Tag Archive | Beatles

If I fell …

This picture, sits (largely unnoticed these days) in our kitchen, but it’s from the giddy early days of dating  just over nine years ago, when we were deciding how safe it was if we fell for each other.

We were giddy, but we were cautious, too, but we pretty quickly realized there was no danger because we’d always be there to catch each other. We got married about a year and a half later.

Taking a miracle like happy, healthy love for granted is easy when you live with it day in and day out. We shouldn’t.

Our friend who took this very picture and teased us unmercifully about being giddy and gaggy is in the same predicament herself these days. (You know who you are, and we’re very happy for you. Giddy and gaggy is a good thing.)

I could say we got married in a fever, but that would be a lie because it hasn’t burned out. We did get married twice, though, once in Little Rock, to get the legalities out of the way, and again on a beach on the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica in front of our sisters and their husbands with vows we wrote together.

Brother Paul (my sister’s wonderful husband) read a poem he wrote for us. The sisters cried. We cried. The brothers-in-law even got teary.

Kitty, Norm, Paul and Cathy helped us celebrate our new life together.

In just over a month, Kitty and Norm, Cathy and Paul, and John and I are hitting the beaches together again – Mayan ruins in 2012, baby. We’re not scared, though we are going in January rather than December. You know, just in case.

I’m ever so glad to be traveling, but John, as I’m sure you know, I’m happy just to dance through life with you.

Consider this a little early Christmas cheer from me to you.

Carry that weight

When faced with the prospect of replacing a 30+year-old crown and not knowing what might lurk underneath, it helps when your dentist is also your friend. That’s how today started, bright and early with groggy me in perky Shirley’s chair.

That would be Shirley Reid, dentist supreme, and great person to have in my life.

I took a textbook, thinking I could read in the waiting stretches, and thought I’d use the grinding, smoking, molding, etc. time to plan, in my head, the presentation I have to give tomorrow night on the policy paper that had me in tatters last week.

I had just decided how to start the talk when Shirley offered me her iPod to drown out the sounds of the grinding.

Of course I said yes. She cued it up to “Abbey Road” for me. All thoughts of school or anything present went out of my head. The Beatles can always help me carry a weight. And take me back in time. “Abbey Road” takes me back to my ninth-grade year. 

It also takes me back to Tom Bennewise, the first love of my life, whom I met at the Indian Hills pool the summer after the ninth grade. Tom was one of the smartest people I ever knew. Sadly, past tense is correct; he died in February at 57.

His mother made us break up shortly after we passed the one year mark because I wasn’t Catholic. Now both of my children are married to Catholics. Hmmm. And my daughter lives in Indian Hills. Hmmm.

Back to the Beatles and “Abbey Road.” I relaxed (as much as possible in such a tense situation) and let the music take me away. Still knew every note, every word and every song that would come next.

I’m always amazed, when I really concentrate on the individual instruments, at how great the Beatles were. And how under-rated Ringo Starr is. His drumming is impeccable. And he’s a sweetheart.

I reminisced about sitting on my bed with Cathy, stereo playing loudly and me tutoring/torturing her on which Beatle sang which song. Sorry, Cath – I know it stressed you out when I quizzed you, but it was just so important to know. And aren’t you glad now that I did? (Or do you at least forgive me?)

One of the first things Jude could clearly say was “John, Paul, George and RINGO!” while correctly pointing to each one on my refrigerator magnet. Annabelle and Sylvia love gazing at the faces on the 10th-anniversary Beatles poster in our kitchen.

Though I have no memory of buying the poster (um, it was the ’70s), Mother remembers it hanging in my bedroom. It was a happy surprise when I found it in our attic years later.

I’ve left that to Brent in my will. He mentioned to Liz it’s the only thing we have that he’d really love to have. Good boy.

Now I’ve got to get back to that presentation on the sad topic of the VA not being prepared for or properly handling the follow-up care of returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets with PTSD and TBI.

But I think I’ll turn on some music. That always lifts me when I’m down.



I’m sooo tired

I think John Lennon is singing for me. I won’t have a cigarette, but a glass of wine is at my elbow. Don’t see any rest to speak of for the next couple of weeks.

9 p.m. homework break

Maybe not until after that. When am I going to watch Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison documentary?? I have class those nights. Help!

Oh, wait. DVR. So I’ll stay up late and watch it. But then I’ll miss Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert! Acck. I’ll never catch up

Such is the world of a granny in grad school. But I’m not really complaining. I mean, I am taking a break to fart around with YouTube.

Well, maybe I’m whining a little.

Whatever. At least I can’t relate to this one.

If I persevere, there’s a degree at the end of this rainbow of books and notebooks.

Mess o' books and notebooks

Please remind me of that, and often.

Bittersweet me(mories)

It’s taken me a few days to work up to writing about the breakup of REM. Wednesday morning, as I was doing an early morning weights workout, the scroll across the bottom of the screen silently announced the news.

“Oh, NO!”

I startled John, who was engrossed in the news on his computer in the dining room. REM was one of my bucket-list bands. I don’t mean to see before I die – I have a few bands left that, after seeing them, I could conceivably never go to another concert.  (Conceivable? Probably not. But maybe.) Concerts bucket list.

Now I can never see them live. But I’m actually OK with it. It’s not that I’m losing my REM religion – but sometime’s it’s wiser to heed Buddy Holly’s advice than to turn into still-touring relics. Rolling Stones, I love you, but a 50-year tour? That’s getting kind of creepy.

I’ll always have the finest worksong to play for the finest of hours. And REM kept me from chewing my leg off when I needed out of a miserable marriage. And helped me have the courage to go for it.

So I’ll settle for my REM collection and knowing that “Automatic for the People” will always be on my 10-desert-island-albums list. 

I’ll always miss you and be grateful for your assistance through some rough spots in life.   RIP, REM.




Speaking of Top 10s (the desert-island list), how do you choose from a lifetime (a looonnnggg lifetime) of music?

“The Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East” is a no-brainer. Has been since I was 16. 

So is Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.” Goes without saying. 

Automatic for the People.” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” “Z.Z. Top’s First Album” (they used to kick ass, trust me).

Crap, halfway there with old stuff. And haven’t even addressed Led Zeppelin. OK, “Houses of the Holy.” What the hell. They’re all good. And there’s that confounded bridge that always makes Liz and me smile.

But any Top 10 list of mine would be heavy on Tom Petty – he is my husband in a parallel universe. (It’s OK, it’s OK. John digs him too.) And my baby boy, Ben, used to beg me to play TP. So he’s got to be there. He could be all 10, actually.

But I guess I could settle for “The Waiting,” if I had to, and “The Traveling Wilburys, Vol.1,” but it would almost kill me to choose. 

Please notice I’m being authentic and true and not copping out with greatest hits or boxed sets. You try it – waaayyyy harder.

Then I’d have to add Mumford & Sons “Sigh No More and The Avett Brothers, probably “Live, Vol. 3.

Shit, that’s it! Can I live with it forever? Maybe. Ask me tomorrow. But probably not – there’s no DMB, and when you’ve gotta hear Dave, you’ve gotta hear Dave. Or Willie. Or Leon Russell. Oh, my.

This won’t do! Ten is not enough. No desert islands for me unless I can bring my iPod Touch with unlimited battery power.

Maybe next time I’ll do an all-girls version. Or an all-Beatles. Or an all-post ’90s. Or an all-boxed-sets. You try it. It’s hard.

What IS your Top 10? I dare you.

Happiness is a warm … Mac

As a long-term Apple aficionado, I was saddened to read of Steve Jobs’ retirement and evidently worsening health problems. I’ve witnessed death by liver (my father and brother-in-law) and pancreas (our dear friend Tom), and they were horrible to behold. I know Jobs is in better medical hands  and certainly hope for the best for him. Poor (rich) guy.

But we’ve known this day was coming, and Apple, being the Little Engine That Could, will survive. And thank goodness for Macs, because there was a time when I thought I hated computers.

No, I did hate them.

First HAL 9000 thoroughly traumatized me in 2001: A Space Odyssey. That flat, atonal voice gave me the willies even before he took over the ship. Only HAL could make “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do” scary – it was a “follow the bouncing ball” singalong song before he corrupted it.

Then came the horror that was DOS and the word-processor-like clunkers we had to type on in the old newsroom at the old Arkansas Democrat. Yuck. The giant mainframe was in the back, scary big, and we had to angle for time to type or edit our stories, hoping we’d remember the hideous numerical commands and to type \p to create a period.

Give me an electric Olivetti any day. (Actually, maybe I had an IBM Selectric. Whatever.)

But in 1990, when teaching at NLRHS, I learned about Macs when we worked with the NLR Times to produce the school paper. They were cool. But in 1991, when I was given the cutest little Mac Classic II to use with newspaper staff, it was love at first sight of that little smiling Mac icon. 

I loved how the default alert was the musical Sosumi, supposedly a nose-thumb at my beloved Beatles’ Apple Corps, who stated in the agreement they reached on the name that Apple Computer couldn’t deal with anything musical.

And the kids loved it – they’d clamor to work on the Mac. Petted it, called it sweet names. We were smitten and decided to build a Mac computer lab. We had to fund it ourselves, but we didn’t care.

This was just around the time the newspaper business as a whole was going to Macs – all creative publishing businesses were. But the school district was big on Dells, so I had to call about 100 major newspapers across the country (this was the old days, and, yes, there were that many major newspapers, and more) to ask what they worked on. Every paper but one used Macs, and that one was changing over any day.

So we got approval, but no funds. Let the car washes begin! The privilege of working on Macs has been one of the biggest recruitment tools for high school journalism that I’ve seen.

A couple of years later, I bought my first (insanely expensive) personal Mac, a big, clunky beigey-white Power Mac. I loved it. Then Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, and, low and behold, the iconic egg-like iMac in multiple colors was born. In 1998, I ordered what daughter Liz and I called “Barbie’s Dream Computer,” a hot pink one. The screen was in glorious living color. (I donated the Power Mac to a high school newspaper staff taught by a friend.)

John and I met online on the dream computer.

In 2003, I jumped the gun and got a 20-inch flatscreen crook-neck iMac and gave the dream computer to Liz.  It was glorious until about 2004 when, just after the warranty ran out, I spilled coffee near it, and some got in the air holes for the fan. Shortly after that, the beautiful flat screen went black. Between the residual coffee and all the dog hair that my brother-in-law pulled out when he took it apart, we decided it wasn’t worth trying to fix, so I just bought another  flat screen and hooked it up. It still worked fine despite looking strange.

I donated that one to Central when I started teaching there, since I got a new, smaller all-in-one iMac. We still have it – one of the old white ones, not the cool silver ones that came out right after we bought it. Long-term commitment on this one.

I’m typing this, however, on my 15-inch Macbook Pro. John even made the leap this year, from PC to a 13-inch Macbook Pro. (We’re no longer a mixed marriage.)

He likes to tease, but he’s encouraged me in Macdom, actually – he surprised me with a hot pink Nano  when they were new, and after I filled it with songs, he surprised me with a second-generation, 32GB iPod Touch engraved on the back with our a line from our wedding song.

And this year, once Verizon got them, I finally got an iPhone. And, for back to school purposes, of course, an iPad 2. As the hubster likes to say, I have the “complete Mac collection.”

What can I say? Gotta love them apples.