Music Monday: I am not throwing away my shot!

Happy Monday, Friends! I started writing about music on Mondays, as music is so important to our lives. Join me as I reminisce on music and music-making.

Hamilton the Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda is returning to San Francisco. I’m in a virtual queue to buy tickets for the family as I write. There’s likely 100,000 persons in line waiting for a chance to buy up to 4 tickets. 30 weeks of 8 performances of hundreds of seats each. I’ve been in the queue for 90 minutes and there’s still 40.8 thousand people ahead of me. Wish me luck!

I was so lucky to catch the show last summer. Turns out, it was Pride Week in San Francisco. And you know what, it was the best time to see Hamilton. The cast is so diverse and inclusive. They brought out a rainbow Pride flag at final bows. I was moved to tears.

I hope to bring the family this time. Such a moving experience. My kids already know a lot of the music.

I hope that in the future, a filmed version will be shown in the theaters, as Allegiance has been shown on exclusive one night engagements.

But for now, I Wait for It!

For more on the Hamilton phenomenon,check out Who Tells Your Story? and The English Teacher’s Guide to the Hamilton Musical by Valerie Estelle Franklin.

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Wednesday Wellness: Information at your Service

Happy Wellness Wednesday! I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays as I noted so many of my friends and creatives struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my journey towards Wellness, along the yellow brick road, acknowledging all things shiny along the way.

One of my first jobs was working at the bookstore at the mall. I loved to work the Information Desk. It was a really neat way to be helpful and also learn things along the way. Many times somebody would ask me a question and I didn’t even know that I knew the answer until they asked. This continued as I moved on to the bigger flagship bookstore. I would put books on hold for myself, but after a few days return them to the shelves, as it seemed just thinking about them helped me realize what I needed to about them. Information was everywhere. So many books, so much information. It was my job to help people, but they were helping me, too. They were helping me develop my intuition.

I’m only just realizing that my current job (of twenty years!) is kind of like that, too. People come to me for assistance, and I assist them. They might ask me for information. I might know the answer, or I might know whom to ask to get the answer. I am providing information, as well as learning information. Sometimes still, I am able to provide the answer, not even realizing that I had already known the answer until that very moment. A little glimmer of a whisper in the back of my mind comes forth. And I am humbled.

The Doctor is IN

I am NOT a doctor. But I can help you find a book.

My dear friend Noel was a kindred spirit, and we both used to improvise playing piano.  When people said they liked her piano playing, she’d say “Isn’t it great? It’s the Holy Spirit!” She had a way of playing a song that is commonly known as “faking it.” There are Fake Books published, and this means the basic notes of the melody are noted and lyrics, but no other music is provided, only the Guitar Chords. It is an outline for the recipe of the song, if you will. There are many ways of making chocolate chip cookies, but in the end, they are all chocolate chip cookies. I love to improvise as I play piano, in fact, I even ignore the written accompaniment, now. If you listen hard enough, you can play the tune. You can play notes, or you can play music. You can follow a recipe, or you can make a cookie.  Are you with me?

So often something reminds me of something else.  Many times, I find myself looking for something, when, in fact, I find something else which I had been looking for before. Whomp, there it is.

Call it The Secret, the Law of Attraction, remote preparation, seek and ye shall find.

I truly believe that having an open mind allows one to perceive truths one might not otherwise recognize.

Everything in your life thus far has prepared you for the next moment. It’s synchronicity.

This afternoon as I drove around during my lunch break, the 80s station played that song “Pure Energy” by a group called Information Society.  Upon entering a place of business, I heard their radio station playing “Meant to Be” by Bebe Rexha.

What I know for sure, is that I am not yet aware of all that I already know.

What do you know?

Blog Tour Continues: Dee’s post on RachelintheOC Today!

Hey Everybody!  The Book Tour for Dee’s Dishes continues!

I’m so honored to be featured on RachelintheOC’s blog today!

How Writing Takes Me Out of the Crazy is here!

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Have you checked out the other stops on this tour?

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Don’t forget to stop my virtual party on Facebook tomorrow!  Follow this link to RSVP: Dee’s Dishes release party

I really hope to see you there!

Peace,

Denise

Friday Friends: C. Streetlights “Tea & Madness”

Happy Friday, Friends!  It is my pleasure to  feature authors and bloggers on Fridays. Today I am delighted to announce that Tea and Madness by C. Streetlights is rereleased!  This gorgeous book really touched my heart.

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Tea & Madness, a memoir written in prose and poetry, is separated into the four seasons inspired by C. Streetlights’ experiences: grieving a lost baby, coping with depression, anger, betrayal, surviving rape, and the accepting that there are some things she cannot forgive. Balanced somehow within this darkness is the wonder in motherhood and empathetic relationships. As her seasons change, she continues trying to find the balance of existing between normalcy and a certain kind of madness.

“Pears” from Tea and Madness
by C. Streetlights

My grandma had already been divorced when she met my grandpa. She was the older woman; eleven years older than him when they were married. He grew a mustache to hide his true age—19-years-old. They settled into a somewhat quiet life in Compton, California. I can appreciate the bravery my grandparents had to have had in order to pursue their love better now that I am an adult than I could as a child. As a child they were just old people. As an adult, I recognize the social dynamics that should have prevented their joy.
By the time I was eight years old it became clear my grandmother had what people called Old Timer’s Disease—Alzheimer’s. And this is how I remember her best; an old tired woman fighting a losing battle against her own mind, not as the vibrant woman I know she must have been.
I had to spend a weekend with my grandparents during a time when Grandma was beginning to deteriorate in her dementia. It was an unmemorable visit except for two things: First, I learned to eat mashed potatoes by melting cheese on it, and second, my grandmother called me a tart after accusing me of stealing her lipstick.
I can laugh about this now.
My grandmother had a vanity table with an oval mirror in her bathroom—very Gibson-girlish. It displayed the cosmetics she no longer wore. I would sometimes run my fingers over their gilded cases and hold up one of her make-up mirrors. Cosmetic cases today are created for disposable or utilitarian purposes rather than display, but my grandmother’s compacts had intricate filigree designs woven around the edges. Lipstick tubes had images of birds or flowers. And what little girl could resist the powder puff?
I came home from school and overheard her being consoled by my grandfather. Curious, I went into their room and bathroom to investigate—neither room had ever been “forbidden” to the grandchildren. I stood there at the bathroom doorway watching the small drama when Grandma turned on me without warning. Her finger in my face, she asked where I put the lipstick, but her eyes weren’t accusatory. Her eyes were afraid. I was confused and told her I didn’t know what she was talking about. My grandfather put his hands on her shoulders and tried to tell her I was her granddaughter. It dawned on me at that moment that my grandma didn’t know who I was, and it broke my heart even though I couldn’t fully comprehend it. All I heard was, “There is no way this tart is my granddaughter. She stole my lipstick!”
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After writing and illustrating her first bestseller in second grade, “The Lovely Unicorn”, C. Streetlights took twenty years to decide if she wanted to continue writing. In the time known as growing up she became a teacher, a wife, and mother. Retired from teaching, C. Streetlights now lives with her family in the mountains along with their dog that eats Kleenex. Her memoir, Tea and Madness won honorable mention for memoir in the Los Angeles Book Fair (2016) and is available for purchase on Amazon.

You can connect with C. Streetlights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon Author Central, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.
http://www.cstreetlights.com

 

 

 

Wednesday Wellness: Reflecting on Holy Week

This week is the confluence of Spring Equinox, Holy Week, and a Full Moon Eclipse.  My friends and creatives, are you feeling a little March Madness?

One of my favorite words is juxtaposition. As I quiz my son on geography, I find myself delighted with the word “confluence .”  I happened upon this gem of a question: What is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and Uruguay? (Rio de la Plata)  Isn’t that question just filled with musical words? Alas, I digress.

I, myself, am a confluence of sorts. I’m Pacific Islander and Caucasian, light and dark, religious and spiritual, traditional and liberal, a zip-liner and a bookworm.  Maybe my constant struggle for balance is rooted here.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So as I attempt to harmonize my new understandings with the faith of my childhood, I give you these for your consideration.

  1. The Miracles of Santo Fico

I reread this book every year at Holy Week. It is a delightful tale of a dysfunctional  parish in a forgotten town. Think: Chocolat in Italy.  It reminds me how even in the bad times, miracles occur. I love I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. It’s a slow beginning but I just love the character interactions. Many times I’ve stayed up too late, reading until I got to a favorite scene.

This is the first time I’m reading it since visiting Italy. I have to say, now that I’ve experienced the unforgiving sweltering heat of July, I can really empathize with these characters even more.

Finally, I remember my dear friend Alva who has now gone to heaven. Last year, I gave her a copy and she read along with me. I miss her so, and she was gone too soon. Now reading this story I remember our special connection. And I hope one of her friends or family members finds the book so that they, too, can enjoy the Miracles of Santo Fico.

2. The Passion Live

This brave production tells the story of Jesus’ last days via popular music and is set in New Orleans. It’s a blend of old and new, traditional and contemporary.  It’s refreshing, although the em-ceeing, reporting, and commercials I could do without.  But we are human.  (see #1) the songs are available on iTunes and the live broadcast is available on Hulu.com.

3. Check Your Alignment

Reaching into my wellness toolkit, I modified a breathing meditation/ visualization in which I sent love and energy to parts of my body- to my chakras.    Chakras are centers of energies: there are seven. Here is a good overview by renowned meditation expert and author Deepak Chopra:    As a poet, have come to understand the chakras as virtues:  Stability, Creativity, Confidence, Lovingkindness, Truth, Clarity, and Peace. I have found as I focus on chakras, my feelings become more balanced. Keep in mind that the thing you desire just may be overstimulated, and you may have to pull back.  My heart chakras, Lovingkindness, has long been out of balance, as I tend to be too generous with my time, to the point of self-neglect. Who’s with me, here? Anyone? Bueller?  I’ve got a long way to go.

Spring Blessings, Joyous Passover, & Happy Easter.

Namaste.

 

Do you honor Spring Equinox and/or Holy Week? What do you do? Please comment and share.  I’d love to hear from you. 

Wednesday Wellness: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Friends!

Taking a page from my new Bloom planner, I’m reflecting on how I bloomed in 2015 and how I plan to bloom in 2016.

How I Bloomed in 2015

This year included many memorable moments, including the blessing of world travel to Guam, Italy, France, and Spain.  2015 saw my book promotion and getting to know so many cool authors and booklovers.  I watched my children continue to do well in school, bees, music and dance.

I went zip-lining for the first time ever, on Guam.  It was thrilling, though I could barely let go of the cable on my first run! Seeing the Vatican and the Colosseum for the first time was especially memorable and meaningful.

I read so many enjoyable books, including The Missing Alchemist by Caldric Blackwell, The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos by Elizabeth Barone, Lifeblood by M. Kate Allen, The Little Book of Manifesting Big: The Gift of Your Own Power by Reba Linker, Author Identity: Build Your Brand. Sell More Books. Change the World. by Angie Mrozcka, Tea & Madness by Cee Streetlights, Jane Blond: International Spy by Brianna Schatt and Stan Schatt, Christmas Confessions and Cocktails by Vicki Lesage,  Love: It’s Own Testimony the Poetry of Ralph Hall.  Still listening to  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and reading along with my dear son (it’s been like two years).  Went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the entire family- what a blast to share the experience with our young padawans.

How I Plan to Bloom in 2016

Next year I am going to continue work on my jukebox musical, start the island novel, oh, and start and complete my latest book project idea!   I am going to make time for creating art and music (other than writing).

I would like to travel someplace I’ve never been, as well as bring the kids to a familiar, favorite place.

I would like to try painting with acrylics.

I would like to practice and rehearse music so that I am prepared to perform.  Maybe another mini-recital, maybe near the end of the year.

I would like to make peace with my things and continue donating many of them away, recycling when possible.

I would like to eat, sleep, and exercise better.  Meditate more.

My word for 2016 is Believe.

How have you bloomed in 2015?  How do you plan to bloom in 2016?

Wishing you Peace in the New Year,

D.