Category Archives: Music

Healing Power of Music

Music is a beautiful thing.  I was raised to love music, appreciate music, and to play music.  My favorite memories of my childhood always include music.  Mom and dad had a wide variety of records, the radio was always playing, camping always included my dad and his harmonica.  Mom and dad made sure any of us kids that wanted music lessons, got them.  Looking back, I know this was a sacrifice as we were not a wealthy family.  Every week, Mom would take us to Mr. Henchel’s (sp?) house for lessons.  I have good memories of the experience except when I did not practice.  Mr. Henchel would get down right pissy!  This happened a lot. 😦 The memory of the lessons is one thing, but my favorite part was just spending time in the car with my mom.  We didn’t get out much so this car ride to Salem, and the occasion stop at Arctic Circle afterwards are part of why it is a cherished memory for me.  Later, when I took up the clarinet, I took practicing serious and became quite good.  I loved band class and made many good friends there.  Friends I still have to this day.

I was lucky enough to meet my LL at a young age.  Our older brothers were friends, but LL and I actually met while on a band field trip.  I think I was in 6th grade, he was in seventh.  He says I was a snob, I say he was the most irritating clown around. 🙂 Our relationship started with music, and like my parents, while raising our kids, music was an extremely important element in our life.  Music was always on, always talked about, always being created, by LL and I, and then eventually our children.

Music helps develop the brain during a child’s development.  Math and reading improves.  But Music is also healing.  When Max was small, along with physical, occupational, and speech therapy…..music therapy was part of his intense early educational programs.  Hospice often bring in musicians when someone requests it.  Music helps someone with pain, and the fear that goes along with the end of life.  I can personally attest to the help music gave me while sick with chemo and especially when dealing with intense pain from cancer and surgeries.  I had my music in the hospital, and later at home, constantly lifting me up when nothing else seemed to help.

I don’t play my instruments often any more.  I can play piano and clarinet.  It makes me a little sad that I don’t take the time to play.  I am thinking this would be a good winter to start back up.  One area of music I have never tried is songwriting.  LL has written beautiful songs.  One is actually on a c.d. along with other Christian singers.  He has recorded a couple other songs.  I have witnessed how much his songwriting has enriched his life.  Music, I think is a tool God uses to reach us, speak to us, and sometimes heal us.

This morning, while reading the paper, I came across this article in the New York Times…..Songwriting with soldiers….I love this program and have no doubt it is changing lives.

Caboose Milk

Howdy Strangers.  Long time again without a post.  Well that is about to change.  One of my New Years goals is to get back to writing consistently on my blog.  But I knew this week was going to be an exception.  Why?…….Because it was my Birthweek.  Birthweek?  You don’t know what a Birthweek is.  Well I will let you in on a little secret.  Babies of big families, learn early on how to MILK every possible opportunity they can get from their birthday.  So I was busy.

The day before my birthday, my mom and sister Kris asked me out to lunch.  Well of course I will go.  We went to the Glockenspiel in Mt. Angel.  I had a wonderful meal of gluten-free coconut shrimp, seared scallops, and veggies.  Delicious.  David, as usual, had to horn in on our girls lunch, so Kris called Doug and invited him.  This was not my plan.  It goes against the Caboose handbook.  It plainly states that when celebrating my birthday, try to do it with as few people as possible, so that you can guilt the others into taking you to more lunches.  Oh well, not all was lost.  Karen was working and has not bestowed a lunch for me yet, so I have a bit of milking left to do.  By the way, a Caboose is the youngest child from a large family.  That’s me!

Thursday, my actual birthday, I treated myself to a long walk.  Took pictures, (did a photographer excercise I will blog about soon).   Stopped into Max’s work at the thrift store and bought a purse there.  Continued looking around town and then treated myself to a coffee from the new coffee shop in town.  That evening, because LL was working really late, it was just the kids and I, plus one.  Rett was with us.  I really should just include him when I say kids, because this is a second home to him.  Anyway, we went to Red Robin, where I had a Gluten-free chicken sandwich, fries and gin and tonic.  Yum!  It was fun sitting around with my kids but I missed LL.  I also received a fabulous gift from my family.

They gave me an Ipod touch.  Which means I have moved into the 21st century.  I am having so much fun with this new toy.  I hope to put most of my beloved music on it this weekend.  Well, my birthday was great, but because I am a caboose, it was not over.

Friday, LL had a furlough day, and I took advantage of it.  He said I got to choose how we spend the day.  So we went to Powell’s Books in Portland.  If you have not been there, you are really missing something.  The store is almost the size of a city block and they sell used as well as new books.  I bought two used books and on the first quiet evening around here, I am going to start enjoying them,  LL then gave me a gift from Lynda.  Lynda works with LL , she and I have a lot of the same interest and taste.  She gave me the cutest wine stopper made with glass beads.  Thank you Lynda!  I will call you this week. 🙂  We then went to Pf Changs and I had a wonderful Gluten-free spicy chicken.  When it comes to food, my LL is not very adventurous.  All through the meal, he kept asking things like, “Where’s the combination #3 that I get at all the other chinese restaurants.  Where’s the egg flower soup?”  But he suffered through it.  We then stopped by mom’s and she gave me a shirt and candle holders that I hope to put somewhere in the house today.

So, as you can see, I have a birthweek, not just one day.  I know, I have a few cabooses that read my blog and they might try to kick me out of the club for revealing this secret.  Sorry, Aunt Linda, and my LL.  They are both babies from big families and have the official Caboose handbook.  Well, I still might get a lunch or two before my birthweek ends……wish me luck. 🙂

Christmas Music

There are two camps as far as I can tell.  I understand both.  In a culture that starts the commercial selling of Christmas far too early, I get the hesitation.  I remember a time when Christmas deco did not come up until after Thanksgiving.  No music, no commercials.  The official Christmas season did not start until after the turkey, dressing and all the Thanksgiving trappings were put away.  But quiet a few years ago, commercials and the like started popping up by the middle of November.  Then, the day after Halloween.  Now, by the middle of October, you will get a glimpse of Christmas decorations, sales, commercials, and so on.  I get it.. I don’t like it either.  I remember when we celebrated Christmas until the epiphany.  Not so any longer.  The day after Christmas, the culture is moving on.  Not sure if it because the presents have been opened, Santa’s job is done and everyone is ready to ring in the New Year.  But it is what it is.  But I am a sell out on one issue.

Christmas Music.  Years ago, the first of the December would usher in the beautiful sounds of bells, Perry Como, Bing, and Nat King Cole.  Before my fire, I had all the albums.  Well I have very few CD’s of my cherished music anymore.  But on a local radio station, the Christmas music has already begun.  LL and Bailey have made their stand.  They are not listening until after Thanksgiving.  I get it.  But I am not on that Band Wagon.  No Sirree.  I LOVE the music.  And since the radio stops playing the day after Christmas now, I am turning it on.  I am getting my jollies.  It puts me in the happy spirit and preparation.  Not only for Christmas, but also for this weeks Thanksgiving preparations.  So when LL and Bailey are not home, I am getting me some of the sounds of Noel.  I do not apologize.  I am not a sell out, because on December 26th, when all goes back to as usual, I still will not have gotten enough of my Bing, Nat, and Perry.  LOVES me some Christmas Music.