Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Would You Miss Me?

Well, it's December 27. If you're scratching your head, I'll give you an assist. The day that Jack killed himself two years ago. Also the day of our first date. Those two events may or may not be related. I won't know until I'm also dead. But, then I won't be able to blog about it and let you in on the news. It's a puzzler for sure.

I went back to a blog I wrote in 2010. A very long blog detailing the relationship in conversation and summary. I really had no clue about how to write a succinct blog back in those days. (Yeah, I know it's still an issue. You must grade me on improvement.) What follows are short excerpts from that blog:

Me: If I had to move to Florida, would you miss me? (I say this because it is a possibility. My finances are terrible, but I hope it won't happen.)

Him: I would miss you like I would miss the sun.

And that always makes me think of this song:

On the original post, I included the Grey's Anatomy video It's The End of the World As We Know It at the end, with these words bringing up the very end of the blog. Again, for the sake of your time, which I know is precious, I'm just going to skip to the clip at the end of that show (It's The End Of The World As We Know It, Part 2):

I have spent years trying to remember that last kiss, and I can't for the life of me. If you know something is going to end, you prepare better. You note each thing as it happens, and mark it as the last word, the last dance, the last dinner, the last touch, so that nothing is missed. I don't remember the last time I even saw him, much less kissed him, because I didn't know it would be the last time. And he isn't talking.

Well, it's 2016, and I still can't put my finger on that last kiss. I wish I'd asked him when we talked the last time (a few months before he died). Maybe he could've helped me out with that detail. As it is, he still isn't talking.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas, What I Want for 2017, and BoTB Results

Skidding into the office breathless...

I'm here. I'm here. I know I'm late with the results for Battle of the Bands. I know I was lousy about commenting to your comments. Yikes.

You know what I want for 2017... I mean besides all the obvious things like good health and world peace? I want direction. Focus. I want to finally get going. My ongoing (read: constant) prayer is that God simply give me direction on what He wants me to do and then guide my stubborn nose in the right direction. I'm praying for open doors and new opportunities and courage to walk through those doors and grab onto those opportunities. Even if they are scary. Or feel uncertain or new. I suppose I'm praying for a Jesus-style kick in the rear end. And joy. Lots of joy. I really want to seize the joy in life and be present for it. And live in the moment. All that good stuff.

Okay, now that we've covered where my mental energy has been spent (see above) instead of blogging, let's get back to it. 16 of you voted in the December 15 round of Battle of the Bands. The contenders were Amy Grant and Michael Buble. The song was Grown Up Christmas List. I confess that I found this song by going to YouTube and looking for Amy Grant Christmas songs. I'd gotten stuck in a Christmas song whirlwind (that place of too many songs = confusion), so I decided to begin with an artist I knew I liked. Work from there. Back in the 80s, I had Amy Grant's first Christmas record. It was the collectible variety with her the cover of the album imprinted into the vinyl of the record. I thought I'd choose something from that record. But then I came across her rendition of Grown Up Christmas List (awesome song!), checked out who else recorded it (serious contenders!) and a battle began to take shape. Point of fact, I liked the Michael Buble recording so much that he stole my vote from Amy (who started this whole thing in the first place!), which doesn't seem fair. But, that is how voting works. You think it's going to go one way, but then someone else does it better, and voila. And Michael Buble did it better to these ears. I couldn't have been more shocked.

What did you guys think?

Well, Amy Grant began very strong garnering the first four votes. After that it was back and forth. Then Michael Buble came from behind at the end for the win. And that was without my vote, which turns out doesn't actually count for anything in this battle, because you guys decided it. Final tally:

Amy Grant: 7
Michael Buble: 10 (inc. mine)

I think that was a darn good battle. Very close. And some of you heard a new song (Cherdo, yes, I'm looking at you:)/

Michael, I'm going to let you walk us out with a favorite in our house. Merry Christmas friends. I hope yours is overflowing with blessings!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ Grown-Up Christmas List

Hello friends. I apologize for being so slow in responding to your comments on my previous post. I have been reading them. I will say this: to each of you who said, "I should try iodine because..." I want you to know that I literally said out loud, "Yes! You should!" You should also do it now while the iodine and selenium are on clearance. I don't think the price will be any lower. They are trying to move as much inventory as they can by end of the year. One more note: this stuff isn't just for migraines. There are something like 3,000 reviews on the iodine on the website. I think I read 300+ (starting with the least favorable). Not one person mentioned having migraine problems, but tons of people mentioned having a variety of health issues that got better upon taking the iodine. Most shocking to me? Gout. This stuff detoxifies you. So, it pushes out the bad stuff, simply making you more healthy, thereby solving some surprising health problems. If you don't know what I'm yakking about, go back one post. I don't know one person who has said recently, "I'm so healthy that I wouldn't take something that would make me even healthier because I'm as healthy as a person can get." That is NOT the society we live in folks. Good health. The best Christmas gift ever. :)

Battle of the Bands.

Yes, I just changed the subject to the meat of this post. I know most (all?) have done this before. You listen to the songs and then decide who you think sings it better and place your vote in the comments. I will come back in approximately a week, tally up the votes, and write a post letting you know who won this thing.

The song for this installment is Grown-Up Christmas List. The contenders are Amy Grant and Michael Buble. I think both versions are really good. You can watch the video for the Amy Grant version, but don't let the optics influence your vote!  MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY FRIENDS. I hope whatever you're wishing for comes true this year!

First up, Amy Grant:


Michael Buble:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles. I've stopped trying to keep up with who is running a battle and who isn't. To see who is participating, go here: Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Fight For My Life

It has been forever since I've written a post about what is going on here in the Land of Robin. Seriously. I think it's been a long, long time.

I'd say the last three years have been roller coaster-like. What I mean by that is this: When I started seeing my new doctor in 2013 she changed my treatment plan. She took me off some of the meds I was on (good!), strongly encouraged eating whole foods only (tough, but she's correct), get off all processed foods (again, not easy, but we all should do it). I felt so much better after making these changes that I decided to try and actually DO some things. Not go crazy and do big things. Little things. Like go to church on Sunday mornings. Sing in the choir. Yes, that is a commitment. But in the grand scheme of life, I'd say it's a reasonable first step. Well, that step turned out to be just enough stress to upset my apple cart. In point of fact, the only way her health management plan worked was if I didn't interact with other humans at all. That was just too much stress. Group activities or anything that required a commitment of a certain day/time... migraine city.

So, it was frustrating. And I was back on over the counter pain medication if I wanted to have even a pseudo life. Meaning a half life. Not even a full life. Not a real life. Because the more stuff I brought into my life, the bigger the migraine got. The less the OTC pain medication worked. I was back in the place of it mostly just taking the edge off a constant migraine. But, let's face it. I'd lived this way since 2003. This wasn't new territory. If I ate better, slept better, tried for at least some exercise I could live a nominal life. Meaning I could go to church. Maybe join a Bible Study or book club. I still had no chance of a relationship with a man (way too much stress there) or a job (are you kidding me?) or a life. Because I still had really bad days that I spent in bed all day no matter what I did with a terrible migraine. And sometimes several of those in a row.

Despite that, I went to camp the last two summers for a few weeks and OTC pain medicated my way through it. That might not have been the best strategy ever, but a person gets tired of lying in bed just waiting to die. And, let's face it, I've pretty much been lying in bed waiting to die since 2003. That is not any way to live. Point of fact: that isn't living. That is existing. I've been existing since 2003 with bursts of living that have managed to seep into my life and right out again. All thanks to a pain medicated existence. Again, this is not the life that the Creator intended for any of us. I believe that with all my heart. And, yet, there I was.

My sister-in-law introduced me to essential oils about a year ago now. I will say that made some difference in my migraine severity and frequency. My recent summer at camp required less OTC pain meds thanks to essential oils than the previous summer. However, after camp I was actually worse than I was at camp. My therapist has definitive ideas on this that have merit, but I'm not going to go into that right now except to say that stress comes in many forms. (And well-meaning people who love you can stress you out to the max.)

The last four months have been tough. My essential oils haven't held up. Any exercise routine I had went into the toilet. And yet, some really awesome things were happening. I joined a Bible Study through a church I don't attend and made some wonderful women friends (which I really needed). We meet weekly, and this has been a source of encouragement for all of us. A few weeks ago I heard about something called Nascent Iodine. I know you know what iodine is. Point of fact, I was certain I was allergic to iodine. In my 20s, a nurse swabbed my arm with it before drawing blood, and I broke out in the itchiest rash. Oh my goodness. And then ten years or so later I developed an allergy to shellfish after an overindulgence in shellfish (I thought because of the iodine... and probably because of the form of iodine...hmm... don't know). So, when I read the following, I thought I can't take this because I'll be allergic. The bolding is mine within the sections.

The Top 5 Reasons You Need Nascent Iodine
  1. Iodine is an essential mineral that supports thyroid health and well-being.*
  2. Nascent iodine may support healthy iodine levels. 
  3. Nascent iodine may support healthy hormone levels.**
  4. Nascent iodine may be involved in maintaining healthy metabolism.
  5. Supplementing with pure nascent iodine may provide sufficient iodine so that the body does not need to absorb iodine from other, perhaps less pure, sources.
Survival Shield X-2 Quality

Survival Shield X-2 is manufactured in a state-licensed facility that meets federal regulatory standards, is cGMP/HACCP-compliant, and lab grade. Raw elemental iodine is a controlled substance both at a State and Federal level. The licensing, approvals and regulatory documentary procedures are exacting and costly.

Bound forms of iodine must first be separated, clarified and purified from other binding components or impurities into a USP-grade (United States Pharmaceutical), mono-elemental iodine as certified USP resublimated iodine crystals. In this purified crystal form, iodine is a highly reactive and toxic substance. However, when the purified USP iodine crystals are subjected to a proprietary process it becomes nano-colloidalized and transforms into a form of elemental nascent iodine, also referred to as monoatomic iodine, without the addition of iodides!***

Shocking Statistics About Iodine

  • According to the World Health Organization's Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, iodine deficiency is a public health problem in 54 countries.
  • The CDC states that iodine deficiency is one of the four major deficiency diseases in the world (Fortunately, it is the easiest to correct).
  • The 2013 USGS iodine commodity summary warns that there are no comparable substitutes for iodine. 
  • Information published by UNICEF notes that iodine deficiency is the most avoidable cause of stunted physical and intellectual development.

*My thyroid went hypo a while ago. And then it went autoimmune. This is very bad news. Once it goes autoimmune your body eventually DESTROYS your thyroid and there is nothing that can stop it. Well, you can take the thyroid medication, which I do, but when it's gone, it's gone. I'm sure it all just gets more fun from there.

**Hormones. Holy rocket science Batman. When I first started getting migraines (2003), I told my neurologist that I was certain this was a hormonal imbalance given how my migraines (before they became chronic) were hormonal. Granted, they were now a freight train bound for hell, but if we could stabilize the hormones, I think we could get the train back on the track. He looked down his nose at me and said, "I hear that from many of my women patients, but I assure you that you are wrong." And that was the end of it. Because, you know, he had a direct line to God. He proceeded to pump untold amounts of medication into me that caused me to lose my hair like a cancer patient. God love him. He was a miracle worker. And I still had migraines.

***Without the addition of iodides. Hmm. Could it have been the addition of iodides that I was actually allergic to and not the iodine itself? 

If we need iodine to live. If we need iodine to regulate our hormones. If we need iodine to keep our thyroid working correctly (and clearly mine is NOT), then maybe, just maybe I have an iodine issue. And maybe, just maybe by giving my thyroid the iodine it very much needs it will start to correct some of these problems that have gone... shall we say, badly.

I ordered it. It comes in liquid form. I placed a drop on my arm and waited. 24 hours later and nothing. No rash. The recommended dose is 3 drops per day. I took one the first day. That was the first day I didn't take any OTC pain medication in four months. The second day I took two. The third day I took three. I've had some serious stress going on during this time (my roof needs replacing and that is super stressful and my health care has required some decision-making, which is also stressful). I was taking OTC pain meds at least twice a day (sometimes three). In the two weeks I've been on the iodine, I've taken them two times. Two. On two different days. I'm still using my essential oils. Still trying to eat well, sleep well, my exercise has sucked (got to be honest), but for the first time since 2003 I'm showing actual improvement. 

It's funny what happens when your life changes radically in a short period of time. When you go from a place of holding space to a place of possibility. Those are very different places for the record. For the first time in a very long time I can see that there is actually a future in my future. 

I apologize that this post was so long. As Blaise Pascal (and Mark Twain, later) said "I didn't have the time to make it shorter."

Friday, December 9, 2016

BoTB Results and Some Snark

It's December 9. Two days ago you expected results from Battle of the Bands. Disappointment set in when you realized it was not to be. I'd like to think to that it mirrored the faces at Hillary Clinton's campaign hall the night of the election, but let's face it... only 15 of you voted in this battle, so to be fair and honest (that is what we are about HERE), you probably only just now even noticed that I hadn't posted the results. Furthermore, you only mildly care about the results. You came. You listened. You punched your ticket. It's Christmas. You're busy for crying out loud. Gifts to buy. Food to eat. Possibly some rioting in the streets and maybe some electors you need to send death threats to over email. I get it. We all have things to do. Tis the season.* Moving on...

 *I was trying to channel Bryan over at A Beer For The Shower and tap into my funny side. Did it work? If I could draw, I would've created what I'm certain is comical genius brought to life for your enjoyment. But, alas, I cannot. So, I moved on.

Okay, the results. This was a close battle. The song was Christmastime Is Here. The contenders were Michael W. Smith (and Vince Gill) versus MercyMe. The voting was close. There was a period at the beginning when I thought that MercyMe was going to run away with it, but then MWS/VG came back. But then the scales tipped MercyMe's way again and it finished like this:

Michael W. Smith with Vince Gill: 6
MercyMe: 10 (including mine)

Congratulations MercyMe!

I'm planning on making a serious attempt at writing a post for Monday letting you know about a wonderful new development with regard to my migraines (and thus my overall health). I'm over a week into it.... and well, let's just say that I am shocked. And hopeful. Seriously hopeful.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BoTB ~ Christmastime Is Here (and a Quick Update)

Can you believe that we have officially stepped into December???

I hope that all of you ate to your heart's content over Thanksgiving, actually enjoyed spending time with your family, managed to not engage in any fistfights or other fights at the dinner table, and can honestly say you're looking forward to Christmas! I AM!!!

I don't spend as much time talking on this blog about how I'm feeling or what's going on as I used to (which, let's face it, I used to drone on constantly about the state of how pitiful things were in the Land of Robin). Somehow I've swung from vomitous overload of content on that front to an icy desert of silence. Yeah, those shouldn't go together, but I think it works. It is MY PLAN to actually put something together soon on the state of affairs on that which is me.

But, for for right now, I'm feeling hopeful, which I consider to be an awesome thing. My personal health is far from perfect, but I do sense a shift happening (a positive one), so I'm doing what I can to to build on that. I'm excited about the Christmas holiday. I'm excited about 2017. And maybe I'm beginning to understand/accept/learn that I don't have to have it all figured out for me to feel good about it. It doesn't have to be perfect or even the way I want it (because it isn't yet) for me to simply be happy in the moment that is. Happy that things are moving in a good direction. Things in life really do happen one step at a time, and the people who enjoy life the most are those that appreciate each step (even if it isn't precisely where you want to be). I think I haven't been very good at this in the past, which suggests that we really can/do make our own misery simply by not being able to access the grace to accept what is.

So, woohoo, Christmas is here. And that means so many things I love. Christmas lights. Snowmen everything. Did you know I collect snowmen??? I love snowmen. I hate living in cold places, but I love snowmen. Long sleeves. Sweaters. Being able to drink coffee any time of the day. Christmas music. Christmas movies. Scarves. Boots. I love boots. I wish I looked good in hats. Because if I looked good in hats, hats would definitely be on my list. Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (I make them at least once this time of year... yum!). These are just a few of my favorite things. I love Christmas, and it's here!

The song for this round of Battle of the Bands is Christmastime is Here. This song has been covered by so many artists. It's even been done in previous battles a couple of years ago, but that's A-Okay because I'm using different contenders! That is just one more thing I love about Christmas!!!

Back in the 1980s contemporary Christian music was really just gaining a foothold (I think). I'm not consulting the wikipedia on this, but speaking from my memory. Artists like Amy Grant blew onto the scene in the mid-late 70s or early 80s (I'm pretty sure on this... again, working from memory) and really changed how the world heard Christian music. This fellow by the name of Michael W. Smith came onto the scene in the early 80s and rocked my world with a song called Friends. Anyone else remember this??? I can't tell you how many times I've cried to THAT song. I could write more about that, but we all have lives we need to get back to... So, moving on... Turns out he would eventually cover the song Christmastime Is Here. And voila. Here we are.

In the mid-2000s a contemporary Christian music band called MercyMe crossed over from contemporary Christian music into mainstream music (pop?) with their song I Can Only Imagine. That song will also make me cry pretty much every time I hear it. I suppose a conclusion could be made that I am a crier by nature.** MercyMe also covered Christmastime Is Here. I think you can see where this is going. Michael W. Smith is still going strong in the contemporary Christian music world as is MercyMe, BUT which one does this song better? YOU be the judge.

**Sad commercials make me cry. Those darn Budweiser commercials with the horse and puppy that are featured for the Superbowl get me every year.

Take it away Michael W. Smith (with a little help from Vince Gill):

Take it away MercyMe:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles. I've stopped trying to keep up with who is running a battle and who isn't. To see who is participating, go here: Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better) Breakdown ~ BoTB Results

If you didn't come by to vote in the battle on November 15, well you missed out (but you can still check it out). What fun!

The song was Anything You Can You Do (I Can Do Better). If you've seen the play or movie, Frank and Annie are both excellent marksmen who work together for a time in a traveling show. Then ego gets the best of them and it's splitsville. During their separation they realize how much they miss one another, but they can't even get through their "I miss you and let's get back together" before they fight and this song happened (Anything You Can Do). If you recall from the first clip Annie was calling for a contest to happen on the following day to prove who was better once and for all before all the singing started.

It all sort of reminded me of my favorite episode from the iconic series Seinfeld. Without ruining it for you (I hope), the ending was much the same as well.

Frank, for very different reasons than Kramer, decided he was out of the bet. The entire show/movie is entertaining, so I highly recommend watching it! You won't be disappointed. Plus, the music is tops (written by Irving Berlin).

So, how did the voting shake out in this battle???

It was a bit confusing. My fault. Apologies. I think most of you were clear on the who sang it better versus the performance vote. If you only voted once, I credited both of your votes in the same place. For example, if you voted for Keel and Hutton without distinction I gave them a vote in both the song and performance category on your behalf and no vote at all for Frank or Annie. Speaking of the vote for Frank or Annie... that was the confusing part. What I MEANT was who won the battle the way that Irving Berlin wrote the song in your opinion, Frank or Annie? Or do you think he designed it as a tie? But your interpretation of what I meant was fascinating, so I let you run with it.


Keel & Hutton: 8
Barrowman & Henshall: 12 WINNER

These numbers include my vote, which was for Barrowman and Henshall. I think the movie version is A plus, so imagine my delight when I found the clip on YouTube of Barrowman and Henshall singing this song. I listened to many versions of this song thinking I was going to have to use something OTHER than the movie clip (because it would decimate everything else), and then I found this gem. And it was ON. Suddenly I had a battle. I think the voting from you guys reflects that as well!!!


Keel & Hutton: 11 WINNER
Barrowman & Henshall: 9

These numbers also include my vote, which was again for Barrowman and Henshall. I had a tougher time on this decision than the other one. It was a neck and neck decision for me, and I almost went the other way on it. I just love the Barrowman/Henshall version so much. It's the one that makes me laugh. I can't tell you how many times I've watched it now. What I love, though, is that in both of these races the numbers were close, AND that one version won song while the other won performance. That really says it all about how much you guys loved BOTH of these offerings.


Many of you just opted out of this one. Some of you got very specific. Not just Frank or just Annie. But Annie from the movie or Henshall's Annie. I love you guys. Seriously. You make my day more than you know. Poor Frank got his gun handed to him in this contest. Annie whooped him fair and square. 11 said Annie won. 3 said Frank won. Some of you had no opinion. I don't think anyone said it was a tie except for ME. I think it was a tie. I think that Irving Berlin wrote the song in such a way that was intended to leave the watcher feeling like they were equals at the end of the whole thing. Equally silly. Equally hot tempered. Equally pigheaded. Equally talented. And, in the end, equally in love. After all, who doesn't want someone who will outlove them in the end??? And that is Frank and Annie, unless they kill each other first!

So, what say you? Did you enjoy this battle of the bands? This song? The movie/play? I feel a bit like Frasier... but, talk to me... I'm listening. (Yeah, I know... this blog is turning into a sitcom. So not funny.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)

Well, peeps, my last Battle of the Bands was painful.

(You can thank me for that visual in the comments.)

So, I'm not going to sugar coat it. (I mean, you're too smart for that anyway.) We both know that sometimes I just don't put these things together well. I would've had a much better battle if I'd have put the Kate Bush original up against Greg Laswell. As it was, I ended up with a blowout. That ain't no fun. Honestly, I was so bored with it when I realized how it was going down that I just stopped checking on it. Plus, there were other things happening in the news that had me distracted. And there are always migraines.

Given all of those things, I realized I really wanted a FUN battle this time. I mean we NEED some fun. AmIRight?

Mom and I went with some friends to the dinner theatre this week to see Annie Get Your Gun. It's a musical that was made into a movie back in 1950. The music was written by Irving Berlin. If you haven't seen it, the most famous number is probably There's No Business Like Show Business. But, I really enjoyed the duet at the end sung by Frank and Annie: Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better). And that inspired my battle for this go-round.

In the spirit of FUN, you shall vote in numerous categories (which has never been done on this here blog).

In the case of the latter, and only the latter, you can abstain or call it a tie. That would be the Annie vs. Frank vote. Why? Because I said so, and I can say it louder, softer, longer, and sweeter! ;)

First up is the movie version from 1950. Frank is played by Howard Keel and Annie by Betty Hutton. So, if you like this version it's a vote for Keel and Hutton.

The Sound of Musicals was a 2006 four part BBC series starring several different musical theatre actors and some other professional singers who performed acts from different musicals. Each week the standard cast was joined by a celebrity guest host who also performed their favorite numbers.It aired weekly (every Saturday) for four weeks starting Saturday 14 January 2006. In Episode One, John Barrowman and Ruthie Henshall sang Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better). If you like this version best, vote Barrowman and Henshall.

Okay, remember that there are multiple votes to be cast this time. The first vote is strictly for which couple SANG it best. The second vote is for which PERFORMANCE you enjoyed most. And the last (optional) vote is for who won the battle within the battle and who actually did it better... Annie or Frank. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles. I've stopped trying to keep up with who is running a battle and who isn't. To see who is participating, go here: Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ This Woman's Work

I just noticed that this will be my 900th post (according to my blogger dashboard). How about that?

One of my favorite movies in college was She's Having A Baby. My college roommate and I rented it from the video store so often we really would have come way ahead just to buy the thing. We trekked down there almost every weekend and ended up leaving with either that one or Better Off Dead (sometimes both) darn near every weekend. Don't ask me why. Teenagers do stupid things. Let's just say we weren't financial planners. I loved the movie so much that I bought the soundtrack to the movie on cassette tape. Yes, still talking about She's Having A Baby. I don't know if Better Off Dead had a soundtrack... If it did, I didn't buy it.

I tell you all of this to tell you how I found my song for this installment of Battle of the Bands. I've been seriously infatuated with Greg Laswell's song Dodged A Bullet. Quite honestly, I can't remember how or when I heard it, but now I can't stop listening to it. I'm a song junkie who just discovered a new form of crack. It's sad really. So, picture this: I'm listening to Dodged A Bullet for the fifteenth or so time on YouTube (yeah, I know... junkie) when I see in the videos below the one I'm listening to other songs by Greg Laswell. And there it is... Battle of the Bands Gold. Or, in this case, a song I happen to know is a cover because I know the original. The song is This Woman's Work. The reason I know it is because it was on the She's Having A Baby Soundtrack. See how all of my stories circle back perfectly? It's a freakin' gift.

And thus begins the work of sifting through the many covers (yes, there are many) of This Woman's Work. I still think the original by Kate Bush is the definitive word on this song. Of course, some of you are scratching your heads and muttering, "Never heard it." I know who you are, and I still love ya! Point of fact, I had to take that into consideration as a reason to allow Kate Bush's original be used in this battle. After all, what do I know about who will beat whom? I picked The Tractors for the last match up and I couldn't have been more wrong.

However, I think Kate Bush has an unfair advantage. If you want to hear her version, you can click on the link "the original by Kate Bush" highlighted above.

The most famous cover of this song is by Maxwell. Let's give him a listen.

And then the man who started the insanity in the first place... Mr. Dodged A Bullet Himself... Mr. Greg Laswell.

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles. I've stopped trying to keep up with who is running a battle and who isn't. To see who is participating, go here: Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands Blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

BoTB Results Plus Fallin' Apart and The Little Man

I'm a bit late getting a results post out, but on the other side of that fence is this: I'm not so late that the results are being tacked on to my next Battle of the Bands post. So there is that!

This battle was another one of those close races until it wasn't. It started out with the Hank Jr. and Lois duet going neck and neck with The Tractors and then Hank and the lady slowly picked up just enough steam that they won it. You guys voted 11 for Hank and 7 for The Tractors. My vote went to The Tractors making it 11-8, but that is still a loss for The Tractors.

I actually discovered this song via The Tractors back in 1994 when their debut album came out. I love the entire thing start to finish. Their cover of Settin' The Woods on Fire was just yet another song that I had no idea was a cover until recently. For me, it was a Tractors "original" for many years.

For those of you unfamiliar (or only mildly familiar) with The Tractors, their most notable single was Baby Likes To Rock It. I like that song, but I don't like it best of their material. I don't know if that is a case of overexposure or if I genuinely like their other material better, but it's not my favorite.

Fallin' Apart has always been one of my favorites from that album. I love Everything about this song. The beat. The lyrics.

You've always got a reason to tell me no. Too early. Too late. Too fast. Too slow.

If that one didn't grab you, maybe this one will.

It's true for you and it's true for me. You don't need to be smart to see. You've got to be bigger than yesterday just to keep from getting behind. The little man is getting smaller all of the time.

Did you vote for the winner in this round of Battle of the Bands? Have you heard these songs by The Tractors before? Did either one "light your fire"? Have you ever heard a song that you thought was original to an artist only to find out that it was actually a cover???

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ Settin' The Woods On Fire

Hey guys and gals! Can you tell that the last couple of weeks have not been easy ones for me??? I kept up with your voting via my phone, but just never felt well enough to sit at my computer long enough to put together a post. I even voted on all of your battles (that I made it to) from my phone. I think the hurricane coming through played a part in my migraine issues (barometric pressure and all that), but we were very blessed in terms of damage. I will try to make a point of blogging about THAT at some point in the future.

Anyway, things have been tough here and I strongly considered just sitting this battle out. I mean... I didn't even post the results from my last battle because I felt so crappy (which is really bad)... so here they are: It was very close. Shenandoah and Alison Krauss were neck and neck the entire time with Alison narrowly beating out Shenandoah 8-6 (not counting my vote). I love both versions of this song. I fell in love with this song when Shenandoah first recorded it, but fell in love again when I discovered it on Alison's album. I prefer Alison's stripped down version (and she gets my vote), but both of these versions are winners for me.

The song for today's battle is Settin' The Woods on Fire. It was originally recorded by Hank Williams. I'm not going to use his version of the song. It's actually been covered by quite a few artists since he recorded it in the 50s. One of those covers is his son, Hank Williams Jr with Lois Johnson. I thought that would be fun to use since his daddy made the song famous. Another is by The Tractors. And that is the battle for today. This is just a fun little song that I hope you kick back your heels and enjoy.

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ Ghost In This House

Before, I get on with Battle of the Bands, I'll do a quick update on the general health and wellness of me. The ear infection seems to be cleared up. I'm still struggling with quick flashes of random dizzy bouts. However, they are isolated and becoming fewer and farther between. So... things are getting back to normal. And that is good and bad. My normal these days are raging migraines. I'm really struggling for balance. Seems like when I get the migraines somewhat under control (or I think I have them somewhat under control) and decide to shoot for something resembling a life it all goes haywire. Not saying it will always be that way, but more like I haven't figured out how to do it right yet.

I guess I was overly ambitious. Threw too many balls into the air and now I'm desperately reigning them in trying to get a handle on this migraine thing. In the process, I've pretty well dropped everything in favor of lying about (literally or figuratively). Mostly literally. Turns out that doesn't really work either, so I'm still searching for balance. There's that word again.

So, in the name of righting my ship, I'm trying to get back on some sort of even footing. And that means picking up things I put down like blogging. And getting back to Battle of the Bands. Because right now I'm just rattling around in this house in danger of becoming a ghost...

And that leads us to our song for this battle: Ghost In This House. Our contenders are Shenandoah (the original) and Alison Krauss (the cover). It's up to you to decide who does it better!

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stick It In Your Ear

Oh blog friends...

You know things are just not good in my world when there is nothing here on the 15th. Today is Battle of the Bands and I just cannot do it.

Remember in my last post the explanation about the hurricane, migraines, and the barometer? Well, that is all true, but it turns out that it wasn't the problem. Or the biggest part of the problem. I didn't go into the fact that I was also experiencing occasional dizziness (and I don't mean absentmindedness). It happens sometimes, and I know it's because of my vestibular function loss. If I just lost you, I shall take a moment to explain.

I only have 30% vestibular function in each ear. The doctors don't know how I lost it, but are all pretty certain it's not coming back, and I could lose more (depending on how I lost it in the first place... which remains unclear). It has nothing to do with my hearing. I hear just fine. It has everything to do with finding myself in space. Orientation. Hence the dizziness. When I was first diagnosed I was super dizzy (holding onto walls dizzy, the room was spinning all the time dizzy, a really bad drunk dizzy). After a year of rehab (yep, there's rehab for this), the body learns to compensate for the loss. The rehab mostly consisted of making myself more dizzy in a controlled environment on purpose to make my body learn to deal with it (super fun!). Anyway, pre-hurricane I was experiencing the dizzy again in waves. But, that happens on occasion... especially when the migraines are bad. I guess because it's harder to compensate??? Anyway, I didn't put the puzzle pieces together correctly.

What was actually causing the dizzy, you ask? An inner ear infection. I'd never had one before, so I didn't know the signs. On Monday night (in the middle of the night) my left ear popped, rather painfully, waking me up. I lived in denial about it all day Tuesday hoping it would just miraculously get better. By Wednesday morning, reality set in. I won't relay the horror story of the doctor appointment, but I'm now on antibiotics.

Here's the thing, though... I take my last pill on Saturday morning. That would be ten days worth. I've had plenty of sinus infections, strep throat, bronchitis, and even pneumonia (though I shouldn't count that because ten days of antibiotics didn't knock it out, either). So, with everything but the pneumonia, I was feeling ever so much better around day four. Usually by today (day eight) I'm struggling to remember to take the darn things. I'm still hyper aware of my left ear (and sometimes my right), still struggling with very frequent dizziness, and my spidey sense says that infection is NOT gone. So, I called the doctor's office and was told to come in first thing Monday morning if I still felt that way (which I feel fairly confident I will given the current course).

I tell you all of that to explain why my computer presence has sucked so hard for so long. I'm freakin' dizzy. Scrolling on the computer knocks me down. Writing this post is turning my stomach. I hope that this situation turns around so that I can visit your blogs and vote on your battles. If you would, pray for me. I do believe I need it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

BoTB Results and IWSG (Or The Longest Time)

I'm trying to get my blogging turned around, but it's a bit like turning the Titanic. I appreciate all of you who came by and cast a vote here on the 1st. You probably noticed that I didn't vote, comment, nothing for a week now anywhere. Believe me, it wasn't personal. Florida got socked by Hurricane Hermine. Major weather patterns such as that cause the barometer to take a severe dip, which cause my migraine to take a severe dip, and that causes me to lie in bed and not do Anything. It was a really rough week for me. Parts of the state were hit hard (we were lucky and didn't sustain any damage aside from the aforementioned migraine). Anyway, I've discovered that once I get into a bad pain cycle with a migraine it can be hard getting out. Meaning that even with the literal storm passes my migraine doesn't. ::Frustrating::

So, anyway, I'm hoping that things get better soon, but if you don't see me around it isn't that I don't care, it's that I don't feel well.

I appreciate all of you came by and voted on my battle on the first (despite my absence!). The competition was fierce at my last count of the votes. Unless someone votes to change things, Dr. John beat Ella by two votes (with 8 votes, to her 6 votes), which makes him the king of the "sentimental mood."  Even if I threw my one vote at Ella that wouldn't be enough to give her the win, so there it is.

This is also the first Wednesday of the month (and IWSG). Funny how the raining/pouring metaphors could come into play in this post should I care to let them loose. My writing has been on the back burner for such a long time that I'm not sure what to do with my novel. Part of me thinks that maybe this much distance will really give me perspective if I will just pick up my WiP again. Another part of me thinks that maybe it's time to just move on. What is the longest amount of time you've set your writing aside? Do you think it's possible to fall in love with your writing projects all over again or not?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ The Finals

If you're following the weather, you're aware that there is a weather system in the Gulf prepared to hit Florida. That is one of the things that has me preoccupied and not keeping up so well with all the things in my life, including this blog. I only realized a few hours ago that today was the 1st (just before walking out the door to attend to last minute things before said storm hit) AND my Battle of the Bands was not ready. I knew what was on the agenda, just that no actual words had been put to the page. No links had been added. You get the idea. And so it's late in the day and here we are.

If you haven't seen anything about this storm, click here.

Fortunately, this is going to be an easy battle for many of you as you've already heard both of the songs in question last battle (one of them here and one over on Stephen T. McCarthy's page). Of course, this may be a difficult battle since both of these versions are excellent. (So, I take back my initial statement about this being an easy battle. This may, in fact, not be an easy battle.) This is the final showdown, as I'm pitting the winner from his last battle against the winner of mine. The song is/was In A Sentimental Mood. Over at his place two jazzy contenders went head to head (Benny Goodman vs. Ella Fitzgerald) and over here two piano/contemporary artists tackled the song (Dr. John vs. Billy Joel). If you followed those battles, you already know that Ella Fitzgerald won at his place and Dr. John won over here, so now it's time to decide the ultimate winner. That means Ella and Dr. John are squaring off for the title of who does sentimental best.

First up is Ella Fitzgerald:


Dr. John:

and for our Canadian listeners, try this link

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

BoTB Results and A Big Ask

Ah, friends, I'm already not keeping up well. It's well past the day I should've posted Battle of the Bands results... and here we are. Sigh. So, let's get that bit of business out of the say, shall we?

The battle was Dr. John versus Billy Joel, and the song was In A Sentimental Mood. It was actually a tight battle in the end with your votes looking like this:

Dr. John: 11
Billy Joel: 8

That's pretty close. I'm undecided even now. Point of fact, I have YouTube playing them even as I speak to help me decide the matter once and for all. I'll let let you know how it turns out by the time this post ends.

So, what is going on that has me so wrapped up that I haven't been blogging? (I know this is what you're thinking.)

I'm not certain where to begin. For those of you who are praying sorts, H-Girl still needs a boatload of prayer. In my pre-camp post she'd moved out of her father's house and in with a girlfriend. She's 17 and legally an adult in SC, though she can't actually drop out of school until her 18th birthday (January). There's good reason to believe she's doing drugs (no idea what sort, but stronger than pot) and doesn't seem inclined to stop. It's all very worrisome, and migraine-inducing, as she's still not responding to emails and her father disconnected her cell phone (not that she'd take my call anyway). So, there really isn't anything I can do except pray for her, which I do frequently, but I know that once someone begins this journey she has to want to quit. I also know that it can be a lifetime addiction. I really hate that. It also can mean an early death (and that is extremely scary). So, this is a situation that is all hands on the prayer deck. If you go to a church and would be willing to have your entire church pray for her, please add her to your prayer chain(s). You can email if you want information.

One of the things that has stuck with me from camp is something one of the counselors said fourth week in our Saturday morning devotions, which is the time we share what we've learned from the week, and that was this: "This week reminded me that I don't pray big enough. I forget how big God is, and I put my own limitations of what I think God can do in any given situation when I pray. And that is wrong. God is huge. God is the Creator.. way beyond my capacity to problem solve." He didn't say it exactly like that, but close enough. And it really struck me. How often have I done that? All the freakin' time. I've even done it in the situation above (maybe especially in the situation above, not wanting to bother people etc etc and blah blah blah). In doing so, by not telling people, by not bothering people, I've not given them the opportunity to pray to the eternal God, the creator of all things on behalf of someone who doesn't even know she's walking the line between life and death. Or maybe just between freedom and incarceration. Or a life of addiction and one free from that. All because of the limitations I put on God or others or myself.

This past Sunday my mom (who usually leads the praise singing at church) didn't go as she fell the day before (she's okay. sore. but okay.). Anyway, she usually says something before the singing to kick off the service. I've done it once before (with notice and was prepared), but this past Sunday not so much. So, I was in the car pondering the dilemma of what to say, thinking I had quite a few camp things I could share, but which thing??? And JUST THEN the song King of The World by Natalie Grant came on the radio. I'd never heard the song before, but it reminded me of what that counselor in the Saturday devotions said, and I knew what God wanted me to say. Pray bigger. He's the King of the world.

Pray bigger, my friends.

Well, I still don't know how I'd vote in my battle. I kinda got distracted with my post. Probably Billy Joel. I like the lyrics, you know. (shocking)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ In A Sentimental Mood (Or The Pill vs The Tickle)

Hello blog friends. I'm baaack.

I will write a more detailed post (possibly posts) about my summer, since it was eventful, but I don't want to weight this one down. I know that many of you are simply trying to "get 'er done" and don't have time to actually read anything. Besides, I'm still very tired. I love doing the "camp thing," but it takes it out of me.

Time has surely gotten away from me, but it is the 15th and that means BATTLE OF THE BANDS!

If you've already visited Mr. McCarthy's blog, you'll notice that we've teamed up. To be fair, this idea is entirely Stephen's. He knew I'd be whipped after spending 4+ weeks at camp (he was right) and barely functional (also correct) and not able to put together a Battle of the Bands on my own (three for three). So, when he proposed this idea while I was at camp I jumped on it. So, make sure you vote on the battle on his page and then the winners from our respective battles will square off on the 1st of September (right here)

What is the song? IN A SENTIMENTAL MOOD. The contenders are Dr. John (the pill) and Billy Joel (the tickle).

 Dr, John's version of In A Sentimental Mood was recorded on his 1989 album of the same name. Wikipedia, which usually has so much to say on virtually everything, is shockingly silent on this song. So, I'm going to let the song speak for itself. Take it away, Dr. John:

In 2011, Billy Joel included Duke Ellington's In A Sentimental Mood on The Complete Albums Collection. Since I didn't have much info about the Dr. John version, I'm not even going to consult Wikipedia on Billy Joel's version in the spirit of keeping things fair and balanced. We'll just let the musicians do the playing. Take it away Billy Joel:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Camp Address and Objects In Motion

Just wanted to share a few things with you before I leave on my big summer adventure.
  • Tomorrow I leave for Georgia to pick up C-Man. We'll leave for OH on Thursday morning to spend some time with the family before we have to be at camp. The staff training begins on July 6. After that, it all kicks into high gear or low gear, depending on your interpretation of gears, and we'll be at camp until August  6. I'll be back home about a week (maybe less) later. 
  • If you are a praying person, my ex's daughter needs prayer. Long story short: she's 17 and decided to leave home. As someone else who has left her father, I can in some ways understand this decision, but she simply isn't equipped to face life despite her (mistaken) belief that she is. She's living with a friend, is determined not to finish high school, and thinks life will just present her with good things. I'm not really certain how she sees this all going down. My prayer is that someone says "the thing" that provides some much-needed perspective.
  • On a personal note, my therapist says that we've done so much work toward battling my migraines, etc. that maybe, just maybe, the biggest thing holding me in this place (or maybe cycle is a better word) of unwellness is lack of purpose. That has been serious food for thought in this ole brain and inspired several pivotal events that I'll tell you about after I get back. Perhaps, I'll have a better context for them. In any event, I wonder if she's right. I ask you, dear readers, do you think it's possible for someone to feel so overwhelmed by life and drowned by their lack of  a place in it that it makes them physically sick? I suspect that the answer may be "yes," and that the only course of action that will lead to wellness is movement. That old adage about all journeys beginning with a single step comes to mind. After all, the only way to get to your purpose is to start moving. You will either feel closer to it or further away. I've already determined that standing still is migraine-inducing. 
  • If you're thinking that all of this seems fairly obvious, and you sure thought I was smarter than this... sorry to disappoint. 
I'm going to leave you with two things. One is the camp address, so you can write me. I will write you back if you include your address:)

Robin Richards aka Mergan
Stony Glen Camp
5300 W. Loveland Rd
Madison, OH 44057

I'm also going to leave you with a song for your listening enjoyment. This is one that C-Man sent to me a while back. I really like it. Every time I listen to it I can't help but smile. Smile on...

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Battle of the Bands Results and Camping Out

I'm actually timely with my BoTB results. Not sure what is going on here.... Audience participation was a bit off for this one. I think the summertime blues (or summertime vacations) have kicked in. People have decided they have better things to do than sit behind their computers and read/write blogs. Say what??? I know. It's crazy tunes. But, there you go. Seriously, you all know I'm about to leave on a rather long hiatus of my own, so I totally get it.

Let's recap what did happen with the voting. The song was Young and Beautiful. The contenders were Lana Del Rey and Postmodern Jukebox. I fully expected Lana Del Rey to win this one. This is her song after all. However, I also expected Postmodern Jukebox to give her a run for her money. I'm actually going to tell you what I like about both versions (for a change). I think Lana Del Rey has an amazing voice. I also liked the orchestral backing on the song. Many of you said that the song had an epic feel to it. I think that was the feeling that they were striving for with the song since it was part of the Gatsby soundtrack. They wanted it to feel lavish and epic with an undertone of sadness, which I think it accomplishes magnificently. When someone has to ask you if you will still them when they are no longer young and beautiful, they already know the answer. You won't. Or maybe they won't love themselves. Either way, it's going to end badly. But it's going to look and sound magnificent right up until the last note. And that's how I feel about the Lana Del Rey version of the song.

Postmodern Jukebox didn't even try to capture this effect with the song. They went an entirely different way with the song, which was the right thing to do. When you're going to cover something, make it your own. So, they took it right back to the Roaring 20s. They made it sound like a song that might have been playing at one of Gatsby's lavish parties. I loved it. I didn't love it as much as the original, but it was clever and wonderful. Many of you thought so, too, making this battle very exciting.

So, how did that voting go? Well, it was back and forth right up until the end. And there was  a moment when I was teensy bit worried that I called it wrong and thought that Postmodern Jukebox might actually beat my girl Lana on her own song. But no. The final tally:

Lana Del Rey: 10 votes (including mine
Postmodern Jukebox: 8 votes

It was a close one. Thank you for making it fun.

I'm going to post this again closer to my camp arrival, which is Wednesday July 6 for staff training. I'll be there until August 6. You can write to me here:

 Robin Richards
 Stony Glen Camp
5300 W. Loveland Rd
Madison, OH 44057

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ Young and Beautiful

I'm giving you all fair warning now. I leave for camp again this summer (more info on that before I go), but I'm not going to even try to keep up with Battle of the Bands while I'm gone. Or this blog Or any social media. Why? Because I won't have internet for a large portion of the time I'm gone. And when I do, I'll be with family, so I'm sure they'll love me hammering away at the keyboard rather than spending time with them! I think it's good that we all unplug from time to time and actually talk to other people (but that doesn't mean I don't ADORE you). So, you'll hear from me a few more times before I go. I intend to give you my camp address so you will write to me (letters are the BEST!), and I will write you back. I don't guarantee you'll be able to decipher my handwriting, but I'll write.

Let's move on to the battle. I've always loved the novel The Great Gatsby. I find it fascinating that a person can build their life so thoroughly on a delusion. Or maybe we all do it to some degree??? I don't know. But Gatsby took it to a whole new level. And his certainty in the belief almost made me believe it, too... even though I knew it was pie in the sky thinking. Of course, the fact that he'd already pretty well done the impossible (a poor young man with little means turned nothing into wealth...he knew how to rise), so maybe he could have it all. But then he says this...

And if you didn't know it was going to end badly before this point, you knew it now. This is self-delusion at its finest. Of course you can!

For his last battle, Lee used a group I'd never before heard of called the Postmodern Jukebox. They really killed it in his battle. I'm going to use them again here, BUT I'm putting them up against the original artist. I'm only doing that because I think they are so good (and different enough from the original to keep it interesting). I think both versions are excellent, so I hope that this battle is a real horse race.

The song is Young And Beautiful (from The Great Gatsby, of course) and the original artist is Lana Del Rey. To be fair, I'm going to use the original (moving) video footage for both artists. But, if you think the images will influence your vote, don't watch and just listen. This is about the music after all.

Lana Del Rey:

Postmodern Jukebox:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

SOML ~ If You Build Your Castle on Sand AND BOTB Results

I've not been "on the ball" with regard to getting my results tabulated and published for Battle of the Bands. Ah well. I think, in this particular case, I could see the vote sliding solidly towards Dylan and the battle lost all its fire. And I kinda lost interest. I suspect it's a bit like watching a horse race. When the horses are neck and neck, it's riveting. When one takes a solid lead and the other has no chance of catching up, well everyone makes a beeline for their car hoping to not get caught in the traffic. So, in the beginning it was a vote for Dylan and then a vote for Mann and then a vote for Dylan and then vote for Mann. It went on like that for the first ten comments. And then the votes for Dylan started piling up and up and up and up. I got in my car and left the lot. And there you go. hahahaha.

But, all and still, I think this was a good battle. The song was good. The variation was good. Participation was good. Comments were good. It was all good. The voting wasn't as close as I like, but you don't get everything you want!

In the end, the tally looked like this for You Angel You:

Bob Dylan: 17 votes (including mine)
Manfred Mann: 7

I realize I haven't done a soundtrack post in a while. I also realize I'm going to be packing up (literally this time) and leaving for camp soon. Last time I posted I was in NYC, but really close to packing that up in order to move to Savannah, Georgia, when J1 would be relocated to Fort Stewart, Georgia. That was 1992.

I realize now that I think about this entire time as a block of time (1992-1995)... the time when J1 and I lived together. So many things happened, but most of them were small things. Point of fact: I didn't understand most of what happened in this relationship until years and years and years after it ended. And I wonder, even as I try and consolidate it now if I my take on it will change at some point in the future? I know that I thought the reasons for it ending were different ten years ago than I think today, so who knows what I will think ten years from now? And isn't it odd that I can't think about the reality of the relationship without the ending of the relationship? I think that may be because I see now that it was always hanging by a thread or starving or one breath away from dying all along. I don't know. That doesn't mean we weren't happy. We were. Sometimes very much. But so are people who live paycheck to paycheck and don't know that the boss is discussing eliminating their position.

  • We really liked doing many of the same things. We had fun together.
  • J1 was a terrible communicator when he was upset about something. So, when he did let it out, it was like a volcano erupting. It was the current thing, plus the thing from last week, last month, and maybe even something from last year that you did that really pissed him off. All at once. With no opportunity to respond to any of them.
  • J1 was a helpful person. He liked to help. He was good about helping in the kitchen cooking or wherever help was needed. 
  • J1 was downright scary when he lost his temper. It didn't happen often, but people who lost control are frightening. He scared me sometimes. He never hurt me, but he scared me several times. I think he scared himself sometimes.
  • In the move to Georgia, I really lost myself in terms of my "career." There is no publishing in Savannah. I didn't know what to do with myself. It didn't get better when we moved back to Michigan. He went back to school, but I was still feeling aimless. I got a job as a secretary, but it felt like a waste of my education. And I probably blamed J1 for my choice to leave NYC, which wasn't good for our relationship (or fair to boot, since it was my choice).
The end result was that he felt stressed at school, I felt stressed at work, and we both weren't very happy people. We were arguing a lot. I know I felt trapped. He sensed I was on the verge of running, and I think he actually wanted me to stay and work it out. And that is irony for you. Because most of our relationship was him running and me chasing after him. However, after we moved in together, it was like the sand kept shifting beneath our feet, and I never felt steady. Of course, the irony was that I pushed for this. I made this happen. Had I not called him in NYC on the floor of my kitchen he would've let it all go. OR he would've realized somewhere down the line that he messed up a good thing and done something to set it to right. But, what I now know was that there was always this whisper in the back of my mind (a knowing if you will) that I forced this into being. I forced something into being that wouldn't have been if not for my forcing it. He'd taken the out door years ago and I pulled him back in. And now that we were engaged (oh, did I leave that part out? Well, we got engaged in there, too.) But, now that we were engaged and on the threshold of forever, I didn't want to be with someone I had to yank into a relationship. And that feeling slowly ate away the ground beneath my feet until even I had to acknowledge I was standing on nothing.

And this might sound a bit crazy... more so if you've never lived anything like it, but I loved him at the end, and I didn't anymore. I loved him in the way a person always loves their first love. But I didn't love him in the way that I should've stopped loving him as soon as he told me that he didn't contact me after getting all of my letters because "he didn't want to hurt me anymore." It was like that statement finally caught up to me (even though I didn't yet know that was what caught up to me). My soul recognized that he didn't love me enough, even if he didn't know it yet. Not enough to get married.

Of course, at the time I didn't know any of that stuff. I just knew it wasn't working, and I didn't get it.

I never thought I could feel this way and I've got to say that I just don't get it
I don't know where we went wrong, but the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back

Saturday, June 4, 2016





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Battle of the Bands ~ You Angel You and IWSG

Seems like my posts are feasts or famine. It's either nothing or multiple things at once. Turns out today is feast.

The IWSG meets on the first Wednesday of the month... and voila.

My writing is still in what I think of as "charging mode." I'm spending time trying to really get a handle on who my characters are, the world they live in, how they perceive the people around them, and all the stuff that makes the story real. If you can't walk around in this world and feel like you can touch all the edges then it still isn't right. I read my story and some of edges are still fuzzy. So I think. And ponder and consider backstory that will very likely never ever see the inside of the novel, but my character needs to know this stuff, because my character lived this stuff. And in my character's world this is very, very real. Or it should be. I want it be. The books I love most are the ones where it feels so acutely real that I could curl up in there and not leave. That's my goal. What's yours?

Before I get down to the battle, I want to take a moment to thank FAE for thinking up Battle of the Bands. Once upon a time she was lacking for an idea to use as a blog and decided to pit two bands together using the same song. Stephen T. McCarthy liked the idea so much he convinced her to make it a "thing." Well that thing turned into this thing (see the list at the bottom of the post), and the rest is history. A few years went by, and we are here. FAE has decided to turn her attention to other things. She will be sorely missed, but we who carry on her legacy will be grateful that she started this project in which we get together twice a month. She'll forever and always be OUR Battle of the Bands Angel, which coincides nicely with what I've got going on here today. Happy trails, FAE!

Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, you guys gave me a tremendous amount of material for BoTB during the A to Z. So, today I'm presenting you with a song I discovered because one of you (Stephen T. McCarthy, I'm looking at you!) used it for the keyword Angel.

The song is You Angel You. The contenders are Bob Dylan and Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The song was originally released on Dylan's 1974 album Planet Waves. Manfred Mann's Earth Band released it in 1979 on their Angel Station album. It wasn't a hit record for either artist, but it has a chance of becoming a hit with you guys today. You cast votes to decide who exactly did it better!!!

You Angel You by Bob Dylan:

You Angel You by Manfred Mann's Earth Band:

Please vote for the version of this song you prefer. If you want to get into the Ins and Outs of why you like one better than the other... I LOVE long comments!

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles: