True Life Sweet Spots 

I  recently had to go in the hospital for a cryoablation for heart palpitations I’ve had since my twenties. I had a procedure done twenty years ago to ablate the pathways that were causing my heart to fire those extra impulses. Well, through the years they grew back and I have had to have another procedure to ablate them again. 

It just so happens that my cardiology surgeon is a big Tonic fan. Although we have had many phone conversations about the new cryoablation procedure, I hadn’t seen Dr. Todd Florin since my radiofrequency ablation in January, but he remembered all about Tonic when we met again pre-op. 

This time Dr. Florin spent at least a half hour with me just going over my procedure and generally chatting about life before l went into surgery. When I was finally prepped and wheeled into the operating room, he came over and said he wanted me to meet someone. He gestured to a handsome young doctor that was a part of his team to come closer. 

“Would you believe, this young surgeon is also a fan of Tonic. He must have been 12 when that first album came out! “ he said kind of amazed.
Well, it turned out this doctor not only was a singer/musician himself, but knew all of Tonic’s music. The last thing I remember as I was going under is being serenaded by him with his wonderful rendition of “If You Could Only See The Way She Loves Me.” True Story.  
Copyright Sandra Hart 2017©

Music Is My Memory Trail

(Author’s note: If your soul is rooted in music as deeply as mine, grab your earphones and reading glasses, if needed, and let me transport you with me to places in my past.)

“ I believe in teleportation and time travel,” he said taking a sip of his Old Fashioned. It was Friday and we were at a speakeasy watching bluegrass. I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly. 

“ Not in the sensational way, mind you. But in the way a waft of a certain perfume can take you back to childhood, or a song can being back a flurry of feelings you felt long ago.  Isn’t it strange and wonderful how our senses can give us context of the present, but transport us to the past?” 

He whispered to the bartender who came back moments later with a mint julep identical to the one he introduced me to when we first met….orange twist and all.

“Here. Close your eyes and take a sip of this.
Tell me…..where does it take you?  

Aromas and music are the two triggers that can transport me back in time.  Big band music  takes me back to my early childhood and our Sunday family outings to The Lotus Restaurant in Washington, DC. 

Rock and roll and the music of the 50’s bring me back to my high school days when we wore pony tails and bobby socks and the worst thing the boys could do was smoke behind the building or drink beer in the coal pits. 

Georgetown and  great jazz  wisk me back to my college years where we would spend our nights listening to Mose Allison or Dave Brubeck.  I can still smell the mixture of cigarette smoke and scotch that filled the crowded clubs lining the narrow streets in Georgetown. 

My child rearing years and the small tube radio that I always had on in the kitchen comes to my mind every time I hear Billy Joel and his romantic take on life. I was always dreaming through my humdrum life while being transported to somewhere beyond that kitchen and piles of dirty laundry by Billy.  

Now that I’m older and have Alexa in my life, I can be transported to any era of my life by just asking.   Transporting has never been easier! 

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. 

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).

Facebook- Are You Wasting My Life?

Next time you’re in a bad mood, resist the urge to try and cheer yourself up by checking Facebook. It likely won’t work, according to a recent study, reports Rebecca Hiscott, Editorial Fellow, HuffPost Business. 

The reason? Even more than other areas of the Internet, Facebook makes you feel like you’re wasting your life.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook due to the fact that I am host to three different Facebook pages; my professional page, my personal page, and one of my son’s Facebook professional fan pages.

I’ve been sitting here today waiting for a new furnace to be installed in the back of the house so I have a lot of time on my hands with nothing much productive going on except for the simmering vegetable soup on the stove. Which brings me to Facebook and all the time that I spend with my FB friends.

I started thinking about exactly what posts are in my newsfeed. What is the profile of my friends and their interests. Just exactly what shows up as I scroll my newsfeed every day? Are the posts in my newsfeed a mirror of me?

Well, a lot, a whole lot of my friends love animals. Dogs, cats, kittens and unusual friendships between domestic and wild life. Videos that have circulated forever of cute, crazy and rescued animals. Then there was that crazy dentist who killed Cecil, Zimbabwe’s beloved lion. A favorite. My friends, including me, couldn’t get enough of that dentist of death! A pox on him!
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My Facebook friends and I share envious pictures of food – where we ate it and what we were doing and who we were with while we were having a good time eating food and taking pictures of it, including not-always-so-flattering selfie’s with our friends while eating at that marvelous place. I kind of feel left out of the good times when I see these friends of mine celebrating while I am sitting at home wracking my brain for a blog idea, or alone with a pile of laundry looking at me. They may be right on that point if you never ever have anything going on in your own life.
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There are the political posts and gun issue posts. This is where my friends divide. I find a spectrum of diversity on both of those issues, each friend so sure their conclusions are right. I have always believed that friends and politics don’t mix, so it is only on a rare occasion that I stick my nose into any divisive issue, rather than to have it bitten off. I don’t think FB is a forum of persuasion. Just my opinion.

And music. I love music and many of my friends also find music to be an integral part of their lives and we share all kinds of music information on Facebook. I love these posts. 

Finally, there are the myriad of shared posts with affirmations about how much we love being mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. 
Someone said to me the other day that when she logs onto Facebook and sees all of these people socializing and having a good time it makes her feel lonely. So maybe the studies are right, but I doubt in the very near future that people are going to walk away from Facebook. 
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In the meantime, in my own personal non-scientific study I do find that my friends mirror who I am and what I’m interested in reading about; with the exception of politics and keeping my nose out of it.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2015©. All rights reserved.
 

 
 

THE ART IN POLITICS

  

   

The Art in Politics

I know it sounds silly, but that doesn’t make it not true. Art engenders empathy in a way that politics doesn’t and in a way that nothing else really does.  

Whether it’s a photograph, play, television show, movie, or lyrics in a song – it doesn’t matter. Art has a way of changing things that most factions don’t or can’t. 

Art can bring the conversation to the forefront when politics on sensitive issues builds walls and divides. We can dissect, digest, debate and appreciate Art in whichever form it is delivered and ruminate the message we take away. 

Without malice we can disagree, but Art spawns conversation and changes the temperature of how we talk about divisive issues. 

  

   

The books and plays; To Kill A Mocking Bird, Look Who’s Coming To Dinner, Bird Cage, West Side Story, Schindler’s List, Hamilton (now on Broadway) and, of course, Shakespeare. The list is long. I’m sure you can add to this with some that might have influenced or changed your thoughts about a social issue.

  

Photographs by Robert Capa, Eddie Adams and others that have evoked conversations and changed the world forever. Visuals of events frozen in time that provoke and will stimulate discussions for generations to come. 
  
Lyrics of Dylan, Springsteen, RAP, and, if I might add, the 90’s generation Dylan songwriter, Emerson Hart. These and many more creative or controversial writers bring sensitive issues – war, racism, poverty, dysfunction, mental illness into conversation. 

Art creates change in people’s hearts. It happens slowly, but it does happen. As the wheel of creativity turns, so does the world.

Copyright Sandra Hart© All Rights Reserved

EMPTY NEST SYNDROME

( 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 under 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!