Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Poetry Month post for my Sweet Sugar Max

April is National Poetry Month and I always try to share at least one poem with my friends and family either through a blog or a post on social media. I have always loved poetry but I also understand that some just don't get it. It makes me a bit sad for them and has often caused me to try and rally the resistant masses and help them learn to love (or at least gain a small appreciation of) poetry. I've even written poetry to help champion this cause and if you're interested, you can read those poems HERE.

This April has been particularly difficult. The sudden death of my 18 year old nephew has me heartbroken but resolute. I will miss him the rest of my life but I am determined to live, love and feel as much as I can since he can no longer do those things. My nephew, Max, was a gifted individual. Having been burdened with high functioning Aspberger's syndrome [1], he was also blessed with a talent for music and art.

Because of Max's love for music, I have decided to share lyrics (poetry set to music, in my opinion) to honor the memory of my sweet Sugar Max and to share some of his talent with those who choose to read and listen. The way I hear music changed forever when my nephew left this world. Although music has always been a huge part of our lives with my entire family, I listen to songs I have loved for years and wonder, "Why didn't I ever share that song with Max? He would have loved it and I would have loved to hear him sing it." The lyric poem I am sharing is one of those I wish I had shared with him. Not only is it one I have loved for decades, the words are poignantly relevant and speak to the loss my family feels so deeply.

If These Walls Could Speak by Jimmy Webb (recorded first by the great Glen Campbell)

If these old walls, if these old walls could speak
What a tale they'd have to tell, hard headed people raisin' hell
A couple in love livin' week to week
Rooms full of laughter, if these old walls could speak

If these old halls, if hallowed halls could talk
These would have a tale to tell, the sun goin' down and dinner bells
And children playin' at hide and seek
From floor to rafters, if these old walls could speak

They would tell you that I'm sorry
For bein' cold and blind and weak
They would tell you that it's only
That I have a stubborn streak
If these walls could speak

If these old fashioned window panes were eyes
I guess they would have seen it all
Each little tear and sigh and footfall
And every dream that we came to seek or followed after
If these walls could speak

They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay
Here's someone who really loves you
Don't ever go away
That's what these walls would say

They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay
Here's someone who really loves you
Don't ever go away
That's what these walls would say

That's what these walls would say
That's what these walls would say

If you are still not feeling the lyrical poetry love, here's a great recording of Glen and Jimmy from their album, In Session which I recommend you find it and listen to the entire's solid gold!

Fortunately for his family and friends, Max (short for Maxwell) posted several short videos of himself singing and playing the guitar. I visit and listen often and have come to view his instagram account as my very own Mirror of Erised. [If you're not a Potterhead, that's a nerd reference to something from the Sorcerer's Stone]
Feel free to listen to my Sugar Max. He's not even been gone a month and it feels like an eternity so far.

A post shared by maxwell cookie (@cookmax64) on

A post shared by maxwell cookie (@cookmax64) on

A post shared by maxwell cookie (@cookmax64) on

A post shared by maxwell cookie (@cookmax64) on

A post shared by maxwell cookie (@cookmax64) on

A post shared by maxwell cookie (@cookmax64) on

A post shared by maxwell cookie (@cookmax64) on

1. As a toddler and young child, before Max was diagnosed but had peculiarities unlike any of his siblings. He didn't like to wear underwear, citing when he could speak that the elastic band bothered him. He would complain that the water of a shower hurt and when siblings would respond to him in a normal tone of voice he would say, "quit shouting".

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: The Year the Music Died?

I'm not sure if I can adequately express just how great a role music has played in my life. I often talk about the soundtrack of my life and the songs that are inextricably woven with my memories and how certain songs immediately conjure up those memories. Although neither of my parents played any instruments, both were/are consummate music lovers. In February, my Poppy passed away and as I've always been a daddy's girl, it seemed as though part of me passed away also. Consequently, 2016 was a very difficult year for me.

Although one often feels that time grinds to a crawl when experiencing grief, time wasn't standing still and after losing my Poppy, any loss seemed much more personal to me as I was immersed in my grief. Several musicians that shaped my memories and the soundtrack of my life during my teen-aged years through the 80s passed away. David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Prince, George Michael and Debbie Reynolds all impacted my life in different ways through their music and I'm so glad they shared that music with the rest of us. 

[Side note: Although she isn't a musician, Carrie Fisher should be added to this list. I was at lunch with nieces and nephews to whom I have done my best to instill a love for all things Star Wars when I first heard of her passing and I just cried. In 1977, A New Hope was the first "grown up" movie I saw in a theatre on the big screen. From that first chord of the amazing orchestration to seeing that hologram of the first female action hero I'd pretend to be while playing to the destruction of the Deathstar.....this film was life changing for me. May the Force be with her and with us all!]

Just as I was beginning to think that maybe the music really HAD died, I started to think back over all the wonderful memories of me and my Poppy as I was growing up and that soundtrack started to play in the background. Faintly, but it was there. Just as time marches on, the band plays on as well. 

Although my new year won't feel like it has started until February 5th, I hope that all of you are surrounded by love and light and you have music blasting that makes you smile and want to shake your booty off! Remember, until our time is done, we're adding on to that soundtrack of our lives. Make it great, make it memorable and make it SING! 



Tomorrow I will post the track list from Vol I, Soundtrack of my Life: the early years (songs and memories of my Poppy)!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Virtual Mix Tape- Vol. 4, Part 1 Summer Jams!

 I was discussing summer songs with a friend about a month ago. You know those songs that always take you back to that certain summer every time you hear it on the radio. She was lamenting how now that she was an adult, the summer song seemed to have become a thing of the past. I told her that for me, the only thing that had changed with summer songs was how they came about. When I was young and carefree and spent my days hanging out with friends, laying out by the pool, driving with the windows down in the cool of the night with the radio blaring; my summer song had chosen me. Now that the days of summer breaks are long gone, I find have to be the one to choose my summer song. That's just the way life changes and evolves and it doesn't make my summer song any less memorable. With that in mind, I offer the fourth installment of my virtual mix tapes....full of summer songs past and present. All of these songs are tied up with so many great summer memories, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Forever- Haim

Your Love- The Outfield

Forever Yellow Skies- The Cranberries

Steal My Sunshine- Len

Breakfast at Tiffany's- Deep Blue Something

Chandelier- Sia

Ray of Light- Madonna

Free Fallin- Tom Petty

Raspberry Beret- Prince

No video with music available, click HERE for a Spotify link

Beautiful Day- U2

The Tide is High- Blondie

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Dream Man- 25 Years after Getting Ready for Greatness

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Say Anything and that is tantamount to a national holiday in my eyes! (See what I did there?) This evening I am snuggling in and watching my all-time favorite movie for the ga-zillionth time.

After 25 years I can say with even more enthusiasm than ever that Lloyd Dobler is still my dream man.

I've written about Lloyd and Say Anything many times over the years (you can read a past blog about this subject HERE) and I couldn't let this milestone pass without writing about it once again. My wise lovey mom has always said, "The reasons I fell in love with your dad are not the reasons I love him today" and the same can be said for my love of Lloyd. What starry-eyed teen wouldn't swoon when Lloyd kicks the glass out of Diane's way while walking her home or be able to resist that iconic image of Lloyd holding up the boombox while blasting "In Your Eyes"?

But, the reasons I fell in love with Lloyd are not the same reasons I love him today.

As an adult, what I love about Lloyd is his confidence. As he contemplates his future beyond graduation he's confident that he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life aside from kickboxing ("the sport of the future"). When someone asks him how it happened that Diane was his date to their graduation party he confidently explains, "I'm Lloyd Dobler!" And when Diane's father asks him about his plans for the future, Lloyd confidently explains that he plans to spend as much time with his daughter as possible.

Coupled with that confidence is his unassuming strength. [On the outside chance that you've been living under a rock for 25 years, I must say, "spoiler alert!"] Knowing that Diane will regret leaving the country if she doesn't make some sort of effort to reconcile with her father (a man who has made no secret about his disdain for Lloyd), he hand delivers a letter to him when she thinks she can't face him yet.

And, 25 years later, I also really dig the fact that Lloyd showed that he's got an ear for great music as evidenced by the then-little-known Red Hot Chili Peppers playing in his car at the beginning of the movie.

Thank you, Cameron Crowe for 25 years of greatness!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Aging Parents

In the past few months, I've realized that my not having raised any children has put me at a distinct disadvantage for caring for my aging parents. Make no mistake, my parents aren't in need of full-time care, but there are many things that I have tried to start helping with because they should be able to take it easier as they get older. The list of things they have reluctantly relinquished to me is quite short but I'm hoping these small things will ease the way for when we have to tackle the really BIG things.

That brings me to this morning.

My mother is in Texas helping my sister. When she was preparing to leave, her only instruction for me was, "Make sure your father eats." Easy enough! That's already one less instruction than given in Gremlins and we know how that turned out. Oh! That's right........they had two simple instructions to follow and they failed miserably. Still, I only have the one instruction and I'm a pretty decent cook, so I've got this!

......or maybe not.

Last night I asked my father what he wanted for dinner. He said, "Oh, I've already eaten". Well, the first night is going smoothly! He's an adult and he's already fed himself. I think to myself with an imagined fist pump, "Sweet! This is going to be cakewalk!" I make myself some dinner and that's the smooth end to day one of making sure my father eats.

This morning as I'm preparing to leave for work, I hear my father come in from taking the dog out. He has no idea that I'm in the next room and I hear him talking to the dog. [By the way, talking to the dog is a totally common occurrence and in no way illustrates any diminished mental capabilities.]

"Well, Mollie, if Papa passes out are you going to be able to help him?"
[Silence from the dog]
"You can bark for help, right?"
[More silence from the dog]

Since Mollie doesn't seem willing to help, I step into the room and he looks up at me like a 5 year old who got caught doing something.

"Ummmmmm......did you tell Mollie you thought you might pass out?"
"Oh, I'm just feeling dizzy", he said.
"Did you stand up too fast?" I ask trying to determine WHY he's feeling dizzy.
"No, I was feeling dizzy before I got out of bed."

Well, that makes it better........NOT!

Since he will be home alone once I leave for my workday [except for Mollie, who seemed reluctant to offer her best Lassie impersonation should he pass out or fall down a well], I decide I need to wait until the dizziness subsides so I don't come home to him passed out on the floor with a bump on his noggin!

I ask more questions trying to determine what's causing the dizziness and my fact finding leads me to this question:

"What did you have for dinner last night?" [Remember, the easy first night when he told me he's already eaten dinner? Wait for it.......]


"Excuse me? You had popcorn for dinner? What did you have for lunch?"
"I didn't have time for lunch yesterday."

And, there you have it! No lunch and popcorn for dinner. I send a text my first client and tell her I'll be late so I can make my father some breakfast. As I start to the kitchen I hear him say, "I can just drive to the donut shop and get some breakfast."

Seriously?!? You just told the dog you might pass out and you think you should get in your truck and drive? This must be the equivalent of what a baby might say if he could talk as he crawls towards the electrical outlet! "I'll be fine! You go on to work! I'm just going to crawl over and lick this electrical outlet".

Needless to say, I made him some breakfast and left him with instructions to EAT LUNCH!

Only one instruction! How hard can that be?