Good Things

Ahead by a Century

Do you know the Canadian band the Tragically Hip. If not, you should…they’re something so very special. Here’s one of my favorites for you to listen to (the words are pasted below if you want to sing along):

First thing we’d climb a tree
And maybe then we’d talk
Or sit silently
And listen to our thoughts
With illusions of someday
Cast in a golden light
No dress rehearsal
This is our life

And that’s where the hornet stung me
And I had a feverish dream
With revenge and doubt
Tonight, we smoke them outYou are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century

Stare in the morning shroud
And then the day began
I tilted your cloud
You tilted my hand
Rain falls in real time
And rain fell through the night
No dress rehearsal, this is our lifeBut that’s when the hornet stung me
And I had a serious dream
With revenge and doubt
Tonight, we smoked them outYou are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a centuryYou are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century
You are ahead by a century
And disappointing you is gettin’ me down

Beautiful, eh? I know. ♥️ I came across this article recently and wanted to share it with you:

As an immigrant, I wanted to understand Canada’s fascination with the Tragically Hip. This is what I found

How the Hip gave writer Lindsay Pereira the key to understanding not just a culture, but a people

Posted: March 04, 2021  
Last Updated: March 05, 2021 

Tragically Hip
‘How could a band that had performed for more than three decades, with more than 13 studio albums and 50 singles to its credit, not be world famous?’ writer Lindsay Pereira, who grew up in India unaware of who the Tragically Hip were, asks. (Andrew Chin; graphic by CBC)

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Written by Lindsay Pereira.


Images of a weeping prime minister are what alerted me to the existence of the Tragically Hip, undoubtedly my most absurd introduction to a rock band. 

I see now that it was also fitting for a group fronted by someone as unusual as Gordon Edgar Downie. He died exactly one month and 17 days after I set foot in Canada, so most early impressions of my newly adopted country were crowded with people on the subway wearing T-shirts proclaiming “In Gord we Trust.” I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wept on television as he delivered his tribute on Oct. 18, 2017, the day after Downie died, and one of the things he said prompted me to take a closer look at these musicians: “Gord loved every hidden corner,” said Trudeau, “every story, every aspect of this country that he celebrated his whole life.”

https://amp.cbc.ca/embed/index.html?mediaId=1076010563796&embed_type=videoplayer#amp=1Remembering Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip.  2:51

All around me that week, local venues dimmed their lights and audiences at hockey games stood in dedicated silence. It was the sort of respect traditionally reserved for heads of state, so I began spending as much time reading about the Hip as I did on job hunting. Who were these people, I wondered, and why had they left an entire country so bereft?

I had arrived in Toronto from Mumbai to spend more time with family members who lived here. What I had listened to while growing up reflected only what music companies thought we would all like to hear. There was Michael Jackson, of course, and Madonna, as well as bands like Guns ‘N’ Roses and Scorpions. Bryan Adams was a rare example from Canada, but one so successful that he would eventually add India as a stop on every one of his world tours. Anyone and anything that was commercially successful in America or Britain would inadvertently find its way to our shores, which meant that musicians doing anything out of the ordinary didn’t stand a chance until the internet arrived to save us. 

Every rock band I knew — from Aerosmith to Nirvana — had been created by young people trying to connect with their peers. Few had anything new to say after their third or fourth album, let alone their 10th. What the Hip had done, almost effortlessly, was tap into the collective consciousness of a generation and take them along on a journey as enriching when it ended as when it began. I could list the number of bands with that kind of influence on one hand: maybe the Grateful Dead, the Fall or Phish. If the Hip wasn’t as famous in Asia, was it simply because they didn’t tour that part of the world as often as their peers did? Was it because Gord knew he already had a huge audience for everything he had to say?

The first surprise, once I started diving in, was how prolific the Hip had been. How could a band that had performed for more than three decades, with more than 13 studio albums and 50 singles to its credit, not be world famous? How could I have heard of lesser groups that imploded soon after their debuts and not know about the Hip? The more time I spent looking for an answer, the easier it became to see why these unassuming rock stars from Ontario had turned their back on celebrity.

Over the months that followed, as I adjusted to a new life, two specific songs gave me glimpses of what made Downie so special. The first was “Ahead by a Century” from 1996’s Trouble at the Henhouse, which I was first drawn to by a cover version performed by Tori Amos while she was on tour in Canada. By the time I heard the original and watched the quietly absorbing music video, I knew this was something I wouldn’t forget in a hurry. It was the deceptive simplicity of the writing that moved me, an image of two young people sitting in a tree and celebrating the moment they were in. “No dress rehearsal, this is our life.”

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The second song that gripped me was “It’s a Good Life if you Don’t Weaken,” off the Hip’s eighth album, In Violet Light. I was familiar with the book that had inspired it, a gorgeous graphic novel by Canadian cartoonist Seth, but what Downie had created felt like a peculiar list of directives for a way of living worth aspiring to. 

“Find somewhere to go,” he sang. “Let’s get friendship right,” and “Let’s swear that we will get with the times.” It was hypnotic, with phrases like “improvisational skills” and “countervailing woes” thrown in. I had no idea a rock song could do that. This was careful writing, the words cherry-picked by someone attempting to pin down the intangible, the way only hardworking poets managed to do.

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Strewn across the band’s discography were also references to things that were quintessentially Canadian. “I think it was Algonquin Park, it was so cold and winter dark,” Downie sang on “The Bear,” from 2000’s Music @ Work. On “A Beautiful Thing” from In Violet Light, there was, “So randomly somebody calls, the phone rings and it brings Niagara Falls.” “Fifty Mission Cap” from Fully Completely spoke about the disappearance of hockey icon Bill Barilko. Everywhere else were local names and places, from Millhaven Maximum Security in Bath, Ont., to the city of Sault Ste. Marie; Ontario’s Regent Theatre to Quebec’s Lake Memphremagog; Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland to the 100th meridian west through Manitoba and Nunavut.

After months spent listening to this music, I watched Long Time Running, the 2017 documentary chronicling the Man Machine Poemtour. It was legendary, culminating in the band’s final performance on Aug. 20, 2016, in Kingston. Nothing prepared me for the naked outpouring of emotion, with fans singing along at every venue, stopping only to wipe their eyes. It showed me what it must have been like to witness the Hip in the flesh, to watch these unassuming men play the music they had created over 30 years, growing up and old alongside the people who gathered to watch them.

https://amp.cbc.ca/embed/index.html?mediaId=748012611949&embed_type=videoplayer#amp=1Man Machine Poem tour, Kingston, Ont., Aug. 20, 2016  4:48

What the Hip gave me, eventually, was a key to understanding not just a culture but a people. The band’s songs reflected the hopes and aspirations of city dwellers as well as small towners, recognising a commonality in this shared experience that I began to appreciate as an outsider. The people wearing “In Gord we Trust” T-shirts weren’t just fans; they were identifying themselves as members of a club that had used this music as a soundtrack to their lives. 

The songs were like sonic milestones, marking loves, losses and a thousand tiny, incendiary moments. The Hip sang about what it knew, which made its music deeply, intensely personal. Everything the band played celebrated the notion of something eternal tucked away within the perfectly ordinary, which is probably why the Hip’s music resonates with as many people as it continues to. It’s why Justin Trudeau wept.

The nicest thing about the Hip, for me, is how I slowly began to treat the band’s music less as an artifact and more like a living companion. To be able to hum along made me happy, and feel a part of something bigger. That may be what fandom has always been about, of course, but I had never felt that need more than when I found myself in a country and culture radically different from what I had once called home.

It has been three years since I encountered Downie, Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois, and Gord Sinclair, and I now find myself turning to these songs with the kind of regularity one reserves for comfort food. Snatches of their music now come to mind when I find myself outside Toronto, on long, empty streets bookended by farmland, where it seems as if the big cities have ceased to exist. There is a strange and intoxicating beauty in those moments, as I think of quiet lives being lived behind the townhouses and detached homes that fly past. This is the elusive essence of what Downie spent his life trying to turn into a song; now and again, it feels as if I almost get it.

A week ago, I saw a profile on a dating app with the request, “Will go out with anyone who can converse in Hip lyrics.” 

Yes, I thought to myself. I can see why that makes sense.

Xxx

Good Things

Happy Birthday! 🎂

Happy Birthday to my long term love William Shakespeare!! (it’s also the anniversary of his death, but….we don’t focus on the negative ’round these parts) Our love affair began with me reading “Romeo and Juliet” when I was 8 years old (and yes, naysayers, I totally understood it!)…and continues to this day. We get each other – it’s a pretty deep and real love thing. 🙂 To honor him, I give you some of his finest…. 🙂

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Clearly Mr. Shakespeare knew some of the places I have worked over the years.... ;)
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Happy Birthday, my love! 🙂

xxx

Good Things

Open Book

I’ve never been a fan of Jessica Simpson’s music – I didn’t have anything against her, but she just wasn’t on my listening radar. I didn’t see her show on MTV either, but I was certainly aware of it (of the chicken v. tuna controversy, I recall exclaiming at the time that she had to be putting that shit on for TV as nobody could be grown and not know the difference between chicken and tuna). She was always covered in the magazines and pop culture media, so I suppose that my first real awareness of her came from the press discussing how “fat” she was, which I couldn’t understand for the life of me. Fat? Excuse me?? In what world was that tiny little slip of a woman fat? What bullshit. It’s no wonder that the majority of women these days are raised to hate themselves – the media can be so vile.

Anyway, I came across her book recently and decided to check it out – and, somewhat surprisingly, I’m so glad that I did. She tells the tale of her life with bracing honesty, something that is frankly refreshing as hell. She admits to feelings of jealousy and to her own shitty behavior in a way that so many celebs avoid…I loved that. She shared excerpts of her journals (I don’t think I would be brave enough to broadcast some of the tales I’ve committed to the page of my journals over the years!), she talked frequently about the process of journaling and what that’s meant to her – all good stuff.

I can’t imagine a life like hers – she has taken her GED, singing talent, and good looks and managed to make all of that into a billion dollar business. I respect the shit out of that, you know? Some folks have the kind of mind that sees opportunity at every door…I am sadly not that kind of folk. I LONG for a way to make a living that’s not ‘working for the man’…I want to work for myself, find things that are exhilarating and fulfilling – and make enough money to live comfortably without worry. I haven’t found that thing for me yet, and, at the ripe old age of 47, I fear that I never will. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I think it may be too late to forge a new path and start a new career, which stinks. I’ve got about 18-20 years of working left (that’s so gross…I wish I was on the Freedom 55 retirement plan!), and I would like for them to be pleasant, enriching years for me. I just don’t think that’s going to happen. 😔

By choosing education – and now education within the non-profit arena – I’ve guaranteed myself a life that will never be rich. I won’t have the million(s) needed for retirement unless I win a lotto, which seems rather unlikely, sadly. I know that I can take great personal satisfaction in the work that I’ve done and the difference I’ve made – and I do – but some compensation would be nice. ♥️

Instead, I will continue to dream of working for myself, of coming up with one really good idea that sets the world on fire 🔥, that one thing that will get me out of this rut of making ends meet and catapult me into a life of less stress and so much more fulfillment. Until then? I’m going to keep dreaming. That idea is out there waiting for me, I just know it. ✨

Xxx

Good Things

I Will Always Love You

I was working on a writing project today and decided to include a quote from Dolly Parton, my very favorite big-haired philosopher. I wanted to get the wording just right, so I searched Dolly quotes, and Mr Google did not disappoint! Check out some of these gems:

  1. “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” 
  2. “I think everybody has the right to be who they are.”
  3. “There’s a lot of talented women out there and we should all get a chance to do what we do.”
  4. “I really think it’s wonderful that we’re getting a chance to show what we can do and that we’re being accepted…I have been at it a long time, and it’s a new day and age.”
  5. “I’m a woman and proud of it. I really feel like I have plenty to offer… and I think we all should be able to express ourselves however we do.”
  6. “I live [feminism]. I work it. And I think there’s power in it for me.”
  7. “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain!”
  8. “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.”
  9. “You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.”
  10. “I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else.”
  11. “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”
  12. “Storms make trees take deeper roots.”

Is it any wonder that she’s had the life she has? The positivity and can-do attitude that she exemplifies warms my heart – and she’s as cute as a button, too. I LOVE her. The world needs more Dolly. 🙂

I’m reposting this next section here, I wrote it when I went to see Dolly in concert in Austin a few years ago (remember concerts?), and it was everything I ever hoped it would be — and more! I love her so much, I cried more than once during the concert…it was a spiritual experience. Wowza. Here’s a few pictures from the show – I heart her. 🙂

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I remember when Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton were all the rage in the ’80s. I’m a longtime worshipper at the temple of Dolly (who isn’t?), but I was never much of a Kenny fan (my mom was, though…she even had a poster of him on the inside of her closet door in her bedroom – so. weird. ) One of my friends from home and I used to giggle and sing “Islands in the Stream” when anyone with boobs (ie: she and I) would swim backstroke in the local pool. Get it? Boobs? Islands? I know. Lame. 😦

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Anyway….although I’ve always known all of the words to sing along to that song (because the bloody ditty was EVERYWHERE), I never stopped to listen to them. Until recently. Let’s take a look, shall we?

You do something to me That I can’t explain Hold me closer and I feel no pain Every beat of my heart We got something going on Tender love is blind It requires a dedication All this love we feel Needs no conversation We can ride it together, ah-ha Making love with each other, ah-ha Islands in the stream That is what we are No one in between How can we be wrong Sail away with meTo another world And we rely on each other, ah-ha From one lover to another, ah-ha

I can’t live without you If the love was gone Everything is nothing If you got no one And you did walk in the night Slowly losing sight of the real thing But that won’t happen to us And we got no doubt Too deep in love and we got no way out And the message is clear This could be the year for the real thing No more will you cry Baby, I will hurt you never We start and end as one In love forever We can ride it together, ah-ha Making love with each other, ah-ha

Lovely, don’t you think? I kind of love the words and the ideas presented…It reminds me of this article that some friends posted online recently (women friends hinting at their husbands) entitled Ten Things To Do For Your Wife Every Year: When your words and actions are intentional, the hope of a better marriage becomes reality. Here are 10 things to do for your wife every year:

Take a trip alone with her.

Make a big deal about her birthday.

Give her a weekend away.

Get dressed up (suit and tie) and take her on a date.

Pray continually for her and with her.

Take her to the place of your first date.

Give her a week off from “mom duties.”

Take her to a show.

Write a love letter to her.

Give her a head to toe massage without expecting anything. img_1143 I just think that when people try and do anything for those around them to show that they care…it’s pure magic, whether it’s a grand gesture or not. Doing things to make others happy and feel good is one of the best things we can selfishly do for ourselves as well….and we all ought to try it more often. 🙂 Who knows, friends…. as we are hopefully chugging towards the end of quarantine life, perhaps a bunch of great things are coming for all of us! Like Kenny and Dolly sang….This could be the year for the real thing. 🙂

xxx

Good Things

Fa-La-La-La-La-La-La-La-Huh?

Excuse me while I kiss this guy.

I’ve been known to mishear a lyric or two in my day – apparently the song is called “Taking Care of Business” not “Baking Carrot Biscuits”…who knew? (Not me, that’s for sure) Some people have it WAY worse than me – who the hell thought this one:

Tummy why? Ain’t nothing but a fart hey, ain’t nothing but a meat steak”
Correct lyric from Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’:“Ain’t nothing but a heart ache, ain’t nothing but a mistake”

Fart hey? Meat steak? WTF?!?!

Here’s one of my favorite bits about misheard lyrics:

Some more to make you smile:

All Time Funniest Lyrics

Stevie Wonder: Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Down to the river, Onions!

Smash Mouth: All Star
So much to do, so much to see, so much wrong with Nick from…

Def Leppard: Pour Some Sugar on Me
Living with a lover with a red IPhone

Robert Palmer: Addicted To Love
Might as well face it, you’re a dick with a glove.

Sir Mix-A-Lot: Baby Got Back
I like big butts in a can of limes.

Hozier: Take Me to Church
Take me to church, I’ll wash you like a doll in the Saturda…

Abba: Dancing Queen
See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen

Madonna: Into the Groove
I’m tired of dancing in Obama’s self

Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody
The algebra has a devil for a sidekick eeeeeeeeee….

Madonna: Like a Virgin
Like a virgin touched for the thirty-first time

Van Halen: Panama
Padded bra

Talking Heads: Girlfriend Is Better
Why, why, why, why start at Uber?

OneRepublic: Apologize
It’s too late to order fries

Bee Gees: Stayin’ Alive
Steak and a Knife, Steak and a Knife

Traditional: We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Check your p***y

Iggy Azalea: Fancy
I’m so Passive

Survivor: Eye Of The Tiger
And the last known survivor stocks his bread in the night

Bee Gees: More Than A Woman
Bald-headed woman… bald-headed woman to me

Fifth Dimension: Aquarius
This is the dawning of the Age of Asparugus, Asparugus

Cyndi Lauper: Time After Time
Suitcase, Dramamine

Judas Priest: Turbo Lover
You can’t retweet, I spy like no other

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines
Baby can you breed a cactus from Jamaica? It always works for me

John Lennon: Imagine
But i’m not Obi-Wan

Mudvayne: Dull Boy
All work and no play makes me a dough boy

Survivor: Eye Of The Tiger
Donald Duck took my chances

Journey: Don’t Stop Believing
Don’t stop believing hold onto that fetus

Toto: Africa
There’s nothing that a hundred men on Mars could ever do.

Europe: The Final Countdown
We’re working for peanuts.

Elton John: Crocodile Rock
I remember when Iraq was young

Berlin: Take My Breath Away
In all that body lotion, somewhere there’s a loving flame

Hozier: Take Me to Church
Take me to church I’ll worship like a boy at the shrine of your life

Prince: Raspberry Beret
Rats marry their friends

Def Leppard: Pour Some Sugar on Me
Sweet potatoes, sack of beans

Sir Mix-A-Lot: Baby Got Back
I like big bucks in a can of lard.

Savage Garden: I Want You
Getting coffee, getting parfait is what I live for

Redbone: Come and Get Your Love
Drum and guitar love

REO Speedwagon: Dream Weaver
Jean Ebert

Genesis: Invisible Touch
“….she reaches in and GRABS MY PODIO(?!)….”

Outkast: Hey Ya
Shake it like a horny white preacher.

Police: De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
‘Caus when those elephants escape you, The large one ties yo…

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines
It always works for me; it’s called the tooth decayer

Stone Temple Pilots: Interstate Love Song
Feelin’… like a ham-and-mustard shake

Journey: Don’t Stop Believing
Don’t stop believing. Hold on to that sweet derriere.

Primitive Radio Gods: Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand
I bit down – I bit down hard on Davy

National Anthems: Oh Canada
Oh Canada, we stand on cars and freeze…

Bee Gees: Stayin’ Alive
Sayin a lie, Sayin a lie

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines
Baby can you breed, a cactus from Jamaica

Styx: Babe
Bare bum leaving

Def Leppard: Pour Some Sugar on Me
Step inside, walk this way You and me babe, Hey, hey! Love …

James Brown: I Feel Good
So good, So good, I got a U

Bobby Fuller Four: I Fought The Law
Reagan rocks in the hot sun

R.E.M.: Losing My Religion
Let’s pee in the corner, Let’s pee in the spotlight.

Dire Straits: Money For Nothing
Money for nothin’ and chips for free

Starship: We Built This City
We built this city on logs and coal

Wham!: Careless Whisper
Guilty penis got no rhythm…

Metallica: Fuel
give me two, give me five, give me a dollar fifty five!

The Jam: Town Called Malice
Rows and rows of disused milf stands down in the dairy yard.

Rolling Stones: Beast Of Burden
I’ll never leave your pizza burning

Elvis Presley: Hound Dog
You ain’t never pornographic and you ain’t no friend of mine

Green Day: Good Riddance
It’s something unpredictable an Indian thats white, I hope …

The Chainsmokers: Roses
He already knows that my wall is fire

Hanson: MMMBop
A man who was asian took his life he only wanted to relax

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band: Blinded by the Light
You look like Medusa with Hair-Rollers in the night.

Weird Al Yankovic: My Own Eyes
My neighbor’s kids sold weapons grade plutonium Across to Ay…

Van Halen: Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love
Ain’t Taco Bell love

Mike Posner: I Took a Pill in Ibiza
You don’t wanna be stuck up on ecstasy Stuck up on ecstasy

Irene Cara: What A Feeling
Take your pants off and make it happen.

Commodores: Brick House
She’s mighty mighty, built like a mastodon

Judy Collins: Salt of the Earth
Let’s drink to assaulting the Earth.

Chaka Khan: I’m Every Woman
I’m Terry Wogan

Three Dog Night: Joy to the World
Joy to the visions that the people see

Alice Cooper: Poison
I wanna love you but your hips are a little bit pointed

Prince: Kiss
I just wanna extradite your kids

Hanson: MMMBop
so we just gone to Medicare and the Indian man was there

Shania Twain: You’re Still The One
Looks like we mated

Black Eyed Peas: Boom Boom Pow
Gotta Kit-Kat Gotta Kit-Kat Gotta Kit-Kat Gotta Kit-Kat Kat …

Steppenwolf: Born To Be Wild
Fry all of your guts a-and explode into spaaac

Demi Lovato: Skyscraper
Like a Scottish raper.

Eddie Money: Two Tickets To Paradise
I’ve got two chic’s and a pair of dice, Won’t you pack your …

Psy: Gangnam Style
Oprah got no style!

Beyonce: Single Ladies
I own a Single Lettuce

Jimi Hendrix: Purple Haze
“Scuse me I’m a business guy.

Barenaked Ladies: Big Bang Theory theme music
The artichokes begin to dream

David Bowie: Did you ever have a dream
did you ever have a dream or two where the hero is a cunning…

Elton John: Crocodile Rock
Long night crying by the record machine Dreaming of my Chevy…

Prince: When Doves Cry
maybe i’m just like my father, too cold maybe i’m just like …

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines
Mushrooms are nasty

Starship: We Built This City
My pony plays the mamba

Ohio Players: Love Rollercoaster
Lonely house cat of love

Nirvana: Smells Like Teen Spirit
I will light on, I’ll abide on, I must kid to Morgan Freema…

R.E.M.: Losing My Religion
Consider this Consider this, the time that sent you read Con…

Justin Timberlake: Sexy Back
Come to the bank

Clash: Rock The Casbah
Drop the pasta, drop the pasta

KC and the Sunshine Band: Keep It Comin’ Love
Keep it common law

Bob Marley: Is This Love
We’ll jump rope ‘cross the bridge

Crystal Gayle: Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue
“Doughnuts make my brown eyes blue…”

Prince: Little Red Corvette
Living co-ed!

Red Rider: Lunatic Fringe
Let me take French

Xxx

Good Things

The Grammys

Did you watch the Grammys last night? I can’t recall enjoying a broadcast of those awards more than I did last night….what a refreshing change, and I hope the organizers keep this format going long after the masks have all been stowed away for good.

Trevor Noah was a great host – kept things moving, kept it funny….he did an awesome job. I liked the format with the performances in one area, many of them one after the other – part of the fun was watching performers enjoy each other. Awesome! Here were some of my highlights from last night:

Great, eh? I know!! It was a joyful celebration of music, the way it should always be – here’s hoping they learn from last night and keep this going!!

Behold one of my FAVORITE Grammy performances of all time – this song kills me, but this performance of it is sublime. When Mary just unleashes? Sweet Jesus. I can hardly breathe….

Enjoy your day, my darling friends!

Xxx

Good Things

Feeling Good

I am obsessed with watching Ted Talks, and I should probably be ashamed of all the hours that I spend researching them, watching them, and trying to put the strategies that they suggest into practice in my life, but…I’m totally not. I friggin’ LOVE them, and find them endlessly inspiring. I saw this one recently – it’s Ashley Stahl, talking about three questions that will help you unlock your authentic career….and it kind of rocked my world. Here’s the video:

  It’s a great video, and I think that the three questions really are excellent – here they are: What am I good at? What do other people think I’m good at? What’s holding me back?  I love this…and I think we ought to answer them together. Let’s go! 🙂

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First – what am I good at? Hmmm….probably not a whole lot, sadly. I’m a person who is okay at a few things, but there is not one thing that I would consider myself expert at. I think I’m good with children, and I’m okay at writing. I’m good at planning events, and I’m a great reader. I’m a very good traveler, and I adapt well to other cultures and customs. I’m a good cook (I think), a great shopper, I’m okay at fashion, and I hope that I’m a decent mama. I think that’s probably a very optimistic list – I’m probably not as good as this paragraph makes me sound! 😉

Now…on to the second question: what do other people think I’m good at? I don’t have a hot clue. I don’t seem to hear a whole lot of praise in my life – which kind of sucks, because who doesn’t love praise? However, I choose to believe that as long as I don’t hear complaints and bitching, then I must be doing okay at things. I have posed the question to some people who know me – this is what they think I’m good at: music (I wish!), writing (you guys are so sweet – love 🙂 ), giving direction (which is code for being a bossy boots – but…I’ll take it, it’s the truth), problem solving (I’m flattered by that one – thank you!), and planning/organizing. I love this list – I think it’s cool that people think that I have these skills – yaa! Thanks, guys!! 🙂

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Finally….it’s no mystery what is holding me back from trying different career paths: money. A lot of the things that I would like to pursue don’t come with big salaries, and sadly, at this point in my life, I need as high of a guaranteed salary as I can possibly manage. I’m a single mother, I’ve got student loan debt, and I’ve got a lot of financial responsibilities. I can’t afford to follow every whim and fancy, hoping that some day my ship will come in. Today is that day – and I need that damn ship in the harbor NOW. However, I think that I need to become better at time management, and work on pursuing other interests and try to make them into potential careers/sources of income during my off time – kind of like a second job (which I may very well need to get before long). I think that I need to make a calendar, and set targets of things that I want to pursue – once I set a date for them, the deadline will be the impetus that I need to get my arse in gear. I’m not getting any younger…I need to get going on things. The time is now. What do you think you’re good at? I’d love to hear – hit me up and let’s talk about this! 🙂

xxx

Good Things

Hard Advice

I just want to share this article with you – please read it, carefully, and let the words soak into your brain. There’s good stuff here:

19 Radical Truths I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

by Fran Sorin

Something happens to a woman when she turns 50. Call it an awakening of sorts—a tipping point. For me, it was as if a cloud had been lifted and I could finally see what really mattered in life. The realization hit me hard. I’d been on this earth for a half a century and my time was limited. This coming of age, for me, came with a feeling of freedom and urgency. It’s a time to take stock of your life: where you’ve succeeded and where you’ve failed, opportunities you’ve passed up and those you’ve taken advantage of. Ask yourself what you love and what you want to change. How do you want to journey through this next phase of your life?Reflecting on my younger years, I wished an older, wiser woman had taken the time to help me create a road map for a life of meaning, creativity, and joy.It would have saved me a lot of time, confusion, and worry. And it would have given me clarity, a sense of calm, focus, and self-assuredness as I journeyed through this very complex world of ours. With that in mind, here are some of the things I would’ve liked to tell myself a few decades ago:

1. You have to be your own top priority.If you tend to your own well-being first, you’ll have much more energy to help others. Because women have historically taken on the role of caretakers, it’s something we do reflexively. Remember that practicing self-care is not selfish. It’s a necessity if you want to lead a rich and productive life.

2. Nothing is worth sacrificing your health.Although our culture talks a lot about de-stressing, the majority of us are still leading stressful lives. When you realize that most diseases are related to lifestyle choices, you might get serious about integrating exercise, nutrition, and relationships into your daily life. You’ll be astounded by how much more productive, positive, and healthy you feel.

3. The people around you should be those who love you and support your growth.How many times have you spent time with a friend or family member who is negative, judgmental, or an energy vampire? Stop making excuses for the toxic people in your life. Anyone who is consistently negative needs to be kept at a distance. Your five closest friends are a mirror of what you truly think of yourself. Make sure that they embody attributes and values you cherish.

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4. To get anywhere, you have to get comfortable with saying no.It takes practice to catch yourself if you tend to say yes out of habit. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be delighted to see how much time and energy you have to pursue your passions.

5. Don’t let anyone else’s perception influence your choices.People who fill their lives up with stuff they think they “should” do rarely feel fulfilled. Replace “I should” with “I choose to” or “I want” and see what you come up with. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Spending time chasing the approval of others will not only drain your energy but will keep you from uncovering the best parts of yourself. When you catch yourself in self-doubt, call on your wise inner self to remind yourself that you only need to please and receive approval from yourself—no one else.

6. Doubts hold you back; affirmations propel you forward.Women spend so much time questioning whether or not they’re good enough, smart enough, pretty enough. As soon as you hear that inner critic, replace that voice with the phrase, “I am enough” or “I am the artist of my life.” I can’t tell you how many clients have tried this technique with astounding results. They report back to me that they feel like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders and that their self-perception has been dramatically improved.

7. There’s always time to be still.Our culture places a high priority on productivity and keeping busy. If you give yourself 15 minutes of quiet time the morning, you’ll start your day from a centered, calm state, so that no matter what happens you’ll be able to respond thoughtfully rather than react instinctively.

8. You need to become a person you can love before you try to love anyone else.Look at yourself in your bathroom mirror each morning and say “Good morning. I love you.” It may sound hokey, but the more you do it, the more you’ll come to appreciate who you really are. You’ll discover internal beauty and great self-love by making this one small change.

9. Gratitude really does change your life.Develop a daily gratitude practice. It takes five minutes. I love sitting with a notebook and taking stock of what I’m grateful for each morning. Whatever comes to my mind, I write down in a quick list format. The key is to allow yourself to experience the feeling of gratitude. For example, if you’re truly grateful for the delicious cup of coffee you’re drinking, take a deep breath and sink into the sensation of appreciation you feel for that cup of coffee.

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10. It’s cool to be your own best friend.Becoming familiar with your moods, motivations, and deepest desires is critical if you want to live a meaningful, abundant, and productive life. Rather than walking through your day mindlessly, check in with yourself every few hours. How do you feel? If you have a strong negative reaction to something, take note of it. Figure out why. Notice when you feel pleasure, fun, joy, spirituality, and creativity: Being aware of these positive experiences means you can find ways to incorporate more of them into your life.

11. You are responsible for yourself—and only yourself.Blaming external circumstances for your unhappiness will only perpetuate it. Instead, when you find yourself bemoaning the state of the world, affirm to yourself, “I am responsible for my own life and I choose to create an extraordinary one.”

12. You need to believe in your own abilities.Once you own that you have the power and ability to create a life that you deeply desire, you’ll experience—deep in your soul—the power you possess, which, in turn, will inspire you to make changes. You’ll also understand that there is a solution to practically every issue and that you have the ability to figure out what that solution is.

13. You’ll always learn more from listening than you will from talking.Whether with an old friend, a stranger, a family member, or in business, learn the art of listening. Becoming an excellent listener will enable you to develop more intimate and deeper connections. You’ll also have more interesting conversations and it will keep your mind active and growing.

14. Curiosity is the key to never being bored (or obsolete).We live in a culture that places a high priority on expertise and productivity. If you want to live a rich, creative life, you need to expose yourself to new concepts and practices. And even in areas you’ve been exploring for years, there’s always more to learn. Let go of perfectionism. Be willing to fail. It will reveal so many possibilities.

15. Hatred costs everything. Forgiveness costs nothing.So many of us hold deep grudges indefinitely. Often, an inability to forgive others is a sign you struggle to forgive yourself. Catch your inner voice making critical or angry comments about others, and acknowledge that what you’re feeling toward them is actually a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Just by noting these feelings and reminding yourself to let them go, you’ll begin to dissolve these feelings of anger and judgment. You’ll experience a rush of positive energy, relief, openheartedness, and compassion.

16. Spending 20 minutes a day in nature is one of the best things you can do for yourself.It’s a profound way to de-stress, clear your mind of clutter, jump-start creativity, and experience feelings of well-being, calm, and awe. Take just a few minutes a day to awaken your senses and you’ll reap magical benefits in all areas of your life.

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17. You’re much better off doing one thing really well than three things poorly.We’ve been led to believe that success means multitasking all day long. When you slow down and practice being present and focused each moment, you’ll experience a deeper, richer, and more meaningful life. Try this: Stop whatever you’re doing, sit still, clear your mind, and take three deep breaths. Then start again.

18. “Life is far too important to be taken seriously.”OK, so I borrowed that one from Oscar Wilde. Life is a paradox. Knowing how to integrate fun, laughter, and playfulness into your pursuit of a meaningful life will jump-start your creativity and enable you to develop deeper connections. Think about it: After you’ve had a good laugh, don’t you feel more light-hearted, happier, and able to continue your day with more ease?

19. Your job here is simple: to create the life of your dreams.We all have moments of self-doubt. In those moments, let your wiser self remind you that you’re highly intelligent and creative. All it takes to make a difference is the desire and drive to keep making it happen. If you set your mind to it, believe in yourself, and take action, you’ll always find a way to create an extraordinary life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Great, right? I have come to a lot of these conclusions myself, but it’s only in the past few years that I’ve found my way to this knowledge – imagine how different my story would’ve been had someone told me this when I was younger? Although, I likely wouldn’t have listened, but…still. It might have been nice to have the advice. 😉

xxx

Good Things

I’ll Walk Beside You

I’ve been watching the series “CB Strike” on HBO – have you seen it? It’s based on the Roger Galbraith books (written by JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame) – and, while I know her opinions have had her in hot water recently (rightfully so), there’s no denying her talents as a writer and a storyteller – what she did with Harry Potter was extraordinary, and I have to admit that I really dig the Cormoran Strike books. If you haven’t read them, check them out – and while you’re at it, the show on HBO Max is pretty good as well. Here’s the trailer for the show:

The theme song is so bloody haunting, I can’t stop thinking about it – love it!

Let me know what you think!

Xxx