Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Weather Fascination

It seems to always be tornado season in Alabama. I was sleeping so soundly this morning, when I heard Rick's very calm/danger voice tell me to get up, that we were under a tornado warning.
That is how the day started. It has rained all day, and as the rain fell the temperature has dropped, maybe some ice tonight. The storms passed over, there were a few tree limbs down, a little hail, but nothing serious.

Tornadoes are just a way of life here. In the spring they can become quite violent, spreading death and destruction along their paths. You'd think that fall and winter would quell their formation, but it doesn't. I can remember tornadoes in every month but January and I bet if I really looked back in weather history we have had January tornadoes.

I have been fascinated with weather my whole life. When I was maybe five or six, my dad's parents, Mamie and Johnny were always forecasting the weather. In the fall, Papa Johnny and I would be walking through the pea fields, he would look around and predict the winter would be fierce. He'd look at the size and thickness of the shells of nuts, spider webs, cloud formation,
wind, color of the sunset/sunrise,the habits of the creatures that lived around him and usually his prediction was right on the money. Mamie was the same way, we would walk through her flowers, herbs, she would sniff a plant, watch a butterfly, sift dirt through her fingers, look at the sky, and start talking about the weather.

Rick says that I am better than the local weather guys at predicting our weather, my brother Ricky is the same way. Most of mine and my brother's conversations at some point go straight to the weather, between the two of us we can out forecast The Weather Channel!

Maybe it is the Irish in us, I read some time ago, that during WWII no matter how fluent the Irish became in German or other languages, they gave themselves away because they always talked about the weather. Maybe we could work for the Farmer's Almanac!

For me, today has been a wonderful day. Rain all day long, wind blowing, bring it on!
Did I mention that I love snow! In times of drought, I have been known to do a rain dance or two, but I will do a snow dance at the drop of a hat! It doesn't even have to stick.........let those flakes start falling and I act like a three year old. I can make snow ice cream with the best of them.

I suppose my fascination with weather is why I have never longed to live on an island paradise.
I love change, especially in weather. Oh sure, blues skies and sunshine most of the time sounds good in theory, but I have to have the change..........the wind, the thunder, lightening, rain, cold
snow, heat. A change in the weather, my kind of change.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Our expectations about life can be sad, amusing and downright perplexing. Joyce Carol Oates said,
"for nothing is ever what you expect it will be, nor is it quite like anything else." We tend to build
our hopes, dreams, our world if you will on expectations and then we are devastated when it all turns out not quite how we expected it to.

Letting go of expectations is as hard a task as letting go of judgement. Parents expect their children to become/achieve what they didn't, lovers expect romance to last forever, we expect a doctor to cure us, a teacher to teach us,we expect those we love to never disappoint.

Letting go is not giving up hope or dreams, but letting go is giving ourselves freedom. Letting go of expectations allows the freedom to embrace what is taking place right now in our lives. For instance, say you go to a restaurant with nothing but steak on your mind, they're out of steak but they have the finest lobster in the world, are you going to dwell on the fact that they have no steak, and miss out on the lobster or are you going to relish the lobster?

Allowing yourself the freedom to be in the moment is an incredible luxury but also a necessity for a life that is peaceful, powerful and rich. When we let our expectations rob us of life's experiences, rob us of spontaneous joy and adventure, we have cheated ourselves. When we meet someone for the very first time, and all we see in them is what we expected.........then we may have lost out on a good friend, a lifetime partner, a wonderful teacher. Think of the times that you met someone, say a banker or computer programmer the conversation was probably kind but maybe you were thinking "they're exactly what I expected", what if when you were introduced, you were told they were artists, or world travelers, would you expect more?

When you get up in the morning and expect to have a bad day, do you? If you travel someplace new do you expect people to be kind or rude? Do you let your expectations rule your life?
Just one time tomorrow, tell your self to let go of expectations..........just go to work and do your job moment by moment, go shopping and experience all the sounds, colors and smells,
sit down and eat, and actually taste your food. Don't expect good or bad, just be there in the moment and experience what is taking place, without expectations.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Don't you think we love to complicate things? We say that we want a simple life, that we yearn
for the simple pleasures, yet when push comes to shove, we want it all. There is a wonderful quote from Miles Davis "I always listen for what I can leave out." As a songwriter when I hear a song,
I listen to the melody, I listen to the words, and try to figure out what the song is about, where it is going. There are lots of complicated, intricate songs that have been written..........and not to take anything away from the sheer poetry and incredible melodies that have been written, but when I hear a simple beautiful song that says everything in a few simple words with a haunting melody I am awestruck. Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" says every thing about love and heartbreak you would ever want to say, with a beautiful melody in about forty words.

I love simple clothing. I buy very basic pieces that I wear forever. I add a piece of antique jewelry or a great belt or scarf and I feel as though I am ready for anyplace. I love to "shop" my closet.

Bells and whistles seem to be a such a big part of our lives. Cars have everything from some woman giving you directions ( why does my husband listen to her and not me?) and I swear there is an app for anything you need to know on you phone. We're all like little kids, if it's the newest and the flashiest we want it!

My favorite meal is simple........roast chicken( a little rosemary, sage, salt and pepper), a little pasta with chopped fresh tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper and grated cheese, a simple green salad with oil and vinegar dressing, crusty bread and olive oil for dipping, life is good!

I watched Eat, Pray and Love tonight. She traveled the world with one bag........I remember when I read the book, it seemed the more simple her life became, the happier she was. Can any of us go anywhere anymore with just one bag?

I think we would all probably be a little happier, if every day we"listened for what we could leave out." My great nephew Jordan proves this to me daily, his favorite toy.......... a box big enough to hide in, his favorite thing to do, run out side, his favorite food, mac and cheese. His clothing has to be soft, warm and comfy, Give him a bottle of bubbles and he thinks he is rich.

The holidays are upon us and I think for so many of us the stress comes, because we throw simple out the door. More lights, more decorations, more food, more presents, more places to go and things to do, maybe this is the year to try simple.

Simple is not the easiest. Writing a great song with very few words is not easy, a beautiful tailored jacket is difficult to make, the perfect roast chicken takes some skill, but I think simple is something that we can work towards. I know that when it seems your life is complicated and you're busy and going at the speed of light, everyone around thinks wow, what a life, but every
once in awhile, let's applaud the person who doesn't do it all. The person who understands that sometimes simple is pure perfection.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The past couple of days I have been quite out of sorts.......there are things to be done, calls to be made, notes to be sent and I have just come to a grinding halt. Just for grins I checked my bio-rhythms today, they were all at the bottom or on their way down........no wonder I have been in a tailspin!

We have all been on the down side and it is an interesting place to be. The past few days Rick has asked over and over, are you ok? I am not sad, or depressed, just depleted. The fact is, life goes on whether you are on the upswing or the down and these are the days I figure you just have to put your big girl panties on and press forward. Man! I hate having to wear those big girl panties!!!!!

In the morning I will get out my trusty day planner, sit down with my coffee and map out the week. At least when there is a plan, I feel that I have accomplished something. We do have band practice tomorrow evening, but there will be a little r and r in the morning. It really is that one day at a time mentality that gets you through........and knowing that this too shall pass.

It is these days, these are the ones when you want to run away and join the circus or in my case......... run away with a rock band for a couple of months, if I had the energy. Even the dogs are curious about my current state, Blackie Bear will not let me out of his sight, Astro(weighs 100 pounds) keeps trying to sit in my lap, Charlie and Buddy and Taylor are all giving me extra attention.
They get worried when I leave for any amount of time, they know who feeds them!

Once I thought that bio-rhythm charts were" interesting," but through the years I have checked mine and they are usually right on target. It is good to see that mine will begin their upswing in
a few days. In the meantime, I am doing what some of you have suggested, getting a little more rest, slowing down, etc. So do yourselves a favor, if you have never checked out your bio-rhythms just google and follow the directions for some of the free readings. Let me know if your ups and downs are on schedule.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Tonight is tapping keys night.........the holiday just drained all emotion and thoughts from me.
I am running on empty. I took off work today, there was nothing in me to give.....it is just one of those times when I have hit the wall. I think a stack of magazines, a cold rainy day, and lots of hot tea and cookies might take care of things.

This too shall pass. My muse has left the building, tonight maybe even the universe.
Good night, Sweet dreams.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Way Back Home

It seems for the past five years I have been trying to find my way back home every Thanksgiving.
Maybe home is not the correct word, I think past is more like it. Thanksgiving was a biggie for my family........we are all cooks, my dad cooked, my mom, my brothers, sisters and myself and not only were we all good cooks, we love to eat. Since my mom passed away five years ago this month, the last of our family traditions has faded away.

And honestly making new traditions, just doesn't seem worth the effort. The past couple of years Rick and I have served food at community gatherings. It is very rewarding, but the food is never as good as it was at my mom and dad's. My siblings all have families of their own, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and they are creating their own traditions and rightly so.

I have written about change in the past, I understand all too well that change is a part of life.
I teach and try my best to live in the moment every day........but days like today, I would trade this moment for the past in a heartbeat. But I suppose that is why we have memories.
Life goes on, change takes place every day and the only way to live a life of peaceful stillness is staying in the moment. Sometimes this realization can be a bitter pill to swallow.

I have spent many thoughts today on gratitude, it is the only thing that has kept me from bursting into tears at inappropriate moments. I have an incredible life, it is magical and full of joy and my feet never touch the floor in the mornings before I whisper my prayer of gratitude.
But with loss there is grief, and even in times of great celebrations there come moments when loss shines like a beacon in the darkness. This life has taught me, it is all experience, and the good and the bad are so entwined that they are actually one.

So I have to acknowledge the twinge of sadness, of missing a home that no longer exists except in my heart. I am most grateful for my past today, the experience of it all is the reason I am who I am. So on this Thanksgiving Day.......I am thankful for the home that is always in my heart, and a past that has made me who I am.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Saga Continues

When I was maybe seven or eight, my younger brother Ricky(who was six or so)and I thought that we were getting a pet turkey for Thanksgiving. (you know like the little ducks and bunnies at Easter)
Our dad was a plumber at the time, and quite often his jobs involved barter. We were the first family in our neighborhood to have a tv because he did some work for a family who owned an appliance store.

It was a few days before Thanksgiving, he did some work for a poultry farmer and in exchange for the high quality plumbing work my dad did, we got a live turkey! On Tuesday evening after daddy got home from work, he and momma and Ricky and I got in the car and drove out in the country to the turkey farm. We picked out this really BIG Tom turkey, put him in a coop in the trunk of our car and took him home. Daddy took the coop with Tom(who was making a lot of strange noises) down in our basement. Ricky and I went down to give him some water and try to make friends with him, but Tom Turkey was not happy, he was big and scary and we decided to leave him alone.

The next evening my mom announced that it was time to get the turkey ready for Thanksgiving.
Now, at one time we had raised chickens and my mom had shown all of us how to prepare a chicken that you did not buy at the grocery store. I followed her down to the basement,
so did my brother Ricky.........we watched as she wrestled that twenty-five pound turkey out of the coop, he was pecking her and scratching, and momma was not happy. We stood and watched
(ok, for those of you who never lived on a farm, you might want to go,la lalala lala la here) Momma grabbed Tom by the neck and proceeded to wring his neck, ok she was attempting to wring that turkey's neck like she did a chicken, but it was not going as planned. Tom's neck grew
longer and longer and longer, and soon she was swinging that turkey around her head like some sort of bizarre toy. Tom continued to make weird noises as his neck grew longer, momma began to say words that she had told us to Never say! Ricky and I just stood and watched, as momma swung that turkey round and round, his neck just growing longer. Turkey feathers were flying.

Momma grew weary, so she asked my brother to get the ax, by this time she was dragging Tom
behind her and they both disappeared out back. In a little while, she walked through the door with a huge plucked bird in a big enamel pot and walked up the stairs to the kitchen.

I don't remember eating turkey that Thanksgiving, not sure if any of us did, for several years after that we had roast chicken for Thanksgiving. I will never forget the sight of my momma swinging that turkey round and round, it would have made a great SNL skit, don't you think?
Tomorrow night my final Thanksgiving entry.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wild Thanksgiving

So as promised, my Thanksgiving stories continue.........when Rick and I married we discussed how we would spend holidays. We knew that Christmas would be a three ring circus but Thanksgiving didn't seem to be a problem. His mom had told me that she really never cooked much on Thanksgiving because all the men folk hunted.

Most Thanksgivings we ate lunch with my folks and then later in the afternoon would go by to visit Rick's family. Maybe our third or fourth Thanksgiving together, as we entered his mom's house
I smelled something really good on the stove. Rick's dad greeted us at the door, all smiles, it was obvious he was excited about something. As we walked through the back door, I said something about how good the kitchen smelled. Rick's dad grinned even more. He told me that he had something really special cooking on the stove and he could not wait for me to try it.
I told him that if it tasted as good as it smelled, I'd be in heaven.

I walked over to the stove, there was a large covered pot and this delicious aroma was rising
from it. Rick's dad walked over, took the lid off the pot and with these large tongs pulled what looked like a giant skinned rat out of the liquid. He was so proud, he was telling me about the sweet potatoes and special seasonings that he had used.........I finally got the words out,"what is it?" He laughed and said "why opossum of course".

Now my mom had always taught me whenever I was visiting someone's home, I was to eat whatever was put on my plate...........I just couldn't , just could not eat, could not even bring myself to taste Thanksgiving opossum. It smelled great, but when I saw it, when I knew what it was.........what can I say, I just wussed out . The only opossums I had ever seen were road kill and I knew my mom would never expect me to eat road kill!

Thankfully, Rick's mom had cooked turkey and that is what most of us ate that afternoon. Rick's dad never let me forget about passing on his Thanksgiving opossum, but you know that is one experience I have never regretted. Another Thanksgiving memory coming your way tomorrow night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two Dinners

So the theme of Thanksgiving continues...........a few years ago, new neighbors moved in down the road from us. It was obvious that they were poor, very poor. There was an elderly mother,
three sons and a daughter. They moved in their single wide trailer in early fall, Thanksgiving week came, and I became worried that they might not have food. On Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I went to the grocery store and bought a turkey and all the trimmings for them, thinking that I would deliver the food that afternoon so they could cook it on Thanksgiving Day.

Now other neighbors had begun to make rumblings about this family.......they were dirty, they didn't work, etc. But the neighbor nearest to them had told me their story. None of them could read or write, none of them knew how to use a phone. The mom and older brother were both ill.
The father was dead.

I drove up in the driveway, knocked on the door and told the youngest son that I had groceries for them. ........that they could cook their Thanksgiving dinner. He looked at me, and shook his head, at first I thought that they didn't want the food, but finally what he was saying made sense. They had never had a turkey, his mother didn't know how to cook it.

I took a deep breath, and told him not to worry that I would cook their meal and bring it to them the next day. So on Thanksgiving morning, I cooked two of everything, including two turkeys.
They lived down the road from us for five or six years, every Thanksgiving, every Christmas
I cooked two meals, one for us, one for them.

I learned a lot from these neighbors. I learned that we have people in this country who are invisible, who because of the cards that life has dealt them, we walk by them and turn our heads.
They were dirty, because they could not afford running water. They fell through the cracks of the system and were lost. They had nothing, but you could hear them laugh daily.

It was interesting, this family........while they lived in our neighborhood, we had several storms.
After one storm, there were limbs and trees down everywhere on our property. The boys came over and helped Rick clear every bit of the debris. One of the boys died helping a motorist who was broken down on the side of the road. As he helped them with their car, a passing car struck
him and killed him.

As the years passed the elder son who was ill died, and then the mother died. The son and daughter who were left, moved away. As far as worldly goods, this family had nothing.
But they were always there to lend a helping hand, and any time they were helped, their gratitude was amazing.

I think about them every Thanksgiving and Christmas, the lessons I learned from them.
I was just as guilty as any of the other neighbors when they moved in, passing judgement on them.........but my life was changed by knowing them, I was humbled by knowing them. I am grateful that my life was touched by them.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving All Week

It is Thanksgiving week....... I like Thanksgiving. It is all about food and fellowship and gratitude.
It is not about shopping, gifts, lights, decorations, and family/personal meltdowns. Thanksgiving does not max your credit cards out, drive you to drink because you can't find what ever "it" of the moment is and force you to spend time with people you only see one day a year.

Thanksgiving is all the food you can force down your throat. It is a walk after lunch, a football game, a nap. It is a time to think about and acknowledge gratitude. It is a time of service to your community, thankfulness for what you have, great and small. Thanksgiving, if we look at history, is a time to set aside our differences, and break bread with each other in peace.

Thanksgiving is a time to remember.......our friends, our loved ones, and all that we have. It is not the time to fret about about what we did not buy or could not buy. I have decided to share Thanksgiving memories with you all this week. Some are funny, some are poignant.

We ate Thanksgiving lunch with my sister and her family today. She likes to cook it the Sunday before Thanksgiving so her kids can spend time with their in-laws. I cooked the bird.
It was a good day, low key, full of food and laughter and good natured ribbing about the Alabama/Auburn game coming up this week. Half of us are Alabama fans(Roll Tide) and half are Auburn.

Memories to come the rest of the week...........maybe even a few recipes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


It has been an event-full day. This morning, well a little before lunch, my friend Edie Hand did an event at the local Toyota dealership for her "You Paved The Way" foundation which benefits special needs kids. We had lunch with Edie, her husband Mark and all the gang at Scott Crump

Leaving Edie's event, we drove to Sumiton to our friend Woni's bookstore/coffee house for a book signing by an area author, Ramey Channell. While at Woni's Bookshelf, we also got to visit with our friend Dale Short who is doing a writer's workshop at Woni's every Saturday morning for the next few weeks.

Then tonight, Rick, our friend Fred and I went to Berkley Bob's Coffee House in Cullman to hear a jam band, Bimini Road. A "trip" down memory road without the mushrooms. HaHa!

It has been a fun day. And yes, I am a little tired, but a good tired. Tomorrow we do Thanksgiving lunch with my sister and her family............and for those of you who live in the Birmingham area, tomorrow afternoon at 4:00pm on the local CBS affiliate, there is a Thanksgiving special airing with Edie Hand filmed in Nashville and I have a cameo scene with
Andy Griggs . It was filmed last February and I went up to do hair and make-up with no thoughts of being on the show, but ended up in a short little comedy skit. The show is actually airing all over the U.S. and several other countries through the end of the month. Everywhere from Bowling Green, Kentucky to the UK and Australia.

Since I have to cook the turkey for lunch tomorrow, it is time to get some sleep, it will be an early morning.
Good night, Sweet dreams.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Travel Bug

What is it about the autumn that makes me want to travel? I know that for most, the urge to hit the road is strongest in the summer.......for me, I become a slug when the heat hits. I don't want to go anywhere unless it is twenty degrees cooler in July or August. But when the calendar page turns to October, November.....my bags are packed and I am ready to go.

And for some reason, the autumn travel bug that bites hardest........Europe, UK.......I am thinking Ireland for Thanksgiving, London and Paris for the first couple of weeks in December and Prague for Christmas. New Years? some remote tiny village, could be in France, maybe Italy or Spain.
I have never been one for loud, crowded parties on New Years' Eve, for me a quiet intimate dinner is my favorite way to start the New Year. As for Christmas in Prague, that has been on my list for a long time.....all those incredible buildings, cold and snowy.

Of course, I would go back to Ireland anytime. Late November just seems as good a time as any to go, the music is always good, the food comforting and earthy. I think Paris and London would be perfect places to shop for Christmas gifts, funky little markets and antique shops.

There are no exotic places on the agenda for this fall and winter, but I am a dreamer.....always have been, always will be. I think travel bugs look for dreamers, our flesh must be downright tasty! The bites aren't fatal, lord knows I have been bitten many times........but they do leave a little melancholy wistfulness.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Some days are emotional roller coasters............ especially in yoga class. People come to class with lots of different expectations. Some come, depressed looking for an uplifting experience, others need physical release,for some it is escape.

Yoga, I believe truly does give you what you need for that particular moment that you are in class.
Some days I have students that are so stressed and emotionally drained, it hurts to look at them....but after a few minutes in class, the transformation begins. The eyes start to look peaceful, the facial muscles relax, the shoulders drop, the mouth softens and the breath changes. Some of them truly look like different people by the end of class.

Some days tears flow unabashedly and other days giggles are uncontrollable. I have students that arrive in class terrified to relax, scared to let their guard down for a second. I have seen it happen so many times, especially in Savasana(relaxation) they lie down stiff as boards, and in a few minutes, the shoulders drop down, the breath slows, every muscle in their body softens and they surrender to the exquisite peacefulness and stillness that awareness of the breath brings.

I have experienced those moments myself.......when my mother was ill, I attended a yoga class.
As I came into child's pose(how fitting) the tears begin to flow and for the first time since she had been diagnosed with dementia I came to terms with her illness and our relationship. Powerful stuff........there have been times when I have been ill, and I could barely breathe, but as I lay on the sofa and concentrated on my breath, I felt stronger, ready to reclaim my health.

Today, I had students who were beaten down, in tears when they came to class. We did partner yoga, and lots of heart-opening poses........in Savasana, I wrapped them in blankets and gave them neck rolls, by the time class was over, there was joy on their faces. Life comes at us all hard and fast. I know very few who take the time for stillness, who go inward and allow the peacefulness we all search for to come into their hearts. I am constantly telling students, take
five minutes every morning to sit in stillness and do nothing but breathe, it will change your life.
It doesn't take an hour of yoga, ten minutes will make a difference...........two or three poses, a few minutes of breathing and sitting still, I promise it works.

It seems the world is full of anger, full of hate. For all the religious talk we constantly hear, all those words about morals and values, we hear so little about caring and love. We hear lots about judgement, but little about acceptance. For me, when I teach yoga, I am given the opportunity to let someone know, for just a little while, they are in a place where there is no judgement.
For just a little while, they are in place where there is peace and stillness, love and caring. For just a little while, you can giggle or cry, and feel alive.

Peace. Stillness.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What A Difference

What a difference a day makes. Last night, at this time, we were tuning guitars getting ready to go on stage........tonight, doing laundry, sitting in my pj's at home, still blissing out.
I am a tired camper, running on empty, well more like three hours of sleep. That's ok, I'd do again it tonight if given the opportunity.

Life is like that, twenty four hours can turn your world upside down or right side up. Yesterday you could have been living the same life you had lived for years, and something good or bad could change it all in a heartbeat.

Ten years ago this week, Rick's younger brother Darrin passed away. I still miss him very much.
He and I had a great relationship.......he was funny and smart and lived life in the fast lane.
But, he knew that regardless of his life choices, he could always count on me. Darrin was more like a younger best friend than a brother-in-law. I have thought about him often today.......he would have loved our playing the Flora/Bama, he would have been there with all his wacky friends cheering us on. His life was over way too soon, he was on his way to a successful career in tv,but life was difficult for him, he was a fragile soul.......and we all know those are the ones who don't make it.

What a difference a day makes.........yesterday walking on the beach, last night singing my heart out, today back at work, back at home, hanging with the dogs. It's all good.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bucket List, check one off

One of the things on my "bucket list"........to play the Flora/Bama and everybody gets quiet and listens.....that happened tonight. For those of you who don't know, the Flora/Bama is just a rowdy
fun filled music venue on the Gulf Coast. It is the home of the Frank Brown International Songwriter's Festival. Rick and I were invited down to close tonight's show, and as always it was a loud rowdy crowd. But in my dream, on my bucket list it has always been that the crowd would settle down and listen, well that dream came true tonight. It had been LOUD and ROWDY all evening, but as we began to play, silence spread across the room, and the crowd listened........
My feet have not touched the ground since we closed our set, there were some "heavy" players in that room tonight, folks who are really in the music scene and they listened and complimented us when we finished....and invited us back for next year.

It may not seem like much, to play a smoke filled room, with over served patrons who for the most part ignored most of the folks who were up there playing their hearts out. But it's those moments, when the music gods smile on you.......you gotta get'em while you can.

I have to go to bed, we have a very early day because I teach tomorrow afternoon, but I just want to savor this night for a few more moments. Tonight......I am happy, I am grateful, I am on cloud nine.........I am blessed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Taking the Cure

A few years ago, I read a book about one of the Impressionist Artists who came down with consumption. Sorry, can't remember which artist it was, but at that time physicians recommended going to the sea shore for the "cure". When my dad was living, he loved coming to the ocean because he said it always made him feel so much better. He had black lung, and for those of you who are not familiar with that disease, I hope no one you love ever gets it.
It is a lung disease that underground coal miners develop. The coal dust gets in the lungs and hardens with the mucus, it is a sad, slow death.

Some of you know that I also deal with lung "gunk" and it seems that for the past several weeks, no matter what I could not get rid of it. At times I have written about craving the feel of the salty air, as it fills my lungs. My body knows best. I have spent a great part of the day outside, letting that salty breeze do its job. It has rained all day, but we have walked on the beach and sat on the veranda and I have taken deep healing breaths. I cannot tell you how much better I feel.......how much easier it is to breathe tonight.

I dreamed of my mom and dad last night and the little cottage on Laguna Beach, Fl where we spent summer vacations. My dad was happy and smiling and I woke up happy and smiling.
I want a cottage by the sea, on the Atlantic coast or northern Pacific coast. I want rocky cliffs and cold grey water and a wind that howls. A place where I can take the cure anytime I need and friends and family can visit . A roaring fire in the fireplace, a pot of soup on the stove and a hot cup of tea, ya'll come, we'll take the cure together.

Late Post/Confession

Ok, here it is..........I don't know how to relax! We walked on the beach early this morning, and I kept thinking, I have to get back, eat breakfast, get dressed.........and then it dawned on me, I don't have to do anything, I am at the beach!!

I came back to the condo, got out the yoga mat, did yoga by the pool. Ate breakfast, picked up a book and read for the past hour and a half. Wow, I don't even know where my watch is. No classes to teach, no calls to make, and I will answer e-mails when I am good and ready. How is that for relaxation?

This is my favorite time to visit the beach. No crowds, skies are grey, wind is howling and rain is on the way, the only thing missing is a fireplace. My biggest decision today......what's for lunch?

Wish you were here.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Ordinary Day

It has been a busy Saturday. My hometown did a Veteran's Memorial this morning, there was a paver placed honoring my dad's service in World War ll and I saw many friends I had not seen in a long time. It was a sweet, beautiful service and I am proud of my hometown, they did a great job.

We had dinner with friends tonight, and watched the Alabama game with them. Grilled burgers and dogs and home made apple pie, life is good. And Alabama won!

It has been a simple, busy sweet day. No drama, just doing ordinary stuff, for me this is a good day. We don't get a lot of these days and I cherish them when we do. Sometimes ordinary is
extraordinary....... doing laundry, grocery shopping, visiting with friends, sharing a meal. These are the things that make life good, that make life manageable, that makes life sane.

According to my friends, I live a pretty exciting life...... and I suppose I do. I think of it as just different. But the basics are important too, there has to be some grounding/connecting, a foundation if you will. That time of doing the everyday, the normal. Nothing will bring you down to earth faster than good friends and time with family. Rick and I are lucky, we are blessed to live our lives doing what we love, but no matter how grateful we are, it is always good to be reminded of the simple joys...........friendship, community, and lots of laughter.

Today was a wonderful ordinary day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Frozen Moments

I love photographs, it's the next best thing to being there.......and I am lucky enough to have friends who are great photographers. I am speechless by the beauty and creativity of the photographs that my friends share with me. A photograph captures a single moment forever. It can show beauty or raw ugliness, sadness or indescribable joy. A photograph can freeze an image into our brains forever, I mean how could anyone ever forget the photo of John Kennedy Jr. saluting as his father's corpse passed by.

I have an I-phone and one of the most amazing features.....it's a pretty good little camera and down right handy! But my photos fade in comparison with some of the ones that my friends take.
In the past few months, friends have sent me photos of fragile hummingbirds, dazzling waterfalls,
breath-taking skydiving shots, and sunsets that make me want to pack my bags and head for exotic destinations.

I love old photos too, looking at family members and friends through the decades can trigger laughter and tears. There are photos that make me really uncomfortable too, those of me as a kid. Not sure why, but it is very unnerving for me to see myself as a child.

I live with a very good photographer too. Rick has shot some incredible photos through the years. We have boxes of slides and old black and whites, friends, family, and vacations, a smorgasbord of Kodak memories.

I have photos of friends on my desk, scattered all through the house. Laughing, smiling faces,
those split seconds of joy, there forever. I love to take photos of Jordan, my great nephew, but he hates to have his picture taken, you have to be really fast and tricky to get a picture of him.
I have a photo of me singing on stage with the Paul Thorn band, and only a few close friends know this about me, but I was a model in the late sixties through early eighties. Believe it or not, there were photos of me in Seventeen, Runner's World, just to name a couple of mags. That was truly another lifetime ago.

Photos, they are magical, such a unique way to capture a time, a place, a feeling. I have many of my mom's old family photos, this year at Christmas I want to share them with my siblings.
I have decided to just spread them across the kitchen table and let everyone take what they want.

So for those friends who I keep encouraging to do a calendar or book of your photos, take note.
Those pictures really are special, of great beauty and emotion, others want to enjoy them too.
There is a gift in capturing those moments, those times and places should be remembered and shared.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Land

One of my favorite songs of all time is, This Land Is Your Land. Today is Veteran's Day, and I think This Land Is Your Land is the perfect song for today. Our country in the scheme of things is just a baby, and it seems there has been much blood shed for this land........lives have been given and taken since the conception of this country.

There were members of my mother's family who fought in the Revolutionary War, my dad fought in World War Two, my husband Rick served in the Army and I have many friends who have been in the service through the years and many who are still serving their country. I think about those tonight who have fought, who were wounded and who have died.......that is a lot to ask of young men and women. They leave their families, their loved ones, their country, never knowing if they are coming back. But they do so, because they love This Land.

Saying thank you, seems so trite, but thanks seems the only word that is appropriate. So tonight, thanks to all you, because of your sacrifices, your love and your honor, I get to sing
This Land Is Your Land. You are all always in my heart. Peace.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Sometimes inspiration hides like a mischievous child, taunting you with slivers of ideas and then tossing them into the dark recesses of you mind, refusing to surrender any inkling of creativity.
Writing this blog is a bizarre dance with inspiration and muse, and sometimes they both sit back and laugh at my lack of rhythm.

Then there are nights when magic is sprinkled over you like holy water, and the thoughts come so quickly my fingers cannot type fast enough to put them to paper or this screen.

When I started writing, it did not occur to me, that I would be writing seven nights a week! What was I thinking????? But this habit, this commitment, has made me a better songwriter, a better teacher and speaker. This nightly ritual has shown me the power and responsibility of words and thoughts.

This blog has become a true friend. When I need to speak, when I need to share, the keyboard sits waiting patiently as I share my words with you all. It doesn't matter if I am sad or happy,
clever or not so clever this computer accepts all that I post and sends it out into the world.

The inspiration for this blog, this transformation if you will terrified me at the beginning. But now, no matter how tired, how sick or how empty I am there is comfort as my fingers begin to tap the keys. All of you are so kind, honestly, I was scared silly of your judgments, but you let me be me and whether I am good or bad someone always says exactly what I need to hear.

I chose the title, Transformation Information because I thought I would be offering help to some one out there in blog world. HaHa! The joke's on me, because the transformation has been mine! And often, I am giving myself information that perhaps some of you might need also.

The inspiration comes from everything around me....... I attended a songwriter's seminar several years ago that was hosted by Mike Reid ( Grammy winner, co-wrote I Can't Make You Love Me, one of the best songwriters ever) and he talked about always keeping your antennae
up for inspiration because it is always out there waiting for you, but you have to be open for it.
That was great advice, for songwriting, blogging, writing a novel, for any creative process.

Tonight this may not seem like a particularly inspired blog entry, but in a strange good way, for me at least it was. We'll see what takes place tomorrow night.
Good Night, Sweet Dreams.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Deer Dance

We have this sweet deer family that visits us every day. A momma, and her twins........they have visited our apple tree since they were just a few days old. We leave corn, and water and salt block and as the apples fall, they eat those.

In the past few weeks the babies have gotten really playful and are so comical. This morning started out rough for me, it was one of those days, when I was just beating myself up.
As I stood at the back door, with coffee cup in hand.....the twins came running through the field as fast as they could chasing each other. They would run in circles, jump, scamper down in the woods and quick as lightening, they would be under the apple tree eating. Then, momma got in the game, and all three of them were doing this funny little dance. They would chase each other, wag their tails, and then run up and down the length of the field, they knew I was watching.

It is hunting season, and will be for the next couple of months. I hold my breath each time I hear a gun shot and pray that no one shoots them. They are so beautiful, such incredible creatures with distinct personalities.

Their dance, and a call from a good friend, helped me lighten up, and get a better perspective
on things. I am going to borrow a video camera and see if I can get one of their morning dances taped, I would love for you all to see how they run with absolute joy. I wish they would let me do the deer dance with them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Self-imposed Limits

We are all guilty. Guilty of self-imposed limits, barriers that we set up and then wonder why we don't obtain goals that we have worked for. For every success that each of us has had, there are those near misses, those almost but not quites.

I usually talk about not dwelling on failures, but today I did an inventory of my what I want for me list. I have to admit that about sixty five percent is there, if not reached, will be soon. But what about the other thirty five percent, when I look, at first glance it is easy to make excuses. Then, I looked long and hard, and when I truly acknowledged what I didn't do and what I could have done, it was a slap in the face. For what ever reason, I dropped the ball, not fate, not someone else, me.

So what are the reasons..........sometimes I am just lazy, sometimes I don't want to be a bother,do I deserve the success, too much sacrifice, I'll piss someone off, feelings will be hurt, takes too much time. Where does this all come from?

If it means enough to you and I that we make lists, set goals, and dream dreams then why do we stop ourselves from doing what it takes to get there. I think many times we just don't believe we're worth it. Where does that come from, that feeling of not being worthy? I teach that we are all incredible humans, and that we deserve goodness, that we should ask and receive. Yet, that nagging little voice, that sits on shoulders throughout the world, whispers and yells and at some point, we listen and believe it.

I am fascinated by those who set their sights on their goals and let seemingly nothing stand in their way. How do they do that? Is there some kool aide that you can drink that gives you that ability?

And after all of this, the yoga teacher in me whispers in my ear, and tells me I am exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I am suppose to do........that practice, meditation and breath work will get me where I want to go anywhere in life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Indoor Trees

Friday night, we moved from Indian Summer to winter......it's Alabama and often we miss fall and spring. Friday night the temperature dropped down into the twenties, so that meant ALL the plants had to be moved into the house. A mango tree, two avocado trees, a lemon tree, a grapefruit tree, and a ficus, ranging in height from six feet to about fifteen feet tall are back in the great room.
At first, I felt rather claustrophobic, we live in a cottage and no matter how much I prune these trees in the spring, they grow during the summer. Now we live in a cottage/forest. The trees form a canopy over the sofas, and it is actually quite cozy to sit in front of the fireplace, under a tree.

Of course, there are other plants that were moved inside. So, we have different levels of green forming paths throughout the living area. I now have several bruises because I have not
learned the new paths and I keep walking into furniture that is just not as visible as it was a few days ago.

One good thing about all the plants, we never have to worry about indoor pollution. If we turn the ceiling fan on, the leaves begin to sway in the breeze, it becomes a unique experience! I think I may wrap them with those little white twinkle lights, almost as good as being under the stars all the time.

I love my plants, and I gripe about all the work of caring for them, moving them in and out of doors, but I have to admit when it is freezing outside, sitting under a tree in front of a roaring fire, drinking hot chocolate is wonderful. I think the dogs love the trees too, they have all figured out new napping stations and no, not once have they ever hiked a leg!!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Have you ever recorded yourself? been in a recording studio? It is such a humbling experience.
When you hear the raw tracks, just your voice, no frills, in the empty space of the control room, it takes away any uppity thoughts of yourself right away.

It is such a strange thing, my obsession, my life long chase of music. When I sing, there is such indescribable joy, that there are thoughts that go through your head like, hey, I might be an ok singer........oh god, how could I ever think that, oh god what am I doing, oh god, I must be crazy.
Those are all thoughts that ran through my brain today, as we sat in the studio and listened to tracks we had recorded the past few weeks. To sit and listen to every phrase, of each take, note by note, word by word. To say it rattles your cage, is an understatement. If you were drunk, it would sober you up in a matter of seconds!

There has to be some confidence building before we go back, I am beginning to think that maybe I just like the pain. Ok, I know, I have to breathe, A LOT!!!!!
The process is exhilarating, draining, and let's add humbling to the list. By the time this is over, I may be paying all of you to buy a cd!!!!!!!!

So, send good thoughts, and loving energy to this project, pray that I don't harm myself or anyone else involved. Now I just need to find my courage and my sense of humor and maybe some small shred of dignity.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Grateful Friend

The nature of the beast......the nature of my job, new people come into my life almost every day.
Some are just pleasant hellos on the path of my life, a brief few weeks or days and they disappear down their own paths. With some, there is a fleeting friendship, a connection if you will, a genuine caring, and you hope and pray that maybe someday on down the road in a few short years, your paths will cross.

Fleeting friendships, I have had so many during my lifetime...... because of the type of jobs that I have had. But the wonderful thing about some of these friendships, they continued to grow and flourish way past the job. During my years at the Dallas Apparel Mart, even though I was there only a few short weeks each year, I have lasting loving friendships that have survived the distance.

I have friends all over the country that I have met through music, and even though we seldom see each other, the friendships have continued, and when our paths do cross, it is as though we just saw each other yesterday. It is the same with yoga, the many teachers that I have met in yoga trainings, several of those have continued, and thanks to blogs and continuing trainings, they will be there for a long time.

Now because of this blog, I have new friends.......never heard their voices, some, I have never even see their photo, but a connection has grown, a friendship if you will, because of thoughts and comments.

I have thought about my unique friendships often in the past few weeks. I have friends that I met in grade school and high school, friends that I have met as a couple with my husband.
One of my friends laughs and tell me that I am the Pied Piper of Friendships. What can I say,
I love my friends, I love the thoughts, the opinions, the talents and the stories of them all.
Each of them, have contributed and helped to form the person that I am today. They inspire
me, they teach me, they make me want to be a better person every day.

I owe all of these friends a debt of gratitude.......because they have all given so much to me in so many ways, I think I have short changed them. Many of them will never know that their call or note came when I need it the most. There is no way possible that I have given as much to my friends as they have given to me.

Tonight, I am so humbled by all your friendships, just in case tomorrow never comes, thank you for being there, for the moments, the hours, the days, the years, it doesn't matter the length of time....... it is an honor, a blessing and a sacred trust........this friendship that we share.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Have you ever noticed the invisible walls we build around us? You know the ones I'm talking about, we build them to create boundaries for relationships. The walls can be unique with each person in our life, but some of them are used for everyone.

Think about the person you think you know best, think about the person that you think knows you best..........now think about the walls between you. I hear people say they are an open book, but that is not true. Walls are our defenses, our safety nets. When you have been hurt or trust has been broken, walls are put up. And they are not always invisible, think about people who step back when you go in for a hug. About the ones who hug, but never say the words. The ones who will tell you about their day, but never their thoughts.

Walls are not always bad or always good, but sometimes we get so good at building them, we isolate ourselves from those around us. It's like insulation gone wild. I look at myself, I love meeting new people, hearing their stories, I find it fascinating......but honestly I had rather listen to someone else talk about themselves than tell someone about myself. Even writing this blog,
there are walls that I don't tear down.

There is an exercise I do in my yoga class sometimes, I talk about tearing away labels. About discarding the label of male, female, of sister, brother, husband, father, mother wife, doctor, teacher, etc. releasing all those labels until there is nothing there but the true self. I wonder how that would be with walls, if we began to tear down the walls, and kept tearing until there were no more walls between us and the people in our lives. Would it be unbearable, or would it be freedom?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I'm ok. That's how it has been today, not great not bad, but ok. I think it is a residue.......of fatigue, of sadness, just a little emptiness. We all have those/these days. And, it's ok to be ok.
Though to be honest, most days I am way past ok, to really good.

I feel a little out of sync, if that makes sense. Some good things have happened today and on down the road I will share them, but not tonight. Tonight seems to be a time for quiet, for stillness.
I think it is all about reflection and self-examination, I need to go inward.

It is time for a recharge of the spirit, a strengthening of soul. There is information to be processed, and contemplation of thoughts. This is one of those times when I would love to do a silent retreat.
No talking.

Not to worry, I am sure after a good night's sleep, all will be fine tomorrow. The weather is perfect, chilly and damp, the dogs will love a long walk in the morning. But for tonight,
this is the best I can do/give.

Goodnight, Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Five Years

Five years ago today my mother died. Her death was slow and difficult. She had dementia, not memory loss so much as confusion and anger. For the first couple of years after she passed I struggled with grief and anger and sadness. My sister and niece and I were her caregivers, along with another woman and her daughter. I had been her caregiver in a sense ever since my dad had passed away.

Ruby, that was my mother's name, never learned to drive. I have always worked unique jobs, so I have been lucky to have flexible hours in almost everything I have ever done. I was pretty much Ruby's driver. We did our grocery shopping together, our Christmas shopping together, I took her to most of her doctor's appointments, the hairdresser, etc. When she was eighty she had a heart attack. I was working in Dallas at the time.The attack had started the morning of the day I was coming home and she tried her best to wait on me so I could take her to the hospital. Sometime during the day, she realized that was not going to be an option so she called my sister-in-law who called the paramedics. When I got home from the airport around midnight that night, my husband and nephews told me what had happened.

Not long after that I quit my job and began what would eventually be my role as her caregiver.
I saw the symptoms of dementia before other family members did. They just thought it was old age, but I could see things taking place in my mother that went way beyond the aging process.

Her disease tore our family apart. For months before she died, I prayed for a miracle. That the disease would go away and our family would reunite before she passed. She became paranoid, mean and vicious and though, there was a part of me that knew it was the illness, it almost destroyed me too. For the last couple of years that she lived, almost daily I heard how ugly, how fat and how horrible I was. There were times she hit and screamed, and no matter how much logic, how much I told myself it was the illness, deep down inside there was a piece of me that believed what she said, because after all, she was my mother.

So here it is five years later, I still have nightmares about the day she died, I still miss her.
Our family, well nothing is the same, though many people have told me that after both parents die, that is usually the way it goes. I keep thinking I should write more about care giving for those of you who may be taking care of some one with dementia. I cried so many tears, and at times, begged God to let me die, that I just couldn't go on. I think that just this past year I have begun to regain myself. There for a while I was the walking dead, first physically exhausted, then emotionally drained, and then for the past couple of years, I couldn't remember who Jilda was. I lost all sense of self, starting with the outward appearance and thinking that I had become invisible.

My sense of renewal has continued, it really started in the spring, the turnaround. Everyday since, little by little I have reclaimed Jilda. I had always had a great sense of style, and I think that is back, my weight has leveled out, I look in the mirror now and I recognize ME!
It has been a very long five years. Today I still grieve for my mom, I miss her most during the holidays. I realized after she became sick that I had never been Christmas shopping without her. That is when I started shopping on line.

So, for those of you who may be existing in that strange limbo of hell right now, feel free to write me, find someone to talk with, and don't forget yourself. Once you lose yourself, it is very hard to find your way back.......I was lucky it only took five years, for some they never make it back.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Finding Purpose

Finding purpose, I get asked that alot and quite honestly, I ask myself that pretty often.
I think so many times that we are all guilty of allowing ourselves to drift. Finding purpose in our lives can be difficult, we have to do things we might not want to do, smile when we don't feel like smiling, and travel a path that has way too many curves and hills.

But when we have no purpose, when we ignore our purpose, it is like being lost at sea or adrift with no direction. Purpose gives us a reason to get up in the mornings, to pursue a sense of worth, to treasure our values. Purpose can be as simple as deciding to greet each person you meet with a smile or as complicated as dedicating your life to a calling of service to others.

When life gets hurried, when seemingly unsurmountable problems arise, most often our sense of purpose tends to drop off the radar screen. For me, when each day becomes jam packed, when
I have no time for stillness, I tend to lose my purpose, to forget it at times. Distractions, big and small, grab our thoughts, steal our time, and there we are , our purpose completely lost.

What is purpose? For me, purpose is the very reason I exist, that my life happened. All my life,
people have found comfort in talking with me, sharing with me. I have always tried my best to listen without judgement, not so much to advise, but just be there to hear their stories.
Living without judgement is hard and I fail at it so much, but I think it is a part of my purpose.
Creating and sharing music is a part of my purpose, teaching is a part of my purpose, I think writing this blog is a part of my purpose.

So purpose can have many dimensions, and I believe we all have multi purposes. Some of us are here to be great parents and rear children that are remarkable, some of us live lives that touch people all over the world, while others change the world with our deeds and no one ever knows it. Purpose can bring fame, and glory and it can bring heartache and sadness. Finding our purpose can lead us down a lonely road or take us on a crowded one way street. The second verse of the Tao talks about dualities......how the beautiful cannot exist without the ugly, the tall without the short, peace without war, .....I think finding our purpose is much like those dualities the Tao speaks of......purpose is important, yet it can take you in a direction you truly do not want to go. Purpose can make you feel like a saint, and then full of guilt, because maybe your purpose allowed you to help someone, while ignoring or hurting someone else.

So what answer do I have for finding purpose, I think you have to allow yourself stillness.
In the stillness, I believe purpose will reveal itself. I think purpose is something we are born with, and many of us cast it aside as we grow up. Maybe our purpose doesn't fit what our parents want for us, what we believe or see as success. Honestly, I think that some of us go to our graves, ignoring our purpose. But maybe even that in itself is purpose, maybe that was the lesson or reason we lived.