A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Life According to Bruce Cockburn--A Musical Challenge

Bruce Cockburn performing at the City Stages f...
Bruce Cockburn performing at the City Stages festival in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       Debbie at Doglady's Den had the following meme at her site this past week.   The premise is to use song titles of a favorite band or artist to answer a series of questions.  One of my favorite artists is Bruce Cockburn.  His songs have lyrics that are pure poetry with outstanding melodic backing.  Cockburn's music has spoken to me since I first discovered him in 1985.  Click on the song titles if you'd like to read the lyrics.

        Here is my life according to Bruce Cockburn:

My Life According to Steppenwolf, The Doglady's Den
Doglady's Den

Q and A

Are you a male or female?
Man Of A Thousand Faces
Describe yourself:
For The Birds 

How do you feel?:
Pacing The Cage
Describe where you currently live:
World Of Wonders

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? 
Your favorite form of transportation:
Silver Wheels
Your best friend is:
One Of The Best Ones 
Your favorite color is:
Incandescent Blue
What’s the weather like?
After The Rain 
Favorite time of day:
In The Falling Dark
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?
Planet Of The Clowns
What is life to you?
Anything Can Happen
Your relationships:
Love Loves You Too
What is the best advice you have to give?
Joy Will Find A Way 
If you could change your name, you would change it to:
Kit Carson
Thought for the day:
See You Tomorrow
How you would like to die:
Let Us Go Laughing
Your soul’s present condition:
Waiting For A Miracle
Your motto:
Free To Be
    Give this a try!  It's great fun.  Pick one of your own favorites and then link back to my blog and Debbie's blog.   Debbie said you can use the badge if you'd like.   Let me know if you do this on your own blog and I'll come visit.
Here's the list in sound and image if you'd like to enjoy the music:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pieces of Furniture

Old furniture
Old furniture (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      Furniture is typically among the items we most take for granted in our homes.  The furnishings that we fill our rooms with are some of the most enduring possessions many of us will ever own.  On first acquiring furniture we may admire it and administer great care, then as the years pass we tend to just accept that it is there as it gathers dust and typically a few nicks and scratches as it staidly remains in repose in whichever room it has been placed.

       If we happen to relocate to another house, often the furniture will be moved with us.  A move might require a large truck accompanied by professional movers or we might go the do-it-yourself route with a rental truck or even our own or a friend's vehicles.   Furniture is among our biggest household investments.  The practicality of periodically replacing old furniture with new is out of many of our budgets so whether we like it or not we are often stuck with many of the furniture purchases we make in our lives.

       My parents bought their first furniture in 1958 when they bought their first house.  Until that time we had always lived in furnished houses or apartments, but home ownership required the sizable investment of furniture for our then young family.  They had to purchase furniture for a living room, a dining room, and three bedrooms.  I'm not sure how much they paid for it all or where they bought it, but I do know that it was all brand new.  Most of that furniture stayed with our family through three subsequent moves and the raising of five children.

       We went through a number of upholstered pieces and a few dining tables during that period, but most of that early furniture purchase remained with us and it took a beating.  Gradually, piece by piece, furniture was replaced, moved around the house to be used for other purposes, or discarded in one way or another.  A couple of the pieces went with me when I moved away from home into my own place to live.

       Over the years, the furniture that I took sometimes made its way back to my parents' house for storage until I was ready to use it again.  Once the furniture was relegated to a paid storage facility in Richmond, Virginia--that was a huge waste of money.  Eventually most of the possessions that were stored in that locker was sold, given away, or trashed.  Two pieces of furniture I did keep.   Both of these were part of that initial purchase my parents had made twenty years earlier.

       Now, about thirty years later, I still have those two pieces of furniture.  A large dresser that had originally been in my bedroom and a china hutch were pieces that I recovered from my parents' house in 1988 after my wife and I left the road life to settle down in an apartment in Tennessee not far from where my parents lived at that time.  In 1991 we loaded up those two pieces of furniture into a rental truck along with all of  our other possessions and made a drastic move to the Los Angeles area.

        Once again we fast forward to the present.  Since that move to California I've gone through a divorce and then got married to another woman.  Together we bought a new house and consolidated our furniture assets, getting rid of what we didn't need.  The well worn dresser and hutch that had been in my life for so many years ended up in our garage where they remain to this day.  I use them for storage.  My wife would prefer to get rid of them and probably that will one day happen.  I'll have to find a place for the stuff stored in those pieces--possibly a lot of it will end up in the trash.

        Those pieces of furniture, now out of sight and out of mind most of the time, still hold so many memories in the history of my family.  They are not particularly special other than that.   Maybe they do have value of which I am unaware, but I doubt it.   I'll check before ever actually getting rid of them.  If I ever do get rid of them.  Those pieces of furniture have been in my life for so long that they seem like a part of me.  In a way I guess they are.

        Do you have any pieces of furniture that have been in your life for almost as long as you can remember?   Has any furniture that you own been appraised at any significant value?    Is there any particular furniture that you own that is stored away and not used in your home?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Awareness of Change

      Do you keep up with current affairs?   Did you keep up with the news when you were a kid?

Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool, during...
Crowds surrounding the Reflecting Pool, during the 1963 March on Washington. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

       When I was a kid I didn't think too much about current affairs, but I certainly had an awareness.  In the fifties and sixties television was an important source of information for me as were newspapers and the pictorial magazines such as Life.  Then there were the captive audience situations of the movie theater newsreels. Yes, there were newsreels that played prior to the film features even into the fifties and sixties.  They were an interesting way to gain insight into places and events in faraway places as well as a look into the glamorous lives of celebrities.  The newsreels were presented in a manner that they were as much entertainment as they were informative resources.

        Everything came together in such a way that I was aware of what was going on in the world even though to a somewhat limited extent.  Taking all things into consideration though, I was probably more aware of current affairs while I was in grade school and high school than a good many college students today.  Even with the prevalence of informational resources through more television options and the internet, much of the general population of younger people seem to be relatively uninformed about issues, historical context, and general interpretative applications of the knowledge that is made available to them.

         Even as an elementary school student I could name not only the leaders of my own country, but I could name many of the world leaders.   I avidly watched the presidential campaigns of 1960 as well as all that followed into my adult life.  Perhaps I didn't totally understand all of the issues, but I took an interest and attempted to keep up with what was happening.

         My parents did not seem to be particularly interested in politics or world affairs so my interest did not come from them as far as I've been able to discern.  It was a matter of my own curiosity about things I read, saw, and heard in the media that lead me to want to learn more about what was reported.  The world was changing rapidly with space exploration, conflict around the world, political movements, and technology.

          There were however many things of which my knowledge was very limited.   One of these was the civil rights movement that was occurring during the years of my youth.  I know much of this topic was reported because I remember having the awareness.   In many ways my life was sheltered from these issues, but it was mostly because none of it was close to me in any way to where it would have affected me directly.

          In some ways it does seem amazing that even fifty years after the civil rights marches and protests which resulted in legislation leading to change and greater social acceptance of the struggle of Black Americans, we still face similar issues and disagreements that one would think might have disappeared.   Then we consider the four centuries when slavery was the norm for many Americans and attitudes toward other races was archaic to a great extent.  Old habits and notions can be difficult to change.  And that goes for both sides of the fence.  Prejudice is not solely owned by any one race, religion, or culture.    Fear, distrust, or whatever negatives we feel about others are rooted somewhere within all of us and can be hard for us to simply jettison.

          I only know what I watch on TV, hear on the radio, or gather from whatever means is available to me and in the final analysis I don't know all that much.   For one thing we don't always get the unadulterated truth.  We're bombarded with a lot of opinions and points of view.   My empty head seems to filter so much these days.  Filtering is necessary to process data to any meaningful end.  And in the end, I don't know that I really know that much anyway.

         Do you consider yourself well-informed about the world?   Have you ever been involved in any movement for change such as the Civil Rights Movement or a political campaign?     What do you find to be the best sources of information that help shape your thinking? 

      I hope you'll visit my next Battle of the Bands post at Tossing It Out.  The above post is related to that post and provides some clues to the song choice I'll be using.  It's a great song with two outstanding performances for you to vote on your favorite.