Thoughts on “Donna” -or- Gratitude

Photo taken from and you can click on this text to take you to their site.

Sometimes it’s neither the words, nor how they are said, but how many.

My mom couldn’t braid hair, so I never wore them.

Haven’t we all lost our wallet? I hate it when that happens.

My daughter is far from ordinary and my son was born in December, not February. I couldn’t hold him once, and that was frightening.*  Now they both live over a thousand miles away.

I’ve never met anyone named Junior, and I’m pretty sure that my husband loves bicycles and dogs more than computers. As my father always told me, parents are amateurs… that’s a deep thought, meditate on that for a while.

Nobody should be judging strangers’ karma, their souls, their clothes, or cars, none of it. And seriously? Trucks have always made me a bit nervous on the many cross-country drives I’ve been able to take.

Sometimes, we all need help getting to bed, don’t we?

I dearly hope that people will say that I’ve raised not just one, but two saints. That is, after they’ve had a long time to brighten the lives of countless people, as they do mine.

I’ve always liked my name.

I am utterly thankful for what I call my uneventful life. Take care of those who need help, because we all need help in one way or another.

Thanks for reading, Donna

Click here for a link to the lyrics to the song Donna by the Lumineers

*I nearly dropped my son once- a virus affected my muscles. All of them. At 3:00 in the morning I woke my husband to tell him I was driving myself to the ER because it’s pretty frightening to not be able to hold your infant when he needs to eat. For a couple days after I just sat in one spot on the floor during the day and had my daughter run back and forth to fetch things that we needed… we kind of made a game out of our camp out in the family room.

Everything Old is New Again- Music

The local news had me stop in my tracks this morning- not for a shocking headline but for the sound of a new song. The music chosen to play into the commercial break was fabulous! I opened Spotify on my phone, and identified these fabulous musicians: Mariachi El Bronx. Not new, but new to me.

Here is Sleepwalking by Mariachi El Bronx

Their sound was so familiar but I couldn’t place why. An online search delivered a mix of options that finally made sense after I read an article from 2009 by The Guardian: “The Bronx- How Punk Rock Went Mariachi.” In a nutshell, if you grow up next door to David Hildago of Los Lobos and two of his kids are your best friends, fabulous music just may happen and multiple bands can be formed.

Here’s Mariachi El Bronx performing live for Seattle’s KXEP radio station-

It’s too bad that I missed them playing at The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach this May. But, guess who is playing the San Diego Fair tonight? One of my all time favorites: Los Lobos.

Paying Forward- Sharing Guitars and the Love of Music

ellie guitar (1)My brother once gave The Girl a guitar for Christmas. He told me that it was a beginner’s model, and that if she really like playing, that she could have one of his nicer ones. With her busy schedule, we never managed to fit in formal lessons. She used You Tube tutorials to begin, and had at least half a dozen friends giving her tips a-plenty.

Capos, tuners, more picks were all requested, but she never asked for the lessons. I’m pretty sure that she understood the impossibility of cramming in one more thing during her waking hours. In two years, I am amazed by what she can do, and she has inspired me to try to learn how to play our piano that sits lonely in our front room.

My brother held true to his promise, but took a slightly different route. It turns out that my kids have another guitar-playing uncle, The Brother-In-Law, and he brought a steel-stringed acoustic Fender for The Girl as a parting gift before she leaves for college this fall! And as for my brother? Last year, he gifted The Boy his own beginner’s guitar for Christmas, too. We managed to cram in lessons for him, and soon The Girl insisted that he needed a better guitar. The Boy received my brother’s latest gift- a lovely, Spanish, steel stringed acoustic guitar.

So what do we do with two beginner model, classical guitars? We do my brother the honor of sharing them with kids at the music store who would appreciate them! That’s what we did. We are grateful for our generous uncles… it was time to share with others.

IMG_7724Meet three-year-old Louis, and his big sister Lilian. He marched into the music shop a couple of weeks ago with his mom in tow. Upon seeing the ukuleles, he exclaimed, “Look, mommy! Little guitars!” He then picked up one, held it properly, and looked like he owned the instrument. After I asked, mom Jessie said that he would be delighted to take my son’s 3/4 sized newbie guitar. One down.

IMG_7723We also met Aaron, a student at our local high school. Although he already had an electric model, Aaron was nearby while I asked my son’s teacher if he knew who might be able to use our 7/8th sized nylon stringed classical guitar. I just asked him outright if he would like it. Aaron is not a 7/8ths sized guy, but, I’m sure he will make do (the guitar is bigger than it looks in this pic). He promised to share the guitar with his school’s music department when he is ready to move on to a different guitar. Two for two!

If I decided to learn to play, I will have to fight with The Husband for playing time on the Epiphone he won at Vidcon this summer… I’m up for that!

Taking the Triplets to the San Diego Symphony for a Musical Triple Play

IMG_6647We took “The Triplets” out to the symphony last night. “The Triplets?” Well, the family joke is that The Girl is 18, The Boy is 14, and between the two of them it is like having twins of 16. Now throw in The Boyfriend, and you get… 15-year-old TRIPLETS!

When I was young, I don’t remember going to the symphony, the theater, or operas. I don’t think we ever visited any of the cultural venues of Los Angeles County. There’s a lesson for aspiring parents- decades later, your kids probably won’t remember if you took them to specific activities! Save a boat load of cash and make up trips, and add in some family anecdotes to make it all seem real: “Oh yes, child, don’t you remember going to the Big City Ballet to see ‘Die Fledermaus?’ Strauss was your favorite as a toddler! Yes, you were three, and so excited to meet the Prima Ballerina backstage that you were sick all over your father’s shoes, so we had to take you home immediately after the show.”

IMG_6656No, seriously though, we went to ball games, on fabulous camping trips all the way up the coast to see redwoods and old family friends, and so many field trips as a school child, my parents didn’t need to revisit the La Brea Tar Pits or Natural History Museums with us. We’d covered that with the schools. My father usually had one of the great Southern California Jazz stations playing on these drives thereby placing a love of Coltrane, Davis, Bill Evans, and Brubeck in my heart. Thanks, dad, I am forever grateful!

IMG_6652I did, however, want to go to symphonies, ballets, operas and other events as I came into my own adulthood, and wanted to bring my children. When they were very young, both accompanied us to Indianapolis’s wonderful outdoor jazz festival- the Indy Jazz Fest, but no symphony or theater. Poor children, no Die Fledermaus for them, they had to settle for B.B. King, Keb’ Mo’ and more of our family’s favorites, like Los Lobos, Buddy Guy, Susan Tedeschi… the list went on.

IMG_6655Last night’s concert was the season finale for the San Diego Symphony. What a fabulous choice of pieces they performed! We love Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Brahms’s Symphony No. 2. We were also introduced to a newer composer, Aaron Jay Kernis. His 1990 “Musica Celestis” was amazing- particularly because I don’t tend to like newer compositions.

A wonderful evening overall. And I love the architectural details found in the symphony hall and snapped a few photos to hold me over until next season. I hope you enjoy them, too!


How did I NOT Know About Postmodern Jukebox?!?

Sometimes, social media gets it just right.

Thanks to a friend of The Girl for sharing this video on Facebook a couple days ago:

I could go on a bit more about the flotsam and jetsam adrift in the seas of the internet… but I won’t. I’ll just leave you with the links to see and hear more from Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.

Here’s where to find Postmodern Jukebox on Facebook (which is where I lifted that nifty black and white photo featured above)

Another video from their You Tube channel, ScottBradleeLovesYa,  Jason Derulo/Snoop Dogg’s “Wiggle done up vintage 1920’s style. A Must Watch for the tap dancing alone!

Now go skip on over to You Tube for some fabulously reimagined tunes!