It amuses me

to go back to my Blogger blog and read the posts I deemed worthy of saving. Quite frankly some of them are damn fine writing. What amuses me is that I have been talking about the same things for 20 years – way to be boring Grace. Or is it that some topics just interest me, lots of posts about words and language and usage.  Posts written while I lived in Philadelphia are truly snarky, and funny. Oh, how I hated Filthadelphia!

I’ve been writing about, and sharing, a lot of music in the last week or so, a meander through those old posts shows this is not a new thing for me. I particularly like this one –

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
MUSIC IS MAGIC

People say “Stop and smell the roses”; I say “Stop and listen to the music” but don’t really stop because if there is music then there is movement, there is dance.

Music is everywhere, all the time. You just have to listen. Okay, there is the obvious music – leaves rustling, birds, squirrels chattering; and the sound of the wind. Some of you may hear the music of traffic – different cars make different sounds, even the rhythm of a line of cars going over a speed bump. The cacophony of honking horns, some with high notes, some with low added to the revving of motors – the varoom, varoom and the bleat, bleat – can you feel the beat?

And the magic? I’m always playing music in my head – it’s not imaginary music, it’s real – I hear it, and dance to it. Did you ever watch people walking on a busy street – they are all walking in different rhythms, and don’t you add the melody to the beat – in your head? If you are part of that crowd, don’t you pick up the rhythm and walk along to it: sharing the music, sharing the rhythm. There’s magic in that. In that moment in time you, and all those other people, are communicating, sending, back and forth, calling out to each other, call and response. It’s magic.

I love the music of the city. There’s a church nearby whose bells toll each hour; the Mr. Frosty truck that comes by each afternoon, the sound right this minute of a car going by outside the house – first a low swoosh that crescendos and fades; loud trucks, soft cars; some take longer to fade, and I sway to the swoosh.

People remind me of songs – That song and that person will forever be connected in my mind. Some times it’s their song I hear. The song that is THEM; that is their heart beat, their life force dancing through their body and brain.

We are music. The first sounds we hear are music – the beating of our mother’s heart; of our own. The low notes – we hear them first. Warm, dark, comforting. Rhythm – babies love the rhythm – rock them and they are soothed; swing them gently back and forth; our earliest memories, our first memories, are musical – rhythm and melody. The beat of the heart, the melody of the movement of the fluid we float in…our first memories. We share these memories, tho different rhythms and different melodies, and sing out to each other – hear me, hear my music.

Listen – the world is never silent, nor are we. Clear your mind and then listen – can you hear your song? Can you hear mine?

It plagues me sometimes

My need to keep everything neat and tidy and organized. Once I get it in my head that some part of my home needs to be tidied and organized, no matter how neat and tidy it might already be, off I go…

Last week we had to toss a loaf of bread because my husband has just jammed it in the freezer any-which-way and when he opened the door it fell out, and since the thin paper wrapping was frozen it just splintered and bread went flying all over the place.

That did it! I needed someway to organize the freezer. Bins! Wire mesh freezer bins. Which, quite frankly look exactly like any other wire mesh bins. I have a small one on my kitchen counter for salt/pepper/olive oil.

And that’s another thing, I love boxes, trays, bins – just about everything is neatly corralled in something else. I have pretty trays made of ceramic, hammered aluminum, brass. I have have boxes which most people might think are decorative tchotkes but they all are containers for other things. Some folks have junk drawers, I have junk boxes. Plunk me down in a flea market and I will find the booth with the boxes – pretty wooden boxes are a favorite. I had a beautiful stained glass box which has somehow disappeared and I used to keep my jewelry in lots of small pretty boxes (now I have a jewelry armoire – fancy, fancy – it needs to go, along with the jewelry in it. That’s my next project.)

I like putting things into other things. It borders on an obsession. And lately I’ve been wondering why. I’ve always been this way. My thinking is it is a control issue. So much in my life has been beyond my control that I guess even as a kid I found a way to control what I could. And that was organizing everything and putting it in – boxes.

I am not a knick-knack person. Those that I have are on my bookshelves and I did a major clean-up there some months ago – there are only a few boxes there now, I got rid of a bunch, just tossed them. Some were gifts, some I bought, the only ones left I have an irrational attachment to and they aren’t even the prettiest.

Last Thursday my freezer bins came late in the afternoon and I spent Thursday night cleaning the entire fridge and organizing the freezer. I was so excited. My husband said “It doesn’t take much to get you going does it? Please! New bins to organize things – Joy!

This is what my freezer looks like now – It’s a small freezer, but there is still plenty of room for more stuff.

When I re-did the kitchen I bought trays to keep all the assorted cutlery organized –
There’s that tray on the left – I’ve got those in other kitchen drawers, on the counter to hold the vitamins and meds, and that is next to the bread box (you know I have a bread box) –

I just bought a bunch more of those grey trays to use in my dresser – perfect size for socks, scarves (I have a lot of scarves), gloves – I did take some photos but really do you need to see them?

The top of my dresser has this really pretty tray, ’cause I love my trays –

I suppose if you have to have an obsession with controlling your environment , this isn’t the worst one to have. As my father always said “A place for everything, and everything in its place”  OK, so maybe it’s genetic.

Oh, and yes, there is a song. “I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in…” – that line has been running in my head for days.

Did you know

that there is a difference between dilly-dallying and lollygagging? They have somethings in common with each other as well as with frittering.  They all basically mean wasting time.

It amused me to read that a person who dilly-dallys is annoying because they waste time by fussing around and not getting things done and they aren’t aware of the delays they cause other people.

Did the phrase ‘fussing around’ jump out at you? Me too and it means to ‘fiddle with someone or something’ which is a whole ‘nother idiom.

Defining idioms with other idioms – what fun!

Lollygagging is interesting, this is new information to me, and I’ll just quote rather than try to paraphrase: “Lollygagging takes on a different perspective of time wasting due to its origins and connections to love relationships.  Lollygagging meant wasting time, lazing around with someone else, when there was work to do or duties to perform.  Dilly dallying would indicate a trite waste of time while lolly gagging, a more old fashioned expression, was synonymous with illicit relationships and an inappropriate waste of time.” (SOURCE)

Fritter away, whether time or money, is just wasting it on unimportant or unnecessary things. Can you see what a rabbit hole this could send me down?

And speaking of rabbit holes – what does that mean exactly? According to the Slang Dictionary “Used especially in the phrase going down the rabbit hole or falling down the rabbit hole, a rabbit hole is a metaphor for something that transports someone into a wonderfully (or troublingly) surreal state or situation. On the internet (emphasis added) a rabbit hole frequently refers to an extremely engrossing and time-consuming topic.” (SOURCE)

I never thought of ‘rabbit hole’ as transport into a surreal state or situation. We all know it is a reference to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, and that’s what happens to Alice when she falls down a rabbit hole.  But for the rest of us, it is the internet meaning we mean. When we go there. Down the rabbit hole.

WORDS! and phrases – their meaning, connotation, etymology – the rabbit hole to end all rabbit holes.

And of course, what song do I have playing in my head when I hear the word WORDS? Why Buddy Holly, of course.

The Upside to being old

I don’t know how many times I can talk about this but since it occurs multiple times a day, every day, it is always in the forefront of my mind. And that is – just about everything and anything will remind me of a song or a poem.

For instance – This morning’s conversation:

Husband: Thanks for putting my jeans in the hamper. I forgot to do it last night.
Me: I noticed that, so I just figured I do it myself.
Husband: Well, I knew I hadn’t, so it had to be you.
Me: Singing – It had to be you…

It’s not that the whole song that applies (tho I have it playing now and hey, maybe it does), it’s just the words ‘it had to be you‘ had an immediate response from me – singing that line from that song. This happens all day long. Matter of fact, it happened just before I sat down to write this – an inconsequential conversation that ended with me saying “Six is a good number, but I like seven better” Then I sang “Seven come eleven in the boy’s gym, Charlie Brown…

I can’t help it. You talk, I sing.

It probably goes back to the song game my parent’s used to drive us crazy with – we would  ask a question my parents would answer with a song – the last word/words of our question would be a line from a song. They could keep this for the longest damn time; as kids it made us crazy, all we wanted was an answer, all we got was a song.

Books and music – the guiding forces of my childhood and life. My mother brought music and dancing – Oy, always the music and dancing. My father brought the books, and yes music but a different kind than my mother’s.

My mother didn’t do books. According to her she had read exactly two books in her whole life “Gone With The Wind” and “Dry Guillotine”. Interesting choices there. She was an avid reader of supermarket tabloids – The Star, The National Inquirer etc. My father would go bananas when she brought those into the house.

While my father knew all the pop tunes, show tunes, big band, jazz, same as my mother, my father also brought classical music and opera to the table. Not my mother’s fav’s since she couldn’t dance to them – and dancing was everything. (Needless to say my father didn’t dance but that is the way of the world.)

It’s the same with poetry for me – recently someone blogged about blogging and asked what the point or purpose of your blog and my immediate response was “This is my letter to the world that never wrote to me”  from an Emily Dickinson poem.  But those instant associations usually just remain a part of my ongoing internal dialogue with my unknown, unseen confidant.  They amuse and entertain me.

Today Rory posted a song challenge of 5 questions that required you to choose a song. There are way too many songs in my memory to answer any question that requires a favorite. One question was “A song that you hear often on the radio” – that made me laugh, do people still listen to the radio? I haven’t in decades – not for any reason. Ah, but the last question was “A great song (as passenger/driver) to listen to in the car with the windows down?

I had an immediate reaction and response! I have fantasized about being in a convertible, top down, on a sunny breezy day, open road, not much traffic, sitting on top of the seat (not in it) waving my arms and singing along to this:

Oh, and what does this have to do with being old? I’ve got 75 years of music and poetry in my head…

Country Music

My previous post name checked two old time country singers – Marty Robbins and Don Williams. I love country music, or as it used to be called, at least some of the time, country-western music.  Another aspect of country music is bluegrass music which I don’t like particularly – too much nasal twang, gets on my nerves. New country music, not such a big fan, I don’t follow it much, occasionally trip over a song or two, I’m just not all into the whole country-bro thing (which is what I’ve read newer country music is all about. Spare me.)

The question for me is – where in the heck did I get exposed to country music? New York City is not a big country-western music town.

I took out my husband’s book “Billboard Pop Charts – 1955-1959” and checked the Top 100 for the week ending October 17, 1956 – my 10th birthday. Elvis was #1 with ‘Don’t Be Cruel’ but Johnny Cash was #37 with “I Walk the Line”.

Having taken a short break to have coffee with my husband after his post-prandial nap, we got into a big discussion about early country crossover hits, 1950’s – ’60’s television variety shows, white groups covering black groups and BOTH charting at the same time on the Top 100, and Louis Prima and Keely Smith – the original Sonny & Cher – and a whole bunch of other music stuff.

Back to country music for a moment. Marty Robbins charted on the Pop 100 in 1957 with “A White Sport Coat” at #2 and in 1959 at #1 with “El Paso”.  Patsy Cline crossed over in 1961 with “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy”.

Not wanting to fall even further down the rabbit hole of chasing down early country crossover hits, I can only say that it seems country music was all over the place even back in the 50’s, certainly by the late 1960’s when Johnny Cash had a network show – but by then I was all grown up and already a fan.

You know what’s fun, and what you younger folks probably have no idea about – is television in the late 1940’s through the 50’s. Whee-oo but it was fun. First off it was live and secondly, shows had crazy formats – there were 15 minute shows – Nat King Cole had a 15 minute show starting back in 1956. And then there were the variety shows. Y’all don’t know Garry Moore but he had a morning variety show way back in 1950, I remember that show vividly. (Yes, I grew up with tv, I was born in 1946 and I don’t remember ever NOT having a tv.)  But you know that’s a whole ‘nother post, or many, many other posts.

I will leave you with the perfect country and western song – and in case you don’t want to listen to it, I’ll put one of the verses here first that explains it all –

Well, a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song
And he told me it was the perfect country & western song
I wrote him back a letter and I told him it was not the perfect country & western song
Because he hadn’t said anything at all about mama
Or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting’ drunk
Well, he sat down and wrote another verse to the song and he sent it to me
And after reading it I realized that my friend had written the perfect country & western song
And I felt obliged to include it on this album
The last verse goes like this here