Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy 20th Anniversary!

December 13, 1997 
              Twenty years ago on this date my lovely wife and I were married at Trinity Baptist Church in Downey California.   At that time we merged my family of three daughters with Betty and her daughter.  In those years we have watched our daughters grow into beautiful successful women who among them have given us six grandchildren to date.       

         It has been a great ride that has whizzed by far too quickly.  I look forward to many more years ahead  filled with travel, spending time with family, and just enjoying our time together.

        I love you Betty!  You have made my life special and especially beautiful.  I thank you for that and I thank God for bringing us together.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Watching the World Go By (#BOTB Results)

The dreamer in me makes me see this world as a wonderful place.  Then this old world slaps me around and knocks me down leaving me battered and bruised.   Still, I intend to make the Dreamer win--even if it kills me...

Arlee Bird with daughter Ada @ 1984

       Life seems much like a parade to me.  Sometimes I might be just watching it go by while at other times I'm marching in step to the flow of it all.  All might be crazy wonderful in one moment, then comes just the moving forward, ever forward.   No matter what,  we're all a part of that parade whether it be marching, watching, or just knowing that it keeps on going.

        Sometime around Thanksgiving of 1964, my family's juggling act participated in the Chicago Christmas Parade.  We were living in northeastern Indiana at the time--about 40 miles from The Loop as downtown Chicago is called.  The parade was there. 

         We had to leave the house at some wee hour of the morning.  We got dressed in our show apparel before leaving and put heavy coats over that because it was very cold.  Chicagoland tends to get extremely bitter harsh cold in late November.  Now here we were driving in the middle of the night dressed in silly costumes.  My father said we had to do it.  And my sister and I would each get $25 which was not bad for a thirteen year old like I was at the time.

         My father drove to a designated area where we could park and assemble with the parade which was organizing in a staging area.  We shucked our coats into the car.  Now my father and I were only wearing tuxedos with those thin pants that didn't offer much protection from the cold, but I guess it was better than my mother and sister who were wearing short costumes with black fishnets.

        I can't say how long that parade was but it was a long way to walk in the freezing cold while juggling.  Exerting the activity of both of those actions did warm us all up considerably.  At first the wooden handles of the clubs we were juggling slapping against our cold hands stung as though we'd been slapped in our open hands with a cane.   It hurt.  The cold hurt.  I was numb from being cold, tired, and generally overwhelmed by everything all around me.  And walking and juggling and walking and juggling.

        At the end of the parade route, we simply stopped juggling and got in a taxicab that took us back to the car.  I'm sure my father had that heat blasting in no time.  I had survived and now I would have twenty-five bucks.  My legs burned like they were on fire.  The numbness was gradually going away, but at the time it seemed like it lasted forever.

         I only marched in one other parade juggling along with my family.  We got paid for that one too.  It was a 4th of July parade in Johnson City, Tennessee.  Damn!  It was hot!  I'm not sure what's worse:  Juggling in a Christmas parade in Chicago or a July parade in Tennessee.   Neither I'd say.  They're both just fine because here I am still marching along.   Those parades were just parts of a much bigger parade.  I hope it still has a way to go, but when it does end I hope there's a warm taxi waiting for me.

Battle of the Bands Results

Where Is Your Heart?

        In my recent Battle between versions of "The Song from Moulin Rouge" known later as "Where Is Your Heart?", vocalist Joni James dominated the voting.  My vote goes to her version as well.  While the jazzed up Jonah Jones version is slick and catchy (it's been playing in my head a lot over the past couple of weeks), Joni's version is a lush melancholy arrangement such as the ones I've been used to hearing since childhood.  As many of you noted, the slower version is more fitting to the song's lyrics and intent.

       Without the lyrics and played at a faster tempo, Jonah Jones presents a fun performance that as both Stephen T. McCarthy and I noted as being similar to the style of the Ray Coniff Singers who were popular during the 1960s.  Or as Michael Todd pointed out in his humorous observation, "while I was listening to the Jonah Jones Quartet rendition, I was expecting to hear "Manamana" as sung by the Muppets".    Yeah, I can hear it.

      The Jonah Jones rendition has a lot of entertainment value and it's good music as well.  I liked it a lot.  But the version sung by Joni James has a lot of heart (that's appropriate) and evokes the emotion that the song intends.  Both versions are winners, but in this contest Joni James takes the trophy.

Final Vote Tally

Jonah Jones         7 votes

Joni James          12 votes

Next Battle on Friday December 15th

         There might be a post or two between now and then.  I live by whim these days.  That is unless I absolutely have to do something.  My next Battle will be one inspired by Stephen T McCarthy's recent Los Angeles showdown.    What you can expect to see on Tossing It Out next time are two different songs that are not exactly about Los Angeles, but both are filmed in Los Angeles from very different perspectives.  It's gonna be weird.

          Do you enjoy weird?   Do you like parades?   What are some parades you have been in (don't forget your school days!)?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

No Regrets, But... (#IWSG)

Would Have, Could Have, and Should Have are three old friends who I try to avoid these days.  They just waste my time talking about things I can't do anything about...

Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

      The co-hosts for the December 6th posting of the IWSG are Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner 

December 6 question - As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

         "No regrets" is one of my life rules.   But sometimes we can speculate and it's not like it's not obvious to me.  My answer is simple:  The thing I would have done differently is I would have written more.   

        Really though I can think many things that I should have done more of--a lot of them being the things I should have done more of every year.  I don't want to complain though as I have a great life and for now my future looks fine.  Things could always be better, but they could get a whole lot worse so I give thanks to God for what I have.

        So rather than think about what I did or didn't do last year, I'll start mapping out what's ahead.  Downsizing my life is definitely a big priority for me and I've been working on that one.  I need to start reading again--at least a half hour a day at barest minimum.  There are several other things I have in mind but no point in rambling about them here.

          The big thing that concerns this current post is that I need to start writing more.  Writing with intent.  Writing with a goal in mind.

           Keep telling myself.

           Do you ever really do enough of anything that you enjoy doing?    Do you spend more time writing or reading?   What is your favorite part of a journey taken?

To vote on my current Battle of the Bands please click HERE.