Category Archives: Music

All about music

Pegi Young, and Women Who Can’t Live Without Men

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You know the type.  Even though he cheats on her….even though he bashes her behind her back…even though he is a serial liar, she clings to him, because she can’t live without a man to accompany her. Regardless of what he does, she HAS to have a man beside her or she doesn’t feel worthy or complete.

However, if  you’re in a relationship with someone who used to make you happy and no longer does, what keeps you there is not love, it’s fear, so don’t talk to me about being soft-hearted or forgiving, because you’re a fool, if this applies to you, and everyone who knows the two of you also understands this.  They just don’t have the heart to tell you.

If he has cheated once, he will do it again…and HAS…and still continues to.   You think by staying in an unhappy and unfulfilling relationship you are doing the right thing.  You convince yourself that things will get better, that he’ll change and that it’s not that bad, you can live with things the way they are. But the truth is you can’t and you know it.   Pegi Young is a woman who has said, “To hell with it…” and has forged a whole new life for herself, despite the public humiliation of her former husband’s infidelities.  I admire her for this.

Pegi Young turned that negative experience into a positive one.  She turned it into art.

This morning, NPR did a show about how Neil Young had dumped his wife of 36 years for the younger, prettier Daryl Hannah, shown here relaxing in France.

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But this story isn’t really about Neil Young.  It is about his ex wife, Pegi….the woman who was jilted….because she didn’t ‘just crawl into a hole and go away.  She embraced what happened to her in a way that puts Neil to shame.  Yes, “the best revenge is living well,” or so they say, and Pegi Young is doing just that.

I’ve heard a lot of people criticize her for putting out this album and drawing attention to herself at “this age” but I love it that she did this. Her album is not necessarily my cup of tea, and I have been a Neil Young fan forever, but I admire Pegi for taking the reigns and being in command of her own destiny regardless of what he did to her. Making this album demonstrated tremendous inner strength, and it doesn’t matter how old she is, what she looks like, how “jilted” she was when she did it.  She did it to heal, and I admire her for it.

Her new album is called, “Raw”….and it is.  She said that writing the songs that are on it is what got her through, i.e. saved her life. Each of her new songs deals with one of the seven stages of grief.  In this song, “Trying to Live my Life Without You,” Pegi wrote, “We regretted the changes that brought us to now. I’d take it all back if I only knew how. You can drive on away with the weight of demand. And the road keeps on going until you find where you land….”

She has made a statement that makes HER look like the better person. She has taken a pile of shit and turned it into gold.  I have so much respect for a person who does something like this instead of deciding to wallow in the shit as their lives go by with disrespect from their partners.  Pegi Young is a strong woman.  A REAL woman, and she has my respect.

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Dodging the Rain

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Nothing has changed.

John is in Pittsburgh, and I’ve been here enjoying the rain and the fine company of my family and friends.  However,   I find that I accomplish so much more when I’m by myself.  I have been slowly going through the boxes in the garage so I can move them into storage and set up my studio out there. I’m donating more than I’m keeping.  Just tired of having so much stuff. Our living room is now crowded with musical instruments…..five guitars, a complete drum kit, two big mic stands, mics, amps, cords everywhere.

I took a break from everything and decided to do a little photography today, so my new  camera came out of the box  for its first experimental shoot.  It is the most complex camera I have ever owned, (Canon EOX 5d Mark IV ) and it will take me months to learn how to use all of its features, but today, I did take a few shots and downloaded them to my computer. I’m on a learning curve, and also spoiled by the ease of use of my old camera.  This one does so much, but as of yet, I can only access limited features.  I figure I can teach myself a new one each day until I get the hang of it.

I played with lenses…telephoto, macro….and  filters.  I have my eye on an EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens for coastal shots, but I have other, more important, priorities right now.   The Oregon coast is all kinds of beautiful, but I need that lens to really capture what I see.

It rained today, and I stood in my living room and took a few shots, and some more from my front porch. I loved the way the clouds filtered the light, and felt these were good shooting conditions, so here are some of my first efforts. These are unadulterated raw images and I’m not thrilled with how dark they are, but I’ll  learn..

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As a closing note, I love this little hummingbird who sits on the very end of one of my rose bush stems and guards the feeder.  See how his feathers around his head are warning everyone to stay away, even as he naps?  If you have the chance, watch, “Super Hummingbirds,” on PBS.  I watched it over the weekend with Ingrid, and we loved it.  Truly a fascinating documentary.

Until next time.  Hugs to all.

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The Excitement of it All

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This is, perhaps, one of the most exciting times in my entire life.  I am paving the way to begin walking an entirely new path toward new goals and it feels great.  I am probably busier than I’ve been since my children were little, but I have stores of energy, and tons of enthusiasm that keep me going each day.  I have a supportive partner….two supportive partners, really….and I feel like a million bucks.

One thing that I’m doing that might seem a little wacky for a woman my age, is I’m taking a singing masterclass from Christina Agulara.  Yep.  You read that correctly.

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While I do have a strong singing voice and I do sing, from time to time, I do not aspire to be a famous pop star.  Instead, I am taking the class to learn her teaching approach and methods. Virtually everything I do these days is to prepare for my new business, and this is far from all I am doing .

I have found a dedicated business partner who complements those areas that I lack, and I complement hers as well.  We are planning our first workshop/retreat for next April, and it is exciting indeed!  I’m running around like crazy looking at venues, working on marketing, taking pictures, writing curriculum, developing products, writing …writing…writing…networking…making new business connections.

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A lot of my workshops will be centered around music and musicians  (as this  is an important, special  part of my life,) so I am learning the inner bones….the when, where, why and how of the technical aspects.  Those things, combined with my background in psychology are what have me so geared up and ready to go with these workshops.

While I do have my masters in psychology, I am now actively working to enhance that with life coaching certification classes from the Integrative Wellness Academy.  I feel that the two credentials integrated will help me with my workshops. Should take a few months to earn my certification.

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In other news….my songwriting efforts are progressing in leaps and bounds, as is my guitar playing. Taking classes for both.   I have really had a breakthrough and feel as though I am soaring.  I am so happy.  I love my life.  Honestly.  It is a good life, one that is far from perfect, but that is filled with and operated by love.  I could not ask for a better and more supportive family-family AND family of friends. Being confident in my love is a wonderful feeling.

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I have signed up for a new yoga program that will also be integrated into our workshops.  I am making art by the hour.  I am on a roll…..like butta.  Man, this is good.  I have never felt happier.  Love helps. 😉   It is what I live for.

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Boutonniere Inspirations for a Wedding

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Long ago and far away, I worked as a freelance wedding planner.  My specialty was economical weddings in dramatic settings, such as beach weddings, foreign destination weddings and weddings in authentic Texas locations.  I once planned an elegant wedding in an old Austin Texas  barn, attended by some famous C&W musicians.   As they invited me to participate in the wedding celebration, we all had the times of our lives. The juxtaposition of elegant finery contrasted with the rustic elements provided by the barn was just perfect, and I was rewarded handsomely for my efforts.

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As part of my promo literature at the time, I gave tips about wedding attire, honeymoon accommodations and other useful things.  What follows is some advice I had for boutonniere inspirations.:

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Nothing can quite add the panache to a groom’s wedding attire  like the classic style embodied his boutonniere. This traditional symbol worn on the lapel of the groom’s jacket is a gesture brimming with meaning that reaches  far beyond the flower itself. Boutonnieres symbolize beauty. They symbolize the fragility of life, and love undefined all captured in a single blossom.

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Classic Wedding

A classic wedding calls for a classic symbol. A single red rose boutonniere with, perhaps, a tiny spray of baby’s breath embodies all of the characteristics any bride could wish for in a groom. The red rose symbolizes courage, sincere love, respect and a hearty congratulations to the happy couple. The baby’s breath symbolizes everlasting and undying love.

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Beach Wedding

Keeping things natural at a beach wedding is the way to go. Tiny white lily boutonnieres trimmed with raffia and miniature seashells can add a nice touch, or for something more ornate,  earthy boutonnieres with lavender, green blueberries, wax flowers and rosemary can add a subtle, yet beautiful touch the blends right in with a stunning ocean environment.

Western Style Wedding

A sunset wedding on the ranch, or at the beach, calls for shades of yellow with a boutonniere made from dusty miller, billy balls and handmade wooden button flowers tied with twine. This is a winning combination that can dress up any groom’s lapel without going over the top.

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Castle or Mansion Wedding

Any  groom can  look like a prince in a beautiful purple boutonniere made of royal ranunculus buds and rose hips that are wrapped with white or purple velvet ribbon.

High Desert Wedding

Ranunculus and rice flowers in soft desert pinks, corals and yellows are a perfect combination for a high desert wedding boutonniere. An alternative choice is silvery brunia and tiny, mint green succulents wrapped in a pale pastel ribbon.

Elegant Cocktail Lounge Wedding

Imagine the beauty of an elegant cocktail lounge wedding atop a skyscraper overlooking the glittering lights of the city. What better boutonniere could adorn the groom’s lapel than one inspired by the fresh ingredients and herbs found in the fine spirits that are served there. An aromatic boutonniere made from cinnamon sticks, Douglas fir, hops, bay laurel, grains, juniper and rosemary will be the highlight of the groom’s suit.

Hawaiian Wedding

Hawaii is one of the most popular destination wedding locations in the world. The groom will fit right in with a simple orchid boutonniere, or, for a little more flare, a boutonniere made of astrantias and jasmine blooms against a background of local foliage.

Remember, a successful wedding celebration is all about the details.  The marriage?  That’s all about the couple.

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Protected: My Happy Campers

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A Six Year Old Impersonates Sarah Palin

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This is six year old, Ingrid.  She worked very hard on her impersonation of Sarah Palin.  I hope you enjoy it, and that you will share it if you do!

 

Thanks for watching!

Happy Birthday to Me

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We celebrated my birthday two days ago with a beautiful array of activities and interactions with friends and family.

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The day began with a beautiful 3 a.m. text  message greeting that made my heart sing, accompanied by a funny, musical phone message so garbled that I could barely hear it, because of the bad connection, but it still made me smile.   Things just kept getting better and better throughout the day. Phone calls….gifts….beautiful gestures made by various people.  I truly felt loved.

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John had arranged a beautiful brunch cruise along the Willamette River aboard a yacht.  The weather was cold and overcast, but the sun broke out from time to time, making the trip absolutely perfect.  The yacht was three stories tall, and we periodically strolled from deck to deck, enjoying live jazz and beautiful scenery.

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Here is a little video of the cruise:

Ingrid , shown below with her glass of sparkling apply juice, was the star of the show when she sang happy birthday to me.

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I cried from the sweetness of this gesture, which was something that she cooked up herself.  As you can see, the crowd was also touched by this.    I love how she bends that note at the beginning of the song.  So cute!

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John enjoyed the gorgeous scenery as much as I did.

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The food was exquisite, and we had delicious, fresh mimosas to go with.

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The whole trip lasted around 2.5 hours.  It was peaceful, beautiful, and much appreciated by this birthday girl….and by a little piggy (shown below).

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Afterward, we attended an awesome art show, which I found wholly inspiring.  Then, we went to my daughter’s house for a traditional dinner.  She baked the most delicious coconut cake for me, which Ingrid decorated with pretty gold candles.

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I felt truly blessed this year….truly loved and deeply happy, knowing that those who took the time out of their lives to acknowledge my birth really love me.  Sometimes, I feel like the luckiest woman alive.   This was one of those perfect birthdays that I will never forget.  Many thanks to my family and to my friends who made it all possible.

Say goodbye to Gail….

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Gail Zappa, Frank Zappa’s widow, has died at age 70.

This from Rolling Stone Magazine……

Gail Zappa, wife of Frank Zappa and executrix of the Zappa Family Trust, has died. She was 70. A cause of death has not been revealed, though TMZ reported she had had a long battle with lung cancer. Zappa, “departed this earth peacefully at her home … surrounded by her children,” according to a statement from the Zappa Family Trust.

“Gail will forever be identified as a key figure in the creative renaissance that is Laurel Canyon,” the statement says. “But more than any singular accomplishment, she defined herself in her personal relationships, happiest when surrounded by loved ones and artists, often one in the same. The memories she leaves behind are indeed her own art form. Her searing intelligence, unforgettable smile, wild thicket of hair and trailing black velvets leave a blur in her wake.”

Related: Frank Zappa Doc: Alex Winter Talks to Gail and Ahmet Zappa

After her prolific husband died of prostate cancer in 1993, Gail kept Frank’s recordings in the public, putting out dozens of posthumous albums and judiciously licensing his image where appropriate. Earlier this year, the Zappa family announced that the couple’s son Ahmet would be in charge of the Trust.

Gail, whose full maiden name was Adelaide Gail Sloatman, was born on January 1st, 1945, the daughter of a nuclear weapons research physicist with the U.S. Navy, according to Zappa biographer Barry Miles. She lived with her family in London as a teenager and got a job as a secretary for the Office of Naval Research and Development rather than attend college. She met Doors frontman Jim Morrison in kindergarten, since they both had high-ranking naval officials for fathers (Frank once told a story that she hit Morrison over the head with a hammer). She eventually moved to New York, where she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in the mid-Sixties and immersed herself in the music scene before hitchhiking to Los Angeles with a friend.

In Los Angeles, Gail met and befriended future Runaways manager Kim Fowley, and recorded an album with him billed to Bunny and Bear; Miles noted that she was “Bear.” She met her husband-to-be when she was the secretary at the Sunset Strip mainstay the Whisky a Go Go. In his autobiography, The Real Frank Zappa Book, the artist called her a “fascinating little vixen,” with whom “it took a couple of minutes, but I fell (don’t laugh) in love.”

They started living together and married in a “severely ridiculous civil ceremony” in 1967. Frank recounted the ceremony comically in the book, stating that Gail was nine months pregnant at the time, and that he didn’t have a wedding ring and that she still didn’t have a wedding ring at the time he wrote the book, which came out in 1989.

The couple had four children – Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva – over the course of their marriage, which lasted until Frank’s death. The composer recalled affectionately in his book that it was her idea to name their son Dweezil, after a “funny-looking little toe” she had. “I thought then, and continue to think today, that Dweezil is a nice name,” Frank wrote. “Fuck the nurse if she didn’t like it.”

After setting up the Zappa Family Trust, Gail issued 38 albums between 1994 and 2015 of previously unreleased music that Frank had recorded. This year’s Dance Me This was billed as Frank’s final album and is significant for being his 100th record.

Gail spoke with Rolling Stone in August about a documentary that filmmaker Alex Winter is making about Frank’s life. “My obligation was to get the work out there the way Frank built it in the first place,” she said of her role after his death.

She also shared what she hoped the documentary, due sometime in 2017, would explain. “If I was gonna have to do this myself, I would want the question answered: ‘Why the fuck would anyone want to be a composer?'” she said. “I know the answer to that, because I lived it. I just want it revealed.”

New Blues Guitar Hero?

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Whoa….It looks like we just may have a new blues hero here!  Teen guitarist Chase Walker is being referred to as “the new Stevie Ray Vaughan”, or “the new Kenny Wayne Shepherd.”  American Blues Scene calls him one of the top 10 musicians under 18 you should know.  After I watched this video I knew why.  Wow.

Walker, who is from Riverside, California, was born in 1998 and didn’t start playing guitar until 2010. His influences include Vaughan, Warren Haynes, the Black Crowes and the Black Keys.  Since I knew Vaughan a little bit, I’m excited about this.

To quote the Big Bear Grizzly, the Chase Walker Band formed in 2012 and includes Matt Fyke on drums and vocals and Randon Davitt on bass and vocals. In 2013, Walker’s song “Too Many Days Ago” was a finalist in John Lennon International Songwriting Contest.

The band released its debut album, Unleashed, last year.

Check it.

Paul Simon…..at Ground Zero

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I am not one of those people who plasters photos of the 9-11 tragedy all over my social media platforms.  It is my preference to honor those who died by living my life honorably, but remembering that they were Americans, and by cherishing my country and accepting its people regardless of their race, creed or sexual orientations.   That said, I would like to share this video of Paul Simon honoring them in his on way, with his music.

Empowering Women Everywhere

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Here is a little blurb from the new show, “Empowering Women Everywhere, ” which is hosted by my friend, Nann Gill.

Watch it on Channel 23 (TWC) at 7:30 ET, or on line at empoweringwomeneverywhere.tv.

Become part of the Empowering Women Everywhere Community!

Click HERE.

Membership is FREE!

Read more about the 2 Left Feet Blues Festival HERE.   <clickity click click click….

“Empowering Women Everywhere” is produced by the Academy of Film, Television and Stage Performing Arts, a 501c3 corporation.

The program reaches over a million households twice a week!

For a tax-deductible donation you can become a sponsor of the show.

Sponsorship packages are individually designed to best fit your giving criteria.

Please call 845-294-8444 to discuss your particular requirements.

Life is a Balance

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Life is a Balance

Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.

Things have changed.

I used to walk into a room and wonder if the people there would like me.  Now, when I walk into a room, I wonder if I will like them.     The need for external validation is not important to me, at this point in life, and I don’t have to actually like someone for them to have value in my life, nor to have value in theirs.  If there is a job to be done, I simply do it.   I have optimized, categorized and am moving full speed ahead.  I am letting go of the negative and embracing those positive relationships that are good.

The relationships that remain are solid.

 I have learned to let go of the people and things that do not serve my best interests…the ones that hurt and deceive me ….and this has really helped me to stay focused and to do  good work.  This has freed up a tremendous amount of emotional and physical energy.   It can be difficult when one lets go of family members or of  people who were once close friends…..but as things turn out, letting go of those with whom your values, ethics, morals and beliefs do not align, can help propel you forward and free you to do what you are best suited to do in life.

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The people that *really* matter to me are functionally in my life, although I am forced to use that  term  (“functionally”)  loosely when referring to one significant person.  That is an unfortunate situation that I cannot talk about here.

The solution was simple.  I let go of the drama and embraced all of the many good things that I hold so close to my heart and things have never been better.  I now sing about my happiness to other audiences and I go to bed every night with a smile on my face, knowing that I am loved.                                   

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My husband has returned to Portland, full time, from the Bay Area and we have immersed ourselves into a plethora of creativity.  His health is much better than it was, even a year ago.  He attributes this to our being together so much of the time now.  I am watchful over is health, feed him good, home-cooked food and make sure he gets lots of exercise.  He seems so happy, and I’m glad he is home. He is writing plays and working with a partner on creating original musical scores for his plays.  I have the biggest art commission of my life,  am working on my novel every day.  I have successfully completed the composition of two country and western songs that will soon be ready to shop.  I  and am putting a new business together and am also spending lots of time with Ingrid in these last days before she is immersed into French school.  I am thoroughly enjoying the wonderful city where we live.  John and I are reorganizing our home and getting rid of possessions that we no longer need.  Everything is about moving ahead and being happy.

Everything that we are doing,  together and individually, can be either directly or indirectly attributed to making the best choices about letting go of the dead weight of the crazies.  I cannot believe I ever hesitated.

Life is so uncomplicated now.  Why didn’t I make these decisions years ago?

The Sexiest Thing I Have Ever Seen in My Entire Life

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I kid you not.  I almost fainted when I watched this the first time.  It is divine….in every possible way.

On Being Politically Correct

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Ok….This is CUTE!

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Apart from the fact that this is a tiny little girl singing a song from a controversial video (that she has never seen, by the way), the cutest thing about Ingrid’s version of “Wrecking Ball” is the fact that she made up her own lyrics.   They are lyrics that make no sense at all.  One of my musician friends, Steve Grandinetti, said that if I took Ingrid to one of his shows, he would just let her take over.  He posted her video on his Facebook for his fans to see.  She will be thrilled when she finds out. 🙂

Protected: Day #18-Musical

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Ballet and Flowers

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Yesterday, little Ingrid participated in her first real ballet since we put her in the Portland Classical Ballet Academy.  It was a modified presentation of Swan Lake, and was utterly adorable.  It is not uncommon for me to cry during live ballet or opera anyway, but big salty tears *really* slid down my cheeks  during this performance as my heart swelled with pride. All of these precious little children working so hard to do their amazing performances really touched me.  They were all so cute.

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Ingrid had been very nervous and anxious about the performance, but you’d never have known.  She exuded confidence and looked so secure and happy up on that stage.  I honestly believe she had a good time, which, for me, was the most important thing.  She worked toward and achieved an important goal, and I think that made her feel great.  She seemed proud of herself afterward, and I know *we* were very proud of her.

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This is Ingrid after the performance, coming out to take her bows with her classmates.  She is the little one second in line from the teacher.

During final bows, each child was presented with a rose.  Of course, we also bought her a gigantic bouquet of them, but these single stemmed yellow roses were really sweet for them to get on stage.  And the thing that touched my heart most was when her parents drove me back home.  As I was walking up to the house from the car, she rolled down her window and called to me, so I returned to see what she wanted.  She told me I was the sweetest Gams in the world and said that she wanted me to have her yellow rose.  Lump in throat.  More tears….but happy ones.  Ingrid is such an articulate little girl…so sweet.

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I smile every time I think of it.  I am lucky.  I am blessed.

And I know it.

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Life is really, really sweet.  Ya know?

Sending kisses to your heart, little Ingrid.

I love you.