Gotta Find my Corner of the sky…..

Music once memorized is just waiting for a chance to reawaken in my brain. Music from the original Pippin is back on rotation on the inner soundtrack, maybe not as catchy or memorable as other Schwartz compositions, it still makes great earworm.

I picked up the latest Broadway recording and am glad I heard the new arrangements sung first by the live cast at Phoenix Theater or my change avoiding brain might have dismissed it as unworthy.

Thanks to Sara R for wanting to attend the Phoenix Theater production as a birthday treat and Paul Stovall for nailing the vocals and choreography with such deliciousness, I can relish the revival as well as I did the original. I had a bit of a relationship with the Fosse run in ancient times and I have to say chipper little Anthony as Pippin never felt quite right, nor did a few of the sexy siren scenes played with all the Mormon chasteness possible with Fossiesque choreography. Still think the incest momma plays better with a more born again blonde look, but all in all this pop musical look at the eternal question of “to be or not to be” managed to make me hum through a very tough day yesterday, and wish I had the time and money for seconds.

Pippin is playing one more week at Phoenix Theater so if you have a chance, go see it!

Crowfae gives it:

“Pippen” as staged by Phoenix Theater gets a solid 7/10  Shepard Pies!  (This is a flagrant abuse of Oberon’s rating system, I am certain, (although it is quite quotable so Oberon would watch it per his own statements in “Hunted” by Kevin Hearne) there was neither sausage, bacon nor significant peril warranting  time away from belly rubs, hunting or naps.)

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs…

In case you are one of the many who don’t know, that is the first line from one of my all-time favorite poems. It is not by Robert Frost, although two poems by him are in this category, and clearly not Dickens or Emerson or even Whitman, although they as well have followed me from the time when I was green and golden and sang in my chains like the sea. Have you guessed the poem yet? The poet? No cheating now, no Googling the metaphors or opening line, I will tell you in the end.

I have a lot of favorite poems, but to make the “all-time” list I must have first memorized portions of the poem prior to graduating high school and still find depth and meaning in its lines.  These poems, and the music of dead minstrels who played around me as the poetry wove into my adolescent awareness, are the things I am listening to these days.  My Ipod is playing Dusty Springfield, Karen Carpenter, Harry Chapin, Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg,  Maria Hawkins and Nat King Cole, Bob Welch (in his early Fleetwood Mac days); and some living ones too, like Dave Brubeck, Simon and Garfunkel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and these are all joined be even more old minstrels whose status I can’t remember without Googling them myself,  like  Hot Tuna. And all these  voices of the 1970’s are just lovely background to what I am listening to the most; hours of  Interviews I am transcribing about a remarkable someone’s  life in that time.

The music isn’t just background; these artists are after all,  like the poem,  “all-time” favorites. New artists have joined my favorites music list over the years like Queensryche, or Dreamtheater,  Sharon and the Daptones, The Black Keyes, even recently Adele. I listen to these favorite artists repeatedly, appreciating them more with familiarity, but they can never be part of the personal history that makes the oldies resonate.

Even my TV time is currently rife with nostalgia, I am watching season 1 of  The Waltons, and a little more recent (OK, a lot more recent) but with its own poignancy the 2002 documentary   “Lost in La Mancha,”  about Gilliam’s ill fated quest to make my absolute favorite book EVAR into a movie, the production of which was once again just called off last month.

So that is what I am listening to and watching this week, and I can wholeheartedly recommend all of it, especially if you are too young to have heard or seen any of it the first time. All of these artists contributed something important and unique to the face of modern music, but I will also completely understand if you just laugh at me and tune into the modern fruits grown from these folk, jazz, blues and rock music roots. Because after all the owls have not yet borne your farm away and your wishes still race through the house high hay.

And the poem, by the way is Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas, for whom my youngest son was almost named. As to my homesteading updates, I am about to cook and eat the one winter squash (aka spaghetti squash) that made it to adulthood and harvest, I have already consumed the one cantalope, and the scorching Arizona summer is upon us, so the garden is going to sleep for awhile.

Improvement over last year, although I am a loooong way from any form of urban self-sufficiency, I did actually eat from my garden this year. Yea! This was a first since moving to the desert. I will be studying, planning and feeding my garden dirt in preparation for the next planting season…as I always say “Nothing  is impossible, it’s not that I can’t, its that I haven’t yet.”

Now back to patiently transcribing….

Unbelievable how hard a little discipline can be, and to what am I listening?

My training blogs are probably my most self-serving blogs of all. Why are they self-serving? Isn’t trying to lose weight and get fit a national obsession and therefore sharing how I am achieving broadly useful?

Although I do hope that another non-athlete, someday stumbles across my blog the same way I stumbled across others writings and are inspired to realize they can have fun if they get off the couch and out of their comfort zone (James Owen (in the inspiring sense) and Jayne Williams (in the athlete who looks more like me sense) were the two primary writer’s who helped me get started and keep going last year, but the real reason I keep training blogs is that it keeps me accountable. Telling others what I am going to do, and then honestly reporting whether I have done it or not, is the support my weak self-control needs to make it through the tough choices. Getting fit is not easy, it goes against my very nature, at least until it becomes second nature.

Last night was a perfect example. I am back in the habit of television grazing at night. Aware of the obstacle coming up in the course of my first night back into healthier behavior, I closed out my “MyFitness” as soon as I finished my last bite of dinner.  I also reminded myself that I intended to blog today about how well that first day of training went.

See, it went like this, wander out to the kitchen to check on dogs or watering or phone charging, hand on fridge door thinking of See’s chocolates I got for Easter (most awesome gift from the family I serve), then “Wait,” my brain says to my appetite, “You have no reason to be hungry, in fact you aren’t hungry I can tell, AND you closed out your calories for the day AND you have to blog tomorrow, you really want to blog about how you screwed up the very first day!” I remove my hand from the fridge and get a glass of water. I even actually resort to a glass of calorie free flavored water on the third trip which seemed to help quiet my candy craving for the rest of the night.

I drank a lot of water last night.

But I did meet my exercise goals, and I did meet my calorie goals. Today is a sit-up, push-up, stretch and roll day (yes, it is true, my calves and glutes are slightly sore today but not horrible) and I will walk 3 miles today as well . But that is all later, off to deal with some other self-care responsibilities. So on to the final question…

What am I listening to….? Well I have been crooning along with my old buddy Doris Day, housecleaning to Leo Kotke, and being moved by Jason Isbell and the 400 (all of course courtesy of my friends at Hoodlum Records who are about to have the best vinyl sale EVAR! for Record Store day April 21.  Go check out the list at )

Funny thing though, that when I really need to de-focus from pain, discomfort, or the inner whine of the excuse wheel I find my motivation not in music but Podcasts and Audiobooks. So what did I listen to yesterday? I am running and listening to a marathon of all the DML podcasts from I-tunes. My AZRF friends will know these guys as “The London Broil”, they are just intelligent enough and silly and funny enough to hold my interest indefinitely. I am back up to episode 10 (they just put out episode 23) and I have to say, I would totally go with the adult size Big Wheel, how about you?

Talking to myself and feeling old…sometimes I’d like to quit, nothing ever seems to fit…

I’ll give you three guesses what song I am humming…and feeling even older because I had to enter the groups name in Google to get their song lyrics instead of Eminem’s because I could only remember the first few lines not the phrase that is the title. Sheesh and am waiting for Pandora to actually play the song I named my playlist, I started that playlist because of the book I read for my morning inspiration.

All that and  I forgot to say, “Good morning, Happy first day of Spring!” Winter tried to hang on with the last few days of cold wettish weather, but today’s sunny skies say it is in fact Spring!

It will be interesting to see what spills out into cyberspace this morning as this is an exercise of writing to my timer.  Yup, I need to get a bit more discipline going in my life again.  So once again setting a timer and just writing; and since my blogs of late have all been recipes or other AZRF related topics I thought I would just do a general blog for my 30 minutes.

The book I read this morning that put me in a Carpenter’s mood, although the term “read” is inadequate for the medium I admired and absorbed, is Peter Sis’ “Conference of the Birds” and the book itself is an inspiring retelling of a favorite 13th century poem with fabric feel pages and intricate details in the art.

It was not the book itself that started my humming, I remembered the first time I read the poem, still too small to really understand the spiritual subtext, I obsessed about how the Penguins were left out of the adventure. The poem tells of a conference of all the birds and then how they fly to find their God in a high mountain to end the worlds troubles, the journey is long and they face the obstacles anyone on a spiritual quest must face and only thirty succeed in entering the mountain. At the end, they are, of course, their own answer and the god they sought is in them. I missed all the important personal growth connotations when I read the poem in grade school, and instead obsessed about the Penguins.

Penguins can’t fly, I was indignant that they got left behind not because they were afraid or wrapped up in their own agenda but because they just can’t fly. This bothered me enough to do rewrites and invent various solutions from magical increase in penguin wings to swans who carried the willing penguins in hammocks between two of them holding ends in their beaks. I did rewrites and drew art that flummoxed my elementary teachers.

“What are you drawing Miss de Biasi?”

“Two swans carrying a penguin to the mountains of God.”


“Because penguins can’t fly.’

After a couple of weeks they sent me to see the school counselor who asked me to draw something else, which I did, but that is another story.

So anyway, while reading Sis’ version I remembered the dilemna of my youth and how being a bit of a “penguin” among flight birds I never seemed to fit, and then that song popped into my head, and I turned on my Pandora station and turned on my timer, then just had to know the rest of the lyrics and well that leads up back to now and only five more minutes on my timer, and me having given up on the Pandora station and switched to Carpenters on my I-tunes, which being old I can work better than Pandora as I have been I-podding for five years and Pandora-ing only one.

As to the Carpenters. I believe their music and that of Carol King’s are the epitome of early seventies pop. The flavors of Jazz, Nashville, and Rock are all kind of blended up with just the right amount of sweetness and pain. If they were a 21st century food they would be a blended coffee drink, the hot, bitter shot of reality so well swathed in smooth sounds and sweet phraseology by perfect voices that it slips down easy and dessert like. If, by some chance, you are to young to have ever listened to their early albums and are in a Colbie Caillat or Jack Johnson mood try out “Tapestry” by Carol King or the 1971 self titled Carpenters or my favorite the 1972 Carpenters album “A Song for You”.

As to Sis’ take on the ancient “A Confederate of Birds”, this is a perfect gift book equal to Gibran’s “The Prophet” or   Silverstein’s “Giving Tree” for simplicity hiding the deepest truths and all packaged in a visually appealing and tactile pleasing package.

And my timer has gone off and so I must get on with my day that is neither Monday or Rainy, but I still think I might just play that one again…..




Classical it is…

Rediscovered KBAQ on my car radio this week-end; 89.5  was all classical music with a lovely lean towards the Baroque.

Then today listened to Schumann Symphony #1 while writing. Tried a little Florence and the Machine “Lungs” at one point but had to return to my classical collection by song 5, too jarring and violent this morning. Currently listening to Mozart.

Some days are just about the classics…

Yesterday was all about the big band sound and Etta James and Doris Day,

and so far today has been, well classic

but I think I may be transitioning to a bit of Abigail Washburn here shortly, something I can clean and sew to without closing my eyes in reverie but which also inspires calm….yup, “City of Refuge” it is…if you like the new folk sounds at all, give Abigail a listen sometime, ask them at Hoodlums (or your own local store) to giver her a spin next time you are in there, and I promise you will walk out with a new CD (and hey, tell them Crowfae sent you, won’t get you anything but it sounds cool 😉

….and now I want to stop cleaning and dance around with my folk flag flying…..yup….I gotta run….