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Thankful Thursday is meant to be my remedy for this: we are going to hell in a hand basket. On this day (as if I don’t attempt it at other times), I push myself to love the world in spite of the inevitability of death; in spite of politics and fucked-up information put out by the medical industry; in spite of  advertisers who have sold their own souls and ours; the intertwined, enmeshed corporate world in which we all live; the world of disposable packaging and appliances; hypocrisy–yours, mine, and ours; the deteriorating state of our air and water and soil; the increasing ownership of everyfuckingthing by multi-national corporations. I push through my dug-in heels and my myopic tendencies and reach up my hands for something better and more beautiful and for a bit of ecstasy and for the strength to grab it all, take a bite out of its ass, and love it anyway.

I’ve been sleep-deprived this week and finally, this morning, I took an ibuprofin PM. This is a heavy-duty drug for me. I take it when I need it, but haven’t needed to for months and months.

I think I went to sleep around 10 am or a little before. I was fairly stunned when I woke up and looked at the clock–it was already 1:20 in the afternoon. Had I missed anything? What responsibilities did I screw up? Nada, nothing. Just sleep for me. Whew.

Now I can proceed through the rest of my week without hating anything or pining away the hours. At least I think I can.

Thankful for:

Sleep, even drug-induced

All the FANTASTIC music I’ve been discovering lately (you read about Glenna Bell on Monday, right y’all?)

Look what I found. I am blown away by this guy–his guitar and voice and soft presence AND he’s going to be around these parts in December and January. Maybe I can go and hear him live.

Then, this great thing happened. I was just listening to the above Chris Smither‘s version of “Killing the Blues” and I got in my car (abandoning my children and motherly duties YIKES!) to go to a rehearsal and was trying really hard to sing the song. What came on the radio those very 30 seconds after I pulled out of the driveway? Alison Krauss and Robert Plant singing the very same. I KID YOU NOT! I sang along and sounded pretty good, but I know I’ll never be able to sing that song alone ever. Or “Visions of Johanna.” That one is super tricky….Chris Smither does it, too. Really. Oh, the original “Killing the Blues” was written by Roly Salley. Don’t think it’s anyone else, either, ’cause you know how I like accuracy.

I love serendipitous moments like that. I don’t think they mean that I’m saved or something or that I’m destined for a life of happiness or that someone can read my mind, I just love them when they happen. I do think there are currents we forget about…currents of spirit and particles of energy that clash together for the good sometimes.

The way I know the lyric “world by the tail” is from an old Burl Ives album I had as a kid. I can’t find anything anywhere on the web about who wrote that song.

I sang (and still do, but rarely) that song A LOT to my kids, in the daytime, but mostly as a jaunty lullaby at night (I love a jaunty lullaby as much as I love a melancholy one):

Got the world by the tail with a downhill pull and everything is fine/The reason is my heart’s so full of love for that gal of mine/Sing high, sing low, sing hi-diddle-dum/Sing high, sing sweet, sing low, sing tune, sing moon a way up in the sky

Don’t forget to OCCUPY NOW!

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I’m cooking up a batch of veggie stock. You know it, baby. Smells really good. I usually make it frequently, but I haven’t all summer for some odd reason. Fall is as good a time as any so away it simmers on my stove, filling the kitchen with heavenly scents. Will post “recipe” soon.

Okay, enough screwing around. You know what happens every October? Ysaye Barnwell, of Sweet Honey in the Rock (and a musician, teacher, artist, researcher, composer, singer extraordinaire in her own right), teaches a workshop up in Rowe at an old Unitarian Universalist camp at the almost-top of a mountain. This is her signature “Building a Vocal Community: Singing in the African American Tradition” workshop which I highly recommend to all citizens. You may be able to find it right where you live, as she teaches in various places in the US.

I go every-other year; this is my year off; I’ve studied with Ysaye 5 times over the last 8 years. Study, but not the way you might usually think, because mostly, you sing and sing and sing. Ysaye is the best singer and leader (conductor) I have ever experienced. She is a force, she is brilliant, she is talented, she is powerful, she is amazing.

What I learned, among other things, and what I know, is that songs can unite like nothing else when people are struggling. Totalitarian regimes fear free musical expression for good reason.

Remember, too, that babies sing before they speak. What does this tell you about the evolution of the human voice? We are born with free voices; speech is a later, highly-evolved modification. Peel back the layers of language and you will find rhythm and song, intertwined and inseparable.

What I noticed last weekend at my local Occupy rally was a lack of singing. I suspect that younger people haven’t learned to sing in groups, to sing out loud, to sing in unison for change. So guess what I’m gonna do next time we gather? I’ll be teaching and preaching some songs.

While the Occupy Wall Street movement is not about racism per se, I think that the people’s demand for less protection of corporate interests and corporate profits can free up other parts of our society. At least that is my hope. Now, learn the rhythm, learn the tune and add some lyrics. Here are some I thought of:

Ain’t gonna let Koch Brothers turn me ’round                                                                                                                                                             Ain’t gonna let corporations turn me ’round                                                                                                                                                          Ain’t gonna let distraction turn me ’round

You can co-opt tunes, you can co-opt lyrics. You can get the “older” folks you see at your local rally to sing the songs they knew when they were trying to bring down a war and when they were fighting for civil rights. They had many hardships and many successes; they’ll remember.

If you are looking for something to do to support the movement, you could take a batch of your own fall soup to your local OSW pals who are camping out. Take home a load of laundry to return to them, clean and folded. Teach them a song; print up the lyrics. Talk, exchange ideas, gather information, disagree, agree.

Go children and tell it to the world! Go preachers and tell it to the world! Go!

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I went out to Occupy Amherst yesterday afternoon with Hubby. Yes, you can laugh at our little town. But I was heartened at what is the beginning of a movement that I believe will grow in strength and voice week by week, as it already has. You say you want a revolution? Well, you know, we all want to change the world. So let’s up and do it.

Now that we got that out of the way, on to a song that should get the juices flowing. I first heard this when I saw “The Fighter” and soon forgot it. I take it as a song of power and since I’m thinking a lot about the people’s collective power, let’s have at it. The video is silly, but I like it.

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Brookfield Farm carrots–the best carrots I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Maybe that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but as a child, carrots were the only vegetable I’d eat (okay, potatoes, too). It’s also the only vegetable one of my daughters eats on a regular basis, so knowing that the carrots we get in our CSA are out-of-this-world good-tasting and organic to boot is a deep satisfaction. Farmer Dan said the carrots got too much water in late summer so they would be small, but this week, I assure you, they were completely normal-sized, if not even larger, than a couple of weeks ago. The flavor is earthy and robust when they are at their best. I want you to know I just held back from making any length-in-inches carrot jokes, too. Like seven of them.

Corkscrew Carrot

Toothpaste tubes, lotion: I can squeeze toothpaste from a toothpaste tube for up to 3 weeks after all of the other members of my family are ready to discard it. I LOVE this. It makes for more counter-top clutter in our shared bathroom because the rest of my family has moved on to their shiny new toothpaste tubes, but the knowledge that I am using the very last bits of a product makes me very happy.

I also cut near-empty lotion tubes in half and use those for a couple of extra days. Good stuff! This model of using up the very last drop can be applied to all manner of consumer products in your household. Unless you go rogue and make your own toothpaste, hand cream, laundry detergent, dish soap….

All righty, then….It’s time for a rare mention of something political on twinklysparkles:


Is this the jammin’est thing going in our country today?

This morning, the first headline that caught my eye was an urging of the OWS movement to get THE PEOPLE, as in WE, to move our money to small, local banks and/or credit unions. While this can be complicated and may not work for some businesses with international banking needs, it also can be quite simple and if the free market works, open up more options for all of us, including businesses with international banking needs.

You think the oligarchs are scared? You bet your sweet bippies! Read on, my friends.

Concrete change, change in which an individual can make a choice with what matters most to the political world, may be simpler than we’ve all thought. What matters most? I think this says it rather well:

In a related vein–if I haven’t been completely clear about it before, you should also know that I love Sharon Jones. When I found this this morning, I loved her even more.

If you are PETA or a particularly sensitive vegetarian, you may want to forward through the first 38 seconds or so of the video. But people, you must listen after that. Woody Guthrie turned R and B and interpreted so there’s no doubt about its message. Can I get a witness?

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