Author Archives: liveloveyourlife

Winter Reverie

It’s so dreary outside today. Everything feels so heavy. Just looking at the foot of snow we received last week, and watching it sag from the rain. Navigating through the slushy mess on the driveway, in the street, on the sidewalk. It’s warmer today, but still so heavy. The sky is all gray. The most gray I’ve seen it in a long time. It seems impossible for the poor sun to break through the thickness and reflect upon the snow and ice. The backyard seems lonely – the pool empty, the porch still, no movement whatsoever, not even that of blowing snow. Just snow, being weighted down by the heaviness of the air and the gloom of the sky. The entire house is gray and is weighted down by the sky too. And everything in the house is so slow and droopy. I struggle to keep my eyes open, as they are weighted down by the gray that invades through the windows. It’s warmer in the house, but the warmth only makes everything droop more. The room illuminates slightly, and as I glance out the window, I see a yellow/white shadow peeking through the deep gray of the sky. Will it leave? I hope not. My eyes droop closed, but the yellow/white shadow remains, penetrating through my closed eyelids. I feel warmth. Warmth that does not weigh me down, but warmth that embraces me. I am somewhere else. A nap seems to be the only remedy to conquer the heaviness of today.

The song I’ve shared, “What The World Needs Now is Love”, is a song that conveys the heaviness not through its lyrics, but through the music. Note the up-and-down movement of the trombone introduction. It’s sort of hopeless, just trying to get by the best it can. The melody with the chorus follows the same movement, “What the world (UP) needs now (DOWN), is love (UP), sweet love (DOWN),” always ending with the DOWN, as if it’s being pulled down. It lacks stability.

The song seems to create its own reverie by its unstable chorus of UPs and DOWNs and also its upward-moving force. A force that seems to allow the song to constantly build, perhaps the only stable factor of this song. The first verse, “Lord, we don’t need another mountain… Enough mountains and hillsides to climb… Enough oceans and rivers to cross until the end of time…” seems to plateau at the beginning, but only builds into the chorus (ironic that we’re climbing mountains and crossing oceans as the music is building?). The next verse, “Lord, we don’t need another meadow… Cornfields and wheat fields and sunbeams and moonbeams enough to grow and shine” again seems to plateau, but these vast, seemingly metaphysical images only build into the chorus (ironic that the vastness is accompanied by these airy, wispy, dreamy violins?). The chorus then relaxes, sinks back down into reality, the hopeless trombone even appears again – is the song ending? Not quite yet. The chorus then builds up again, the violins come back in, and we’re in our other dimension. The song finally ends by coming full circle, as the trombone reappears and plays the melody just as it did in the beginning. And back in reality we are.

Jackie DeShannon’s hit certainly sounds like that typical “rainy-day-song”, but by creating this daydream-like atmosphere, the song is almost like a temporary escape from the world with not enough love (in the song’s context) and also from a dismal wintry, rainy, cloudy day. Just another way to look at it I suppose.

Happy January! Embrace the sun!!

-Live and love your life!

Farewell 2013

Well, on this eve of the New Year, I cannot help but think about how enlightening and dynamic 2013 was for me. It was a year filled with much change, some good, some bad. It was a year filled with more insight on life. It was a year filled with new experiences that I will never forget, experiences that brought the insight, and in many ways bolstered it. These experiences reminded me that life is not something to be mastered, like one would master some job routine or exercise routine. Life is something to be lived – no mastery required. Of course, there are healthy ways to live life, and unhealthy ways to live life. Furthermore, the latter of the two seems to be a failed attempt at “living life.” However, are there really failed attempts? After all, we’re all living. We’re breathing. We’re interacting. We’re learning. We’re writing. We’re listening to music. We’re working. We’re making money.

Okay, so perhaps we might perform these “tasks” in an unhealthy way. Breathing – smoking whatever, inhaling whatever, etc. etc. Interacting – walking into public places with guns and wreaking havoc. Learning – allowing five years olds to listen to rap, and absorb the language and the many inappropriate references. Writing – posting statuses and “tweets” on social media about “how ugly so and so’s sweater was”, or “how terrible my mom is because she refuses to allow me to have my twenty year old boyfriend over when I am only fifteen.” Listening to music – (rap certainly does not belong here because it is not music) celebrating “musicians” for mere aesthetic purposes, i.e. I want to see Miley Cyrus in concert because she has great effects, like the wreaking ball, and the twerking, etc. Working – performing any job, whether you hate it or love it, and not knowing your purpose. Making money – forgetting to appreciate yourself for being able to make ends meet.

Stated above are not criticisms, but rather truths. Just a few truths that I experienced in 2013. To me, unhealthy ways to perform those “tasks.” However, none of those suggest failed attempts at living life. They suggest ignorance, misunderstanding, confusion, perhaps mystification. Many people breathe and feel lucky to be alive. Many people stop in the midst of their busy days and take deep breaths, centering their minds, relaxing their muscles, exercising their lungs. These same people go out and teach others these techniques. They write books. They record meditation exercises and post them on YouTube, interacting with, giving to their fellow man. Those impacted by gun violence go out and fight for gun laws and for safer schools and for better emergency procedures, interacting with others to make the world a better, and safer place. More importantly, not only a safer place for themselves but for others. At the same time, children are learning gratitude and empathy. They are learning healthy ways to express their emotions. They are learning to understand their emotions. And many of us adults try very hard to cultivate these experiences by reading and writing with our kids, by making them feel safe at home and at school, and by providing them with wholesome, cerebral experiences from which they can learn and glean insight. With this, perhaps many of our kids will think more about what they post online. At that moment of dissing mom on twitter, maybe I will stop before I hit the “submit” button and think about how my mom would feel if she read that “tweet.” Or maybe before hitting that button, I’ll think about the “girl with the ugly sweater” and how she would feel upon reading that tweet. Instead of airing my feelings to the world, maybe I’ll formally write them down in a journal or turn them into a story or into a melody.

Many of us listen to music and appreciate the sounds and how the sounds parallel to the words. We try to understand the message. We search for the message. We share good music with each other, with our kids, our partners, our friends. We keep an open-mind. But moreover, we appreciate what we hear. And if we hear something so stimulating, and so touching that we grow to fall in love with it, then we appreciate the artist for creating it, not for his/her aesthetic appeal on tv or on the stage. These same artists will recognize that appreciation, and moreover, will recognize their purpose. Why are they making this money? Well, they are creating beautiful, honest music that people appreciate and connect with on a deeper level. The rest of us, whether we are CEOs of major companies or McDonald’s crew members, also recognize that we serve some purpose. The drive-thru attendant at McDonald’s, working ten-hour shifts to make ends meet at home, smiles at a customer and warmly greets her, complementing her nail color, as she pays for her iced tea. The woman is like any other paying customer. However, she is mourning the loss of her son who was killed a year before in combat overseas. The drive-thru attendant had no idea – the woman did not share this with the attendant. Instead, the woman smiled back at the attendant and thanked her. The attendant’s kindness made getting through the day a little easier for the woman. The drive-thru attendant was really just doing her job, but doing it with a purpose. She works hard for her money. She respects herself for working hard.

These are also truths. To me, healthy ways of performing those “tasks.” The fun part of life, is recognizing that we can make healthy choices or unhealthy choices. Our final decision, whether we choose the healthy choice or the unhealthy, depends on our experience. If we choose the unhealthy way, it does not mean that we have failed at life, it simply means that we made a choice, and perhaps it wasn’t the best choice. The even more fun part about life, is that over time, we learn. Next year upon making a choice, we’ll choose the healthier alternative. Did we master life? I don’t think so. We just made a better choice. The best part is that this dichotomy between healthy choices and unhealthy choices is never-ending and is not as binary as I am making it sound. We make healthy choices and we make unhealthy choices at the same time. Also, everything is subjective. Healthy to one person might be unhealthy to another person and vice versa. However, we can still teach other and learn from each other. We can still share our opinions. We’re getting through life together. We’re not doing it wrong. We’re not doing it right. We’re just doing it, and along the way, we’re making choices that impact, in some way, everything around us.

So here’s to 2014….. A year filled with awareness of the choices we make, the things we impact. For me, a year filled with more music, writing, reading, learning, understanding, and even more insight. God bless. Happy New Year!

-Live and love your life!

Tribute to JFK

On this 50 year anniversary, we remember a man so distinguished in American politics. A man who saved this country from the brink of nuclear war. A man who made Civil Rights even more possible for African Americans. A man, who more often than not, asked “what he could do for his country.” JFK.
In this clip, we see the brilliant Leonard Bernstein, dear friend to the Kennedy family, direct the New York Philharmonic in Mahler’s 2nd Symphony – “Resurrection” to honor JFK. This is one of the many ways over the last 50 years that our brilliant, late JFK has been honored.

We Will Never Forget

Before we bid farewell to yet another 9/11, I just wanted to reach out and talk about it a little more. Today certainly has been quite an emotional day. While I do not know anyone personally who was a part of 9/11, or had any connections with someone in 9/11, I have spent several years studying these tragic events. Those infamous images encircled all of us today, including myself. Unfortunately, it is much easier to focus more on the terrible things.

As I spent a lot of today reflecting, I tried my very hardest to focus on the positive things. It was still so hard even after twelve years. The truth is, 9/11 was one of the darkest days in American History. And even after twelve years, it is still so hard to find the sunlight through all of the dust. It is still so hard to take a breath. It is still so hard to comprehend what happened and why. Today, I have accepted that the dust will never settle. The breath will never be as full. The comprehension will never be grasped.

But if one thing is for sure, if there is one thing that makes it a little easier to see, a little easier to breathe, a little easier to comprehend, it is the resilience that this country has demonstrated over these past twelve years. Resilience. I saw it in the fireman that staked the American flag in the rubble at the end of a long day twelve years ago. Resilience. I saw it today in the families who lost loved ones and who were able to attend the nationally-broadcasted ceremonies. Resilience. I see it in the flowers that recently bloomed on my cosmos. The same flowers that started off as seedlings which were thrown underneath mud and expected to sprout in two-four weeks. I thought it impossible for such a feat to occur – how would these seedlings ever be able to break through that thick, gelatinous muck. Sure enough, after one week, tiny sprouts appeared, and grew larger and larger and larger; they metamorphosed into something that I do not even recognize anymore. How did it happen? How did these sprouts manage to make it through the tumultuous summer days, the heat, the strong winds, the heavy rains, the not-so heavy rains that spared only a few drops of water. I have so much respect for these “sprouts.” Resilience. I see it in the pictures of the new Freedom Tower at World Trade Center One. A true symbol of resilience, rising out of the rubble and debris. Simply beautiful.

Today, 2,977 angels looked down on us (nothing new). And while they may not be with us physically, they are just as much a part of the resilience, and the heroism, and the patriotism that this country has demonstrated over the past twelve, dusty years. 2,977 beautiful angels that will never, ever be forgotten. 2,977 angels above the dust, who teach us everyday how to breathe in it and see in it just a little bit better.

Resilience. I hear it in the beautiful music of Tchaikovsky, his Fifth Symphony. Tonight, I share with you the finale to this Fifth Symphony. I ask you to listen to it, listen to its yearning, its struggles, its turmoil, its resilience.

While we bid farewell to yet another 9/11, let us bid farewell with resilience in mind.

New WTC 1

God bless all of the victims and their families. Even more hugs and prayers out to all of you tonight.

-Live and love your life, live for and love each other

Smile At Someone Today

Twelve years ago today, this country endured one of the darkest days in history. A day that has been etched in all of our minds. As I  spend today reflecting, I try to remember the heroicism and resilience this country has showed over these last twelve years. We are all Americans, neighbors. Let us journey through today together, as we journeyed through today twelve years ago together.

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

- Live and love your life, live for and love each other

**A more formal post is surely to follow

Song of the Week

(If You Cry) True Love, True Love by The Drifters

A dreamy song, for a warm, beautiful, dreamy summer night. Nights like these remind us that summer is not over yet!!!! While it may be time for students like me to bid farewell to summer’s freedom, it certainly is not time for any of us to bid farewell to her bliss (okay, maybe in a few weeks).

This summer has been one that I will always remember. It has been a transition period for me (high school to college).  I had a full-time job, I said goodbye to my dear high school, I met so many new and wonderful people… Four years have gone by, four years that seem lost, floating around in the abyss of my mind. I have not lost those four years, rather, I’ve grabbed onto them. At first, the grip was tight, allowing me to relish so profoundly in the past. What’s the past? It’s the past. A measurement of time. A dimension in itself.  A memory.

The grip finally loosened and eventually broke. I never said goodbye. I didn’t have to. These past four years will always be a part of me. This past summer will always be a part of me, like all the other summers before it. The experiences I’ve had this summer will always be a part of me. Just like a quilt, human beings have so many pieces to them. Each piece is so unique and special no matter how small or how big. And when we view the big picture, we realize that these very unique pieces lock together and make this intricate whole. Unlike quilts though, we’re never finished!

So in the midst of summer’s bliss, while the passion and emotions are high, the grip is beginning to loosen, and a new patch is forming, I’ve decided to share this lovely song which evokes the passion, the emotion, and the nostalgia of an endless quilt. The Drifters released this song in 1959, before the new age of rock rolled through the world. The nostalgia is here, in the chord progression, the vocals, the violins, and of course the lyrics. The promiscuous “cha-cha-cha” feel adds this lightness to the song, allowing it to freely dance around, until it has its outbursts at the “true loooooove…” parts. Here it becomes stationary and spews out this wonderful blend of voice, instruments, and passion!

Enjoy this beautiful song, and the last few weeks of summer…. She’ll bring in fall as softly as ever. I know she will.

-Live and love your life!

The Winter Blues

I’ve never been a huge fan of the Beatles. To be quite honest, I’ve often thought of their music as overrated. The truth is, is that I never really gave them a fair chance. I held a lot of spite towards them, probably because as soon as their music became more popular, people sort of dumped the 1960s pop that I’m always talking about. Yes, the Beatles’ music was very popular and well-liked by the public, but that doesn’t necessarily make it “bad” music.

“Here Comes the Sun” came on my Pandora radio station the other day as I was cleaning. At first, I was about to skip to the next song, however, something stopped me. I was dusting the blinds in my bedroom, looking at the dismal sky and the endless white snow, and this smile came over my face. Yes, a smile! Something that hasn’t happened in quite some time.

The song really is quite lovely. It’s so delicate. It has this air to it that just kind of brings these happy and nostalgic thoughts to mind. “Little darlin, it’s been a long cold lonely winter/ Little darlin, it feels like years since it’s been here/ Here comes the sun, here comes the sun/ And I say it’s all right./ Little darlin, the smiles returning to the faces/ Little darlin, it seems like years since it’s been here/ Here comes the sun, here comes the sun/ And I say it’s all right.”  That amiable melody used in all three verses could bring a smile to anyone’s face, and it’s that acoustic guitar playing the melody that provides that delicate touch. And then of course by the second verse, after the heart-strings have been yanked, that “Moog synthesizer” is added and just tickles the entire body, perhaps bringing a smile and maybe even some tears. To top it off, the lyrics make the song even more touching. That idea that happiness is gently shining through, finally, after those hard, smileless times. I can’t help but think about the climate in Great Britain. Supposedly, the winters can drag on, creating that dismal middle-of-winter scene that nobody wants to deal with. After months and months of gloomy weather, the sun delicately shines through the remaining clouds; the people stop and take notice of it, feeling tickled by its soft rays. Happiness has returned, slowly but very surely.

We all have our winter moments that never seem to end. Whether these moments occur during the winter, or any time really, we can all feel unhappy at times. However, the sun is always there, hiding behind the clouds. Most of us, in our times of sadness, grief, anger, frustration, seem to forget that the sun is there and we block it out. Rather than block it out, search for it, and if found, allow the sun back into your life, slowly but very surely.

-Live and love your life!

Oh, Hello There

Time. Oh time. How is it so easily able to slip away from us? Thanksgiving has come and gone. Christmas has come and gone. June and July might as well just come and go… let’s just get it over with! Haha, maybe not. Last Friday, I thought about blogging, about this site, about how much joy I get out of receiving comments on my “song of the week” posts. I realized that my last blog post was before Thanksgiving! How did that happen??? Talk about time slipping away, I couldn’t believe it!

Even though Christmas has already passed, I’m still thinking about the idea of Christmas past, present, and future. Christmas is the one time of the year where these three major aspects of time blend together. I guess I never realized how big of a role traditions played in Christmas. Now that I’m older, I’ve realized that next to the birth of Christ, it’s the traditions that make Christmas/the holiday season what it really is. Christmas Eve mass at five o clock, followed by dinner and presents with dad’s side of the family, followed by presents with my immediate family at my house (a fairly new tradition – we used to do immediate family gifts Christmas morning), followed by Christmas morning breakfast with my crazy cousins, followed by dinner with mom’s big Italian family in my grandma’s basement, and then of course New Year’s Eve a week later in my mom’s uncle’s basement. The entire process is second nature. Given that my parents have recently divorced, and my cousins from New York didn’t make it in this year, I thought for sure this Christmas would feel wrong. Well, I was wrong in thinking that because nothing about it felt wrong. Sure, mom may not have been with dad’s family, dad may not have been with mom’s family, and the cousins may not have been over for Christmas breakfast, but in the midst of this novelty existed familiarity. I still felt the joy on Christmas Eve, I still felt the happiness on Christmas morning, and I’m sure I’ll still feel the excitement on New Year’s Eve. It’s the fact that even though things have changed, drastically, we still followed the same traditions that I’ve known my entire life. And that’s where my happiness and joy  lied this past Christmas.

I’ve spent the last month reading a wonderful classic for  my literature class, Great Expectations by Dickens. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much from a character than I have learned from Pip. Dickens just takes this innocent, simple young boy and turns his life story into a brilliant masterpiece! Dickens is able to pack the feelings of Victorian England into one person’s life story. The dramatic economic and societal class distinctions, the hardships of the lower class, the hardships of the upper class, the “hardships” of the entire middle class – lower and upper middle class, but also the neutrality and contentness of the middle class, and of course that ever-present struggle of holding onto one’s values and morals. It’s this last topic that I’ve found fascinating, especially how obvious Dickens was about it. We see it so clearly as Pip loses touch with everything from his youth (values, morals, sense of self) and we see it even more as he embarks on his dramatic journey through adulthood, rediscovering little by little all that he’s lost. The most beautiful part about this, is that we all go through this journey, it’s called growing up! Of course most of our journeys probably don’t involve a strange old rich woman rotting away in her house, or some mysterious benefactor who gives us all the money we want. That’s just the beauty of Dickens’s craft! I can’t wait to finish the last three chapters tonight!

I could go on and on about what has happened to me these past few months, but I just want to finish this up with a song… of course! So I’m obsessed with American Horror Story, and on one of the episodes a month ago, there was this lovely 1960s pop song playing in one of the scenes. I fell in love with this song as soon as I heard it, but unfortunately I could not find it. I spent weeks trying to find it – Shazam, Google, YouTube, my knowledge of 1950s and 1960s pop. Nothing worked! Just as I was about to give up, I revisited an American Horror Story blog that I posted the question on. Sure enough, and not to my knowledge, somebody answered my question with the title of the song!!!!! I was overjoyed (and shocked)! Here’s the song…..

-Live and love your life!

 

Song of the Week

Scar Tissue by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Not only was this song one of my songs of the summer, but it was one of my favorite songs when I was a little kid. This is actually one of the first songs that I recollect listening to as a child. My parents had almost every Red Hot Chili Peppers album, and this one, “Californiacation,” seemed to have always been playing in the car.

This song has such distinct vibes. They’re very mellow and subdued. In a way the picture on the album cover parallels to these vibes. I do think of California when I hear this song. I don’t necessarily think of the dozens of palm trees among that sunset backdrop, but I do think of a crystal blue in-ground pool shimmering in the sunlight (similar to the album cover). What lovely lyrics too, “with the birds I’ll share this lonely view.” Depressing, but so deep! Oh how I’d love to fly over California….

It may seem strange that I chose this song at the beginning of fall, however, it’s been in my head over the last few days. And of course, it was a song of my childhood! I miss the ’90s.

On a random note, has anybody been watching Dancing with the Stars – All Stars??? It is SUPERB this season. I really like how they decided to bring back stars from seasons past. Very interesting. I am rooting for Kirstie (even though I hate Maks), Melissa, and KELLEY (I LOVE HER). Gilles is pretty awesome too. I can’t wait for my weekly date with Hulu and my DVR this weekend! Hopefully I’ll have time – busy, busy weekend. I missed Revenge on Sunday – heard it was awesome. I wonder how Modern Family season 4 is coming along… I have to finish season 3 via Netflix. That show is HILARIOUS! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a TV show!

Of course there are Ryan Murphy’s other shows – Glee (2 weeks behind on that one), and The New Normal. I really like The New Normal! Definitely one that I look forward to every week. Go On is another good one – definitely not as funny as Modern Family or The New Normal. I also started watching Revolution. That’s the new one portraying our world if all of the electricity stopped working. It’s a very interesting storyline, but the plot seems to be moving slow. It’s hard to tell if that one will make it into another season.

And just a friendly reminder, American Horror Story starts in 14 days…. GET PUMPED!!!

-Live and love your life!

Song of the Week

Blue Velvet by Bobbie Vinton, rendition done by Lana Del Rey

This past weekend as I was catching up on my Fall TV shows, an H&M Fashion commercial came on featuring this artist, Lana Del Rey, and her rendition of the song, Blue Velvet (originally done by Bobbie Vinton). The commercial was quite strange. It wasn’t scary, but it was sort of “disturbing.” There was just something about it that unsettled me, however, I really liked it. Its obscurity and its darkness lured me in. Here’s the commercial that I saw.

I can definitely tell that there’s some art form portrayed here. I’m unsure of what it is, but my gosh, it’s just so strange! When I first saw the commercial I thought of that movie Insidious. It’s that horror/supernatural thriller movie that came out a few years ago – Barbara Hershey is in it…. Anyway, the art form featured in this video seems to be the same art form used in Insidious. I showed my friend this video over the weekend and she said it reminded her of American Horror Story! Clearly, this cover is getting some strange responses. I’m just wondering why H&M Fashion went with this theme. Perhaps it’s a Halloween thing?

I know I’m quite judgemental about modern music, but I actually liked this rendition. I love Lana Del Rey’s voice, and her interpretation of this song is quite interesting. Bobby Vinton’s version is actually more up-beat.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed your Monday! Time sure has been flying by these past few weeks, and unfortunately I don’t think it’ll slow down! Oh, Happy Fall by the way. All of the trees’ leaves on my street are beginning to change colors – so pretty! I really miss the big old tree that used to stand in our front yard :( It was here since the neighborhood was first established 50+ years ago. Unfortunately the city came and chopped it down last September because it was dying and was a hazard to the community. It’s so depressing not having the leaves all over our yard. Although the breathtaking sunrises I see on my way to school every morning kind of make up for it!

-Live and love your life!

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