06 August, 2008

Happy days are here again...

Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball--wherever you are.

As I share this birthday week with one of my all time idols, I reflect on how delightfully My Day went yesterday.

In addition to it having been a very difficult (except for the month of November) year and particularly the past couple of weeks, I had made a concerted effort to know that starting August 5, 2008, it was going to be a very good year. A fresh, personal new year filled with effortlessness, success, abundance, joy and love. I am happy to report that the auspicious beginning held true to intention and all is right with the world again.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

We had birthday breakfast at Antique Row Cafe. This has been one of fun, funky places in San Diego. Not to mention they have the best breakfast potatoes in town. And with its' retro theme, it seemed a good setting to start the birthday reflection. By the way, for any other locals reading, let me tell you in advance that they discontinued the "free breakfast on your birthday" special they offered.

Next, I went out to La Mesa to see Rachelle for a manicure and pedicure. This was important to me not only because of the birthday pampering aspect but because Rachelle is probably the friend I have had the longest since coming to San Diego. We met at the Alante Salon in the complex where Pacific Church was supposed to take occupancy. We have shared much together in these past seven years and it was really difficult to say goodbye.

Running errands on your birthday can be pretty cool because everywhere you go, you know there is a party going on in your head so it doesn't matter what store you're at or activity you need to do. And being the Leo that I am, when they say "Have a nice day" or some such toss off line, I always respond and say "Thank you, I am--it's my birthday!" And suddenly the clerk joins me in smiling and we're both uplifted.

I received wonderful cards, calls, e-mails ( including one of the cutest animation birthday cards and songs ever) and even surprise visitors (neener-neener, I dare not mention who...) and even prezzies. Oooooooooooh...

Don wanted to take me out to a special place for dinner and offered two of the three or four favorite or meaningful restaurants. What I requested was to go to Adams Avenue Grill because it has always been number one on my list and Don had never been there. Happily, the owner, Tim was there and it was so wonderful to see him again. Tim introduced himself to me the first week of my starting at PCRS and generously gifted me with dinner at his restaurant. I was hooked--on the delicious and unique food that comes straight from Tim's kitchen but primarily on the sweet energy there that comes straight from Tim's heart. (Tim was also part of the wonderful team of church folk who went to be part of the active relief effort after Hurricane Katrina and he worked preparing food there). We told him of our news--being newlyweds, my birthday, our relocating --and even though he seemed sad to learn I was leaving, he also sensed the rightness of the move; and promised to come up to northern California on a restaurant tour and visit us.

Next we went to Starbucks to finish off the evening for an after dinner latte and conversation.
After all, I had started the day at a Starbucks after breakfast for my soy chai latte, had a mocha Frapp light after lunch in La Mesa, closing out at the Kensington Starbucks seemed fitting. Hitting all the hotspots.

When we got out of the car to walk inside, I noticed a sweet tabby cat coming towards me precariously in the driveway. I quickly walked over to divert him/her and crouch down to visit. The purple collar yielding a tag saying the name, "Kittyhead and I am an outdoor cat" and I am guessing female by her petite size. Quite the sociable cat, she visited with Don but seemed quite intent on being with me. She even wanted to follow so Don and I tried to walk her back to her house.

After our latte, we went to leave and I noticed Kittyhead contently snuggled under our car --waiting for us? Hmmm. I crouched down again to talk to her and she came out and shnoogled up and down along side of me and we chatted a brief while. I could tell this was intentional. What wasn't clear was whether or not she was here for my benefit--some birthday message or messenger?--or if she needed me. So I said a little prayer with her and thanked her so we could leave. She sat there grooming herself as we backed out and we came home. Make of this what you will, but I know that was not random. That is one of the reasons I love animals so much. They are so mystical, so wise and soooo loving.

Oh, and I neglected to mention that my thoughtful and wonderful husband got me a very special gift this birthday-- we are going to the Michael McDonald concert on August 19th in Chico!!!!

Yes, my new year has begun and it is good, good and very good.

03 August, 2008

Oh, Mama Mia...

Let me preface this post by saying I was not a big fan nor that familiar with the music of ABBA. I could hum along with most of the top hits but I never owned an ABBA album nor seen the stage show.

Those in the know, realize that I am always eager to see and support any movie musical that is released. Yet, for the film version of Mamma Mia!, my logical mind said viewing would have to wait till after our move-- but something was impelling me to see the film and to see it this week. In fact, I invited Don and Sunshine to join me this morning for the early matinee before we began our day of packing.

All my life movie musicals and Broadway shows have held special places in my heart for the significance and relevance they always gave to me. Musicals not only sparked my creative flames and desires, they freed my little theatrical soul where I learned so much about life from hearing the songs and watching the dances. And yes, I did grow up with a slightly skewed expectation that the rest of the world would interact in musical interludes, production numbers and spontaneous terpsichorean outbursts because that is what I knew and how I was inclined to express. Alas, such was not usually the case and disillusionment set in early on.

As I began to mature and participate in 'real life' and the musical movies began to wane and I was left to singing along to all the Broadway soundtracks to myself when cleaning the house or driving. Lately, there has been a resurgence of the movie musical both on stage (beyond just revivals) and on screen. Rent and Hairspray come to mind-- and y'all have already heard how many times I have seen each in theatres and on DVD.

Along comes Mama Mia! with a very powerful, albeit at-first-glance, eclectic cast. I don't have a clue what to expect from the libretto and settle in for a pleasant musical divertissement. Almost instantly, I am taken in by the playfulness, sweetness and exuberant joy that the film exudes. I find that I am bouncing up and down, clapping, laughing and having a great time. When whammo -- the story whirls around and whacks me up the side of the head where I have been most tender of late, the memories of my mother. I had already had a Mama Meltdown two days ago when I came across a photo of her and I began bawling. "This will be my first birthday without her; and no wonder I had forgotten it was my birthday because it is also the anniversary of her death and...and... " and the violins played on.

Here is Donna (played to perfection by Meryl Streep) a single-mom whose daughter longs to know the identity of her father before her wedding day. OK, I do know who my father was but he was not in my life. Then the film had all the mother-daughter stuff that unfolds right before the wedding which called forth all the emotions and the experience of having just got married without having either mother or father there and you can fill in the rest even if you haven't been reading my blog already over the past nine months. Crap. I am sobbing hard and heavy in the middle of the movie, in the middle of the theatre, sitting in the middle of Sunshine and Don and totally relating to the big screen. (Thankfully, Sunshine had been impelled earlier to bring me a huge stack of napkins from the concession stand because I hadn't gotten all teary at the trailers).

Once again, the movie musical was babysitting this latch-key kid with a larger-than-life fairy tale from which I could relate and learn. It confirmed one of the lessons I have been preaching over the past few years about the ability to experience both joy and grief simultaneously and be okay with them coexisting.

Safely sandwiched between Don and Sunshine, I was able to let the emotions flow and emerge on the other side to where the music and dancing once again entranced me to "my happy place." And yes, the film also reignited my desire to be singing and dancing again. I always told two of my colleagues that I wanted to create the All Singing, All Dancing Church of Religious Science....look out Chico, here I come.

"So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing

Thanks for all the joy
they're bringing

Who can live without it,
I ask in all honesty

What would life be?

Without a song or a dance
what are we?


So I say thank you for the music

For giving it to me


Mother says I was a dancer
before I could walk

She says I began to sing
long before I could talk

And I've often wondered,
how did it all start?
Who found out that nothing
can capture a heart
Like a melody can?

Well, whoever it was,
I'm a fan



So I say

Thank you for the music,
the songs I'm singing

Thanks for all the joy they're bringing

Who can live without it,
I ask in all honesty

What would life be?

Without a song or a dance
what are we?


So I say thank you for the music

For giving it to me

I've been so lucky,
I am the girl with reddish hair

I wanna sing it out to everybody

What a joy, what a life, what a chance!

So I say
Thank you for the music,
the songs I'm singing

Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it,
I ask in all honesty

What would life be?

Without a song or a dance what are we?

So I say thank you for the music

For giving it to me."
ABBA

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...