HBD, Pops!

I know it’s kind of an arbitrary age to write a post to one’s parent, but seeing as how life is full of ups and downs and twists and turns, and how tomorrow is promised to no one, this post is dedicated to my dad on his 73rd birthday.

This post is a two-parter.  It contains the opening and closing paragraphs of a writing course assignment in which I had to write about someone I admire.  It also contains lyrics from Dan Fogelberg’sLeader of the Band“.
Here are the opening and closing paragraphs of my assignment on my father, The Professional Soldier:

Woosha-woosha-woosha.  The whispery sound of brush on shoe quietly echoed through our house each morning.  Each morning also brought the musky smell of Old Spice, my father’s after shave.  In the kitchen, Old Spice mixed with the aroma of coffee and peanut butter on toast.  One more quick trip to the bathroom to brush his teeth and my father was on his way to work.  Routine.  The Army drills until its tasks become second nature in any terrain or climate.  Similarly, whether we were living in Germany, Hawaii, or one of the U. S. states, my father ‘s morning regimen was precision.  He left the house on time every day looking sharp, ready to accomplish the tasks the day presented.  For many years, to me, he was the embodiment of the Army –the professional soldier.

My father taught me more than he knows about setting standards for ourselves and always striving to maintain those standards.  He showed me how to be a leader.  He inspired me to always do my best, to set high standards and work to achieve my goals.  I suppose I also got my unwavering patriotism from my father, the professional soldier.

Leader of the Band is a great ballad that Dan Fogelberg wrote as a tribute to his father.  While my father wasn’t a musician, he did love playing his records, and I credit the variety he played with influencing my love of so many varied genres.  His “stories of the road” were stories of places he had lived growing up and after enlisting in the Army…some of which my family were part of.  The rest of these lines are self-explanatory, but so aptly apply:

I thank you for the music and your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough
And papa, I don’t think I said I love you near enough

Happy Birthday, Dad!
I Love You!


Music Monday – No Valentines

No Love for Valentines

Everybody wants a box of chocolates
and a long stem rose.
Everybody knows.
–from “Everybody Knows” by Leonard Cohen

It’s nearing Valentine’s Day.  No pressure on those in love, right?  Every Kiss Begins with Kay.  Diamonds are a girls best friend.  A dozen long-stemmed roses at two or three times the normal price.  If you love her, you’ll buy her a Lexus, or maybe that’s just at Christmas.  And these are just the examples of what commercialization dumps on those in love, and maybe lust, too.  Who knows what kinds of pressure the loved ones are really putting on each other.  But not everyone has someone at this time of year.  For those who’ve never found love or who’ve had it (once, twice, three times a…) and lost it, or even worse, lost a loved one, Valentine’s Day is a reminder that they (generally) are missing something.  The pressure the commercialization of this “holiday” puts on people, both in and out of love, can be daunting.  With this in mind, this year’s Valentine’s Day Music Monday is about/for those having trouble finding love.
No Valentines by Elton John
(released 1996 on the Love Songs album, not as a single)

But keep my Valentine
I’ll keep my bleeding heart
Just let me out of here
Before that sentimental music starts
And your regrets
Fall like empty lines
Like the lies we write on Valentines

Specifically written for his ‘Love songs’ album, it was never released as a single.  It probably wouldn’t have been a huge hit.  It’s not got the catchy chorus or uplifting message or chipper beat…but I like it…and it fits this post.

Mixed Emotions by The Rolling Stones
(released 1988; #1 US Mainstream Rock, #5 US Hot 100, #9 Netherlands, #20 Germany, #24 Switzerland, #25 Australia)

You’re not the only one
With mixed emotions
You’re not the only ship
Adrift on this ocean
You’re not the only one
That’s feeling lonesome
You’re not the only one
With mixed emotions

From their ‘Steel Wheels’ album, Mixed Emotions is certainly not their biggest hit, but it still has a good sound and it fits this weeks theme.  I almost titled this post “Mixed Emotions.”

Under Pressure by Queen
(released 1981; peaked #1 UK & Netherlands, #2 Ireland, #5 France, #6 Australia & New Zealand, #10 Austria & Switzerland)

Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love?..

‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure

One of my favorite Queen songs.  The video begins with Freddie doing a bit of call and response with the audience before moving into the song.  The album version with David Bowie is great.

Link: “A rose by any other name”, the Tuesday Picture Prompt at Flashy Fiction

Yellow RoseA rose by any other name, the Tuesday Picture Prompt for 12 November 2013 is waiting for you at Flashy Fiction.

Breathe in the scent of a rose and write us a story about love and/or snuggling up with a loved one.

Write Something!

Music Monday – The Rose

The first time I recall hearing “The Rose” was at a performance by a high school group performing at our bowling banquet in Indiana.  They had arm and hand gestures to go along with the singing and they performed it well.  Unfortunately, at the time, there weren’t music stores on every corner and the Internet didn’t exist, so I couldn’t hop on and download the song from Amazon on .mp3.  I never forgot the song, though, and I got a copy of it when I could.  It’s such a beautiful song, sung so simply and exquisitely by The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler.

The songs lyrics are haunting and bleak, full of pain and fear, and, ultimately, of peace and hope.  The song cries out to be bold, take risks and put ourselves out there, to risk the pain of heartbreak, and not despair when others have found love.  Don’t get down and don’t give up on love, it’s out there, and it may take going through some tough times to find it, but it’s a beautiful thing when we find it…like the rose.

The Rose by Bette Midler

(released 1980; peaked #1 US & Canada Adult Contemporary, #2 Canada Singles, #3 US Hot 100)

Some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower, and you it’s only seed.

It’s the heart, afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance.
It’s the dream, afraid of waking, that never takes a chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken, who cannot seem to give.
And the soul, afraid of dyin’, that never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far benaeth the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes The Rose.

Open Letter to My Daughters on New Year’s Eve 2012

Dear Sweet, Beautiful, Loving Daughters,
This is the first year that you’re both starting the new year at an age of double digits…one of you having just turned ten and the other soon to be twelve.  What’s the significance of this?  Not much other than puberty is looming large, if not already beginning to take hold of you.  As it sets in and your hormones start raging throughout your bodies, I expect there will be many, many, many emotional days, ranging from happy, to sad, to angry, to head-over-heels in “love” with some guy?  History, science, and Hollywood can only prepare your mother and I so much for what you’re about to go through, and all the best research and advice we can find may not apply.  Parenting isn’t science.  There’s no blueprint.  No flowchart to follow for each situation.  We’ll have to wing it.  Armed with good (hopefully) advice, patience (sometimes), love (always), and your best interest (whether you believe it or not) in mind, we’ll struggle through the coming years with you.  Along the way, we’ll support and encourage you, teach and mentor you, fight with and punish you.
The reason for this open letter is so that you, along with everyone else, can see and understand that our goal is to help you become the best people you can be.  If no arguing and fighting take place, we’ll be the luckiest parents in the world, but we’re assuming there will be plenty of bumps in the road.  We’ll deal with those as best we can.
I’d be lying if I said that I never expect to hear “I hate you!”  Whether to my face or through a slammed door, we know you won’t really mean it.  How do I know that?  I was a teenager once, too.  I’m not that old that I can’t remember what it was like.  So if I do hear that, I understand it’s said in a fit of rage and that you’ll cool off eventually, but I promise you’ll never hear those words from us.  We love you.
I assure you that we’ll make mistakes, real or perceived, by you, your friends, others, and probably us, as well.  We’ll be too strict sometimes, too lenient others.  Your mother and I won’t always see eye to eye on every topic, but we’ll figure out OUR position and enforce it together.  You already know it’s trouble if you try to play us against each other, so don’t expect that to change.
If we could, we’d set you a path, have you follow it, and everything would be happy happy, joy joy for the next decade or so.  That’s not realistic, though.  Instead, we’re going to travel your roads with you.  We’ll give you the best shoes we can, help you pick the best routes, and try to smooth out the road bumps.  Sometimes, we may have to backup and re-route, but that’s okay.  We’re in this together, helping you become strong, intelligent, healthy young women…which is why I am writing this now.  I want you to hear this while you’re still our sweet, beautiful, loving daughters, and not after any potential clashes have begun and you think we’re just trying to smooth things over.
Some bits of advice before I close:
1.  Be optimistic.  Don’t dwell on the bad.  Look for the positive side of things.  Your attitude has great influence on situations.
2.  Be kind.  Don’t be a sucker, but understand that there are times when a kind word or deed can make a difference.
3.  Be a leader.  It’s okay to be a follower sometimes, but in order to get where you want to go, you have to take charge, but don’t mistake being bossy for leadership.  A leader doesn’t always have to tell people what to do.
4.  Do smart things.  Whenever possible, think before you do…and it’s almost always possible.
Again, your mother and I love you very much.  We’re here for you and you can ask and talk to us about anything…whether it’s embarrassing for you or for us.
Dad the Overprotective

Music Monday – The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For many people, this is the most wonderful time of the year.  For others, it’s absolutely dreadful.  Still many other fall somewhere in between.  In the spirit of Christmas, this week’s Music Monday will be a brief listing of a few of my favorite Christmas songs.

‘Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
What more can I do?
Baby all I want for Christmas is you
You, baby

Let’s get this started with the young and yummy and uber-talented Mariah Carey.  From 1994, here’s All I Want For Christmas Is You.

Last Christmas
I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away.
This year
To save me from tears
I’ll give it to someone special.

Let’s keep the Christmas party going with my favorite artist, George Michael.  Here’s Wham! with Last Christmas.

For those looking for a slightly more upbeat version, here’s Cascada’s version.

And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace

Unfortunately, I cannot find a video for my favorite Christmas song, “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” by Robert Goulet, so you’ll have to simply listen to it here on YouTube.  I love the pacing of the song combined with his deep voice.  It just works for me.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!  …and if you don’t celebrate it, I still wish you the good will of the Christmas season.

Music Monday – Kings of the Lovelorn

This would be a great name for a band that made their way singing power ballads, wouldn’t it?  I almost titled this “Kings of the Power Ballads”, but by the most accepted definitions, the band/artist must be a rock group and, well, Air Supply won’t make many people’s list of rock bands.  They were a hugely successful band in the early 80s, known for singing songs about 1) being in love, 2) unrequited love, 3) losing one’s love, and  4) searching/hoping for love.  Are you seeing a theme here?  If you listened to any pop or adult contemporary radio in the 80s, you’ve heard a number of Air Supply’s songs.  While they aren’t a rock band, and aren’t quite as theatrical as Queen or Meat Loaf, their biggest hits had great orchestration that built up to the soaring vocals while that then dropped out to soft melodic tones and near whispers.  The lyrics were often nicely done, as well.

Here are a few of my favorite Air Supply songs with a few lines of their lyrics.

All Out Of Love

(released 1980, peaked: #2 US Hot 100, #5 Adult Contemporary)

I wish I could carry your smile in my heart
For times when my life seems so low
It would make me believe what tomorrow could bring
When today doesn’t really know, doesn’t really know

Making Love Out of Nothing at All

(released 1983, peaked: #2 US Hot 100, #2 Adult Contemporary)

The beating of my heart is a drum, and it’s lost
And it’s looking for a rhythm like you
You can take the darkness from the pit of the night
And turn into a beacon burning endlessly bright

Every Woman in the World

(released 1980, peaked: #5 US Hot 100, #2 Adult Contemporary)

Overnight scenes, dinner and wine, Saturday girls
I was never in love, never had the time
In my hustle and hurry world
Laughing myself to sleep, waking up lonely
I needed someone to hold me, oh

Sweet Dreams

(released 2010, peaked: #30 Adult Contemporary)

This last video is one of Air Supply’s most recent releases, Faith in Love, from their 2010 album Mumbo Jumbo.  I’m not sure if their voices just can’t hit the notes they used to or if they just decided people were more interested in this sound, but I preferred the early 80’s sound.

(released 1982, peaked: #5 US Hot 100, #4 Adult Contemporary)

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