Backstage In Nashville

When your children grow up and leave the nest the parent/ child dynamics change. No longer under your roof, their lives continue with you in the background; nose pressed to the window of their lives looking in. 

A recent angry force of nature made me leave my nest at an odd time of the year and take refuge with my youngest bird of flight, my son. Hurricane Irma gave him fears his old mum’s nest just might be blown away. So it was that I landed  outside the boundaries of a holiday celebration visit in Nashville with my son and his family. 

It just so happens that Emerson is a platinum awarded singer/ songwriter who spends a lot of time on the road doing what he loves to do; entertain by telling his lyrical stories. Once in awhile if he is performing within driving distance, my husband and I will make the journey to his concerts and a few moments of private time with him.  But in a lifetime that is not much. 

You might say we are distant groupies most of the time, however, this time, my only positive Irma experience is that I was given a performance day  with my son that I would never have had.  

Squeezed within the sixteen day visit of watching my son be a good husband and great father, was a full day of a mother’s heart singing with joy that her son is able to have a satisfying  creative life, doing what he was born to do.  

Can’t get much better than that. Come along with me for a capsule of my day before a concert hall performance of Songs and Stories in Nashville. 

Copyright Sandra Hart©2017

Believe It Or Not… You Are Creative

Who me? Creative? Don’t think so.

I have news for you. Everyone of us has some type of creativity inside of us, whether it be singing, playing an instrument, cooking, gardening, or creating a beautiful vision through makeup everyday. 

Life is more satisfying when we use our creative souls with an outlet. Expressing yourself boosts your brain, gives you satisfaction, boosts energy, relieves stress and most of all, brings us joy. 

There are five types of creativity:

• Artisan

• A-Lister

• Activist

• Game Changer

• Sensitive Soul
Let me explain the types and how important using our creativity is to us.  

Copyright Sandra Hart© 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

Waltz With Me My Love

Dance. Oh, how I have always loved dancing, don’t you? By myself as a child, or in the arms of a lover nothing is closer to heaven than lightly swirling around to music that makes my heart sing. Waltz, foxtrot, jitterbug, the monkey or rumba, it doesn’t matter to me.

Emerson Hart©and Tonic

Song and dance have been with us far back in recorded human history and has been an important part of celebratory rituals. It’s so true that dance is a way to find yourself and loose yourself at the same time.  

Unless, that is, your heart is dancing a clumsy two step in your chest. Dancing with your feet is one thing, but a dancing heart is another.  

Unfortunately, I was born with extra electrical pathways that under certain circumstances cause my heart to palpitate and loose sinus rhythm. These unwelcome ‘dances’ began in my twenties, but since my heart was otherwise basically healthy, I just had to tolerate this non-synchronized orchestra that lived in my chest. 

It became a way of life for me until in the 90’s a new procedure called  radio frequency ablation was developed to eliminate extra pathways in the heart. Tiny cathodes are run through the groin veins to ablate the dancing pathways. At the time it sounded scary to me, but each 12 hour episode of rhumba were scarier, so I opted to have the ablation.

Now, one thing they didn’t realize, or take into consideration then is that those electrical nerve pathways can grow back. So here I am once again saying goodbye to my heart’s unruly dance, one week into recovery from updated modern medical advances in electrophysiology and radio frequency ablation. 

My procedure lasted about three hours and I was released the next day. My doctor showed me a photograph of my heart with the ablation points and it looked like a pearl necklace all around my heart. He said when they thought they were through, adrenaline administered would show other electrically charged pathways. I was a dancing fool inside my chest!

So far, I am following the doctor’s orders and not lifting anything over 10 pounds or bending over and just taking things easy for a few weeks. He told me I might have increased dances in my chest, perhaps for as long as three months while my heart is healing, but already they are short little tap dances that do encourage me everything is healing just fine. 

The pinpoint scarred areas created by the cauterization, once healed, will block and interrupt those crazy dancing impulses by taking off their tap shoes and sending them into retirement.  

Trust me, the next dance I do I hope it will be with only my feet and with someone I love.  

©Copyright Sandra Hart 2017                            

All Rights Reserved

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It’s An Oscar Peterson Kind Of Day

The skies are dark and the tropical winds are blowing much stronger than usual, it’s that kind of day here on the beach. Anywhere else up north the winds and dark skies would be rather depressing, but here, for me, it’s an Oscar Peterson/Cole Porter kind of day. When I woke up to grey skies I welcomed the change in the sameness tropical living sometimes brings. 

After my early morning walk with Sophie, nothing better than starting my day with a cup of tea, biscotti, Oscar and sharing my thoughts out into the digital universe. 

For me, music has always been a barometer of our culture. Growing up in the forties and fifties, music was happy, soulful, lyrics clear and smooth, the beat consistent. Songs were about love, the good life and moving on. Listeners could tap their feet, shake their heads and groove to the beat in ‘slo-mo’ or shoulder shaking heat. Music felt good.

As a teen I would lie across my bed and dream to The Four Aces, Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter’s lyrics. The future and the world was out there for me, just waiting. Of that I was sure. It was a positive world I would be walking into. The music that surrounded me told me so.

My husband, having celebrated his ninth decade on this earth yesterday has taken me back into his reality of WWII evolving into peacetime prosperity and a more civil and dare I say simple, moral times.  

What has happened to us as a society? Up until the music of the nineties and from there what has happened to lyrics with decency and morality in some popular music tastes? I can still close my eyes and dream to some, but I feel I’m in a dying generation as far as music goes.  

As the music becomes corrupt and dies, so goes the culture, so goes the nation. I never thought life in 2016 would evolve into what it appears to be today. I don’t think I have to spell it out for you, you must see it, too. 

©Sandra Hart 2016. All Rights Reserved

Cole Porter: His numerous hit songs include “Night and Day”, “Begin the Beguine”, “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “Well, Did You Evah!”, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”, “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and “You’re the Top”. He also composed scores for films from the 1930s to the 1950s, including Born to Dance (1936), which featured the song “You’d Be So Easy to Love”; Rosalie (1937), which featured “In the Still of the Night”; High Society (1956), which included “True Love”; and Les Girls (1957).

Lotus Hands And Hip Shake

Lotus Hands And Hip Shake Therapy

Most mornings I am lotus hand, hip shaking, lift stepping and shoulder shaking my over-fifty self to energizing music. My new uninhibited idea of fun exercise in my freedom years is Bollywood dancing in the front row with no one watching but Sofi and my big Sony flat screen.   

I have to admit I was part of the 1970s fitness craze. I joined my first gym, bought the most flattering leotard that I could find and headed out with a fitness mat curled under my arm. I went faithfully to the aerobic classes for, well, maybe about six months. 

Three times a week I dragged myself to the gym trying to believe that I was a public exercise person who loves strange showers and locker rooms. That fantasy faded faster than my waistline. One morning I just stopped, firm thighs be damned. 

What happened to save me from a lifetime membership of hiding in the back row of power aerobics, trying to stay fit and healthy while looking at the perfect behinds of women with figures I would never be able to achieve?Jane Fonda  did, that’s who. All of a sudden I could put my body through all types of aerobic pain in the privacy of my own living room.  

Throughout the ensuing years I have run 5K’s, walked miles, jogged a little, and made sure I downsized to a townhouse with stairs when all of my sane contemporaries were going with single floor residences. All this effort because I know it is good for my aging body. But, nevertheless, in spite of trying to keep as fit my age allows, I have stayed away from gyms.

Between you and me, I rarely ever found exercising fun until I discovered I was able to combine my fascination with a movie genre and exercise – Bollywood films. Netflix and iTunes are my new ‘go to’ for Bollywood movies and Bollywood music videos

If you already haven’t checked them out, Bollywood films always include music with dancing that is an interesting fusion of Indian classical, Indian folk, jazz, hip hop, belly dance and others from around the world. 

These films are always ‘feel good for the soul’ entertainment. I love the energy and message they bring and there is a whole lot of shaking going on and calories burned in my South Beach living room to Bollywood music.  Life is good when you love it with passion. 

  

achchha lag raha hai. – feeling good
Pyar se Zindegi mel tha hi – Life is good when you love it with passion.


©Sandra Hart 2016. All rights reserved

To Be, Or Not To Be

I often talk about genetics here in my blog. I don’t know, but the older I get and as the years go by, I see my children growing up finding their spaces in life and now my grandchildren doing the same thing. It is really so evident to me that somewhere along the line we have inherited this either great or cursed creative gene that keeps us square pegs in a round hole.

My oldest is a flight attendant and while waiting between flights doodles beautiful designs on her notepad and can’t wait for her days off to create on her many online accounts.

Now the middle child is quite brilliant, works in the legal field, and is very creative like the rest of us. A great photographer, artist and sometimes journalist, she is also extremely adept at math, yet at times struggles with organization and budgets. What does that mean? Are both sides of her brain fighting for dominance when performing tasks? One side asks, “Should I buy it? Do I really need it?” While the other senses it is just too beautiful to resist. 

My youngest is a gifted singer, songwriter and performer who uses his talents as a storyteller through his musical lyrics and melodies. His left brain is screaming to let it alone! 

Well, what about that  creative brain of ours, the right brain?
The right brain is referred to as the analog brain. It controls three-dimensional sense, creativity, and artistic senses. 

 The left brain is referred to as the digital brain. It controls reading and writing, calculation, and logical thinking. 
I hate spreadsheets. They give  me a headache. In school I tried to stay away from as many math classes as I could.  While my middle daughter was taking advanced calculus, my other children agreed  a hundred percent  with me. Does that make us analog people and not her? 

What do you think? Is it possible to have a balance of both right and left brain without a dominance of one over another? Or is it a constant tug of war if you are born with a little bit of both. 

 

Okay, numbers are not my forte, but I still am very good keeping inline with what I want and what I can afford. But in truth,  my life has been saved many times because my left brain usually is strong enough to override the financial foolishness fueled by my artistic senses. But within that realm my left brain feels sorry for me and reasons a logical way to satisfy my artistic side. It knows.  Within its logic mechanisms it realizes  I would actually whither away without this part of me being fulfilled.  

So  I guess in the end both my left analytical and right creative brain are daily fighting the tantamount Shakespearean question, “To be, or not to be.”
  Today, that is what my Saturday life over fifty is thinking. Well, somewhat.
(Authors note: during the period of writing this blog today my toilet has developed a serious ghost flush every five minutes, the fire signal in our complex of town houses was set off in a loud screaming cadence sending my Lhasa Apsa, Sofi, running to her safe haven under my desk and my computer died. No part of my brain is willing to troubleshoot toilets and computers this lazy Saturday.)

Copyright Sandra Hart 2016©. All rights reserved

Growing Wings Of Their Own

( Author Note: As former Romper Room Teacher and Pittsburgh CBS affiliate anchor, my children began their lives with Romper Room and Mr. Rogers as their ‘normal’ family. We relocated with my late husband to New Jersey 43 years ago, but no escaping for them – their friends here in New Jersey always remembered me as the lady on Romper Room.)

Growing Wings Of Their Own
It has almost been 20 years since one of my children took his sisters out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ shadow they had been living with for most of their lifetime. A new dimension was added to our lives and nothing would ever be the same again.
In 1996 my Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey singer/songwriter son, Emerson Hart, and his band Tonic released their first album, Lemon Parade, which rocketed to multi-platinum status and garnered him awards, including the Billboard Award for the #1 most played song on rock radio.
What followed in the ensuing 19 years would be world tours, six Tonic albums, two Grammy Nominations, ASCAP Award, movie soundtracks, two successful solo albums and concerts in war zones entertaining our American troops – even being knocked off of his feet by a bomb blast while the band was staying at one of Sodom Hussein’s Palaces in Iraq.
Springsteen. Bon Jovi. Both New Jersey icons, were already firmly established within the 80’s Rock frenzy by the time Emerson and Tonic came along. But the ‘new kid’ on the block from New Jersey, the late ’90’s talent entry, came into the game like gangbusters when music tastes were were changing. Emerson was on the tail end of Rock’s biggest roll, but he and Tonic have survived.
So have his sisters. Each of them with their own quiet, or not so quiet victories growing up and out from under the ‘Romper Room Mom’ memories.
So a toast from parents to our children and their victories growing up and out from under our wings. A toast for 20 more quiet and maybe not so quiet years!