Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Concerts and Karaoke

I remember a concert I attended in Memphis the mid-1970's.  I remember it so well because I am not a regular concert goer.  It also stands out because the artist was Cat Stephens (and I loved his music) and because I felt so old.  I was about 30 at the time, but the other people at the concert were younger -- much, much younger (in outlook, if not in age).  I was an adult, with two young children at home, and had to be told that the sweet smoky aroma around me was marijuana.  I had never experienced the effect of thousands of cigarette lighters in a darkened arena, not to mention dodging Frisbees when the lights came back on.  I loved it -- absolutely loved it -- and felt younger at heart for a while.

I had the same feeling, and a similar experience, last week.  I attended an American Idol concert in Oklahoma City.  Our tickets were a retirement gift for my husband from his brother.  We usually watched Idol and then would predict who would get voted off each week.  We had our favorites, of course.  Mine were Casey and James; Tom really liked Haley and Lauren -- imagine that!

I looked forward to hearing Casey and James again, even though we were to be seated in the nosebleed section.  My brother-in-law showed us the arena plan and I was set all to watch the show on the oversized screens.  There was no way we could see the performers faces from where we would be sitting.

Mike decided we should try for a last-minute seat exchange and managed seats on the second row, center section.  I couldn't help but wonder at out good luck and did a quick Google search to see if there was anything negative about seats that close to the stage.  Nothing except the probability of having to stand throughout the concert and being on the receiving end of bodily fluids and other by-products of idol worship (American style).

I kept (tried to keep) my thoughts to myself  and determined that I would enjoy the concert as much as possible.  And I did enjoy the concert, except for the presence of my brother-in-law to my right, who blocked my view as he took dozens of photographs on his iPhone.  I can't blame him, though, because he paid for two sets of tickets (he wasn't able to dump the nosebleed tickets) and he loves to take photos (lots of photos).  I handed my phone to Tom and asked him to take a couple of Casey and James, which he did.  And I sat.  And I stood.  And I sat.  And I stood.  I loved hearing Casey, and stood all the way through anything James performed.  And I felt younger at heart for a while.  I feel younger at heart even now, as I write about it.  Maybe I'll go to another concert in 30 years or so!

Something else I have rare experience with is karaoke. I recently read an article in a local magazine about a young entrepreneur who has developed an app for smart phones. I remembered her from my daughter's Honor Choir days when they were both sweet little girls with the voices of angels. Now she has developed an app which translates into my having my own personal karaoke recorder. I downloaded LaDiDa to my phone and recorded my first song: It goes like this: "This is my song, this is my first song, probably not my last song, but this is my song." (Not very creative, am I?)

Sometimes I download apps and don't use them. I thought that this might be one of those. This time, though, I did find a very happy use for LaDiDa. On vacation, in Alabama, I showed it to my daughter and asked her to record something so she could see how it works, which she did (Patsy Cline's "Walking after Midnight".) Lovely! Part of the app is that you can save the songs and share them. I also asked my granddaughters to record some of the camp songs they were singing in the backseat of the car, after we picked them up from church camp. Wonderful!

When you use LaDiDa, you can choose different ways of recording and somehow, it adapts to your choices and to your voice (more or less successfully). You might want to try it for fun. (Search the app store for LaDiDa.)

As for me, the non-karaoke grandma, I'm happy for this app and for these songs now stored through my iPhone. I am now carrying around (once again) the voices of angels!



Friday, July 15, 2011

Adding Years to Our Lives and Life to our Years

I've been feeling at the mercy of outside forces recently.  My natural tendency is to let circumstances feed mental chaos, which leads me to a state of  "brain fog".  That's where I've been for a few weeks, with enough mental energy to check in and comment on Facebook, but not enough to sit down and post to my blog.  Many, many thanks to those of you who have visited here recently and apologies that you have found me "not at home".  I'm so grateful for those of you who are still around and I'm ready to join the blogging community again.  My brother recently asked me how many read my blog and my response was "not many", at least as compared to the thousands who visit some other blogs.  That's only part of the equation, though.  I know (as you do) that the other important thing is visiting others' blogs, making new friends, and gaining new insight.  That's why blogging will continue to be part of my life and why I'm happy to be back!

One thing that happened recently is two deaths in our extended family.  Both were beloved women who will be greatly missed. 

Terry was 62 -- much too young to die.  She was my former sister-in-law and we had lost contact during the years after her divorce.  I attended her funeral and was impressed by what her family members and friends said about her -- that she enjoyed her granddaughter's overnight visits, particularly racing through her home -- in her wheelchair.  That she was very important to a young woman who saw her as a mother figure.  That her nephew loved and appreciated her taking him in and loving him when he had nowhere else to go.

She had been in ill health for years.  I don't know all of the circumstances and I want to be clear that there is no judgement in my writing about her health.  She was overweight and so am I.  There are often consequences for being overweight and most likely, Terry's early death was one of them.  We know that statistically is often the case.

The other death in my family was my Aunt Lona Mae (Aunt Sister), who died recently at age 100.   I have posted about my aunt earlier; her life was one of good health, hard work, and involvement in her church, her family, her friends, and a concern for others.  She enjoyed life and lived it to the fullest.

During her funeral, many stories were told about Lona Mae.  Many were quite funny.  An example:  When she and my Uncle Jess were expecting their first child, they moved to a small home on a plot of land on her parent's farm.  One day, Jess went into town and ran into a local nurse, who told him that she was going to visit Lona Mae the next day, just to see how she was doing.  Jess went home and told Lona Mae that the nurse was coming and that she would check Lona Mae's blood pressure.  Lona Mae asked what checking her blood pressure meant; Jess responded, "I'm not sure, but you'd better take a bath."

A more recent story had the minister telling widowed Lona Mae that he thought it was time that she met a new man.  She told him that it would be difficult, because she liked older men and there weren't any around older than she was.

The same minister asked Lona Mae what her rules were for long life.  Her responses:
  • Have a routine.  Eat regular meals, get up and go to the bed at the same time.
  • Have a passion.  Lona Mae's was the Dorcas class at her church and the work they did for the community.
  • Stay away from doctors.
Her third rule was interesting.  Lona Mae was seldom ill and was healthy until a few months before she died at 100.  I think that she was able to stay away from doctors, for the most part, because she lived a life that contributed to good health.  She didn't let things upset her, she worked and played hard, and she ate good food (most of which she prepared herself, out of her garden's bounty.)  She had no bad health habits.  She had a circle of family, friends and neightbors who checked on her and participated in her life.  (She enjoyed playing cards regularly until the last weeks of her life.)

That's not to say that any of the rest of us would never need a doctor, even if we did live a healthy life.  But if I may expand on her words, "Stay away from doctors as much as possible (by being responsible for our own health) and seek medical help when you need it."  That would include all of the normal checkups that can keep us on track, and any of the medical procedures we might need because of circumstances beyond our control.  If we all followed these expanded rules, maybe it would also help with the crisis in health care our country faces.  At the very least, it might add years to our lives and life to our years!

Hoping for a long and healthy life for you and those whom you love,


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recently Read Fiction Favorites

  • A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
  • A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
  • Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
  • Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson
  • Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
  • Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos
  • Confessions of a Former Rock Queen by Kirk Bjornsgaard
  • Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
  • Faithful Place by Tana French
  • Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
  • Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
  • Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow
  • Innocent by Scott Turow
  • My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
  • Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  • Private Life by Jane Smiley
  • Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
  • Roses by Leila Meacham
  • Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos
  • So Much For That by Lionel Shriver
  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy
  • That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo
  • The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
  • The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
  • The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
  • The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
  • The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
  • The Sky Took Him by Donis Casey
  • The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
  • The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
  • The Wind Comes Sweeping by Marcia Preston
  • Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom
  • Wolf Hall by Hillary Mandel
  • World Without End by Ken Follett
  • Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks

Favorite Nonfiction and Memoir

  • All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
  • Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason by Nancy Pearl
  • Getting Over Getting Older by Lettie Cottin Pogrebin
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • Sharing the Journey: Women Reflecting on Life's Passages by Katherine Ball Ross
  • Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
  • The Children's Blizzard by David Laskin
  • The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
  • The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dustbowl by Timothy Egan