Life has a soundtrack. What’s yours?

Everything has music built in. I just know it.

I came to this realization long ago, when I was about six I think, watching the Muppet Show. As it started, and that bouncy Muppet Show song came on, I just knew:

This song was strumming my pain with its fingers.

You know, telling my whole life with his words.

Perhaps, not, however, killing me softly with his song. Because, they’re Muppets you know. It’s a happy thing. They don’t do killing.

Linking up with my favorite people today! Five Minute Friday. And the theme?

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Oh, I have a lot to say about this. But, alas, I have to pick my children up from school in a bit so I’ll keep it short.

So, yes, I realize that sounds like I’m alas-ing about the kids showing up here. Not quite. They’re the ones that bring a lot of noise and all. Chaos. Child-chaos, the most mind-fizzling kind. Like trying to stuff a bunch of small kittens down a swirly slide while a small parrot sits on your head and repeats the 10 Commandments at you.

YES REALLY THAT’S JUST WHAT IT’S LIKE.

But, back to singing.

I sing a lot. I have my Jesus music on all day, because if I don’t I start to listen to what’s going on in my head, and no  one wants to do that. I sing along. I tend to think I could very well be a backup singer for Journey, if they needed one, you know. Don’t worry – I know very well I can’t actually be the headliner, but totally could nail backup, right?

There’s a band, Travis, from the 90’s that came out with a song called, (you guessed it) “Sing.” I love Travis. They’re all ironic lyrics and tousled British looks and jangly banjos. They were hipster before hipster was cool. And the lyrics tell us:

“But the love you bring, won’t mean a thing,

Unless you sing.”

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It’s true. We need to sing at life. Every day has a soundtrack. Some lyrics are AC DC, some are Neil Diamond.

Some are ABBA and you KNOW those are gonna be good days.

My children have a propensity for singing, especially Red. He likes to sing in the bath, and often makes up his own lyrics. A few nights ago he was in there singing something about Luke Skywalker and I so wanted to video it, but artistic license, you know. They both have it in their contract (renewed when they turned six-ish, that no more videos of bathing time would occur. The lawyer had that instilled after one unfortunate incident involving some gospel, the cat, and a naked Red. Lawyers are such a pain.)

One night, while I was trying to scrape together dinner (literally because I had spilled the pasta and by God we were GOING to eat pasta, even floor pasta. Don’t judge.) it seemed that we were going to have a particularly musical evening.

Musical, not so much in an Andrew Lloyd Webber way, but more in a Bludgeoning You Upside the Head Way.

It involved a lot of noise from Red who was asking me, in operatic style, to build Tatooine with him in the living room. Because he NEEDED TATOOINE RIGHT NOW IN THE LIVING ROOM HOW CAN YOU, MOTHER, IGNORE MY PLEA (insert endlessly repeating chorus here).

On the radio, was the twanging of Johnny Cash. He goes with everything, as you know.

And then, Blonde decided to go upstairs and get his recorder. “Do you want to hear a song?” he asked and I looked at him, wide-eyed, because what? Like a song ON TOP  of all the other songs going on right now? I mean, maybe some harmonies would be doable but really? MORE song?

If the dog had started howling the moment would have really defined itself as The One Time That She Ran from the House with the Dishtowel Over Her Head, Screaming.

I didn’t. The dog didn’t. We soldiered on and I think I did the most logical mom thing:

I snatched that blasted recorder right out of Blonde’s hands and hid it where the sun don’t shine.

There’s only so much music one can take, y’all. I’m not Julie Andrews.

We sing, because we have to. The soundtrack of my life is very Muppet Show with a little Les Miserables mixed in. As well it should be. I regularly sing Master of the House to the babies as their lullaby.

That explains a lot, actually.

So, also, is this little gem  – it’s a part of our soundtrack on the repeat around here:

 

Got Culture?

Newsflash: It’s still summer at our house.
We are swimming. And sweating. And playing endless games of baseball. And hunting for fireflies. And staying up way too late.
And somewhere in there, we are needing a nap, y’all.
I’m talking about me, here. Who cares about the children.

Also, this. My children are never going to leave me alone.

Their new love is making plays. Yesterday we had a matinee entitled:

Darth and Luke Do Something to the Cat.

It was supposed to be a double feature, but The Cat Strikes Back simply did not go well. As one would expect.
However, there are talks of all this being made into a movie.

My children are nutty and creative and I love them. But Lord bless it, I need to show them some real culture or I’m going to be stuck watching Luke and Darth Have No Point in This One for the rest of my summer.

Enter:
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Julie Andrews!!!! To the rescue! And don’t you know, if you need to be rescued from pretty much anything, she is your woman. If she can fix those eyebrows on that one girl in the Princess Diaries, then she can These are a Few of My Favorite Things—you pretty much out of any pickle. And the ever wonderful and mighty Netflix has a new show, starring Dame Andrews just for the young ‘uns:

 

The puppet troupe on “Julie’s Greenroom” will be known as the Greenies. Andrews’ Miss Julie character will work with the youthful puppets throughout the season to create a stage show that incorporates mime, music, dance, improv, circus arts and singing. Guest stars range from Alec Baldwin, to Joshua Bell, to (squeee!) CAROL, QUEEN OF AWESOMENESS, BURNETT.

“This project represents the fulfillment of a long held dream to educate children about the wonder of the arts,” Andrews said in announcing the show.

This show looks to be a mix of Mr. Rogers and The Muppets for me, and I find myself looking forward to it with the throwback glee of one who has longs for a simpler time. A time with puppets and singing. A time when naps would be followed by some graham crackers and milk, and for the love of Pete, also followed by a really early bedtime.

It seems I always want the wee ones to go to bed, don’t I?

Well, since this plan seems to be foiled on a nightly, late summer basis. So, here’s what Momsie will do – Culture ‘em up with a movie night!
So, I give you this gem, also on Netflix:

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Here is a chance for my kids to view a REAL play, like on a REAL stage. With REAL actors and even, dare I say it, a POINT to it. Also, it is adorable. And funny. And again, did I mention that it has an actual PLOT? You’d be surprised how much that helps the flow of things.

And there you have it. The theater, and adorableness, all in one package. Something both Momsie and the kids can watch. The next thing you know, my kids will be working on a rendition of Death of a Salesman for me. I did overhear Blonde tell Red, “I am an actor, yes, but really? I want to direct.” as he headed up to bed.
Thank you for the culture and the cuteness, Netflix!

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Monday Manuscript, of sorts. With a little song and dance.

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So, if you were up with me last night you had to deal with a lot of obnoxious Tweetings about the Tony’s.

I couldn’t help it, I tell you.  I tweet, therefore I am.  I got all twittery when the Les Mis cast started us out, and then.. Sting!  and LL Cool J rapping the Music Man! (for real, I’m not kidding, he did.) And nobody messed up Idina Menzel’s name!

And Alan Cummings had that delicious accent all over the place.  And his weird, zebra-ish suit.

Why, you ask, Why Momsie do you get so worked UP about this show?

Well, I’ll tell you.

When I got my first teaching gig a few years ago, I was all young and enthusiastic and rather, um, overly eager shall we say to get into a classroom and get GOING with the teaching career.  So, I accepted a job teaching English, yes, my major and all.

(*cough but also debate forensics and drama all areas that I had absolutely NO idea how to teach, or certification in, or any clue about whatsoever.)

Now, before the lawyer gets all in a hizzy, I will tell you this:

I DID pursue certification in those areas. I did.  But for the two years or so of my first dip in the pool of Real Employment as a Real Teacher and All…?  I was completely out of my element.

Fish outta water.

Flopping around on the shore with some lesson plans and a lot of idealistic, um, ideas, and not a lot else.

Except:  I had a whole lotta free time, and I really loved teaching.  So there’s that.  And I had learned a very valuable lesson from my dad –

Just act AS IF you know what in the heck you are doing, and everyone else will totally buy it.  And after a while?  You will too.

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My first production was You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  I broke every rule possible.  I wrote in parts, added musical numbers, (sorry copyright – please don’t arrest me.  I know better now, but back then I think I just had the idea that since I was the director I could adjust as needed.  I have now learned that adjusting scripts that are already written?  NOT LEGAL.  It’s like wearing a bad bra that you keep having to adjust the straps on.  If the bra doesn’t fit, get a different one.  Don’t keep tugging.  And yes, I did just compare Charles Schulz’s and Clark Gesner’s awesome musical to undergarments. This is typical for Momsie.  Classy broad.)

Even though I was a complete imposter, and also that I was basically walking the line between teacher director and illicit rebel of the copyright, I’m still glad I choose Charlie Brown, even with all my tinkering.  I think my doghouse for Snoopy was dangerously leaning for quite a bit of each production but this just added dramatic suspense (Will Snoopy survive the next musical number?  Stay tuned!) and…

People came.  They clapped at the end.

My cast had a great time.

Even though Snoopy had developed a nervous tic by the end of each show.

 

So I stayed up late and watched every bit of the Tony’s.  I even got my toddlers in on the act (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?  SEE IT?) at least until the saucy Cabaret number then we started up for the world’s quickest bedtime routine (set to music.  I sang ’em to sleep with “Do You Hear the People Sing.”  Or… maybe they just played dead, so I would stop.)

I love the Tony’s.  Pretty things – shows with songs and dance, or plays with heroics and tragedy – they’re, well, they’re pretty but some would say they’re ephemeral.  Not important.  Not practical.  I disagree.  They fill us up with life and meaning – a straight shot of ART for Art’s sake.  And that is why they are so necessary.

We need to embrace and appreciate beauty in this world – not for its uses or its lessons…  Sometimes we just need to stop, sit, and take in a play and enjoy it for no other reason than it feeds our soul with sweet things.  I feel the same way about trees and mountains.  But I think plays and books and paintings the human trying to create a mountain of her own.  Sometimes it works, sometimes our Snoopy doghouse sways with each chorus, but still, we tried.  Like taking a break from your day and staring out the window while you eat a chocolate chip cookie warm from the oven.  That kind of action is necessary in daily living or we desiccate.  Warm chocolate chips and the sweet sounds of “Happiness” are an antidote for daily living.