Saturday, January 24, 2015

Take Notes ....

The first significant snow of the season has blanketed the parking lot and its occupants with about four to five inches of the fluffy type.  At least that is the depth estimate I made minutes ago when I used the new long-handle device I bought a few weeks ago just for the purpose of clearing the roof my 2005 Dodge. Official numbers will be available very soon on the local news channels, stats which will be presented with breathless incredulity.  Six inches. HAH!  Six feet were more like it when I was a kid.

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I want to thank all who sent me messages of sympathy and condolence because of Buck's passing in November.  Before we were married in 1986, I had been alone for 28 years so I have some experience of the solo life.  I'm eaasing into it, and it's becoming more and more normal, I have to admit, even when the sudden lightening bolt moments strike and I realize he's gone forever.  Those are tsunamis to which I respond accordingly: I sit or stand quite still, allowing the grief to wash over me.

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I am becoming very excited about the forthcoming May gig, and I will be pleased to provide all essential details when terms are finalized.  For now I can only reveal that if you want to be there, you must possess a valid passport.

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Secondly, may I please assure all of you who kindly take the time to write that I have published each of your comments with a response of my own.  To read these, just click the Comments button at the bottom of the page to which you wrote.  For example, there are several nice ones at the end of the December 14, 2014 post, just below this one.  Yours is there.

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THE SPRING JAZZ VOCAL WORKSHOP:  Classes will commence Feb. 28 and run for consecutive Saturdays to March 28.  Interested singers should write me at ellcar537@aol.com for details.  Class is limited to twelve students.

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One final note: I think the accusations that Tom Brady and/or Coach Bill Belichick ever ordered the deflation of any footballs during the Pats-Colts Championship Game are spiteful.  The implication is that the Patriots are incapable of winning without resorting to unscrupulous tactics, an allegation I find highly offensive.  The sports writers have certainly been handed a juicy bit of fill during the two-week lull before the Super Bowl, and the vultures are feasting on the dying carcass.  Unfortunately, we haven't heard the last of it.

Onward to Arizona and victory for the New England Patriots!




Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Death In The Family

My husband of twenty-eight years died on Thursday, November 13, 2014. He was an 81-year old victim of prostate cancer and early onset dementia. Our marriage was the second for each of us, and took place in Boston, Massachusetts on Sunday, November 30, 1986.

The grief and feeling of significant loss has been at times quite overwhelming, but on this one month anniversary of the sad event, the skies are gradually beginning to brighten. Music ... particularly jazz, classical and opera have been my close companions, often generating floods of theraputic tears.

Often choose to sit and stare at the familiar faces in my favorite black and white movies of the 1930's and 1940's, a glass of any sort of alcholic beverage within easy reach, zero appetite. Hardly leaving the flat except for the most necessary trips, sleeping when weary, moving about in a perpetual daze.

It is a well-worn and easily disputed theory that drinking sufficient quantities of alcohol can inspire artistic types to explore imaginative concepts while writing or painting or cooking or planning the perfect crime. Yesterday I consumed a large amount of Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, chilled to perfection and served in a fragile-stemmed wine glass, hoping to ignite the literary engine or at the very least, perk me up a bit. I did feel quite a bit more relaxed and cheerful when the wine was accompanied by a healthy dose of some of my favorite recordings by the Count Basie Band.

The wine did the trick: the idea popped into my consciousness fully formed at approximately 6 o'clock in the evening when I wrote a friend asking if there might be a chance to sing in a favorite jazz club in her city sometime in the spring. I wrote: "To dip my toes ... to re-enter the arena ... to feel alive again". The very gratifying response from the club manager arrived in my mail box less than five hours later: "Yes and Yes ... can you do May 15 and 16, a good spring-time slot". I have accepted the invitation with some serious glee and the knowledge that I have a full five months to loosen my vocal chords and tighten my waist-line.

My husband and very dearest friend will never be forgotten. I need only remember this song written in 1922 by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn, made famous by Al Jolson, to remember his sweet smiling face and gentle blue eyes:

Nights are long since you went away
I think about you all through the day
My buddy, my buddy
Your buddy misses you

I miss your voice, the touch of your hand
And just to know that you understand
My buddy, my buddy
Your buddy misses you



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Getting back in (partial) gear ...

This is the first post since June when I published a piece honoring my dearly-departed Dad on Father's Day.  It's a nice remembrance and follows right below this post.

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 The reason for the substantial gap in the writing has been the fact of my husband's serious illness which has altered priorities and re-fashioned responsibilities.  I have had limited time and energy to compose my thoughts or to comment on topics that interest me.  However, we have recently decided to temporarily suspend chemo therapy treatments, so our thrice-monthly appointments at the Infusion Center do not fill my calendar for the rest of August or deep into September.  Buck is seen by an efficient and ever-cheerful Visiting Nurse named Jan three times a week, and I do all the fetch-and-carry business. We are hoping that a break from the debilitating effects of chemo may restore some vigor.  At least, that is the goal for now.  It is truly one day at a time in this house.

Meanwhile, like so many millions, I am horrified by the assassination of an American journalist in the Middle East, not to mention the chaos and misery taking place there; the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, MO; the on-going recalcitrant Republicans in Congress and their endless attacks and attempts to dilute or eliminate altogether the Affordable Care Act (I refuse to call it "Obama Care" because the term is so clearly a pejorative); the honky-tonk, all-pervasive rock n' roll environment which dominates our lives, the cotton candy, soda-fizz, pop-crazed culture that consumes so much of the world while the higher art forms struggle to exist, causing an almost predictable extinction for some; the relentless assault by political conservatives determined to abolish or prevent the right of all gay citizens to marry whomever they may choose; the narrow-minded, uncaring politicians who seem oblivious to the needs of the poor, the sick and the elderly. Have I missed anything?  No doubt I have, and you are welcome to mention them to me at the bottom of this piece or on my Facebook page.

When any or all of the above rattle my senses to a seismic degree, I opt for the calming effect music provides, especially as represented by J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, Bill Evans or Bill Charlap.  (At least one very dry martini is practically medicinal).  And there are all those good books!  Real books you hold in your hands and then actually turn pages.  Additionally, there is the genuine thrill of rooting for our home town Under-Achievers, otherwise known as the Boston Red Sox.  If there is a travel day in their schedule, Buck likes to have me read aloud to him, usually a New Yorker piece we can both enjoy.

Oh yes .... before I forget:

I will conduct another Jazz Vocal Workshop in the fall, and if you or someone you know might wish to join the class, please write me at ellcar537@aol.com for all details.  Yes, that's Ell for Ella Fitzgerald and Car for Carmen McRae.  You needn't bother yourself about the 537 bit.

Cheerio!