Category Archives: Inspire

Time is my Frenemy

Time.

Full disclosure: I’ve become really good at wasting it.  Like getting myself sucked into what others are doing or trying to sell on Facebook. Like watching too much t.v. I seem to be battling time every day on some level, which stresses me out. There’s just so darn much I want to do with my time that I end up sabotaging myself with my own indecisiveness.

In the scheme of things, however, time is kind of on my side, as the Rolling Stones tell me. As anyone who has been following my blog knows, I continue to be a free agent. As in, not participating in paid employment of any kind.

I truly have nothing to legitimately complain about here. 

That said, I am 50.  While I generally don’t feel my age, physically, but especially mentally, there it is. I am most certainly not a spring chicken. However, if I live to be 80, I’ve still lived more than half of my life at this point in time.  On the up side (and you know I’m all about the up side), I’ve got 30 hopefully healthy more years to go. I can still have big plans. A new career, even. I could go to clown college. I could become a professional bartender. I could become a teacher. Life, aka the universe,  will no doubt intervene to provide me with unexpected curveballs. Because the universe excels at this. I like to believe that when this happens,  I will adjust my sails, conquer the obstacles, and re-negotiate the steps I’m taking to get to wherever it is I am going.

The below image could very well fall into the category of  “When we make plans, God laughs”. So be it. I’m going to latch onto it nonetheless, because it is, ultimately, a positive affirmation that serves as a reminder to me that I am indeed in charge of my life, and my daily schedule. It’s all about making thoughtful, responsible, and wise choices every single day about what I spend my time on. Essentially, making friends with time. And being willing and able to use whatever self-piloting skills I have developed in this life to get through the turbulence.

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Monday Music Musings: Covers

I’m not generally much of a fan of song re-makes, aka covers. I prefer originality in my musical artists. It often appears to me that an artist is simply trying to make a buck the easiest way possible when they churn out their version of a classic song. It frequently feels disingenuous to me.

But, that said, I believe firmly that there are always exceptions to every rule. 

I could provide examples of truly terrible renditions of original songs but that would be negative and pointless. Instead, I’m going to highlight a few covers that IMHO are so well done that they might even surpass the original version. 

I also have proposals for original songs that I believe should be re-imagined by new artists. But first things first:

Killing me Softly-Originally sung by Roberta Flack with such vulnerability it brings tears to my eyes. The Fugees had quite a different, but very cool take on it:

Fugees killing it

Sweet Child ‘O Mine-Originally performed by Guns ‘n Roses. A classic rock and roll song from my younger days with one of the best guitar openings ever thanks to Slash. There’s a newer version that caught my attention while I was watching the movie “Captain Fantastic” (quirky, unconventional movie about a unique but lovable family which I highly recommend). This version is very stripped down and all about the harmony. And it’s freaking beautiful. Check it out:

Guitar Man-This song was originally performed by the 70’s mellow rock band, Bread. Growing up, I always loved it. I loved the melody and the story it told. Last year, I heard a much different, but quite brilliant version of this song by CAKE, a band of which I am especially fond. No one sounds like this band, no matter what the song is. Noone.

Guitar Man by CAKE

Sara Smile-To me, this has always been an absolutely gorgeous song, originally performed by the great pop duo, Hall and Oates. Hubs is a huge fan of the music of Joan Osborne (from “What if God was One of Us” fame). She crafted it into a sultry, soulful serenade yet didn’t stray far at all from the original version, for which I give her much credit.

Sara Smile by Joan Osborne

Sunny-Originally performed by Bobby Hebb back in 1966. It’s a sweet, simple, jazzy pop confection that stands the test of time. However, the version by Bryan Adams, which I first discovered watching Scandal (that scene with Olivia and Jake on a beach far away from their normally scandalous lives), elevates it to a new level thanks to the gravelly vocals of Mr. Adams. Btw, Shonda Rhimes and her crew are geniuses when it comes to choosing the right songs for the right scenes, especially in Scandal. 

Sunny by Bryan Adams

Proposals for new covers that my songbrain would so love to hear and see:

Imagine a cover of this song being done by, say, the Foo Fighters or Green Day. It would be so very timely given the political unrest in Trump’s America. Perhaps this could be the opening song for a televised fundraising event for the #resist movement? Or sales of this cover could directly go to the #resist movement? Or Planned Parenthood?

A Little Good News, originally performed by Anne Murray. This song is perhaps even more relevant today than it was when it came out in 1983. I would love to see a version of this (perhaps as part of the above mentioned televised fundraising event for the #resist movement?), with Anne Murray, along with Jewel, and the Dixie Chicks. How cool would that be?

 

Practicing the 3 D’s

In the summer of 2016, Hubs and I had just moved to Colorado and settled into an apartment in Boulder while searching for a home to buy. We had decided prior to moving that I would take a break from paid employment. We didn’t determine how long this break would be, however.

We busied ourselves with the job of finding the right house, exploring the wonders of Boulder, and shopping for new furniture (we had a massive garage sale before leaving Wisconsin, greatly reducing the amount of stuff we had accumulated over the years).

Then once we found and moved into our new home at the end of August, we busied ourselves with unpacking boxes, finding the perfect placement for our new furniture and wall art, and familiarizing ourselves with life in our new townhome community.

Over the following several months, while starting this blog, joining a new church, settling in to a new weekly volunteer gig, and making new friends, I found myself referring to this period in my life as my “gap year”. And I wholeheartedly admit that I have milked this time for all its worth. If you find yourself financially able, unsatisfied professionally, and middle aged, I highly recommend taking a “gap year” to sort yourself out. 

The big epiphany here, for me right now,  is that my “gap year” is beginning to exceed it’s time limit. In other words, I have come to the conclusion that it is now time for me to expand my horizons. 

I’m going to start my job search, folks. In earnest.

Making this decision brings to mind words I found written in pastel colored chalk while on a morning walk in August 2016, while still living in Boulder.

Desire. Determination. Discipline.

I do believe these big and important words were submerged in my subconscious this past year. I had a great desire to pursue blogging. I had the determination to go ahead and start this blog. And I had the discipline to pen posts on a regular basis-3 times per week, with the exception of the weeks when we were out of town or hosting company in our new Colorado abode.

Now is the time for me to move these big, important words from my subconscious to my brain’s frontal lobe on a daily basis.

Do I have the desire to find employment? Yes.

Do I have the determination to find employment? Most certainly. In fact, once this post is published I will immediately be checking for jobs on Indeed.com. Fact is, my ulterior motive for creating this post is to enhance my personal accountability for this endeavor. 

Do I have the discipline to find employment? I like to think I do. I believe the fact that I’ve made the decisions to get my arse in gear, make a daily to-do list upon waking each morning, and then complete each task before the day is done (top on the list is searching for jobs and filling out applications), exemplifies my self-discipline.

 

Islamorada, the trip of a Lifetime

For most of our married life, Hubs and I aspired to take a dream vacation to a tropical locale. I think the seed was planted in our romantic brains when we were newlyweds and adopted the Beach Boys song “Kokomo” as our anthem.

 

When times got tough like when our two spawn were expressing their teenage angst by slamming bedroom doors or reminding us how many days till they turned 18 when they could fly out of our godforsaken coop,  or when the demands of work and keeping our home functioning in good order amped up our stress levels, we would often partake of sharing our daydreams of the perfect beachy vacation for two.

Funnily enough, and despite the lyrics of this song clearly commanding us to visit the Florida Keys, this was not actually our first choice. We first considered a trip to Hawaii (still very much on my travel bucket list). That was determined a “no go” once we saw how long the flight would be and how freaking expensive it would also be. I mean, we had surely saved up ample money over the years for this vacay, but we were most certainly not willing to spend the bulk of it on a flight to get to and fro.

That’s when we did a little search on the Internet and found Islamorada. We booked 4 nights at Ocean House, a small but beautiful resort with great amenities, the best of which was the close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico.

Their couldn’t have been a better location for us to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. For reals. 

This vacation was beyond wonderful. The staff greeted us upon our arrival with a cold adult beverage and chatted with us about where we were from and what types of experiences we wished to have while in Islamorada. The cabin we stayed in was spic and span and featured a sliding glass door that led to a covered patio, complete with two oversized lounging chairs overlooking the property and the Gulf just beyond it. We seriously enjoyed our personally delivered breakfasts of fresh fruit cups, freshly made  pastries, and hot coffee each morning while lounging in these chairs, pondering that day’s itinerary.

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Looking at the Gulf on Ocean House property

During the day, we spent time lollygagging on the beach at the Ocean House and swimming in their spacious pool. At night we would sit around the fire pit on the property and chat with other couples vacationing there from places like New York state and the U.K. Or we’d take a soak in the hot tub, which was next to that beautiful pool.

When we were feeling more adventurous, we went out exploring the Keys, like the day we swam with the dolphins or the day we visited Key West and got our picture taken next to the southern most point in America. Or the day we went on a charter boat for some deep sea fishing.

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Hubs looking fine with his dimples and new hat while deep sea fishing
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So glad we got this pic. God only knows why I felt the need to carry such a big purse.

Since this vacation, Hubs and I have often talked about going back there someday. We aren’t necessarily the type of people who vacation at the same places we’ve been to before. Because we like exploring places that are brand new to us, together. We think it makes life much more interesting. However, Islamorada is one of two places (the other being Washington D.C. but it almost doesn’t count because Hubs has to go there twice a year for work and I’m a really good “tagalonger”) we both would happily visit again.

Except it wouldn’t be as magical or special as it was the first time. It just wouldn’t. Especially now. 

Present Day Islamorada

Hurricanes suck. Climate change sucks. My heart goes out to all of the people living there now. I am eternally grateful that Hubs and I got to experience it when we did.

I am equally grateful that despite the horrific damage Irma left in it’s wake, the dolphins seemed to have come out unscathed.

Theater of the Sea animals safe

 

 

 

Work in progress

So, for the last several months, I’ve been randomly coming up with ideas for blog posts. I keep them in my draft folder under the title “Great Big Writing Ideas”.  It has come in handy for me when I am plumb out of ideas of what to write about.

Today is one of those days. I’ve got bupkis. Just fleeting thoughts about songs or artists I want to share my appreciation of. Or op-eds I’ve read that I have my own take on. But nothing that feels really right. Nothing that flips my switch, so to speak.

So instead of picking one topic, artist, or political opinion (I suspect my readers may be getting tired of me and my political opinions and frankly I might be too), I’m going to share with you snippets of ideas and in some cases just thoughts, feelings, or personal affirmations which I’ve jotted down in my draft folder.

Lily T

6/27:

Write from the heart.

Pixar’s next blockbuster: How the body is the clean up crew. The bad guy is the disease. The heros are the doctors, scientists, and some politicians.

 

7/6/17:

My purpose is to inspire and empower!

The path is fraught with unknown obstacles and dangers.

Follow your curiosity for Pete’s sake…

8/4/17

New mantra : You are not in a hurry.

8/8:

Next blog post: The entertainment I would consume if it existed.

Spitball first. Thanks Liz Lemon. gif of her here.

A variety show that serves to educate the adult public about important issues of our time. With puppets and music. And comedy.

8/26:

Another post could be about alternate meanings for K.I.S.S. that I  may or may not expound on.

Like: salacious, serendipitous, spiritual, scandalous, shocking. 

Words: RESPECT. PERSERVERANCE..HUMILITY.KINDNESS #bigimportantwords. GIVE EXAMPLES.

8/29:

For the love of God, edit everything above this line! Done as of 8/31.

Ok next post: DC. Then couple friends. Then Pinterest. Then Polly’s preview, potentially.

-Polly needs to get political again. ASAP!

-Write about Colorado

-Food. Zucchini lasagna. Trempeleau County and the damn cookbook.

As you can see, I’m all over the place. Thanks for indulging me once again, folks.

I think I know what my next blog post is going to be now…

Key word here is “think”.

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4 Points from a discontented Polly

I have so much to say. About so many things. Things that are important to me as a woman. Things that are important to me as an American. Things that are important to me as a thinking, feeling, hopeful, yet still discontented human on planet Earth.

My discontentment stems from a multitude of bad news. From our so called President, who according to me anyway,  only truly cares about the almighty dollar, to biblical level weather disasters like we are currently seeing the catastrophic, human effects of, to the news of people dying at far too young ages from cancer, as my Aunt Connie (the personification of the term social butterfly), who we lost this week at the age of 64.

I believe very strongly at this moment in time it behooves me, as it should behoove us all, to get real about what changes are needed to begin the uphill climb to a better reality for all of humankind.

It’s time for Polly to climb up on her soapbox. 

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Here I go!

Here are a few things that I believe in my heart and mind need to happen to give every one of us a brighter and healthier future:

We need to push for positive political change. Most importantly, I believe we need to change the electoral college system. We need our government to better represent all Americans.  And we need to greatly improve our voting system so it’s easier to vote and harder for our system to be attacked by foreign entities. And we need to do all we can to increase the number of Americans that vote. Maybe that’s through employers allowing people time off to get to the ballot boxes. Or increasing the numbers of locations where people can vote. But certainly it will involve having multitudes of volunteers in every state getting people registered to vote. I’m down for that, how about you?

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Climate change-it’s real. The vast majority of scientists are in agreement with this.  We have the responsibility for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to address it head on, by investing in alternative energies,  such as solar and wind power. Coal is not the way to go. It’s the past, not the future. It seems to me that our government and private companies ought to be putting their heads together and collaborating on a plan to train workers in the field of alternative energies. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

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It simultaneously breaks my heart and angers me every time I hear a story of someone who has gone bankrupt because of medical bills. This simply should not be happening. Not in America, or any other country for that matter. “Go fund me pages” should not be the answer when someone has the misfortune of becoming sick. I for one am more than happy to pay higher taxes if it means cancer patients and their families, for example, can focus their energies, mentally and physically, on treatment instead of having to worry about losing their life savings and/or their homes. Along with my endorsement of “health care for all” (a single payer system), which seems to work pretty darn well in other countries, I think more of our tax revenue should be spent on medical research to actually cure diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s (just to name a few). If America’s great scientific minds can figure out how to send a man to the moon, cure polio, and build artificial hearts, there is no reason to believe we can’t also find cures for devastatingly debilitating and deadly diseases such as these. I believe if the proper amount of funding was available for medical research, we could eradicate them all.

I firmly believe that more federal funding needs to be allocated for mental health services. There’s just been so much trauma inflicted on so many people due to war, natural disasters, violence due to terrorism and hate/ignorance in my lifetime. I think we as a country have dropped the ball on this. I can’t imagine there hasn’t been a huge increase in cases of PTSD, drug/alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression in the past several years due to all the social and political turmoil in our world, not to mention our engagement in wars that seem to have no end in sight. There’s a shortage of mental health professionals and that needs to end. Not only that, but the costs of mental health treatment I believe keep it out of reach for many. We need to have an abundance of trained, compassionate, professional mental health practitioners ready to meet this challenge. Perhaps the government and private entities can work together to create incentives for folks to pursue careers in the field of mental health? That would certainly be a good start in my opinion.

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There are certainly many more issues I believe we as Americans need to pay attention to and push our government officials to comprehend and find money to compassionately address. I could go on for days.

 

 

 

Solo in D.C.

Recently, I had the good fortune of visiting one of my favorite cities, Washington, D.C. I tagged along with Hubs, who had to be there for several days for work.

Whilst Hubs was occupied with giving presentations, attending meetings, and working his IT magic to serve his agency’s mission of saving American lives from weather calamities, I took the opportunity to explore the D.C. area solo despite my anxiety about getting lost in the city or getting mugged or kidnapped.

I was inspired to embark on sightseeing in D.C. solo in part through reading Caitlin Kelly’s blog, Broadside.  Caitlin is far more worldly than I, to say the least.  She inspired me to get out into D.C. all by my lonesome, instead of staying in the safety of our hotel room in Silver Spring, MD, where I would no doubt be reading, writing, taking a dip or two in the pool, and watching movies on cable. All things I can do at home. I figured, if she could travel solo outside the U.S., I could certainly manage a couple of days on my own in D.C. And…YOLO, right?

I, of course, took a number of pictures on my D.C. adventure. So here’s my little “show and tell” of my time spent in our nation’s capital:

This is a picture of a picture in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. I happened upon it in the Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice exhibit. It appears this lovely sea otter is praying. Or perhaps simply meditating?  Either way, this picture speaks to me spiritually. It’s very Zen, don’t you think?

 

 

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This one is from the American Democracy exhibit found in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. As a proud feminist and firm believer that women should play a much larger role in American politics, I couldn’t not share this picture.

 

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Let’s please put a woman in the white house in my lifetime mkay?

 

This is the first regal looking building I laid my eyes on after stepping off the metro. When I realized what it was, I wished with all my heart that I had a dozen eggs on hand.

 

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Trump International Hotel

Anyone recognize this staircase I’m about to climb? I was told on good authority (our friend John with whom we were dining in Georgetown that evening) that this was the staircase from which the priest was thrown at the end of the movie “The Exorcist”. It’s safe to say that I was more than happy to be climbing up it as opposed to down.

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My backside as I approached the famous staircase

This picture was taken from my perch at a nearby table in Martin’s Tavern. It has a rich history and is known to be the oldest dining establishment in the D.C. area. JFK proposed to Jackie here. The host, Mike, mingles around the tables of diners telling tales of the place. Dining here was indeed one of the highlights of our trip.

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Martin’s Tavern, Georgetown. Standing is Mike, the host with the most

This one was taken as I, covered in sweat due to the ridiculous heat and high humidity (not to mention having just reached 11,000 steps on my fitbit by 3 p.m.), leaned against a cement block and delighted in watching the youngins playing in the water feature without any cares in the world. A delightful break at that moment in time. I was thisclose to jumping in and frolicking around with those kiddos. But I figured it was weird enough for the parents of these children that I was all by myself taking this picture. 

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Georgetown Waterfront Park

And then there are those pics I only took in my mind. Like the one I saw through the window on the metro of graffiti framing the foliage on the other side of the track. To me it represented the beauty of nature and the grit of the city living in harmony. Or the one of my fabulous meal of lump crabmeat, fresh mushrooms, and squash in hollandaise sauce atop english muffins (known as the “Tavern Treat”) at Martin’s Tavern. Or the one of the beautiful mahogany bar housed at J.Paul’s in Georgetown. The bartender shared that the bar itself was formerly housed in the Chicago stockyards and rumor has it that Al Capone himself had enjoyed a beverage or two at it back in the day. J.Paul’s also features antique brass elevator doors brought over from New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Simply gorgeous.