Reblog: On Bars and Drinking

Blogger Alice Massa’s post from last week inspired me to write about a trip I took with my father when I was ten years old. What does that have to do with bars and drinking? Well, read on, and you’ll find out.

This re-blogged post from several years ago includes, among other things, a poem from my collection, How to build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, that details a stop we made, during that journey, in Durango, Colorado. Next week’s post will outline the whole trip. Meanwhile, click here for a recording of me reading the poem. Then click the link below to read the original blog post containing it. Enjoy!

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On Bars and Drinking

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Song Lyric Sunday: Sound of Music Medley

If you would like to participate in the Sunday song lyric tradition started by Helen Vahdati, click here for guidelines. Today, I’m giving you a four-for-one special. A couple of days ago, I performed this medley at a program called Last Friday at First. It takes place on the last Friday of the month at the First Congregational Church, hence the name. Instead of a video, you get to hear me sing these songs as I performed them that night. This is not a live concert recording but close enough. Enjoy, and have a great day.

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sound of music medley.mp3

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Do Ray Me
Written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers

Do! (a deer, a female deer)
Re! (a drop of golden sun)
Mi! (a name I call myself)
Fa! (a long, long way to run)
So! (a needle pulling thread)
La! (a note to follow so)
Ti!(a drink with jam and bread)
That will bring us back to do

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My Favorite Things
Written by Oscar Hammerstein II

Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells
And schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver-white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

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Edelweiss
Written by Robin Spielberg, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein II

Edelweiss Edelweiss
Every morning you greet me
Small and white
Clean and bright
You look happy to meet me
Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow
Bloom and grow forever
Edelweiss Edelweiss
Bless my homeland forever

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Climb Every Mountain
Written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers

Climb every mountain
Search high and low
Follow every byway
Every path you know
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream
A dream that will need
All the love you can give
Every day of your life
For as long as you live
Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
‘Till you find your dream

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Thursday Book Feature: Memoir Depicts Life on the Range

The Secret Life of Cowboys
by Tom Groneberg
Copyright 2007

This is the story of a want-to-be cowboy who decided to go west after graduating from college. He started in Breckenridge, Colorado, where he guided tourists on horseback rides. After two years of this, he moved with his wife to Montana, where, after dropping out of an MFA program in creative writing at the University, he worked on various ranches and eventually bought his own with the financial support of his parents. After several years in the cattle business, he became burned out, and after his son was born, he sold the ranch and started writing magazine articles about the lives of cowboys and was eventually hired as a hand at a ranch near his new home.

I like the way the author tells his story as if it were a novel instead of a memoir. His vivid descriptions of branding, castrating, and vaccinating cattle as well as mending fences and bailing hay took me right there and made me glad I wasn’t a cow. I’m not a fan of stories told in the present tense, but in this case, it works.

I have a couple of connections to this book. First of all, when I was in high school, I skied with my family in Breckenridge, Colorado, where the author first started working with horses, and realized skiing wasn’t for me when I landed flat on my back. On the other hand, the author’s parents eventually settled in Sheridan, Wyoming, my home town. They may still live here. Who knows?

This book portrays the cowboy life as it is, not as romantic or adventurous as it may appear in western movies or novels. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys watching such movies or reading such books. It will open your eyes to the west as it truly is today.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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My Classical Music Story

Because I was born legally blind, my parents exposed me to as much music as possible. I don’t remember much of my early years, but my mother told some great stories later. One of these was about a time when I was five, and my parents had just bought a piano. It was intended as a toy for me, but when my mother heard me play the opening bars of Beethoven’s fifth symphony, she called a piano teacher.

I took piano lessons off and on for years but developed more of an interest in accompanying my singing of popular songs. However, in college, as part of my music major requirement, I performed Chopin’s Prelude in C Minor, which I enjoyed playing because it consists mostly of chords and no fancy melodic passages. After that, I became a registered music therapist, working with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities. I often played the piano and sang old standards as part of our activities.

Fifteen years later, I got married, and because I was writing as a hobby at the time, my husband persuaded me to quit my job and other obligations to be a full-time author. Three months after our wedding, he suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side. I cared for him at home until he died seven years later. I often played the piano and sang “Stormy Weather” and other favorites for him during this time.

Nowadays, I’ve published four books and a fifth is on the way. I still play the piano and sing but not often, and I don’t play classical pieces anymore. I wish, though, I could remember the day when, at the age of five, I played those opening notes of Beethoven’s fifth symphony that signaled fate knocking at my door.

What about you? Has a classical music piece impacted you in some way. I’d love to read about it, either on your own blog with a link to this page or in the comment field below. You can also share your classical music story here.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Song Lyric Sunday – Speak to Me by Amy Lee

This song spoke to me in the voice of my late husband. If you’ve lost a loved one, maybe it’ll also speak to you.

This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time

I have to admit that I just came across this song today. I always try to do a quick Google search to make sure there are some songs to go along with the theme I pick, and when I looked today’s theme up, I came across this song. It is absolutely beautiful!

I’ve always loved the haunting quality of Amy Lee’s voice. Everything about this song speaks to me and I had to share it with you all today. I do hope you enjoy!

Be still, my love
I will return to you
However far you feel from me
You are not alone
I will always be waiting
And I’ll always be watching you
Speak to me, speak to me, speak to me
I can’t let go
You’re every part of me
The space between is just a dream
You will never be alone
I will always be waiting
And…

View original post 150 more words

Sunday Song Lyric: Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World

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Instead of my Saturday song feature, I’m trying something a little different. This was started by another blogger, Helen Vahdati. If you’re a blogger who would like to participate, click here for guidelines. Basically, you post song lyrics along with a video of the song. Helen suggests a theme every week, but you can post whatever song you wish as long as you include a reference to who wrote the song, a link to where you found the lyrics, and a link to a video or recording of the song. You may also link to her blog and/or mine.

Today, I’m giving you a two-for-one special. This is a medley of “Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World,” and the way these two songs are put together is intriguing. I love the vocal and ukulele rift at the beginning and end.

“Over the Rainbow,” as you probably know, is from The Wizard of Oz, one of my favorite movies. In fifth grade, I played Dorothy and sang this song in a production of this. In 2013 after my father passed away, my group sang “What a Wonderful World” at his celebration of life.

I first heard this medley in the waiting room of a doctor’s office where I was with my late husband Bill after he suffered two strokes that paralyzed his left side. At times when I was a caregiver, I wished I could have been taken over the rainbow to a wonderful world. Enjoy, and have a great day.

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Over the Rainbow
Written by Harold Arlen, as sung by Judy Garland

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?

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What a Wonderful World
Written by Bob Thille (as George Douglas) as sung by Louis Armstrong

[Verse 1]
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and for you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

[Verse 2]
I see skies of blue, clouds of white
Bright blessed days, dark sacred nights
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

[Bridge]
The colors of a rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying how do you do
They’re really saying, I love you

[Verse 3]
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll never know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Thursday Book Feature: Novel Depicts Life on the Set

The Cast
by Danielle Steel
Copyright 2018.

Kait is a New York magazine advise columnist who has been divorced twice and has three grown children. After a chance meeting with a television producer at a New Year’s Eve party, she is inspired to write a story line for a television show, based loosely on her grandmother’s story. After she shares it with this producer, he is impressed and decides to make it into a series.

Over the course of a year, as the series is produced and becomes a huge success, and Kait is kept busy working with the screenwriter on various episodes, she becomes involved in the lives of her cast members, and they become her second family. When one of her own daughters is killed overseas while filming a documentary, they all rally around Kait. She then becomes attracted to another actor from Wyoming. Will she open her heart to him after two failed marriages?

Despite Danielle Steel’s nasty habits of too much telling and not enough showing and use of unnecessary adverbs, I’m always drawn to her stories, and this one is no different. Fascinated by the entertainment industry, I enjoyed being transported into the lives of these characters. Being from Wyoming, I felt a special connection to the actor with whom Kait becomes involved at the end. The Audible narrator did an excellent job portraying even the female characters. I recommend this book to anyone interested in how a television series is made and who likes a heartwarming story with a neat ending.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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