Saturday, April 30


Today's 30 day song challenge question:

Name a song you can dance to.

That's easy. I have no reasonable explanation why but I like Justin Timberlake. His music makes me want to shake a tail feather. Here's one I've been known to dance to at an office holiday party. Look out!

(The only trouble with this video is that Justin deliberately breaks a perfectly good string of pearls. I don't know about you, ladies, but that would be one sure fire way to kill the mood for me. Oh well, such is the bizarre fantasies in the world entertainment.)

Friday, April 29

I can see clearly (despite multiple head injuries)

I went in for my annual eye exam today. I visited a new doctor that a friend recommended. I'm so glad I did. It was far and away the most thorough eye exam I've ever had.

When I first did the eye chart the doctor was perplexed by the fact that my left eye is weaker that my right. I told her it had this way for as long as I could remember. I had long accepted it but, for some reason, she thought it strange. *shrug*

After some discussion, we decided to dilate my eyes since I've had blood pressure issues this past year. Its all under control now but one can't be too safe.

Doc: Hmm...
Me: ...
Doc: Umm...I've...never...
Me: What?
Doc: ... I've never... seen anything... quite like this before.
Me: What do you see?! (increasingly alarmed)
Doc: Well...
Me: ...
Doc: Have you ever had any head trauma?
Me: What?! No!
Doc: Oh, it's nothing to worry about. It's just...
Me: Yes?
Doc: You have some debris in your lens. Nobody's ever mentioned this to you?
Me: No.
Doc: Hmm. Well, it's very apparent. There are spots on the lens of your eye.
Me: ...
Doc: So... no car accidents or anything like that?
Me: Well, I did fall off a rope swing when I was a kid. My friends dragged me to my backyard and left me for dead. I eventually came to and wandered into the house to lie down. I don't think I mentioned it to parents.
Doc: ...
Me: I also crashed into my brother's best friends' older brother on our bikes. I blacked out. Oh! There was that time I slipped on a Christmas wrapping bag in my room, fell back and had the wind knocked out of me. So... maybe?
Doc: Umm... those could ALL be considered potential head injures.
Me: Well, it was the seventies. It was all about "walk it off" back then. I loved being a kid in the seventies!
Doc: *laughing and shaking her head*

SO, it seems I knocked myself senseless at some point and jack up my left eye. Who knew? The doctor is going to do some research on my spotty eye and get back to me. She was also able to see that I had high blood pressure but that it was under control. She also knew that I had allergies and asked if my eyes had been itchy. It was funny because just yesterday my eyes were incredibly itchy. I didn't know what the problem was. Turns out allergies were bugging me. I got a sample of some fun new eye drops to help with the problem.

I also got some (I think) cool new frames. Of course, it's hard to tell. It's hard to pick glasses with dilated eyes. You can't see a damn thing so you kind of have to guess and assume they look good. We'll see.

I love my new doctor. Best of all, they had owls all over the office. Remember my owl post from a while back? Well, I took the owl thing as a very good sign. I quickly told them why I like owls so much and that I consider every sighting a little wink from Daddy. I'm so happy to finally have a good eye doc.

They were playing Billie Holiday when I arrived... another excellent sign of great compatibility. I asked if they were playing satellite radio and she said that they just use GrooveShark. I'd never heard of it before. It's like Pandora but better because you can pick songs and build your own playlists. It's great! Thanks new friend and doctor. We're now life long buds. :)

Thursday, April 28

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 8

Name a song that you know all the words to:

Well, I pretty much know the lyrics to everything I heard before 1979. However, if I have to choose one, I'll go with Bohemian Rhapsody. I memorized the words to this one when my babysitter had to replace her beat up copy of Queen's A Night at the Opera. She gave me the beat up old copy along with some Elton John albums that I also adore. I was about 8 years old. I don't think I understood the song at the time but I could sing the hell out of it.

"Mama I just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he's dead
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I've gone and thrown it all away"

Jesus, Mom! Weren't you concerned when you heard your children singing along to this one? God, I loved the bad choices made in the seventies. They made me the gal I am today.

You decide which version you like best:

"Any way the wind blows..."

Wednesday, April 27

Day 7

Name a song that reminds you of a certain event.

When Dad was transferred to Yucca Valley for work, he had to live alone in an apartment for a little while until we sold our house, bought a new one and we transferred schools. I remember Dad's sad little apartment. He hated living there during the week without us. He was in the apartment for a couple of months or so and he was miserable. I let him borrow some of my records to help the place feel more like home when he was alone all week. One of the records was Linda Ronstadt's Simple Dreams.

I still like that album but Poor, Poor Pitiful Me entirely reminds me of the move to Yucca Valley. The title was perfect for that time in my life. It not only described Dad living without us but it perfectly captured how I felt about having to move to the middle of nowhere. :(

Tuesday, April 26

Bacon fever

Ok, I admit it. I'm beginning to catch this wedding fever.

I'm a big anglophile who loves the Kings and Queens of England but I typically obsess on the old school royals. You know, crazy old Henry VIII and the Queen Elizabeth I are the types I like. The current Queen is fascinating and the life she's led has got to be crazy town but we'll never know. That's one (honest) autobiography that we'll never see. I enjoy her but she's not my favorite. Her grandsons, however, have long been faves. It's been nice watching them grow up. They've both stepped up to their expected duties and done well. They've proven to be great humanitarians very early on. They seem to be genuinely down to earth good guys. They look awesome in uniform. I join the most of the world in liking them and wishing them well.

As for this wedding fever, we all know the wedding ceremony is a hot ticket but the reception is supposed to be the white hot ticket. It seems Her Royal Highness will jet out of town with Prince Philip leaving the kids to party all night long at Buckingham Palace. (Can you imagine?!) This is all good stuff but so far, my very favorite wedding rumor is that Prince Harry has ordered supplies to make bacon sandwiches for those guests who make it all the way through the night and find they need a sunrise snack. I can't think of anything more fun than Harry making bacon sandwiches at 6:00 am in Buckingham Palace. I like that kid. The fact that he considers making bacon critical to the celebration of his brother's wedding celebration makes him my new favorite royal.

Monday, April 25

American Experience

I am watching an amazing documentary called Stonewall Uprising on American Experience and it's breaking my heart. I have many, many friends who happen to be gay. I consider sexual orientation to be a footnote or a fun fact about a person. In fact, when a co-worker and I went out to lunch soon after she started working with me, and she came out to me, my reaction was something like "Ooh! How exotic. It's like finding out you're from Transylvania or some other cool place!" Luckily, she just laughed at me. When another woman, who is from Lebanon came out to me, I exclaimed "OMG! I've never met a Lebanese lesbian. You're a collectible!". Again, thank God she laughed. I mention this not to feel superior but to illustrate how foolish I can be too. I only hope it's more accepting than some others.

Of course, this is today. Years ago that kind of reaction was unthinkable. Years ago to be gay was to be considered criminal and possibly a psychopath. Considering how many wonderful people I know who are gay, it genuinely pains me to hear how abused and mistreated gays were (and are) ... in my lifetime.

We've all seen black and white footage and horrific pictures from the civil rights movement. People of my generation have all been shocked and outraged by the ignorant, hateful ravings of bigots before our time. However, to hear the same insane things said about gay people is just as shocking. Seeing bigoted rants on color film emphasizes how recently these beliefs were commonly held.

The Stonewall uprising happened in 1969. It was the Summer of Love but we rarely hear about what happened at Stonewall. It's a story worth learning more about and this film does a good job of it. In the end it's an uplifting survival story but, man, is it shocking. Just a few weeks ago a dined at an Italian place on Stonewall. I turned to my host and said "Is this THE Stonewall? As in the Stonewall Riots?". It was. Cool! I didn't know many details about Stonewall beyond it being the time when (mostly) gay men fought back. It was the beginning the the gay rights movement that, of course, continues to this day.

Do yourself a favor and check this movie out. It's a great piece of American history that deserves more attention.

Holy Moses!

Today' question: Name a song that reminds you of somewhere.

Again there are lots of options but I'm going to go with an old Elton John tune. For over 30 years Border Song has reminded me of back to school shopping with my Mom and brother. We were in a Miller's Outpost and Border Song was playing. Mom was showing a shirt, or something, to my brother and started loudly singing along "... HO-LEE Mo-ses...". My little brother was rarely embarrassed but that day he was downright mortified. We still like to sing it to him from time to time. It always makes me smile.

Friday, April 22

Day 5 - 30 day song challenge

A song that reminds you of someone. That is today's question.

This is a tough one because so many songs remind me of so many people. However, if I have to pick one, I suppose I'll pick Singin' In the Rain. That song always makes me think of my Mom.

One day, about 25 years ago, Mom and I were browsing Blockbuster together. We eventually made our way to opposite sides of the store as Singin' In the Rain played on the mounted tvs. Suddenly, without any conspiring on our part, during that famous rain soaked scene, Mom and I looked across the store at each other and in unison with Gene Kelly threw back our heads, spread our arms wide and sang "I'm happy again!". We prompty fell apart in surprised laughter at each other. I have no recollection if anyone noticed us acting like twin movie geeks or not. It didn't matter. We didn't do it for any other audience but each other.

That's why Singin' In the Rain makes me think of her. I love you Mom!

(In case you're not familiar with this, and you should be, I'm talking about the moment captured at 2:10 in the clip above.)

Thursday, April 21

So sad...

Today's song:

What song that makes you sad?

That's easy, Softly and Tenderly can almost always make me cry. Why?

  • I first heard it in the film A Trip to Boutiful which is, in my opinion, one of the saddest movies ever.
  • It always makes my Mom cry, and that makes me sad.
  • It makes me think of loss, death, funerals and saying goodbye.
  • Above all, it makes me think of times, places and people we can never see again. At least, not in this world.

Tuesday, April 19

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 3

Today's question:

What song make you happy?

Stevie Wonder's For Once In My Life never fails to lift my spirits. I absolutely love it.

Now that I've seen this video I like it even more. I'm especially fond to the super enthusiastic dancers. They eventually build to a seizure-like frenzy and I start to worry about Stevie slipping of the step but otherwise it's pretty awesome.

You're happy now, right?

Monday, April 18

30 Day Song Challenge - Day 2

Today's song question:

What is your least favorite song?

This is not a popular sentiment but I'll say it: I cannot stand Happy Birthday. I hate having it sung to me and I hate singing it to others. It's always the most uncomfortable time in any birthday celebration. I often try to speed up the tempo to get it over with quickly. It rarely works but I always try.

I mean honestly, is there anything more annoying?

Sunday, April 17

2 posts in 1 day?!

In an effort to get back in the swing of blogging more regularly I'm accepting a Facebook challenge and doing it here instead FB.

Shandon turned me on to this idea and I like it. It's called the 30 Day Song Challenge. Each day I'll post a question and the answer in the form of a song.

Today's question:

Your favorite song?

This one was TOUGH! So many songs could easily qualify but I decided to go with one that literally stops me in my tracks every time I hear it.

My favorite song is Ray Charles performing You Don't Know Me

It doesn't matter which recording I come across, I love to hear Mr. Charles sing this one. I think it's absolute perfection.

Dusting off the blog

Yesterday I was feeling very blue and very antisocial. I didn't want to be home. I didn't want any company. I was, however, feeling restless and wanted to go somewhere.

Initially, I took in a matinee of Source Code. I really liked it but it left me feeling even more sad because the character spends a lot of time wishing to speak to his father. I decided to go for a drive.

I grabbed my iPod, filled the tank with gas and drove.

Back in the 70's my family and I moved to a small desert town called Yucca Valley. It was a strange time in my life that I now recall like a faded dream. We went there for a job for Dad but stayed only 2 years until Dad was transferred back to "civilization" as I called it. To this day, when I hear people say they love the desert and it's beauty, I roll my eyes and ask if they've ever lived in it. The best thing I could say about the place was that the night skies were indeed lovely.

Of course, I was 11-13 years old when I lived there so I probably would have disapproved of most locations at that age. That being said, I was a pretty savvy kid, I knew it sucked. I managed to make friends and have a decent time there but I call it the "pop culture black hole" of my youth. These were the days before satellite tv and radio so it was very isolated. We would go to Palm Springs for shopping but otherwise there was not much going on out there except a nearby Marine base which, of course, is not good news for a 13 year old girl.

I have been meaning to drive back to Yucca Valley for 30 years just to check the place out. Yesterday, I finally made the drive. I had a vague idea of how to get there and some am/pm Diet Coke on ice so I was good to go. I drove along the 10 past the Morongo Casino and past the big dinosaur on the side of the road. Shandon, Howard and I made the trip out there a couple of years ago so I already knew it had changed a lot. When I lived nearby, that dinosaur and the big "eat" sign on the neighboring restaurant were the only structures out there. Now there is an entire community built around the casino and outlet mall.

I kept cruising down the 10 and eventually made the turn onto the 62. The 62 is actually kinda nice this time of year. Some flowers have bloomed and its wide flat expanse is impressive. A couple of miles in I came to the rock canyon that I often dream of. When we first drove out together as a family, and through that canyon, I remember Mom asking "Where IS this place?" From the back seat I famously groaned "God only knows!" Mom never forgot that moment and still laughs about it to this day. (It seems I was always like this.)

Next is a smaller version of The Grapevine to those familiar with Southern Californian highways. I traveled up the slow incline and knew my old childhood home was on the first street on the left once I crested the hill. I drove around in dull surprise as I took in the sad shape of my old neighborhood. It used to be known as The Country Club neighborhood because of it's proximity to the Yucca Valley Country Club and golf course, which now seems to have gone to seed.

I drove by the Paulsen's old house. It used to be a real desert beauty with a great pool out back. I remember the Paulsen's adopted a toy poodle when we were neighbors. The puppy was so small that one day it had cardiac arrest after sticking it's wee tongue in the tiny crevice between an extension cord and a plug... we're talking about a very small tongue. Mr. Paulsen drove like a madman to the vet with the unconscious pup in his lap as he administer CPR with his thumb pumping it's little chest. The dog survived and, as far as I know, lived a decent life.

I rounded the corner to our old house. It was a cool house when we lived there. I had a bedroom with large floor-to-ceiling corner windows. (I dream of that room sometimes too.) The house had a large open layout. Out back there were steps that lead down to a kidney shaped pool circled by tall pine trees. Those trees always sounded so nice when there was a desert breeze. We also had a small patch of grass which was rare for the area.

We got our first dog while living in that house. Dad would only agree to get a dog that didn't shed. We settled on a silky terrier that we acquired in Joshua Tree. He was so little when we brought him home that we thought a long name would be funny for him. We named him Sir Joshua Tree (our last name) but called him Joshua. His name was soon shortened to "The Wuh". He was a great little dog who took his breeding at a "ratter" very seriously. We never had critter problems when The Wuh was on the case. I miss The Wuh.

I'm sorry to report that our cool old house appears to have fallen on hard times. I didn't see any pine trees and the cactus and rock garden landscaping in the front has been replaced with a barren expanse. There was plywood covering some of the windows and the place may be abandoned.

I would never say I miss Yucca Valley but I did manage to cultivate some fond memories. Dad was the District Manager of the power company out there. When lightning storms hit, and created the inevitable power outage, it meant Dad had to go to work, day or night. That was a bummer but I do remember once when a storm knocked out the power, Mom, my bro and I fell to sleep on living room floor. We lit candles and starred out the big sliding glass doors as the storm came and lightning struck time and time again. Being at the top of the hill to the valley we had a great view.

I drove down the main drag of town past my favorite street name "Old Woman Springs Road". I don't know what the story is behind that name but I'd like to hear it some day. (I Googled it and found this info.)

Yucca Valley was never a booming community but it was a decent place to live back in the 70's. Best of all were the characters around town. We met some good ones. Mom is like me, she likes to hear people's stories and desert towns have some of the best. On the other hand, these characters can sometimes be shady. In fact, if I ever found myself in in trouble and in need of dumping a body, the outskirts of Yucca Valley might be a good place to start. Sadly, my first kiss was at a wired little place on the outskirts of Yucca Valley called Pioneertown. We were at a bluegrass festival out there and some drunken Hell's Angels type stumbled towards me and tongue kissed me. I was 13. I've dislike the taste of alcohol ever since. *shudder*

I was telling Norman about it today. Maybe a road trip out to Pioneertown is on order to wash the stink off that gross memory. Of course, we may never be heard from or seen again... it's that kind of off the beaten path kinda place, but it might be worth a try.

After seeing the old house, I needed to stretch my legs and get a bit to eat so I pulled into an Applebee's for an early dinner. It seemed the safest choice. I left the waiter a 50% tip because he's a waiter at the Yucca Valley Applebee's and I know that's gotta suck. Who knows, maybe he's led a particularly tough life and his job at Applebee's is a high point in his life. I don't know, I don't mean to judge. I'm just saying, after living in the town in the good old days, I don't envy him. Again, I don't mean to be too hard on the place but the recession doesn't seem to have done the place any favors. It's got to be tough living out there.

We moved back to "civilization" in the late 70's which was a tough transition for me. I eventually made friends and have even kept a few of them, Shandon and Kathleen being among them.

I've been missing Dad a lot lately which is why I've been so blue but I'm glad I made this little trip down memory lane. It impressed upon me the importance of not going back. It's fine to reminisce but you can never go back. I think 9 times out of 10 that's a good thing.