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loop. [merely-a-thought monday]

loop copy

i went back to take this picture.  i’m not quite sure why, but the word “loop” on the steps struck me as funny.  truth be told, it was a piece of information; on the metra steps in chicago it was directing us to the train that would take us toward the loop.

there was this time we visited My Boy in chicago.  we took the train down, got off at the ravenswood stop, and walked what seemed-like-miles dragging a rollie-bag behind us with all the ingredients for pasta and homemade sauce.  after a fun day together, we dragged our now-empty suitcase back to the train and waited on the platform for the train home, unwittingly sitting on the wrong side of the platform.  it was a mere two minutes before the train came that we realized our error and ran down the stairs, down the sidewalk, across the street against the traffic light and back up the other set of stairs to the right platform.  it was comical, i’m sure.  we couldn’t even pretend to be cool-calm-collected-experienced-aloofly-confident passengers.  we were total geeks, running for the train, laughing.  i’m sure there were signs (we saw them our next trip down) but we hadn’t noticed.  and so, the word “loop” on the steps made me laugh.  “northbound” on the steps would have helped.

music-in-its-written-form is kind of like this.  there are directions all over the place:  repeat signs, time signatures, words like coda, DC al fine, DS.  it’s a confusing mess for the newbie.  our ukulele band navigates this all the time now; we use lead sheets in lieu of just chord-and-lyric sheets.  we cheer each time we end the song at the same place and at the same time.  for the seasoned musician, these directions are run-of-the-mill; for the music editor, these directions save a lot of space and paper.  for the ukulele band, which now pays attention to these bits of directive material, it’s like writing “loop” on the steps.

it’s all just one big lesson in following directions, isn’t it?  i guess the key is laughter.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY -A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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the wisdom of lester. [merely a thought monday]

i'm trending copy

we have found that little bits of wisdom are all around us.  we were on the train to chicago when we encountered a wise man named lester.  he seemed a gentle soul, a big man with soft eyes, he was sitting across the aisle from us.  he talked to us about his life, about life in general. he had had a long day already, commuting by numerous trains in a circuitous route to go to a job interview; he wanted to make some changes and the interview he had been to was part of that.

he told us of a relationship he was in – nothing that was all that serious – but there was this woman….  the thing that stuck with us was his comment that in the morning as he awoke with her, she was on her phone….scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.  the early sun bright in the room, this lovely man by her side, she was endlessly looking on various social media platforms for what was trending.  “put down your phone,” he pleaded to the side of her that had forgotten he was even there.  “i’m trending.”

we’ve talked about presence before.  we’ve talked about being in the moment and not missing it.  we’ve talked about gratitude and time together.  we’ve talked about how fleeting time really is.  we’ve talked about relationship and listening and appreciating the place you are, the minute you are in.  and yet, in six words, lester said it better – “put down your phone.  i’m trending.”  wisdom indeed.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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for the new year. [merely a thought monday]

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on this day, the last day of 2018, i am deeply humbled and perspective-arranged reading the attached and feel that there is no way i could possibly add any wisdom or profound emotion to it – it is all there.   please.  read this writing:  A BRAVE AND STARTLING TRUTH

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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full tilt. [merely a thought monday]

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she sent us a video of her snowboarding with friends.  it was a crazy-good-full-tilt-snow-flying amazing video of them on a magnificently majestic mountain.  my heart literally sang watching it; you could feel the rush, the joy!  and then….there was this spoken line…at the end…My Girl, breathless from an outstanding run, with a laugh said, “my legs are tired; my heart is happy!”  this is how she lives.

i could stop writing right here, because that really says it all.  as we go full-tilt at these holidays, full-tilt at the end of this year, full-tilt toward a new year, full-tilt toward our goals and dreams and wishes, we believe that giving our all – and then some – brings us ever closer to that elusive place of “getting there.”

but at the bottom of that powder-run there were no medals; there was no bonus, no ribbon or gold watch.  there was something more precious.  and kirsten knew it.  there was the moment of running it, of sharing it, of living it.  the absolute euphoria that comes with just doing the best you can, and putting your body and soul into it, capturing the moments you soar.

may this holiday season – and really, all your days – bring you those moments.  at the bottom of the slope, on christmas eve when you are in a dark room with a lighted tree, on a day you gather with family and friends and look around grabbing a few seconds to store away for later, on a facetime with those most beloved to you, when you’ve put away the last dish or driven the last couple hundred miles, when you have gone full-tilt, i know you will be a little tired.  but it is my hope your heart will be happy.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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wondrous things. [merely a thought monday]

wondrous things copy

a couple of weeks ago i ran into a couple i hadn’t seen in many years.  they asked me about my children and how they were; i excitedly rambled on about them for several minutes, explaining where they were living – 20 hours west and 20 hours east – and what they were doing in life.  then they asked me how i was.  i said, “you can always gauge a mom’s happiness by how recently she last got to see her grown children.”  i was fortunate enough to see my daughter in november AND my son in november, so i was happy-happy-happy.  time spent with them. a wondrous thing.

i was perched on one edge and My Girl on another, a ways down the side of the canyon.  we yelled back and forth, listening to the echo, ultimately dissolving into laughter.  the beauty.  the joy.  the echo.  the laughing.  a wondrous thing.

it was not his best bowling day; the planets clearly were out of alignment for My Boy, who pretty much rocks at bowling and many other sports,  but he goofed around and cartooned and had us all laughing. so much fun on that lane.  a wondrous thing.

we stood around the piano and sang in my studio, wendy’s voice next to my own.  suddenly, that thing-that-happens-when-two-people-who-are-related-sing-together happened.  my sweet niece’s voice and mine had the same timbre and it took my breath away.  i had to stop for a moment to take it in.  a wondrous thing.

from the moment we walked into their house, my girlfriend-since-elementary-school and i laughed.  we told stories, reminisced, struggled to remember details, poured a little wine, shared some more.  our husbands sipped lemon drop martinis and we talked non-stop.  i wanted to stay longer, talk more, remember more.  so much of my growing-up-history was standing next to me, hugging me as we left.  a wondrous thing.

we don’t really leave the kitchen table when we are there.  we sit on high stools and the chatter starts as soon as we arrive.  our dear friends jen and brad and the two of us have potluck dinners on many friday nights; each couple has leftovers from the week and no one has to worry about cooking.  we just heat up our leftovers and plate them and talk, wine glasses (or a beer in brad’s case) in hand.  conversations about our children, our work, politics, travel, ukuleles, npr…the spectrum is wide and we relish the time that flies by; six hours later we glance at the clock pointing to post-midnight.  a wondrous thing.

as glorious as the high mountains, ocean-front waves, flowers birthing out of winter, exquisite melodies, the first sip of coffee in the morning, a magical snowfall, texts with heart emojis, a hand holding yours, finding an old note in your child’s little-kid handwriting, black and white pictures of your parents in young days, shooting stars and sunrises…the list of wondrous things we can see around us is endless…limitless…boundless…

and moments shared?  also endless…limitless…boundless…

and we get to embrace all these wondrous things.

read DAVID’S thoughts about WONDROUS THINGS

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no sides in climate. [merely a thought monday]

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we

WE live here.  on this beautiful planet earth.  we have inherited it from those before us and we will pass it on to those who live beyond us.  it is our responsibility to leave it as-good-as or better than we received it.  (my sweet momma’s teaching…in all things.)

our

OUR.  responsibility.  we cannot just take; we must give back.  and, as in all things, the things we learn must be applied, even if it’s hard, even if it’s inconvenient, even if it costs us, even if it won’t directly benefit us but will, alas, benefit those beyond us; our work, our diligence, our values, our dedication, our respect will transcend us.

the first thing The Girl did the morning before she drove back to the high mountains was to put her personal stamp on her new vehicle IVY.  she planned carefully where to place the two stickers on the far back passenger side window.  Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 10.11.11 AMthe POW sticker – protect our winters – a cause she believes in.  on their site, “Outdoor sports is a way for the public to understand the consequences of climate change, and what we stand to gain by stopping it, or lose by failing to.  We all need winter.” 

it’s bracing.  the changes OUR beloved planet is experiencing.  the changes in weather, the changes in resources, the changes, ultimately, in the way we will each live – all around the world. the questions of being able to grow ample food supply, have enough clean water, and sustain this – what is, by sheer comparison – tiny planet in the vastness of space.

i stood in the living room of the historic mining house My Girl lives in right in the middle of telluride, colorado and saw this poster on the wall.  each of the renters in this house, directly or indirectly, depends on the health of the outdoors in these high mountains for their livelihood.  who among us does not truly – when you trace all things back to their source – depend on the health of OUR environment?  NO SIDES IN CLIMATE.

everything we do or don’t do will affect this good earth.  who is it that said, “you don’t know what you have till you lose it”?  we take for granted that for which we should have the simplest and deepest of gratitude.

OUR earth.  were it not here, where would WE live?  how would SIDES matter?

read DAVID’S post this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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playing the same stuff. [merely a thought monday]

string bass with frame

just last saturday evening, out on cape cod, we lingered over seafood and glasses of wine with jonathan, our bass player.  we were sitting around his table, chatting about music.

he told us about a group of musicians he rehearses with on an irregular basis.  they play a wide variety of instruments and they all just gather casually together and jam on some “good music”.  “…and once in a while we play the same stuff…” he stated.  his voice trailed off as he thought about what he had just said and we all laughed.  we can picture a whole group of jonathans in the room – all exuberant and, each, lovers of all music, all pick-ready, mouthpiece-ready, reed-ready, hands-poised-over-the-keys-ready.  that kind of enthusiasm shouldn’t be curbed or restrained.  the sheer joy of playing – now that’s the reason to be all together.  it’s not about playing all the notes on the page, playing them all perfectly at the same time, playing them with no mistakes.  it’s about heart.  it’s about the breaths and the rests of silence, the flip-flop your heartbeat makes when soaring notes come together in a sweeping harmony, the tears you get in your eyes when something you just played or heard is sublimely sweet, dynamically touching, deeply resonant, the belly laugh with the ridiculously dissonant moment.

the ukulele sip ‘n strums are about just that.  if we can choose to teach anything at those sip ‘n strums, i would choose to teach just these things.  the things of joy.  music is all about individual hearts…coming together with the immense gift of twelve notes at our literal fingertips.  no matter what we play, we are playing the same stuff.

ukulele laughter

what playing music looks like.

christmas sing dec 7 sip n strum copy

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