Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Laughter’ Category

Using Laughter

As far back as I can remember – laughter has always been a part of my life. Even today while relaying a very funny story to my husband as we were traveling to an appointment out of town – I was reminded that humor plays such an important role in relationships. Without it, our relationship over the years would have been much too serious, too dry and stale – as humor seems to work like a balm of soothing medicine – breaking down misunderstandings and helping us from becoming too inwardly focused.

I’m sitting in a crowded Starbucks this morning while writing this. I forgot my earphones which turns out to be a rather fatal flaw in my attempts to fully concentrate – as I am sitting rather close to another table where two young men are talking really loudly about scripture, the bible and what they are learning about both. Normally it would be a curious thing for me to observe and silently witness those around me as I am a captive audience in a small room with many people – even humorous if you will – but today as I try to write it does not seem very humorous. In fact – the more intent I am about keeping to myself – the more they seem to talk even louder – as if, somehow – they are trying to witness to me and everyone around us. Funny. I’m afraid to raise my head up from my keyboard – even though it would be amusing to stop, and look right at them and say, “You needn’t try so hard – it’s okay – I’m already in”

Life has so many of the humorous “moments”. Laughter breaks any tension in a room – between people and removes awkwardness in a second. My students are so funny and I have spent much time over the years in my music studio just laughing. Yesterday one of my teenage male students was there with his guitar practicing with me for an upcoming recital in a couple of weeks. He was telling me a funny story about his brother and I’m still giggling about it today!

Another side note – I have a portable case and keyboard for my iPad 2 that I am typing from. It is wireless and for the most part works. However, once in a while I will strike a key and I get it repeatingggggggggggggg like this. So frustrating – not sure what I’m doing wrong for it to have that function and it takes SO MUCH TIME to go back and keep correcting! Once the repeating letter seemed to have a mind of it’s own and went for 6 lines before stopping!! Yikes. Not a good feature. But you’ve got to admit – it’s funny.

Well that is my blog article today. Between the distractions of the two young men trying “get me saved” and my portable wireless keyboard – that’s all I’m good for today. Both these things will make a great story to tell Greg later – can’t wait 🙂

God Bless

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Throwing Off The Covers

Migraine Barbie has Snapped!

Mid-life, Migraine Barbie Has Snapped

I wrote the following more than a year ago and thought it would be fun bring it around again for all of you new readers 🙂

Well it’s finally happened. I’m hot. Not like that. The other kind of hot – you know the temperature kind.

It’s been happening for about 3 or 4 years – starting with migraine headaches right out of the blue – sending me to the doctor’s for a shot and vomiting all the way there. Then the really emotional days hit. I have been emotional my whole life – but during this time it was ramped up a bit. I cry at anything. Believe me – you wouldn’t want to test out that theory.

I don’t have to wear jackets outside even when it’s cold – and in the truck or car I need the vent on full blast or the window open or I feel sick,

I am my own personal heating system.

I admit it. I have been in somewhat of a denial over these very troubling ‘signs’ of midlife. It means – I have to give in – can’t excuse it away – it means – my body and emotions are changing and I must realize the sad truth – I’m getting older.

Last week I was at the doctor’s for my yearly exam and she asked me if I feel differently – other than the things I had said above. To me those were vague at best – not really the real thing at all – until she asked me about nighttime. She asked, ‘do you throw the covers off’? And I had to admit that yes, I do.

Last night I not only threw the covers off – but blamed my sweet sleeping husband for NOT opening the window wide enough. I’m like, ‘are you KIDDING ME!!! I’m in midlife here – WORK WITH ME!!’ And I got up and put a short-sleeved shirt on instead of the long-sleeved one I had on to begin with – and Greg opened every window he could find.

We laughed about it this morning – and it’s nice that we can laugh about it. I believe that other than this – I am going to breeze on by this little hiccup in the road of my mental and emotional state. And maybe someday soon I’ll be ‘normal’ and even put a sweater or jacket on again.

Even the commercial and retail world seem to agree with me – as many ‘boomers’ are now in mid-life and beyond. These will give you a good laugh and make your day!

Mid-life Barbie

1.) Bifocals Barbie. Comes with her own set of blended-lens fashion frames in six wild colors (Half-frames too!), neck chain and large-print editions of Vogue and Martha Stewart Living.
2.) Hot Flash Barbie. Press Barbie’s bellybutton and watch her face turn beet red while tiny drops of perspiration appear on her forehead. (Comes with tiny hand-held fan and tissues.)
3.) Facial Hair Barbie. As Barbie’s “hormone” levels rise, see her whiskers grow. Available with teensy tweezers and magnifying mirror.
4.) Flabby Arms Barbie. Hide Barbie’s droopy triceps with these new, roomier-sleeved gowns. Also comes with two muu-muus, and tummy support under panties.
5.) Divorced Barbie. Sells for $199.99. Comes with Ken’s house, Ken’s car and Ken’s boat.
6.) No-more-wrinkles-Barbie. Erase those pesky crow’s feet and lip lines that have appeared with a tube of Skin Sparkle-Spackle from Barbie’s very own line of exclusive age-blasting cosmetics.
7.) Soccer Mom Barbie. All that experience as a cheer-leader is really paying off as Barbie dusts off her old high school megaphone to root for Babs and Ken Jr. Comes with minivan in robin-egg blue or white and cooler filled with doughnut holes and fruit punch.
8.) Mid-life Crisis Barbie. It’s time to ditch Ken. Barbie needs a change and Alonzo (her personal trainer) is just what the doctor ordered, along with Prozac.
9.) Bunion Barbie. Years of disco dancing in stiletto heels have taken their toll on Barbie’s dainty arched feet. Sooth her sores with the pumice stone and plasters, then slip on soft terry mules.
10.) Post-Menopausal Barbie. This Barbie wets her pants when she sneezes, forgets where she puts things and cries… a lot. She is sick and tired of Ken sitting on the couch watching the tube, clicking through the channels. Comes with Depends and Kleenex.

Who do you know with any or all of the above symptoms?  Did you ever own a Barbie?

Have a great day – God Bless!

Fighting Fair

Erma Bombeck

Image by Ujwala Prabhu via Flickr

Greg and I had an interesting verbal “sparring match” this morning.  It is very healthy to have these – as I have in recent years, discovered – and yet it is still somewhat foreign soil to venture in to the murky dark abyss of this type of “healthy exchange”.  We are still pretty new to resolving our differences this way.  Even after all the years we’ve been married.  It’s easier to say nothing than to deal with some things.

We’ve been reading one of Erma Bombeck’s hilarious books on relationships and in one chapter she writes about a very humorous exchange between she and her husband where she asks him, ‘Linda and Joe have meaningful conversations – why don’t we have any meaningful conversations’?  To which they both agreed, finally that surface conversations were safer in the long run.

Sometimes meaningful conversations between men and women are at crossed purposes and it seems easier to keep it simple.    I mean, since a man is NOT a woman – by any stretch of the imagination – it is difficult to get him to THINK like one.  I believe a meaningful conversation for my husband or any other guy friend of mine would be full of facts and information – sparring about this and that – displaying and ‘peacocking’ ambitions and accomplishments – news issues or politics – or for the Christian man – a debate on scripture or strategy on church leadership and such.

But women would rather talk about how they feel about issues – relationships and don’t care so much about the facts and figures.  And if it’s a news-worthy topic – it’s usually how people feel that are being affected – world events that talk about people and not just strategy and politics for strategy and politic’s sake.  Arguing or debating is not high on our list of ‘fun things’ to do.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good sparring match – when it’s fun and harmless – debating about this or that – when it’s done right with no personal ‘shots’ or humiliating comments from the other party – and I can usually hold my own with any man on many topics – but it is difficult finding the balance in the sparring – when it’s your husband.

For some strange reason – over time, at least for us – we know how to do the “dance” of our relationship.  The things and words that push all of our buttons – and then have a hard time knowing how to defuse a situation after it IS into more than just a “healthy discussion”.  We know it’s important to not accuse and say things like, “YOU always says this” or “YOU make me feel lousy about myself when you do or say that” – instead we know to say, “I feel like bad when you say this” or “I am not liking what I think you are meaning by that” but alas.  Often times a discussion can turn south WAY before the intentions for saying the right thing is properly communicated.

I have learned how to have healthy and “meaningful conversations” with my husband out of necessity and out of survival – but sometimes we are not always successful – and occasionally – even we blow it.

Today I did not “stuff” my feelings as I would have done in years gone by – I spoke it right out!  It was a pretty stupid meaningless thing – nothing earth-shaking at all.  But it did have repercussions – as any discussion like this will.  And in frustration I heard myself saying these words, “Why can’t you be more like a WOMAN”?  Yeah right.  Really clever.  The problem is this:  Greg is my best friend – and he’s clearly NOT a woman.   He is a man.  He is also my husband.  So many problems with this arrangement – so much potential ammunition to want to KILL HIM at times – because he is A DUMB GUY!!

And so our dance continues.  I am learning to speak out when things bother me (this is so NOT like me in the past) and he is learning to dial it back a pinch when he has that incredible little imp that sits on his shoulder.  The Brat.  It’s not perfect – but it’s a life-long journey that we call marriage.

I suppose this is what they call “fighting fair” – having a healthy and meaningful exchange of words – really listening to what the other person is saying – learning what to say and what NOT to say to diffuse a situation and most of all – to remember to show a lot of love a grace when personal ego and pride are affected.  When your husband is a man and also your best friend – it’s worth the dance.

God Bless

Coldest April On Record? Parka, Anyone?

It's cold outside!

Image by Ennor via Flickr

Yup.  It’s official.  According to this latest article and weather video from Kirotv.com.  This is the coldest April on record in Seattle since 1891 – a year that weather was first recorded at the Federal building downtown.

1891?  Are you kidding me?  That’s One hundred and TWENTY years, people!!  What happened to global warming?  There was actually snow in April.  Unbelievable.

I am very warm-blooded, usually.  That is, I’m warm for my age.  My age being 50 and in mid-life.  And by usually – I mean that sometimes my feet get a little cold – okay, icy cold and frozen if you must know the truth – but only at night for some reason.  I keep a heating pad by the foot of my bed and have done so for years – just for those occasions when I need to warm up my feet before going to sleep.  I’ve gone through several heating pads in almost 30 years of marriage.  I used to just put my icy feet on Greg at night – and though he is a very patient man – he really did not like it.  It may have been the sudden scream that gave it away – I can’t remember – but I do know that the heating pad is better.  So I stick to that.  Plus – to tell you the truth – he is like a furnace and makes me much TOO warm if I sleep too close to him.  How can you be too cold and too warm at the same time, you may ask?  Hmmm.  I have no idea!

Yes all this confusion in my body temperature may be my age.  And I’m willing to own it – But it also may be this crazy cold weather!

Covers on?  Covers off?  It’s a toss-up.  Windows wide open and I’m still warm – then I’m cold.  It’s ridiculous. I love my body pillow – but that makes me too warm too – not fun.  Comes with being my age and female – it’s lovely.

And it doesn’t help that our spring has been just like winter.  Usually at this time of the year I am well into capris and sandals.  But I have had to wear reinforcements  Yes – an actual jacket in April.  That is not like me – ask anyone.

I froze yesterday at the Civic Theater in downtown Renton – rehearsing for “Bugsy Malone” with our junior high students from Renton Christian School.  Honestly the place was like a refrigerator – and when we had a break I took a little walk because it was actually sunny yesterday – not warm – just sunny.  It is very weird because I am NEVER cold in there – so I know it must be cold outside.  I brought a jacket and wore it most of the rehearsal.

Today is looking up though – May 1st and already sunny and a little warmer.  I didn’t freeze in the theater – actually wore capris and short sleeves and was comfortable.  Maybe May will be warmer!    My husband (the glass half empty guy) says, “not so – it will be cold and rainy the rest of the week”.  Oh Greg.  Where is your faith?

Where, Oh where is spring?  I believe.  I have faith.  I know it’s coming.  That wonderful time of the year when I can wear sandals and take a walk outside just to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.  Where everything smells better and cleaner.  Where I hear the frogs in the nearby pond and see the cherry blossoms – and not worry that the frost will kill them!  I long to put away my hoodies, sweaters and jackets – my boot slippers and socks.  I long for shorts and tank tops.  But mostly, I long to not be cold all the time.  At least so much of the time.

The mountain was out today – and for all of you not from Seattle – this simply means it was a beautiful clear sunny day.  We need many more days like this now that it’s May – we’ve had enough rain this last year to last us several more and I’m not going to ever complain about the heat again!  I’m putting away my parka – for real this time.  You just can’t wear a parka in May.  It’s wrong.

Have a wonderful May Day!  Stay warm.

God Bless

A Funny Guest Post From KC Procter

I read something today that was just hilarious.  It is from my new online friend and blogging buddy,  KC Procter.  KC manages a couple of blog sites – is a happy husband and father of two – is busy finishing up some schooling to become an MBA and is active in social networking.  I have enjoyed his humorous take on life and in his many ‘tweets’ and comments.  I would encourage you to check out this blog called “Some Wise Guy” – and in particular the article he wrote today –3 Kid Words Dads Accidentally Say At The Office .  It is about using ‘kid’ words after we’re grown-up – come on – we ALL do it!  If you need a good laugh today – read the article that he wrote and the comments too – it will make your day!

And be sure and add KC to your blog roll – you will enjoy his articles!

God Bless!

Just When You Thought It Was Safe…

Yesterday Greg performed a funeral service for someone we had known for several years – who had recently lost her husband to cancer.  While at the service, one of the senior ladies came up to him and told him she was getting married again.  “I finally landed him” she said of another man who was recently widowed.  Well this gave us a good laugh and proves once and for all that anyone can get married – at any age – love seems to have limits or requirements – and let’s face it – most people don’t want to be alone.  They would rather marry again  – anyone rather than be alone.  So this sparked a very colorful and fun conversation and got us really thinking about what it would be like if something happened to one of us and we found ourselves single again.

It came up because we were marveling at how people can go back after being married to the same person for so many years – and start over and date.  Now mind you we have been married for 30 years this September and neither of us have been on one of those ‘dates’ in more than 30 years  – Oh we date now – sweet little outings that are more about connecting and romance then they are about getting to know each other like on a first or second date – but we haven’t ‘dated’ in years – in fact I’m not sure we ever did.  I’m not sure I would know how.  We went from being friends into a relationship pretty fast back in college and sort of skipped over that part.  I would have to say that my last actual ‘date’ was with some creepy guy at college who asked me to the spring banquet.  I didn’t think he was creepy until that evening – but none-the-less  it is my memory of that evening – and the last real ‘date’ I was ever on.

I think ‘dating’ is highly over rated – not for the faint-hearted – and certainly something I would probably avoid altogether if I was back in a situation that left me alone and single.  Let’s face it – there are some pretty scary people out there.  I know.  I’ve had some of these people as friends over the years.  I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if married to one of them.  And let’s face it – someone can appear a certain way as a friend and then be completely different in real life – the daily grind, living, paying bills, through sickness and financial reversal.  And getting to be comfortable again with someone else – hard to do.  I mean – can you imagine it?  I can’t.

And so there we were – having one of those moments trying to take it all in – imagining what would happen if something should happen to one of us – and force the other one back in the ‘dating pool’ – just when you thought it was safe to be single. I teased him and told him he would have all sorts of women coming out of the wood work to get a shot at him – I’m sure they would come, it’s hard to find a decent hardworking man who is good-looking, kind generous and so on  – he’s a find for sure – and a minority in the sea of so many single women. He’s so great that several years ago I had someone even picked out for him to replace me upon my ultimate demise – a wonderful single gal from our church who was recently widowed with a small son.  And then she ruined everything and up and got married!!  Can you believe that?  We’ve had many laughs over it – in fact I even told this woman about it – and she was flattered – she got married to someone else – but still flattered 🙂  Man – can’t anyone wait anymore?  Sigh.  I have found NO ONE since her.

But I do applaud all those friends in our lives that have chosen to be single. It is not for everyone – and I think it takes real courage to remain so.  But there’s no one I admire more than the person who finds themselves single again due to a death of a spouse or a bad divorce.  Being ‘out there’ again is scary.  It takes real-time to grieve and grieve properly and fully before being ready to try again.  But we have known some of these wonderful people who have actually found love a second time around – and no one deserves it more than they do.  It should give all of us hope that God is really a God of reconciliation, love, forgiveness and second chances.  I love that about Him.  These wonderful friends somehow pulled themselves up  – went through all the ‘first dates’ and scary things that all single people have to do – and still they were able to work through all those emotions and find someone wonderful 🙂  Is there more than one special person for everyone?  You bet!

But as for me – I’m way too picky.  Greg has spoiled me for anyone else.  And No – he hasn’t picked out any guy for me upon his ultimate demise.  Men don’t do that – being territorial and all of that.  And he thinks no one could take care of me in the fashion in which I am used to – so it would be a moot point.  So I’m afraid it would be up to me in that case.  I’m sure I would be lonely but would also enjoy being single and not be anxious to be on that train again and be ‘out there’.  I have a few girlfriends who feel the same way – being in another relationship is simply not an option for them right now.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of how people actually change – just when you think you know everything about them.  Those that did not give it enough time – and they find themselves in a relationship with someone who turned out to be abusive or controlling – changing personality just when they thought they knew them.  That’s not for me.  I would have to know someone as a friend for a long while – to feel that I knew him through all the different seasons of life.  I don’t think I would ever ‘date’.  Nope it’s not for me.

For those of you that have found that special love a second time around – after being ‘out there’ – I want you to know that I respect you and I’m so happy for you.  That takes such great courage to find another relationship that works and that makes you so happy.  You are true heroes.

And for those of you that haven’t – just remember you could always ‘date’ again – just when you thought it was safe being single… 😉

God Bless

What’s Your Name Again?

Beatles, The - 28 - 1966 - Michelle

Image by Affendaddy via Flickr

I hate to admit this – but I can’t remember your name.  Actually – if I’m really honest about it – it has always been this way with me.  I don’t do it on purpose.  I know everyone loves the sound of their name spoken by another person.  I just don’t think that person will be me.  Sorry.  I like to think of it this way:  I have a lot of other ‘stuff’ floating around up here – so I cannot be saddled down with a lot of trivial information, like phone numbers and names.

I think it’s a hereditary trait – I really do.  My maternal grandmother could never remember any of her grandchildren’s names.  I was somewhere in the middle of the bunch – therefore most forgettable, I’m sure.  She would go down the list, ‘Phyllis, Cora, Wendy, Joanne, David – WHO ARE YOU???’  Yes – I was even called, ‘David’.  Nice.  My cousin Joanne recalls being referred to as, ‘Wendy, Cindy, Joanne’ for most of her life.

Well – now that I’m of a ‘certain age’ I can identify with my grandmother and know how hard she struggled with our names.  I have found myself calling after my children – getting it horribly wrong and wondering why I CAN’T REMEMBER THEIR NAMES!  And like Bill Cosby said of his own father, ‘You live here and I’ll find out your name!!’  *Sigh*  It is so true.  I have called, Shawn – ‘Greg’  –  and Greg – ‘Shawn’.  I have even called Ashlee both ‘Shawn’ and ‘Greg’ before her own name.  One time Ashlee looked right at me and said incredulously, ‘Did you just call me Greg?’   Uh…maybe.

We recently started attending a new church.  There are only about 50 people on a Sunday morning – and do you think I can remember everyone’s name?  Of course not.  It’s a HUGE struggle – I’ve never been good at face and name association.  You know the kind – try to find something that they remind you of – or repeat their name like three times during a conversation and you’ll be set!  Not me.  Even after that – I usually repeat their name WRONG.  Good grief.  One very friendly and understanding lady – who has forgiven me and is in fact in our small group doing life with us every week – was Michelle Oakes.  I could NOT remember her name – even after about 3 weeks!  How embarrassing.  Well she was really sweet and said to me – ‘just think of the Beatles song’ – and that did it for me!  I never forgot it after that.  I just think of the song.

What if there is NO SONG that goes with their name?  Oh my.  That can’t be good for me.  And what if they don’t look like anything that you can do a word association with?  Names are a funny thing.  And over time – everyone starts to look the same.  It’s really bad.  I have this horrible fear that someone from my past will walk up to me and say, ‘Hi!  Remember me?’  and I will have NO IDEA.  My only hope is that I will not look familiar to anyone either.  Or that they will just keep talking and I will eventually figure it out.  Oh my husband will come up to me and save me – and then I can introduce him by saying, ‘Oh have you met my husband, Greg?’  And then they will be FORCED to say their name.

We just finished reading, for the 10th time or so, ‘The truth will set you free but first it will make you miserable’ by the late Jaime Buckingham.  He told about a childhood friend from the mountains of North Carolina where he had spent his boyhood.  The boy’s name was Kenneth Sumi.  He said that being back in those hills was like reliving his past and reminded him of his old friend with red hair.   Even though it had been 50 years – every man with red hair reminded him of that boy.  And so every one that would approach him with red hair would invariably walk right into the ‘Well if it isn’t Kenneth Sumi!’ – it wasn’t of course – it never was.  But that’s what he could recall from his past and it wouldn’t let him go.

I’m afraid I do that too.  I see people from my past – and the way they looked back then – and then try to make it work for the people around me.  It is not based on anything real – only memories.  It’s a scary slippery slope of constant embarrassment.  I think of all the times I was sure of whom I was talking to – only to find out that I was completely wrong. And I dread someone saying, ‘You don’t remember me, do you?’    Uh – actually…..No.

Here’s to reality and things coming back to bite – BIG TIME!

What’s your name again?

God Bless

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