Things To Do on a Snow Day

white snowy environment with pine trees

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Things to do on a snow day:

  1. Build a snowman, snowwoman, snowbaby, snow fort!
  2. Go sledding, skating, skiing.
  3. Drink cocoa, or your favorite coffee or tea.
  4. Snuggle up with a good book.
  5. Watch a winter movie, like “Frozen” or “Elf”!
  6. Shovel out a neighbor’s walk or driveway.
  7. Plan a summer vacation!
  8. Give thanks for the day!
snow woman winter snowflakes

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Happy Travels!

parked boat

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I made a playlist for my hairdresser!  She’s moving to St. Thomas with her husband and children where they’ve dreamed of living for a long time now.  I’m so happy for people when they can embrace their bliss!  So I made a playlist to help her celebrate this new chapter in her life.

I included a variety of styles, choosing recordings of original artists whenever possible, ordering them to “modulate” from a sense of good-bye to “hello new world”!

  1. Happy Trails by Roy Rogers and Evans (because it’s just a fun way to say “Bon Voyage!” and to wish you all the best where-ever life takes you!
  2. Happy by Pharrell Williams (because I heartily affirm your happiness!!!)
  3. Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin (because there might be little worries along the way, but I hope all-in-all you will immerse yourself in your joy!)
  4. Leaving on a Jet Plane by Peter, Paul, & Mary (because it has fun associations for me from the first time I went on a grand journey!)
  5. So Long, Farewell by The Von Trapp Children (again, better to say fare-thee-well with a sense of fun and festivity than to think too much about the sorrows of parting.)
  6. When You Wish Upon A Star by Linda Ronstadt (You’ve had beautiful dreams, and now you’re making them a reality! Yea!)
  7. La Mer by Charles Trenet (because it’s about the Sea! — and because I love this song!)
  8. Mambo No. 5 by Perez Prado (Encouraging you to dance on the beach!)
  9. Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin (now in English — because I love this song!!!)
  10. Take Five by The Dave Brubeck Quartet (What better way to take a break?!)
  11. Blue Bossa by Joe Henderson (Blue for the ocean, Bossa for the tropics.)
  12. St. Thomas by Sonny Rollins (Blessings to you in your new home!!!)

Here’s a link to the playlist:

https://music.amazon.com/user-playlists/be7d9496b5f74aeb84fe054bb6ef5352sune?ref=dm_sh_8336-e59a-48cd-39b4-f4bc5

It’s called Happy Trails, Rhiannon!

Big words, Big punctuation

bicycle crankset

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List of (fun) conjunctive adverbs to use after a semi-colon:

accordingly,    furthermore,    moreover,       similarly,
     also,           hence,          namely,         still,
     anyway,         however,        nevertheless,   then,
     besides,        incidentally,   next,           thereafter,
     certainly,      indeed,         nonetheless,    therefore,
     consequently,   instead,        now,            thus,
     finally,        likewise,       otherwise,      undoubtedly,
     further,        meanwhile.

from:
https://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~dasulliv/style/conjadv.htm

More?

 

Growing Interest

I was in a sort of emotional cocoon for around a year and a half following over a decade of losses.  I continued to function (teach and attend family events), but rested as much as possible, sleeping as much as I could.  Sometime after twelve months of prioritizing rest and allowing the natural course of my grief, I began to realize I had really NO desire for anything.  Then, sometime after that, I’m not sure how long after noticing the lack of desire, I began to pray for the desire to desire.  Then sometime after that, I started praying for the desire to actually be interested in something.  More recently I’ve noticed I actually feel some interest awakening within myself for many things!  Nothing grand, no project or mission to save the world, just a budding feeling of heart.  Like, maybe my heart can dare to feel again, feel enough to engage.  It’s engagement with the outer world that is so risky.  Almost all experiences of feeling include some degree or amount of pain.  Even the loveliest feelings cause some suffering in my heart.  It’s like I’m always all too conscious of how things pass.  And it’s a huge challenge for me to experience anything without some amount of my heart getting entwined with Other.  And then Other passes or leaves somehow and part of me goes with it.

One little exercise I’ve done to help myself learn how to savor Other without claiming it unto my Self is to take photos.  When I was on retreat in Cohasset (again, at a place that no longer exists!), we were cautioned to not take away the rocks from the shore because that erodes the beach there and effects the local eco-system.  So I honored their request.  Instead, I took photos.  Tons of photos of rocks.  I love rocks.  I love looking at them.  I love how they sound knocking against each other as the waves push them around.  I love all their different sizes, shapes, and colors.  I love how hand-sized rocks feel in my hand, heavy, but smooth and well-fitted.

I didn’t just photograph the rocks though.  I REALLY looked at them as I photographed them.  I looked intently at them.  I looked at them where they were as they were.  I thought about them.  I even felt respect for them!  I knew they served some purpose right there where they were.  I felt what a privilege it was to be there with them.  As soon as I realized I shouldn’t take them home with me as a souvenir, as soon as I realized I shouldn’t claim them as some thing to own, I realized and savored their presence there.  I don’t know how to explain it.  I wasn’t worshipping them by any means.  I wasn’t anthropomorphizing them.  I was just realizing that I didn’t need to acquire something to fully appreciate it.  It was a liberating experience.  It was also very fulfilling.  It was somewhat on par with what I do with music.  When I intimately acquaint myself with music, I don’t even think of owning it; I engage with it expecting myself to be changed.

Wow!  Isn’t that lovely?!  How did that happen?  I think it’s the nature of music.  But surely, it must also be a perspective gifted to me by my piano teachers, and probably before that my mother.  My mother treasured listening to classical music.  I grew up with a respect and expectancy for music – respect for its wonder — beauty passing in time, and expectancy for me to be and become she who can hear…  I don’t know how else to say it.

I didn’t mean to write all this when I started this post.  I thought I would just list the things for which I am recently finding some interest.  Here it is:

  1. reading
  2. podcasts, especially about writing or about literature
  3. tasting new (to me) flavors, especially in teas and other beverages
  4. lipsticks (lol – I told you, nothing grand!)
  5. listening (still mostly classical music, but also jazz, & exploring whatever)
  6. thinking about where I could want to travel
  7. blogging a project
  8. studying French language

Now that I’m listing, I guess there aren’t that many things!  But the feeling of having desire, having awakening interest in life, feels huge.  Feeling desire for things that I could do in the future is a quantum leap from not feeling anything or feeling only that I want to sleep.

I think I can attribute the change within me to a couple of things:

  1. Having allowed myself to rest
  2. Having prayed for an awakening of interest
  3. Having family – just their existence helps me want to be here
  4. New babies being born into my family; my how I love seeing my nieces and nephews get married (find love) and have babies (create out of love); I love the flourishing and over-flow of love!
  5. My husband still wanting and needing me to function
  6. My students
  7. Maybe others praying for me?

There is so much more to say regarding all this, but this is all I want to say for now.

Except:

  1. I’m grateful for rest.
  2. And I’m grateful for interest in living.
  3. And I’m grateful for family.

 

List of Lists

account black and white business commerce

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List of Lists I’d Like to Write:

  • Funny sounding words
  • Places I’ve been that I loved or were life-transforming
  • Places I’d like to go
  • Miracles I’ve experienced
  • All-time favorite restaurants from all the places I’ve traveled/lived
  • Names for the color blue
  • Names for the color green
  • Names I’d like to use in creative writing
  • Colors in the sea
  • Top ten books that have transformed my life or world-view
  • Favorite poets
  • Ways to procrastinate and still get things done
  • Reasons I keep going when I think I can’t
  • What matters most
  • Why we’re here (the meaning of life in general)
  • Why I’m here (my purpose/s in life)
  • How to value life when you feel disconnected or without purpose
  • Why I love Jack so much
  • Good things I’ve gleaned from bad experiences
  • If I lived in Paris…
  • Why the world feels so different “after 9/11”
  • Why the world feels so gone after my parents’ deaths
  • Why I don’t like the world anymore
  • How I might fall in love again with life
  • How to make friends with an alien world
  • How to value a small sliver of life even if the rest of the world seems fu@%&d
  • What I can learn from my cats
  • What I admired in our beagles Sadie and Winston
  • Best coffee brands
  • Favorite coffee beans or flavors
  • Why I love the French language
  • Books with writing I find most beautiful
  • Books I would recommend reading more than twice
  • Favorite composers for classical piano
  • Favorite non-piano classical compositions
  • A playlist for myself to represent the progression of my life
  • Music I would like people to hear or sing at my funeral
  • Bouquets (flower/plant combos) I would love
  • Five reasons “why” I’m still so stuck
  • Five ways I might get unstuck
  • If I could start a peer-support group, what kind would it be?
  • Components of an ideal diner
  • Components of an ideal cafe
  • Twelve movies with great cinematography
  • Twelve great movie soundtracks
  • Twelve movies with powerful and beautiful story
  • My favorite visual artists
  • Why I’m drawn to nostalgia
  • Why I sometimes can’t stand anything nostalgic
  • Things I’d take to a desert isle if I could take only one from each of my favorite-things categories
  • Things I use every day
  • Things I keep but never use
  • Things I’m saving for the next generation
  • All the beaches I’ve been to
  • Why I love being on an ocean’s beach
  • Modes of transportation I’ve experienced and when I first did so
  • What I like about travel
  • What I don’t like about travel
  • What I like about being in a new place
  • What I like about being at home

For Frances and Her Parents

child baby newborn arms

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To celebrate Frances’ birth, I made a playlist for her and her parents.  Some of the songs are obviously and perfectly suited for a baby, either because they were written for a baby or about a parent’s love for their newborn.  The inclusion of a few of the songs might surprise some because they were originally written for lovers, but I think they fit because these parents are celebrating their love for each other and for the life their love has created.  Several songs I included for other reasons; see more details below.  [The “by” refers to the artist(s) who recorded the music, not necessarily the composer/lyricist.]

For Frances and Her Parents, playlist on Amazon Music, curated by ML.

    1. Isn’t She Lovely by Stevie Wonder; because it’s wonderfully joyful.
    2. I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing by The New Seekers; for its sweet vision of building a home full of love and singing and sweet peace with nature.
    3. Free To Be You and Me by The New Seekers; I just discovered this one when selecting #2 and I liked its message; I thought Frances’ parents would too!
    4. Never Ending Song of Love by The New Seekers; isn’t it lovely?
    5. Longer by Dan Fogelberg It’s one of my favorites for any expression of love!
    6. What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong; I always find the world more wonderful with each new person born!
    7. Over The Rainbow by Israel Ka… and The Hawaiian Rainbow Ensemble; I especially like this arrangement for its sweetness and simple innocence.
    8. Here Comes The Sun by Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor; everything on the album is wonderful and I thought this song especially fitting for this playlist.
    9. Improvisation on Dona Nobis Pacem by Paquito D’Rivera; this is also from Yo-Yo Ma’s album “Songs Of Joy And Peace” and I thought this song made a nice transition to the next one on my list.  It’s an incredible fusion of classical, jazz, and folk elements.  Plus I like the prayer for peace.  It’s also a sort of nod to St. Francis and his prayers for peace with all of nature.  (I couldn’t find a version of his “Canticle To The Sun” whose performance style/tone suited this playlist.)
    10. Coeur Volant by Zaz; I adore the movie “Hugo” from which this comes, plus I wish for Frances (besides unconditional love, renewing joy, and perpetual peace) a courageous heart.
    11. Fly Me To The Moon (acoustic version) by Angelina Jordan; I wanted to include a younger artist who expresses her own authentic wondrousness (as well as an amazing genius for recreating other voices); plus I love this song and I think parents can sing it to their children.
    12. Sur Le Quais Du Vieux Paris by Lucienne Delyle; because I love Paris and Frances was originally a French name.
    13. La Mer by Chantal Chamberland; because I adore the sea and because Frances and her family live near an ocean.
    14. Dance Me To The End Of Love by Madeleine Peyroux; I fell in love w/ MP’s voice when I heard this.  It might be the most surprising inclusion, but I think it works.  Parents in love with each other and their newborn want to celebrate love in every way!
    15. Over The Rainbow/ Simple Gifts by The Piano Guys; I wanted an instrumental version of OTR as a sort of reprise for the entire playlist; the incorporation of Simple Gifts is a bonus!
    16. Wait Till You See Her by Lori Carsillo; a very sweet lullaby-styled version of one of the greatest songs about the amazement of life and being in love as experienced through what I would consider our first encounter with the Beatific Vision when parent and child gaze into each other’s eyes.
    17. Wait Till You See Her (instrumental only) by New York Trio; I like this one so much I had to include two renditions of it.
    18. Longer (instrumental only) by Dan Fogelberg; again, more reprise of favorites!
    19. You Cannot Lose My Love by Sara Groves, and then there’s this one; it says it all!  Blessings to you Frances, and D&D!

 

I tried to include some lovely variety while keeping a general tone of not-too-loud, fluid (mostly lyric but full of richly textured rhythms and complex harmonies), singable, compelling, joyful, sweet sweetness that has depth.  These are songs I can imagine Frances’ parents D&D singing to each other and to Frances.  I can see them rocking her in their arms, gazing into her sweet face while swaying to the music.  Maybe the last several songs can serve as lullabies.

Happy listening!  Happy loving!  Happy parenting, D&D!  Happy growing, Frances!

Made and sent with lots of love, joy, and blessings forever!  ~ML