Monday, November 28, 2011

Magical Moment 595, "Goodbye Lodi"

Two years ago, we moved to Lodi, NJ to be right along the bus route 163, straight into New York City. Being a Nebraska girl and Texas boy, we overcame the culture shock of living in the country's most densely populated area. We learned to live in a pre-war building without a washer/dryer, air conditioning, or drinkable tap water. I learned how to light the pilot light in the oven without blowing myself up. And after many parking tickets, we finally figured out what alternate side parking means, and all the necessary permits and stickers needed to park on the street outside our apartment. 

For the last time, Joy and I will run our normal route by the Shoprite. We'll pass the VFW and the man sitting outside on the porch watching the traffic go by. We'll jog up the hill and past the Visenti Brothers Italian Grocery Store which tells me we just have a few more blocks to go before we're home.

We'll stay in New Jersey of course, and we'll still be near the city. But it's a bittersweet feeling ending this chapter. It seems like only yesterday we arrived here with a U-haul truck, unemployed and completely naive of what to expect on this new adventure. Amazingly, the song "Lodi" by CCR says exactly how I've felt at times. Now we move on to Chapter 2 in this adventure.

"Lodi" by CCR
(Video taken at Riverside State Park in Manhattan)

Just about a year ago, I set out on the road,
Seekin' my fame and fortune, lookin' for a pot of gold.
Things got bad, and things got worse, I guess you will know the tune.
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.
Rode in on the Greyhound, I'll be walkin' out if I go.
I was just passin' through, must be seven months or more.
Ran out of time and money, looks like they took my friends.
Oh Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again.
If I only had a dollar, for ev'ry song I've sung.
And ev'ry time I've had to play while people sat there drunk.
You know, I'd catch the next train back to where I live.
Oh Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again.
Oh Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Magical Moment 594, "Plenty to Be Thankful For"

One of my favorite movies to watch around this time of year is Irvin Berlin's Holiday Inn. One song in particular is great today because Thanksgiving music is so hard to come by! If you haven't seen the movie, I insist you watch it with a cup of hot chocolate immediately! Here is my take on the catchy tune, and below is Bing's version. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I've got plenty to be thankful for
I haven't got a great big yacht
To sail from shore to shore
Still I've got plenty to be thankful for
I've got plenty to be thankful for
No private car, no caviar
No carpet on my floor
Still I've got plenty to be thankful for
I've got eyes to see with
Ears to hear with
Arms to hug with
Lips to kiss with
Someone to adore
How could anybody ask for more?
My needs are small, I buy them all
At the five and ten cent store
Oh, I've got plenty to be thankful for

Monday, November 21, 2011

Magical Moment 593, "Leaf Lessons"

We all move at our own pace.

Some gradual and steady...

Others more quickly.

 There are times when we bring out the beauty in others.

And times when we stand out all on our own.

And though sometimes we may feel like we don't fit in,

Or look like everyone else,

There is something that brings us all together if we focus on what's important.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Magical Moment 592, "Unexpected Applause"

I'd let my morning run slip by for far too long. But today, my running shoes were giving me the evil eye. And so was Joy, my running buddy. The sun was out, the weather was perfect, what excuse did I have to let another day go by?

Only a few minutes into my run though, I felt those missed opportunities catching up to me, taunting me as I struggled up a hill. "I'm just gonna have to face it," I thought, "This is gonna be a slow run."

It was just then that I heard applause. The 4 sharp claps cut through the music that was blaring into my ears through my headphones. Puzzled, I glanced to my right. An older gentleman, the owner of a local bakery, was standing on the sidewalk outside his shop, apron and all. When we made eye contact, he gave me a thumbs up and a great big smile. I returned his smile and picked up the pace a little. And I held my faster pace all the way home. I didn't want him to catch me slowing down. Bet he didn't think that small act would actually make my day.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” 
- John Quincy Adams

Eddie, Joy, and I after a 5K race we ran last month

Monday, November 7, 2011

Magical Moment 591, "Reach"

I play for 8 ballet classes a week, 4 pointe classes, 1 variation, and 1 character class. It's a proud and content feeling I have to be in the position of doing what I love professionally, and one I hope to never take for granted and always strive to become better. At one time, it was just a daydream that I could be paid to play piano, or to record an original album of my very own with a New York City recording label. And yet somehow, it's become a dream come true, and new dreams for the future are ever forming in my head. 

During a ballet class, while watching young, aspiring ballerinas perfect their technique, I heard the teacher describe the Arabesque position. It is one of the most beautiful, graceful, and difficult poses in ballet in which the dancer's arm creates a long, lean line in front of their body. The fingers must be just the right amount of relaxed, yet shaped with precision. The leg needs to stretch. The foot must not be sickled. The toes fiercely pointed. But those fingers, that arm, must reach.

She walked up and down the wooded barre, making personal corrections where needed. Moving an arm half an inch here, a finger or thumb half a flinch there, until a picture perfect statue was formed by each dancer. But it didn't stop with limbs. 
"I want to see it in your face." She said. "What are you reaching for? I want to see your hopes and dreams written on your face." In a mere second, expressions of indifference, hesitance, and concentration were transformed into those of longing and passion. The teacher nodded at me, giving me the go ahead for their musical preparation of the exercise. "Look at your finger tips, and show me your hopes and dreams."

5 and a, 6 and a, 7 and 8...I knew I would never have the physical grace and beauty of a dancer, but feeling certain that the longing on my face was identical to theirs, I watched my fingertips as I played, day dreaming about future hopes and dreams.

Yuan Yuan Tan in arabesque position 
in Nutcracker (photo, Erik Tomasson)

From Behind the Piano...