The 9th All Time Best Song: From This Gypsy Soul!

mystic1I am a free-spirit, bohemian girl with a gypsy soul. So many years ago when I heard this great song come on the classic rock station in my hometown in California proclaiming, “I, want to rock your gypsy soul, just like back in the days of ore”, this song had me! It took me years to even find out what the name of it was or who sang it…. I just called it the “Rock your gypsy soul” song. Little did I know that my 2nd husband would share a hometown…. across the Atlantic, in Belfast, Northern Ireland with the great, talented and very famous composer and singer of this wonderful, soulful and what I call ‘mood’ song. Of course that would be the great, Van Morrison.  It is the kind of song that just puts you in a ‘mood’. It takes you to an open road, driving fast on a sunny day with the windows wide open and your arms hanging out the windows feeling free as a bird. For free-spirited, gypsy souls such as myself, this song just hits ‘that place’ so deep it is like a blanket warming you on a chilly winter evening.

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When Van crescendos that big, “I……….. want to rock your gypsy soul……”…. Oh! I just flutter! My gypsy soul still gets fluttered to this day. That is a plus having a health condition that sucks so much of the life out of me. I am a free spirited, frolicking, playful girl on the inside and this song reminds me of that! This song is timeless and still gets a lot of airtime on classic rock stations and the like. So won’t you take a few minutes and enjoy what I consider to be the 9th greatest song of all times, “Into The Mystic”, by the great Van Morrison.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0DJ8hWgNes

mystic3Until next time, K.

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The Countdown Resume’s: The 10th Best Song…. Ever! And, My Favorite Band, To Boot!

Coldplay1aI have a saying you may see from time to time…… I love Coldplay, they bumped Grateful Dead as my favorite band (to third with Metallica going to number two after falling madly in love with James Hetfield of Metallica). This saying is, they ‘took the role with me’.  So what does that mean? In late September 2010, after a (rare) NON stressful day at the diabetic call center I worked at, I was driving  home. My (then) one hour commute home, going 5 MPH under the speed limit, I was relaxing to the zen that is Coldplay and the song “Fix You”. I was about 5 minutes from home and my tire blew. My car started shaking and shuttering from side to side until I was over correcting. The next thing I knew I was on my roof…. sliding. It happened so fast, I did not even have time to be frightened to the extent I should have been! The whole time “….. lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones and I …. will fix you” played. So as I rolled, Coldplay played and I stayed calm. They are an amazing band and always were in my top five favorites but are now my number one all time favorite band. There are so many of their songs that are beyond great, but this particular song just stands out. It is not just my favorite Coldplay song, but I feel it is the 10th best song ever recorded! The video is great…. ‘if we could only go back and do it over’. Plus Chris Martin is pretty cute, he is! Gwyneth Paltrow is a lucky lady! 😉 So enjoy, “The Scientist”, by Coldplay….. and what will number nine be? You will have to wait and see! Until next time, K.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqWLpTKBFcU  coldplay3

 

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Rumor Has It!

gossip1aa

Before Facebook there was EZ Boards, AOL Instant Messaging and Chat Rooms. Remember those dinosaurs…. chat rooms? Now Facebook has a place where anyone can hang their hat. Whether you are interested in fishing, hunting, sports, photography, writing, music, dancing to having an issue such as an illness or special life-altering issue that the universe has thrown at you…. there is likely at least one Facebook page devoted to your cause or issue. Big into politics? There are plenty of pages. Are you nuts for a certain band or celebrity? They probably have numerous pages (trust me there!). That is a good thing, right? Well, it can be. Nonetheless, as I have  seen (as well as my husband Paul) over the years, when you get a lot of different people from around the world together and mix a lot of different personalities, there can be trouble ahead!

gossip7

First and foremost I want to make an official disclaimer: I have made some wonderful, true friends all over the world. I would not trade these friendships for anything. Also, there are wonderful and very helpful groups out there. In fact, the majority of groups are just that and I am thankful for the efficiently run groups which I am a member of! I do feel, however, there are groups for which the rules apply to some and are bent and/or do not apply to the ‘select few’. I am going to tell a story about a group that I gave my heart and soul to…. a group that I, at times, sat up all night when I had insomnia, giving ‘newbies’ comfort and advice….giving all that I had. When a new forum was opened for caregivers and those of us that were getting the care were allowed in (something I still do not understand) and a member was allowed to make a rude, degrading remark about me (actually naming me by name), all hell broke loose. Again, this is one group….. most are a great source of support, but this is a post on proceeding with caution when joining a group. The things I witnessed my last one to one and a half years in this group…. well…. let me tell you….

gossip2

Rumor has it! She said this! I heard you said that! “_____ said you said ______”. Does any of this sound or look familiar? If you have been out of school for more than five minutes then chances are you are working or have worked somewhere with a gossipy group of people. Working in an office with more than five people will set you up for the “GOSSIP MILL”.  On the internet it is the same practice only you do not have human contact; you have a machine, wires and space to separate you. This can set one up for a very dangerous scenario, indeed.

gossip3First, I want to make this clear, most groups on the internet are great!!!! Most are what they are intended for! They are there to support people that have an illness, a need, a hobby (for instance my husband is a black and white film photography enthusiast!…. talk about a remote hobby!) For those of us with chronic pain…. we are often labeled as ‘whiners’ and ‘complainers’…… we have ‘invisible illnesses’ and often find ourselves having to prove to the world that we are… well, sick. It is a hard enough walk this walk. We need support! So having groups and friends to turn to is paramount. However, within these groups are diverse personalities, political opinion, religious differences and even difference of opinions regarding the care of the very illnesses we all are gathered there for in the first place …. for the reason of a ‘safety net’. Most of the time it all works out. But I am going to tell you a story of one group that has seen drama after drama after drama after drama…. until the last drama found me as its casualty. The sad part? I was victim of a cyber bully breaking the very rules they so adamantly enforced.  When I asked two moderators to please enforce the rule and remove the comment, I found myself bounced out of another group…. a separate group, that I did no wrong in! The group they banned me from was a separate entity from the group in which the insulting comment was made. That would be like asking Kroger to fix an issue for you and getting banned from Food Lion!  Because I belong to several different groups that are run properly, with integrity, I will not me naming this group in this post, but you all know how to contact me!  😉

rumor2I had been a member of a forum on Facebook for four years…. four years I sat up all night at times, giving my time and love…. giving my advice and heart to others who needed a helping hand. This was a forum for those of us with chronic pain. The first two or so years it was great and run fairly and efficiently. There was one or two people that were not what I would call ‘warm and fuzzy’ but you are going to have that anywhere. I have always gotten along well in social media situations…. never having a problem. I was a member of other forums with no problem and still am and I want to make that very clear….. this is a problem I see but it is very *rare*. In any event, the first two years went well but them some people began to join that were ‘trouble makers’ of sorts. I don’t really know another way to put it. I witnessed as people began to talk behind others backs (I know because people personal messaged me about ‘her’ and ‘her’ and ‘him’). I tried to just ‘maintain’ and not get involved.

drama_freeThen there was this…. well jerk….. who was all about MM. Okay, here is where I stand on pot. Frankly, I think it should be legal. It is no worse (and in a lot of cases less harmful) than booze, it has awesome pain control benefits and to be honest, it is natural. It is made by God and God put it here for a reason: perhaps that reason was so we have a ‘natural pain killer’. For someone like me who is also very anxious, it helps calm nerves, etc. I can also say, I have never used it. Not even as a teen. Never. As a kid I was the ‘brainy nerd’. Though I did attend my share of keg parties, I never dabbled in drugs. I got married and started having my kids young. The rest, as they say, is history. This guy pushed and pushed…. articles, studies, opinions… it was all about MM and down with every other (legal) script. Oh and his ego; it needed its own zip code. Now I don’t disagree with him, but the bottom line is this; it is not legal. If he wants to take the chance and use it fine. Do not, however, push something illegal on me and furthermore suggest I risk losing my pain contract to take part in this (illegal) activity. One thing led to another and he got removed from the forum and things settled down. For a short while. There was, however, the continued talking behind peoples back, that never stopped. I hate talking behind peoples backs…. just hate it. I saw this go on, so I made the decision on my own, with the suggestion of my therapist, to distance myself from the group.

rumor4Around the first of the year was a very dark and difficult time for me. I hit a very low spot. It got even lower when someone in the group whom had gotten very close to me, well, bailed on me. Yep, when I needed friends the most, when I supported her (when she had gone through really tough times parenting a special needs child who was being bullied), I had listened, stood by her, gave her advice and told her to stand her ground! I told her how beautiful and wonderful she and her daughter were. I told her not to let that school turn a blind eye to the injustice that was taking place. I listened and supported. I was a friend as a friend should be. When I needed a friend in my hour of need? She split. Left. She could not take it. No, she decided it was ‘all too much’ and just ‘could not handle it’. She wanted all I could give her, but when I needed someone to lean on, the road did not go the other way. In a nutshell? She broke my heart. As a woman with trust issues who spent the first 1/2 of my life being told I was a ‘mistake’, ‘stupid’ and ‘unworthy’, the last thing I needed was someone to pull a stunt like this. I did, however, survive. It taught me to be very careful of the friends I made online and when I did make a friend online to proceed with caution and to not give too much of my heart at a time. B*E*W*A*R*E!!!!!!

rumor1

 

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Recently, a group was started for ‘caregivers’ of , well, us with chronic health issues. Great idea, right? Only, the ones with the medical issues were allowed in the group. Now I know my hubby….. he is not going to open up about something about me and my illness (that might hurt me) if he thinks I might see it. He also had seen the dodgy moderating over the years (the way the rules were not enforced for some and so strictly enforced for others). So Paul really did not participate.  There was husband of a woman who was very melodramatic from the time she joined about 2 years ago (she was also BFF’s with the forum’s owner so it seems they could get away with talking politics, etc. breaking the rules when they wanted), who always seemed to be going through ‘so much more’ than everyone else. I HELPED him out a LOT at first. I took a LOT of my TIME to give him advice on issues he was having. It seems he had free access to speak politics and gun control (a huge NO NO! in both forums!). Why? Because 1. he and his wife were going through an ‘extra rough’ time (but we all are going through a rough time in one way or another!) and 2. his wife and the owner of the forum are BFF’s! So lets see, it was like this….. he could run his mouth till the cows come home about these subjects, but God forbid any of the rest of us even say as much as, “AMEN”! Seriously! A lady got fussed at for saying Amen! No joke! So a few days ago I read a post where he was apologizing if he ‘offended anyone’ (I guess someone … NOT ME….complained about him talking politics/guns). And then instead of just zipping it up like he should, he stated, “But if I ‘enlightened’ anyone……”. As my husband says, “That is like saying, ‘I am sorry, but I am still right’.”  The funny thing? He and I don’t really differ on our opinions on the 2nd amendment. I would die to uphold the right to bear arms! I just don’t think any civilian has any business owning a machine gun! I also do not think a forum on chronic pain… that states in the rules, “No talking politics or political agendas” should have that allowed. Period. I stated to him, “D. That enlightenment statement does offend me. This is not the place to talk politics or guns. There are plenty of forums if you want to talk those subjects. We are here to 100% support you for what you are going through. But this is not the place for political discussions.” I do not think what I said was mean and I think it was mature and to the point… along with, well, being right. It was in the rules…. rules “marked” to the top of the page on both the regular and the caregiver forum marked by “Mary” one of the mods, to “READ, READ, READ!!!!!!” so we would be sure and follow the rules.  I was not prepared for what was about to follow!

message1aa

Yes, this was part of a message and while the writer could do with going back and taking a basic English class, the more glaring, clear problem was that the rules did apply to everyone else, but not him and certainly not his wife….. BFF of the forum owner. Seeing that I simply had (gently) reminded him this was a forum for caretakers of people with chronic pain and not a political forum, this gave him carte blanche to rip me up! What was more disturbing…. knowing the owner of the forum would do nothing…. I and my husband (a them member of this forum) took to sending two of the moderators messages. We just wanted this one sentence removed. Knowing this family was going through extra rough times, we did not see any sense in tearing down the whole post…. something Facebook would do if it was reported to them. I picked two of what I considered to be the most efficient… and trustworthy moderators. I was half right. One, a good friend, did what she could. When you are, however, standing up against a wave of abuse, there is little you can do. The other? He had been what I thought was a ‘real good guy’. Someone who told the newbies of the other forum… the one for those in crisis and pain that this was an ‘non-judgmental’ place. He always said this was a safe and caring place….. not! He ended up just being one of ‘the boys’ and did nothing!  A hero of mine died, right then and right there. I asked nothing more of him. I did, all the same, write him one last message, asking him not to lie to people and tell them it was a safe, place that did not judge people because that was the farthest thing from the truth! The bully won the battle… but not the war.

rumorhasit In the end, with no one to help me or back me up, I had to report the post to Facebook. It was a hateful, unjustifiable comment. It did not take but a few hours for someone at Facebook…. someone with unclouded eyes to see this post was wrong. Sadly, the entire post was pulled…. not what we wanted or asked for. If the owner and/or moderators had just run the forum as it was supposed to be run in the first place following the rules this would have never been allowed to stay and none of this would have ever happened. It gets worse! I got booted from BOTH groups! My crime? I was just trying to follow the rules and defend myself against a comment. I was bullied! And it was allowed! This is like some sick and crazy ‘house of horrors’ with all its ridiculous smoke and mirrors and no one can be trusted! It is like a crazy nightmare you cannot get out of! When you do show it to a neutral set of eyes, it does not take them long to see that it is wrong!

Most groups are fine. Most groups on social media set forth rules and the members follow them. Sure, dramas erupt here and there and are efficiently put out. All the same, when a blind eye is turned to outright insulting and worse….. when it is brought to the attention of those in charge, and nothing is done to correct what is wrong…… well, the person in charge needs to take a long, hard look at their motives and really search their soul: “Am I doing this for the greater good or should I perhaps have a smaller private group?” I think the answer is crystal clear!

gossip5  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_6BBAVfzqM

Until next time, when I will resume with the top ten songs!, K.

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The 11th Greatest Song Ever and Boy Is This Song GOOD!

the-weight the band

What I consider to be the 11th greatest song ever is an amazing song from an amazing time! This song is from my ‘wonder years’ and really takes me back to a time and a place that words defy. I always said God placed me in just the right spot, however, if I could have picked just one other era to be a part of, coming of age in the late 1960’s/ early 1970’s would have been a great runner up! I would have made a great hippie! OH! How I would have loved to have been a part of Woodstock.

“The Weight” has been in countless movies. The song is almost an entity in itself and ‘Crazy Chester’, in part, is how my big orange cat got his name. Music is so much more than just putting notes together to make a song. Music is about transcending time and space and taking you back to a place or making you part of a story that is being told. “The Weight” takes me back to those few years in my childhood that actually were good. All the same, no song gets to be on as many soundtracks as “The Weight” as been on unless it is one of the best songs of all time.

This post is dedicated to the victims and families of the tragic bombings in Boston. Please know that we stand united and our love and prayers are with you.

This is also dedicated …. as the one year anniversary…. to Levon Helm. Your gift of music will live on forever!

I present two videos: the first is the band  with just the song and a collection of pictures. I tried to get a video at Woodstock but the two I found, both the links were broken. 🙁 The second video is an amazing, powerful and emotional cover version done at The Grammy Awards with a collection of wonderful artists. So enjoy, the 11th best song of all time, “The Weight”. What will the top ten songs be? You will just have to find out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmRDM7GyJXE

and the cover version at The Grammy Awards

It is not great quality, but it was the only full version I could find. 🙁 Still….. good stuff and Mavis Staples… that woman has SOUL!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yunfRRZXRuc

Until next time, K.

 

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Countdown Number 12th Best Song: Perfect For The Easter Season

The countdown continues with what I have picked as the twenty five all time best songs. This song comes just in time as we just had Easter Sunday. For Christians, this song will move you to tears if you have not heard it before.

Funny……. Christians that partake in any sort of performance ministry….. chorus, band, drama, dancing, reading, etc. during”Holy Week: many actually call it “hell week” 🙂 because of the grueling rehearsals and practice that is involved in getting prepared. When I was a practicing Catholic involved heavily in the music ministry, for Catholics especially Holy Week is like the “World Series” for Christians. For the church I am involved in now, Parkway Wesleyan, it is quite similar. Parkway has an excellent music, dance, drama and everything else in between team to bring life to music and skits and help tell stories in ways that enthrall and embrace each member of the church.  How could it not be? It is God’s promise to us…. the ultimate sacrifice. He gave us His son, to die a horrible, agonizing and beyond comprehension, brutal death….. after being beat to a pulp, then put on a cross to die. That old rugged cross. Christ was up there, nailed to it, suffering for hours, maybe even a day or two all for you and me. My mind cannot contain it. So many people just give Him the ‘middle finger’. I am not without sin. In fact I have committed some pretty hefty ones in my time. God, nonetheless, has not only forgiven but forgotten. However, we cannot do the same for each? We disown each other, we hold grudges and  just act all around hateful. Sad. 🙁 That is not what Easter was all about and certainly not what Christ bore our sins for.

In any event, I am counting down songs here and this is my ‘light and fun blog’ with the occasional serious side. So, here you go, the song I feel this is the best Christian song that exists. Though “Amazing Grace” is, well, amazing. It certainly will be on my honorable mention chart, this song just takes my breath away. The video is the same.

Oh and just a couple things: first, depending where you are on your walk with Christ….. I cannot listen to this song without tearing up…. I cannot watch the video without crying. Also there are a couple brief short spots some might consider slightly ‘graphic’ though compared to what is on TV these days is really nothing. I just wanted to give forewarning because I do not want to be accused of showing a ‘graphic’ video without any sort of disclaimer.

So here you go, what I consider to be the best Christian song of all time and the 12th best song of all time, “My Redeemer Lives”, by Nicole C Mullen   Until next time, K.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p4G2GbPYQA

 

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Countdown #13: Gritty, Real and Oh, So Sexy!

I truly feel blessed to have been born in what I consider to be the most colorful year of the 20th century, 1963. I truly feel it is, in part, what makes me the firecracker I am. I believe God makes us all unique creations, but boy, was He experimenting when He created me. So many things happened that year. I feel that there are things that transcend our understanding. For instance, my college mentor’s daughter was born on the day JKF was assassinated and when she grew up, she became a political science major in college.  I may be quirky, but my heart is always in the right place and I am happy with me. It has taken me years to arrive at this place.

The Beatles Vs. The Rolling Stones. It is the all time challenge. I love them both! It is kind of like asking me who I would route for if  The Raiders were playing The Steelers. I would really be in a pickle. I would not loose but how would I pick? If backed into a corner, I would have to go with The Raiders because of my California roots and my love for the Bay Area (They were the Oakland Raiders, moved for a while, then moved back to Oakland). So if pressed, yes, I would pick the Stones by a mosquitoes eyelash!

I picked this song for a variety of reasons. As a musician and singer (who has lost my voice to fibromyalgia), I look at the quality of the music. I look at the feeling….. what does this song do for me? Does it make me cry…. feel…. transport me to a place or time? Does it tell a story in three minutes the same way a Hollywood film would in two hours? The song I picked does all this and more. This song transports me to the late 1960’s/ early 1970’s. I would have made such a great hippie! If I could have picked one other time and place to have lived and come to age, it would have been then. However, I was just a small child during those years. One month shy of my 6th birthday, I remember clearly Neil Armstrong taking those first steps on the moon! My parents told me, “Remember this Kelli Lynn, you will tell you kids and Grandchildren someday about this”. And remember as clear as if it were yesterday. I remember watching on that big console TV those first steps on the moon, my Mom, Dad, Grandma and Uncle David all glued to the TV in awe. Those were the days! If only now we could listen to what they said back in those days…. ‘give peace a chance’, ‘make love not war’, etc.  and not bicker and get nothing resolved.

This song is gritty….. it is real…… and to me, it is one of the sexiest songs there is. Romantic songs are great for slow dances and slow kisses. But when it is sizzling hot…. this song has me! Whoooooza…. I mean there is nothing like this song for mega sizzle. Besides that: it is perfect for the time. The video I chose is perfect. So sit back and enjoy the 13th best song of all time, “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones. Until next time, K.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3rnxQBizoU

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Countdown #14: Southern Rock At It’s Finest!

No! I am not ‘going native’. After nearly seventeen years as a honorary southerner and being raised as a third generation “Texan”…. my Grandparents and company migrated from Texas in the late 1930’s to the Bakersfield, CA area for hopes of a better life. Of course I had to be the one to mess all their hard work up and move all the way back to the east coast (I have always tended to be the reject…. the black sheep…. the non-conformist). I will say, be that as it may, I am painfully homesick for California just about every waking moment. The south….. Georgia and South Carolina… is the place where my great-great-great Grandparents on my paternal Grandmother’s side first settled from Britain in the late 1700’s. For my paternal Grandfather’s ancestors, they came during the potato famine of Ireland in the 1800’s. On my mother’s side her Dutch ancestors came from Holland in the mid 1800’s, landing in South Carolina. Even her Italian (biological) Mother was southern, being born and raised in Alabama. So each and every one of my Forefathers / Mothers got off the boat south of the Mason-Dixon line. Other than the fact that I vote blue in political elections and most of the southern states tend to lean red, I relate much more to the south than I do the north. Now this is not in any way, shape or form an insult to my northern friends or readers. About 75% of it is weather. I simply am not a cold weather girl. I despise winter. I am ‘allergic’ to snow. Driving on ice is like ice-skating with your car. Nothing about winter is fun except Christmas and if you add in the stress that the money, commercialism and amount of things that need getting done factor in, one could argue that even Christmas is not so ‘fun’ anymore. Of course, when you have Grandchildren, that does change things a good deal.  I do like Virginia three months out of the year…. Autumn. The leaves do not change colors in Bakersfield. They get brown and die in winter …. all six weeks of it…. and then by Valentines Day, the trees are budding again. Also, I know, love and adore some wonderful people from the north. It is just not ‘my’ lifestyle.

Nonetheless whether southern was in my roots or not, the song that I chose as being the 14th greatest song of all time is one that I think everyone loves. How can you not? This song makes you want to get up and dance! It takes me back to my childhood! It kicks up memories of “Run Forest, Run!”. Most of all it is by one of the greatest rock groups of all time and two of my other favorite songs are also by this group (but not musically strong enough to make the ‘best of the 25’ list). Even so, these other two songs will make my ‘honorable mention’ list when my count down concludes.

“Sweet Home Alabama” always makes me think of the scene from one of my favorite movies, “Con Air” in which the oh-so brilliant Steve Buscemi’s character says, “Define irony. Bunch of idiots dancing on a plane to a song made famous by a band that died in a plane crash.” This is while the convicts are dancing and singing during the song while in flight. What is sad is the circumstances that made writing this line possible. On October 20, 1977, the bands chartered airplane ran out of fuel and crashed in a forest near Gillsburg, Mississippi. The crash killed Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines (siblings), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray. All were killed on impact. Other band members and road crew suffered serious injuries. Lynyrd Skynyrd has reunited and still sing and tour. However, Ronnie Van Zant will always be the voice of the band in my opinion. So I chose an older video of a live performance. Enjoy my pick for the 14th all time best song, “Sweet Home Alabama”. Until next time. K.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eECO5dlVh8

 

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Countdown Resumes #15; Sensual, Meaningful and Insightful!

My pick for the fifteenth all time favorite song is another song hailed by critics alike as one of the best songs of all time. Taking us back to the hazy days of the 1960’s, this song is extremely sensual, very meaningful and even holds insight for me today as a patient of chronic pain. These lyrics:

Gazing at people, some hand in hand,
Just what I’m going through they can’t understand.
Some try to tell me, thoughts they cannot defend

They perfectly define what all chronic pain patients go through. We gaze at people who do not suffer from pain and wonder/ remember what it is like to be normal. Those who tell us how we should feel or to ‘suck it up’…. those are thoughts they cannot defend. It is funny how a rock ballad/ love song can have two separate and very powerful meanings. For me, all the same, this song is first and foremost a love song. A rock ballad. Timeless. Amazing. Sensual. So my pick for the 15th best song of all time is, “Nights In White Satin” By “Moody Blues”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGFVkM-2XO8

I ACTUALLY HAD THIS VERY RECORD! MY YOUNGEST DAUGHTER NOW HAS ALL MY VINYL. IT IS AROUND; IT IS STILL AROUND.

 

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Special Post: Gut Reaction Nashville Style!

By far, the best new show of the season is “Nashville”. This show has something for everyone. It has good music, good soap lines for the women, suspense for the men, addiction, pain, love, trucks, dogs and what else goes with all that? A good country song, of course! Seriously, however, “Nashville” has touched on many different areas in its first season. I can hardly wait to see where this show goes!

The cast is superb. Connie Britton is a woman after my own heart. I feel her pain. I understand too well the whoas of aging in a society that says ‘aging just ain’t cool’. We must age with grace! We must get this cream and that cream to fight off those pesky wrinkles! Forty is the new thirty and fifty is the new forty!  Her character, Rayna Jaymes is a country superstar and legend whose sales are starting to bobble a bit. Enter one Juliette Barnes, played by the amazing Hayden Panettiere (talk about feeling old, I watched this little dynamo ‘grow up’ on my now defunct ‘One Life To Live’ when she played Sarah Roberts). Juliette is a teenage superstar and super-diva aka pain in the ‘back-side’. At first she appears superficial, however, there is much more to Juliette than meets the eye.

So what could a young teen super diva and myself have in common? We are both the children of addiction. Both Juliette and myself have/had mothers that were/are addicted to alcohol and that with Juliette’s Mother, played by Sylvia Jeffries,  other drugs as well. I said this show was good. If it did not have me before, it has me now. It is spot on too. Children of addiction are notoriously hard on ourselves. We feel we do not have the right to happiness. Her character reels a young and handsome but deeply religious football player in only to leave him at the altar. I never got quite why and I really don’t think Juliette did either. We feel guilt, anxiety, confusion. We can be in a big room full of people and be as lonely as if we were the only person on earth. We are embarrassed. I used to get embarrassed because my Mom would show up at my chorus concerts and plays crocked. It was awful. The truth is, I think I was the only one who knew it.  We feel angry… anger at the alcoholic for not ‘loving us enough’ to get sober and anger at the other parent for not protecting us against the addicted parent. This is a slam dunk for me. I carried this anger for many years but about eight years ago let go and wrote my Mom a letter forgiving her and forgiving my Dad who admitted he should have gotten me out of the situation. He did not know ‘how bad’ it really was and he, himself, felt great guilt over this. I reassured him that I was no longer carrying any anger and no longer living in the past. Living in the past did no one any good. Forgiveness is freeing! Living in the past is not productive. We are guaranteed only the very moment we live in and possibly the future. These are the the times we should work on. Wallowing in the blame game of  what my parent did to me may explain some of my own mistakes, howbeit, it is not constructive to being a better me now or in the future. I am convinced one of the writers is the child of addiction. There is no other way to get it this spot on!

This past weekend I was home sick. So I was the ultimate couch potato and catching up on my stacked DVR. When you spend your life with a chronic condition, viruses such as the common cold or things like a tooth abscess / recovering from a pretty wicked oral surgery  hit you twice as hard and twice as long. Rest is imperative. Sunday was my husband, cat cuddles, the couch, me and the ‘boob tube’. We got caught up on our “Nashville”. The most recent episode was one in which Juliette was to throw Deacon, played by the oh so fine Charles Esten… (a real good guy)… a surprise birthday party. Now they warned Juliette that Deacon did not like parties. He stays home every year on his birthday and watches “Old Yeller”. Despite this warning, Juliette proceeded with the party. She was bound and determined this man was going to have the shin dig of his life.  Her Mother just got out of a successful stay in re-hab and is living with Juliette (I praise “Juliette” for this! How wonderful to be able to take this step, but much work is left to be done).  The addiction counselor  said it was very important for her to take part in family counseling. He said with his many tries at staying clean, it was not until his family got involved that he was able to finally beat this demon. Juliette said she signed the checks and that was proof enough she was ‘doing her part’. She proceeded with planning the party.  Juliette asked her mother if she was strong enough to attend a party where alcohol would be served. Her mother said she would be able to attend…. and in fact Deacon was a long time recovering alcoholic who was helping Juliette and her mother with this go at recovery. It took him five times to get sober. Notwithstanding, he did get sober on stay number five.

The night of the party arrived and Deacon was surprisingly receptive to his party. Things were going well until Juliette’s Mom accepted a glass of champagne and pan to the next scene and she is passed out in a back room of the club. Deacon took Juliette back there and offered to help them home but Juliette insisted she would take care of her Mother while Deacon stayed and enjoyed his birthday party. Juliette would get her Mother home and asked made sure her Mothers addictions counselor was notified. Rayna (who is going through a divorce) proceeded to play a beautiful, longing song. While the song was playing, it panned to the different characters side stories, including Juliette getting her Mom into bed. I was not in any way, shape or form prepared for what was to come next. It hit me like a piano hurling from a high rise in New York City. Juliette’s Mom said, “I am sorry about your party baby”. I don’t remember the exact words that Juliette said. It was something to the effect of, “It’s OK Mama, Deacon is having fun….” something to basically say the party was not ruined, everyone was having fun and virtually did not notice what happened. Her mother said, “No, I don’t mean that, I mean your 9th birthday” (paraphrased).

Here is the scene! I was actually able to find it on you tube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUMZqKMK2YE

It caught me like a howling, freezing wind. It took the breathe out of me. It was a moment delayed, but instant at the same time. It was real. Unexpected. And it totally came out of left field. I clasped my face and from the gut it started. It was that kind of cry you cry from the depths of your soul. The kind that vibrates. It comes from so deep within, you are sure the seismic reading at VA Tech is picking it up. Paul paused it and just let me cry it out. I could not talk, all I could do was cry…. and cry….. and cry…… and cry. I cried for the little girl whose mother threw her parties but was drunk at each and every one of them. I cried for the little girl who just wanted her mother NOT to drink for that one night. I cried because I so, so got it. Part of me cries for reasons unknown. I mean this was one serious emotional reaction. I think, however, most important, I cried for the one thing I never heard; “I’m sorry”. My Mother died from her addiction to alcohol and the details surrounding her death are the saddest, most pitiful thing you would ever hear. Out of respect to her memory, I will keep those details forever to myself. There was never even an admittance that she had a problem. There was never one single go at rehab. I cried for myself and all parents who have tried and are still trying to better ourselves but it goes unnoticed by one or more of our own children. I have made huge progress in the last decade and I am still a work in progress and probably will be until God calls me Home. I am trying! For me, for my family and most important to be the child of God that He wants me to be. I just wanted my Mom to get help for her addiction…. no list of conditions. No eggshells to walk over. Just one thing; break the addiction.  Juliette welcomed the addiction counselor in, explaining her Mom was ‘sleeping it off’. They spoke about her ninth birthday. She had never had a party and her Mom was going to throw her a party at a ice cream parlor. About three days before the day, her Mom spent the money on booze/drugs and there would be no party after all. She took her little nine year old self and left. When she returned, her mother was asleep with a lit cigarette still in hand. An ash had fallen on the floor and was starting to ember a bit. She thought hard about just leaving again but put it out. She told the counselor she wanted her to die. I remember wanting to be one of “The Brady Bunch” or wanting to be a sister to my friend I will call “S”. “S” was a late in life baby but her parents were some of the sweetest people I  have ever known. When I spent the night over at her house it was like, “Wow”, “This is what it is like to live in a normal family”. “S” envied me because I had such a young, “fun” Mom. Little did she know underneath that fun was a bottle of chenin blanc. Juliette then asked the addiction counselor, “Do you really think you can help us?” He said, “Yes, I can.” I commend her for being receptive. It is noteworthy she sees her mothers efforts. If only real life were like a television show script.

It took nearly ten minutes for me to get that bombshell out of my system. It struck a nerve so deep. Rayna singing her new, beautiful and very powerful song really added a punch. Music has a way of transporting you to a different level.  However, we finally resumed the show and watched the rest with a very lighthearted and cute ending. In any event, this episode of “Nashville” will never be erased from my memory. I am glad they have this story-line. It explains a lot about why Juliette is the diva and pain in the back-side she is. Underneath is a lost little girl. I can relate so very much. I am far from my teen years, but I am still a lost little girl in so many ways. I have many other bad things in my past I am dealing with so I have a layer of demons to slay. I am slaying them, nevertheless, one demon at a time. Thank you “Nashville” for bringing us more than “The Grand Ole Opry” meets “Days Of Our Lives”. Thank you for bringing us a show that has a layer of wonderful story-lines that are filled with fun, music and real-life struggles. TV can be a mindless wasteland or a powerful tool. I choose wisely.  Until next time. K.

**** I would like to dedicate this post to all children of addiction. The walk we walk is unlike any other. It affects our life in every aspect and no other person can possibly understand. May your days be bright and your load be light. May your journey be blessed and may you find your happy place. I hope and pray we all find our way. God Bless. K.

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Countdown Continues! Number 16!

This song goes way back. At fear of dating myself, this tune was performed by my favorite group all through my High School and my young adult years. They made some awesome music and many young adults today as well as teenagers still listen to this groups mark on the music world. I learned to slow dance to this song as well as the tribute it pays to my favorite city in the world, San Francisco, CA…. a city with its own weather pattern.

There is no place like San Francisco. The city by the bay comes alive with a eclectic mix of sights, sounds, smells and cultures. You can be in uptown culture, and in ‘China’ the next moment. You can walk along the water with the sweet smell of the saltwater tickling your senses while the brick buildings near the wharf stand sturdy like a scene from a movie set. So here is my pick for the sixteenth best all time song ever! “Lights” by Journey. I have to smile when I see the video. I realize I miss this time. I was young. I worked hard. I played hard.  I got good grades. I had fun with my friends. I was OH SO boy crazy (surprise, surprise!) 😉  and I was a good girl, but I did kiss a lot of boys….I had nine…. yes nine steady boyfriends in High School…. most from other schools. When I went home to bury my Mom in 2011 and picked up my Uncle… for real Mexican food, a reprieve from the absolute tragedy of a sixty seven year old woman leaving this world far too early….. I asked him where did all the cruisers go as we drove downtown Mexicali Restaraunt. It was, after all, a Friday night in Bakersfield. I met my sweetest boys there…. had my best flirts and had SO, oh SO much fun with my friends. But this particular night, it was as deserted as Death Valley in July. He said that Bakersfield had passed a law many years ago banning cruising from Chester Avenue! No! Oh the times…. the sweet times. No, no…. they were not bad at all.

YES! THAT IS ME IN 1981!

See these are the things music does for us. It takes us to a time and place like nothing else can. It can take you right back to 1981 and plant your firm, next to your crush of the month and make your heart skip a beat. It can make you stamp and shout at fate because your celebrity crush was born twenty days before you and grew up his entire life just two hours down the road. Did he get influence from Journey?  1981 was the very year that Metallica formed! Yes, “Lights” will always be one of the most special songs to me. It transcends time and space. Enjoy! Until next time. K.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIRkowObTQM

 

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