Ali Rogers Music/Lyrics: “If I Ever”

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Ali Rogers “If I Ever.”

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ALLI ROGERS

If I Ever Lyrics

I don’t have words to tell you how I’m feeling
I don’t think any language can
At times like these silence is appealing
Somehow I know you understandAnd if I ever lose my hearing
If I ever lose my sight
If all my five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

So this is how it feels to be breathless
When someone walks out of a room
Stay by me, we can be timeless
Less than forever is too soon

And if we ever lose our hearing
If we ever lose our sight
If all our five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

I’ve sorted through every word I know to use
And looked for beauty to define
I haven’t found what I want to say to you
But I’ll try for the rest of my life
Lets try for the rest of our lives

And if we ever lose our hearing
If we ever lose our sight
If all our five senses leave
I know we’d be alright
Cause it seems your heart is a part of mine

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More on Thorton Wilder and Self Appointed Sins

imageI know nothing,

except what everyone knows –

if there when Grace dances,

I should dance. ~ W.H. Auden

(image above from This Quiet Lady by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrations by Anita Lobel)

Spoiler alert #1: This post is initially about sad stuff.
Spoiler alert #2: Life is being particularly good to me right now, so I’m not sitting down in order to write a “dark night of the soul” blog post.

So, here it is.

I have a friend who is dying of brain cancer.

She is a college friend with whom I’ve kept up only a little bit over the years. Originally, our acquaintance was that we shared a best friend and became housemates at the busiest (and best!) part of my favorite. four years. ever.

Without searching messages, I have to guess that it was a year (or less) ago that this common best friend had to notify me that a grim diagnosis had been given to our former housemate. The news really came out of the blue. Her story is similar to others who have been touched by this shocking form of cancer. Our friend had a headache one day, and a few short months later she is now home saying her last goodbyes to her children and adored husband.

So, when I sat down to write last week, and was imagining K.’s children spending their summer break watching her pass on, Thorton Wilder quotes were a kind of obvious (to me anyway) place of comfort and wisdom for me.

It’s safe to assume that if you are an American following or stopping by my little blog you have seen Thorton’s play Our Town. It is a favorite of High School and Community theaters for a reason.

It has the best theater lines, ever.

I mean – ever.

I am biased and my reasons are of course personal, but I mean it.

I would offer to turn this post into a place of debate or discussion, but I hate debate and my opinion is not up for ransom or reason. I’m not a jerk though, so feel free to leave comments as I am on summer break (wiggles in her seat) and have time for lively discussion.

So.

The conversations between Emily and The Stage Manager (the lead characters of the show) contain the safest and best theater words for me because they remind me of the enchanted parts of my childhood.  My father was an actor, director and teacher and I was his shadow. Literally. As in, Dad couldn’t shake me from his side until my brother broke the rules and taught me how to cross the street alone. At this point I started wandering the streets of our little city and making friends my own age.

So, lucky I am indeed to have shared the stage with my father on the weekend that he retired from his favorite stage. Mind you, these are floorboards that he spent the most time on as a student, theatre professional, husband, and father. He turned 80 this year, so I would guess that time span to be something like 50 or 60 years, give or take a summer season elsewhere here and there.

We were part of a medley of theater scenes during a reunion show, and part of our daughter/father “I love you” ‘s were exchanged in the form of my playing Emily and he the Stage Manager in Wilder’s tender “Good-bye Scene.”

But still – had I been raised by a biologist and my best skill set turned out to be bee-keeping, I would still believe that (with due respect to the Shakespeare) Emily’s good-bye is the most relatable “to be or not to be” string of words out there.

All good theater is good because the script is about life, death, love and hate. Most likely, the writer created an entertaining time travel to all four corners of human experience and wrapped the story up with a bow at the end.

Even good existential shows wrap up at the end – it’s just a tricky “un-bow” kind of curtain call.

What makes the pleading questions that Emily asks of the Stage Manager so perfect is that the joy and pain that she describes can’t be contained by cultural and historical context. Of course her character works well for me because I am a white girl having been raised by a mid-western father, so a white picket fence story is what I know and the life I cherish.

But, context aside, in Our Town, when the character Emily is looking at her life, and struggling with having passed on as a very young woman, her self-doubt and guilt is not about whether or not she raised good children or was a faithful wife.

And. Her anger at the Stage Manager is not that she died young.

She is upset because she missed out. She failed to acknowledge grace as often as she could.

 

And, with the help of the Stage Manager, her self-appointed sins are absolved as he explains that:

she did what she could, with what she had, in the time that she had to do it.395895_10150596300328810_837678809_8894478_1239777666_n

 

All of which to say, I am VERY thankful for an open window this morning, time to reflect and am reminded to not try so hard.

We Texted: “More Whine! Pass the Cheese!”

breakfast

Here is a paraphrase of some of my online rambled anger to a friend (who is an adoptive mother to a young lady of color) about the “not guilty” verdict for Zimmerman this weekend.

…I’ll get off my soapbox now. Maybe I’d be doing better to continue my devotion to Cheerios and continue to pray by way of singing “row, row, row your boat.”

While my dogs were taking me for a walk last night I started to worry a bit about what I may have written in that thread of responses to her tearful reaction to the verdict. My intention was to support her, but I went straight into my particular upset and anger.

I stopped mid park and tried to bring up Facebook on my phone to read what I said, butthe-Muppets-movie-posters-the-muppets-26849004-75-120 sweat and dog tangle kept me on the move.

By the time I got home and tried out the key lime pie (it was only so, so), and got into dry clothes, and took the dogs out…again…and settled onto the couch…the effort to go slowly through the scrolls on my kindle over rulled my need to reconsider if I had said something offensive or hurtful.

Earlier in the day a college roomate made a couple of comments during a fun but chaotic attempt toward texted conversation between her, me and a third best friend. This friend, who is summer traveling, was sorting through some feelings about an early morning conversation. Two different times later in the day, she said to us:

Thank you for listening. I don’t mean to whine.

Which we teased by saying something to the effect of:

More Whine! We miss you! Pass the cheese.BPN2n5-CUAAUZYn 

The interesting part is that, far better than I with my sweaty, dog tangle, pie focused evening goal to permanently plop and give in to my day…she had texted a few times that she already, hours after the uncomfortable conversation, had plans to revisit what had been said and ask for clarification. She also had thoughts on how she was going to find a way to tactfully assert a few things of her own so that her recent hard earned confidence is not left unspoken, which could end the visit on a less satisfactory note.

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It didn’t work out to confirm this, but I’d say that all three of us were better able to enjoy our Sunday while our interuppted conversations fizzled out on the liberating note that, now that we have battled our way into 40’s, we each waste far less time worrying about being liked.

And, I am now all the more homesick for both of them, and frustrated at the lack of time and ease to communicate without interupption or distraction. (Insert here sensory illustrations of the smell of sweat and sounds of meatloaf timers going off).

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Yet, I’m waking up this morning feeling like we texted a toast to us and our hard earned, OlderAndWiserThanWeWere approach to our days.

Then again, it is only 7:31 a.m.

 

 We shall see…all manner of things…we shall see….

When Truth is Met by Kindness

knittingYesterday I was trying to make it to after school pick up and a very interesting broadcast came on the radio. I only caught a part of it, so I’d like to archive it HERE to be able to listen to or read the full podcast later.

The broadcast was an interview about memory loss.

I wondered if the show would depress me and I considered changing channels. I’m a sucker for a good radio voice and got hooked on the good neuroscience that was being laid out in regular person words.

I dashed into the library to get what I thought was a large print version of The Sun Also Rises by E. Hemingway. To my delight, I’d also accidentally put a hand-held MP3 player on hold that is loaded with the same book. I almost hugged the librarian. I lost my library whisper manners and sort of gushed that she had made my day.

Here’s why:

The truth is this: I found out last week that there is an increased possibility that I have glaucoma. We find out more during this week to come.

In The World According to Mr. Rogers, Fred reminds us that:

“There is no

normal life

that is free of pain.

It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the

impetus for our growth.”

If by chance I do have glaucoma, and am healthy enough to live to be elderly, I could therefore end up blind in one or both eyes when I am well into my grandmothering years. At a minimum, I have  a worrisome few years ahead as they come up with a plan to convince my eyes to be a more cooperative duo.

This is quite dramatic and scary news, agreed?BBbGXzPCAAACd-4

I have multiple vision issues, so of course the hope is that I only have unique peepers that will always be a pain.

“Debbie Downer” that I often am, I’ve been trying hard to reframe my thinking and am trying to focus on the good news that the “all that” and inexpensive eyeglass frames I found last week will rock my world.

About the radio interview: still stoked on a successful half an hour of flopping back and forth in a swimming lane at the Y, back to the van I went with my library goodies. I was excited to report my gadget findings to the friend who recommended the Hemingway book.

Thankfully, that library chore gave me exactly twelve minuteslaundry of pretending that having crappy eyesight that may become UltraCrappy, is just a day in the life.

Those of you on the genetically and fervently pessimistic side of my universe should be proud that I reframed my thinking for even that quarter of an hour. Get this though:

I had five more minutes to kill and turned the radio back on, only to hear a man who just last week was diagnosed with some sort of memory affliction. He was crying uncontrollably. He was loving, and intelligent, and, devastated by this reality, even in its infant stage. He was due to find out more about his test results this week, and I am due to find out more about my test results this week. Since the show was live, I find that interesting.The angst he was crying about wasn’t over himself at all; it was guilt.

He was crying because he might miss out on his golden years, but more so because he didn’t want to confuse or harm his young grandchildren if and when he can’t see them any longer in his own mind’s eye.

What a beautiful man, and a three star grandpa to even think of these things despite, and in the midst of his own impending loss.

“Last month a thirteen-year-old boy abducted an eight-year-old girl; and when people asked him why, he said he learned about it on TV.

 

‘Something different to try’ he said. ‘Life’s cheap; what does it matter?’

 

Well, life isn’t cheap.

 

It’s the greatest mystery of any millennium…

But how do we made our goodness attractive?

By doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own.”

~ Fred Rogers

So, thankfully, kindness and truth met in that fortunate five minutes before I barreled down the city streets to gather my son. The courageous confession of guilt on the radio, even if a projected reality, made me feel less alone in my worries. Even if we work to be the most gracious and diligent patients in the world, there is no way at all to predict how able we will be to manage the impact of our illness on our relationships.

If we can’t predict the illness, how could we possibly predict the impact on our family or our ability to maintain healthy relationships?

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I really, really value that this sweet man followed his heart and just put his pain and sadness out there for millions of us to hear and feel along with him. My hope is that he is rewarded by good news from his care team, and reassurance from his family that they will not abandon him when the time comes that it is him that needs company, rather than the other way around.

When I woke a few minutes ago, anxious to finish this post, this song came to mind (click here) and I’m hoping that I can have even a portion of the brave attitude that I heard from this gentleman who adores his grandchildren with such intensity.

Prayers for a good week to come for all of us,

Kate

AP wire: Fatal Shooting at Empire State Building

In the longer post I just put up, I researched muppet images. My hope was to sweep away my worry and sadness about current and very real cosmic powers of darkness.

Because it was fun, and my sons are safely in their corners of the world for a few more short hours, It helped.

A lot.

Yet, at exactly the same time, folks were gunned down in Grover’s own fair city.

“Fatal Shooting at Empire State Building” 

~ New York TImes, AP report, 45 minutes ago

Saints preserve us.

Ugly Is As Ugly Starts

Ugly is, as Ugly Starts

Okay.

I can do that.

I am following, admist good bad and not so pretty domestic stress, a writers series that encourages 15 habits. These habits include “must have” routines for those that write for fun and for those that are in it for more than fun.

I’m on day 7. Others, I kid you not, are finished and have started, or even finished, a book in those fifteen days.

Cool, eh?

So, my assignment/suggestion, should I choose to follow is to

start

a project. But start it ugly.

Make something ugly. And leave it ugly (temporarily). Be okay with it. Embrace the splotches and streaks for what they are: evidence that you’ve started. ~ Jeff Goins 

“JesusMaryAndJospeh!” my mother would grouse. ” ‘START’  a project? You tell my daughter to ‘start’ something new, why not coach her on at least getting to the middle of a project and we will all sleep easier at night young fellow!”

“Well”, I am snarking back to my celestial MamaForce, SOME of us are better at casting seeds and forgetting what we planted, and much of the time WE don’t care.

Humph.

(Just pictured mom and some other creative gal pals going to the other side of the galaxy for a quick, won’t kill them now smoke. They are now rolling their eyes at how much work I continue to be, even at my tender age of “old enough to know better.”)

Okay. Busted. Of course I care.

Of course I want, sometimes, often times to be able to even remotely write here what I really mean to say and sometimes   often times I get

SICK

and TIRED

of being too, too…worried, and uptight, and hesitant to just,

just at least pluck away at unfinished projects that I beat myself up about. Unfinished?! Ha! Let alone unexplored!

often sometimes feel like I’ve lost my creatiave young adult “all that” forever, and then blame on the kids, the spouse, the dogs, my illnesses, the weather…

If I could just,

just finish a few, not all, but a few of the unfinished projects that I don’t only believe, but know would make a difference to others. Maybe then I would give myself permission to stop pretending that I don’t care.

I do.

I don’t want to fail, I get tired of being embarrassed and making false starts, I’m concerned about the galaxies of word twisting jerks out there and not quite versed on how to handle them (familiar and strangers)…

but.

“Hell’s bells Katherine!” I just imagined my artist Mom and designer Granny smiling with cigars replacing the smokes in their ashtrays. I’m pretty sure they just shook their heads and are now bowing them for some odd reason. Are they laughing, crying or praying? This reminds me to look at the clock.

Which reminds me to go to yoga.

And makes me wish that I had time to write more on how excited I am to try as hard as hell to remember to photo and blog the ugly clematis flower vine I made a minute ago!

Ugly is, as ugly starts.

Damn. Good words ladies, thanks!