Saturday, April 20, 2013

Record Store Day ....

who knew?!

i was looking at a new blog last night, about including musical references in your writing, that really struck a chord with me.  that got me to thinking about how i could incorporate music into my blog, like a jukebox of some sort.  then my eye happened across this little notice: April 20 is Record Store Day.

i love, love, love music ... all kinds of music.  but the music of the 60's is my favorite because it brings back so many memories of my life back then.  sock hops in high school ... remember those?  and all my years with the USO in Milwaukee, dancing up a storm with all those cute sailors from Great Lakes Naval Training Station.  even today, a man in a Navy uniform, especially bell bottoms, is still enough to get my heart palpitating.  or it could be my high blood pressure medicine.  nah, i'm sticking with the bell bottom theory.

anyhoo, because it's officially Record Store Day, i've added a play list at the bottom of the right-hand column.  i will do my best to rotate the playlist regularly.  feel free to nudge me if i don't.  but for today, my FIRST mobyte play list includes, in this order, 3 of my top favorite songs EVER, 3 more that rank up near the top, and 1 that i discovered within the last few years that has quickly earned favored status:
  1. Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens 
  2. Duke of Earl by Gene Chandler 
  3. Sunshine of Your Love by Cream (and which, whenever i hear it, i stop whatever i'm doing midstream and get up and dance!) 
  4. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding 
  5. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield 
  6. Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers 
  7. Lonely Avenue by Ray Charles 

Friday, April 19, 2013

the juggling act crashes and burns ....

don't you hate to admit defeat?!  i know i do.  i struggle along trying to balance everything even when i know i've scripted myself for failure.  in my last post i talked about all the online classes i had enrolled in suddenly coming together in a sort of cosmic convergence designed specifically to make me question my sanity.  which has been hanging by a thread of late, but that's another story for another day.   if i remember.  at my age, there's no guarantee.

so, here it is, two weeks after my last post and i finally have had to give up any pretense that i could actually do it all.  do YOU ever feel that way, like you CAN do it all, juggle all those balls in the air and manage your time so effectively that you get it all done and still have time at the end of the day to go out for drinks with your friends?  and then reality steps in and takes control and knocks you back to your senses?  kind of like life having a bit of a chuckle at your expense.

one of my classmates in my current blogging class recently wrote a post about spinning plates and multi-tasking.  she referred to that guy on the old Ed Sullivan show who would spin a bunch of plates and bowls on sticks. all at the same time.   he was a fan favorite, as i recall.  he was right up there with Topo Gigio for entertainment value on a Sunday night, right? 

her post struck a real chord with me, because i've been struggling with so many class commitments.  but i finally realized that i couldn't possibly do justice to them all, and so i narrowed my attention and energy to the two where i had actually kept up with the reading and some level of participation with the other members of the classes: blogging and journaling.  i feel good about this decision; it's created a more manageable project for me, and as a result i'm enjoying the classes more.

i'll pick up the photography class at a later date, probably in May when the other classes have completed.  the art projects workshop is one of those "work at your own pace" classes that will last through December, perfect for focusing on later.  and the research i did for this year's IFJM will be saved on my computer for April 2014 so that i can do justice to that project without all the other distractions.

i guess those words of wisdom from the White Rabbit were prophetic:  "You made it! Oh dear, it looks like you didn't make it after all, haha he-hoo!"

all together now ... haha he-hoo!!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

i'm late / i'm late / for a very important date!

am i the only one that feels that way?!  never mind that i'm retired and have plenty of time on my hands.  but i always feel this time pressure when i go through a long spell of no activity and then suddenly find that i've over-committed myself.  it makes me want to grab clumps of my hair and run around like a crazed person, screaming "i can't do it, i can't do it, what have i done?!" ... at least i have the good sense to only do that in my head so that i at least maintain some semblance of normality to the untrained eye.

this sense of impending doom started this past weekend when i suddenly realized that all the fabulous online classes i signed up for back in February start this week.  yikes!  so the classes in journaling, blogging, photography, and art projects will all be competing for my time and energy. 

as everyone who knows me knows, i have a very limited supply of energy and stamina.  not to mention a short attention span when it comes to doing things i "should" be doing.  i'm easily distracted.  *grin*

add to the mix the fact that April is IFJM, which i've mentioned before.  i'm determined to participate this year, by hook or by crook.  i decided on a theme (more on that later) and have  already done most of the research, so i'm ready to make some journal pages, thank goodness.

when i take a deep breath, i actually realize that i can handle these online commitments.  but i do feel overwhelmed if i let myself dwell on what i'll need to do for each class.  i'll just have to remember these words of wisdom from the White Rabbit: "You made it! Oh dear, it looks like you didn't make it after all, haha he-hoo!" 

the alternative is to
go back to my bed
throw bedclothes over my head

apropos of nothing in particular: here's a little trivia gem i stumbled across when i was looking up the Alice in Wonderland quote i used for the title:

The English novelist Aldous Huxley worked with Walt Disney on early scripts for this project in late 1945. The original idea was for a cartoon version of Alice embedded in a flesh-and-blood episode from Lewis Carroll's life. Huxley's mother, Julia Arnold, was one of the little girls that Carroll used to enjoy photographing, and to whom he told the Alice stories. The project was close to Huxley's heart, but Disney found his work too intellectual, and it was not used. Huxley received no credit on the finished picture.

Monday, March 4, 2013

if it's March ....

it must be almost time for International Fake Journal Month!

holy cow, that creeps up on me every year.  last year, as it turns out, i did NOT participate.  see here for my thoughts on the 2012 IFJM.

Roz just posted a reminder about this year's IFJM so i need to get my thinking cap on NOW to formulate a plan for this year's fake journal.  two years ago it was a trip to Ireland, which was great fun.  last year i had in mind doing a sort of time travel/historical journal, a kind of "what if" exercise.  but that didn't really fit the IFJM parameters for creating journal entries in current time. 

i might do another travel journal, not sure where i'd visit though.  lots of choices, that's for sure.  or maybe i'll just "travel" right here in River City and fake write some fake journal entries.  ha!

the game is on.  i'll spend the next 3 weeks procrastinating thinking about topics, avoiding researching/googling, napping outlining my project.  the one thing i've learned from the previous years is that the pre-planning pretty much has to be done be early April in order to hit the ground running and create at least 6 entries to actively participate in the competition.  you'll know how successful i've been IF when you see my entries posted here on the blog.

cross your fingers and toes for me!!

more later

Saturday, August 11, 2012

my dog Lad

august 10, 1989: that was the day i had to put my beloved Lad down.  so yesterday, on the 23rd anniversary of that sad occasion, I felt more than a bit melancholy.  yeah, even after all these years.  he was only 7 when he died, much too early.  but he had fallen ill in the spring and been through a surgery that only confirmed the diagnosis.  the one thing I felt really badly about, in terms of his treatment, was the ordeal of changing his bandages during his final months.  he bore it like a champion, but his skin was raw and it hurt me to go through the routine each time.  i thought i was doing the right thing at the time, and i do think i was, at least the best i knew how to do to hopefully save his life.  sometimes I try to second guess if it was the right thing, but in my head I know it was.

he was happy and active until the end, but he grew weaker and weaker over the summer, and one morning as I woke up I heard his weak cough and simply knew that it was time.  before he got so weak that he couldn’t stand or worse, had a crisis that might cause him, and me, acute distress.  I called the vet and made the appointment for that afternoon at a time when there would be few pets in the waiting room. 

I spent those last hours with him, just petting him and talking to him.  I lay down with him on the living room carpet, telling him I how much I loved him and how much he had meant to me.  I cried uncontrollably, and he licked my face to comfort me.  he was the best, such a sweet sweet dog.

taking him in to the vet’s office was just the most awful thing, knowing I’d be coming back home without him.  but I stayed with him through to the end.  some people can’t, finding it too hard to watch their pet die.  but I couldn’t imagine leaving him in that room with the vet to spend his last moments alone.  not my Lad. 

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

yesterday I sent a short email to my brother terry (that’s him in the pic with Lad) expressing my resurgence of grief.  he has two dogs, sisters, both quite old currently and one has a serious larynx problem.  he also had their mother and their grandmother, whom i refer to below as "grandma" and "mom".  he had a pair of border collies in the 80's, both of whom died young, one especially young and abrupty. here's his reply to my mail, excerpted: 

This doesn't surprise me in the least. I've been through the same many times.

I'd always opt for a chance at life. I didn't interfere with [mom dog] for an extra day in the hope she had Vestibulitis rather than a stroke. It happens. My neighbor's dog, right here on the road, has had it twice and recovered fully after a few days. He's around 16 or 17, a very long life for a border collie. But, as it turned out, [mom dog] didn't recover and actually had a dreadful passing.  I could - and do - weep over it. But I can't second guess my decision, not really, except as an excuse to torture myself. I held off similarly with [grandma dog] and she died peacefully in her sleep and loved life up to 36 hours before the end. Even a mere 12 hours before the end, she surprised me by getting off the bed to go with the others, daughter and pups, for a walk and then coming home and (unexpectedly) still wanting her share of sausage.

So there's no telling. I couldn't deprive [grandma dog] of a moment of it. Nor [mom dog] of the hope. We wouldn't for a human and we'd never look back, so why do we think we should for a dog?

There's no way out of it. You get an animal and if you love the animal, you will suffer in equal measure. You will be judge, jury, and executioner over and over and over again. No matter what you did or didn't do.

You make a contract with the animal to take care of him/her for subservience, obedience, loyalty, devotion, and attachment. Ok. The animal lives up to his or her part (well, ahem ... except for obedience, maybe) but in the end you can't live up to your end of the bargain. You're not god. Yet, in a way, you promised to be. You lied. Shit, we can't take care of ourselves in the end, never mind anyone else.

Life just sucks, that's all. For them and for us. Maybe if they weren't so cheerful about it all, it wouldn't feel so bad. :-) But they wouldn't fight to live so hard no matter how much they suffered if they got no joy out of life.

All I can say is that I know it well, it can hit at any time. I've wept 20+ years after the death of a border collie for all that went wrong and for all I did wrong. I wept for a death to come for dogs still living because its inevitability made it as real as if it had already happened.

For what it's worth, he probably loved you - there's no accounting for taste (j/k) - and you permitted him those three months of doing what he loved: eating and being around you. :-)  

[sister dog A] has been having trouble breathing for a year now. It can't be very pleasant. But then she also has been really happy sometimes, all through that period. Could I deprive her of that? I feel miserable myself often enough, and yet I laugh at things in a day - should I give that up?

I met Lad only once.  For me, he was not only loveable, but instantly loveable.  That's how I remember him.  I'm glad I didn't have to go through what you went through.  But as i said at the beginning, I have indeed been through it.  There is no remedy.  

So I can't comment on Lad. I have no idea. But maybe second guessing yourself is always a losing proposition. Ask the expert! :-)