“Why can’t you stay here awhile
Stay here awhile
Stay with me”
—The Cranberries, Promises
The Cranberries, Collective Soul, Pinback, Jann Arden, Phil Collins, Tears For Fears, Depeche Mode, Bjork, Sarah McLachlan, Sade, Ellie Goulding, City and Colour, Lily Allen, Eminem/JZ, John Legend, Bob Seger …
This song talks of vows broken. As the song’s title suggests, of broken promises.
What is a promise made, worth?
I chose it because it was the big single, that first concert experience of mine, back in 1999.
The song is indeed a powerful one. It speaks to one of the biggest battles I struggle with.
I try real hard not to judge, as I know what being judged feels like, but when it comes to love and relationships, I often wonder why?
I know life is not as simple as I’d like it to be, that a promise seems huge and binding when its a child’s promise, such as in the promise many young people make, to stay best friends forever.
That is the first lesson, that promises are only good when they are made, but don’t guarantee their continuation. They end, when feelings change, and people are left to pick up the pieces.
I hear the anger and the frustration in Dolores’s voice, when she sings
You better believe I’m coming You better believe what I say You better hold on to your promises Because you bet, you’ll get what you deserve
She’s going to leave him over She’s gonna take her love away So much for your eternal vows, well It does not matter anyway clickable
I wish every love would last, every relationship would be never-ending, but songs like this bring those realities out into the open.
Oh, all the promises we made All the meaningless and empty words I prayed, prayed, prayed
Oh, all the promises we broke All the meaningless and empty words I spoke, spoke, spoke clickable
It feels meaningless, at the time, but it’s not, none of it. But is giving up the answer, in all situations? Of course not. The hopelessness of a broken promise makes me think on how relationships flourish and how they crash and burn.
What of all the things that you taught me What of all the things that you’d say What of all your prophetic preaching You’re just throwing it all away
Maybe we should burn the house down Have ourselves another fight Leave the cobwebs in the closet Cause tearing them out is just not right clickable
They put on an excellent live show. I will never forget how their music moved through me, all around me, holding me to my seat, frozen in awe.
Of course, a live song clip here isn’t quite the same, but I love to think back on how it felt to be there.
For an excellent spotlight interview on the American program 60 Minutes with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Not sure how many people saw it, but I was watching, and I was proud and thankful to have him speaking for my country.
He spoke about being born into a politically royal family, his feelings on boxing and how it’s all about risking being knocked down but then getting right back up again, and he was asked what Canadians would like from our neighbours, what we’d like the US to know.
Oh boy! This was the interviewer’s attempt to start something and some Americans were very definitely offended and showed it on Twitter.
But I thought it was funny when an image on screen of Justin’s Father, with his supposed wife and mother to his children, actually turned out to be a shot of Pierre on a date with Kim Cattrall. Thought Americans at least were familiar with “Sex and the City”.
For the ability to be there when my sister needed me.
I want to be available to watch my nephew when she is at work, whenever possible. He’s learning, growing, changing so fast.
The other day, when she walked out the door, he stood there and clung to me for what felt like ages and ages. It was as if, without words, he was reassuring himself it would be okay…that his mother was gone but that he still had me. I never wanted that moment to end and wished it could have gone on longer than it did.
For snow drops.
There are flowers all over the place, starting to spring up.
Then, the other day my mother (lover of all growing things) placed a small flower, on its stem, in my palm. It felt droopy, and I was then informed it was called a “snowdrop”:
She came on the local college radio station and I immediately liked the song, its signature Electropop sound.
I looked into her further later and discovered I knew one of her songs already, but I found a new favourite.
Halsey is another young and emerging artist, like Lorde for example, but she has a definite Ellie sound to her.
I am happy to have found another like Ellie Goulding, but a change from Goulding too because sometimes certain memories that go along with a specific singer or voice can still hold painful recollections. I’ve found a new voice to focus on for a while, even though I will always love Ellie in a way nobody else can top.
I love standing in them. I love being surrounded by my favourite things, books, but I can only be in them for a short time before the fact that I am unable to simply reach out, grab a book, and start to read will wash over me and I will realize my limitations. It is at this point that I am thankful and grateful, but I must flee because the urge to burst into tears becomes a difficult one to hold back.
For World Kidney Day
Exactly twenty years ago was when I was first diagnosed with kidney failure. It was March, 1996, and finally my family doc sent me to a paediatric specialist, who immediately confirmed what my blood tests already showed. I was very sick and needed dialysis within a few months.
That was a scary time and, even all these years later, I will never forget what it felt like to be so ill.
For the option of doing dialysis to treat end-stage renal failure, like the kind I was in twenty years ago.
I am lucky to have a kidney from my father, for nineteen years now, and I was lucky, at that time, that there was such thing as dialysis as a treatment for kidney failure. Other organ failure did not and does not have just such a stabilizing treatment option, which is no cure, but is better than nothing, better than the alternative. I am lucky to be here.
For a successful visit in Washington, D.C. between the first families of the US and Canada.
The two men (Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama) they are a lot alike, see the world similarly.
No matter what else is going on with the US and their elections for a new president for November, now, in Washington, I liked to see peace, lighthearted humour, and harmonious relations between our two countries.
Trudeau might just be starting his time in office, while Obama and his rational good sense is on the way out, but I just liked the week that was. It made a nice “bookend” to the interview that started my week off right.
Finally, for the fact that I seem to be able to escape many people’s issue with losing that hour last night.
I had a nasty headache, sure, but I really don’t think I can blame that on Daylight Savings.
I woke up in the middle of the night last night from the pain, but I usually don’t detect a problem in my sleep pattern.
I am choosing to give this whole Daylight Saving thing the benefit of the doubt because I get headaches all the time, and I have a feeling I can place the blame squarely on something else entirely.
As I finished off my weekend and welcomed the lost hour and its additional light to come, my head began to pound. This song and all the signs of spring promise better days ahead.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there.”
Politics is on everybody’s minds lately. There is enough going on, as I have to listen to nothing but, here in Canada, but at least it’s only for the next two months. It’s the US that will be going on about this insane popularity contest, masquerading as something deeper, that might actually change our collective futures, for more than a year still to come.
I probably sound very negative about it all. This is precisely why I am focusing on the things that bring me to a place of zen with this week’s:
TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL.
Pardon me if I might seem like I’ve recycled a few thankfuls today, from weeks gone by, but I have put a new spin on the ones I’ve already used.
Not for cool summer weather or the central air I love so much, but for the fact that one leads to not needing the other. I am glad, where others may not agree, at the cooler temperatures. When I need it, I am thankful for AC. This first thankful for the week is now awarded to the lack of humidity, requiring the use of AC, which saves me on the cost, keeping my electric bills lower.
For summer vacations and road trips, may they be a relaxing week at the cottage or a spontaneous, east coast adventure.
I am just happy my brothers both are getting the chance to enjoy themselves this week, to make lasting memories with family and friend respectably.
I hope my brother has a blast out east and that his time, by the ocean, might bring some peace and tranquility and a bit of zen for himself.
They both work hard and deserve the chance to have a bit of fun.
For the opportunity, the need, and the openness to try something new now and again.
Okay, so it ended up not being my sort of thing. Sure, the chocolate is of the more healthy variety, but really, who wants that?
Well, we were given free samples and told that many people do, but frankly, I don’t see the point.
Dark chocolate is good for you. It is actually beneficial to have a few squares of a chocolate bar, if it is bitter and with no trace of sugary sweetness.
I say it, loud and clear, right there in my About Me page on this very blog. Chocolate, to me, is a delicious anti depressant. It instantly boosts my mood and only milk chocolate will do.
Occasionally, as with this particular trip, a certain kind of dark chocolate, when mixed with something like mint and a good cup of coffee, this can hold its own pleasures. I am glad I went and gave it a shot. The latte was delightful and my nephew found a toy he liked, even if he’d much rather have played with the in-house chocolate-making machinery instead.
You have to make it a “habit” to keep an open mind and experience new things. That’s what I try to do, as often as possible.
For surprise peas.
Yes, these bring me just as much pleasure and enjoyment as chocolate does.
I believe I’ve mentioned them in this forum before, but I am doing it again.
This time they were a pleasant surprise, as I was always used to early July being the only time, a very short window, when I would get fresh peas to pod. My mom’s garden only had them available for a few weeks and that was it for the year.
With the discovery of my favourite peas at a local market, I was surprised to learn that I have been granted an extension.
They are not only delicious, but they provide a zen-like feeling to me, as the act of podding them offers me a very specific kind of nostalgia and a flash back to another time, and my deceased grandparents. They always picked peas and knew how much I loved them and would always save me a grocery bag full.
For living in Canada.
Sure, our political debates may not have the same sort of hype as our neighbours to the south, but at least I can be grateful for one thing:
No Donald Trump trying to run my country.
He’s a bully, who has probably never admitted he was wrong about anything in his entire life. He’s a spoiled, entitled petulant child, which actually insults all the children I know.
Of course, if he were to become the leader of the United States, that would have some effect on all other countries, including my own. I don’t know what the serious odds are that he could win, but stranger things have happened.
Yes, I can’t believe I am conceding that point, but who would have ever imagined the Terminator would become Governor of California.
I admit to not watching the debates. I saw things about both sets, but just in the news the next day. Politics is not my thing. So, in lieu of me being the one to run my own country or the world (I know…what a shame), I must learn what I can about those who will have the job and to stay positive.
For smart, witty, and engaging entertainment from The Daily Show’s John Stewart.
He also brought us more talent from the likes of Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.
We will have John’s monologues, on YouTube, for years to come:
These ladies have things I want for myself and they make it look easy, but as I go ahead and read more about them, I learn this is not the case. That helps me deal with the dreaded writer’s jealousy, of which I am certainly not immune, but more than that I know what it’s like to truly admire their work and, for that matter, their hard work.
For the shift forward in accessibility this week, with the Pan Am Games at an end and the start of the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, this was the news I was thrilled to hear:
I will never forget my walk on the edge of a tower in Toronto and I want that same experience for everyone.
For the pride and the hope.
Canada’s one-and-only Major League team, the Toronto Blue Jays is doing well again. Will it last?
Well, currently they are on a seven or eight game winning streak and are beating the popular New York Yankees.
The memory of the two consecutive World Series wins (92-93) gives Toronto something to strive to find again, the glory of the championship.
For the presence, of two very special boys, these past few years.
Right now, this week, I am right smack dab in the middle of two birthdays for two amazing boys in my life.
I always think of the Elton John song “Your Song”, when I think of the blessings my niece and nephews are to me, but it’s the Ellie Goulding cover that I go to when it comes to my favourite lyric:
“I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words, how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.”
They are two fun, sweet, and smart kids and I am proud to be their Auntie Kerry.
And so with July firmly behind, I am looking ahead into the rest of August. I have a feeling the stakes are going to become higher in the next few weeks, with what is meant to be and I am glad I have these things to be thankful for, whatever that might look like.
A lot can happen in a week and music is the soundtrack to my life, always has been. Whether I am happy or sad, celebrating or trying to take my mind off something, seeing any musician I love in a live setting is a treat. I forever link a song or an artist with something I have experienced. Music is a wonderful thing for that. There is just something about being there in person for a show, with the music right in front of me. It is a feeling indescribable, but the two shows I saw recently deserve the chance.
The first was in a casino. The night began amongst the noise and commotion of the casino floor. With all the slot machines surrounding me, it was definitely an assault on the senses: all the bells and chimes going on and on, all around me.
Ellie Goulding performed after an opener: a DJ which, in my opinion, went on too long. He performed almost longer than the main attraction I paid to see.
Ellie’s second album “Halcyon” was the main reason I wanted to see her live. That album was the theme to my life for more than a year, through some of the most important moments thus far. I could not pass up the opportunity to hear her perform it in person.
I felt her voice and her lyrics and the music flow through me in my seat. Her powerful voice reverberated through the bleachers, at times the whole grandstand moving from every person up on their feet.
One of my main thoughts as I listened, eagerly leaning forward in my seat or sitting back paralyzed in awe, was how I wish I were one of the lucky voices getting to be her back-up singers. I wished I were up there.
She performed for a short hour-and-a-half that seemed to fly by. I stood and swayed along with her haunting melodies. All the racket of the casino and the DJ were left behind and worth the feelings her songs produced in me. I felt her words and her beautiful lyrics burrow through into my core. Her songs have an aching sadness to be found in almost all of them, the perfect songs for a life that’s not always easy. Songs like “Figure Eight” and “Explosion”, some of my very favourites, made me smile from ear to ear, as I didn’t want the night to end. As she encouraged audience participation, I waved my cane up in the air.
I was hoping she would perform her cover of Elton Johns’ “Your Song” and, to my delight, she did not disappoint.
“I hope you don’t mind…I hope you don’t mind, That I put down in words, How wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.”
A performance like that I will never forget, harder on my legs than on my ears. Walking out of the casino after the show I felt like I was on a swaying rocking ship. All the movement and the power of the music coursing through my body caused an unsteadiness and a wobbly lack of stability. I was shaken, moved down deep. I will never forget the performance she put on in that casino, or the person I experienced that moment with.
A rather clear difference from one show to the next: next came John Legend.
I had a chance to see him live a few years back. He was the opening act for Sade in Toronto. At the time I wasn’t all that familiar with him or his music and arrived mid performance, not in a hurry to see him when Sade was the real reason I was there.
Jump ahead almost three years and I almost missed him altogether.
I first heard his current hit song “All Of Me”, when he performed it live in studio on the Howard Stern Show. He sang, just him and his piano, and I realized I had missed out last time. When I heard he was coming to a venue close to home I had to make up for my past mistake.
It’s funny how things work out: for good or for bad. I believe in symmetry in life because I look at life that way. I didn’t think I would once more be listening to John Legend live with my sister, but like the first time, here I was again. Life is unpredictable like that and predictable all at once. The person I thought I was meant to see this show with wasn’t the one I was meant to see it with at all in the end.
This time it was a two-hour concert with no break. John was touring with a string quartet: two violins, a viola, and a cello. All that mixed with his superb piano skill and a guitarist and musical arranger made up a beautiful evening.
My only complaint: A few moments during the show I thought I was at a Justin Bieber concert or a boy band of some sort. Directly to my left sat a group of girls who clearly thought Legend to be quite the babe and they didn’t hold back in showing it. The atmosphere of the evening was one of cool jazzy rhythm and soul, which only brought out this group of hooting fans, making them stand out. That coupled with a few of their irritating acts of audience participation was enough to make me want to push somebody off the balcony. I understand the urge to tap your toe along with the music, but their decision to snap their fingers loudly along song after song caused me to want to bend a few of their fingers back, if it would allow me to enjoy the show in peace. Thankfully my ever-trusty sister knew to pat me on the arm in an attempt to calm me down and remind me to relax and not let a few inconsiderate girls ruin my evening.
The second song he performed live on Howard Stern was a recent cover of “Dancing In The Dark” he had been requested to perform for a Bruce Springsteen tribute:
“I check my look in the mirror, Wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face.”
I am even going to go so far as to say that, from the first time I heard him sing his version, I preferred it to the original. He has taken a classic and made it his own, singing slowly and hauntingly sad. I felt so much, as I listened to him sing and play the piano as to make Bruce proud.
John Legend’s music is infused with passion and heat. His lyrics often revolve around themes of love and romance. This, in itself, was enough to have kept me away at a time when those were the last things I wanted to be reminded of.
As I sat and let his soft, warm voice soak in, I let his beautiful tone and words sooth my weary soul. While others were, no doubt, enjoying their date nights and Legend’s atmosphere of sweet romance, )the one I was supposed to have), I began to feel the weight of the previous few days be lifted off my shoulders with every note.
The violins, viola, and cello were achingly and heartbreakingly beautiful. His piano skills were better than I remembered. The guitar rounded out the performance, no need for percussion at all.
Due to recent events, very recent events, I hesitated and almost missed the performance of a lifetime. An evening that I thought would only serve to pour salt in newly torn wounds turned out to be cathartic and the perfect way to move forward. The hit love song I went to see him perform live took on a whole new meaning. I couldn’t escape it and I am sure glad I didn’t try.