Beautiful Ride

The somewhat self-indulgent rantings about the beautiful ride that is my life!

Any Dream Will Do July 22, 2011

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family,Home,Music — beautifulride @ 8:51 am
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Last week, I had the pleasure of watching our son, Aaron, perform the lead of “Joseph”  in the musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. And as I sat on the edge of my seat, nervous for him, yet beaming with pride, I was taken aback by his ease on the stage, his comfort with the other actors, and especially the expression on his face — the one that said to me “I’m living a dream!”

If you’re not familiar with the show, you should know that “dreams”  are an overriding theme.  The musical is based on the Biblical story of Joseph, Jacob’s much loved son, you know — the one with the beautiful colored coat. Joseph was a dreamer — in the literal sense of the word — meaning, he had amazing dreams of his own, and he was able to interpret the dreams of others. These skills came in handy when Joseph found himself sold into slavery by his eleven jealous brothers, and when he was imprisoned by his irate master for unwillingly messing around with the lady of the house. Interpreting Pharoah’s dreams are what got him out of “the joint” and led to his dream life as Pharoah’s right-hand man. When his brothers show up to beg for food during the famine, Joseph’s own dreams of eleven stars bowing down to his finally made sense. The family is happily reunited and Joseph sings a reminder to the audience — a reminder that “Any Dream Will Do.”

This, of course, got me thinking about dreams. Not so much the kind that happen when your head blissfully falls upon the pillow and you drift off to peaceful slumber, but the dreams you hold in your heart and in your soul.  The kind of dreams that are so unique and personal to each and every one of us that we share them only with our closest confidants, and usually with great hesitation, almost afraid that to say it out loud will cause them to not come true. The kind of dreams that get us out of bed at the crack of dawn and keep us up until the wee hours of the morning — working, and waiting, and hoping that our dream will come true. And what I love the most about Joseph’s message is the idea that ANY dream will do. Sometimes I think we don’t give our own dreams enough validity…we tell ourselves that our dreams are too small to matter or too big to achieve. But we’re wrong. Even our smallest dreams are worth something…because they come from that place in our heart that drives us to better ourselves, our situations, our environments, our relationships…do you EVER hear anyone say they dream of a messier home, worse grades, a demotion at work. No, we dream of strong relationships, professional achievements, peace in the world, love in our hearts. And big dreams are really just the result of a series of little dreams coming true, one at a time, step by step, moment by moment. So keep dreaming those dreams that speak to you. Dream of mending broken relatiohnships, dream of doing the best job you can do, dream of changing the world for the better, dream of singing your song and dancing your dance…dream YOUR dream…ANY dream…ANY DREAM WILL DO!

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Just Doing What They Do June 15, 2011

Filed under: beautiful ride,Family,Home,Music,Pets — beautifulride @ 8:01 am
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One of my favorite things about being a Mom is watching my boys find the things that make them truly  happy…the things that  light a little spark inside of them, and then watching that spark turn into a passion and a fire that they feel deep down in their soul. I’ve been lucky, because my guys seem to have each found something that they love to do…something that they keep doing because, for whatever reason, it is so vital to them that they can’t NOT do it. In our home, at this moment in time, the breakdown is something like this. Grant, my youngest, has happy feet–can’t stop dancing, running, jumping. He has 5 years of dance classes under his belt at the tender age of 11, and although he plays football, and wants to add basketball and baseball to his list, he tells me those sports are “only the appetizer, dance is still the main course.” Aaron is 15, and he is also all about performing. He sings, he acts, he dreams of movies and television and stage. And he doesn’t just dream about it, he really works at it. He’ll audition for anything, take the smallest role and work it with everything he’s got. He practices, studies, takes classes. And when I see him performing on the stage, I can see that he is happy. Max, at 17, prefers to stay out of the limelight, but is no less passionate about the things that are important to him. A quiet, but avid activist, Max is the first to volunteer for something that could improve the life of another; whether it is teaching children, heading to Appalachia to improve homes, lending a helping hand in New Orleans, or doing a task for me at home. Even as a little boy, he would get so angry about  injustice and inequality–even if he was on the winning end of the stick. He questions the status quo, speaks out against intolerance and prejudice, and truly believes that we can BE better, DO better, LIVE better. Zach, my oldest at 20, has a real passion for music. Back in the day, when he would do crazy things like cut school, it wasn’t to hang with friends or get into mischief. He would come home and practice that guitar for hours and hours and hours, racing home to it like it was a Siren calling him to the sea. He practiced everyday, studied different styles, bought every instrument he could get his hands on…and telling him to put down the guitar would be like telling him to cut off his right arm.  

Now, before I come off as THAT Mom…you know…the one who is convinced that her children are  THE most beautiful, wonderful, talented, perfect, smartest, best thing since sliced bread, let me just say that I do TRY to keep my Mama Rose tendencies in check. It’s a difficult, fine line we parents walk when our children are passionate about something. As the Mother Hen, we want to protect them from criticism, hurt feelings, and rejection. We want them to always get the part, the lead, the gig, the job. We want to put them in a safe little bubble, where nothing can hurt them, where no one will challenge their opinions or destroy their confidence. BUT, we don’t do them any good when we tell them they are perfect at everything they do. So we try very hard to walk that line, reminding them to dance for the love of dance and to sing for the love of the song. Not to write a song with the hopes of winning an award, but because you have something to say–and lend a helping hand to those that are struggling and suffering through injustice and intolerance not because it’s the cause of the month, but because you know in your heart that it’s a wrong that needs to be made right. And we remind them again and again that if they really love it, to dig in and work hard and don’t take anything for granted.

I believe (in my crazy Mom mind) that is why my guys just do what they do…they sing and dance and act and write and speak out because they can’t help themselves. And Lord knows, their areas of interest do not necessarily lead to the most lucrative futures, but you know what, I would rather see them make a modest living doing what they love than make a fortune doing what they hate. I hope they always, always have the courage to chase their dreams!

*Ok, now the “Mama Rose” posting of the talent! Actually, Aaron just had a recital and he asked me to post these songs for his Grammie, especially his duet with his friend Marnie (whose voice is spectacular). I apologize for the video quality, the spotlights mess with the flip camera, but you get the idea! Aaron knows how much Grammie loves “Phantom of the Opera” and he also knows that she is not on facebook, but does read the blog. Actually, I think my wonderful and supportive Mother-in-Law is my biggest blog fan–how cool is that! So Grammie, get out the tissues, and have a seat–this is from Aaron for you!

 

 

Peace…and Giddyup! July 9, 2010

I remember back when I was in my early teens, my sisters and I had a plan…a dream. One day we would open a little shop, full of craft items and assorted treasures that had meaning to us at the time. Our little store would be in a great little house, converted to retail space, like you would occasionally see in our little town.  Maybe it would be downtown, maybe close to Lycoming College, or maybe even in the Historic Millionaire’s Row District.  We dreamed that we would send our future husbands off to work, gather up our children, and meet every day in our cozy little home away from home, where our babies would play together while we collectively peddled our wares. We had a great name too….We would name our store E.S.P. (not only for our initials–Elise, Sharon, Pam–but also for the paranormal phenomenon that we were always a little fascinated with!). By the way, E.S.P. was also going to be the name of our musical sister-act, which was going to bring us fame and wealth beyond our imaginations! Ah, youth!

We never opened our store…or went on a concert tour…instead, we grew up, got married, moved away, and settled into the responsibilities of jobs and families.  But the dream of a little store was always in the back of my mind. A little something that I could grow and nurture and make my own…something that I could put my heart and soul into, something that could reflect my style, and something for when my children leave our home and move on to lives of their own.

And now, after a year of planning and months of hard work…really hard work…I have a little announcement to make. I have a store!  I am a business owner… a fully licensed, tax-paying, hard-working business owner! And tomorrow, at Maplewoodstock, I will be launching Cowgirl in the Sanda unique little shop featuring a variety of fun and funky items for the whole family, offering an entertaining mix of apparel, jewelry, bath and beauty products, music/concert-related merchandise, and gifts and accessories … all brimming with western flavor and hippie flair. 

Right now, the focus is on street fairs, music and arts festivals, and an online store. I still dream of an actual brick and mortar store someday…in Maplewood Village…but I’m not there yet. I still have a family to raise and a day job that deserves my full attention…and I am completely committed to both. But I’m also thrilled to be stepping out of my comfort zone and reaching for (actually more like jumping into…to the deep end…without a life-preserver…) a dream that’s been with me for so long.

And to my dream team…my sisters, who shared my spark all those years ago, and who support me still; my brother, who had the courage to start his own business and has been guiding my steps through the whole process; my Mom and Dad, who support all my dreams, all the time; and my sons, who think I’m crazy woman, but are already planning to be the first customers in line tomorrow,  and who have brought humor and help to the whole process….thank you, thank you, thank you…I love you all.

Most importantly, thank you to my husband. Rick, this would have never happened without you. You say “yes, you can” when I say “no, I can’t.” You remind me to pace myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. You encourage me, push me, temper me, and love me. You give me courage and wings, and when you tell me that you are proud of me, I feel strong and confident and free. I’ve said before that you came on a white horse for me, what I didn’t say was that you never asked me to sit behind you on your white horse…instead you brought one for me too, so that we could experience life’s ride side by side. And what a beautiful ride it is!

Want to know more about Cowgirl in the Sand? Go to www.cowgirlinthesandonline.com to get all the answers…why Cowgirl…why launch at Maplewoodstock…why western spirit and hippie funk. The merchandise/shopping page is still in the works, but we are launching anyway…in time for tomorrow’s festival.  Hope you’ll stop by and say “Hello Cowgirl in the Sand.”

Peace…and Giddyup!

 

Hello Cowgirl In The Sand May 19, 2010

Filed under: beautiful ride,Cowgirl,Family,Home,Music — beautifulride @ 11:26 am
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Music is huge in our family. At any given moment on any given day we may be playing opera, classical, country rock, rockabilly, blues, jazz, world beat, alternative, bluegrass, rock and roll, crooners…the list goes on. Often on a Friday night you will find various members of the family wandering between the rooms of the house or on the front porch looking for someone to listen to “this awesome tune that you have to hear.”  The boys play guitar, banjo, trombone, baritone, drums, and an endless supply of small percussion and “jug band” instruments—even a didgeridoo (affectionately referred to as “The Didge”)! One style of music that makes its way into almost every jam session is that of the “Woodstock” era…Dylan, Grateful Dead, Neil Young…you will find artists like that on every iPod in the house. It’s the music the boys heard playing in the background while they were toddlers, and it’s the music they play with their own bands now.

A favorite for us all…and one that Zach’s band “Quantum Codpeace” has played live…is Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand.” There has been much speculation about what the song “means” and who that “Cowgirl” is. Did you know that he wrote the song, along with “Down by the River” and “Cinnamon Girl” one night while he was suffering with a fever of 103? Under those conditions, maybe HE doesn’t even know what the song represents! And maybe, like so much of the music that weaves in and out of our lives, the meaning is fluid, subtly changing with time and circumstance…much like standing in the sand…much like life itself.

During the short time that I lived out west, I really connected with the cowgirl spirit. Cowgirls are strong, solid women with an enormous respect for the wide, open spaces of the western landscape. They work hard and play hard, keeping up with the boys, yet they somehow still remain feminine. They have a spirit of independence and strength, yet know the value of teamwork. They face a challenge head-on, eye-to-eye, and win or lose, they get up, dust off, and go at it again. And that  strength and determination stays with them always, even when they are unexpectedly plunked down in the ever-shifting grains of sand under their feet or riding straight into the whirling sand storms of life.

I strive to be that “Cowgirl in the Sand.” A woman who keeps her footing when the ground shifts below her. A woman who courageously rides into that sand storm with drive and purpose. A woman who works tirelessly to keep her herd together and safe. A woman who can take her dusty boots off at the end of the day, wipe the grit off her face, smile and say, “Well, wasn’t that something…let’s do it again tomorrow.”