I decided to get rid of the A New Life podcast page. It was more trouble than it was worth to maintain it. Any news about the podcast will just appear here on the main page from now on.
All four episodes of the podcast are available now on my feed. On the right of this page, under my photo you’ll find an RSS feed. Click on the top entry to access all four episodes. Please feel free to leave comments there or here as I really want to know what you think! Thank you everyone. This podcast was a lot of work to produce but it was a lot of fun learning all the new things I need to know. I sincerely hope that it will be a help to people going through grief.
I’ve posted an RSS feed to the “A New Life” podcast under my photo on the right side of this page. The podcast is about surviving the death of a loved one and starting your life over. My wife died from cancer a year ago and the podcast is about how I handled the grief process. Check it out.
I’ve been writing on this blog for about six years now and while it has been fun, enlightening, frustrating, etc., it has never become very popular. Since my wife Ann died a year ago, (I can’t believe it’s been a year) I’ve done my best to create a new life. So a new venture is in the works for me. I’m getting into the world of podcasting. Podcasting has grown exponentially over the last ten years and it seems there’s no stopping it. One of the reasons it is so popular is because people can listen to podcasts while they’re doing something else. When reading a blog, you have to sit down at the computer or with your phone and read. It’s very hard to do anything else when you’re reading. In our modern American society it seems everyone is pressed for time so to be able to listen to a podcast while you’re working out, taking a walk or whatever is a handy thing.
I’ve assembled the equipment I need, as you can see in the photo, and I’m learning all I can about the ins and outs of podcasting. Before too long, I’ll be recording my first episode. I will keep this blog, and post from time to time but my main effort will be with the podcast. I’ve created a page here on the blog for the podcast. If you look at the black header bar just below the photo at the top of the page you’re on right now, you’ll see a page called, “A New Life Podcast.” That’s it! For every podcast episode I do there will be commentary from me, photo’s and the ability for everyone to comment about the podcast.
The podcast will consist of me talking about creating a new life after the death of a loved one. Because that’s pretty much what I’ve had to do. If you’ve ever lost someone who was a huge part of your life you know what I’m talking about. Everything changes. Everything. Everything you do, think and say becomes different because that person is no longer a part of it. For some, this can be very traumatic to the point of not being able to function.
My hope is that by talking about my own experience, I can provide some insight to others who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Podcasting will open up a world wide audience for me and hopefully. I will be able to reach people who need to hear this. It’s also therapeutic for me to be able to talk about it. As the details of the podcast become clear, I’ll keep you all informed. Thank you so much for being here with me and joining me on this new ride!
I made spaghetti today. When I finished, it looked like a bomb had exploded on the stove. Sauce sprayed in a blood splatter pattern, noodles and bits of hamburger like scenes from a horror movie. Unfortunately, it often looks like this when I cook. I think of children in countries where they don’t have enough to eat and feel guilty writing about my food exploits. But I do it anyway. We do a lot of things we shouldn’t, and justify them in various ways to feel better about ourselves. Just another day in the life.
What if being human is a mental illness? What if all of us so called “normal” people who go to our jobs, raise families, and cook our dinners are mentally ill? Maybe we were shipped here from some distant planet, some place where they decided to rid their society of their less than desirable people. Like the British did when they sent boat loads of people to Australia. Maybe we are the descendants of the worst of an alien society that now enjoys life without people who routinely blow up their stoves at mealtime. Are they watching us, do you suppose? Are they wondering how long it will be before they have to intervene to keep their refuse from infecting the universe?
I scanned the radio dial this morning. I heard conservatives screaming about liberals. I heard Nirvana songs. Lots of talk about the environment and children in cages. I heard Hip-Hop music. I turned the radio off and went out and stood in the rain. But the radio still played. Lots of sounds and voices and screams. And music. Country and Rock and Rap. And more voices telling me what I didn’t want to hear. I longed for the sweet sounds of water lapping at a shore and the calls of loons across the lake. Life is like a radio that never shuts off. And half the time there’s too much static to discern what I’m hearing.
So I cleaned up the stove, and ate my spaghetti. I used fresh Basil from my little herb garden. Turned out pretty good. As all these words started swirling around in my mind I knew I was on the edge of a breakthrough book or at least a prize winning article. I sat down at the keyboard, electricity tingling my fingertips. I felt like Edward R. Murrow about to break an earth shattering story and then what came out was this. A story about exploding my stove and the guilt of writing about eating. Who are we, anyway?
It is the end of May. At this time of year in my part of the world, outside air temperatures should be in the low to mid seventies Fahrenheit. For the last several days we have been in the low to mid nineties. It is hot. Attributable to climate change, no doubt, but that doesn’t help how it feels. We have actually been blessed with low humidity during this period which has made it more bearable, but still. A couple days ago I turned on the air conditioning because I was going to be gone for four to five hours and my dog, Sophie, who is half Malamute, half Husky, suffers from the heat. I set it for seventy four degrees and came back several hours later to find it was eighty degrees in the house. The air didn’t work. With that comes the possibility of spending a lot of money getting the unit fixed or replaced. Although, if the temperature goes back to normal, I can get by without it.
At the end of April I bought a small greenhouse. I have it set up in my back yard and have been growing herbs and tomato’s so far. I’ve actually started a new blog to document my adventures called, conveniently enough, Greenhouse Adventure. You can find it by typing “Greenhouse Adventure.com” into the search bar on your computer. It’s only just begun so don’t expect a lot just yet.
As some of you may know, my wife died of cancer last July. It’s been a rough period for me but I seem to be coming out of it slowly. I want to do more writing, but I just haven’t felt up to it for quite some time. I think now I’m turning a corner, as it’s said, And you may be able to expect to hear from me more often. I hope so. Thanks for the help and support I’ve received during this time. It means a lot. See you soon!
And now I sit alone,
not lonely, but sad.
Sad at the loss of her,
who shared my life
and sang with me in the car.
She who shared my bed,
and my most intimate moments,
is gone now, forever.
She, who’s laugh made me laugh,
who’s tears made me cry,
is gone now, forever.
I don’t sing in the car, anymore.
There has never been anything
quite like a boy’s first slow dance
with a girl. The feeling of her breasts,
pressed against your chest.
The warmth of her body, held close.
Her breath, tickling the hairs on your neck.
And the lovely smell of her freshly washed hair
filling your teenaged senses
with indescribable feelings.
The song you danced to didn’t matter,
and it was over way too soon.
And the only thing you could
think at that moment was that
you wanted to do that again.
And again, and again.
No, there has never been a feeling
quite like that.
And there never will.
Standing along the river bank,
dignified in their ungainly grace,
nine pelicans stand or sit and watch
like some prehistoric judges
as the river parades slowly past.
A little further along the bank
geese, flapping, fluttering, and
stomping in the mud, voice
their discontent, loudly, as if
the river is wholly unacceptable
in its proceeding and stance.
A deer, on the opposite bank,
lifts its head and observes
both groups, with measured
indifference, as it chews something
it found among the weeds.
One pelican raises its orange
bill in the direction of the deer
and then away, as if to say he’s
bored and determines this river
to be insufficient for his needs.
But he cannot align himself with the
unruly, peasant-like geese, he
being, after all, a pelican of
some standing, among his group.
The cat, in the field, concentrating ever so diligently on the small mouse hiding under leaves and dry grass, is annoyed by my footsteps in gravel on the side of the road. As I stop to watch this Scottish version of the common house pet, her ears pitched forward toward the mouse, I notice that she doesn’t look Scottish at all. Not that I would know what a Scottish cat is supposed to look like, but when you’re in Scotland well, everything is Scottish. Her right ear, the one closest to me, suddenly pivots toward me as I take a step and the sparse gravel beneath my foot crunches loudly in the still, evening air. I stand still, and just as suddenly, the ear twitches again and returns to it’s former attentive position. Her body tenses, her head lowers and, I take another step. This time her head turns, she focuses on my face and I am the recipient of an evil glare that seems to say, “I know where your hotel is. Later I will find you there, and I will kill you in your sleep.”
Around September last year, I decided to learn to play Bass guitar. I’ve been a drummer most of my life and so I understand the workings and structure of music. It helps to know this when learning an instrument. So I bought an electric bass and amplifier.
I chose the Fender Mustang Bass because it is a short scale bass, meaning, the length between the nut (the point where the strings meet the head of the guitar) and the bridge is only 30″. A full size bass has a 34″ length. At 61 years old I’m not as flexible as I once was and not stretching another 4 inches to reach the first fret makes it easier to play. The Mustang is also lighter in weight so not as fatiguing to hold for long periods. Besides that, it is just plain sexy. I mean, look at it. A slim waist, beautiful curves. Who wouldn’t want to hug that thing?
I can strum a few chords on guitar but I chose the bass because it is a rhythm instrument, like drums. Most people don’t realize this but the bass guitar is as important if not more important to the rhythm of the music. It sets the groove, filling in the bottom end of any piece of music. Just try listening to a favorite song with the bass turned all the way down and you’ll see what I mean. It needs to be there.
I have a lot of musician friends. So I have been getting together with some of them to help me learn to play. So far, it’s been a fun adventure. Musicians are always ready to give advice and help someone be a better player. One trait that most musicians have is to believe that it’s not about them, it’s about the music. Most of them are very selfless when it comes to teaching. So I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time. (It helps to be retired.)
I’ve discovered that I have guitar fever, just like many other musicians I know. One guitar is not enough. A few months ago I picked up a Taylor Acoustic Mini Bass.
This is also a short scale bass and a lot of fun to play. Yesterday, I had to take it in to the shop for a little work and I discovered a full scale Fender acoustic bass for a really good price.
This being a full scale bass is as I said, 4 inches longer than the Mustang. However, I’ve noticed that since I started playing my flexibility has improved to the point where I can play this guitar without too much trouble.
So I’m learning to play bass. I don’t think you’re too old to learn something new and it keeps you from shriveling up and dying. Besides, I love music and being able to make music is a real treat. I’m still playing drums as well and will keep doing it all as long as possible. As they used to say in the Sixties, Keep On Trucking!
As he packed up to leave, an old women approached.
“Can you play that thing?” she asked,
motioning toward the fiddle.
“I can, but I can’t make any money here,”
he said, showing her the empty cup.
“Put that fiddle under your chin, boy.
Play somethin’ gypsy, somethin’ that moves.
And as he played, she began to dance.
Bells appeared on her fingers
tinkling in the breeze.
Swaying and swirling to his rhythm
her ragged clothes suddenly seemed new.
Sequins and colors flashed brilliant in the sun.
The people came, and fell in love with her
that day. She twirled, and the sound flowed,
entwining together to become one thing.
Finally the music faltered, as if nothing
could compete with her beauty.
As she twirled her last,
he offered her the money from the cup, now full.
“You keep it boy,” she said with a smile.
“I only wanted to dance.”
With the constitution in one hand and a bible in the other,
flames suddenly leap and turn them to ash and
they blow away on the wind called justice.
Crowds leave the synagogue, cathedral and mosque and file
into the furnace while factories make more furnaces
and governments send more children to burn.
The minds eye is blind and feeling it’s way to find
emptiness and sorrow where love once lived.
Time turns backward to other wars with the same stench.
Liberty’s crack grows wider and the clapper has
disappeared to be replaced by the
sword of freedom, and a mother cries again.
And do we watch with hands folded in laps and on
our knees pray to…
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After sending her 2.3 children to play
with the neighbors down the street, the
housewife, in her new, crisp, pink pastel
dress, serves her husband ice tea on a
sunny, suburban, Sunday afternoon.
When yellow foam mixed with blood
ejects from his mouth, wetting his
gray trousers, and he falls from his
lawn chair in agony gasping for air,
she kneels beside him, grass staining
her new dress and asks him if his tea
is as spicy as his new secretary.
As her husband dies on the freshly mown
lawn, she calls her mother, to pick
up the children and then calls the police.
The children of course, will not
understand, for they are to young
to know that the blue moon, is not blue.