My Go-To Tunes: Musical Memories

Sometimes, I’m going through life doing something completely mundane when all of a sudden my brain becomes aware of a song and I’m instantly transported to a different place and time. This happened yesterday as I was completing an overdue monthly expense report for my employer. I heard the high hat and the keyboards and started bopping in my chair. In came the bass, and I turned up the volume on my headphones without even realizing what I was doing. I started singing the first chorus before I became aware of the sound coming out of my mouth.

Sidebar – this happens all the time, much to the annoyance of my former cubicle neighbors when I used to work in the cube farm. “I’m sure you think you have a lovely voice, but it’s very distracting when you sing at your desk.” Um, well, I actually do have a good voice, but most of the time when I’m singing at my desk at work, I really don’t notice that I’m doing it. I’ll try not to listen to music but you screaming into  your phone is a distraction too! Is it any wonder I didn’t last there?

Back to the story…

When this happened yesterday, I was transported from my home office in Waterford, New York, USA, to the house on Mirramar Park in Blackmans Bay, Tasmania, Australia. I was sixteen years old in September 1990 when my host brother, Mike, blared the song at 6:45 AM and yelled at me to get out of bed. I remember the moment because it was one of the few mornings I did not get up before Mike to get ready for school.

This memory sparked another memory – February 15 is Mike’s birthday! A glance at the clock and some quick calculations and I realized it was already February 15 in Australia. I left a quick note on Mike’s Facebook page, sharing my musical memories and birthday wishes. He replied this morning (well, morning for me but I’m guessing he’s heading to bed).

Denise – You are AWESOME! I still absolutely love that song!!! i will play it tomorrow to my 3 daughters in your honour! I love how the bass line kicks in half way through the bar on the off beat…gold!

I love that music can be a universal language, connecting me to friends and family who happen to be on the other side of the world. Some people associate memories with food or scents. I know someone whose memories are triggered by clothes. But my memories have always been sparked by music.

The song that served as my memory spark this time was Modern Times by Daryl Braithwaite. Included on his album Rise, it is a staple on my “Aussie Tunes” playlist. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times, but yesterday I was struck by the second verse. Though the song was released twenty-seven years ago, the lyrics are still relevant.

Somebody pulls the trigger, while somebody waits to get hit

Somebody freezes in the winter, and I’m complaining about the heat

Nobody listens these days, though they’ve all got something to say

I’m singing songs about waiting, and you’ll come back some day

Now I need to go listen to the song again. You can listen to it too, in honor of Mike’s birthday.

30 Days of Thanks Day 7 – Guest Post by Carryl Robinson

Today’s post is written by Carryl Robinson. Carryl and I “met” in an online writing group where we connected over a shared love of music and hockey. Besides writing, what else do you need? Carryl’s writing fills me with hope and makes me consider how I can make my own writing more lyrical. I was thrilled when she agreed to be one of my guests during this year’s 30 Days of Thanks. You can read more of Carryl’s work by visiting her blog, Echoes From The Cave, or by following her on Twitter @CarrylRobinson

For Lynn
(With Gratitude)

It began with sorrow, a gift from a dear friend who was moving half a continent away.  A business card emblazoned with a treble clef staff, and, peering through the “spaces” of the staff, a pair of eyes.  I felt them pierce through me, as if the person connected to that drawing already knew everything there was to know about me. Vocal Eyes Music, the card read. Lynn Skinner.

“I think you’ll like working with Lynn,” my friend told me. I didn’t even question her; I had learned to trust Susan’s instincts over the years of our friendship.  I called Lynn the very next day, my first voice lesson scheduled within the fortnight.

Lynn’s studio is calming and restful, with few distractions.  It feels like my favourite hoodie, a warm sunny spot on a winter afternoon, and a hot cup of tea all rolled into one.  On one wall, however, there is a photograph of a man.  He is obviously seated and he is studying an object in the foreground. It is the neck of a guitar.  The photograph had been taken from behind the guitarist, the man’s gaze was fixed, laser-like, on the guitarist’s hand and the neck of the guitar.  I was transfixed.

“It’s Pablo Picasso with the uncles of the Gypsy Kings,” she told me.

What manner of voice teacher has a photograph of a painter and a guitarist on her wall?  And why did I have such a hard time tearing my eyes away from that image?

I don’t know what Lynn recalls about our first meeting, but I remember feeling I had absolutely no business being in her studio at all.  I knew my breath control was abysmal.  I knew my voice was good enough for choral singing, and perhaps the occasional musical offering at church, but it was nothing special.  This pixie of a woman, this dynamo, this miracle worker who had given Susan her voice back was going to have her work cut out for her working with me.  I was a hopeless case.

And so we began.

It all begins with the breath.  Don’t let anything impede the flow of the breath.

When my beloved father died, very unexpectedly, I spent the entire hour in Lynn’s studio, sitting on the carpet, tears sheeting down my face. Breathe.  Just breathe.  She played the piano while I struggled to take the next breath, and the one after that.  And when I started holding my breath, in a futile effort to control pain and loss: Keep breathing.

Other lessons followed.

Singing seems to lead your writing, and sometimes your writing leads your singing.  Let’s work with that.

So she has me to write things.  What does it mean to live life in an open key?  Tell me about artistic alchemy.  She has me to experiment with colour and form as I listen to a much-loved guitar piece.  She invites me to play with sound, with melody.  I begin to learn to fly, even if my wings are under-used and weak, even if I think I cannot.  She invites me to show up, to put more of myself into song.

The Wailin’ Jennys, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, The Secret Sisters, The Indigo Girls, K.D. Lang, Sarah McLachlan, what do they have in common?  Why do you like to sing their music?

They’re all storytellers, I tell her.  I love songs that tell a story.  Start there.  Tell me a story.

And so I write a backstory for the narrator of “Angel from Montgomery” and I improvise a narration that fits “Bye Bye Blackbird,” and in the creation of both, I find the music shimmers every so subtly and takes on a different vibrancy.

I cringe and shake my head when I mess up a warm up exercise, when my fledgling efforts to improvise end up in a convulsing heap on her studio floor.  There are no mistakes in music.  Only time.

As an adult, how do I learn how to play?  I think it’s more accurate to say we have to remember how to play.

And I begin to learn to be patient with melody.  I begin to learn to be patient with story.  And miracle of miracles, I begin to learn to be patient with myself.

Slowly, sometimes painfully so, I am learning the lesson of the painter and the guitarist and the photographer and the voice coach who harbours them in her studio.  Because art, like life itself, is a gift, and gratitude seems the only response my heart is capable of offering.

My Go-To Tunes: Go Me!

Happy belated anniversary! Oh, you missed it too? Don’t worry. So did I.

Two years ago, on September 7, 2014, I swallowed my fears and hit “publish” for the very first time. I had no idea my little personal writing blog would grow. I thought maybe I’d get 50 followers, with most of them being friends and family. I worried people would laugh at my writing, or question me when I claimed to be a writer.

Well, look at little DeeScribes now! I’ve succeeded at this writing adventure!

  • 268 posts
  • 18,181 views (I love this palindromic number)
  • 9,428 visitors
  • 287 followers

Last year, I was encouraged to set blogging goals and I jokingly responded that I’d have 300 followers by the end of 2016. I never thought I would be this close to reaching the goal by September!

Thank you for sticking with me as I follow my writing dreams. Your words of encouragement, particularly this year, have sustained me when I was ready to crawl in a corner and withdraw. You honor me by taking some of your precious time to read my writing, and I appreciate the gift of your comments and feedback.

To celebrate our anniversary, I’m sharing a very “Dee Song.” Yes, it’s a real thing.  Just ask my friends. Don’t believe me?

Ten years ago, while I was nursing yet another broken heart, my college roommate Chris sent me some music to make me smile. This song, “Supergirl” by Saving Jane, was one of the songs on the CD,  and when I told her I loved it, Chris told me it was a very “Dee Song.” See – I told you so.

“Supergirl” has been my phone ring tone for the past four years. It is a fixture on my Friday afternoon “move it” playlist. I use it whenever I need a reminder that I am flirty, fabulous, and fantastic. I searched for an official video, but the live versions I found were not as easy to understand as the original recorded version. You don’t need to watch the video, just listen to the song.

Happy two years!

My Go-To Tunes: Summer Songs

The weather in upstate New York is lovely this week. We have had several bright, sunny days and the temperatures are warmer. The tulips are colorful and each morning the smell of lilacs embraces me as I walk outside. Summer is coming and I already know what my song for summer 2016 will be.

I heard Justin Timberlake’s new song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” for the first time last Friday afternoon. Rarely do I purchase a song after the first listen, and I’ve never purchased anything by Justin, but this song screams, “Dee Song!” If you haven’t heard it yet, you should give it a listen – even if you’re not a Justin fan. Just be prepared to start bopping and grooving in your car, at your desk, or wherever you may be.

Trust me, this will be THE song of the summer. My only fear is I will grow sick of it before July. I don’t think that will happen. If it does, I guess I will just have to pick another summer song.

My Go-To Tunes: Earworms

Earworm: a catchy song or tune that runs continuously through a person’s mind

It started earlier today in a Facebook group message with my friends Tonia and Roslynn. In the middle of a discussion about disillusionment (say those three words together fast – it’s fun!), Roslynn typed:

Ruined for life.

And I’ll have you know FB autocorrected ruined to rhinestone.

That’s all it took. The earworm was there, stuck in my brain on auto-play.

For five hours now, I have been singing “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Yes, that classic country song written by Larry Weiss and released in 1975 by Glenn Campbell.

In my head. The. Entire. Afternoon.

What makes it worse is that it’s not just the chorus stuck in my head. Oh no! I have been singing the entire song in my head. Over and over.

You see, this song used to be a favorite of mine – when I was three or four years old. I had an orange plastic rocking horse with blue hair. I named him Filbert. I rode Filbert in my red plaid shirt, blue jeans and cowboy hat, singing along with “Rhinestone Cowboy” as it played on the stereo in my parent’s living room. I knew all the words. I’ve always been good at remembering song lyrics.

So, today all it took was the prompt from Roslynn to start the tune. I tried to get rid of it by introducing other music. I pulled up my ‘No Holiday’ playlist on my iPod thinking I could ride the stupid sparkling cowboy off my mental range. Sting, Carole King, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen, Midnight Oil, New Order, Pearl Jam – yes, that is what played. I have eclectic tastes.

None of those other songs worked. It’s still there.

What do you do when an earworm refuses to leave? You share it!

Don’t thank me. Thank Roslynn.

 

30 Days of Thanks Day 29 – Rick and Diane

I have never called Mr. and Mrs. Bunting “Rick and Diane” in my life until this post. As parents of my friend Lisa and former teachers, I never considered them as “adults” with first names.

Mrs. Bunting was an elementary school teacher in my hometown school. Mr. Bunting was the high school general music and chorus teacher. The lessons I learned from them inside and outside the classroom continue to influence my life today.

In addition to being the music teacher, Mr. Bunting was a member of the Susquehanna String Band. Each year in elementary school, we would gather for an assembly in the cafeteria/auditorium. Mr. Bunting and his friends Dan and John would perform and lead us in sing-alongs to songs I still sing to my young nieces and nephews. It doesn’t matter how old I am, The Bubble Gum Song still makes me laugh as kids sing with their mouths “stuffed” with pretend bubble gum.

Growing up, the Bunting house was always a place I associated with happiness and music. Our women’s choir rehearsed in their living room. In the autumn months, we drank cider and had fresh apples after singing. We never thought it odd to be rehearsing in a teacher’s house after school, something which would never happen today.

On Thanksgiving Eve, the churches in my hometown hold an eccumenical service for the community. The churches take turn hosting the service from year to year. My friends and I participated in this annual tradition when we were students. Mr. Bunting would conduct the choir when the Presbyterians hosted and Mrs. Bunting served as the accompanist. At the time, I was just excited to be making music with my friends. Now, I realize these services taught me a great lesson about religious tolerance and the importance of spirituality to people of varying faith traditions.

At the end of the school year, my high school hosted the senior recognition concert featuring performances by all the music ensembles. Students who were graduating would be recognized by the band, chorus, and orchestra teachers. Mr. Bunting had a tradition of giving all graduating choir members a dime, encouraging them to call him to share good news or to ask for assistance. At my final concert before I left to be an exchange student, Mr. Bunting gave me a quarter instead of a dime.

You’re going to be a long way from home. It might take more than a dime to call.

Last year, when I was preparing to return to Australia, Mr. and Mrs. Bunting surprised me with a generous gift of support and a lovely note of encouragement. They told me I did not need to write a thank you post in their honor; reading of my adventures would be thanks enough. Of course, I asked them again before writing this post.

It certainly isn’t necessary for you to do anything, but if it is your wish we’d be happy to participate!

Mr. and Mrs. Bunting –  you have served as examples of community engagement and faith in action for many of us who were fortunate enough to grace your classrooms. You taught us to use our talents to bring joy to others, and to have fun ourselves in the process. You served as examples of accepting praise with humility. The care and concern you shared with all of us helped us realize we could always find support back “home” even when we left to make our way in the world. I am grateful to continue to have your wisdom and guidance, and appreciate your belief in my abilities to impact others in a positive way.

30 Days of Thanks Day 15 – Philippa

Photo of two women in front of a podium with a sign which read's Mawson Huts Foundation. The woman on the left is seated in a red power wheelchair and is wearing a blue dress with silver shoes and a black sweater. The woman on the right is standing and is wearing a white shirt and black pants.I met Miss Moyes on my first day of school as an exchange student at Hobart College. I was touring the campus, learning the accessible routes between buildings (or blocks as they were called), trying to keep everyone’s name straight in my head. The music building, B Block, was the last stop of the day. I waited for the elevator, or lift as I quickly learned to say, not knowing I would spend more time stuck inside that lift over the next ten months than waiting outside for it to arrive. As I stood by the door, leaning on the push handles of my wheelchair for support, a woman wearing a gray sweater and a kind smile came into the building and noticed me. “Have you been waiting a long time? I’ll go up and make sure those boys don’t have it locked while they unload the timpani.”

Miss Moyes, who insists I now call her Philippa, always looked out for me in the music building. She was the instructor for my music theory and history class. I had taken the subject back home and was eager to join music students in my new school. The Australian school year begins in February, so my arrival in August meant I was walking into a class which had already bonded. I was worried about whether I knew enough to keep up or if I would be out of my league. I also worried if I would be talented enough to join any of the performance groups.

Philippa made the transition to a new musical home easy and smooth. She encouraged me to become involved in the chorus and let me join the string ensemble. They were playing Benjamin Britten’s Simple Symphony, which I knew from my former string quartet back home. The music theory and history class welcomed me with open arms. The other students in the class became some of my best friends at school. In Philippa’s class, we listened to great music and practiced dictation. Thanks to her, I learned that when garbage trucks sound their reverse warning (those loud “beeps” to tell you they are backing up), they reverse in the key of B-flat. I know this because one day as she finished playing the scale for a dictation exercise in the key of B, the truck outside our classroom began reversing and in unison all of us yelled, “B FLAT!” When she stopped laughing, she played the scale once more for us.

When I left Tasmania to return home, we swapped addresses and promised to keep in touch. While I am not always good at maintaining the connection, we have kept in touch on and off for the past twenty five years. Now that we have email, it is easier to send a note and read about what we are up to in our respective lives.

Philippa is a busy woman, but both times I have returned to Australia she has made time to give me unique opportunities. During my visit in 1996, Philippa offered to take me up to the Steppes Stones outdoor sculpture garden featuring the work of Stephen Walker. The artwork was fantastic, but that is not what I remember most from that day. What I remember are the sheep.

Driving up through the central part of Tasmania, we encountered farmers who were moving their herd of sheep through the village of Bothwell. Seeing the sheep coming at us on the road, Philippa slowed the car and asked the shepherd if we needed to pull completely off the road. “Nah – you’ll be right mate! Just give us a mo and we’ll be out of your way.”

A herd of sheep, about 10 animals wide, surrounding a car. One jumbuck has jumped above the others.
This jumbuck made us laugh as he kept popping up above the others.

Then came the sheep. Hundreds and hundreds of sheep. Philippa and I laughed as they kept coming and coming. “A mo” turned into half an hour of a parade of sheep. We pulled out our cameras and captured some great photos – pictures I still use when I give speeches about the lessons learned from my exchange student experience.

View looking at thousands of sheep from the rear as they are herded up a village street.
Looking out the back window of Philippa’s car. Zoom in – the sheep fill the road past the bridge!

I had the pleasure of meeting Philippa in New York City in 2011 when she came at the invitation of a friend who was involved with the staging of The Diary of a Madman  at Brooklyn Academy of Music. We spent a chilly winter day playing tourists, wandering in and out of boutiques. We “oohed” and “aahed” over the counters in Tiffany’s, deciding the monkey straws in sterling silver were cute, but really weren’t worth all the fuss. We gabbed over brunch and then sat peacefully in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was an honor to be the one able to offer Philippa unique experiences to remember.

Once I had confirmed my travel dates for my most recent trip to Australia, I sent a note asking if Philippa would be available for a visit during my stay. Again, Philippa managed to arrange a spectacular opportunity. She invited us to attend an event being held at Mawson’s Huts Replica Museum in Hobart. I wrote about that fantastic morning in this blog post. Thanks to Philippa I learned more about Douglas Mawson and the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), listened to her play the organ her great uncle took with him to Antarctica back in 1911, and met Sir Peter Cosgrove, the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. Yes, it really happened. Read the post if you don’t believe me.

I am currently reading Alone on the Ice: The Greatest Survival Story in the History of Exploration by David Roberts. This book, which tells the tale of of the AAE and Mawson’s incredible time alone in the Antarctic wilderness, is more memorable because I have been inside the replica hut and seen what conditions were like. Even though I know the end of the story, I am drawn in by the drama. Thank you Philippa for giving me this experience.

Philippa is now back to her usual activities. She is active in the Friendship Force of Hobart and is currently President. 2017 will mark the bicentenary of the laying of the foundation stone of St. David’s Cathedral in Hobart and Philippa is helping to coordinate activities and a performance to commemorate this occasion. But I know if I were to contact her again, she would make time for a visit with me.

Philippa – thank you for your years of friendship. You continue to teach me new lessons each time we are together and I am a better person because of your influence. Whenever I listen to a piece of music we studied in your class (usually Sibelius), I hear you reminding us to notice what is happening next. You have given me unique memories which continue to make me laugh when I share them with others. I appreciate you including me in the book launch and then attending the Rotary meeting. I hope we have the chance to make more memories together again!

30 Days of Thanks Day 2 – Esta

Today I would like to say thank you to my friend Esta. Esta is one of my many forever friends – one of the friends who has always just been a friend for as long as I can remember.

Esta and I were in the same grade in our small town school. Bainbridge, NY, our hometown, is the type of community where everyone knows everyone else. Esta and I were just two members of our grade of sixty-four students. Although we had our close friends, most of us were friendly with everyone in our grade. It’s hard to develop “cliques” when you are with the same small group of people for your entire school journey.

Esta’s childhood home was just a few houses up the hill from our elementary school, and across the street from the town cemetery. This meant most of the slumber parties at her house involved hide and seek at twilight in the cemetery. I don’t remember being scared as we ran among the tombstones and graves. But as we grew older, we told ghost stories and tried to scare each other with spooky tales.

In high school, Esta and I were both in orchestra, band, chorus and the women’s choir. Esta played the flute in the instrumental ensembles so we didn’t sit near each other. But we both sang alto and we sat near each other in singing ensembles.

In tenth or eleventh grade, our choir teacher encouraged both of us to consider singing solos at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) music festival. Although I had participated in NYSSMA for years as a violinist, I was shy about singing a solo. I practiced with Esta and the other soloists outside of school hours at our teacher’s house – something which I’m sure would never happen today. I remember Esta had a positive comment for everyone after they sang.

Esta is like that – finding the best in a situation. At least, that is how I remember her. And from the times we have been together since leaving our hometown, it is still how she engages with the world. On social media, she is encouraging to others. When mutual friends post about success, she is quick to congratulate them and express her joy.

Esta has a sense of adventure and enjoys spending time in nature. She shares photos of herself hiking with her husband, Tom, and these always remind me how important it is to unplug and get out in the world. Earlier this year, Esta started sharing photos of the cutest chocolate lab puppy – the newest addition to her home. I am not a dog person, but this is one adorable puppy and I am enjoying sharing that cuteness from a distance.

Last year, when I first told my friends about my upcoming trip to Australia, Esta was one of the first to contact me with an offer of support. Her comments made me realize how each of us touch other people in ways we may not realize at the time.

I remember when you took that trip in high school and all of your amazing stories. I’m so glad you get to go back and visit again!

I don’t really remember talking much with Esta when I returned home from my first trip to Australia. I’m sure I did because Bainbridge is a small town, and I returned just before high school graduation. I know we saw each other that summer before we went away to college – Esta to Colgate University and me to The College of Saint Rose.

I may not remember those encounters, but Esta remembers. Esta realized what a difference that trip made in my life. And Esta knew how important it was for me to go back and thank the Tasmanians who changed my life twenty-five years ago.

When I asked Esta if I could share the story of our friendship on my blog, I told her about my memories of the cemetery and how I think of them whenever I think of us as children. In response, she said, “I was never, ever scared of it (the cemetery). Mom used to tell me that the people buried there were just people from Bainbridge, so they protected us.” What a great way to think of our ancestors who have gone before us.

Esta – thank you for decades of friendship, and for encouraging me to open my eyes to the beauty which can be found all around us. Although we may only see each other now and then, I know whenever we are fortunate enough to spend time together the time will be full of laughter and positive energy. You have always been a loyal and steadfast friend, and I am grateful for your assistance in helping me assist others through my speeches this past year.

Photo of two women standing with arms around each other. The woman on the left has short dark hair and is wearing a plaid shirt. The woman on the right has blond hair pulled back in a ponytail and is wearing a blue tee-shirt and a necklace.
Esta, on the right, posing with our friend Stephanie at our last high school reunion.

Redefining Disability Challenge – Question 24

Each Wednesday, I post my response to a question from the Redefining Disability Challenge. This is my response to the twenty fourth question in the Challenge. As usual, I am not looking ahead to future questions, so I may inadvertently address some topics which will come up later in the Challenge.

Here is this week’s question:

If you could “cure” the disabilities that affect your life, would you? Why or why not?

It’s fitting this is the question for this week, because the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant is happening right now. Women from 25 states are gathered in Des Moines, Iowa for a week of education and networking. At the end of the week, one will be crowned Ms. Wheelchair America 2016. Although only one will leave with the crown, all are accomplished women who will leave with a new network of “sisters on wheels.”

You may be wondering how Ms. Wheelchair America (MWA) relates to this post. Let me explain.

I participated in MWA when I served as Ms. Wheelchair New York 2001. I came as close as I could to being crowned national titleholder without actually being crowned. I was First Runner Up, which is an incredible and humbling honor. First Runner Up is not losing. Being First Runner Up means the judges thought I could do the job, but they made someone else actually do it. Not a bad gig!

The year I was a titleholder at MWA was the last year the pageant organizers gave contestants a choice of platform speech topics. We were asked to prepare a three minute speech in response to one of two questions:

If there were a ‘magic pill’ which would make you able-bodied, would you take it? Why or why not?

If your life were a country-western song, what would the song title be and what would the song say?

I did not like either question. The first question was a trick question with no possible “correct” answer. If you said you would take the pill, others would think you were not “adjusted” to disability or happy with your life. If you said you would not take the pill, people would question why you wouldn’t want to make your life “easier.” I did not think I could give a satisfactory answer to this question, particularly not at MWA where we spent a week celebrating our unique value as women with disabilities. Besides, how could I “cure” something I didn’t feel a need to “fix?”

I didn’t think I could answer the second question either. I don’t particularly like most country songs. Like many “Yankees” I think of country-western music as depressing. It’s about losing out on love, and cryin’ in yer beer on yer way to Alabama to visit yer mama in prison.

But, I’m a musician. So, in June 2001 I forced myself to listen to the country station while I was driving to my niece’s graduation party. I made it through three songs. They were all sad, and spoke of losing out on love, and everything going wrong.

I turned to my sister Caroline, who was riding in the passenger seat, and said, “My life’s too good to be a country song!”

“That’s it! That’s the song,” she screamed. “Quick – let me write it down so you don’t forget it!”

When I got to my parents’ house later that night, I sat at the piano and this is the song I wrote; the song I sang for my speech at MWA as a state titleholder.

My Life’s Too Good To Be A Country Song (music and lyrics by Denise DiNoto)

Drivin’ in my car

I hear another country tune

Some woman who is down and out

She don’t know what to do

She sings about her sorrow

And anguish drips from every note

I turn her off and shake my head

Thankful her story’s not like mine

My life’s been goin’ much too fine

See my life’s too good to be a country song

I’m much too happy for that

I’ve got a job I like, a car that runs

And friends who love me back

I may be sittin’ in my chair but you won’t catch me feelin’ low

See my life’s too good to be a country song

At least the songs I know

I hear those words of pity

Some people say from time to time

But I’m not sorry for myself

I’ve got no time to cry

I have dreams and ambitions

I plan to make them all come true

‘Cause I believe in workin’ hard

I know I’m able to

Just watch what I can do

See my life’s too good to be a country song

I’m much too happy for that

I’ve got a job I like, a car that runs

And friends who love me back

I may be sittin’ in my chair, but you won’t catch me feelin’ low

See my life’s too good to be a country song

At least the songs I know

Yes, my life’s too good to be a country song

At least the songs I know

 

**Good luck and congratulations to all of the woman gathered this year for Ms. Wheelchair America. I am proud of each and every one of you for speaking out, and making a difference. Enjoy this week and cherish the friendships you make. It doesn’t matter who takes the crown home. You are all winners in your own right.

My Go-To Tunes: Festive Friday!

Friday is here! I made it! Hopefully you made it too.

I am gleefully, absurdly happy today because I have MY chair back and for the first time since Monday I am sitting pain free. As a result, I have been dancing around my apartment for the past half hour, rejoicing in my ability to move parts of my body which have been immobile in the loaner chair.

Each year, I declare one song to be my “summer song.” This summer, it is “Shut Up and Dance with Me” by Walk the Moon. Yes, I know it is over-played on commercial radio. But I tend not to listen to the radio as I get bored easily with music. So, I can usually tolerate songs for longer than I would if I were a regular radio listener.

Plus, I may have used this exact line with a potential dance partner a time or two. I’ll use it with you now. Watch the video and engage in a little chair dancing with me!