Zero to sixty — the finish line is in sight!

As with everything I do, procrastination plays a HUGE part. I’ve been thinking about finishing this list off and on over the last couple of weeks. Today just might be the day I do it.

51.  Seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert — twice! The first time was a birthday present from Tim. (He always gives the best presents!) I was so excited and didn’t even care that our seats were in the nosebleeds at Coliseum Stadium in Edmonton. When we got there though, we were redirected to the box office where our nose-bleed seats were exchanged for second row seats on the sidelines right next to the stage. I nearly died. Being that close to the Boss and his E Street band was amazing. The second time was a trip to Toronto for his Wrecking Ball tour. 63,000 people in Rogers Stadium, and Tim, me, my sister Lori, her husband Ted and my sister Tracy were part of the magic. I didn’t sit throughout that marathon of a concert and I belted out every song. Have I mentioned that I LOVE Bruce Springsteen?

52.  Teaching myself to crochet. I love handmade things. Anything that someone puts themselves into to create is wonderful in my books. I’m drawn to things like needlepoint, knitting, crochet, sewing — anything tactile. So, years ago I tried knitting and it didn’t go well. I can do a lovely stocking stitch, but that’s about it. When I got pregnant all those years ago I wanted to make a blanket that I could bring our baby home from the hospital in. I turned to crochet. It took me nearly the entire nine months to make it and it was a little lopsided, but I did wrap our son in it for his trip home. That blanket is stored away in a box along with other treasures from Landon’s childhood. Where it, and they will wind up is a mystery. I just like taking them out from time to time and holding them. I unfold that blanket and smile.

53.  Bungee jumping. Another birthday present from Tim. This one was for my 40th birthday. I was petrified when I was standing up there on that tiny platform, but then I told myself “if you can jump out of a plane, you can jump off this” and I did. It was incredible. I highly recommend it.

54.  Learning the hard way that pyramid schemes are nothing but a scam. A friend and I, back in the days when money was a bigger issue than it is now, decided to risk investing in what was a ‘sure thing’. The only thing ‘sure’ about it was that we were going to lose the money we invested. Some things you’ve just got to learn firsthand.

55.  Losing friends and learning that sometimes it just happens. Then realizing that friendships give you so much to be grateful and thankful for, that, even when they are over, they’re still part of who you are.

56.  Sharing my love of theatre with my granddaughter and my love of gardening and cooking with all my grandchildren. The opportunities get fewer each year they grow older, but for the times that I have been able to share with them I hope it’s made an impression.

57.  Being able to go to the last Black Family Reunion in  2017 and having my grandchildren meet all my crazy-wonderful family. We had realized by this time that my dad was terminal and that it would be his last reunion, also it was just after his 80th birthday and a few months before his and mom’s 60th anniversary. There were other milestones celebrated at that reunion as well, and I’m so glad we were there to share in them all.

58.  Eating New York style pizza for the first time at Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge. That experience explained to me why I had always loved and revered Gondola pizza from Manitoba! And it has inspired me to try making my own Neapolitan style pizza. It’s a work in progress.

59.  Learning to like myself — it’s been a long, hard road, and there are times when I still don’t like myself that much, but mostly, I think I’m okay. If I could undo all the wrong I’ve done, I would, but then, who would I be?

60.  Embarking on a new life story at the age of 60. And the journey begins. . .

Day 78 — hey! It’s William Shatner’s birthday

Someone posted that little fact on FB this morning. The man is 87 today.  Happy birthday Mr. Shatner!

Thinking of him brings back some great memories. It’s not just about Star Trek – it’s about a time and the places I was in, and how those times shaped me.

There was always a certain sense of innocence, hope and belief in the inherent goodness of people/life that the Star Trek movies featuring Captain Kirk embodied. I loved that he was so much bigger than life, that his character was so incredibly over-the-top, it was like watching a manic boy scout save the world. You knew that it was all going to work out, the good guys would survive – the only casualty would be the hapless, nameless ensign in the red suit who got chosen for the away team at the last moment.

Entertainment is so different these days. Our heroes are always flawed (realistic), characters we love are constantly being killed (viewer investment) and the outcome is never guaranteed (spinoffs).

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy movies and television as they are now.  I’m just saying it’s different.

And  when I think of those lost times I feel my whole being smile. It was an event to go stand in line for a movie with your friends and family. Entertaining each other, talking, laughing and joking. Begging the staff to let you in so you could go to the bathroom. Rushing to get the best seats. Hurrying to get popcorn so that you didn’t miss any of the trailers or the short before the actual movie.  When the movie finally started you were READY. You were invested.

That doesn’t happen anymore. We pre-purchase tickets for all the big releases. Sometimes our seats are already pre-chosen. We meet moments before the movie theatre doors open, get our popcorn, file into an already dark theatre, sit in our seats and barely say a word to one another. We check our phones to avoid watching commercials and barely pay attention to the trailers because we’ve already seen them on television. There is no such thing as a short anymore, which puzzles me because they are always a category at the Oscars. Who gets to see them?

Going to the movies is just business now. I find myself leaving the theatre feeling empty no matter how good the film was. It’s just something to do. You can say you saw it. But there’s no connection. So sad.

I’m sitting here this morning, writing this while I listen to a Bruce Springsteen music station. It’s my way-back machine. I guess I’m just feeling nostalgic and a little bit yearny today. Wishing for simpler times, simpler pleasures, and, as Bruce sings – a little of that Human Touch.

Monday Afternoon, Family Day in Alberta

Well, it is a gorgeous sunny afternoon here in Bon Accord.  A bit on the cold side, but, really, for February, not so bad.

I had a very nice visit with my sister Jennifer and her family this weekend.  Tried to work my son and his family into the mix, but, alas, it was not possible.  They are a very busy bunch!

As it is right now, I am enjoying the afternoon to myself.  Jenn, Dave and the kids went home this morning, and Tim went out for a ride with his friend Dave.

I finally finished Black House.  What an abysmal disappointment!  The Talisman was such a fantastic book, but this sequel was nothing but a sad mish-mash of nothing.  It took forever to get to the actual story, and then it was treated so tritely it was almost an insult.  Characters were never fully developed, and those I thought crucial to the story were just dropped off the edge of the story as if in to an abyss.  I have never felt so cheated as I have by this book and these two authors, who I count as favorites.  Surely, they didn’t write this book only for the money?  Neither of them needs it, so I can’t imagine why they bothered to waste their time and the reader’s.

As soon as I kicked Black House to the curb, I picked up The Hunger Games.  I have heard much about this book, and now the movie is coming out shortly.  Therefore, I must read it.  And so far, I’ve read four chapters.  It’s a quick read, well-written and engaging.  It’s a familiar theme found  in many futuristic stories, but there is an interesting little twist to it.  I have all three books in the series and think I should be able to get through them all in the next month.

I had set a goal of reading a book a month at the beginning of 2012.  It’s taken a month and half to get through Black House.  If I can read all three of The Hunger Games books, I’ll be ahead of the game!

Something to complain about:  Bruce Springsteen has not released any Canadian dates for his new WORLD tour.  What’s with that.  Are we not part of the world?  I really want to see him in concert again before he decides to retire.  And, as he is 62 years old, I can’t imagine that retirement is too far off.

I just bought two new Bruce albums (new to me)  The Seeger Sessions (absolutely amazing — what I wouldn’t have given to see him perform the concert version of that album in Ireland!)  and Lucky Town.  Lucky Town is an album of works from earlier in his career (a little before the mid-point, I’d say) and has some wonderful, haunting tunes on it.  If you’re a Bruce fan, I recommend checking out both of these albums.  The Seeger Sessions, though, is my immediate favorite — Old Dan Tucker gets me in a great mood on the ride to work these days.

I hope everyone had a terrific Family Day (those of us lucky enough to enjoy such a holiday) — and if you weren’t, well I hope you have a fantastic and stress-free week ahead.

Cheers!

It’s March 14th — as if you didn’t know

Lonesome Day -- Bruce Springsteen from the album The Rising, released 2002

(Just a disclaimer — this is not one of my photos — the artist is unknown — it was forwarded to me through email.)

Okay, so I’m going to give this a try.

I feel strange.  It seems so long since I sat down to WRITE.  Not just blither, but write.  Can’t believe how self-conscious I’m feeling.

Sheesh!

Enough!

Okay, well, what do I want to say?

That I think we’re nearing the ‘end of days’?  I don’t even really know what that is — just watched a terrible movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it a few years ago and though it was mostly forgettable I remember it having something to do with the apocalypse and end of the world.

Lately, with all the horrible tragedies — weather related and the uprisings in the Middle East —  it is making me think back to all those specials about Nostradamus and his prophecies that I used to watch.

Never believed any of it, but thought it was fascinating.  Now. . .

. . . well, I just don’t want to think about it, but it’s all I can think of.  What if the world is ending just like it did in 2012?

My husband and I were talking about this on our way home from Lloydminster yesterday, and he, in true male fashion, full of understanding and compassion said:  “See, it’s what I’ve been saying all along.  We should have bought a piece of property up in the mountains.  And we shoulda been stocking it up with canned goods and survival gear — blankets, guns, stuff to make fire, water purifying equipment — we should have made a plan.”  I just looked at him and turned the volume up on the radio.

Isn’t that what we do, though?  We put the blinders on because it’s just too awful to consider that everything you believe about your life could be swept away in a moment.

The people of Japan prepared as best they could and still it happened.

Watching and listening to what is going on in the world right now is a terrifying experience.  As an adult, it has me paralyzed.  What is it doing to children?

Today, I didn’t notice any discernible differences in the kids I work with and who populate the school I work in.  It seemed business as usual.  We had outside recess for the first time in a month.  The sun was shining, the snow was melting and the air smelled fresh and clean.  The kids were laughing, pushing each other into the snow, the boys were flirting with the girls and the girls with flirting back.   I started to be annoyed by the noise and the silliness, but then I stopped.  They are so young.  They deserve to flirt and be silly.

Is it wrong that they weren’t planning some kind of aid or relief effort to help out in a one of the many embattled parts of the world instead of goofing off on their iPhones?  Watching them I was reminded of how I once was just like them — my most pressing concern whether the boy I liked liked me back and whether or not my Mom had washed my good jeans so I could wear them out to walk down town later with my friends.  It was all pure selfishness.  And it was OK.  Just like it’s OK for the kids today to be laughing and chasing one another around, not another care in the world.  I hope they continue to have that small privilege.

I’m going to go on to something else:  Bruce Springsteen.

I love B.S.  Am I his biggest fan?  Doubtful.  There’s probably somebody out there who can recite every album he’s ever made and who played what on what track, and all that boring kind of minutae, but that’s not me.  I just love his music.  Loved it the first time I heard it and ran out to buy Darkness on the Edge of Town.

He is an American poet, a balladeer, a chronicler of the human condition as it exists in North America.  I think he is a genius.  I think he has magic.

His music is often profound, nearly always fearless and never apologetic.  Even the fluffier pop stuff is deep — he’s telling it like it was — a period of time caught in a raspy melody, the emotions of time and place strung on the chords of his guitar like kite tails fluttering in a darkening, cloud-studded sky.

I have plenty of his albums, also cd’s.  I listen to him not constantly, but often.  I’ve got Sirius satellite radio in my car and I have the E Street station as a pre-set.  Last week, as I drove to work one morning  when it was -35 with the windchill, I hit the button for the Bruce station.  The sound of his voice, the joy, the utter happiness emanating from the dashboard speakers pierced through the dull, aching misery I’d been feeling and a big smile spread across my face.  I can’t remember the songs I was listening to; it’s not important, but when I got to work whatever I was listening to hadn’t finished and I was enjoying the moment so much that I stayed sitting in the car with the stereo blasting.  I was dancin’ in my seat and feelin’ the happiest I had in a long time.

A co-worker spotted me and when I got inside she said:  “You’re a lunatic, Larson.”   Smiling, I asked why.  “I saw you in your car, head bopping and jiggling all over the place.”  I just gave her a great big grin and said, “I feel good today.  I was listening to Bruce and he made my day.”  She just shook her head.  That feeling of pure, unadulterated joy stayed with me the whole day.

That’s the power of Bruce.

Finally, I have much to be grateful for in my life — despite the tragedies plaguing the world at the moment, I won’t lose sight of that.

Peace.