Saturday Night Serenade–Happy Mother’s Day!

So many moms are on my mind this weekend.

Obviously my mom, who raised me, taught me right from wrong, and continues to love me to this day.

And I’m the mom of two tall, red-haired men, one who recently fulfilled his commitment to the U.S. Air Force, and the other, happily married and working for a software company.

I think of my friend Jan, the single mom of three, including a teenager with profound autism.  I call her the most bad-ass mom I know, and she is.  I don’t know how she does it.

Then there’s Lynn, whose son died on her sofa from a drug overdose a year ago to the day.  I can’t imagine her pain as she continues to mourn.  I don’t think you ever recover from that.

I believe our friend Eric qualifies.  His wife died after a courageous battle with breast cancer when their daughter was three.  Eric stepped into shoes too big for anyone to fill.  He deserves Mother’s Day AND Father’s Day.

Our good friends Susan and Lori just adopted a beautiful baby boy.  We had lunch with them recently, and they recounted the story of how Freddie became theirs.  They’d adjusted their expectations, looking forward to adopting an older child, when fate intervened, bringing them this gorgeous blondie with huge blue eyes.  It will be a happy Mother’s Day at their house.

And my niece Lauren just had a beautiful baby girl, Riley.  Which is crazy, I remember Lauren was born.  Now she’s planning a wedding for herself and her fiance in the next year.

Families come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  I think the defining factor is love.  Which we need more of in this world.  So it’s good to celebrate mothers.

Tonight’s serenade is Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion.  It’s meant to be a romantic love song, really.  But I’ve heard it in the context of Mother’s Day, and I think it fits.  I’ve included the lyrics below, and full disclosure, I changed a couple of babys to Mamas.   So sue me.  Not really, I’m poor.  All you’ll get is a mountain of debt and a floppy-eared German shepherd.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love, especially all the mothers.

Happy Mother’s Day!

“Because You Loved Me”

For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I’ll be forever thankful Mama,
You’re the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You’re the one who saw me through through it allYou were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ’cause you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved meOoh, Mama

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand, I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love, I had it all
I’m grateful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don’t know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ’cause you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

You were always there for me
The tender wind that carried me
A light in the dark shining your love into my life
You’ve been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ’cause you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
(My voice.)
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ’cause you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

 

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Saturday Night Serenade–Staying Woke

For the last week and a half, we’ve been mourning the loss of 17 in south Florida.  And we’ve been reminded of those we lost in Columbine, and Sandy Hook, and Las Vegas, and Texas, and Orlando, and countless other places.  Senseless losses that should capture our attention and strengthen our determination to solve the problems that led us there, to keep it from happening again.

But in the ‘short attention span theatre’ that is the 21st century news cycle, the cause just before Parkland was #MeToo and #TimesUp, the social movement that is calling out sexism and misogyny.    It’s been posited that every woman you know, along with many men, has her own Me Too story.  I know I do.  Maybe one day I’ll write about it.

It’s astounding, really, that for so long we’ve all excused sexual predation as ‘locker room talk’ and ‘boys being boys’.  Clue: It’s NOT okay.  It NEVER was.

I’m hopeful that now that the dialogue has begun, it will continue, that we’ll move forward more enlightened, treating EVERYONE with respect and compassion.  EVERYONE.  Now that we’re woke, let’s stay woke, amen?

I heard this song, Female by Keith Urban, the other day, and it touched my heart.  I’m including the official lyric version, too, because words are important.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to honor the women in your life, and hug the people you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Super Bowl Edition

Are you ready for some football?

I’m not remotely a football fan, but I love the Super Bowl.  I love that it’s a uniquely American cultural event, with a tradition all its own.  People throw parties and gather at sports bars,  dressed in their favorite team’s jersey.  There’s a whole category of ‘game day’ snacks, from subs, to chili, to burgers.  Plus, plenty of beer.

I couldn’t care less which teams play, I tune in for the half-time show and the commercials.  This year, I’m cheering for the Eagles, mainly because they’re not the Patriots.  But mostly, I’m looking forward to the spectacle.  Justin Timberlake is the half-time performer, and that should be fun.  Fingers crossed, no ‘wardrobe malfunction’ this time out.

This week’s serenade is from a couple of years ago, one of my favorite Super Bowl performances of all time.  I LOVE Bruno Mars, and this shortened version of Uptown Funk is fantastic.

Remember when you had to wait until the actual game to see the awesome commercials?  Now, a lot of them are already out.  I’ve seen Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) from Game of Thrones in a rap battle with Morgan Freeman.  I’ve seen a rabbi, a priest, an imam, and a monk pile into a truck and head to a football game.  But so far, nothing has made me laugh like Hannibal Lecter pinch-hitting for Amazon’s Alexa.  Creepy fun!

I don’t know about you, but here at Chez R, we’ll be serving ribs and nachos when we sit down to watch.  Tonight is all about preparation.

I hope your pick wins tomorrow.  For now, enjoy laughter with those you love, and be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Happy New Year!

It’s been a weird year.  And I mean, no matter your politics, no matter your generation or your gender, it’s been weird.  In some ways, I’m glad it’s coming to an end.  The only thing is, what could 2018 possibly bring?  It’s scary as hell.

Growing up in the 70s, I heard people talking about the generation gap.  I can remember being out and about, seeing ‘hippy-dippies,’ as my dad would call them.  With their long hair, bell-bottom jeans, and endorsement of ‘free love,’ they just seemed to experience life in a different way from my straight-laced, clean-cut parents.

These days, glaring differences abound between folks of my generation and the new one.  Let’s be honest.  Millennials can be fucking annoying, with their tiny homes and their organic beetroot lattes.  I know.  I raised two of them.  Nevermind that Mr. R and I recently got on the kombucha wagon.  That’s a story for another day.

But what I love about millennials is their gleefully optimistic dedication to the idea that anything is possible.  This year, I want to embrace that belief.  Because they’re right.

I’m not saying that I can suddenly become Joan Jett if I just believe hard enough.  The kids aren’t saying that, either.  What they’re saying is that it’s possible to make the world a better place.  And we start with the person staring back at us from the mirror in the gender-neutral restroom of the organic farm co-op.

Tonight’s song, This is the New Year by A Great Big World, embodies the exuberance I want to carry into 2018.  A better world isn’t going to trickle down from on high.  It starts with me.  And you.

So what will we do?  Let’s start by hugging those we love, and branching out from there.  Mr. R and I lift our glasses in a toast to a better world in 2018.  Happy Saturday night!

“This Is The New Year”

Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for nowAnd I will give the world to you

Speak louder than the words before you
And give them meaning no one else has found
The role we play is so important
We are the voices of the underground

And I would give the world to you

Say everything you’ve always wanted
Be not afraid of who you really are
Cause in the end we have each other
And that’s at least one thing worth living for

And I would give the world to you

A million suns that shine upon me
A million eyes you are the brightest blue
Lets tear the walls down that divide us
And build a statue strong enough for two

I pass it back to you
And I will wait for you
Cause I would give the world
And I would give the world
And I would give the world to you

This is the new year
A new beginning
You made a promise
You are the brightest
We are the voices

This is the new year
We are the voices
This is the new year

Saturday Night Serenade–Merry Christmas!

We’re here.  It’s Christmas Eve Eve.  And it’s all done.  Gifts are purchased, wrapped, shipped off to who knows where.  Decorating is finished.

If you ask me, that’s the beauty of Christmas falling on a Monday.  Now all that’s left to do is relax and enjoy.

I promised to be more grown up this week.  I’ve pulled a beautiful video of Bing Crosby singing a beautiful song.  I cannot tell a lie.  For whatever reason, I’d never heard this song until the year, over 25 years ago now, when we moved to Florida between Christmas and New Years.  Publix, known for their tear-jerker holiday ads, was running a commercial featuring The Christmas Waltz, and I fell in love with it.

Tonight’s second song is a powerful, rock-anthem rendition of a traditional favorite by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Their Carol of the Bells is beautiful, but can you imagine living next door to this family?  Holy cow!

There have been countless recordings of this third song.  It’s really a Christmas Eve staple.  The beauty of Josh Groban’s version of O Holy Night gives me chills, it’s so amazing.

And…
Because I can’t resist…
One final, perhaps slightly less than grown up song, I leave you with the Dropkick Murphy’s and The Season’s Upon Us.  What can I say?  They put the fun in ‘dysfunctional’.

May your holiday be happy and bright, and may you enjoy a peaceful Christmas surrounded by those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!  And Merry Christmas from the Rs!

Saturday Night Serenade–Only My Most Favorite Christmas Song Ever

We’re moving ever closer to Christmas, and you-know-what is getting real.  This week, I did a ton of final holiday shopping online.  It’s convenient, but then the waiting begins.  Will it all arrive in time for me to wrap it, box it, and send it to the four corners of the world?  Okay, mostly it goes to central Pennsylvania and eastern Nebraska, but still.

Next Saturday is the 23rd, or as I like to refer to it, Christmas Eve Eve.  I’ll attempt to pull it together and be adult in my song choice, but tonight, I’m bringing you a three-fer, three different versions of my favorite Christmas song, Mariah Carey’s iconic All I Want for Christmas.  The song features prominently in one of my favorite holiday movies (go figure), Love Actually.

The first version is a shortie by uber-talented ginger, Ed Sheeran.  I love him so much!

I love this next version for so many reasons.  The Roots are actually playing the song on classroom instruments, so that appeals to the teacher in me.  Everyone is so joyous, having a great time.  And the pop-up kids crack me up!

But this final version may be my favorite.  You’ve got not only Mariah Carey, toss in Adele, Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga, Sir Elton John, the Chili Peppers, and more.  And they’re all having so much fun, you can’t help but have fun, too.

The world is a crazy place these days.  Isn’t it nice to just forget about all that and embrace the joy that is Christmas?

Find your own slice of joy tonight, and be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–It’s December!

Well, it’s done.  The tree is up and decorated.  The dining room table is ready in all its festive glory.  The outside lights are up, including three 3-D twinkling snowflakes in the front window, the new addition for this year.

I LOVE December!  And everything that comes with it.  The decorations, the food, the parties, the movies and television specials, and most especially the music.

I’ve become obsessed with Pentatonix.  Are you over them yet?  I know some people are, but they utterly fascinate me.  So I’ve pulled a two-fer for tonight’s serenade.  Mary Did You Know always touches my heart, maybe because I’m the mom of two baby boys.  Well, they’ll always be baby boys to me.  And this version of Carol of the Bells is so cool.

I’m wondering…
What are your favorites?

I hope you’re enjoying this first weekend of December.  Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!