Saturday Night Serenade–R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for the Queen

We lost the Queen of Soul this week.
As sad as we are, the remembrances have been uplifting.  Who didn’t love Aretha Franklin?

She transcended musical genre, gender, race, and politics.  She was born in Memphis in 1942, but lived most of her life in Detroit.  She won 18 Grammys over the course of her career and was the first-ever female artist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Tonight’s first song is Chain of Fools, one of my favorites.  It featured prominently in the John Travolta movie Michael, but I chose this 50 year old television performance of the song.

I also couldn’t resist this joyous version of Think from 1980’s Blues Brothers.

So how about you?  What’s your favorite?  Comment below and keep the respect going.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Down at the Twist and Shout

Hello, August!
It’s the middle of summer, but I always used to dread August, because that means Back-to-School.  But now, while my teacher friends are gearing up for battle, I’m ready to release my 9th book, and I’m 25k words into the next one.  There’s enormous freedom in giving up a steady paycheck for a career that nourishes your soul.

So this Saturday finds me feeling light and happy.  I’ve pulled up an older song that makes me feel the same way.  Mary Chapin Carpenter released Down at the Twist and Shout in 1991, and it won a Grammy the following year.  It just makes me want to go to a country bar and two-step all night.

Look closely–she’s backed up by members of traditional Louisiana cajun/zydeco band BeauSoleil.  I saw them perform once in downtown West Palm Beach as part of a free outdoor concert series, Sundays at the Meyer.  Then-Mayor of WPB (now US Congresswoman) Lois Frankel went through the crowd handing out chocolate chip cookies, which is the part my kids most remember.

I’m tucking in a little BeauSoleil just for fun.

I hope you’re having a relaxing summer weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again

I’m so excited!  Ten years ago, Mamma Mia, the Broadway musical based on the songs of 70s group ABBA, was made into a movie.  It’s not Shakespeare, okay.  But if you ever wanted to see a movie that just makes you feel happy, this is the one.

A decade later, the entire cast is back for a sequel, and with a few additions, most notably Cher, as Donna’s (Meryl Streep) mother.  Mr. R is imminently glad that my best girl Mo and I have plans to go see it this week.  I suppose it’s a chick flick, but don’t say it like it’s a bad thing.   I added a sneak peek from the new movie below.

The world has become a very scary place.  Up is down, right is wrong, and you never know from one day to the next what the hell is going on.  So let me go sit in a cool, dark theatre for a couple of hours with a bucket of popcorn and a vat of Sprite while I may or may not sing along to songs that make me happy.  Feel free to join me on the next recliner–not going to one of those moldie-oldie theatres, no thank you.  I know there are those who are avoiding this movie, angered by something or other Meryl Streep said a while back.  To that, I say, Good!  More room for me and Mo.  😉

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend doing things that make you happy.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Mr. R’s Birthday

We’re celebrating Mr. R’s birthday this weekend!

His birthday happens to be the same day as one of my brothers’, and that’s really neither here nor there.  But around this time, I always start thinking about how thankful I am to have him in my life.

I always refer to Mr. R as my ‘happily ever after.’  And he is.

I spent a long time married to my nightmare.  Last week, I alluded to my #MeToo story.  Nightmare is the star of that tale.

After that ended, a few years down the road when I had my feet under me a little, I thought it might be nice to meet someone new.  I wasn’t looking for someone who made me happy–I didn’t aim that high.  I just hoped for someone who didn’t make me unhappy.

But my broken road led me to a man who makes me laugh every day, from our first date, when he ordered a strawberry daiquiri with an exaggeratedly deep voice, to the songs that he intentionally butchers (most recently, changing the words to We Built This City to We Milk These Titties), and more than I could possibly tell you about.  He brings me flowers all the time, just because he wants to.  He makes me feel loved and cherished, honored and protected.  And I’m beyond thankful for him.

That’s what I think of when his birthday rolls around.  I have a couple of gifts for him: a nice leather messenger bag to use in his real estate work, a Starbucks gift card for his espresso, and a bakery decorated carrot cake (in spite of the fact that he’d diabetic).  But really, on his birthday, I’m reminded that he is a gift to me.

We’ll be going out to a nice dinner Sunday night.  We have reservations at the Capital Grille, and they know it’s his birthday.  Tonight, we’ll just chill here at home.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

“Bless The Broken Road”
(originally by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

[Chorus:]
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
(Yes He did)

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true.

[Chorus]

Yeah.

Now I’m just rolling home
Into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

 

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–Heartbeat

That was unexpected.  Who realized that we’d feel the hole we do with the loss this week of David Cassidy?  He hasn’t seemed relevant in years.

David Cassidy was my first celebrity crush.  When I was in second grade, I utterly adored him.  I watched every minute of every episode of The Partridge Family.  I had all their albums, and I knew every word to every song.  Against her better judgement, my mother allowed me to subscribe to Tiger Beat Magazine, and I read it faithfully for years.

Following his teen idol days, Cassidy struggled with personal demons of addiction, and of finding his place in the universe.  More recently, he retreated from public life with the announcement that he was suffering from dementia.  Which is heartbreaking, really.

This morning, I saw that his daughter, by his side at the end, was sharing his last words.  “So much wasted time.”

Well, that will make you stop and think.  I wondered what he was thinking about, but I know where it fits into my own life.  Maybe if we hold onto that takeaway, his heartbeat still continues.

I hope you’re seizing every moment this holiday weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!