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Play Me


This took WAY more time than I intended, but somewhere along in the process I decided it might be a worthwhile endeavor, one I might enjoy looking back at a year or two from now.

So today these would be some of the songs I’d choose as my life playlist.

Warning: If you dislike posts with links then stop reading now.

Note: I abhor being in front of the camera. These are pretty much the only photos I have of myself.




Joni Mitchell: Twisted




Simon & Garfunkel: Scarborough Fair

Joni Mitchell: Trouble Child

Eagles: Life In The Fast Lane

KD Lang: Theme From Valley Of The Dolls

Evanescence: Going Under

Karla Bonoff: Someone To Lay Down Beside Me

Karen Matheson: I Will Not Wear The Willow

Bill Withers: Use Me



Early 20’s

Bonnie Raitt: Too Long At the Fair

Everything But The Girl: Another Bridge

Karla Bonoff: Home

Mary Chapin Carpenter: Rhythm of the Blues

Sting: I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying

Norah Jones: Shoot The Moon

Karla Bonoff: If He’s Ever Near


Cheryl 1

Mid 20’s- to late 30’s

Rickie Lee Jones: Chuck E’s In Love

KD Lang: I Want It All

KD Lang: Consequences of Falling




Seal: Bring It On

Natalie Merchant: Carnival

Sarah McLachlan: Plenty

Sting: It’s Probably Me

Norah Jones: I’ve Got To See You Again

Sade: Hang On To Your Love

Natalie Merchant: I May Know The Word

Sarah McLachlan: Possession

Karla Bonoff: Lose Again


Garden portrait


Bonnie Raitt: Angel from Montgomery

Norah Jones: Don’t Know Why

Rickie Lee Jones: A Lucky Guy

Mary Chapin Carpenter: Come On Come On


Photo 6


Norah Jones: Come Away With Me

Lyle Lovett & His Large Band: All Downhill

Casting Crowns: Praise You In This Storm

Karen Matheson & Idir: A Vava Inouva

Jeremy Camp: Restored

John Mayer: Say

Karla Bonoff: Isn’t It Always Love

Joe Cocker: Ain’t No Sunshine

Mary Chapin Carpenter & Alison Krause: I Was a Bird

Roy Buchanan: The Messiah Will Come Again

(Bear with the spoken intro. The song is worth a listen!)



The Nearness of You by Nora Jones from Come Away With Me

I thought The Nearness of You would be kind of appropriate given the photo. Funny how two spiders can  park themselves right next to one another and be fine, but humans? Not so much.



Morning by Karen Matheson, from Time To Fall



Blue Spanish Sky by Chris Isaac from Heart Shaped World

I’m hoping this fall is as colorful as it was two summers ago. It’s hard to believe fall is almost here. Where does the time go?



Only A Dream by Mary Chapin Carpenter from Come On Come On


My older sister is eighteen months older than me, my brother and sister only a few years younger. As kids we were thick as thieves, doing almost everything together as a family. But as we grew into our teens we either drifted apart or made alliances where and when it was to our advantage. I shared a bedroom with my older sister all but the last two years I lived at home. Given our extremely different personalities, it’s amazing that we got along as well as we did. She was a neat-nick, I was a slob. My sister was a girly-girl and a goody two-shoes who loved fashion (mini dresses), make-up and boys. I was a tomboy who never wore anything except jeans (preferably the same pair, over and over) listened to rock and roll and liked recreational drugs. There were times when we actually had to draw an invisible line down the middle of our room just to keep the peace. Never the less, when the rubber met the road we always had each others back. Always.

In the summer of ’72 my sister went to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh PA for a trial program. This was the first time in my life that I’d ever slept in a bedroom alone. I didn’t have to use headphones to listen to my music at night, I didn’t have to pick up my clothes and I didn’t have to tiptoe around my sister’s erratic mood swings that always had something to do with her boyfriend. In fact, before she left she made me guardian of her boyfriend’s high school ring. It was a big clunker of a thing with a Tiger’s Eye stone and a half a ball of yarn wound around the shank so it would stay on her slender finger. I remember feeling pretty honored. Then, after pretending the ring was mine for awhile (from an imaginary boyfriend) I put the ring in a drawer where, later that summer my cousin stole it during her visit. I didn’t miss my sister all that much, unless of course you count the times a thunder storm rolled through or I needed an opinion on something important.

Before I had time to get used to having my own space my older sister was back home again. We continued to be roommates for another year, though she was so preoccupied with her life that she hardly had time for me unless it was to ask if she could borrow something or accuse me of taking something of hers. The following summer she had a job and dibs on the family car and I saw even less of her. I’d hover in her periphery and ask questions about her boyfriend or her job, but for the most part I didn’t register a blip on her radar screen. In autumn when she left for college I was pretty used to her being gone and so it was just a matter of taking over the empty space she’d left in her wake. Her twin bed housed our childhood collection of stuffed animals and I took over her space in the closet, but I was pretty sure it was only a matter of time before she’d be back again. Little did I know, it was the last time my older sister would ever live at home or share a room with me. A chapter in my life had closed for good.

When I graduated from high school I enrolled in a tech program in a nearby city. I chose to live in a dorm room with three other girls and once again I found the rotating company enjoyable. I guess I’m just one of those people who doesn’t mind sharing my space with others. When I finished the program I found a job working for a local dentist and moved back home to the farm. By then, my younger sister had moved into my old bedroom, forcing me to occupy my brother’s empty room. My younger sister and I got along well and we started to get reacquainted.  A five year age gap had been tough to bridge when we were kids, but I soon discovered that my fifteen year-old sister was a good listener and a supportive friend. We spent many a night talking late into the wee hours of the morning. It was during this period of time that I rekindled a relationship with an old flame who lived out of state, which entailed driving to various locations to meet him on the weekend. My sister listened to my exploits and encouraged me to follow my heart, which ultimately led to my decision to leave home.

 My parents were fairly understanding when I announced I was ready to move out. I mean, it’s not like they didn’t know where I was going every weekend. I’m sure they figured it was only a matter of time before I decided to do something more permanent. Still, I found it hard to pull up the stakes and leave. I’d been paying my parents rent and while I liked the sense of freedom it allowed, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be totally on my own. But I had a fat savings account, a new car and I thought the road was calling me. So I set a date, proceeded to give my two weeks notice at work and started to pack my meager belongings.

Feeling time was of essence, my sister and I spent every evening together talking about our future hopes and dreams. I cherished those nights of sharing and laughter, never once stopping to think how hard it must have been to know you’ll be the last child left at home. The four of us had once been somewhat of a team, but as we grew up one by one, each child set sail for the next chapter of their life leaving the younger siblings behind. Now that it was my turn to fly my mind was on the future and the exciting new changes to come. I wasn’t thinking about how empty the house would seem to the last sibling still living at home.

All too soon my date of departure arrived and although there was a faint surreal quality to it, it was really just a day like any other. The sun came up over the pasture and the barn swallows swooped over the yard scolding the fat lazy cats that lounged on the front porch. I gave my camera to my mother and asked her to snap a few photos of my sister and I standing beneath a big pine tree in the front yard. Our eyes were swollen from crying, but we composed ourselves and smiled bravely for the camera.



My sister and I hugged and whispered our goodbyes in hoarse, wavering voices. I promised her I’d come back for a visit soon, knowing full well that I wouldn’t. I hugged my mother and told her I’d write, which I seldom did either. (Mom wrote to me faithfully every week for many years, sending coupons and correcting my spelling with every correspondence) My father had already left for work after pausing only long enough to give me a big, but dry-eyed bear hug and tell me, “The door swings both ways.” I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but I’ve since learned it’s 70’s Dad-speak for, “Love you, honey.” I’d like to think my father shed a tear or two after he drove off, but I’ll never know.

Unable to stall any longer I climbed into my loaded hatchback and turned the key. I inched down the long gravel driveway while taking a moment for one last sweeping look at the beautiful farm I’d grown to love. Deep down in my heart I missed it already. I turned in my seat and waved one final time at my mother and sister, then pulled out onto Victor Road. As I drove off I glanced in my rear view mirror. My mother had vanished into the house, but my sister stood stoically waiving like a princess in a parade. Through my tears I watched her until I drove around a bend and the house dipped out of sight. I never lived at home again.


The day you left home you got an early start

I watched your car back out in the dark

I opened the door to your room down the hall

I turned on the light and all that I saw

Was a bed and a desk and a couple of tacks,

no sign of someone who expects to be back.

That must have been one hell of a suitcase you packed.

Twirl me about, twirl me around

let me grow dizzy and fall to the ground

and when I look up at you looking down

say it was only a dream.

Strung Out


Bach Concerto for Violin, Strings & Contunuo in A Minor by Pinchis Zukerman & English Chamber Orchestra


This is how I’ve been feeling lately: Hanging on by a thread. Hung out to dry. On the fence.

Yup, this picture fits my mood well.

If you stare at the clothes pin on the far right you can see how the world looks through my right eye. No biggie, I’ve got two eyes, right? Well, we’re not made to work that way. My right eye is my dominant eye, meaning, the image that gets sent from my left eye doesn’t travel to my brain as quickly as the image from my right eye.  So my brain tries to focus on a fuzzy image first. Several nanoseconds later it stutters and goes, “Oh, that’s right. Wrong eye!” Then it picks up the somewhat clearer image on the left. But unless I close my right eye, the final image remains off balance. What my left eye sees is in focus, like the clothes pin in the very middle of the picture. What the right eye sees is dull and blurry, like the pin on the right. So if you stare at the pin in between the two, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I see all the time; a messed up slightly in-focus, slightly out of focus view of the world!

Needless to say, I haven’t been taking very many pictures. In some ways I’m OK with that, but in others its very frustrating. The longer my camera sits unused the harder it is to retain the fluency to use it when I’m ready to shoot again. So every now and then I push myself to get out and try to shoot something. I’ve pretty much come to rely on using live view, which limits my ability to take pictures of anything that could move suddenly, like horses and dogs. I try to stick with flowers and things of that sort. More often than not, I’ve found myself saying thank goodness for my Macro lens.

OK, enough of the violins for now ….



This Land is Mine by Dido from the Life For Rent CD


Freedom: Enjoy it. Celebrate it. Never take it for granted



Let Me Lie by Haley Westenra from the CD Celtic Treasure


How can you not stop and hold your breath when you hear a voice like this? Whether you like the style or not, you can’t deny the quality of her voice is nothing short of spectacular. My entire life I’ve been surrounded by amazingly gifted musicians and artists. It’s always been my  greatest wish that I had a good singing voice or musical talent. Alas, I do not. While I have great vocal range and the ability to carry a tune clearly, my singing voice is just average.

My mother was a music major. Her specialty was cello, but I knew her as a pianist. Never once in my life did I hear my mother play a stringed instrument. Sometimes I wonder about that today, why she never kept or played a cello. Certainly, she must have owned one at one time. Perhaps she rented her instrument? I don’t know, but sometimes I close my eyes and picture her playing; head bent, focused on the sound her fingers made as they pressed against the strings. She was a beautiful young woman with a clear strong voice that could sing alto or soprano. Unlike me, she could harmonize. She could also tell when someone was singing off-key or playing the wrong tempo and was never afraid to say so.

My father’s parents were both musicians and although I never heard my dad play an instrument, he grew up with a deep appreciation for all kinds of music. He also had a strong singing voice. Needless to say, everyone in my family sang and played an instrument, in some cases even multiple instruments. My siblings and I were fortunate to have been coached and coaxed into participating in musical programs and instruction from elementary school through high school graduation. We sang and played instruments at a competitive classical level and my brother, probably the most musically gifted of us all, was also a lead vocalist in an amateur rock band. But during all that time we sang as a family in true barbershop style quartet with harmony. Much of what we sang were old Irish folk songs and ballads like the songs Haley sings. And while I couldn’t sing harmony and my voice was nothing special, I was able to carry tune and sing a mean melody.

Music is such a strong tonic that the simple notes of a song can transport us through time and evoke memories and feelings long since forgotten. A a talent like this should not to be wasted or squandered on foolish pursuits; for those who lack this talent depend on those to whom it has been given.


Spider’s Web
(A Folk Song)

Down in the valley,
There is a mission,
By the old oak tree.
By the mission,
There is a fountain,
Where my love told me:

There’s a web like a spider’s web,
Made of silk and light and shadow,
Spun by the moon in my room at night,
It’s a web made to catch a dream,
Hold it tight ‘til I awaken,
As if to tell me, my dream is all right.

In the evening,
I was leaving,
My love dreamt of me.
I was sleeping,
She was weeping,
When she said to me:

There’s a web like a spider’s web,
Made of silk and light and shadow,
Spun by the moon in my room at night,
It’s a web made to catch a dream,
Hold it tight ‘til I awaken,
As if to tell me, my dream is all right.

I met a stranger,
His name was Danger,
We rode side by side.
Down in Santa Fe,
I killed a man they say
Danger told me right,
Now if I go back,
They will hang me,
By the old oak tree,
Near the mission,
By the fountain,
Where my love told me:

There’s a web like a spider’s web,
Made of silk and light and shadow,
Spun by the moon in my room at night,
It’s a web made to catch a dream,
Hold it tight ‘til I awaken,
As if to tell me, my dream is all right.

Natural History

The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider’s web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.

by E.B. White

Fair Enough!

Too Long At The Fair

Jesus cried, wept and died
I guess he went up to heaven
I’ve been downtown such a long, long time
I’ll never make it home by seven
Won’t you come & take me home
I’ve been too long at the fair
And, lord, I just can’t stand it anymore

(Bonnie Raitt)

Well, I went back for more. The Haddam Neck fair is a tradition for us, if for no other reason than it’s close by and the parking is usually good. (Unless it’s rained.) This fair is small by my standards, but it’s a local favorite in the same way that the Wayne Country fair was an annual end of summer event when I was growing up.
We always try to make some portion of the horse pulls, and this year we managed to arrive just as the Big Boys were coming in. We watched the beginning of the last class, then decided to grab a bite of dinner and see what was going on elsewhere.
There is always a small exhibit of livestock. I guess the 4-H program has a strong showing there. We saw lots of sheep, which I’d had more than enough of just having come from a three day herding trial! They also had some very cute goats. There was an “earless” breed of goat there, but I didn’t take any pictures because I thought they looked like freaks. They were pretty ugly. Sorry, but some things just ought not to be tinkered with!
It had slipped my mind that Aztec Two-Step was playing at the fair Sunday night. But then we bumped into friends who specifically came to relive their past by listening to the band. Aztec Two-Step has been playing all over hill and dale since my mid teens, a point they touched on several times. It’s a little sad that band humor has come down to making jokes about their AARP membership,  but there you have it. They were performing their Simon and Garfunkle Songbook, which was nice, but I’d rather hear Simon and Garfunkle do their own songs. It was good to see these guys are still make great music together, but we didn’t stick around the bandstand for very long.
Yes, there was a pony ride, but I’ve never seen such midgets at a fair! It seems to me that would exclude any child much over the age of six or so. I can understand maybe having one or two very small ponies for children who are quite young, timid or insecure, but it looked like all the ponies at this ride were stunted or they were minis. I’m not a big fan of minis, so I didn’t spend a lot of time at this tent. The little black pony was grumpy and stood with his ears pinned back the entire time. The white pony was quite sweet and very curious about my camera. Overall, it felt sorta sad and tired under that tent. Nothing like the pony ride at the Hamburg fair, where the handlers were very attentive to their ponies and encouraged any child who happened to pause to think about a ride.  This pony ride was attended by a couple of young adults who seemed much more interested in their own little group than anything else going on around them.
We meandered back over to the pulls just in time to watch the last three teams battle for first place. One team continued to dominate, making the distance easily in one pull. The second team refused to hitch. Pass after pass was made, each time with the same end result: the team lunged ahead just as the hitch was about to commence. Seconds ticked by, with the announcer marking time as the pressure mounted. When clock closed in on the last twenty seconds the team made one final pass, but again refused to hitch. The driver pulled out and accepted third place. The last team gave it their all, but used all three attempts without pulling the full distance. They settled for a gallant second place. We watched the awards and then my favorite part: the leaving of the teams. By then I was tired and had packed my camera away for the night, but I enjoyed watching the gentle giants file out into the dark.