I have a variety of playlists on my little pink MP3 player, each created for a different activity or person.
I made a playlist for Lily and Emmy with Princess songs, which includes songs from Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, a little Taylor Swift, and The Little Mermaid. And of course I had to add Frozen to the mix when we bought that CD. This playlist is titled “Princesses.”
Ed’s playlist consists of bands such as Journey, the Scorpions and his favorite, Def Leppard. I creatively titled Ed’s playlist, “Ed’s Playlist.”
I have several of my own playlists, but my favorite is the one I named “Eclectic.” That’s because it has a little bit of everything. A little country, a little rock, some folk and some alternative. I put Taylor Swift’s “Safe and Sound” next to Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound.” There’s the cowboy portion with Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy, Take Me Away” and Paula Cole’s “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone.” Sting’s “I Burn For You” and Sarah MacLachlan’s “Possession” are part of a stalkerish section. Throw in some Gotye and Civil Wars, and you’ve got yourself an eclectic playlist.
Every year, it seems like spring is a miracle. It happens some time in mid-March. All it takes is one warm day. All of a sudden, sprouts spring up out of the ground that was frozen just a week ago. Dead looking branches are suddenly full of life when fuzzy buds pop out on maple trees. The ice melts off the driveway that we got tired of shoveling, and the sidewalk chalk comes out.
Another sign of spring is when your children start dragging dirt into the house and someone leaves muddy tracks on your freshly vacuumed carpet.
Spring is so fickle. We went on a hike last weekend in Moraine Hills State Park. As we walked, we began to shed layers in the warm sunshine.
As we neared the lake, the breeze picked up. We began to scramble to put our layers back on! That layer of ice on the lake didn’t help matters.
Spring. It can’t decide if it’s coming or going! I hear it’s supposed to snow on Monday.
My daughter’s friend told her mom that she wanted to work at a cupcake shop when she was older. Her mom told her, “Think bigger!” So she said, “I want to manage a cupcake shop!” Her mom replied, “Think even bigger!”
“I want to OWN a cupcake shop!” she finally said. That was more like it!
When I was a kid in the 70’s, there was a perfume commercial that was on T.V. all the time. A woman, dressed in a business suit, sang out “I can bring home the bacon, I can fry it up in a pan….” She could do everything, and do it well! She was a complete woman!
I was brought up believing that I could do anything and be anything I wanted to be. I felt empowered…most of the time. As they say, the school of life brings hard knocks. In 8th grade, I was ignored and belittled because I was the new kid. I struggled mightily with trigonometry in high school and received little help from the teacher. I was happy to get a C in that class when I was usually an A student. I was the smartest student in my Senior Physics class. One thing was holding me back; I was a girl. This story is a stereotype come to life, but it really happened; the football player who was struggling asked the nerdy boy who wore thick glasses for help, not me. I was getting better grades in Physics than all of them, and no one asked me for help. (Which was probably a good thing, now that I look back on it. I wouldn’t have cheated for anyone, either!)
When I was 14, another event happened that showed me true empowerment; my mom had a mastectomy. Seems strange, doesn’t it, that a surgery some say is a mutilation of a woman’s body would be empowering? After her body healed, Mom showed me that losing a breast didn’t make her any less of a woman. She had four kids to take care of; she had a part time job, and she sang all the time. Little did I know that 13 years later, I would make the same decision when I had the same cancer.
Mom had seen a photo of a woman with a mastectomy showing off her tattooed scar; we planned for a long time to get our own mastectomy scars tattooed. Various reasons kept us from doing it, but the sentiment remains; a scar does not make me any less of a woman. (See that photo here; warning: it is beautiful but nude.)
Mom raised me to be a strong woman, but I am also a scaredy cat. I hate making phone calls. I get panicky at the thought of having to pick up the phone and call to make an appointment of any kind, even a haircut. I don’t like to walk into new places. I don’t want to ask for help finding something at the store. Sometimes, even I realize I’m just being silly and I seek out a salesperson to help me. I’ve even asked for help at Home Depot, all those aisles and aisles of various parts and pipes making it one of the most intimidating stores on Earth.
But I find that it’s not asking for help or having a job or being a mom that empowers me. It’s getting involved in something I feel strongly about…and sometimes maybe not as strongly. Being involved is as easy as saying, “I’ll do it!” when no one else will. It’s taking flowers to a congregation member who is confined to her home. Or reading to my child’s classroom. Or teaching 5th grade Sunday school, a task I dread every week and yet get so much out of. It’s getting out there and using my talents that empowers me.
I have been very pleased that while my children are both shy, they are also brave. Lily had chorus auditions for a solo part this past week, and she had the option of skipping chorus if she didn’t want to audition. I asked her about it, and she said, “Why wouldn’t I audition? I want a solo!”
Lily wants to do everything and be involved in as much as she can. I have to hold her back sometimes so that she doesn’t get too involved. As part of her K-Kids group, she is going to paint faces at the school’s fun fair tonight. Like mother, like daughter. Like grandmother, mother, and daughter.
What empowers you to be all you can be? Who has inspired you?
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Over the past few weeks, Lily was practicing her viola for her orchestra concert. One of her pieces was the theme from Dvorak’s New World Symphony, one of my favorites. What she was practicing, however, sounded nothing like the symphony I know. She is a beginning string player, so you can imagine what she sounds like. She’s still learning to tune her instrument and use her bow. As you can imagine, there are a lot squeaks when she plays.
When all 20 of the fourth grade orchestra students gathered together on their big night, however, the piece from the symphony came together as all the violins, violas, cellos and basses played. It wasn’t perfect, but to all of us parents, it sounded beautiful!
It was a week for listening to the orchestra. For Christmas, Ed bought me tickets to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Riccardo Muti conducting. For some reason, I’ve always wanted to see him conduct. I had never been to the Symphony Center before, so it was a great gift! Way back in December, though, February 28th seemed far away. Before I knew it, it was the middle of February and I needed to find a babysitter!
My friend’s wonderful teenaged daughter was up for the job. Ed made reservations at a restaurant we’ve always wanted to try. The traffic at the tollbooth on the Kennedy eased up when it was supposed to. We found parking easily in the Grant Park parking garage under Michigan Avenue, and there was a section just for the Symphony Center! There was even a parking attendant helping people pay for their parking, and she was NICE! Going downtown had never been so easy!
Ed had bought us seats on the main level. Symphony Center was smaller than I had imaged and we were fairly close to the orchestra. No cameras were allowed, so I behaved and didn’t take any pictures to show you. The most hilarious thing happened between movements. These sophisticated people going to the Symphony coughed and coughed. It was thought they were so afraid to make noise when the orchestra was playing that they held it all in until the quiet moments between the movement. (You know, the time when you are not supposed to clap but wait for the orchestra to begin the next movement.) If I were a germophobe, I would have been violently twitching in my seat. Ed and I just looked at each other and (silently) laughed.
The highlight of the concert was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 6, which was gorgeously played. It was worth a standing ovation, which we as an audience gave.
I have been stuck in the Grant Park parking garage for hours before (after Taste of Chicago and the fireworks) but this time, there were parking attendants helping direct cars out of the garage. Of course we got stuck behind someone who had not prepaid their parking ticket as they were supposed to, but the same nice parking attendant who had helped us before the concert helped this guy out. It was snowing gently as we left downtown Chicago.
We pulled into the driveway at exactly 11:00, the time we told the babysitter we would be home. Our evening out came together perfectly!
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