Category Archives: Dawes

Alphabet Soup Challenge: E is for Ears and a little bit of Everything Else

I have a bit of a complex about my ears.

They stick out too much. They are too big for my head.

This complex was reinforced by my mom.

Before leaving for my high school graduation photo shoot, Bonnie put scotch tape in her purse along with the little sticks of spearmint flavored gum and lipstick stained tissues I would always find in there when I was being snoopy.

Her plan was to use the tape to secure my ears closer to my head.

My badly permed hair was cut short around my ears, but with just enough hair to cover the top of each ear, as was the style back in 1984.

Bonnie’s perspective was that not MacGyvering my ears with scotch tape for this once in a lifetime photo opportunity would mean that I wouldn’t look as pretty as I could. Having friends and relatives see a photo with my natural ears sticking out as they did (and still do) would in some way be offensive.

I of course was humiliated to have this attention paid to my over-sized auditory appendages but I went along with it. “Mom knows best” and all that I guess.

Now I can look back at this story and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

It doesn’t matter if my ears are too big and stick out. It never did. They serve a great purpose for me. They work. They allow me to listen to the music I love. They allow me to hear my kids’ and Hubs’ voices. Our 6 year old grandson’s sweet voice. They alert me of danger. And they allow me to wear pretty, dangly, sparkly earrings whenever I want to.

My goofy looking ears allow me to do the one thing I enjoy doing the very most: Engage. And that is Everything.

Speaking of “Everything”, here’s a clip of a favorite song of mine and Hubs’ which we had the pleasure of listening to via the NPR channel on our Sirius XM during our road trip to the Midwest last month.

ENJOY!

Music Therapy

So here’s the thing: I haven’t written a post in a while because I’ve been in an emotional funk. Between worrying about my aging parents way far away in Northern Minnesota and the struggles my young adult children are facing, I haven’t been feeling my usual “pollyannish” self. Plus I came down with a nasty upper respiratory infection which didn’t help matters. My primary purpose for keeping this blog is to put positive energy out there. I’ve hesitated to post this last week or so because of my crummy mood as of late. But today I did something just for me. Something that feeds my soul like nothing else. That “something” is music therapy.

I’ve always been into music. Growing up, I remember spending large chunks of time in my bedroom, listening to my favorite albums on my turntable. Just listening, and pondering the lyrics and delighting in the melodies.  Like the Eagles Greatest Hits. Or the Beatles. Or even the old 70’s mellow tunes from the band Bread. Sometimes, I’d sing along to the Grease soundtrack. Or I’d dance around my room listening to the Kinks, Men at Work, or Michael Jackson.  The best thing about all of this music is that it made me feel. It made me stop overthinking everything and calmed my soul. Music continues to have that magical power over me.

A couple of months ago, I discovered how to create my own playlists via Google Play. I have created several playlists for myself since then. I have them categorized according to the moods I wish to create. Today, I chose to listen to my “CFO” (Chill the F out) playlist. I chose the songs on this playlist for the memories they evoke, the way they soothe me to the core. Now, on this particular playlist, there are a total of 27 songs. I respect my readers time, so I will choose to not gush over each and every one of them. I will simply highlight the ones that sang to my heart most deeply today.

“Way Over Yonder” is a beautiful song by the fabulous singer/songwriter Carole King. My oh my, how I love her songwriting abilities. This song can be found on her iconic “Tapestry” album. When I listen to this song, it makes me think of what “The Great Beyond” (aka heaven) would be like. One of the best lines (IMHO) is in the song is “Maybe tomorrow I’ll find my way to the land where the honey runs in rivers each day”.  This song is like the musical version of butter to me: soft, real, and smooth.

Likely John Denver’s most well known and loved songs is “Rocky Mountain High”. It has special meaning to me, having moved from Wisconsin to Colorado 7 months ago. The line “He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before”. Wow. The simple beauty of that line and this entire song always brings tears of joy to my eyes.

Then there’s Jackson Browne’s “Pretender”. I believe Jackson Browne is right at the top of the best American singer/songwriters. I love how the melody of this song draws me in right away, making me feel as if I want to physically move forward and walk alongside him as he tells me this story. He sings this song from the perspective of an American blue collar worker and weaves details in his lyrics (like “when the morning sun comes streaming in, I get up and do it again. Amen” or “caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender”) that bring to my mind all of the hardworking men I know, such as the hubs, our dad’s, brothers in law, nephews, cousins and old friends. And then there’s the sweet, romantic, authentic line of “I’m gonna find myself a girl who can show me what laughter means, and we’ll fill in the missing colors in each other’s paint by number schemes”. This is just a classic American song and it will always be one of my favorites.

Please do yourself a favor and listen to “Flower” by Amos Lee. Simply gorgeous. The melody is so smooth and silky. It is, to me, the perfect song to listen to while driving around on a warm spring or summer day with the windows rolled down. It reminds me of when I was working as a social worker in La Crosse, jamming out in my good old Honda CRV between visits with my clients. My favorite line in the song is “my heart is a flower that blooms every hour, I believe in the power of love”. This is a song that will most certainly brighten up my mood no matter the circumstances.

Then there’s a Paul Simon (oh how I adore him) classic: Still Crazy After All These Years. The line he sings “and we talked about some old times and drank ourselves some beers, still crazy after all these years” brings back so many happy memories spending time with those special, treasured friends I’ve known since forever. Makes me wax nostalgic about shenanigans we engaged in together, often after drinking ourselves some beers (and not the delicious craft beers we drink now, more like Pabst Blue Ribbon or Schmidt “pseudo” beer).

“A Little Bit of Everything” is a most special song which is also on my CFO playlist. It’s written and performed by Dawes, a band out of California whom I discovered probably 4 years ago. This one for me is right up there with “Pretender” , with it’s emotionally honest lyrics. I have forced many people in my life to stop what they are doing and simply listen to this song. It always brings on the waterworks for me. It even made my mom cry.  It tells the story of different people going through their lives and declaring what’s important to them at the soul level. Every time I listen to it, I get a mental image of the story. That’s some powerful songwriting. I only wish Dawes would have made a video for this song. It would have been epic. Possibly the best line is ” I think that love is so much easier than you realize, if you can give yourself to someone, then you should”. Then there’s the line “I want a little bit of everything. The biscuits and the beans. Whatever helps me to forget about the things that brought me to my knees”.

All I can say is I am grateful I have working ears, a beating heart, and the blessing of time to listen to and appreciate my music. It fills my soul like nothing else. 20170329_143953