Monday, February 28, 2011


I am not a musician. I don't know any music theory. When the orchestra plays I cannot tell one instrument from another. I just know I love music. Music reaches down into my soul and stirs all the emotions.

Last night we attended a performance of the Montgomery Philharmonic. We went because the world's greatest daughter-in-law, who is my favorite french horn player, was performing with the orchestra. Last night one of pieces was Concerto for Solo Tuba by Arild Plau. It was magnificent. I never had heard a tuba anywhere except as part of a marching band. This was something entirely different. I did not know a tuba could make such beautiful music. After the tuba solo the orchestra played Shostakovitch’s Symphony #5. I loved it. I sat there and just let the sound wash over me. The music invoked all sorts of images and emotions. There were dark and stormy moments and times of peace and beauty. It was just a wonderful evening.

When was the last time you sat back and just let the music wash over you and carry you to another place filled with beauty?

Friday, February 25, 2011


Fifty years ago today I knew that I had made the right choice when I accepted my beloved's marriage proposal.

We were in the mountains with his college fraternity and a bunch of friends. We had played in the snow all day and were sitting by the fire talking when the chaperon came looking for me. (Do college fraternity parties still have chaperons?) I had a phone call. I had left the phone number to the lodge with my mom in case of emergency. I was a bit nervous as I hurried to the office to take the call. I knew from the tone of mom's voice that she had good news. “Sue, you're an aunt. You have a niece. Everyone is fine. The baby is healthy. Her name is Julie.” This was indeed exciting and wonderful news. My brother and his wife had just become parents and I was an aunt. I had never been an aunt before. I was bubbling over with the joy of it all. I went running back down the stairs telling everyone that I had just become an aunt. People just glanced up and said that's nice. No one seemed to understand how grand this piece of news was to me. I finally found my beloved and shared my exciting, wonderful news. He hugged me and asked me to tell him everything. He wanted to know all the details. He listened and shared my excitement. He supposed that this meant he would become an uncle when we married. It was wonderful to know that this man would share the joy and excitement of my life.

I wanted to carry my baby niece down the aisle at my wedding. I thought she would be far better than a bouquet of flowers. My mom vetoed the idea.

Julie and I have spent all of her life on opposite coasts. We have never been able to spend great amounts of time together. When she was little I thought she was bright, beautiful and amazing. Now that she is grown with grown children of her own I know that she is bright, beautiful amazing.

Happy birthday Julie. Thank you for making me an aunt. I love you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yoga Trees

“Find a focal point. Preferably find something that's not moving. Find something to focus on while we work on our balance.”

Whenever my yoga instructor says these words I look out the window at the trees in the outside garden. It is winter and the trees are bare of leaves. Their trunks and branches are unhidden. I focus on these bare trees and notice their shape. Like people, no two trees are just alike. One particular tree in the middle appears strong and straight. It has somehow withstood the storms of winter with little change in it's climb upward. I admire this tree, but I think I am more like the tree just to it's right. This tree is not quite so sturdy looking. It started growing up straight and tall, but then some unknown storm made it bend toward one side. Soon it regained it's course and grew back toward center. The storms of life have made it bend back and forth as it continues it's journey toward the sky. It seems to me that finding balance in life, as in yoga, means bending back and forth in the storms of life as we continue our journey toward the sky.

Spring will soon be here covering the trees with new green leaves. It will be harder to see their strong trunks. I will know though, that under the beauty of spring there is a trunk, strong and true, reaching toward the sky.

I am looking forward to spring and seeing the trees in another season.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Yesterday my husband and our second daughter celebrated their mutual birthday at a family dinner. This year our son-in-law won the best gift award. He had just returned from a mission trip to Honduras and brought them each a shiny new Honduran machete.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Last Friday night we were enjoying dinner with friends when my cell phone beeped. I looked and saw a picture had been sent to my phone. My cell phone is very old with a very small screen that makes it hard to see pictures very well. I could tell it was a picture of my daughter and her sweetheart. Why would they decide to send me a picture? I looked and could see happy smiles. I studied it a bit longer and noticed her left hand was being held up for the camera. There is only one reason to send your mom a picture displaying your left hand. I passed my phone around the table to see if someone with better eyes could see anything sparkling on her left hand. The picture was too small to see jewelry, but the smiles told the story. My daughter's sweetheart had finally popped the question. She had said yes. They are officially engaged. We are all delighted.

He took the whole family to a nice restaurant and proposed in front of her three teenagers and his teenage daughter. The kids were excited and happy. In this age of smart phones the kids had the news on facebook before they left the restaurant. Some news is just too exciting to keep to yourself.

Here's the picture they sent to me on Friday.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

You'll Never Walk Alone

The senior chorale with which I sing has started rehearsing for our spring concert. This program is a collection of “inspirational” songs. I like them all. We are learning”Eye of the Tiger,” “The Man In the Mirror,” “You Lift Me Up,” and many more. The one song that is my favorite for this program is, “You'll Never Walk Alone.”

In 1956 I was fifteen years old. I dreamed about one day falling in love and was full of visions of romance. That was the year Rogers and Hammerstein's musical “Carousel” was made into a movie. I loved that movie. I believe I saw it at least ten times. In an age before DVDs and videotapes that meant I went to the movie theater. I would walk a block to the bus stop and pay my 25 cent fare and ride into town. Then I would walk to the theater and pay my 25 cent admission to see it yet again. Sometimes I went alone. Sometimes friends would come along with me. Sometimes we would sit through the film twice on the same afternoon. I thought Billy Bigalow was so handsome. I wished I was the beautiful Julie who won his heart. It was just so romantic. I would cry every time when Billy died. The song “You'll Never walk Alone” was so inspiring and I would cry every time I heard it. I did buy the record of the sound track and played the music over and over again on my phonograph. I knew every word to every song.

Last week when we started to sing this song in rehearsal for just a moment I felt like I was once again a starry-eyed fifteen year old girl.

What was a movie that captured your heart when you were a teenager?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


           It has been almost six months since my foot surgery. Yesterday I was finally able to begin physical therapy. My goal is to reduce the pain and swelling in my foot and to increase the strength and range of motion. . Right now I can walk for about five minutes before I need to rest. I need to do better than that. Actually my real goal is to be able to enjoy a long walk on the beach this summer. I want to just walk and enjoy the feel of the surf and the smell of the ocean without stopping to think about how much pain I am enduring. I want to walk through the woods and listen to birds. I want to walk the streets of the city and see wonderful new sights. I want to do all of that and not even think about my feet. My therapist said she thought those were all worthy and achievable goals. I am feeling very optimistic.

It is groundhog day. Phil did not see his shadow. Spring is coming and with spring is coming my recovery. Life is good.