The Return of Gracie Allen

Ha. I have dated myself already. Gracie Allen was a brilliant comedian married to George Burns and together they created a TV comedy sit -com. In that environment, and in her other TV appearances Gracie often made interesting but erroneous connections, malapropisms and other verbal type jokes.

She was innocent enough and it was funny to watch the confusion as others tried to follow her logic. I do not know if it is a good or bad thing, but over the years I have been known to have Gracie Allen moments. This past weekend was a good one.

I had discovered a musician named Troy Andrews or Trombone Shorty. As I have mentioned before my son, a musician, told me “he is wonderful, Mom. He puts on a great show.” I was out to dinner a few weeks ago at a small club “Blue Jean Blues” when I noticed that Troy Anderson was appearing every Sat. night during July. I was soooo excited. I texted my son that Trombone Shorty was playing every Sat. night and that I had plans to see him.

A couple of weeks passed and a friend, whom I haven’t seen in a long time, texted. Let’s get together. “I know just the thing to do, we can have dinner and go see the guy Troy Anderson. He is great and B (my son) tells me– he puts on a great show.”

Fast forward to the club and Sat night. We are sitting up at the stage when Troy comes out to set up with his band. I am confused as he looks so much older than his You Tube videos. He begins to play, his trumpet. OK. I know that he plays both trumpet and trombone. He is doing Satchmo imitations– One, then another, then another. What is going on here? My friend states she is surprised B enjoyed this so much. A friend of her’s had said, Troy Anderson was popular 20 years ago but didn’t know he was still around.

While most of the band was talented and old, it was a bit boring. We left at intermission. I guess I was not as old musically as the rest of the crowd (though I definitely was in the right age range.) I spoke with my son a couple days after. “How did you like Troy, Mom?” B asked. “Well, I was really bored and I was so surprised to see how old he was.” The conversation continued with my B asking more questions. He was confused until he said “what was the name of the musician you went to see.” I told him Troy Anderson.” Lots of laughter on the other end of the phone. “NO, Mom. We were talking about Troy Andrews not Troy Anderson.” Oh Well. At least I got to see my friend and hear some live music.

I will keep my eyes open for Troy Andrews as he travels around and hope to catch him when he is in South Florida.

Music Soothes My Soul

I was going to write about the lack of concern so many people demonstrate for the diversity of life on this planet. I can get on that soap box…But, as I turned to this page, I decided why  write about that! I want to focus on music. I love music. I love a variety of music. I grew up in house that shared music. My mom used to play classical music on the piano. She stopped and I think it has been a loss in her life. My dad loved to sing and we regularly listened to big band music and musical theatre. I actually went to the theatre as a very young child. I guess it should be no surprise that I followed that path for a while.

My tastes in music are eclectic. I can blissfully listen to Gregorian chants or John Legend. I enjoy going to concerts but what really excites me are the small musical venues. This Sat. I am going to see Troy Anderson play at a small club. I love this club. Blue Jean Blues. I can’t even begin to say how excited I am about this.

My son plays the piano and composes. I  am a big fan of my son’s music as well. He creates music from the depth’s of his soul, you can feel it and when I see him play I can see the music rise up from deep within. I thought I was being so cool when I discovered the magic of trombone shorty. But, my son said, “Oh he is a really good performer.”   So much for Mom trying to be cool with her son.

And so while I am greatly moved by excellent writing,  a finely crafted film, visiting a museum or enjoying live dance, nothing quite touches me inside like music. Music has always been a way for me to move  inside, to manifest an upset or celebrate the energy of living. I am grateful for the place music has had in my life.

Maybe those who don’t care about the oceans warming, the animals dying, or the cruelty to children aren’t listening to the right kind of music or any music at all.

Meaning and Importance

Last night I joined my mom, my sister and my brother-in-law in sharing dinner. At the end of the meal, my sister was trying to show me a photo of someone we knew. She went to Facebook but actually couldn’t get to the photo. That is not important. She then showed me a photo of the meal one of our family members had cooked. “Every night,” my sister tells me, “she puts a picture of what she has cooked up on Facebook.” We all shook our heads. In truth, I do not care what she or anyone else ate for dinner last night. By the way, I had chicken and spaghetti. Sadly,I admit I fallen vegetarian– though I usually never eat meat.

Then, this AM I am riding in my car listening to the end of a discussion about the meaning of life, nothingness, emptiness, randomness, perfection, and the universe. What does the Higgs boson revelation mean and so on.  I find that type of discussion thought provoking, stimulating and indeed important for my mental and intellectual survival. I don’t get to hear that type of conversation too often.

Perhaps I am a snob. But, life seems to me to be filled with questions that are difficult to answer yet struggling with the answers or even the ability to understand the question is more important than sharing what I eat on a daily basis. OK. Eating is an imperative.

Maybe I am missing the truth behind my relative’s willingness to share her creations. Maybe importance of her sharing is tied to her creativity and the desire to contribute something creative on a daily basis. That of course, is probably not the rationale for her postings, but it certainly makes me feel better to know that the importance of her meal gives her actions meaning.

I guess I am in one of those moods….Here’s a comment that I am sure will infuriate some: Down in South Florida I often feel like I have lost my brain and the ability to think expansively. I am a New York snob. You can’t take the New York out of the girl. But, the need to be part of something bigger, to engage in something meaningful can also make me wonder about my work as a writer: how important is it?

Sigh…too much thinking for one day.

Discipline so easily foiled

I am disciplined sometimes. I am disciplined when I am working in someone else’s environment or work space. I am not so lucky when I am at my own desk. I am easily distracted, easily frustrated, easily taken off task. I admit it. So, what?

It gets me into trouble with myself. Instead of taking the plunge and moving ahead I allow myself to sabotage my process and get distracted. That in turn makes me feel bad. Feeling bad makes me depressed. Oh. You can see where this is going.

I have a great deal of strength and focus and must get angry at myself; I have to tell myself to shape up.

When it is all over, and I quietly reflect upon my foolish, self destructive behavior I am always keenly aware of how much time and effort I have wasted in the avoidance, the distraction and the worry that seem to accompany that particular process of mine. I guess I should be grateful that it doesn’t always infect my creative process.