Last Christmas with Mom

My mother died on December 9, a little over a week ago. The ravages of pneumonia were too much for her tiny frail 91 year-old body. She spent her final days in inpatient hospice care. This unassuming wing of a quiet Albuquerque hospital was like a Zen monastery – serene and oddly sublime. Here, she was finally able to get relief from her suffering and to rest comfortably as she settled in for her transition. The hospice nurses were some of the most compassionate people…

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holidaze

It’s a little hard to believe that another Thanksgiving is behind us and that there are only five more games left in the regular season of football. We’re officially full-swing into the holidays now, kicked off with the melee of Black Friday, followed by Cyber Monday. Spend baby spend. You know the routine. My long Thanksgiving weekend was okay. I spent most of Thanksgiving Day on the couch, happily watching football and occasionally catnapping. I’ve been working a lot of hours lately. My body is…

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Punching Valentine’s Day in the Nose

Uh oh, here comes Valentine’s Day. Of all the holidays across the calendar year, I’m not sure that any kick up as much emotional dust as this one does. People either really dig it or really loathe it. For some, it is a land mine of expectations, stress and, in come cases, unreasonable need. For the luckier ones, it is a Hallmark wonderland of candy hearts, hot romance and heavy breathing. For my part, I’m pretty neutral on it all. Excepting the occasional creepy overture…

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For Your Tender Heart at Christmas

I must concede that Christmas is indeed the most magical time of the year. Between the cheery lights, the upbeat snap in the air and the bright faces of excited children, there’s an inescapable wonder to it all. Whether you believe or not, even the elegant mystery of the Nativity can stir the most cynical spirit. It is the season of joy and possibility: the ultimate celebration. But Christmas can also break your heart. The holiday, with its relentless merriment, can exacerbate the ache of…

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The Tenderness of Joy

Back in September, I made the decision to take a brief hiatus from music. I needed the extra time and space to focus on writing for my new website and to finish up a couple of other projects. I also needed a beat or two to step back, take a breath and reevaluate the whole jazz and singing thing. The time off was well spent and I made an unexpected realization along the way. It had to do with joy. On the night this epiphany…

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Christmas: Have We Lost Our (bleeping) Minds?

    Black Friday. The mad crush of humanity at its worst. We’ve watched aghast another year as images on the nightly news and throughout social media show people clawing, punching, scratching, kicking and sometimes even shooting to get to the holy grail of discounted flat screens, gaming consoles and i-gadgets. This odious ritual has become the unofficial (and unfortunate) kickoff to the holiday season. “Deck the halls” has turned into “deck other people in the malls.” Elves tremble in fear and department store Santas…

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Snow Globe

Life of late has felt like a vigorously shaken snow globe. Between writing deadlines, parenting demands, tunes to rehearse, vocal cords that need to be kept in shape, gigs to prepare for and the basics of sleeping, eating and exercise, my days are a chaotic whirl of frenetic bits.  I’m hitting it hard but balls are still dropping. Right here and right now, I have more on my plate than is humanly possible for me to manage. The overload sirens in my psyche are blaring.…

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God, Christmas & What We Choose to Believe

Be grateful for all circumstances Because it is God’s will.  This message appeared on the reader board of a Lutheran church in my neighborhood. I have driven past it several times over the past few weeks and every time I see it, it provokes me just a little. The question of God’s will, especially relative to faith, is a curious one to me. Given the climate of the world today, this seems like something worth poking at a little. And of course, any discussion of…

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Reindeer Minutia

Ah, the season is upon us once again. Many of you probably celebrate the Christmas holiday or some variation of it. If so, it is quite likely that you are well schooled in all things Santa Claus. You know the stories. You’ve sat on laps and tugged on beards. You’re down with the “ho, ho, ho.”  You’ve done a few turns around the block on Candy Cane Lane. You know the drill. But what about Santa’s compadres? I’m talking about that elite, nine reindeer team…

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