Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The way my mind works

Two weeks ago we made a weekend trip to Ohio to see my mom and sis.  When we came across the West Virginia state line into Ohio, we saw signs for the country music festival,
Jamboree in the Hills.  

 I grew up going to Jamboree in the Hills.  It's considered the Super Bowl of country music.  When I went, in 1977 (its first year), 1978, and 1979, it was a two day country music festival.  It's now a four day festival.  I remember this big open field, and a huge stage set up at one end.  It was kinda the Woodstock of country music.  Everyone would come through the gates running with lawn chairs, coolers, babies, grannies and try to get a spot close to the stage.  We got in to the first five rows each time.  Then you lathered on the sunscreen, put on your hat, pulled beers and snacks out of the cooler and settled in for the best artists in country music.  Country music artists would arrange for their tours to be in the area each July to make an appearance at this festival.  Because I was young and cute, my mom would send me backstage to get autographs.  Thankfully I got autographs and nobody accosted me.  I got to see Johnny & June Carter Cash, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton,  and other giants of country music.  At the time, I wasn't that in to country music.  In the 70s, western swing and honky tonkin, boozin, cheatin' songs dominated the genre, and I couldn't relate to any of that.  

What I did like was bluegrass music, and that influence coming into the music of up and coming artists.  One of the artists who impressed me back in 1977, was Lionel Cartwright.  He was a young teenager and playing with the stage band, New Generation Express.  I was so impressed that someone so young could have such a demanding job, and he played so many instruments.  I watched for him each year after that when we went to the festival. 

Well, the years went on.  I stopped going to the festival and grew up.  I sometimes wondered what happened to that Cartwright kid, when in 1989, he had a song on the country charts and happened to be on tour in Texas, and came to the town where I was living at the time.  I went to see him in concert.  This was a big deal for me because I had a new baby at home, I didn't have much money, and to pay for a sitter and go to a concert was not something I ever did.  The night of the concert was planned down to the minute.  I had to be home by eleven, when the sitter had to leave.  The concert should have been over in plenty of time.  Well, the night dragged on, and Lionel Cartwright was way overdue to come to the stage to perform.  I was starting to panic that I would have to go home before he ever got to the stage.  All that money for the evening wasted.  The friend that I was with sent a note backstage to let Mr. Cartwright know my predicament.  He got on stage before I had to leave, and met me after the performance and took a picture with me.  He was very kind.  Somewhere in my attic is that picture.  Anyway, this is how my mind works.  Traveling to Ohio to see my mom, see the sign for the festival, remember seeing Cartwright as a teenager and then years later as an adult.  Here's the song he had on the charts in 1989.  It meant something to me because I used to listen to the radio when I was a kid, staying up late at night with the radio against my ear, listening to stations up and down the east coast.

Lionel Cartwright - I Watched It All On My Radio

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Some good can come of cleaning.  I finally found a poem that's been haunting the back of my mind for years.  I could never find a copy of it until now, and there was only one copy.  So I will now post it here so I will never lose it again. 

If He Knew Me

He would know without asking, when the melancholy comes on.  He would notice the way I hug myself, and the way I lean upon, the counter strewn with dishes, no desire for industry here.  He wouldn’t have to ask, “is something wrong dear?”  

He would know the well-worn path, my mind treads upon.  He would see the distant look, and know that I was gone.  He would notice the little things, the way my keys were thrown, upon the table with discarded mail, he would know, he should have known.  

He would know my heart’s desire, but dreams are never shared, with one who doesn’t really know, by one who’s really scared.  If he really knew me, he wouldn’t keep me here, a trophy for a dusty shelf, that means so little there.  

He would see my heart’s not in it, never really was, and never ask the reason why, he’d know it was because, another fills my heart, no other could hope to touch.  He’d know the melancholy, came, from hurting just too much.  

If he really knew me, then he would be the one, to comfort all my hurts, when day was finally done.  He would know my every mood, the rise and the fall.  If he really knew me, I wouldn’t be here at all.  


I've been bogged down with cleaning my home office.  It's taking me forever because I seriously have written thousands of poems, a dozen or so stories, screenplays, and songs, so I find myself reading through a lot of it and passing judgment.  Not being too self-critical, just realistic, at LEAST 99% of what I've written since the age of 7 (43 years) is driveling crap.  No joke.  The rhymes are forced, the topics maudlin, and I'm quite stunned.  You'd think after writing for 43 years, just out of sheer practice I would have produced much better stuff.  *sigh*  All I can hang on to is that I probably have one short book's worth of decent stuff. 

In addition to my writings, I'm coming across pictures.  I'd been wondering what ever happened to that picture of my mother that I took of her on her 50th birthday.  I found it in a folder in my filing cabinet.  No idea what it was doing there.  Anyway, here it is.  I bought her 50 white roses for her 50th birthday.  I also came across one of the few pictures in existence of me with my original Brooke Shields eyebrows before I discovered tweezing and got rid of them . . . one of my regrets. 

Me aged 12, Owego, NY
My mom aged 50, Austin, TX

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC

So now I will tell you about Stanley Park in Vancouver.  This park puts Central Park in NYC 
to shame.  It is over 1,000 acres in size.  It was opened in 1888.  Here below is a link to the 
park's website.  Below is an aerial view of the park.  You can see it is surrounded by water 
on all but one side.  


Here is an aerial view of Lion's Gate Bridge as it enters Stanley Park.  There are dense 
woods with old growth trees, 120 miles of trails and roads.  There is a 14 mile / 22 kilometre 
paved seawall for Runners, bikers, and skaters that circles the park.  There are a number of 
beaches, a pool, an Aquarium, a number of public gardens, and a bowling lawn.  There are 
numerous overlooks of English Bay, lagoons, 4 restaurants, 6 concession stands, a miniature 
train, various sculptures, Gardens, and totem poles.

Here are some pictures of the totem poles, the flower gardens, views of the City skyline, etc.

I dined at the cafe at Prospect Point when I visited with Michelle, and I dined at the Fish 
House when I returned on my birthday with my family.  The food was good at both places, 
although the service was really slow at the Fish House.

Next up I will show you sites of Gastown and Chinatown.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I went out to the Pacific Northwest ahead of M by a few days, so I could spend time visiting with my oldest (read longest) friend of 38 years, Larena, of Life at 40 Something, and to meet Michelle of Knock, Knock, it's Cancer, who I've been reading, chatting with on-line, and on the phone for 7 years!

Then M joined me a few days later, along with her sister, and sister's family.  We rented a beach house on the Olympic Peninsula for a week to have a vacation and to celebrate my 50th birthday.

This is a view of Lion's Gate Bridge as seen from the south end at Stanley Park in Vancouver.  This bridge, from the north end, is my firmest memory of my first visit to Vancouver twenty years ago.  I came off this bridge and drove right into Stanley Park, where everything changed for me in an instant.  Every time I go back to Vancouver, I have to go gaze upon this bridge, and remember how close I came to losing everything, and remember the gift I was given on that day so long ago.  

Here's another view of the bridge from the side.  You can see this view of the bridge from the top of Stanley Park at Prospect Point overlook, and from the restaurant up there of the same name.

This is also where Michelle and I met for lunch.  

You can see the bridge in the background.  It was interesting meeting Michelle in person for the first time.  We have shared so many experiences over the years, and our lives have some common threads. I've met many people over the years that I met first on-line, so this wasn't awkward for me.  I don't know if it was awkward for her.  She was very pleasant and very easy to talk to.  We had lunch and talked for quite a while.  I was really glad we both made the effort to meet.  I sometimes feel like my life and experiences are completely unique, no one else's life is quite like mine, then I meet someone like Michelle, and I realize life is like a board game, and we're all playing the same game, on the same board, and even though the roll of the dice might be different, and our moves might be different, we can't help but share a lot of the same experiences and life choices.  Next on my list to meet are Naomi (CA) and Cyber Kitten (England).  I'd still like to meet Kathy (Tish's mom), but I don't know if I'll ever get to Minnesota.  

Well, I think I've jibber-jabbed enough for one night.  In the next post I will show you more of Stanley Park.  It's the most wonderful, all encompassing park I've ever seen.  There's so much there and so much to do, it's also unbelievably large.  Until the next post, adieu.

Monday, July 15, 2013

On turning 50

I never thought I'd see the day.  No, seriously, I never did, and considering my youth and suicidal tendencies, I had good reason to doubt I'd ever make it to fifty.  Well, here I am, what do I think about this?  Well, first, I got engaged on my birthday.  I didn't see that coming.  I mean, M and I have been together for over thirteen years, of course I knew we would get married once the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned.  It was overturned while I was flying out to Seattle.  I turned my phone on once the plane landed and had non-stop text messages from family and friends shouting various forms of "DOMA is dead," "you can get married now!" 

 Still, I never expected M to actually propose, so that was a surprise.  Also, I'm 50!  I'm getting married!  Someone still finds me desirable enough to want to hitch their wagon to mine.  That surprises me too.  I don't often feel attractive or lovable, so the fact that somebody else finds me this way also surprises me.  So 50, in just the first fifteen days has been full of surprises.  I went and picked up our marriage license today.  People wished me well.  We have six months to get the ceremony done, lots of planning to do.  We got our rings on Sunday.  No engagement ring, I didn't want one, but a pretty wedding band with little diamonds around it.  

The birthday itself was interesting on a separate level.  I got to be in Vancouver on my birthday.  Vancouver, my favorite city, the place of my epiphany, the place where I finally chose life over giving up for the last time.  So while I was there with M and other family, and I was playing tour guide, taking them all around Stanley Park, showing them English Bay and Lion's Gate Bridge, I was remembering the first time I saw these places twenty years earlier.  I was such a different person then.  My perspectives were different, my experiences, my possibilities.  The first time I was there, I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake again.  I was in so much pain and not only could I not see a way out, I didn't believe I had the strength to try to change anything.  Everything seemed so hopeless.  

So I found myself there again, twenty years later, a different person, wiser, stronger, happier, more experienced, and so grateful something intervened for me all those years ago.  I had wanted to be there on my birthday as an affirmation, as a way to remember and thank the universe for this life I now have.  It has been such a hard, painful, happy, sad, stressful, exhilarating, mind altering twenty years.  I never could have imagined all life had in store for me, so glad I stuck around to find out. 

So that was my inner experience of my birthday, I will share pictures in a following post of the outer experience, where we stayed, people I hung out with.  It was a wonderful visit.

Hollywood before Hollywood


I thought you might enjoy looking at these old photos of Hollywood from the 1880s to 1920.  

Go to this link:  http://www.retronaut.com/2013/02/hollywood-before-hollywood/


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Early morning musings

The dog and I went for a walk this morning.  I hate the summers of my adulthood.  Summer used to be my favorite season when I was a kid.  Of course, I grew up in upstate New York where summers were much milder than in the rest of the country.  Now summer is a few months where I count the days until it is over.  I try to stay out of the heat and out of the sun as much as possible. The humidity is the worst.  It makes me physically ill when it's hot and humid.  So our jaunt outside early this morning was about 30 minutes, just enough time for Lambeau to run in the park with another dog and tire himself out a bit so he wouldn't be so hyper indoors.

I made a pot of coffee for M when I came in.  Poor thing, she really can't function until the caffeine starts flowing through her.  Then I began reading the news on-line. I saw first thing that Cory Monteith had died suddenly.  I think he was 31, not sure.  I remember reading that he had been struggling for years with drugs.  Whether they will be found to be the cause of his death remains to be seen.  I just felt sad.  Sad that he died so young, sad that all that potential would not be tapped, sad for his parents and loved ones.  I now understand the permanency of death.  It's taken me years to appreciate life, even though it's not always a wonderful experience.

I thought how Corey's death is today's headline, soon to be replaced by another, and except for the people closest to him, life will go on, days, weeks, months will go on, then the next young person will die tragically and be the next headline, and it might be mentioned that the current kid struggled with drugs just like Corey who died a year ago, and I'll think, "has it really been a year already?"  I've been noticing a lot lately, just how much time marches on.

I feel like I'm in a period of my life, where time is passing quicker than usual.  The weeks of summer are just flying by for me.  I'm staying busy, there's always so much to do, and it's this business of being busy, that causes me to so focus on the tasks at hand, that by the time I stop and look up from what I'm doing, another week has gone by.  I keep wondering what happened to the long, lazy summers of my youth, that just seemed to drag on, so that eventually you looked forward to the Fall and the return to school to end the monotony of summer.  

Okay, my stomach is telling me, enough of the musings, eat something for breakfast.  Happy Sunday!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nifty, nifty, look who's 50!

We spent my 50th in Vancouver and had a great time.  Pix and details to follow when I have time.  I've been up 20 hours, I need to sleep first.

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...