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Archive for November, 2011

With this being Thanksgiving week and me not being inspired by much of anything else, I turn to the default setting of the Sacred Harp…

You hear this sung periodically at the singing I go to, though more likely you hear it when someone has a specific thing to celebrate–the birth of a new baby, the announcement of an engagement, a wedding, gratitude that someone has recovered from an illness.

But, as with all songs that may be called at a Shape Note singing, someone might just want to lead it and hear it sung, without a particular occasion in mind.

I am thinking about Thanksgiving, Hubby returning from Singapore after a full seven days away, and about the fact that I’ve missed 3, maybe 4, weeks of my regular Tuesday night singing. I so look forward to going singing tomorrow night–you know the drill, right? 7-10 pm at Helen Hills Hills Chapel, Rte. 9, Northampton, Mass.

Here’s a video of the Wootten Family of Alabama, shot by none other than Alan Lomax himself (!!!). I’ve recently begun to learn about the Wootten Family, but can’t say much because, well, I am just learning.

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On the heels of our smash sketch comedy show last night at the World War II Club in Northampton, Mass, here’s a sketch, from way back in 2007, in which yours truly plays a supporting role. Written by Hubby and starring some of the usual suspects from the sketch comedy troupe “Side of Toast:”

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Or, one of my favorite poems (please be aware that wordpress doesn’t maintain line breaks, so the line “washed out all tracks” is actually indented 4 spaces in the original text):

Women We Never See Again

Three are women we love whom we never see again.
They are chestnuts shining in the rain.
Moths hatched in winter disappear behind books.
Sometimes when you put your hand into a hollow tree
you touch the dark places between the stars.
Human war has parted messengers from another place—
they cross back to each other at night,
going through slippery valleys, farmyards where rain has
washed out all tracks,
and when we walk there, with no guide, saddened, in the dark,
we see above us glowing the fortress made of ecstatic blue stone.

Robert Bly

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Thankful Thursday is meant to be my remedy for this: we are going to hell in a hand basket. On this day (as if I don’t attempt it at other times), I push myself to love the world in spite of the inevitability of death; in spite of politics and fucked-up information put out by the medical industry; in spite of  advertisers who have sold their own souls and ours; the intertwined, enmeshed corporate world in which we all live; the world of disposable packaging and appliances; hypocrisy–yours, mine, and ours; the deteriorating state of our air and water and soil; the increasing ownership of everyfuckingthing by multi-national corporations. I push through my dug-in heels and my myopic tendencies and reach up my hands for something better and more beautiful and for a bit of ecstasy and for the strength to grab it all, take a bite out of its ass, and love it anyway.

I’ve been sleep-deprived this week and finally, this morning, I took an ibuprofin PM. This is a heavy-duty drug for me. I take it when I need it, but haven’t needed to for months and months.

I think I went to sleep around 10 am or a little before. I was fairly stunned when I woke up and looked at the clock–it was already 1:20 in the afternoon. Had I missed anything? What responsibilities did I screw up? Nada, nothing. Just sleep for me. Whew.

Now I can proceed through the rest of my week without hating anything or pining away the hours. At least I think I can.

Thankful for:

Sleep, even drug-induced

All the FANTASTIC music I’ve been discovering lately (you read about Glenna Bell on Monday, right y’all?)

Look what I found. I am blown away by this guy–his guitar and voice and soft presence AND he’s going to be around these parts in December and January. Maybe I can go and hear him live.

Then, this great thing happened. I was just listening to the above Chris Smither‘s version of “Killing the Blues” and I got in my car (abandoning my children and motherly duties YIKES!) to go to a rehearsal and was trying really hard to sing the song. What came on the radio those very 30 seconds after I pulled out of the driveway? Alison Krauss and Robert Plant singing the very same. I KID YOU NOT! I sang along and sounded pretty good, but I know I’ll never be able to sing that song alone ever. Or “Visions of Johanna.” That one is super tricky….Chris Smither does it, too. Really. Oh, the original “Killing the Blues” was written by Roly Salley. Don’t think it’s anyone else, either, ’cause you know how I like accuracy.

I love serendipitous moments like that. I don’t think they mean that I’m saved or something or that I’m destined for a life of happiness or that someone can read my mind, I just love them when they happen. I do think there are currents we forget about…currents of spirit and particles of energy that clash together for the good sometimes.

The way I know the lyric “world by the tail” is from an old Burl Ives album I had as a kid. I can’t find anything anywhere on the web about who wrote that song.

I sang (and still do, but rarely) that song A LOT to my kids, in the daytime, but mostly as a jaunty lullaby at night (I love a jaunty lullaby as much as I love a melancholy one):

Got the world by the tail with a downhill pull and everything is fine/The reason is my heart’s so full of love for that gal of mine/Sing high, sing low, sing hi-diddle-dum/Sing high, sing sweet, sing low, sing tune, sing moon a way up in the sky

Don’t forget to OCCUPY NOW!

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introspection  spectacles

ticks  fleas

scabies  itchmites  black poodle

your dog has zee mange

German  French

romance

column

kiss

language

tongue

speak

say  tell

don’t tell  whisper

ear  sing

sing-song  song

schlong-dong

Okay, maybe it’s time to end this little game. That was real, yo!

How about this: things we don’t need:

organic massage*

weight-loss hot pants

Dancing with the Stars

“news” about Dancing with the Stars

TV

Reality TV

celebrity haircuts

celebrity dresses

celebrity suits

pantsuits

It is Wednesday, November 16, 10:24 pm in Singapore.

In less than a month it will start getting dark at about 3:30. The sun will set at around quarter after four.

It is already too dark at 4:15 every afternoon. It’s not even afternoon, it’s a bad joke. I am shocked by the darkness. I should be asleep like a farmer, every night at 5:30 pm, 6 at the latest.

*as a massage therapist extraordinaire, I take offense to the Groupon which advertises services for “organic massage.” AHEM and WTF? I want it stopped

[insert curlicue pause here to indicate change of subject]

or maybe use these: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Tom Waits + youtube= falling down the rabbit hole

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Remember how prickly I can be about details? Well, I got the geography wrong yesterday–some names and some finer points. Burma is Myanmar. So when I wrote Burma, it should simply have been Myanmar. And I think I meant the Malay Peninsula, because Myanmar doesn’t really have one (a peninsula, don’t get any ideas).

The things in my head are curries. And beautiful, vulvar orchids (even though you know what the Latin word orchis means, right?). And pythons (Burmese python, right?). And cats (a Burmese is a kind of cat, right?) and dogs (same thing, only in dog form). Nope, scratch that. That’s a Bernese Mountain dog. I used to massage a couple who had one of those. Large, neurotic dog, originally bred in the Swiss mountains and related to the better-known St. Bernard. At least that’s what I remember from my clients….I’d best shut up before I get any more facts wrong….

So for any fellow sticklers, you’ve now seen that I, too, can make mistakes of a geographical nature. Not like I don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground or anything, but you get the idea.

Sigh.

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Hubby is far away. Really far. To exotic places: Burma, the Myanmar Penninsula, Phuket, but really only in the vicinity. He’s in Singapore, though maybe hasn’t landed yet.

I picture food cooked with limes and hot peppers; purple orchids; turquoise water. I’m shut down and I’m busy and I’m tired. So that got me thinking about Tom Waits and “Shore Leave.”

But then, something else happened, something wonderful. I found Cowboylands, the blog of an old pal. And on that blog, I found Glenna Bell.

I’m not sure how all of this works as far as the technology goes and as far as copyrights are concerned. But I think if you click through on these links and then click on each of these songs, it will work and it’s hunky dory. It is her own myspace page after all, right? I sure like her music and I don’t even speak Spanish or know anything about Cowboys and Texas.

la-casa-que-yo-amo-40169726

can-t-get-my-mind-off-you-40169721

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If I could hand you something, it would be yesterday’s weather. Perfect temperature, perfect sunshine, perfect air. I would like to give you that, but I can’t.

What else? I went into the bathroom one evening, last Thursday or Friday, and I saw on the wall next to the little mounted metal-and-glass shelving unit and towel bar (that’s one, singular, towel bar, room only enough for one neatly hung hand towel and one folded and hung washcloth) and saw 2 beautiful polished chrome towel hooks installed on the wall. That was love from my Hubby and I am grateful for it. It may seem cheap, I know, to mention it here. These things are sacred to me and it would be unseemly to broadcast them all over the place. But once in a while, in my need and quest to stay mindful of the good in the world, I must share them here, for you, but mostly for myself. So there. Newly installed towel hooks in my bathroom installed by Hubby. That is good enough proof of good in the world.

That’s not all folks: I, for the first time, submitted a poem to a poetry website/blog a few months ago (this is different from Poetry Jam in which poems are not read or approved by an editor). In case you never noticed, on my blogroll over there to the right, there is a website called voxpoetica. I submitted a poem and it was taken and has been published for today. It stays up for one day and then is moved to an archive of past daily poems. So I am thrilled and excited, it is true. It’s sort of fun and strange and amazing to see it there with my little bio. I love, too, that a daily poem is posted and then moved along to make room for the next day’s poem. I am learning to let go and to not get too attached, so it’s perfect and I am grateful.

And a shout out to Ray Sharp at Bard of Liminga who gave me a nod in the direction of voxpoetica. I would not likely have tried to submit without the little nudge. Thanks, Ray.

That’s all and it’s enough.

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