Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Grass Is Always Greener

I hate getting in a funk. It's just so debilitating. I keep trying to control events in my life only to be reminded once again that I am not in control. I react out of desperation driven by that need to control, and never get the results I think I will get from that action. Head against brick wall again and again. Ouch. My head hurts.I can't function. I am depressed. I can't sleep.

I sit in the rainy albeit warmer weather of our lake house in South Carolina wishing I were closer to my family in cold and snowy Massachusetts. I miss my life in Rhode Island: my new friends, the gym and the chorus. I was happy and I walked away from it thinking I could hurry up and get the lake house sold so I can focus on one life and not be pulled in multiple directions. I feel foolish. When will I learn? Re-acting out of desperation never works out.

I became worried over money in the long-term. Worried about our future. Worried if we will have enough to survive on for as long as we live however long that is. So, I thought I could come down here to kick-start off-loading property I feel stuck with to downsize and simplify our life. I thought this property would be easy to sell first. Property sales are not moving no matter where we live or own. I do feel stuck, and I'm a little scared. But, something has to move. Stuck energy is never a good thing.

Our resources are being slowly drained over time paying property taxes and utilities in multiple locations, and I worry it won't last. We are healthy and stand a very good chance to live a long time. My worry over our long-term finances makes me want to be unhealthy so I can relax and enjoy what we have now and not worry about the future. I won't live as long that way, and it is sure to last. What kind of sick thinking is that? It is where my head is at right now. I see other people living just this way. I don't want to be one of them, but I am leaning in that direction out of worry for the future. "Be here now", Ram Dass preached. Live in the "Now", Eckhart Tolle writes. "Some days are diamonds, some days are stone," sang John Denver. He was right.

Sail Boat at night on Rte. 378
I am blessed. I know I am. I see my friends pine over their troubles on Facebook, and realize I have it better than many. I see what's happening to family and friends all over and know I am doing well. Why, then, do I envy them? Big Brother Bob Emery's theme song keeps coming into my head:

The grass is always greener
in the other fellow's yard.
The little row
we have to hoe,
Oh boy that's hard.
But if we all could wear
green glasses now,
it wouldn't be so hard
to see how green the grass is
in our own back yard.

Bobby McFerrin sings, "Don't worry; be happy." I'm not happy right now; I'm frustrated and worried. Breathe. Just breathe. Be quiet. Just sit. My ass hurts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yippee Ki-Yay!

I love Die Hard movies, and this one lives true to form. It grabs us with action from the first moment and keeps us riveted to the very last. The McClane boys do not disappoint. Jai Courtney as Jack, John's son, is a great fit for Bruce Willis. They even look a like to some degree. Jack is as angry and jaded as John was in the earlier movies, and after some "bad boy" bonding (if one would call it that), the boys join forces in a big way.

As usual, this movie is chock full of great explosions, car crashes (oh! the car crashes!), shoot-outs galore and surprises. The dialog has its usual imbedded humor, and the Rolling Stones even sing the theme song, "Doom and Gloom"! Talk about bad boys singing about bad boys. The movie is great. Go see it.

I was angry after a phone call today over southern family drama stuff, and I needed to punch something. "A Good Day To Die Hard" took all that crap out of me and then some. Thanks boys. I feel better now. "Yippee Ki-Yay, Mutha F.....!"

Friday, February 15, 2013

Romance on Love Day

I love Valentine's Day. I always have. Even when I was single, I took myself out on dates: a movie double-feature with fancy coffee and decadent chocolate dessert in between was my favorite. I looked for a man sitting alone and asked if I could join him. It was in a bookstore, so I also brought along my recent purchase and read as I enjoyed my treat in the silent company of a man across the table. Why not? This year my wonderful husband drove to join me in South Carolina where I arrived two weeks early to get a jump on selling our lake house just to be with me on the "day of Love". Before arriving, he sent me an early valentine in the snow of our Rhode Island yard.

Last night, we went to the Columbia Museum of Art (CMA). We got in free with our (retired) Smithsonian Institution IDs, and saw the Monet to Matisse Impressionists exhibit in the afternoon. We also walked around the entire museum as this was our first visit. It's not nearly as big as the MFA in Boston, but had quite a lot of interesting exhibits anyway with pieces from Botticelli and Sargent included. It was impressive. But one of the most impressive was an exhibit on "healing" sponsored by the Lexington Medical Center. It included many select pieces from high school students in the Lexington County area. We were in awe of the talent of these young people and I became saddened to see their pain from the illness of a friend of relative depicted in paint, photography and multi-media projects. It was a very impressive display indeed. An entertaining exhibit in progress was one of women's fashions created out of everything: paper, old pieces of fabric, crayola crayons and painting supplies. It made me think of my young friend and God-daughter, Sophie. She was clearly ahead of her time in creating shoes and a dress for her sister to wear to prom out of duct tape years ago. She could have easily submitted one of her projects into this exhibit.

After our tour, we went to a family-run Italian restaurant a few blocks walking distance from the CMA: Villa Tronco. It was located in what is now a historic building, and was originally a fire house. The atmosphere was intimate and charming with lots of wood and small rooms. The dining room where we sat had a lovely little bar and terrazzo flooring, just like we have at the lake, except with red tiles. We laughed at this discovery. The rear main dining room's walls were of the original brick and was just lovely with very nice architectural features of trusses in the ceiling. Lastly, on the wall of our dining room was an award presented to the legend husband, Henry Martin, of the family's granddaughter for being the first 1,000 point scorer in USC basketball history. We had delicious, very fresh dinners of Veal Oscar and Chicken Saltimbucco; a bottle of Nero, and shared wonderful chocolate pudding with fresh strawberries and raspberries for dessert. It was a fabulous dinner that was healthfully cooked and not loaded with cheese or breading. My tomato sauce had fresh tomatoes and the pasta tasted homemade.

We returned to the CMA after dinner to attend the "CMA Chamber Music on Main" concert, featuring Artistic Director Edward Aaron on cello. Both of the other original performers for this performance cancelled because of a repetitive stress injury (violinist) and a career enhancing opportunity (pianist). So he was able to have his personal valentine, his wife, perform on piano and Tessa Lark play violin. All three performers hail from the northeast because he talked about the "Storm of 2013" causing problems with their driving to the Columbia concert. But, the concert was magical.

The first piece by Stravinsky was replaced by a Bach solo for violin to open the concert. This is where we saw how adept Ms. Lark is at performing her craft. Her technically perfect fingering was magnificent and her Tononi violin's sound was magical. It was so beautiful, I just closed my eyes and drank it in. Next we were treated to "Mozart-Adagio for Piano, Violin and Cello" by Arvo Pärt. This piece was filled with dramatic dissonances and silences. It was not my favorite piece, but its performance was really interesting.

My favorite piece came next: "Piano Trio in A-flat Major, Hob. XV:14" by F.J. Haydn. The harmonic dissonances and silences of this piece were melodic perfection. We enjoyed watching Mr. Aaron look to Ms. Lark for direction as clearly she was in charge of conducting the concert.  Lastly, we enjoyed a long piece, that was beautifully executed, but not my favorite: "Piano Trio in E-fat Major, D.929" by Franz Schubert. Mr Schubert, we were told, died at age thirty-one, and wrote this piece the year before he died. I was mesmerized to watch each performer become one with their instruments: fingers flew across strings and keys while arms flowed up and down with dramatic effect. It was an extremely difficult program, but absolutely beautifully executed. The acoustics in this hall were wonderful. All in all, it was a fabulous concert.

Lastly, we were treated by Ms. Lark to a bluegrass "ditty" from her home state of Kentucky called, "Bows and Strings" as her valentine to us. It was a rousing piece that had us all clapping and once again in awe of her talent. Her fingers flew impossibly over those strings as the "ditty" kept speeding up. It was fabulous!

We noticed that the audience was comprised of mostly people our age and older. We saw only a few young people. We thought that was interesting. The best treat for Larry, though, was running into one of his professors from the University of South Carolina. Each time we attend something in Columbia, he looks for people he may have known from his past, but never finds anyone. He was very happy to engage with one of his professors and get as caught up as forty years would allow. He was very sweet and looked like the epitomy of a college professor: rumpled, wearing a sweater and suspenders.

It was a very romantic date-night, and we both had a really great time. Happy (day after) "Love" Day to you all! I hope you enjoyed a little of your own romance, whether shared with a special someone, or with your Self. It's all about the Love after all.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Life of Pi 3D

It's been a long time since a movie made me laugh and cry. Pi did. This story is truly touching and fantastic. The cinematography is magical and beautiful. I felt sad and good at the end and loved watching the credits in 3D. This technology has come so far. I forgot after a while that I had on the glasses, and the entire movie felt up close and personal. It also helped that I was the only one in the theater for the 5pm show.

 Suraj Sharma as the teenage Pi was perfect in the role. His beautiful face lit up the screen, and his emotions truly moved me. This young man never acted before this movie. I hope he wins an award. He really deserves it.Irrfan Khan as the adult Pi was also wonderful. As he told his character's story, he moved me to tears. I normally love Gerard Depardieu, but he was despicable in this tiny role. The music was perfect.

There are lots of philosophical lessons in this movie. Pi grows up searching for God, and finds Him in his love for Richard Parker, an adult Bengal tiger. The tiger saved his life as Pi saved the tiger's life while stranded together with a zebra, a hyena and an orangutan on a lifeboat after a devastating ship wreck in which he lost his entire family. But, it is also about loss and survival. Pi listened to his father and uncle and learned their life lessons well. Those lessons helped him survive as well as the supplies in the lifeboat and its manual for staying alive at sea.

The movie did a wonderful job of portraying what it would be like to survive something like this: the terrible force of waves in a huge storm, looking into clear water, up from it, and reflections that prevent one from determining up from down. It is a beautiful movie that must be watched in 3D on a huge screen in the dark.

I am so happy I saw it. Go check it out for yourself. I think you'll be happy you did.