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Archive for July 13th, 2007

There’s been a lot of painting going around in my house recently. About a month ago, my son and I painted his room. This week, my daughter decided to add someK Room color to the “moolatte” base coat of paint in her room (see picture). And tonight I painted over a deep blue wall in my living room, changing it to a dark olive green to better go with a new sofa and chair that I’ve purchased. At last! A sofa wide and long enough to actually nap on!

Through all this painting my cat, Sawyer, has been super curious about what these brushes and rollers actually do. Fortunately he hasn’t stuck his nose or paws in the paint tray, but he’s come close.

A new coat of paint. It’s therapy. It’s renewal. It’s like starting over in so many ways.

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As I often do, I came across a new word today – one that I was unfamliar with (well at least unfamiliar with this form of the word). Still, the word rang loudly for me and so I’m including it here.

Um-bra-geous: 1) affording or forming shade; shady; or 2) easily offended, irritable.

Her umbrageousness was mystifying to someone who worked so hard to understand every nuance of her being.

I’m often amused by people who get so physically and visually angry in places like the checkout line. Yeah, life may be too short to get your adrenaline rushing over the 80-year-old counting out the exact change to pay her bill at Target, but life is also too short to let the heart beat wildly over such things.

Ditch your umbrageous attitude and focus on the tranquility surrounding you versus the perceived rush you force yourself to be in.

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Music permeates my entire life. It has for…well, for as long as I can remember.

As a tot, I grew up listening to songs on my mom’s hi-fi stereo that sat prominently on the buffet in the dining room.  Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Ray Charles and numerous other stars of the day would come through the speakers direct from AM radio station KICD in Spencer, Iowa. I believed these artists were actually in town and performing at the radio station just for that three-and-a-half minutes it took to sing Walk The Line or By The Time I Get to Phoenix.   When we took family trips in the 1973 Ford Econoline van with wall-to-wall blue shag carpeting, we listened to 8-track tapes. Music of the 60s and 70s – my dad loved jazz saxophone like the kind played by Boots Randolph and my mom loved piano backing up any religious song.  For Christmas one year I received my own Panasonic cassette tape player/recorder and began buying tapes whenever I could afford them.

Then and now, I continue to find myself glued to a certain song.  The songs vary depending on the time of year, time of daysteveperry.jpgsteveperry.jpg and my own mood. But some event or memory or article will catch my eye or ear and pull me toward an artist like an on-ramp pulls a black Ford Mustang with a big V8 engine down onto the freeway. By the time I hit the merge lane, the car stereo is thumping that one song and I’ll play it over and over and over again. 

Steve PerryI was 16 when MTV aired its first minute, playing “Video Killed the Radio Star.” In those early years of MTV (I’m guessing 1981 or ’82), one of the mega groups of all time, Journey, found itself on tour. It was the new network’s first effort to air a live concert. Or maybe it wasn’t live, but only recorded live, I don’t recall.  The VJs hyped the broadcast for what seemed like weeks and then the night arrived.

Joining several high school friends, we crowded around a television, cranked the volume and watched and listened to Steve Perry, Neal Schone and the rest of the band sing hit after hit after hit. We were awestruck because in Nowhereville, Iowa, the closest Journey would come on tour was Chicago some 10 hours away. Bottom line, if not for MTV, we’d never see Journey in a televised “live” format…ever. This was my first concert and even though watched on TV, it was momentous.

So what was it? What was the trigger that sent Journey songs rolling through my memory bank recently? It wasn’t the finale of “The Sopranos” in which they used “Don’t Stop Believin'” as the screen faded to black.  I never watched a single episode of that show and had no clue until recently how it ended.  In fact, I don’t know what brought on this little trip down Journey lane, but I downloaded one of their shortest known songs, “Stay Awhile,” when I visited iTunes about a month ago, and finally burned that song and a dozen others to a CD that sat unplayed in my car until a week ago.

Monday it found its way into the CD player and I’ve replayed that specific track more than two dozens times in the past four days. In fact, it prompted me to go back to iTunes and buy a couple of Journey albums in their entirety. I won’t go into a review of why Journey is one of the all-time greatest bands on the planet. It’s just the music of my teenage years that seems as timeless today as it did the first time I ever heard “Lights,” or “Stone in Love,” or “Be Good to Yourself.”

The power music has throughout our lives never ceases to amaze me…especially when the pop/rock bands of the ’80s creep back through the speakers and I begin singing along…at least until a car pulls up next to me at a stop light when my vocalizations turn to humming.

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