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Offline

Keep-it-simpleTwo things happened last week. One was good, and one…not so good.

Not so good first. My smallest boy loves Monopoly. And when I say loves Monopoly, I mean wants to play it every day. To the point everyone runs when he comes asking for players. So what did we do? We bought him the electronic version. One that he can play any time the moods hits. Does he need any of us to pull this off? Nope. He can play the xbox guy who lives in the machine. Is this a good thing? You’d think, but I feel we just took a vintage game loving boy and fed him to the electronic wolves. Okay, so he does still plead for “real” players to play with him on the electronic version…but is it the same? He doesn’t even need to be the banker in this version. So much for counting skills.

Now the good. Which if you ask my daughter, she’d tell you that this in fact is the very bad news of my report. Oh well, she’ll see the light in years to come.

Okay, so last Friday my daughter changed her password on her phone. You know, the little Apple device that stays burning hot from being in use 24/7. The little earbuds attached to it has begun to grow skin around them because she wears them like an accessory. Always be-bopping and singing. To the point you feel she’s in a continuous rock concert and you’re the fixed audience member.

So she changed her password, woke up, couldn’t remember it, and consequently the phone locked her out. We tried connecting to iTunes to no avail. If we further try to hack it, all items saved will be lost. As in all her pictures, her video of the one and only concert she ever attended, and her music. No… she didn’t save any of it on a cloud, for those out there wondering.

So why is this the good news? Well, I feel for her…really I do. I don’t want her things to be lost to cyberspace. But…she comes around a lot more. Interacts with us, reads books again, plays with her brothers, and tonight I saw her sleeping with her plushes! Poor things have been locked away since Spotify came into her life.

Just imagine if we went offline sometimes. For an entire day. Minus the shakes we’d get over in about an hour, we might actually be able to focus on something else. Imagine that. 🙂

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Not in a Long Time

SONY DSC

…have I been to a concert. And boy, was this one different! Warning: my age is going to show through in this blog post! I took my newly turned teenage daughter to see a concert Friday night. Things have certainly changed since the last concert I went to. Granted, this was a “boy” band. The one I last saw was Motley Crue. (no comment on long ago that must’ve been, please). The audience in last night’s arena were mostly wide-eyed girlies. Motley Crue brought out the wilder crowd. Still, there were more differences I noted. By the way, have concert tee shirts always been priced higher than the concert tickets? Ouch.
I had forgotten how deafening it could get. Seriously, I couldn’t hear right for about 10 minutes after we left. Both me and my daughter laughed at how our voices sounded like we’d just inhaled helium. Every time one of the band members said something, it sounded like Charlie Brown’s mother. I couldn’t understand a thing! But all the little chippies would go wild and yell even louder. Yes, I was the one who casually held one finger in my ear, just so I could salvage some hearing later on. I put it down when my girl would turn to look at me, making sure I was digging it just as much as she was. I didn’t want to look like a total dork. What was a little hearing impairment when it came to looking cool?
Speaking of cool, it was amazing seeing the message that is being sent out to young people. Not really cool at all, actually. I saw shirts that read, ‘I’m a Loser’, and other ones that said, ‘I’m just a reject’. Who makes these to sell? Where has all the good messages in the world gone? Shouldn’t we be building self esteem? Not printing belittling labels for young girls to buy and wear! Crazy.
Then there was the time when the band was still setting up and a song began to play. Everyone in the audience began going crazy and there was a sudden uniformity as everyone began singing. ‘I’m just a teenage dirtbag’ was the lyrics. Everyone seemed to know all the words. Wow. Just wow. Dirt bag? Really?
Instead of lighters, everyone swayed in unison with their smart phone flashlight apps. It was a tremendous sea of white lights. I took a video. Which I wasn’t the only one. That’s all you saw–everyone with their cameras out, recording the whole thing. I guess they’ll go home and upload it to their account. There were even some girls wearing signs on their backs, asking people to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Sign of the times!
It was a good time had by all. My daughter soaked it all up. I’m so happy to have been a part of that memory with her. Although I didn’t know one song anyone played, I enjoyed watching her sing to each of them. Which was the most different thing about it. This band has no songs out on the radio. Seems you can get a YouTube account, record some songs on it, and gain yourself a fan base that stretches across the country. Today’s technology is going to squeeze out some of the more traditional ways of how it’s been done in the past. And I’m happy because of it. There is some real talent out in the world, and YouTube, The Voice, American Idol, and even self-publishing is letting those naturals shine through the cracks! 🙂
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Technology Today

divorce-kid-phoneI was driving down the road today and saw the funniest and sad thing. Weird, right? It was a little girl standing at the end of her driveway, waiting for the school bus. She had a little pink coat with a fur trimmed hat, and her backpack looked like it weighed more than she did. But what was funny…and sad, was that she was holding a cellphone and talking on it. I mean, really? She looked all of ten years old. Elsa, from “Frozen” was probably printed on her coat. A cellphone?

I suppose it’s no different than all the toddlers I see in the grocery store carts holding on to a IPAD, watching movies. Is this the new binky? I’ve actually seen some of them cry when their mom took it to change the app!

I know, I know…this is today. Of course I didn’t have this when I had my babies, but would I have used them to babysit my children? It sure would’ve been convenient, but how beneficial is it for the child’s future? I always took mine out to acclimate them to the public, and teach them how to act when there. Don’t shout for things wanted, don’t run around, and don’t touch everything in sight. Now, I’m not even sure if children even know where they’re at! The tiny screen is all they see.

I have an issue with my seven and nine year old, always wanting to play their 3DS. They’ve become so good at walking and playing, they could jump through fire hoops and not miss a level on their game! My soon-to-be 13 year old daughter keeps shouting how happy she’s going to be next month when she gets her phone. I do a side glance, wondering where it’s written that this is going to happen? Who does she have to call? And why isn’t the house phone acceptable for this type of communication? She has an IPOD that takes care of music and Facebook. A phone? Although, I suppose the ten year old I saw today, chatting it up while waiting for the bus to her elementary school might have something different to tell me! 🙂

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Teleporting through Music

Wilson_Phillips_BMG-1

It was last weekend when my “boyfriend” and I had the house to ourselves. My mother-in-law was up for an overnight visit with the kids. When this very rare event happens he puts a movie into the kitchen television that we would normally not be able to watch. His go-to is always “Bridesmaids.” It makes him belly laugh during the scene when they’re on the plane and the Kristin Wiig is drunk. Anyway, I digress. In the end they feature Wilson-Phillips singing. I mentally note that I’ll search it later on Spotify and catch up with some old tunes.

One day while I’m home making dinner, before anyone else gets there, I turn on the ol’iphone and blare the trio in my Bose speakers. Let’s just say that my body might’ve been in my kitchen, but my mind was crossing the Maryland bridge, tucked under the steering wheel of my Celica, crying my eyes out after just seeing my ex-boyfriend. We had met up for lunch that day and got caught up with each other’s lives. He’d been away at college.

With each song, “Release Me” … “You’re in Love” … I was there in that moment. I was singing like I could’ve taken over for lead vocal in their next concert. If only I could remember why I go into rooms sometimes I’d be happy! Anyway, it was all right there. The emotions, just like it was an hour ago. The lyrics stabbing my heart like sharp needles, rattling emotions. I belted out the entire album (my toy Yorkie starring at me with a look of whether to run or stay) and then placed it back into the corners of my mind…in my heart. Music has that sort of effect on me.

contemporary, fiction, music, romance

Music and Writing

images (4)Music has a tremendous impact over my moods, over my writing, and over my driving! I would even go so far as to say that one song had the power to inspire me to write a book about the lyrics. It was my first one, “Keeping Her Secret.” Although, when I wrote it, I titled it “Gravity.” It placed as a finalist in a national writing contest. I was very proud of it, after all, it was the namesake of its muse, “Gravity”, by Sara Bareilles. When I heard that song for the first time, I felt the emotion of the girl being so drawn to her lover. Without any touch or chains, she drowns in his love. But, she doesn’t want to. She begs to be set free. Wow! What power, what raw emotion. It doesn’t hurt that Sara is so talented and conveys the strong emotion in her voice. I love it!

So, then I began thinking about what other songs I could  listen to that carried a similar message. Something that I could hear and get lost in the meaning behind the lyrics. “Secret Garden” by Bruce Springsteen. It was a perfect addition to my list. I was writing about this fragile girl who thought she was strong, who wouldn’t let anyone get close to her, yet she longed to feel love. She wanted to drown in it, yet be set free; she would take you driving in her car, lead you down a path, but to get to her heart you needed a hammer and a vise. Great songs!

These are certainly my go-to’s for just about anything. I’m currently working on a manuscript about forbidden love; secret love. So, I thought long and hard for my new playlist. A few I came up with was Seal’s, “Secret” and Luther Vandross’, “If Only For One Night”.

Music, to me, is a treasure trove of inspiration. Lyrics writing their ways onto my paper, creating the imagery of tortured souls, hidden love, and just plain getting me in the mood to write a scene. With my first book, “Keeping Her Secret”, I describe the guy and girl dancing to Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine.” Total classic! I can whip out a scene in seconds with the right song playing.

Most of my books will mention music in one way or another. A song mentioned playing in the background, the one they first danced to, or what the character picked on their playlist to listen to, driving to the country house. Music is important to me, therefore I make it important to my characters.