile in my heart.

Everything becomes a little clearer.

I realize what life is all about.

It’s hanging on when your heart has had enough.

It’s giving more when you feel like giving up.

I’ve seen the light.

It’s in my daughter’s eyes.

In my daughter’s eyes,

I can see the future,

A reflection of who I am and what we’ll be,

And though she’ll grow and someday leave,

Maybe raise a family,

When I’m gone, I hope you see how happy she made me.

For I’ll be there,

In my daughter’s eyes.

 

I’ve used this song before to describe how I feel about my own daughter.  Our relationship is strong and solid, something for which I worked hard and something for which I will be forever grateful.  However, it also describes my father and me.  I remember when I was roughly 15, hearing my grandmother describe me as “daddy’s little girl”.  It embarrassed me at the time, but now that I’m older, I admit … I like it.  He and I had a unique relationship.  I’ve described it before a little, but suffice it to say that both of our personalities are hard-headed and that neither one of us was ever willing to back down in a disagreement.  However, our off-beat sense of humor matched … and our willingness to outwork anyone that attempted to put us down … and our sense of determination … among other things … made us understand each other, even when things may have been strained or when we were not near each other.  He was one of the strongest men I ever have known, and he would do anything for his family if he could.  When you read the words above and look in my eyes, you will see the reflection of who he was and what he was and still is.

My daddy’s middle name was “B”.  Yes, that’s right.  “B”.  It didn’t stand for anything.  It was simply “B”.  That always fascinated me as a child, because, I mean, doesn’t EVERYONE have a middle name (at least in the simple-minded thinking of a child)?  There’s a story behind that which makes me laugh every time I remember him telling it to me.  Apparently, he was supposed to have the middle name of “Brooks” but when my grandfather, a Kansas farmer born in 1901, recorded the birth certificate, he didn’t realize it was an “official document”.  He wrote in the name with just an initial, figuring that this was how most people would refer to him as he grew up, even though he had a middle name that his family would know.  My daddy always thought that his middle name was “Brooks” … until he was inducted into the United States Navy during World War 2.  They required his birth certificate.  When he received it, he found the truth … and decided not to bother changing it, because (1) he was going into the Navy and didn’t have that kind of time; (2) it cost money to do which he didn’t have; and (3) he liked it because it was unique.  I know that I have needed to explain it to people my entire life when asked for my father’s full name … that “B” was in fact his official middle name.  Hell, even on my own birth certificate, next to the area where they put in your father’s name, someone put “ok” next to it and initialed it, which makes me laugh that it even showed up as something in question on my OWN birth certificate.

He was born August 25, 1924.  He was 30 years older than me, so his age was always easy for me to remember: take mine and add 30 years.  Since I just turned 60 years old in July (which very few people realized), he’d be 90 today.  However, he died August 28, 1992 (3 days after his 68th birthday).  To me, that’s mind-boggling, as that was 22 years ago.  It’s also only 8 years older than I am right now.  The thing is: his face, his voice, even his aroma are still vivid in my brain.  I miss him still.  My mother, who turned 86 on August 17th, misses him still also.

My mother came from a completely different background than he did.  I have mentioned that previously, but I’ll go into that in more detail in another blog-post at some point in time.  My main point right now is that she came from a solid family and never had to worry about the simple things while growing up.  My father, on the other hand, was raised, as he always said “on the other side of the tracks”.  My mother and he met in college, which he was attending after World War 2 on the GI Bill.  I have always admired that drive in him to better himself.  I think that’s where I get a lot of my drive and my entrepreneurial spirit … but I will admit that both sides of the family have strong-willed entrepreneurial ancestors, so I come by it quite naturally.  In any event, I’ve mentioned before that he was raised mostly by a divorced woman in the 30s that moved to California with him and his younger sister out of the Dust Bowl.  Have any of you read “The Grapes of Wrath”?  Well, then, there you have it.

Anyway, growing up, it was my sister and me with my mother and him raising us.  We were suburban kids born smack dab in the middle of the Baby Boom Generation.  I remember him telling me specifically that part of what he admired so much about my mother is that she was an intelligent college-educated woman who could fend for herself if need be.  I also remember him telling me that he wanted to make sure that both of his daughters could handle being on their own if it ever came down to it, because he didn’t want to ever see us struggle as much as his mother did.  I remember him telling me that, while he hoped we’d never have to worry about being on our own, he wanted to make sure his daughters could survive alone if ever it was necessary.  My sister’s beloved husband died unexpectedly a few years ago.  While it was a major shock and a very sad day, she has been quite able to take care of herself since.  I have been divorced.  I have had a child die.  I have been through major financial set-backs and job layoffs.  I have survived and taken care of myself and those that I love.  I have, as he would have said, landed on all 4’s like a cat.  My daddy, along with my mother, helped instill that in me. 

My mother has always wanted the same for us.  She was a college-educated lady in the 1940s when that was rare, and she taught school while I was growing up.  She also became a trainer at a major national department store chain and retired as a store manager many years later.  She has always been quite adept at handling herself.  However, from her background, she also always tried very, very hard to raise us to be “ladies” and to be able to fit into any society event there might be.  I learned very young how to function in formal society, how to handle formal banquets (for example, what plates, silverware, glasses, bowls, etc were to be used for each course), how to dress “properly” for whatever the occasion might be, how to do and/or be however was required.  I may not always choose to be in those situations or to even do what I’m “supposed” to do, but I know how (at least generally) if I so choose and if the occasion arises.

So, while I love the fact that I can fit in anywhere when I need to (which is another reason why I think I can handle the political/government environment in which I work), this is where my daddy would say he “won” … because I prefer the country … out of “formal society” … away from the cities … out where I can run barefoot if I want to … out with my dog and cats … out where I can just be me.

 

IMG_1420 

 I guess from their diverse backgrounds and from the fact that we moved so much when I was a kid, I learned how to fit in anywhere any time with anyone.  My father was a corporate transferee in the 60s and early 70s as a credit manager.  While I was born in Southern California, I have lived in California, Ohio, Texas, and Illinois, and I have travelled to approximately 45 out of the 50 states.  I love this background quite honestly as it makes me very versatile.  I will also state unequivocally … while I know how to fit into high-society if I need to … I’m much more of a “down home” and “tell it like it is” kind of personality.  I don’t like playing societal games, trying to fit in with the neighbors, keeping up with the Jones, putting across a social façade.  What can I say?  That was my father’s doing.

“Don’t be fake, Jill.”

“Go for broke, Jill.”

“Don’t let anyone ever put you down, Jill.”

“Never feel inferior, Jill.”

“Stand tall, Jill.”

“Have an opinion, Jill.”

“Stand up for yourself, Jill.”

“Tell people what you think and who you are, Jill.”

“Believe in yourself, Jill.”

 

Red Neck Woman

Gretchen Wilson

 

Well, I ain’t never been no Barbie Doll type.

No, I can’t swig that sweet champagne.

I’d rather drink beer all night

In a tavern or in a honkytonk or on a 4-wheel drive tailgate.

… You might think I’m trashy,

A little too hard core,

But in my neck of the woods, I’m just the girl next door.

Hey I’m a red neck woman.

I ain’t no high class broad.

I’m just a product of my raisin’.

I say, “Hey, y’all!” and “Yee Hah!”,

And I keep my Christmas lights on on my front porch all year long,

And I know all the words to every Tanya Tucker song.

So here’s to all my sisters out there keepin’ it country!

Let me get a big “Hell Yeah!” from the red neck girls like me!

HELL YEAH!

 

 IMG_1522

 

My father definitely knew that I didn’t fit into the “sugar and spice and everything nice” sort of mold of which little girls are supposedly made (at least as per the old rhyme).  While I have a very unique sense of style and love to dress up in my own manner, I am not one that is the typical frills and lace kind of woman.  My father always knew that I was made more out of gunpowder and lead instead of sugar & spice (or lace & satin … or whatever).

What can I say?  If it’s true, well, then, it’s true.

We’ll just put it this way:  he made sure that I can quite clearly hold my own no matter what.

IMG_1348.JPG

Essentially, I was taught to have my independence if need be but to have a partner in life if I also so desired; to have my own sense of style (because I’m taller than average [he was 6’5”], he taught me to carry my height proudly and not be like a lot of women that try to be something they aren’t); to have the ability to fit in however, whenever, wherever, and with whomever as necessary.  So I do …

 

IMG_1687  IMG_1033

 

He taught me to expect to be treated like a lady by the man in my life but to be an equal partner like my mother was with him.

Oh … and by the way … Roy agrees … I am an equal partner … I am treated like a lady … and I most definitely do deserve bigger diamonds …

 

 IMG_0576

 

… but then again … I digress … as that’s not the point of this blog-post …

 🙂

 I have a lot of great memories of my father, even though it’s been 22 years since he died.  I remember him teaching me to ride a bike.  I remember him teaching me to sled down a hill when we lived in Ohio. I remember him quizzing us so that we’d memorize all the state capitols.  I remember him taking us to places like New Orleans and Big Bend National Park and New York City and Monterey and Balboa Island.  I remember him teaching me how to pour beer and champagne so that it wouldn’t bubble over the top of a glass … when I was 10.  (No, he didn’t let me DRINK IT … he just taught me how to pour it properly at that age.)  I remember him building snow men with us.  I remember him trying to teach me to drive, with me returning in tears and him swearing and yelling … so my mother took over that job.  I also remember him yelling at us (quite loudly I might add) when we did something wrong, but I more clearly remember the twinkle in his eye when my mother was mad at us and he didn’t want to interfere, but he wanted to let us know that they still loved us.

I remember him walking me down the aisle at my first wedding and seeing his eyes tear up.  I remember he used to check on me even while I was married to make sure I was ok.  (I was.  That marriage collapse is not part of anything I’m willing to discuss here ever as it’s between my ex-husband and me.  Suffice it to say that he and I are good friends, and he’s a good friend to Roy also.  We all sat side-by-side in the front row at our daughter’s wedding and joked between us the entire time.)  In any event, I wish my father could have met my second husband too.  I wish he could have been at my second wedding.  He’d have loved Roy too.  He supported me in whatever decision I needed to make for my own life.  I wish he could have been at my daughter’s recent wedding.  At least his picture was on the memorial table along with my 2nd son’s picture.  (Keegan died 13 years ago.)

Again, however, I digress. 

I think one of the fondest memories I have is how much my mother and he loved to dance.  I grew up watching them dance to Big Band music and loved it.  He would dance with my sister and me around the living room … or wherever.  I have a clear memory of being about 8 or 10 and out to dinner with the family at a nice restaurant.  I remember standing on his feet while he moved around the dance floor with me to a jazz ensemble playing.  He had a major love of music … but didn’t love any particular kind.  He loved hearing my mother play the piano.  You also might just as well hear him listening to Big Band as you would Rock or Classical or Jazz or Country, and even though his singing was not something anyone with a normal ear would classify as “singing”, he would “sing” anyway, and it would always make me feel happy inside.  I miss dancing with my father.  I still miss it.  I know my mother does also.  It was part of who he was, which makes it part of who I am.  Like I have said above, he’s a reflection in his daughter’s eyes.

 

IMG_1753-1.JPG

 

Dance with My Father

Luther Vandross

 

Back when I was a child,

Before life removed all the innocence,

My father would lift me up

And dance with my mother and me and then

Spin me around till I fell asleep.

Then up the stairs he would carry me,

And I knew for sure

I was loved.

If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him,

I’d play a song that would never ever end.

How I’d love, love, love

To dance with my father again.

When I and my mother would disagree,

To get my way I would run from her to him.

He’d make me laugh just to comfort me

Then finally make me do just what my mama said.

Later that night when I was asleep,

He left a dollar under my sheet,

Never dreamed that he would be gone from me.

If I could steal one final glance, one final step, one final dance with him,

I’d play a song that would never ever end,

Because I’d love, love, love to dance with my father again.

Sometimes I’d listen outside her door,

And I’d hear how my mother cried for him.

I pray for her even more than me.

I pray for her even more than me.

I know I’m praying for much too much,

But could you send back the only man she loved?

I know you don’t do it usually,

But, Dear Lord, she’s dying to dance with my father again.

Every night I fall asleep and this is all I ever dream.

 

IMG_1817

 

I have other great memories of my father, but I’ll just focus on a couple more.  I have said this often, but we moved a lot when I was a kid, which means that we weren’t always near family at holidays.  I love that on holidays we would find other “strays” as my father would call them (as well as us) that also had no family nearby and would get together with them.  We really learned a lot about other people that way.  I love that I can fit in anywhere.  I love that I met all sorts of people. 

However, it also made it so that we learned to depend on each other very strongly, because we were all we had that was “constant”.  The last time I moved with my family was when I was a sophomore in high school.  My mother was a school teacher and needed to finish her contract through the semester.  My sister was a senior in high school and wanted to graduate with her friends there.  Along with my parents, we decided that it was best for me to move mid-year at Christmas break, as that way I’d be starting back to school with everyone else, and I’d be able to make some friends throughout the rest of the year at my new high school.  My father had started his new job in Northern California, and my mother and sister were still in Southern California.  I moved the beginning of January to live with my father until my mother finished her contract a little after that.  My sister stayed with friends after my mother left until she graduated from high school in the spring.  My point in this, however, is the time frame that it was just my father and me.

No matter how many times you move, it’s still very difficult moving when you are 15 years old and in the middle of high school.  I left behind my very first “boyfriend”, which was, of course, my massively major heartbreak of the century to my tender teenage heart.  As most long distance relationships at that age go, it didn’t last.  I was a disaster case.  My father did everything in his power to cheer me up.  We even took little weekend trips.  I remember one in particular where we drove to Oregon on the spur of the moment to visit long-time family friends.  That was probably one of the most fun times and one of my best memories of things that he and I did together ever.  I remember him telling me each and every time I got teenage weepy or teenage weird that we’d “make it through together” as it was “him and me against the world”.  This man even let me try to make dinner for us most nights when he came home from work.  I had never cooked meals in my life.  Suffice it to say that I learned fast … and any man I’ve ever cooked for since was the beneficiary of him smiling through clenched teeth and telling me that my cooking was WONDERFUL.  It wasn’t … but it was “him and me against the world”.

 

You And Me Against The World

Helen Reddy

 

You and me against the world!

Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world!

When all the others turn their backs and walk away,

You can count on me to stay!

Remember when the circus came to town,

And you were frightened by the clown?

Wasn’t it nice to be around

Someone that you knew,

Someone who was big and strong

And looking out for you?

You and me against the world!

Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world!

And for all the times we’ve cried,

I always felt that God was on our side,

And when one of us is gone,

And one of us is left to carry on,

Then remembering will have to do.

Our memories alone will get us through.

Think about the days of me and you.

You and me against the world!

Daddy, my memories of you supporting me NO MATTER WHAT have gotten me through things that I wasn’t sure how I’d get through.  I have always known … that if you could do it through the Great Depression with a divorced mother … through World War 2 … through supporting yourself through college with the help of the GI Bill … through numerous moves around the country … through your health issues … through your financial issues … through whatever you had to go through … well, then so could I.

So I’ll end with this.  I remember the day I heard that you were dying.  I remember my mother calling me and telling me to come to the hospital.  You had been in and out with all sorts of issues relating to your heart, your lungs, and your diabetes.  Your strength of character and iron-will brought you through so much.  However, as you always told me to do, you had played the cards you were dealt in life, you had never ever folded, and you had enjoyed the game while you were in it.  You had also said, “When the game ends, leave gracefully with a smile on your face.”

I left home an hour away and brought my children, then almost 10, 8½, and 3½, to their cousin’s house to be watched by older cousins.  I arrived at the hospital and came up next to your bed.  Your health was tenuous at best.  I could tell that you were hanging on for us … particularly for Mom.  I put my hand in yours, and you gripped it.  I saw you smile.  You were still fighting a valiant battle, but it was time for your game to be done, and you knew it.  You even had that smile on your face.

Up until that point, this became one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do.  I lay my head down next to you on your hospital bed while I sat in the chair.  I told you, “It’s ok, Dad.  It’s ok to let go.  We’ll be ok.  Mom will be ok.  We’ll all make sure each other are ok.  You helped make us strong.  Go be with your God.  You can let go now, Daddy.”

The first time I heard this song, I remember crying myself to sleep.

 

You Can Let Go

Crystal Shawanda

 

Wind blowin’ on my face

Sidewalk flyin’ beneath my bike

A five year-old’s first taste

Of what freedom’s really like

He was runnin’ right beside me

His hand holdin’ on the seat

I took a deep breath and hollered

As I headed for the street

You can let go now, Daddy

You can let go

Oh, I think I’m ready

To do this on my own

It’s still a little bit scary

But I want you to know

I’ll be ok now, Daddy

You can let go

I was standin’ at the altar

Between the two loves of my life

To one I’ve been a daughter

To one I soon would be a wife

When the preacher asked,

‘Who gives this woman?’

Daddy’s eyes filled up with tears

He kept holdin’ tightly to my arm

‘Till I whispered in his ear

You can let go now, Daddy

You can let go

Oh, I think I’m ready

To do this on my own

It still feels a little bit scary

But I want you to know

I’ll be ok now, Daddy

You can let go

It was killin’ me to see

The strongest man I ever knew

Wastin’ away to nothin’

In that hospital room

‘You know he’s only hangin’ on for you’

That’s what the night nurse said

My voice and heart were breakin’

As I crawled up in his bed, and said

You can let go now, Daddy

You can let go

Your little girl is ready

To do this on my own

It’s gonna be a little bit scary

But I want you to know

I’ll be ok now, Daddy

You can let go

You can let go

 

 IMG_1823

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 “She gets hungry for dinner at 8.  She loves the theatre, doesn’t come late.  She’d never bother with anyone she’d hate.  That’s why the lady is a tramp …  will not dish the dirt with the rest of those girls.  That’s why this chick is a tramp.  She loves the free cool wind in her hair, life without care.  She’s broke, but it’s oke.  Doesn’t like California, it’s cold and it’s damp.  That’s why the lady is a tramp.  She gets far too hungry, baby, to wait there for dinner at 8.  She adores the theatre, however doesn’t get there late.  She’d never bother with someone she’d hate.  That is why the lady is a tramp.” 

‘THE LADY IS A TRAMP’; Frank Sinatra

 

 

i'm different

 

 

No one has ever understood me, as I’ve said before.  I come from a long line of people who the sheeple of this world don’t understand.  That’s ok with me.  I’m happy with who I am and I do ok in life (generally at least).  I may get knocked down but I always come back up, swinging.  Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will ever keep me down for long.

In any event, I have always had family and friends that laugh at me because I’m different and I march to my own beat.  That’s ok.  I also know that I fascinate them all with how I carry on.  That’s ok too.  All I care about is if my husband, my children, and my mother/father love me and care for me.  They do.  They may not always understand me … but they love me for who and what I am.

 

 

“… My friend, I’ll say it clear.  I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.  I’ve lived a life that’s full.  I traveled each and every highway, and more, much more than this, I did it my way!  Regrets?  I’ve had a few but, then again, too few to mention.  I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption.  I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway, and more, much more than this, I did it my way.  Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew, when I bit off more than I could chew, but, through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out.  I faced it all, and I stood tall and did it my way.  I’ve loved.  I’ve laughed and cried.  I’ve had my fill, my share of losing, and now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing.  To think I did all that, and may I say, not in a shy way!  Oh, no!  Oh, no, not me!  I did it my way.  For what is a man?  What has he got, if not himself, then he has naught, to say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels?  The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.  Yes, it was my way.”

‘MY WAY’

 

 

I think I’ve done ok with my life.  I am a Baby Boomer that was raised a suburban kid.  I went through college.  I got a good degree.  I stopped working to raise my children.  Two out of my three wonderful children had disabilities.  One of them has died.  I’ve been through divorce, major medical issues of my own, financial upheaval, remarriage, relocation, unemployment, and job searches.  However, I have ended up with a pretty darn good job (since I must have a job right now, although I’d sooner not work than have to work, but that’s a different topic altogether) on Capitol Mall in Sacramento, 2 blocks from the State Capitol Building, in a very politically charged arena, and am being promoted quickly up that ladder.  Roy and I have a thriving online marketing business and a mobile disc jockey business.  We live in a terrific rural area, well outside of suburbia and city-life, which is definitely our preference.  Roy has a good new job.  After many years of instability financially, we came out as united as ever, swinging and fighting our way out.  We have, as we both always do, landed on all 4’s.  (Yes, that’s a mixed metaphor and I don’t care.)

 

 

“… & everything’s starting to hum. Still it’s a real good bet the best is yet to come.  The best is yet to come, and, babe, won’t that be fine?  You think you’ve seen the sun but you ain’t seen it shine. Wait till the warm up’s under way … and wait till you see that sun shine day.  You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  The best is yet to come, and, babe, won’t it be fine?  The best is yet to come!”

‘THE BEST IS YET TO COME’

 

 

Today is my birthday and I love having birthdays … because they are by far better than the alternative of not being here to have one.  I am cut from a different cloth than most people and celebrate my uniqueness … and I’m glad to be married to someone who saw that in me and celebrates the fact that his wife is unique and different too.  As Roy has told me, that’s much of what attracted him to me … and part of why he married me … because he knew he was the same and that way we’d understand each other’s quirkiness.  I continue to do it “my way” and plan on doing it “my way” for some time to come.

Now, admittedly, at times Roy (or those that love me) may get frustrated by the fact that I am not normal, but I can’t and won’t change … and they wouldn’t really want me to do so.  At least someone who truly loves you wouldn’t want you to change.

While I’m not by any definition of the word “young” any longer, my spirit is … and my personality is … and I will live to enjoy my life as long as I can.  Using my love of good wines … my life is like vintage wine, all the way from the brim to the dregs!  I’m still living it to the fullest no matter what happens and no matter how old I am.

 

 

“When I was 17, it was a very good year. … When I was 21, it was a very good year. … When I was 35, it was a very good year.  … but now the days are short, I’m in the autumn of the year, and now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs, from the brim to the dregs, it pours sweet and clear. It was (and is) a very good year.”  

‘IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR’

 

 

So …

… with that …

 

 

WHEN I WAS 58, IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR, NO MATTER WHAT ISSUES CAME UP!

 

 

AS I TURN 59 YEARS OLD TODAY, I CAN HONESTLY SAY THIS UPCOMING YEAR WILL MOST DEFINITELY BE A *VERY* GOOD YEAR!!!

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

 

 

birthday

 

 

There may be only a few of us “mavericks” around … but Roy (and my daughter) in particular knows this would fit me better than a lot of people who think they know me realize.

 

 

boots and dirt

Roy figured out that this is the way I am …

… and married me anyway …

… and loves me anyway …

… whether I’m in my cowboy boots …

…or …

… on my mountain bike …

… but …

… I do love my boots!!!

 

 

“Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots, and ruined your black tie affair.  The last one to know, the last one to show, I was the last one you thought you’d see there  …   Well, I guess I was wrong.  I just don’t belong, but then, I’ve been there before.  Everything’s all right.  I’ll just say, ‘Good Night!’, and I’ll show myself to the door. Hey, I didn’t mean to cause a big scene  …  Yeah, I’m not big on social graces, think I’ll slip on down to the Oasis, cuz I’ve got friends in low places …”

‘FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES’, Garth Brooks

 

 

While I may have been born into a fairly comfortable life up-front, things haven’t always gone “easy” for me, and I fought my way through.  Besides, as I’ve discussed before … I never fit the mold of “California Girl” or “suburbia” (more like “suburgatory” in my eyes) or “high-class” or “Beverly Hills” or “Hollywood” or however you want to classify any part of me being born in California in the middle of the Baby Boom generation.  I am more in line with people like many of my ancestors  …  7 brothers thrown out of Ireland in the 1600’s and sent to the New World  …  a young German boy who stowed away on a ship in the 1700’s and came to America on his own, never looking back  …  the upper-crust that chose to move to California in the early 1900’s in search of entrepreneurship and a less stifling life  …  a divorced Dust Bowl woman who moved to California with 2 young children  …  Rob Roy  …  or so many more than are listed.

 

 

“I wish they all could be California girls …”

‘CALIFORNIA GIRLS’, The Beach Boys

 

 

I may have been born a suburban Baby Boomer kid raised mostly in California (but not completely … read prior blogs) listening to rock-n-roll music and raised fairly comfortably, but you can’t even classify me by the music I like.  I like Big Band.  I like Classical.  I like Rock.  I like Country.  I like a variety of other things.  I’ll credit my mommy and my daddy for giving me a wide foundation in music.  (I just don’t like rap.)  Don’t try to classify me.  It won’t work.  Probably the closest is this:

 

 

“I am a red, white, and blue blood graduate of Honkytonk U.  That’s right – a red, white, and blue blood graduate of Honkytonk U.” 

Toby Keith

 

 

No … I’m not politically correct.

… never have been … never will be …

 

 

Pay close attention here …

 

 

I NEVER HAVE BEEN POLITICALLY CORRECT!

I NEVER WILL BE POLITICALLY CORRECT!

 

 

 

… getting ready to go ziplining in Kauai with Roy …

 

 

Hey, Roy, it’s time for me to put on my boots!

Let’s go out to dinner tonight and celebrate my birthday in STYLE!

I’ll try not to get dirty or muddy … but I won’t guarantee anything … ever … 

 

 

 

 

 

Carry on, all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Bambi.

  bambi 1

 That’s what many people think of when they hear the word, “deer” (unless they’re hunters).

  bambi 2

Deer

  bambi 3

… are not, at least in our not-so-humble opinions, …

Dear

 bambi 4

… particularly out on country roads …

 rural scene

… as they tend to jump out at *very* inopportune times in front of unsuspecting vehicles.

 bambi 6

CRASH!

bambi 7 

This causes much damage to said vehicle and the cost is very …

DEAR

U.S. Coins and Paper Money 

… as in costly … and not as in … 

DEAR.

bambi 9 

It also generally makes said

DEER

bambi 10 

… very …

DEAD.

bambi 11 

Where Roy and I live up in the Sierra foothills, there are a *lot* of wild animals. We’re used to it. For the most part, they don’t bother us.  There are bears, mountain lions, coyotes, jackrabbits, squirrels, raccoons, etc etc etc.  We even have our share of rattlesnakes … but they have never bothered us, just as long as we don’t bother them.  We’re good with that.

bambi 12

Deer

bambi 13

… however … are *very* bothersome and tend to like to get in our way.

People in the cities think they’re *cute* (which they can be) and gentle (which they also can be). However, they can cause a lot of very costly damage.  Just ask us … we know.

Roy was on his way to work for some overtime this past Saturday.  We’re good with that.  Since he just started this job and the economy has been sucky (it’s a good word when you don’t want to swear) and finances for us for the past many years have been equally sucky … well … any offered overtime is good.  So he’s merrily headed to work because the overtime money will definitely help us out and doing a nice respectable 50 MPH on a 55 MPH road at approximately 8:20 AM this past Saturday, when, out of nowhere, a deer races down the hill and jumps right in front of Roy’s truck.

 bambi 14

BAM!

bambi 15 

Now … while I feel sorry for the deer … I feel much sorrier for Roy, for the truck, and for our bank account, particularly when our bank account is still reeling from the past several years.  Now … first and foremost in MY mind at least is … Roy is ok … which is good with me because he’d be much more expensive to fix … and impossible for me to replace.

bambi 16 

Anyway, he hit this stupid deer that apparently had a death wish on Saturday morning.  The truck was still drivable so he went to work and figured we’d deal with it this week. So he brought it to the body shop on Tuesday.

Geez.

First they say $700.  While we didn’t like that … it could have been worse.  Ok fine.  We’re ok.

bambi 17 

We’ll deal with it.

We should have known not to celebrate too soon.  Two days later they called back.

“Oh, we found more.  It’s going to be about $1100.”

WHAT?  Ok well that was our first assumption that it’d be about that … and our insurance deductible is high to keep our costs low so we figured … fine … we’ll *still* deal with it and just eat sparsely for the remainder of the month.  We are working on weight loss anyway, aren’t we?

Feet on a Scale 

So today they called again … which made Roy decide to go in and confront them because … well … now it’s up to $1500 … because apparently said deer …

bambi 19 

… wasn’t dear …

bambi 20

… and cracked the AC unit as well as shoved it into the frame (or something like that anyway).

bambi 21 

We don’t like deer …

bambi 22

… no matter how cute Bambi is.

bambi 23 

Geez … it would have been nice if at least the overtime amounts had covered the damage to the truck … and not made it so we’ve thought … well geez, it would have been cheaper had Roy just stayed home.  Oh well.  Life goes on.

So anywho …

… as you all know … I love my music … all kinds … and guess what good ol’ Frankie gave us … a great philosophy to follow here:

“I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn, and a king. I’ve been up and down and over and out, and I know one thing. Each time I find myself flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race. That’s life. I tell you I can’t deny it. I thought of quittin’, baby, but my heart just ain’t gonna buy it.” Frank Sinatra

This is just another one of those basic success principles we were taught as children.  It doesn’t matter HOW many times you get knocked down in life and end up flat on your face.  Get right back up and carry on for your heart’s sake, your peace of mind, and your self-image.  Quitting is not an option. It certainly won’t help you win.  Getting up and carrying on is what will. 

Don’t *ever* be a quitter.

Pick yourself up.

Dust yourself off.

Start all over again.

QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION.

We’ll figure it out … no matter what.

Remember … “A champion is someone who gets up even when he can’t.”  Curt Goad

Carry on, all … NO MATTER WHAT.

(We still don’t like deer.)

Read Full Post »

I’ve been asked by many what drives me to do things like overcome my fear of heights or decide to take a job way out of my comfort zone that moves both Roy and me a long distance from where we lived or look in the face of evil power-hungry politicos telling them to ___ (fill in your own choice words and/or phrase there) or withstand financial, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, & medical upheaval or many of the other things I’ve done in life (for example, divorce after 25 years is not an easy row to hoe, particularly only 2 years after one of your children died).

I’ve discussed this in a variety of blogposts, but only a few fairly basic personality traits drive me in life. They are, in no particular order, since it depends on the situation at hand and the time in question:

(1) My children and my innate “mama bear” instinct

(2) My spouse & immediate family

(3) My friends

(4) My hunger to make a difference in life and not just be a “wandering generality” merely existing in life (boooooooo)

(5) My requirement to be in control of *me*

(6) My drive for success

(7) My thirst for knowledge

(8) My desire to experience life completely

(9) My general psyche

(10) My love of adventure

(11) My *need* to NOT be “normal” (Oh the *HORROR* of being considered “normal”!  Eek!)

I know I’m forgetting other traits, but it gives you an idea.

I’ve been told by many that they “couldn’t do what I do” or some other excuse why they don’t get up off their ___ (again you can fill in the blank there) and attack the situation at hand.

Hmm.

My answers are:

(1) Yes.  Yes, you *could* do what I do if you WANT to.

(2) I never had the choice *not* to deal with my life challenges.

(3) You never had to.

(4) When ___ (fill it in) happens … YOU DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO.

One of the things that affects my psyche and the items mentioned above that *inspire* me to do things or to feel things is music. Music drives me, as I’m sure my regular readers can tell, since quoting lyrics is standard in my writings. It inspires me. It moves me. It drives me. It can affect my mood … up *or* down. It generates memories in me that will move me to stand up, stand down, stand still, stand my ground, stand to be counted.

I love all kinds of music (for the most part anyway – although I will readily pass on rap … but that’s just me).  So when I heard this song come up on my IPOD this morning on the commuter bus on my way to work, it made me think of my deceased son, Keegan.  I do things FOR him, because that’s what he’d want.  He’d not want me to stop living just because he died.  He’d want me to live and enjoy and do and be in order to enjoy the life I *AM* given.

“They always knew they’d never grow old. Sometimes the body is weaker than the soul. In their darkest hour, I made a promise I will always keep. I’ll give them life. I’ll let them live through me. They were angels in waiting, waiting for wings to fly from this world, away from their pain, treasuring time til time came to leave, leave them behind. Sweet memories! Angels in waiting, angels in waiting for wings …”  Tammy Cochran

This song was written in memory of Miss Cochran’s two brothers who died from Cystic Fibrosis, so it’s a song that speaks to those of us that understand CF … as well as to those that lost children or siblings young.

So, Keegan, I am still living life to the fullest.  I have your class ring still hanging on a gold chain around my neck.  It’s been there ever since you gave it to me when you last went to the hospital so that I’d keep it safe for you.  It goes to all sorts of places with me so that you are there also.  It stays safe.  I promised that too.  I will always live life to the fullest for you.

 

nebulizer

Kara was just a baby and both she and Keegan were sitting in my lap while he inhaled nebulized medication to help control his Cystic Fibrosis.  She wanted to help him feel better.  They had a great relationship, just as did he and Logan.

 

*~*~*

 

Carry on, all … and *LIVE* life.  Don’t just exist in it.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

I had someone ask me today how Roy and I have both together and separately kept going in the face of all our past and current challenges. Music helps & this song sums it up. Country music has a way of being able to tell the stories of our lives.

“Sink or swim, you got to give it a whirl. Life’s a dance. You learn as you go. Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. Life’s a dance. You learn as you go … There’s a time to listen, a time to talk, and you might hafta crawl even after you walk. I’ve had sure things blow up in my face, seemed the long shot to win the race, been knocked down, saw the slammin’ door, picked myself up and came back for more. Life’s a dance. You learn as you go. Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. Life’s a dance. You learn as you go.” John Michael Montgomery

Read Full Post »

We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.

-Anonymous

 *~*~*

02-29-1984 (2:30 pm Pacific Standard Time)

to

05-30-2001 (5:47 am Pacific Daylight Time)

 *~*~*

This week would have been my late son, Keegan’s, 29th birthday (or 7¼ years old, depending on how you look at it, since he was born on Leap Day).  I can’t believe it’s been that long since he was born, because he’s forever 17 in my mind.  Seventeen is how old he was when he died … and he died almost 12 years ago.  It seems like yesterday.  It seems like forever.

 

Keegan was born with Cystic Fibrosis.  I’ll describe that another time, but it’s a genetic disorder.  You can also look it up.  Keegan had a double lung transplant at the age of 16 at Stanford Hospital.  That was the best gift he ever received … the gift of life.  We are forever thankful to his donor family.

 

Right now … I’ll explain Keegan as a person, because he was truly an exceptional person.

 

*~*~*

Hmmmm … how do I explain Keegan?  Nothing can explain Keegan.  He was an entity and a force all on his own, with a will of iron, a desire to prove himself, and a personality that affected all of those around him.  He positively influenced people for the better more in his short 17 years of life than most people can in 100 years of life.  Even his newborn baby picture taken by the hospital showed how truly unique he could be.  I laughed till I cried when they sent this to us (since that was back before the instant digital picture).

WTF

WTF is THAT weird looking thing at the end of my arm?

 

 

 

Keegan loved life.  He loved to laugh.  He loved the absurdity of it all.  He played hard … he studied and worked hard in school … he was fiercely independent … and he was very proud of his brother, Logan, and his sister, Kara.  He fought to live life all the way to the end.  He was never a quitter.

 keegannlogan

So … what can we do to terrorize Mom today?

 

 

Keegan loved his 6 cats, Meower, Tabu, Bandit, Spike, Chewie, and Ewok, with a passion.  He loved Star Trek, Survivor, Taz, rollercoasters, and the music of the 60’s and 70’s … or music made famous by Dr. Demento and Weird Al Yankovic.  He wanted to graduate from Foothill High School in Pleasanton, CA, in the year 2002, along with the rest of his class, and he wanted to go to the University of Southern California, as had his maternal grandparents and his cousin, Chris, to study to be a lawyer.  He liked to tease his sister and his cousin, Allyson, about their “floofy hair”.  His family and his friends were his life.  He was, as are all my children, one of my best friends.

 keegannkara

 Can your hair BE any floofier on this cruise?

 

 

Nevertheless, I think that one of the best ways to describe my beloved 2nd child is in the words of some of his friends that emailed me a year ago on his “real” birthday, since it was a Leap Year last year.

*~*~*

Happy birthday Keegan. Technically, you’d be 28 today, but because you were a leap-year baby I’d be giving you a “Happy 7th Birthday!” card if you were still with us. Because we were in high school when you left this world, you’ll always be immortalized in my heart as the crazy green-haired kid under the tarp with our gaggle of friends, in the pouring rain, at the Santana concert… the “passenger” when we got kicked out of Walmart for “shopping cart racing” …and the kid with the “hot date” (aka your oxygen tank) when we played “Chinese Fire Drill” at the Fairgrounds’ drive-thru Christmas light show. You never missed a pre-dance dinner, even when your condition was too fragile to attend the actual school dances with us. You never burned me a mix CD without slipping the Mortal Combat theme song in there for no apparent reason. I still crack up when I hear that song. Thank you for all the awesome memories, and all the other stuff happening today that I’m going to credit to you. Let’s start with free pancakes today at Ihop. That totally sounds like your doing! Bizaar weather changes? Your mom is right: It’s all you, buddy! If Mortal Combat comes on over the radio today, I’ll send you a Twinkie offering via the microwave… which actually sounds like a pretty awesome thing to do anyway… Great. Now I have to call the radio station and make a request that’ll make me sound crazy. Thanks Keegan, you did it again! Miss you buddy!!

*~*~*

Dear Keegan, I would like to take this moment to thank you for being in my life. Impacting my views of friends and showing me that awesome people come in amazing packages. And for as far as I can tell starting my love affair with Pisces. Just wanted to let you know you will always be missed and thought of often and fondly. ❤

*~*~*

Happy Birthday Keegan. You were one of, if not, my best and dearest friend in middle and high school. We shared so many memories and good times. I truly am a better person for knowing you. I happened to find an essay that I wrote about you in high school today and I will always remember your faith, love and respect. God Bless you my dear friend. Can’t wait to see you again someday – you better be waiting for me by the gates because I will be looking for you. I love you.

*~*~*

… a former teacher wrote:  I sang to him. ❤

*~*~*

… a former teacher wrote: Even my students knew what day it was.  Amazing, the power an exceptional human being has to touch people forever.  Magic.

*~*~*

… a former teacher wrote:  I could not agree more.  Keegan did more in his few years than most of us ever hope to do in 80.  The fact that his birthday is a most unusual date was simply an early message of the legacy he would create.

*~*~*

As his mother, I sing to him every year.  I bake a cake for him every year (FunFetti because he loved that kind of cake).  He was born by emergency c-section on Leap Day, 1984.  Like I said in a prior blogpost earlier in the month, he was due on Valentine’s Day … but I knew by the way he felt during my pregnancy that it would either be Ground Hog’s Day or Leap Day.

It was truly Leap Day … and it wasn’t even planned that way.

He was and still is an exceptional and very old soul.  His spirit is an amazing force.

Celebrate the life he lived.  His wish is that we not be sad and somber for him, because, as he told us a long time ago, “If you’re sad, you aren’t being sad for me, you’re just being sad for yourselves because I’m off enjoying my new self.” 

Even when he died, he didn’t want a sad somber funeral or memorial service.  He wanted us to have something he would have enjoyed going to and to remember him as he was … full of joy and full of life and full of his own wicked sense of humor.

Celebrate Me

By Max, The Poet

Remember the good we shared,
In all you do.  Celebrate me!
Remember how I taught you things,
Like what our lives are meant to be.

Smile for me when you’re feeling blue.
Think only of joy when thoughts of me enter in.
Do not cry for me.
A new chapter in my life, do I begin.

I am certain that I’ll miss you.
Sure as snow upon the mountain,
My love for you will not end.
It pours forth from my heart’s fountain.

So, as you mourn, and begin to heal,
Remember always: it is you I adore.
Forever and ever, I am at peace.
Celebrate me, once more!

 

Keegan’s maternal grandfather used to tell us to “play the cards you’re dealt in life; enjoy the game while you’re in, and never ever ever fold.”  Keegan exemplified this spirit all the way to the end. 

Keegan’s desire to do everything on his own, even when he needed assistance, exemplified that.  I remember that, even when he was 2 years old and having difficulty dressing himself, he would shout “SELF!!!” when someone (generally me) tried to help him.  He’d make his entire body stiff as a board so that no one could help and so that he could do it on his own. 

Keegan definitely played the cards dealt in life all the way to the bitter end.  His Grampa Glenn and I continue to be proud of that fighter’s will, even with Grampa Glenn (my father) as well as Keegan both long-deceased from this life.

One of Keegan’s biggest fears was that he’d be forgotten after his death. 

Keegan, we will never forget you (how could we forget that goofy grin and giggle of yours as well as your multi-colored hair), and we will always love you.

bluehair

Hmmmm … what weird color can I make my hair next?

 

 

Keegan, we again celebrate your joy in life and your will to live.  You even changed the life of Roy, who never had the pleasure of meeting you.  He is influenced by your strong presence and spirit.  Your joy and your will carry on.

irish 

I think, laddie, that I’ll do a jig for you now.

 

 

*~*~*

www.keeganfund.org

This is the memorial scholarship fund in his name.  It will be changing focus this year to a slightly broader base, but this will give you the idea of what he was like.

*~*~*

I will miss you forever and always, baby boy … and I will miss your gravelly voice, your deep guttural laugh, and your million dollar smile.

mickey

Ok, Mickey, let’s get this boat moving now. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »