Picture perfect mornings make me sing!

blogDSCN7828You awaken to sunshine streaming in your window accompanied by wafts of fresh, clean air gently blowing through the screen.

You realize it was so cool during the night, you pulled the quilt up over yourself and you’re snuggling inside it because it feels a little chilly.

No harsh buzzing of the alarm clock rings in your ears because it’s your day off work, but you do catch the lilting melody of song birds coming from outside.

You leave your place of slumber and glance out the open window to see the most glorious baby blue sky decorated with bits of cottony fluff here and there.  A dazzling sun gleams from the east causing the yard to look resplendent in verdant trees and grass.

The temperature hovers around the upper 60’s with an expected high in the mid 70’s. Throwing open the patio door and kitchen windows invites a cooling breeze into the house refreshing enough to compel you to linger at the kitchen table with your soothing hot cup of tea.  You observe a tiny sparrow hopping along the deck railing and notice butterflies chasing each other, flitting hither and yon.

There’s a faint rustle of leaves as the cooling wind blows through the trees.  You hear cicadas chirping, morning song birds, and occasionally a car driving by.  But that is all.  It’s peaceful and serene.  It’s beautiful and picturesque.  It’s life here at Mama’s Empty Nest.

And that’s my idea of a picture perfect morning.

That’s what it’s been like here the last few days and I can’t express how much I enjoy mornings like these.  Quote anthologist Terri Guillemets wrote this:  “I used to love night best but the older I get the more treasures and hope and joy I find in mornings.”   I couldn’t agree with her more, especially on mornings like these.

Yesterday all day I found myself singing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical Oklahoma.  I’ve actually lived in that state and while I’m sure native Okies believe their mornings are the most spectacular, I beg to differ.   Rising to incredibly hot temperatures isn’t my idea of a beautiful morning, and that’s what I remember most about summertime there.  I’d much rather sing about mornings right here in my home state.

Treated to a repeat performance of my picture perfect morning today, my mind’s card catalog of songs brought up “It’s a Beautiful Morning” by The Rascals.

“It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh

I think I’ll go outside a while an jus’ smile

Just take in some clean fresh air boy

Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside

If the weather’s fine an’ you got the time

It’s your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day

Either way

It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh”

Morning songs just keep playing in my head on this magnificent Page 11, Chapter 8, in my book of Opportunity.  Cat Stevens’  “Morning Has Broken”  comes to mind.  As soon as I run through that song, a Herman’s Hermits tune, “I’m Into Something Good,” follows with “Woke up this morning, feelin’ fine, there’s something special on my mind.”

When I dig a little deeper in my song file, I find myself singing “Good Mornin” from that marvelous old movie, Singing in the Rain.   That tune reminds me of crooning my version to our awakening children when they were young:  “Good mornin’, Good mornin’, You slept the whole night through, Good mornin’, Good mornin’ to you!”

And lastly, I find myself humming an old English folk song called “Early One Morning.”  I don’t recall when I first heard that song because it seems like it’s always been in my memory. “Early one morning, just as the sun was rising, I heard a young maid singing in the valley below.  Oh, don’t deceive me, Oh never leave me. How could you use a poor maiden so?”

What about you?  What morning song are you singing on this fine day?

© 2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

In ‘Crazy Love’ with Michael Bublé

blogDSCN7715There were about 10,000 examples of “crazy love” in the arena because that’s how many Michael Bublé fans attended his concert last night and I was one of them!

And it was obvious by the thundering applause he garnered that we were all crazy in love with this crooner.

A good family friend blessed hubby and me yesterday with free (yes, you read that correctly!) tickets to singer Michael Bublé’s Crazy Love Tour concert.  (Thank you so very much, KC!)

That gift passed on to us was such a lovely blessing because when hubby heard that Bublé was coming to a city near us, he thought about purchasing concert tickets for my birthday.  However, in our current economic state, we both decided to nix it because tickets were so spendy.

So naturally, we jumped at the chance to go listen to this amazing young man.  When I sent Facebook messages to all three of our adult children to let them know about our windfall, I knew they would be jealous because they all enjoy Bublé’s music as well.   Sure enough, these were the responses I received:

  • Oldest Daughter:  WHAT?!?!?!?!??!?!! Are you kidding?????? Who’s giving them to you??? I LOVE HIM AND AM SO JEALOUS!!! Have fun and take lots of pictures, please 🙂
  • Middle Daughter: What?!?! I’m jealous too! Lucky you mom!! Hope you enjoy the concert!
  • Son:  What?!

So can I just confess that I gloated a little knowing my kids became envious of something dear old dad and I were getting to experience?  I mean, really.  When does THAT ever happen?

Just call me delighted and tickled pink to receive free tickets to this particular concert.  An a cappella group named Naturally Seven warmed up the show.  Their voices not only blended well, but they literally ‘became’ instruments on stage.  They gave a stellar performance;  I want to keep checking this group’s progression on the music radar screen.  I imagine big things are ahead of them.

Then it was time for the star performer who arrived on stage in a theatrical way. (I won’t spoil it for those who may be going to see his concert).  I love this young man’s style, his smooth singing voice that just melts over you like butter on a warm biscuit, and his renditions of songs, old and new.   What I didn’t realize was what a showman he is.  And oh, he is!

He was entertaining, funny, and so very likeable.  He made mention of all those who held up signs for him to read as he sat down and chatted with us.  He made you feel like you were just lounging in your living room and he had come for a visit with you.  You know, just chillin’ with Michael.

He wished happy birthday to a young child and a teen, up close and personal.  The wide-eyed teen girl exhibited total shock when he ventured down into the audience to talk to her and planted a kiss on her cheek.  That young lady must have swooned home on cloud nine!

The bearded entertainer slid across stage, he bounced, he jumped up and down while he crooned and bopped and bestowed upon us a superb show.  He graciously introduced the members of his band telling us funny and heartwarming little stories about each of them.  And the band was fantastic, just simply amazing!

blogDSCN7716He treated us to old favorites like “Georgia” and “I’ve Got the World on a String,” jazzed it up with “Mack the Knife,” and took us back to the 60’s with “Twist and Shout.”   He mixed old songs sung with his undeniably Bublé-esque style woven in between songs like his own ballad, “I’m Coming Home,” and the whimsical, crowd pleasing “Haven’t Met You Yet.”  Of course, the crowd responded like crazy when he launched into his signature “Crazy Love.”  (Just an aside, the guy behind me shouldn’t have sung along, especially so loudly;  Michael Bublé, he isn’t!!)

Let me also make mention that unlike many performers, Bublé sounds just as amazingly good live as he does on his CDs.   His voice is as melodic and awesome on stage in a gigantic arena surrounded by thousands of his fans as it is in a recording studio.

In between sets, Bublé made us laugh with his funny stories and entertained us with his imitation of Michael Jackson, who he claimed in true confession time that he wanted to be (not be like, he wanted to be him) when he was a kid.   “I was so bummed that I was a white person,” he quipped.

blogDSCN7709Then he surprised everyone by jumping off the stage at the end of the arena, meandering while still singing through the crowd on the floor (surely a nightmare for security guards) and bounding upon a platform in the arena’s center to perform several more songs.

He explained that action by saying he apologized to those in front of the stage who paid good money for their tickets, but “these good people paid good money too” as he pointed to those of us out in the tiered seats and at the other end of the arena.

All too soon, he ended his concert back on stage.  The band stopped, the lights went down and the standing ovation audience roared, clapped and whistled for more.   In a couple minutes, the lights flashed back on and Bublé returned and treated us to an encore.

blogDSCN7707But just like life, all good things must come to an end.  I loved his last performance of the evening for us.

The lights went low, a huge subdued curtain closed to hide the band who stopped playing, and it was just Michael Bublé alone on stage, without a microphone, singing a cappella:

“And when my life is over, remember when we were together

We were alone and I was singing my song for you.”

Thank you, Michael Bublé, for sharing your talent, your passion and your joy for music with us.  As I recall your performance last night on this 11th page in Chapter 6 of my book of Opportunity, you made each one of us feel like you really were just singing your song for us, especially me.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The music was there all along

pexels-photo-164821.jpegSilence is not golden anymore.

I seem to write about songs quite often in my blog.  You might say the music channel switches on easily in my mind. 

Sometimes speaking a mere word immediately reminds me of lyrics and music to some tune.

It’s a gift, I think. Or maybe it’s like the ancient Greek philosopher Plato once said, “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.”

But even though music has always taken up permanent residence in some section of my brain, I very seldom listen to music any more.  I find that a remarkably strange conundrum and I am quite baffled over it because music has always inspired me, lifted my spirit and often brings me to tears.

I grew up in a household where music serenaded my ears.  My sisters and I all took piano lessons, so someone tickled the ivories almost every day.  And my family sang together at the piano often.

My mother listened to the radio daily as she performed her household chores and cooked home-made meals.  As a child, I awakened every morning to the sound of that radio playing in my mother’s kitchen.  My sisters kept the record player spinning, and I can still sing the lyrics to many golden oldies.

My dad, especially in his later years, possessed an extensive collection of tapes and CDs and passed many hours listening to his music.  My maternal grandmother sang melody after melody with me as we rocked our blues away together in her special chair.  A dear older friend of the family taught me how to sing alto and harmonize.

As a teenager and college student, music continued to maintain its importance in my life.  I listened to it; I bought it in the form of records or cassette tapes; I attended live concerts to experience it; I played it on piano, and I sang it.   Music wafted from my stereo or my car radio at all times.  I would even fall asleep to it.

For many of my adult years, I joined choirs, performed in church musical productions and continued playing the piano for enjoyment.  I attended orchestral concerts, operas, ballets, and live stage musicals.  When I became a mother, I taught songs to my children and listened to their music from piano lessons to chorus and band concerts.

But somewhere along the line, I stopped wanting to listen to music and preferred silence.  At home, I turned the radio on less frequently while I cleaned my house.  I seldom played the stereo and the shelves of albums, tapes and CDs became dust catchers.

Music sometimes even irritated me.  In the car, I rarely drive with the radio tuned in or a CD playing.  My husband downloaded songs he thought I would enjoy on an MP3 player for me, yet I hardly ever use it.

I’m mystified as to why the music in my life suddenly turned mute in the audible world, although it still resonates in my head at the drop of a hat.   Did my life become so stressful that silence was more agreeable to me than the lilting strains of a violin, the trills of piano keys, the strum of a guitar or the human voice in melodic song?

I don’t know, but I want my music back.  Today it was quiet in my office, too quiet.  My fellow staff members were cubbyholed into their own offices and the silence became unbearable to me, perhaps because there is so much of it in my home, the empty nest.

So for the first time ever in my office, I called up Pandora on the internet and devised my own radio station of songs on my computer.  For most of my work day, I actually listened to tunes while I worked and I hummed along and at times I even sang a little.

And I realized in my book of Opportunity on Page 17, Chapter 1 (January 17), that I’ve still got the music in me.

“Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.”  ~Ronald Reagan

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Dancing in September

pexels-photo-707697.jpegDo you remember the 21st night of September?”

For those of you too young to remember, that’s an old disco song performed by a group called Earth, Wind and Fire.

For some reason, songs really stick in my brain and I can recall lines from songs better than remembering what day is trash pick-up day.

Speaking of trash, some of the songs being played on the airwaves today should be relegated to the trash bin if you ask me.  I often wonder what will happen when the younger set becomes the older generation.  Will they look fondly back to their “golden oldies?”   Will they wistfully listen once again to today’s songs and reminiscence about days gone by?  You know, songs from Lady Gaga and Eminem.

Many of today’s hit songs would make a well-seasoned pirate blush, that’s what I think. Songs from yester-year are mild and tame in comparison, but even better yet, they are tasteful.  Even in the rebellious years of the 60’s and 70’s into the me-decade of the 80’s, most songs did not have foul language in their lyrics, let alone sexual language too crude to even think about.

Call me old-fashioned, but give me the real oldies – songs from the late 50’s and 60’s.   My sisters were in their teens in those years and  songs from that era are filed away in my memory bank because I heard those songs a lot back then.  My oldest sister would have “pajama parties;”  we call them sleepovers today, except back then no one would ever think of inviting boys to a sleepover!

Sis would set up her pink and grey record player, with a big stack of 45’s waiting near by to be played during the party.  Yeah kids, record player.  Songs were recorded on vinyl discs called records – small ones were 45’s and they had one song recorded on them.  They were played on a contraption which had an arm with a stylus (needle) inserted into it.  As the record revolved, the stylus picked up vibrations off the grooves in the records, which magically emitted music from the record player speakers.

So Sis would invite all her teenaged girlfriends and they would dance to the records, eat snacks,  and just have fun all night, I assume.  I was never allowed to stay up for those parties because I was just a youngster of four or five.  The pajama parties were usually held in our basement, and I would sneak down the stairs part-way, sit on a step, and watch with envy as the girls danced, laughed, and squealed at their fun.  My sister would shoo me back up the steps, but sometimes one of her friends would take a shine to me and let me come down to dance awhile.  I not only remember the parties but the songs on the records they played.

Songs like “Cathy’s Clown” and “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers, “Soldier Boy” by The Shirelles, “Papa Loves Mambo” by Perry Como, “Love Letters in the Sand” by Pat Boone, “The Monster Mash,” “Leader of the Pack,” and the list goes on and on.  Simple music from a simpler time.

My adolescent years took place in the 60’s and early 70s’s.  The music from that time is also ensconced in my memory.  The first record I ever purchased was “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” by Herman’s Hermits.  I listened to typical teenage fare back then and graduated to songs by Elton John, The Doobie Brothers, and Chicago in my college years.

And then the disco era hit. By then hubby and I were married and starting to settle down.   The songs from the late 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s are scattered in my memory.  I was too busy producing and raising children to listen much to popular music, but I do “remember the 21st  night of September…Say do you remember, ba dee ya, dancing in September, ba dee ya, never was a cloudy day.”

If I wasn’t still sick with this nasty flu bug, I’d get up and dance.  No energy though.  Fits of coughing would ensue.  So I’ll just watch this little guy boogie on down.  Come on, get up and boogie with him, you know you want to!

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com