Category Archives: music

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Hearts

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photo by Congerdesign

In so many different ways, February is considered heart month. The month opens with a burst of red on calendars and in stores as we celebrate the health of the human heart and that grand emotion of the human heart, love. We are encouraged to bestow flowers and candies upon our loved ones at the same time being admonished to take of one’s heart with a healthy diet and exercise. I sense the irony here. Heart health this month is especially focused on women’s hearts as denoted by the floating red dress symbol. It’s a month to see red.

If one is in the initial bloom of a love relationship, February and specifically Valentine’s Day is the day to show your lover what they mean to you. Typically this appears to be done by giving the aforementioned candy, cards and flowers but jewelry is a common gift as are marriage proposals, trips abroad and champagne dinners by candlelight.  As the blush of first love wears off, especially if one is in a very long term relationship, that bloom of ardor has cooled and more often than not, in lieu of gifts is the complaint that the holiday has just been created by card companies and jewelry stores for the profit that it brings. Nothing cools passion faster than that particular sentiment.

It is usually then that the other heart of February is focused on. Heart health is a serious issue and for women it can mask as another illness sometimes until it is too late to get help. As a woman, I know that there are times when I think that a certain pain is just in my imagination or maybe it’s a pulled muscle or maybe even just gas. Women often think they are just too busy or it really isn’t serious or they have other people to care for. All of that mental negotiation can temporarily soothe one’s concern until the heart actually stops because it really wasn’t gas after all.

When you think of it, the heart is a pretty amazing organ. Not only does it pump about 100,000 times per day which keeps the human body up and running, it skips a beat when one meets that special someone, it can freeze when one is in shock or fear and it can break when sorrow hits it. From the heart come sonnets and songs and it can actually go out to someone when feeling compassionate. It can also grow hard with hate or anger or be soft in the person considered a push over. One famous song even claimed that the heart would go on even after the person had stopped! Yes that heart is a busy little thing.

Because of all of that I wonder that as humans we take this relatively tiny organ for granted. It does so much for us and to us and yet we can forget about it for months at a time, at least until February rolls around again. We use it and abuse it to the point where I am astounded that it can handle all that it does. When we consider how essential it is to life itself one would think we would be more careful with it. But no. We eat our decadent food and drink. We stay up late and party. We hurt other people’s hearts by playing with them when we are not being honest. It is said that some of us have no heart but of course that could not be true.

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photo by Mariette de Villiers

I also believe we all have different hearts in our one heart. I have a daughter’s heart, and a sister’s heart. I have a wife’s heart and a mother’s heart and a friend’s heart. My heart changes a bit with each role I step into. They often overlap. Sometimes my heart is bursting and sometimes it feels as though it has shriveled up and hidden behind a rib somewhere. I can usually coax it out with music, a beat that finds a rhythm with the beat of my heart. a song I can sing at the top of my lungs until that heart fills itself in again. Sometimes I just have to take the pain that has scarred that hearty heart and move away from it until it stops hurting.

166738237We use the heart to describe so many things in our lives. We have heartbreak and heartthrobs. We have bleeding hearts and blackhearts and we can be faint of heart. Sometimes we need to get to the heart of the matter and sometimes two hearts are better than one. And so it seems fitting that this wonderful organ, this suppository of love and emotion vastly beyond its tiny size should have its own month of the year to wax poetic. There are definitely worse things we can glorify. Even for those cynics who refuse to buy flowers or cards, the heart will go on until it no longer can. The next step is just a heartbeat away.

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Landslide

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It’s hard to believe the end of summer is almost here. The weeks and months have flown by, some on lighthearted wings and some heavy with fear and doubt. Change is hard at any time but I am feeling it more as I grow older. Stevie Nicks wrote an iconic song in the 80’s called Landslide that mused about the passage of time and how we often fight it. Or not so much fight it as resist it because however hard the present moment is at least it’s the demon you know.

In many ways this summer I felt as though the landslide would take me down. I felt battered by the imminent threat of health issues facing my children. I felt both excited and saddened by the change that took my son and my future daughter-in-law to live in a new city far away from us. I felt at a crossroads of what I should be doing with my life. Losing the passion for one thing as the passion for another has grown. Wanting change but fearing it. Afraid of change because of the present life I have built. The fear is often rooted in the fact that all one has built can turn to ashes in a second because of a bad move or a risky decision. No mud, no lotus as the Buddhist adage states. But making that step is easier said than done.

As I write this I am sitting amid the glorious mountains of British Columbia. I am thinking about that landslide that could bring me down as Stevie did. It feels as though these majestic mountains could breathe in a deep breath and release a torrent of rocks and debris tumbling down its mountainside. I imagine it would be a tremendous relief just to purge those things that have clung to it for millennia or perhaps longer. I must release all of that as well. I must trust that I have done what I can to be the mother I’ve wanted to be, the wife, the sister, the friend. Stevie’s lyrics state that as my children get older, it is inevitable I get older too although at times it doesn’t feel that way. Yet I have white in my hair and aches in my hips. And still I realize as old as I might feel I am young compared to my elders who have experienced change for half as many years again. They bravely changed with time as scary as it must have been. So can I.

Last night we were sitting on a beautiful green listening to a concert in the twilight. The mountains around us were rose red with the sunset. The music soared into the air, families danced and sang, the mood was joyful. I saw a young boy playing a harmonica in time with the music, watched a young girl with long wild hair dancing, her arms flung out to embrace the music. Those children were just my memories reflected on the children dancing around me until my eyes blurred with tears. My daughter is a woman now, my son is a man. I wasn’t ready for that time to be past. I wasn’t ready. But time marches on. We think we can make time, we can schedule it or adjust it to our needs. But it is all illusion. The calendar pages turn whether we have kept our appointments or not.

Stevie Nicks believed that time would make us bolder. I hope it’s made me stronger and less afraid. Change is the one constant of time. My children have changed. I have changed. The season is once again about to change. Like Stevie I wonder if I can handle those changes. If I go down with the landslide will I be ready for the next peak to climb? Is there any guarantee that it is the right decision at the right time? No one has the answers to those questions. I am still not certain I am ready to change but I think I will be like that brave mountain. I will take a big, deep breath….and let go.

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Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Reel Life

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Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Reel Life

Write, write, write. That is the advice I hear consistently about blogging or about trying to carve a career as a writer. But as I write this I haven’t posted on my blog in weeks. Not because I am not writing but because the creative life takes many forms and for the past few months I have been busy co-producing an annual film festival with an amazing group of people. I have worked on for this festival for the past six years and this year’s festival opened last weekend.

To say the written word is my passion is no small truth. But film. Ah, film is is the window to my soul and my path to the big, wide world. I have loved film since the first time I sat in a darkened room and watched life unfold on a 80 foot screen in living color. It is so easy to get lost in that vast world, in a story that reaches deep into my heart and soul or takes me on a wild ride through space and time. A book can no doubt do the same. But a movie has a soundtrack.

Some say a movie cannot stir the imagination like a good book can but I beg to disagree. To those who know me, there is no doubt that I could happily spend the rest of my days in a large dusty library reading every title from A to Z. But a good film can take me to the end of its reel and then beyond that. A good film can keep me in it’s spell for days. I can watch a good film many times and never tire of it.

As I write this I am sitting in the coffee shop next to the cinema where the film festival just screened the docudrama Straight Outta Compton. A raw true story about five young men who grew up on the wild and violent streets of Compton, California and rapped their way to fame and fortune. Their fierce voices spoke to a generation and catapulted them to the music stratosphere. Can I relate to the life that they had? Not at all. I did not grow up in the mean streets where daily survival is not a given. But I was completely drawn into their anger and indignation. Their defiance and their courage. Their music. Those things are universal.

I believe what makes a great story, whether in print or on the screen are the universal truths we as humans experience. Films can educate, as the group I work with hope to achieve each year when we choose a diverse mix of films for the film festival. Since my children were little, movies have been a part of their lives. There are definitely teachable moments that happen in movies. There is joy and laughter and scary things too. We had to play dress up to watch some movies so that we could be right there with the characters. We were pirates and mermaids and things that jumped out in the dark. We knew all of the songs and much of the dialogue. We have followed movie series together, many of which started with the books. We have learned about different cultures and ways of life. As my children grew, so did our eclectic taste in film. Movies have continued to be a beloved art form for them. I am glad they can feel the magic too.

I confess I have always wanted to be in film. I followed my dream to Hollywood where I could live and breathe movies. It was fun to be on the set and to be a part of bringing a story to life on strips of celluloid although much is digital now. It was also hard work. It was a lot of luck and chance. It can be a long process to get that film to the big screen. But once it did make it, once the lights went down and the screen came alive, the magic for me was still there, even knowing what it took to get it to completion.

My husband often wonders how I can turn on a movie that is half over and start to follow the story line at whatever point I have jumped in. For me it’s like watching snippets and scenes of life. Perhaps I don’t need to know the beginning of the story to appreciate what I am seeing. Life is a never ending story anyway. So many stories about so many lives. Only a tiny fraction of them are on celluloid. Yet for me it doesn’t matter. Sometimes all I want is to be lost in the words or in the spell of the dark theatre. Then the possibilities are endless. The dreams are limitless. The view is spectacular. Pass the popcorn.