Friday, July 13, 2018

Musical Musings

I love musicals and I love listening to soundtracks and cast recordings of musicals. Lately, I’ve been listening to The Sound of Music soundtrack.  It’s fascinating to me how music can trigger such clear strong memories.On this particular soundtrack, I think every song invokes "Something Good". 😉

Indulge me as I break down the songs and memories. They are some of my favorite things.

Growing up we had a 7 foot (+?) stereo console. The top lifted up to reveal the radio and record player like this one, though ours had additional wood panels that folded 180˚ to either cover or reveal the front speakers on either end. (I spent countless hours sitting and belting out in front of a speaker The Bee Gee’s, Olivia Newton-John and Lynda Rondstadt amongst others.) 

I remember my mom playing "The Sound of Music" record over and over, singing along while she worked around the house, blasting it from the console.  Every Easter we would watch the movie when it was shown on TV. My dad preferred The Ten Commandments but was outnumbered 3-to-1. He silently resigned himself to catching what he could when he flipped to it during commercial breaks. 

I never really realized just how much the music is a part of my life's fabric until I recently put it on.

From “Maria” I learned Catholic vernacular such as “wimple”, “penitence” and “abbey”.

“I Have Confidence” was the song that was cut short (or cut altogether) to go to a commercial break. I remember this disappointed my mom, (also a lover of musicals) who would verbally note the omission.

In high school, I performed the gazebo scene and sang a duet of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” with my classmate, Vernon. It was such a fun and iconic scene.  (We got an “A”.)

As I was recently listening to it, “My Favorite Things” came on and Mitchel made sure to let me know that Christmas is MANY months away.  I had to tell him that Christmas appropriated the song for itself, but it is in fact, *not* a Christmas song!

“Do-Re-Mi” is always a fun one to sing. When Morgan was 12, her aunt took her to Europe with their family and while they were in Vienna, they went on the Sound of Music Tour.  Knowing she got to see the places where they sang this in the movie (and that she was familiar with it before going) makes me happy she had such a great opportunity.

While I was singing along to “The Lonely Goatherd”, my mind went to Wanda.  Wanda was a friend from church who had a beautiful voice (among other beautiful qualities). Wanda could also yodel. It was fun to hear and she was always willing to indulge us, and ending it with laughter.

With both “The Sound of Music” and “Edelweiss”, my mind shoots straight to my “niece”, Krista. Krista is a cinephile and doesn’t let age discriminate against her actor crushes (of which there are many). Christopher Plummer is on that list and so when he sings, I think of her. (It was also mamny many years until I figured out the lark wasn't learning to pray.)

What Sound of Music lover hasn't sung/danced or at least partially acted out “So Long, Farewell”? I have to say though, the part where all the dignitaries and guests dressed in their formal attire wave and sing “goodbye” to the children makes me shake my head every-single-time.  (Hmmmm. It looks like they served some cheese with that champagne.) But, that’s a musical for you. 

I don’t know that I’ve ever made it through the whole song of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”. (Which, let’s pause for a minute just to look at the title.  Did “Ev’ry” really need to be changed into a contraction?  It didn’t save much type-space and songwriters seem to be very liberal with their interpretations of rhymes, syllables & pronunciations to necessitate the change.) Anyhow, that Mother Superior’s voice grates on my nerves.  (UGH_ and it's such a BORING scene!) If I’m ever in control of the remote or device, I get about 20 seconds in and *skip*!

I learned “Something Good” from our LP of the soundtrack.  It skipped.  I still get tripped up when I’m singing the beginning, “Perhaps I had a wicked”… the word is “childhood” but our record just played “child” and skipped “hood”. My mom would sing and laugh.  (She also took the opportunity to explain that good things don’t come from karma, but from Jesus.)

I never understood why the nuns couldn’t go into Maria’s wedding (“Wedding Processional”). A simple Google search 40 years later would explain another Catholic term to me; “cloistered”. I also read other facts about real life vs. the movie that I would have been happy to go on never knowing.

I also didn’t understand the significance of “Edelweiss” and how Captain von Trapp was mourning his home. When I was in 8th grade, my parents went to Europe and brought back for me an Edelweiss flower and that's what I think of during the song. That and his voice cracking in the second rendition.

In the final scene, when the movie von Trapps are crossing the Alps into Switzerland, I couldn’t imagine how the Captain carried Gretyl on his back, because I somehow got it in my head that he carried her the whole way.

My friend Dina has never seen the movie. For something that has made a significant mark in my life, it’s hard for me to imagine it! She once told me she didn't like musicals but I convinced her to come along to a live production with me and she said liked it. Maybe I’ll get her singing & twirling one day.

Do you have memories associated with the soundtrack or movie?

Friday, June 08, 2018

Sentiment and Nostalgia

I’m feeling very sentimental.  

It started when I walked by a campfire. Children (I'm assuming) full of imagination built a firepit on their lawn. There was a group of fist-sized rocks laid out in a circle about a foot in diameter. In the middle, they had placed twigs piled up on each other and topped it off with a little bit of tinder. I pictured them pretending they were camping, going on adventures and roasting s'mores.  I flashed back to our own backyard to when my kids were younger and the games they would play. Later in the day, Sam’s (the “baby” of our bunch) 5th-grade promotion ceremony photos come up in my memory feed. Today that kid is a high school junior. 

This afternoon I asked him if he wanted to watch a movie. He asked me to pull out some DVDs and then he would pick one from my selections. I chose a variety of genres and he popped in Toy Story.  More emotions, seemingly out of nowhere, started to flood my heart. (Yes, we still watch actual DVD’s! We also have a VCR & VHS tapes that my kids insist are “retro”.)  

I first saw Toy Story in the theater 22 years ago while I was greatly pregnant with Mitchel and still battling “morning" sickness. Just as the movie ended, a wave of nausea overcame me. Let’s just say I was thankful for the strategically placed trash can. My point though is about the memory imprint this movie made on me from its beginning. Little did I know then how it, the sequels and the merch would play such a large and significant part of our lives for so many years. 

I feel like Woody, Buzz and the gang are extended family. I still do, except they are the family that moved away, that I don't get to see anymore. I miss them. I miss what they represent. I miss the boys carrying them around wherever we went.  I miss them in our pictures. I miss the toys. I miss the Halloween costumes. One year we had a Jessie, Woody and Buzz. It warmed my heart as much as I think it did the kids'. 

Buzz even left a physical imprint on our family, or at least on one. The story has been told & retold so many times, it’s hard for me to remember what are actual memories and what "memories" I’ve created from hearing it over & over. What I do know is that at the time we still had three kids, and they were playing in the bedroom that the boys shared. Suddenly from the top bunk, we heard James exclaim, “He can fly!”. What we heard immediately after that were a bunch of different sounds that included a thud, clattering plastic and wailing. What we saw was gushing blood streaming down Morgan’s face.   Buzz had “flown” straight into her forehead and his mark is still visible 16 years later.

Just as Buzz & Woody were following Andy into Pizza Planet, I looked over at Sam who had drifted off into growing mode. (Teenaged boys can be like babies the way they eat, sleep & grow.) For a short moment, I was somewhere between "single teardrop" and "ugly cry".  I took a deep breath and watched the rest of the movie, reciting much of it in my head as it played.  Sometimes I wish I had kept the toys, but I know the clutter of what would never really get used anyhow doesn’t equal the memories they hold. I do wish I had a family portrait of sorts with them all. Not the Toy Story toys, but our Toy Story toys. 

The cliche exists because it’s true: “They grow so fast.” I don’t reminisce and then wish they were still little. I don’t miss the bickering, the laundry (oh, the laundry!), stepping on Legos or the physical exhaustion from having young ones.  I like my kids and who they have become as well as the adult relationships we continue to build.  

Every once in a while though, the full release of sentiment washes over and through me, and I just need to feel the feelings of what is no longer.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The End of NoBloPoMo, the Beginning of Success

This is the part where I want to slip back into being fearful; fearful I will "peter out", quit and ultimately, fail at the goal I set. (I wonder who exactly was responsible for the term, "peter out", and if other Peters after him felt like he gave them the bum deal.)

This goal, if you've followed along, was to participate in NaBloPoMo which to me meant I would be posting daily since that was the challenge.

I've missed some days. Part of me wants to mistreat myself, talk down to myself and tell myself what a loser I am; the old part of me. The healthier part of me (who is winning a little more each day) encourages me. The one or two days I forgot shouldn't be a big deal.  There were days I felt like I had nothing more to offer than what would fit in a facebook post or tweet.  On those days, I chose not to make a separate blog post since I only have 2 followers on my blog and use my facebook to promote what I write anyhow. The bigger accomplishment though, was staying on track and even ahead of things for Thanksgiving and Christmas prep. That was a bigger goal and I've done the best at that this year than years before. I also (mostly) kept up with my normal to-do's of running a household.

I've known my perspective on quitting and failing has needed an overhaul. It's one I've been slowly making, and that...that is a success.

What is a definition of something you need to reframe in your mind, or that you have already?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Needing the Sound of Silence

Hello migraine, my old “friend”
I’ve come to battle you again
Because my vision’s slowly decreasing
You did your deed while I was sleeping
And the stabbing that you planted in my brain
Still remains
I need the sound of silence

In restless states I start to moan
Plans of the day are all now blown
‘Neath the covers without a lamp
Pulled blankie up away from the damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
I felt the bite
I need the sound of silence

And in the dim, low light I saw
An hour pass by, maybe more
People talking, why are they speaking
People should be just whispering
People singing songs they just should not share
At least not here
Disturbed the sound of silence

“Ahhhh” said I, you do not know
Your noise totally blows
Read my lips that I might teach you
Feel my fist that I might reach you
But my fist didn’t help the noise to quell
I begged
Just give me some silence

And the people’s voices raised
In my brain I was crazed
And my fingers flashed out the warning
Of the words my brain was forming
And my mouth said
The words of this woman will bite you to the core
And maybe more
Now whisper’n make the sound of silence

Saturday, November 21, 2015



My oldest son started watching Friends on Netflix, and so I've been rewatching it with him. I've caught reruns on tv, but it's been fun for me to watch it with him chronologically.  There are more things from the show than I realized, that have become engrained in my life:

interestingly enough, my teens made up their own, which appropriate or not, I thought was hysterical.

this one we use quite often and it leaves me in tears every time. 

I know it's just TV, but you know what? I like TV.  I love when clever writers, directors, editors, actors, etc. all come together and make something that invokes strong emotions.

If I had to pick back in the 90's, I would have wanted to be Rachel for sure.  After watching it again from the beginning, I think Phoebe totally has the funniest lines. 

What's your favorite FRIENDS memory?