"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: elderly

new things . . .


It’s so much fun learning about new things from friends and vice versa, isn’t it? The other day, L. and I took a ride in the middle of a Thursday to a family-run farm nearby, about a half hour drive to Concord, MA. It was so much fun to show L. the unmarked little secret place to buy organic eggs on the honor system (she took a photo of the entrance with her camera.) and then to go back for a cup of hot dark coffee, and homemade scones in a new flavor: pineapple and coconut. L.’s eyes got big as we munched on the delicious scone. Then she put more into a bag for her family to eat later. We stocked up on Vermont Hubbardston blue cheese which is a chevre with a smoky blue cheese flavor that is heavenly when allowed to come to room temperature and it’s slightly runny. I have been known to eat a whole (small) wheel in the evening while eschewing dessert! It’s BETTER  than dessert!

Today, she wrote to me that the eggs were “eggs-traordinary”, the cheese was delicious as were the homemade scones. We have both been enjoying apple-mixberry pies and other fresh vegetables we found at the farmstand: eggplant, kale, salad greens. Going to the farmstand together also allowed for time to discuss our new joint endeavor called, “musical notes outreach,” a program for the elderly in nursing homes, assisted living residences and hospice. Our mission is simple as can be: “We want to make you happy by providing the sound of music.” Simple as that. L, because she has worked in the elder care community, knows activity directors in local venues as well as people in charge of palliative care in the neighborhood. Thanks to her efforts, we have two of our first bookings in December and are looking forward to introducing the program and seeing how people respond to it to see what they enjoy most. A menu of classical, Windham Hill and other songs will be offered.

When I played Bach’s Prelude in C major, both L. and I immediately agreed it would be a wonderful, simple piece to open each program. We might follow it by playing Charles Gounod’s “Ave Maria” overlay as a duet with the Bach Prelude. I’m thinking of playing the melody of the “Ave Maria” and then ask if they’d like to hum along while I play it again with the Bach Prelude accompanying it.  Our closing piece for each program will be “Devotion” by Liz Story. Along the way, there may be some Chopin Preludes, “Clair de Lune” by Debussy and some crowd pleasers like “You Raise Me Up” and some Windham Hill songs like “All For Us” that are simple and touching in their simplicity.

Here is a link to a wonderful Youtube clip by Bobby McFerrin singing the Bach Prelude with the audience singing the Gounod “Ave Maria” along with it. Just wonderful. I hope you’ll have time to play and enjoy it. Also included is a link to the song, “As For Us” which I’ve always loved, listening to it on a Windham Hill CD in the car. I couldn’t find the music score, but have jotted down the main progression of the piece by ear from the Youtube clip and am will include it in our programs.

So there is a lot of “new-ness” going on and it’s also a lot of fun. New friends, new music, new ways to play music. Stay tuned for how it goes in December with “musical notes!”


heartache . . .

Christmas, Faculty party 07-08 023_2Who doesn’t have heartache over something? It could have happened to us when we were children, during high school or college, relationships that once were the end-all and be-all, only to fall apart. There are as many kinds of heartache as there are people, it seems.

Often, it occurs when we have something in mind or our perception of a person’s qualities that were mistaken or idealized rather than real. Sometimes it takes years, decades even, before the denial wears away and you see the person for whom he or she really is, or has become. And you ask yourself, “who is this?” rather than “what happened?” Sometimes heartaches are true and real. Others, not so much. Disillusionment is really self-inflicted heartache, you might say.

This post is inspired by an article about older people, in their eighties even, who have begun talking to therapists for the first time. As the population grows older and the older keep living, the prospect of living for another ten or fifteen years in old age shouldering anxiety, long-standing depression or heartache doesn’t seem like a very sensible thing to keep doing. Some even say they wish they had started finding new attitudes about their past and their lives earlier.

One said, “Everybody has a certain amount of heartache in life–it’s how you handle the heartache that is the essential core of your life….I found that my attitude was important and I had to reinforce positive things all the time.”

Ruminating about this, it seems to me that heartache can arise from the aspect of “blame.” Either you blame others or you blame yourself for something that happened long ago that you feel bad about. Blaming doesn’t really alleviate heartache, it just reinforces its presence. I’m all for not having heartache around. There’s enough to preoccupy us each and every day without it.

So here’s the article about “A load off their minds”.

And here’s to clearing out our own closets of heartache.