Tuesday, June 25, 2013

7 Songs for Graduation

Break-Up songs are so universal. Who doesn't love them? Especially when they are heavily seasoned with simmering sarcasm and repressed revenge.

1. Taylor Swift's Why You Gotta be so Mean?

2. Adele's Someone Like you

Chopin's Prelude in B minor


 That's right. To make the slow classical piece more accessible to one of my female teenage students, we dubbed it Chopin's Break -Up song. It's nick-named the Raindrop Prelude. We re-nick-named it the Teardrop Prelude. Along with his Prelude in E minor, and Waltzes in C minor and F minor, we concluded that Chopin neglected to take his Prozac for the most part, which back in the 19th century was some form of mood enhancing draught or potion. Or, please, someone just needed to brew him a pot of strong European coffee to elevate him back to his Polonaise state.

Back to this century's Break - Up songs. They take on new meaning when related to graduation.

 Here are some you may have wanted to sing to your teacher on the last day of high school:

 3. Hit the Road, Jack.

4. Na, Na, Na,  Na. Hey, hey. Goodbye.

5. 50 ways to Leave Your Teacher (Lover).

6. These Boots are Made for Walking.

7. We are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together.

As a high school piano and music theory teacher, who was the brunt of many a nasty prank (and the students said they even liked me), I know I would gladly reciprocate with a reprise right back at 'em.

Got a favorite good riddance song?

To Non-sweethearts,


 Or teachers?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Full Moon - Full Circle

Dinner for two.

We sat across from each other with no leaf in the kitchen table anymore.  The leaf was quite necessary to fit all 7 of us at one time.

"It's supposed to be King Tide tonight due to the largest full moon in a long time. They call it a Supermoon"

"You want to go to the beach after dinner to see it rise and shine on the ocean"?


"Let's just forget the dishes, throw on our bathing suits and go."

So we did.

After 30 years of raising children, we can finally do that again.

Earlier that day we had helped pack our son's car with his college belongings and sent him off to Summer B session of summer school in Orlando.

The last one flew.

We were free again!!

So there, at Lake Worth beach,  we sat gazing at the silvery balloon with a few hundred people, reflecting on the full moon and the full circle that we had made in life.

Full moon rising. 8:40pm

We started out at the beach, 1978. Newport Beach, California and the grey Pacific's salty damp air wafting through our bedroom window, waves crashing.  The white noise lulled us to sleep every night.

For five years it was just us, no kids. So when we wanted to go to the Balboa Fun Zone and play arcade games, including these new electronic ones called Galactica and Phoenix, we just got up and went.

Or if we wanted to ride the tandem bike to Lido to walk the wharf and get coffee, we up and went. No strings attached.

Then we had a precious baby girl, April. It wasn't as easy as it used to be to go out. Had to pack diapers,
and car seat just to to go down the street.

Life was more constrained. Beautifully constrained. Then there was a baby boy. Then another.  And another and another.

Don't get me wrong. I always cried at the last milestone of the youngest. I cried when April went off to college at the same time that Carlin went to kindergarten. I cried when April got married. Carlin cried at age 8, when April got married. Boy, did that one surprise us all!

So, here we are at West Palm Beach, Florida near the turquoise Atlantic and the perpetual balmy warm air,

and we are 'free' again.

We just get up and go when we want to. No teenagers to check up on or text when they are past curfew.

It's the culmination of the lunar cycle. The culmination of the child rearing cycle.

Working on our 'moon tan.'

The beginning of the New Moon of our lives.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

8 Years Later Restitution Knocks

50 is too young an age to die.

And so it was for my brother-in-law.

The toll it took on the family caused a 7-year rift between the siblings, my husband and his sister.

By the grace of God, reconciliation finally came last year between the two. And the mending and healing hasn't stopped.

The relational recovery took a big jump today on my husband's birthday when a surprise package came to the door.

A birthday bundle from California. His sister sent it and said it came from a strange box in her garage; the leftover remains of the lost brother's belongings.

Over the last 7 years, she could barely look at the boxes, much less break the plastic tape and open them.  She avoided going to the carport entirely for years. The sight of the boxes were a  reminder of his untimely death and the familial damage that ensued.

"Honey," she asked her husband, "will you go out to the garage and get more paper towels?" Other family members were sent to do tasks in that dark place so the boxes could be avoided. There were about 4 of them left over from the brother's life.

They remained unopened.

Until last week, the week of my husband's birthday.


The sudden death, years ago, had caught everyone by surprise. But the chores of dealing with the vestiges of a life still had to be finished.

So the relatives walked through his uninhabited house, dividing up momentos.

"Here. You take these." Someone handed my husband Tim, a bag of watches. "These were his watches. You should have them." No sooner did they fill his palm, but another relative took them out. "No, nothing goes to anyone now, " they said.

It wasn't the value but the sentiment that the watches held.

That was the beginning of events that tore the family apart, each feeling disrespected, even disowned by the actions of one another. Whether to cremate or bury. What to do with the estate. With no will, it was a messy procedure.

Tempers exploded. Words stung the air like poisoned darts that took years to asuage.

Then last year, a simple letter of love between Tim and  his sister broke the wall down and tears flowed, hearts erupted with pent up emotion and love.

Tonight my husband opened his birthday gift from his sister. She had finally gotten courage to open the boxes that were in her garage.

As Tim pulled back the cardboard flaps of his gift, took out the bubble wrap and tissue paper, there to our shock and surprise lay

his brother's watches!!!

8 Years later, priceless belongings of his brother's were finally entrusted to him!

Just as it seemed they were meant to be.

How precious to possess an article that touched his skin. A time piece that wrapped around  his wrist so close to where his pulse ran strong, illustrating that his life goes on in a place where time is no more and brothers, sisters, mothers and sons will all be united by faith.

God's redemption and blessing to my husband. A balm to soothe and a gift to bless.

Happy Birthday, Tim!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Father's Day Letter from his Son

Most parents don't see this kind of affirmation from their grown children until they turn 30.
Being the extraordinary father that my husband is, he received his payback 10 years early!!

Here's what my 20 yr old son wrote to his dad in his Father's Day card:


I can't thank you enough for shaping me to be the man that I am today. Through all the endless middle/high school talks that I thought so little of at the time, I can look back with the utmost appreciation of having a father that actually cares and continues to . 
From the naive idea to move to a completely different life (New York City 5 days after High school graduation) without the slightest idea of what would come, you always believed in me and had confidence in me. That's one of the greatest feelings. 

To the man who continually pours wisdom and love into my life, 

Happy Father's day.

Love you, Dad.


It's nice to know that even when that even when they roll their eyes, stare, unflinchingly at their iphone and appear not to be listening (unlike this photo),

they really are.

It was a wonderful Father's Day at our house.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

More Sights of Sound: Auditory Art and Visual Vibrations

There are a lot of people listening more in order to create art to be seen.

Here are a few:

Fabian Oefner

Tim Wakefield


Bring it home to a personal level. My favorite.  Everyone should do this!! 

Frame your speech and hang it on a wall!

Aimee Weaver

Are your words being heard?

Are your sounds being seen?

You are entitled to the space you take up in this world. The words you say should be visible. 

Thoughts expressed. Heart, an open sound wave.

Visible vibrations reverberating out to the dry land like ripples of refreshing water.

Auditory art shining like light waves of the sun brightening a shadowed earthly landscape.

Speak your piece so the world can see.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Sight of Sound

Each tune has a unique heart beat.  It's as if you can see the sound. The Sight of Sound.

Reminds me of the monitor that showed contractions when I was in labor 6 times. You could see the muscle constriction rise and fall, peak and dip. And truly a song is something to be birthed, pains, blood and sweat included.

 I like looking at the shape of SoundCloud recordings. The texture of the song is etched like a cardio monitor graph. Every guitar pick or strum; every piano arpeggio, broken chord or 16th note pattern; every vocal pitch and inflection; the beat of a double-bass drum pedal leaves its mark.


Some look like a New York city skyline

Some like the smokey mountains.

Some like the ripples of a slow river.

Some like a Yellowstone fountain

Or the cliff line of the Grand Canyon.

Or the pine sillouette of a Carolina forest.

Yosemite's Halfdome

The roof pitch of my neighborhood homes

This is the sight

The fascinating sight 



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Song and Call for Rest

Come unto Me

You that are weary

Come Unto Me

all you who carry

The weight of the world

Upon your shoulders

And I

I will give you rest

For my yoke is easy 

And my burden's light

I'll give you rest

Come get your rest.

~ Jesus quote -  Matthew 11:28

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Rest in Motion

Do you remember the last time someone asked you to sit with them?

To relax with them?

My visiting daughter had to practically kidnap me away from work to dine at a nearby hidden-in-a-nook French restaurant.


And ate French Onion soup, white sausage and cherries jubilee!

Jesus did that. Does that. He invites us to sit

and dine with Him.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

He practically has to ambush us from our busy-ness to take a minute, though.

Take a sabbath to focus on Him


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Come unto me all you who are weary 

He bids us to enter into His rest.

It is a physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual rest.

A rest in motion.

An inner calm through the chaos. Tranquility in trouble. A serenity through the storm.

Recognize you are not in control. Relax. Recline. Reflect.

Eliminate work. Erase worry. Enjoy simple things.

Sit. Still.


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