Monday, October 11, 2021

It's More than the Theme Song

When I think of music in the movies, two things come to mind. The first is theme song, especially if it became a commercial hit, examples being some of the award winning tunes from the Bond franchise - "For Your Eyes' Only", "Goldfinger", "All Time High" and "Live and Let Die". Most people are familiar with "Rain Drops keep Falling on my Head" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Two of my all time favorites are "Memories" from The Way we Were and "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffanys. There was a wonderful song called "Moondust" from (of all movies!!) Meatballs. If you not familiar with it, and a doubt you are probably not, Google it.

The second musical memory of a movie is the overture. Whether it is the opening credits of My Fair Lady or the sweeping production at the beginning of Gone With the Wind, these compositions set the mood for the movie. Rogers and Hammerstein are probably best known for their overtures.

However, I recently realized the most important music in a film is not the theme song stuck in your mind for days or the grand orchestral production of the first minutes. It is the score. The music that sets the scenes that we rarely pay attention to, yet it is a major part of the movie going experience.

Last week I was walking and decided to "listen" to a movie. By the time I got back to my place, I was enthralled. The movie, not a block buster, but a decent film, was a totally different experience with just the dialogue and the score. Since I had seen the film several times, I was very familiar with the characters and setting. But the score, which no doubt influenced my experience the earlier times I had seen the film, was initially lost in my consciousness. However, it was this very music that carried the movie. All the action, the feelings, and suspense could be followed by just listening to the score. Now I truly appreciate the Academy Award Winners in the category of "Best Score".  

And just in case, one doesn't know the difference between a movie's theme song and its score:  "[The score] is probably so called from the vertical scoring lines that connect successive related staves. A score may contain the single part for a solo work or the many parts that make up an orchestral or ensemble composition".

When I was quite young, I remember my father explaining the concept of a movie score to me. He had me listen to the score only (no dialogue) of Peter and the Wolf. I could tell just by the music that something bad was going to happen or things were going well or there was some expectation. The music carried the emotions of the story. It was a great lesson that I put away in my mind, along with his tutorials on how to select a great book by its binding and what to look for when buying an Angus cow. 

But, like many of those valuable things Daddy taught me, I was a bit slow to really appreciate the lesson. Yes, it took me 50 something years to truly appreciate his lesson on scoring. Now I just wonder how many valuable things my father taught me that I have long forgotten or failed to appreciate at the time. 

Perhaps the lessons were much like the score of film. As I go through life they provide the background, the richness, and enjoyment of my daily experience - I am just not conscious of it. "Let's say it was the moon dust, that hides behind the moonlight, that fell and set us free with its moon dust melody."

Friday, October 8, 2021

Save it for a Rainy Day

In this week of inclement weather,  save it to the poets (and musicians) to romanticize the rain. 

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
       Perry Como

Save it for a rainy day 
       Stephen Bishop

Here comes that rainy day feeling again 

Here's that rainy day they told me about and I laughed 
      Barbara Streisand

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, Save it for a rainy day 

Oo, I hear laughter in the rain, walking hand in hand with the one I love. 
      Neil Sedaka

I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain? 
       Creadance Clearwater Revival

Rainy day bells play by the raindrops 
       Neil Sadaka

Kentucky rain keeps pouring down and up ahead's another town that I'll go walking through . . .
In the cold Kentucky rain 
       Elvis Presley

Smoky Mountain rain keeps on falling, I keep on calling her name 
       Ronnnie Milsap

You can thank me later for the continuous loop one these songs will stay in you head today.

Monday, October 4, 2021

A Ouija Board, a Magic Wand, and a Genie in a Bottle

 Everyone has most likely played that game of naming a list of people, well there are several of these lists. One is - If you were stranded on a dessert island, what 3 things would you want with you? Number two is - If you could have one wish what would it be? Number three is - who would be your dream guest list for a dinner party?

Obviously, these are all personal. Everyone has different answers, well except that a majority of us would ask for unlimited money somewhere in here. As for me, I have thought about these queries long and hard over many years.

For the first, I would want a Ouija Board, a Magic Wand, and a Geni in a bottle. The magic wand just a back up in case the Geni is uncooperative. 

My one wish would not be world peace, contrary to that desire of many Miss America Finalists. I would request the ability (and resources) to travel anywhere I wanted at anytime.

As for the dinner party, this is my favorite. There are 2 categories alive and dead. The list of those still in the here and now would include: Annie Leibovitz, Kevin Costner, Dr. Nan Morrison (one of my college English Lit professors), a certain young man I didn't date in high school but should have (whose name I will not reveal),  John Martin Taylor (a well known Charleston chef who penned "Straighten up and Fry Right" aka The Fearless Frying Cookbook), Ted Turner, and Aaron Sorkin.

The list of those who have passed would include my father (a true Renaissance man of his time), my Auntie (a favorite Great Aunt of mine who cussed like a sailor, smoked Salems, and always had a great story), Bill Lynch (a family friend who epitomized a gentleman from an old Charleston family who introduced me to good Gin and Cointreau at the age of 15), Dr. Frampton (the minister of the Presbyterian Church I attended as a child), Cokie Roberts, and Judge Blane Michael (the funniest white man I ever knew).

When you have a quiet moment, I suggest you make your own lists. I cannot speak for everyone, but it put my life in perspective. And, although I doubt any of these wishes will come true, I can always dream.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

"They" Know a Virus is not Contagious

This truly goes under the category, "You can't make this stuff up."

I was in a store yesterday, one that requested its patrons wear masks while shopping.  Although I do not like wearing a mask, I respect any store that has such a policy. The gentleman in front of me in line turned around. "Don't you just hate having to wear that thing," he asked as he pointed to my mask. I noted he was not wearing one.

"It's not my favorite thing but I respect the store's right to request it," I said, trying not to sound nonplussed.

"Well, I happen to know for a fact that they do no good - not effective at all." He continued, "Let me show you." With that he pulled out his American Express card. "See that comma between 30 and 2023 (the expiration date)?" Before I could answer, he continued. "This card," he pointed to his Amex Card,"is a hole in your mask. That comma is the virus. So you can see a mask does no good."

"Well . . . ", I started to comment about N-95 masks, but he continued before I could finish my thought. "There is a book everyone must read, called The Invisible Rainbow. It is over 100 pages and 25 of those are footnotes citing the experts." As this point, all that went through my mind was The Rainbow Fish, The Reading Rainbow, and Unicorns.

"You should know, the Spanish Flu in 1918, which did not start in Spain, actually started in Kansas." Before I could offer that I knew that, he continued. "And it was not spread by contagion, like people to people. It was spread along the telephone wires that had recently been strung across the country. It spread by radio waves coming from the lines. Then the transcontinental telephone line spread the disease to Europe."

"Phone lines? Really?" I replied.

"Yes, there is proof that radio waves carry all types of viruses. You know in the Army, the first thing they tell you is to stay away from radar and x-rays? The Army knows all about this, they have just keep it secret."

"Huh, I haven't read anything about this."

"It's all in The Invisible Rainbow, you should read it." He continued,"And the experts know a virus is not contagious, it's nothing but dead cells."

I started,"And this is in  . . ." But before I could finish, he cut me off. "It's all in the book. You really need to read it. And, you know what caused Covid19?"

"Phone lines?"

"No, the 5G network. It's everywhere and it has spread the virus across the globe." I was hoping that he would quickly reach the register, so he could pay for the few things he was holding and spare me any more of his scientific theory. But, luck was not on my side. The lady in front of him decided she needed to pay with a personal check and it was taking her a while to locate her checkbook in her rather large purse.

"There is a great video called 'Covid19 in 19 Minutes'." He continued. "But you want find this on Google. It can only be found on a secret browser that only real serious scientist follow."

Finally, it was his time to check out. "There is a God," I silently told myself. As he left, he turned, pointed to me and smiled, "Get the book, you really need to read it."

The only thing I could say was,"It all sounds very interesting."

With that he turned and left. I was tempted to follow him out the door and see if he was going to don a tin foil hat. But then, I had given him enough of my life. I'll take my chances with telephone lines and the 5G network. No doubt, somewhere over the rainbow . . .

Friday, October 1, 2021

Be Happy

 "I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.” Jane Austin in Pride and Prejudice.

I live to learn this lesson. How much simpler can it be said. We often are so busy trying to achieve what we think is going to bring us happiness, we don't recognize it when it is in front of our face. 

Fear not, I will opine no more. I shall bask in my content and enjoy my happiness, all the while appreciating I have both.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

I Yearn Therefore I Am

 Someone asked me what I truly yearn for. I had to think. "Yearn" is an odd request. "Want" - yes, "Dream For" - I can see.,"Wish For", a popular question. But "Yearn" (very eager desiring along with restless or painful feelings)? So I thought.

I want my bank account to be have a larger balance but I yearn to be in the top 10%. I want to travel more but I yearn for a 'Fractional Ownership' of NetJets. I want to lose weight but I yearn to be a size 6 again without limiting my calorie intake. If I took enough time, the list would be fairly substantial.

However, as one of my teachers told me in 9th grade, in response to my declaration that I wanted to attend Vassar, "You can always dream". Upon reflection, I dream for things I think will bring me great joy, but in reality know they will never happen. 

Which begs the question - what do I dream for? In 6th grade it was to have Tim Matheson fall in love with me. In 8th year it was to have my very own horse. My senior year it was to attend the prom with the boy I had a crush on but, knew in reality, he was going to ask Susan Langfordson. There is a long list of things I dream for. Thinking back on it, Mr. Vangard's advice in 9th grade was some of the best I ever got. If we cannot dream, our world is just mundane. Fantasies, if only for a moment, bring our futures into technicolor.

Whereby dreams are illusions, wants are fairly pedestrian. I want to read more. I want to schedule my time better. I want to learn how to master a souffle. These are things that are very possible on a list and probable if I truly decide to do them.

Reality is understanding the difference between fantasy and the truth. But as Issey Miyake once said, "We yearn for the beautiful, the unknown, and the mysterious." Perhaps we should yearn more than dream. To dream is to wish for something fantastic. To want is something we know can easily be done. However, I yearn for those things I know deep down are possible, but question if I have the determination to achieve them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

My New Venture

 I take photographs and paint for enjoyment. The photography gets me outside visiting many venues - near and far. The painting relaxes me and soothes my soul. I decided to change my Etsy store from Photography to Paintings. After all, the photography seemed so dated and who wants a photograph on their wall. Well, truth be told, luckily many people. But my focus has changed. True, I still enjoy my photography. It gives me new vistas and subjects to paint.

Since each of my photographs is unique and created by me, I have decided to marry these 2 passions and paint my photography. I was very surprised to learn from Google, that this is not a unique thought. It is an art form that dates back as early as photography. The process is called "pentimento" or over painting. 

I have created dozens of small samples of larger works. Each 4x6 is a study of how a larger piece of the same photo would look. And, in full disclosure, a 34 cent photograph to work with is much less of an investment to experiment on than initially painting a 8x10 picture or a 16x20 canvas. My business model is designed to paint each work by commission, each being an original of the subject. 

So I have the new Etsy shop up and running, showcasing my work. There are many subjects to choose from. There are mountain scenes, sunsets at the beach, flowers, (flowers and flowers), old cars, and miscellaneous venues. Each piece is unique and created with love. The idea being that original art will be more interesting and desirable. Or, in my case, at least to those desiring it enough to spend their hard earned cash on it.

I have marketed my work as pieces for anyone's personal space, den, or office wall. These pieces can be a for one's own enjoyment or a gift. 

All that said, as with that cornfield in Iowa, if you build it, will they come? Christmas is right around the corner. 

Anyone who goes to my Etsy store and "Favorites" one of my pieces, will be sent a Discount Coupon for 25% off their entire purchase. Or one can simply use EARLYGIFT for 15% off. Please share and pass this post on far and wide. Rather than another scarf, cookbook, bottle of wine (well, I cannot compete with that one), or box of bath salts, wouldn't you rather give (and receive) an original piece of art?

Also patterns for Needlepoint or Cross Stitch are available for each piece.

Please check it out: Painted Photos by AC  

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Aging, Good taste, and Comfortable Shoes

Looking over any given group of people, one thing comes to mind - do these people have a mirror? Especially women. What were they thinking when they got dressed this morning?

There are the women in their 40's and 50's who are convinced that dressing like a 20 something makes them attractive and younger  - Not! Also the ladies who try to fit their size 12 body into a size 8 dress. Hint- you cannot get 2 tons of fertilizer into a 2 ton truck. It all comes down to math and physics.

And, what's with wedding attire? Years ago I was appalled by the guests attending nuptials who showed up in sundresses. These days I just hope they are wearing shoes. Their clothes, or lack thereof, make me look like the church lady in my attempt to dress appropriately. 

If a woman dares to wear very tall heels, she damn well should be able to walk on them without looking like someone wobbling on stilts. Shoes being referred to as 'comfortable' does not in any way mean they are frumpy. Anyone with good sense would want to wear comfortable shoes.

I don't care what anyone says, yoga pants are only designed for those who can pull them off. Everyone else should . . . pull them off and do away with them. Large women just need to accept it and move on. Let me rephrase that - some women feel they rock in yoga pants. They are proud of their rounded figures. For those, I say - You go girl. When you have the attitude, wear it. I wish I had the strength of character to be a force of nature and show my curves, my flab, and my bumps, but alas I do not. 

Older women should avoid looking like Dame Edna with too much blue eye shadow and bright clothing. Speaking of age, very few, OK almost no one can look like Jane Fonda, unless they are Jane Fonda. Face it, she never ages. 

As hard as we try, as much as we wish, there is no denial - we all get older. Suddenly we find ourselves a bit baggy in places, larger in others, and wrinkled in many more. We must accept reality, make the most of it and do our best to age gracefully. 

The best we can do is find clothes that are comfortable, attractive, and say "I feel good". Today's fashion offers plenty of appropriate choices for those of us who are mature. And, for the record, there is a difference between 'Mature' and 'Old'. Even a teenager can be mature, if they know better, show responsibility, make good choices. 

We should not think of aging as being doomed to SAS shoes and the walk in bath tub. "Looking one's age" should not be the kiss of death. Rather it should be the talisman of grace and good taste. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Joggers and Headlights, Oh My!

 When friends of mine talk about  "over sleeping" and missing their morning alarm, I cannot relate. It is hard for me to oversleep due to my two little alarm clocks - Ellie and Marshall. Every morning at 5:30, it is as if their little Mickey Mouse watches go off. If I am not awake Ellie will start nudging me, as much to solicit me to scratch her face as to wake me up. Marshall, on the other hand, will climb on top of me and gently pat me with is left paw, as to say "Let's go!"

When I can sleep late, it becomes a negotiation. I will scratch Ellie's face hoping to mollify her enough that she will settle down and nap. If I ignore Marshall long enough, he will crawl under the covers in defeat and go back to sleep. But the stand off is short lived and shortly we are up and about. Time to get dressed and go out for our morning constitutional. 

With the days being shorter and dawn coming a bit later every morning, it is now totally dark when we leave the house. There are 2 choices for our walk - the street that runs in front of my place and the street (more of an alley) that runs behind it. Each carries its own perils, depending on the time of day. Getting out at 6 am or later, means that others will also be out with their pooches. The lady with her large Sheppard mix and the distinguished looking old man with his well behaved Jack Russell will be out and about on their morning walk out back. Any time around 7:00 - 7:15, the older gentlemen 2 doors down will have his Ellie, an older Australian Sheppard mix, out front.

Usually, we are out earlier so we do not have to negotiate these obstacles. Don't get me wrong, I am social and these neighbors are very friendly. Unfortunately, Marshall, with his Napoleon complex will take offense that these other canines are also taking their constitutional. With all of his 10 inch height (he is a full size Yorkshire Terrier, and no, that is not an oxymoron) he will channel his inner canine, bark, and lunge on his leash as if he is going to take these interlopers down. Any person familiar with canine behavior will see his wildly wagging tail and understand his ruse. 

So each morning I must make a strategic decision - the front or the back. Lately, we have been out early enough to take a nice stroll down the front sidewalk free of any canine encounters. However, just when I think there will be peace in the morning, there is a new threat - early morning joggers. Being pitch black dark they are wearing head lamps as they come down the street.

So the game is afoot. If I see them first, which can be difficult given they usually are coming up behind me, I can start telling Marshall, "It's OK, it's OK Marshall keep calm." If neither of us are surprised by a jogger, this will usually pacify him. However, this all becomes an issue when we are both surprised. I doubt any of the runners feel threatened, given Marshall's small stature. Often I doubt they can even see his small self as he barks loudly in the dark. I, on the other hand, am mortified that I have such an unruly pet. 

Then this can become a game of cat and mouse. If I see the jogger's light bouncing in the dark, I can manage to be standing beside one of the parked cars, shielding the jogger from Marshall's eyesight. Another strategy is to turn into a neighbor's yard, making my way to the back, all the while steering Marshall's attention away from the jogger. 

All in all, what should be a relaxing way to start my morning can be very stressful. Often my next door  neighbor leaves for work during this bewitching hour. If his departure coincides with our return, Marshall will also bark loudly at him. However, he understands dogs. Instead of trying to avoid Marshall, he will approach my unruly terrier, stoop down and offer his hand. Marshall will immediately stop his barking, wag his tail, and happily accept his kind words and scratches on his head. We exchange pleasantries, I apologize for Marshall's behavior, and we go on our ways.

In contrast to Marshall's deportment, Ellie is always friendly, usually quiet with her little stubby tail wagging as hard as it can. I doubt she cares about Marshall's antics. She is simply trying to solicit attention, as if to say, "Look at me, please pet me, just ignore him". Her unruly black hair (keep in mind Toto was also a Cairn Terrier) makes her look like a street urchin as opposed to Marshall's flowing grey and tan coat. With all his antics, Ellie feels neglected. It is as if she is saying, "Don't mind him, he is just full of 'sound and fury, signifying nothing'."

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Unclaimed Delivery

 I'm embarrassed to say, I still do not know my neighbors well. Oh, I know their names, basically what they do, but other than that - peanuts. I'll confess it is my fault and I should be ashamed on myself. 

Last week when I came home, I noticed a box, the size and shape of those of flowers come in, sitting outside my neighbor's door. "What a nice thought," I said to myself, "Coming home to fresh flowers." 

The following morning as I left for work I noticed the box still there. No doubt she will get them later this day, I thought. I bet she was already home when they were delivered yesterday. We've all done that. Who checks their front door after they have come in for the evening? Can't say I do.

When I came in from running errands the following day, the box was still there. Later when I took the pups out my back door for their afternoon walk, I made a note to knock on my neighbors door and tell her about the box. Then I noticed her car was not where she usually parks. Note to self - check with her tomorrow. 

Friday, I left for work, and  the box were still there. Since her car was parked out back, it dawned me, unless she had company, she rarely used her front door. So I sent her a text. "Noticed there is a box on your front stoop, know you always use your back door, figured you hadn't seen it."

About an hour later I got a text back from her, "Thanks so much."

It wasn't long before there was another text. "The box is for you, just had the wrong address."

I texted back, "Thanks, I just wasn't nosy enough to check the name on the box."

Immediately she responded with a laughing emoji.

That evening when I got home, the box was in front of my door. Sure enough the label showed my name but my neighbor's address. And, it was a box of flowers - "fresh" flowers.  Well, fresh as flowers could be 4 days old (all the while sitting on a stoop in warm weather). As I opened the box, I feared what I would find. They were impeccably packed with the blooms carefully wrapped so they would not get messed up in shipment. They were in a nice water vase, that was sealed around the stems so it would not spill. Well, a nice empty vase that was.

Miraculously, the flowers had survived, a bit worse for the wear (or neglect), but still intact. I cut their stems and filled the vase with water. As I placed them on the table, I thought, what a conundrum? If I had been a nosy neighbor, I would have gotten the flowers the second day I noticed them on the stoop. But, why in the world would I have done that, it wasn't my business. 

Does this mean, after a package has been left, unclaimed, I should check the address? I think not. If it looks to be a box of flowers? Maybe?

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

I Pine For Normal

I cannot speak for everyone, but I pine for normal. Never did I think I would miss being in a crowded restaurant or standing in line. I am tired of checking the paper daily to see where we stand on the COVID mortality chart.  Suddenly being first is not desirable. 

I'm ready to go to the Cimmaplex to see a block buster - let me reword that, at this point I would enjoy seeing about any movie. I promise not to get frustrated standing in line for popcorn (served up once again in an open bucket). I miss not being able to try on clothes in a store because the changing rooms are closed. Taking into consideration the environmental plight we are now in, I wish to never see a single serving container ever.  

Never in my life have I not been able to escape my reality. Before this God forsaken pandemic, just knowing I could buy a ticket, at any time, and go just about anywhere in the world to run away was a mental salvation. By plane or train there was an out. Maybe I did not have the disposable funds to afford such a trip, but I knew it was possible. 

I miss seeing people's faces. Wearing a mask prevents us from showing any emotion. Often I find myself smiling then realizing that the show of pleasure is lost in the face covering we all wear. I miss friendly hugs and shaking hands. It will be nice to know that every time I have a cough or cold, not everyone will silently being asking, "Is it COVID?"

I am tired of the world being 6 feet apart. I never thought I would say it, but I yearn for crowds. Deserted sidewalks and empty queues are depressing. Seeing small businesses closed and realizing many will never reopen is terribly sad, knowing that the hard work, investment, and dreams of those owners is lost.

Before February of 2020, I knew the definition of an "epidemic" but was unsure exactly what the term "pandemic" meant. Now, I wish it were a word not heard in every newscast.

I realize in the past, we were lucky to avoid pandemics. Polio, Measles, and Smallpox were eradicated before they could cause a world wide blight. Citizens were appreciative of the hard work and talent of the researchers that worked for years before coming up with a viable vaccine to eradicate these scourges. Most people of my generation sport a scar on our upper left arm, a sign of the Smallpox vaccination we were able to get as children. Yet, now when modern medicine has allowed the production of such vaccines in less than a year, enough people are questioning its efficacy that this modern miracle cannot produce enough immunity to halt the pandemic. 

I shudder to think where I would (or would not) be now if my parents had questioned these vaccines. How many friends and family would I never have known due to the mortality of these diseases. Perhaps I could have been a victim myself. 100 years ago, the world was attacked by the Spanish Flu. But now a majority get an annual flu shot. Does the general public realize if enough of us did not get this simple vaccine every year, it may be the flu shutting down our world as we know it.

COVID is not black or white, red or blue, it is an equal opportunity illness. Yet, by simply going to the neighborhood pharmacy, doctor's office, or maybe even the pop up clinic in the parking lot of the local mall, in a matter of weeks we could be free again. We need to ask ourselves, is it worth continuing this madness due to a false premise? In the 1960's would we question scientific truths and believe the scuttle butt we heard over the backyard fence?

Reality is that it will not go away on its own without taking the lives of 100's of thousands more. Every citizen in the United States has the ability to do our part to end this blight. The question is, do we choose to free ourselves and our neighbors or continue the madness out of ignorance and pride?