I have been through a lot over the past week or so, which is why this post is a bit delayed – there’s no real schedule, I just like to write more often than I have lately.  But, all my busy-ness has been good.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been having a wonderful time.  For one thing, on April 15th, I hit the big 5 – 9!  Yup – I know you can’t believe it by looking at my photo and all.  You all think I’m about 3-1/2, right?  (I certainly can think and write like one!) I feel that I should tell you that on that momentous day in history – April 15 – many tragedies have come to pass:  Abraham Lincoln died (shot on the 14th, died on the 15th); the Titanic sank (hit the iceberg on the 14th, sank on the 15th), Income Taxes became due (and my birth was way past due according to my Mom); then I was born…just one more tragedy in a long series!  I guess the world has made the best of it.  So this year, I began what I have come to call the “Magical Mystery Farewell Tour of my 50’s.” Yes, friends, after this year is over, I will no longer be able to check the age-range box : “45-59.”  Soon it will be “60-74.”  Actually it’s not so bad getting older, and as my Mom always said, “Having another birthday sure beats the alternative!”  And in reality my life has only gotten better as I have gotten older.  While I admit to being a little misty-eyed at turning the corner, I do look forward to what’s around it.

Now, I told that preamble for this reason:  Just before Easter, the desire to do some photography (at least I call what I do that – others would not!) struck me.  Spring here in Western North Carolina has been spectacular, and I just couldn’t stand the thought of it not being recorded in some way, so I grabbed Ashley’s camera and went at it.  He has an 8.1 megapixel digital camera by Kodak.  It makes nice snapshots, but any enlargements are generally a little grainy, and not fully satisfying when you are doing some photo manipulation. But ignoring that I went full speed ahead.  I took the camera outside with me every time I took our dog Princess out for a walk, (and she gets this bored look on her face when she sees me whip it out!), plus I took it with me whenever the notion struck to take a walk by myself. I was actually getting some photos done that I really liked.  No, it’s not great art, but it appealed to me – especially trying to come up with good compositions and nice angles.  Ashley, seeing my enjoyment, had the bright and wonderful idea of purchasing me a camera of my own for a birthday present, and went for a bit of an upgrade for me:  He bought me a 12.1 megapixel Sony Cyber Shot.  It has made a tremendous difference in the quality of photos I have been taking, plus I am able to do a lot more with them.  So I have been spending a lot of time with the camera, and more so with my computer (I’m still at the desktop…Toshi is, as of now, dead in the water).  With the help of Microsoft, we finally got enough patches downloaded to make the desktop handle the DVD/CD-ROM drive (remember that debacle?).  It may be slow, but by golly on a good morning it works…that’s enough for me right now.  So, I began to download my photos onto my computer, and upon the suggestion of my brother John, rather than buying Photo Shop-type software, I downloaded a free program called “GIMP 2.6.”  He told me that it was basically a clone of Photo Shop and other similar software, and it is free!  Free of everything except frustration for a neophyte like myself.  The program really can do everything it says…you can make any photo you’ve got in your computer look like a work by Ansel Adams.  You can, or, rather you can, perhaps, but not I.  It is almost completely beyond my ken.  Except for a few very elementary maneuvers (which I can do on the meager software I already had), I find I can do nothing, and I know that now.  When I first downloaded it, I did not know that.  As a matter of fact, I had become such a photo pro (thought I) that I could handle anything!  Of course I know how to do that!  The instructions just said to “click this, cut that, adjust this thingy, turn your head and cough, press save, and voila! You’ve got yourself a masterpiece!”  The problems started when I plugged my memory card into the computer…things went downhill from there. If it hadn’t been for the Grace of God, and the one brilliant idea I had (duh!) that I shouldn’t erase my memory card once it’s downloaded, I would be a puddle on the floor, and you would no longer have to read this drivel.  So with my new-found humble perspective, having “dropped so low in my (own) regard” that the basement is a penthouse, I went back on the internet, and downloaded Picasa 3.  Now there’s a program on my level.  Any three (or 59) year old could figure this one out.  John, I appreciate your confidence in me being able to use the GIMP program (he said “play around with it…you’ll catch on!” RIGHT!), but 9 out of 10 lines of the instructions are completely beyond me…I mean, they assume an awful lot…like maybe I know a camera lens from my elbow.  Well, sorry!  I haven’t figured that out yet either.  You see I have arrived at the humbling fact of my life:  I am never quite so dumb as when I think I’m smart.

Have you ever been in the car listening to the radio and singing along?   I love it!  Since we listen exclusively to NPR stations now, I don’t get the opportunity very often to sing along….it’s hard to sing along to  Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32.  But I remember my high school and college days, when singing (loudly) with the radio was a big chunk of my life, my very soul!  That part of my life started to break down a bit, however, when I was blithely riding along and singing what was then a very popular song by Gilbert O’Sullivan called Alone Again, Tangerine.  At least that’s what I thought it was…turns out a DJ brought me to the correct title one afternoon by OVER-pronouncing it.  Turns out the title is Alone Again, Naturally.  I felt my face get hot and knew the red was climbing up from my neck…good grief!  How many times have I sung that incorrectly in public?  I can still remember the feeling of utter embarrassment upon learning that I was not as “cool” as I thought I was.  As a matter of fact, in some senses, I was just a dumb nerd!  You’ll be happy to hear that I have let myself off the hook on this issue, however, because I have found that – lo and behold – I am not the only one with this embarrassing problem!  My husband, a now retired pastor, used to wear blue jeans on days he knew he would not be making any house or business calls.  Whenever he put them on we would hum the latest Neil Diamond tune Reverend Blue Jeans.  It wasn’t until sometime later that we found out the song is actually Forever in Blue Jeans.  We sing it our old way, though…fits us better I think.  But we still laugh ourselves to tears over it.  We have a great friend who used to love what was a very popular song known as Oh! A Tree in Motion!  It took her a while before she learned it was Poetry in Motion.  Somehow, I like the sound of her version better.  Our youngest son, Matt, fell in love quite early on in his life with Mozart’s Requiem.  He had seen the movie Amadeus, and heard parts of it in that film.  From then on, he tried to find the opportunity to sing it with a large choir and orchestra.  His freshman year in college, he finally succeeded in talking the local community choir director into presenting the Requiem as the program for the year.  He became a member of the chorus because of that. He had the piece fairly well memorized almost before rehearsals began because he had been listening to his cassette recording for so many years.  He was ready!  Now, the Requiem is in Latin, and although he had taken a year of Latin in high school, he knew that he was not fluent in it. Since he started singing the music before he had the score with him, he sang the words as he heard them, even though he was certain that what he heard could not possibly be correct.  For instance, from the movement entitled  Domine Jesu:   “I don’t eat broccoli, I’m only sixty!”  Surely the Requiem would be deeper and more meaningful than that.  He was relieved to find that the real words are:  “Quam olim Abrahae, promisisti...” (which means, “as Abraham promised…”).

So, just in case you find yourself in the same state as I am in – learning the true depth of your intelligence – I want to set your mind at ease.  No, I’m not telling you that you are smarter than you think (when you are never quite so dumb!), but I am going to tell you that WE ARE NOT ALONE!!!  For your pleasure, I present the following lyrical misunderstandings, or mondegreens (an excellent, useful word you can look up for yourself!):
  • “There’s a bathroom on the right.”
       “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”
       Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater
     
  • “Excuse me while I kiss this guy.”
       “Excuse me while I kiss the sky.”
       Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
     
  • “Dead ants are my friends; they’re blowin’ in the wind.”
       “The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind.”
       Blowin’ In The Wind, Bob Dylan
     
  • “Midnight after you’re wasted.”
       “Midnight at the oasis.”
       Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur
     
  • “The girl with colitis goes by.”
       “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes.”
       Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
     
  • “Sleep in heavenly peas.”
       “Sleep in heavenly peace.”
       Silent Night, Christmas carol
     
  • “I blow bubbles when you are not here.”
       “My world crumbles when you are not here.”
       I Try, Macy Gray
     
  • “I got no towel, I hung it up again.”
       “I get knocked down, but I get up again.”
       Tubthumping, Chumbawumba
     
  • “She’s got a chicken to ride.”
       “She’s got a ticket to ride.”
       Ticket to Ride, The Beatles
     
  • “You and me and Leslie.”
       “You and me endlessly…”
       Groovin’, The Rascals
     
  • “Sont les mots qui vont tres bien ensemble; tres bien ensemble.”
       “Sunday monkey won’t play piano song, play piano song.”
       Michelle, The Beatles
     
  • “I’ll be your xylophone waiting for you.”
       “I’ll be beside the phone waiting for you.”
       Build Me Up Buttercup, The Foundations
     
  • “Are you going to starve an old friend?”
       “Are you going to Scarborough Fair?”
       Scarborough Fair, Simon and Garfunkel
     
  • “Baking carrot biscuits.”
       “Taking care of business.”
       Takin’ Care Of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
     
  • “Donuts make my brown eyes blue.”
       “Don’t it make my brown eyes blue.”
       Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, Crystal Gale
     
  • “Got a lot of lucky peanuts.”
       “Got a lot of love between us.”
       Let’s Hang On. Frankie Vallee and the Four Seasons
     
  • “What a nice surprise when you’re out of ice.”
       “What a nice surprise bring your alibis.”
       Hotel California, Eagles
     
  • “Hope the city voted for you.”
       “Hopelessly devoted to you.”
       Hopelessly Devoted to You, Grease
     
  • “I’m a pool hall ace.”
       “My poor heart aches.”
       Every Step You Take, The Police
     
  • “Just brush my teeth before you leave me, baby.”
       “Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby.”
       Angel of the Morning, Juice Newton   
So I find myself, being in such company, feeling a little cheered by it all!  I mean I’m not so dumb as to think that a wonderful song called Hopelessly Devoted to You, could ever be Hope the city voted for you.  I mean, come on now!  Even I am smarter than that.  Then again, I’m never quite so dumb…
Gentle Reader, as always,
I wish you enough

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