Oh, Iowa…

One of the many residential stops my family made when I was young was to a hard-working Catholic community in the Southeastern corner of Iowa. We rented a small farmhouse on a few acres surrounded by cornfields just outside of Donnelson, a small farming town in Lee County.  My brothers went to high school in West Point, and middle school in St. Paul, while I went to elementary school in Houghton.  My sister was just a youngster, but eventually started kindergarten in the area.  In fact, I remember that she won a coloring contest as a 5-year-old, and that I was so proud of her!  We often saw our friends 6 days a week when you added in the weekly Sunday mass to the 5-day school week.  My father was the community’s country veterinarian, and was known by first name to everyone within a 50-mile radius.  It was quite a time for a young family of eight, making memories and just trying to get through each day, the goal being to retire every 24 hours with everyone healthy and in tact, under the same roof.

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A Brief Rumination…

Typing as the sun rises, I’m reflective of how beautifully each day begins.  The pinks and purples that present themselves against a baby-blue background create a gorgeous vista all around.  I awoke early this morning, and ventured downstairs, past my sleepy Bassett hound, Fred.  His tail gently thumped the carpet as he acknowledged my movement, then settled again on the plush floor when I’d gone.   In the living room, I passed the remnants of a “fort” built last night by my son, his friend, and my daughter:  dining room chairs arranged in a square, then covered with every blanket, sheet and towel available to them and within their reach.  The boys had abandoned their stations at some point in the night, opting for the sofa and the recliner, while my tiny daughter continued her guard under her pink blanket on the floor.  As I tiptoed by her, she giggled in her sleep, and I realized that I couldn’t think of anything more heart-warming than that:  a lovely dream being played out in the face and little laugh of my slumbering 3-year-old – true “visions of sugarplums”, perhaps…

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Oh, What If…

As a little girl growing up under the moral umbrella of the Catholic Church, I was taught that God was perfect.  Man was created in His own image, and was placed in the utopia of the Garden of Eden.  It wasn’t until Eve bit from the forbidden apple in that lush cultivation that man fell victim to “original sin”, the first flaw he would ever encounter, and one that would plague every man, woman and child from that point forward, whether they liked it or not.  This perfect image of God has remained in tact for generations.  I guess I have no basis to disagree since I’ve never seen “God” face to face.  However, it occurred to me that perhaps God left out one very important ability when he designed us mere mortals, an ability that would have prevented countless  arguments over generations, maybe even civilizations.  You ask, “What could God have possibly given us that could have prevented universal disagreements, perhaps fist fights and civil conflicts?”.

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Remembering Laurie…

“A time for summer skies, for hummingbirds and butterflies, for tender words that harmonize with love.  A time for climbing hills, for leaning out of window sills admiring the daffodils above.  A time for holding hands together.  A time for rainbow-colored weather.  A kind of make-believe that we’ve been dreaming of.  As time goes drifting by, the willow bends and so do I.  But oh, my friend, what ever sky above, I’ve known a time for spring, a time for fall, but best of all, a time for love.”

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I Finally Get To Say “Thank You”!

My first instrumental music teacher, Dr. Jim Ryon and I meeting for the first time in more than 35 years! Read “After All These Years” for the details of this reunion.


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After All These Years…

Like most people, I remember a lot of general information about growing up.  As a child born at the end of the 60s, I spent those critical developmental early years in the 70s.  Hey, did you know that in the 1970s, you could buy live fish at Kmart in the pet department, for example?  Why you would, I have no idea.  And you weren’t scared to death to drink out of the garden hose, either!  At least, not yet. Continue reading

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Out of the Darkness

Eggplant:  a vegetable that in no way, shape or form resembles an egg, and that should never find its way to my plate.  I’ve never been fond of it.  In fact, it makes my mouth itch, most likely due to an undiagnosed allergy.  Yet, last Saturday afternoon, I heard my own voice requesting Eggplant Pomodoro from the blasé waiter at Bertucci’s.  I was killing time and carb loading before the onset of a very long, yet important journey:  the “Out of the Darkness” Overnight Walk presented by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Continue reading

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In Arlington

Awards during military service are designed to recognize outstanding and extraordinary duty by servicemen/women.  Specifically, the Bronze Star is awarded for “heroic or meritorious achievement”, and the Silver Star is awarded “for conspicuous gallantry in action”.  Originally only awarded to Army members during WW II, the Silver Star was later expanded to be received by members of the Navy, more notably to honor those who bravely served during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Continue reading

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The Jazz Ambassadors Live Webcast Tonight!

The Jazz Ambassadors will be performing at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage this evening at 6pm ET. Please join us! If you can’t make it to the live performance, please join us through the live webcast: http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/

See you at 6pm!


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Just Keep Swimming (and Swinging)!

Waking to the light of the television in my hotel room, I can’t remember where I am momentarily, the glow of the idiot box growing and fading as the pixels instantly reorganize themselves over and over again on this early morning, a continuous reminder that an enthusiastic someone wants my money.  Hotel rooms are a norm for me in my job, but not now, thanks to sequestration.  I feel the atrophy of my “hit-and-run” road chops.  The weakness is embarrassing, like returning to Church after a long hiatus, touching the holy water and anticipating a sizzling burn as the blessed liquid makes contact with my shamed forehead, a single drop cleansing away the evil world existing beyond the doors of the sanctuary.  Who am I, again?

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