Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sharing: Robert V Taylor's "Wake Up Call" regarding: FEAR

I receive weekly posts from Robert V. Taylor, an internationally respected thought leader, author, motivator, Episcopal priest and all-around genuinely nice person. I've had the pleasure of working with him on a number of occasions, including for an unforgettable "town hall" type discussion involving Robert, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, my friend and KING 5 New Day Northwest host Margaret Larson, and a group of students from the greater Tacoma area as part of the city's "Be the Spark" campaign in the spring of 2011. Click here to watch a portion of that discussion.

"Be the Spark" Discussion - 2011

This week's post struck a nerve with me, because I have been working to release myself from the fear cage I've been locked in for nearly twenty years. I've savored brief escapes here and there, but always seem to end up locked firmly behind the fear bars again. Robert's weekly "Wake Up Call" posts share a brief story or observation, usually from his personal experience, then ask a couple of simple but well-thought out questions, to get the conversation going in our brains. 

How many of you are also trapped inside a fear cage? Let's look for the key together.


What we do with our fears is more telling than the fear itself.

Something clicked with my three year old nephew. Always fearful about the pool he was willing to go in with me a few weeks ago. As we splashed about his reluctance gave way to comfort and soon he was playing water games with the other kids his age.

We could have chosen to stick with trying to get his toes in the water but instead he chose to wade in the water.

The following week he took his first swimming lesson and now he relishes every opportunity to be in the pool. His delight about the water is infectious.

Splashing in the water and laughing, my nephew reminds me that what we do with any of our fears is how we discover freedom from them. How will you choose to live beyond your fears and who might you trust to walk you through them?


  • What fear do you need to wade through and beyond?
  • Who will you choose to walk through your fear with?

Notice how each time you move beyond a fear you shed a limitation and discover new life.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Memory Lane: my stint as Publicity Manager for MusicMasters Records & working with some of jazz's biggest legends

I fell down a rabbit hole of sorts today. It began when I saw a post from Classical KING-FM promoting a performance by Stephen Hough. I remembered doing PR for a few of his albums when he recorded with MusicMasters and Musical Heritage Society back in the 80's. Seeing Stephen's albums got me looking for other recordings I had the honor and pleasure of helping promote. I couldn't find all of them - MM went out of business years ago - but the ones I did find have some great memories attached.

MusicMasters was run by a man named Jeffrey Nissim. His family owned Musical Heritage Society (a mail order classical and jazz company). Jeffrey was pretty hip and really enjoyed helping revive and nurture careers, from up-and-coming singers like Dawn Upshaw, to living legends like the incomparable Miss Peggy Lee. As Publicity Manager for MusicMasters, I GOT PAID for rubbing elbows with the likes of Miss Peggy, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Carter, Ruby Braff, Louie Bellson, as well as attend the 1988 Grammy Awards (Louie won a Grammy for Best Jazz Recording that year). I sat in between Dr. Ruth & members of Earth, Wind & Fire, and walked the red carpet from Radio City Music Hall to the afterparty at the Hilton, alongside a young Irish band called U2, before enjoying an amazing performance by percussion legend Tito Puente.

The biggest surprise, though, came when MusicMasters obtained the rights to previously unreleased recordings by Benny Goodman, uncovered in the Yale University Library. Not only did I get to travel to Yale with Jeffrey and others, he included my name in the full-page Billboard Magazine ad promoting the deal. I may still have that ad somewhere among my things. Daily chats with Miss Peggy Lee as she recorded "Peggy Sings the Blues," is also a tremendous highlight, along with being able to work with Jazz PR legend Phoebe Jacobs. What a trailblazer. I read she passed away in 2012 at the tender age of 93. She was incredible and never had a problem with working with a 24 year old "little girl" <- Dizzy Gillespie's nickname for me. 

Here are just a few of the albums I had the honor of helping promote:

Peggy Lee - Peggy Sings the Blues - I love this photo of her. We brainstormed a number of cover ideas for this album. I think this turned out classy and dreamy at the same time. Phoebe taught me how to "speak Peggy." For example: I called her at the studio to see how her recording session was going, when she sighed and said, "Those mean clouds are hiding the sun today, Suzie." I learned that the best reply for this comment was to send an arrangement of sunny yellow flowers to the studio, along with a kind note.  She'd call and feign surprise and gratitude for "such a thoughtful and sweet gesture." There was also "Peggy speak" to arrange a delivery of her favorite tea and sweets. This may sound or seem demanding, but it really wasn't. Miss Peggy was very sweet, always gracious, and that Voice. She had it to the end.

Benny Goodman - The Yale Archives - All I have to say about this CD is wow. Wow, wow, wow. What a find and what a coup for MusicMasters Records.

Dick Hyman & Ruby Braff - Manhattan Jazz - This is one of my favorite albums of all time. Two friends who know each other so well, their music weaves together naturally. This is just Dick and Ruby, doing their thing. Perfect music for a cocktail hour or a contemplative evening at home.

Benny Carter & Dizzy Gillespie - In the Mood for Swing - I love the cover photo of Benny Carter and Dizzy Gillespie for "In the Mood for Swing." If you look at their faces, you can catch a glimpse of what each man was like as a child. Dizzy still had that mischevious grin and twinkle in his eyes. Benny emanated an air of the "good boy" who got in trouble nonetheless, because of his buddy. That's exactly how they were whenever I saw them together. Dizzy's sense of humor preceded him like a force field. You had to pay attention to Benny, or his quiet humor would float over your head, sending Dizzy off into peals of laughter as you try to figure out what just happened.

I can't believe they're all gone now. Well, gone in body, but their spirits and souls live on through their music, as well as some wonderful memories.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Great Woman; Wise Words - Maya Angelou, Ph.D. (April 4, 1928 ~ May 28, 2014)

I arrived at work to news that the great Maya Angelou has passed away. All of the major news outlets have posted tribute pieces and I marvel at the different approaches taken by some.

NBCNews.com peppered its story with video clips.

Time.com re-posted its "10 Questions with Maya Angelou" from 2013.

USAToday.com posted 13 of Maya's greatest quotes, as compiled by correspondent Lindsay Deutsch. In a nod to Lindsay, I've reposted those quotes below in meme form.

To Maya, I say: Spread your wings and fly, Ms. Angelou. You live on through your incredibly insightful words and important lessons you taught during your 86 years in our midst. 














Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My life... in memes. Can you relate?

I've become quite fond of memes. I even tried my hand at creating a couple, because I loved the quotes and no one else had thought to turn them into memes. My picture folder on my computer is filled with memes; some that I've posted on Facebook and Twitter, others that are waiting their turn. Then I thought, I can just share them all here in one place.

So, without further ado, I bring you... Motivation Overload!

(This is the second meme I've ever created. It's a line from one of my favorite Ben Taylor songs called, "You're Not Alone." If you've never listened to Ben, you should. He's kind of like dad James & mom Carly, but with his own little twist. I highly recommend his album "Listening")

(This is the first meme I created. It's from the Rollins Band song "Starve," one of my favorite workout and motivational songs. I created this meme the morning I ziplined for the first time. I'm terrified of heights and I won't say it was the most enjoyable experience, but I'm proud to say I completed the entire course  - and it was all captured on video.)

(Okay, this isn't really a meme - and yes, I want that bracelet - but I love the quote, which is attributed to Michelangelo. Quite simply: "I am still learning." He reportedly spoke these words when he was well into his 80's. I don't know about that, but I love the power in these two words. Confession: I first saw this quote on Ryan Whitney's Facebook page. It struck me for two reasons: 1. Simple yet powerful. 2. It gave me the impression that there's much more to Ryan Whitney than hockey.)


(I fall victim to this quote quite a lot. Sometimes, if I'm 100000% honest with myself, I may use this as an excuse to not pursue my passions. Sometimes, the noise comes from within myself - a loud, nasally drone that tells me I'm not good enough or too stupid to achieve what I want. Sometimes, that voice takes on the persona of Chris Farley's Talk Show Host character, who asks stupid questions, then berates himself nonstop. Those who are close to me know that I relate to this skit too much at times.)

(This was a quote on a Seahawk's Twitter page - I can't remember which player and I'm not about to go looking for it. Okay, maybe I will look for it, but not right this minute. Pretty self-explanatory- the quote, that is.
P.S. Okay, I looked it up. It's on Doug Baldwin's Twitter bio. )

(I heart Bruce Lee. He is so filled with wisdom. Forget about the fact that he can also kick my ass with just one toe. Yes, I realize I'm talking about him in the present tense. In my world, he still lives. My sister Kimberly gave me a book of wisdom and quotes by Bruce Lee. I carry it around with me.)

(So, this isn't exactly a meme, either - just a quote someone typed up in pic form. But the quote resonates with me in so many ways, I don't have enough space to list them here. I know I'm not alone, either. I know you're reading this quote and thinking, "Damn. I thought I was the only one who felt this way." You're not alone. Hopefully, this makes you feel a little better.)

(I don't know about you, but there's a soundtrack playing in my head all day, which makes this Shakespeare quote so apropos. When I was growing up, I used to annoy my mom because I'd sit at the dinner table, tapping out the beat to whatever song happened to be playing in my head at the time. Right now, "Starve" by Rollins Band is playing in my head, probably because I wrote about it earlier in this post. What's playing in your head right now?)

(When someone says you have a beautiful heart, take it as a tremendous compliment. Our exteriors don't remain the same as we age, but our inner light is what keeps us young.)

(I've been bleeding all of my life.)

(I've experienced miracles. In fact, it's a miracle I'm sitting here, typing this right now. I'll tell you about it one day. What miracles have happened in your life? Don't say "none." It's a miracle you're here, too.)

(This is SO full of TRUTH. Don't wait. Please. You never know what the next day, hour or minute will bring. As some beer commercial from the 70's used to say, "Go for the Gusto!" Then, tell me all about it!)

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Tao of Sloth... or... Savor Life Slowly

I was reading a fascinating story on BBC's website about a woman in Suriname who rescues sloths. The story included a "Tao of Sloth" - kinda tongue-in-cheek, but wise words nonetheless. To read the story, click here

 Here are the tenets which comprise the Tao of Sloth:

The Tao of Sloth
What would it be like to be a sloth? Human life would be a blur. Sloths seem to embody a central tenet of Taoism "action through non-action" so let's consider a "Tao of Sloth":
  • Eat slowly - The sloth's diet of leaves is hard to digest, their approach is to allow plenty of time
  • Hang out - Sloths save energy by hanging from their claws rather than using their muscles
  • Smile all the time - Sloths are cute and appear to smile though they're not primates, they're related to anteaters and armadillos
  • Be kind and others will be kind to you - Three-toed sloths climb down from the safety of the tree canopy to poo on the ground, for the benefit of moths that live in their fur (the moths in turn encourage the growth of beneficial algae)

Friday, March 28, 2014

My 20's... in concert tickets

I went to a lot of concerts in my 20's.


I went to some concerts because of my job (I worked at several record companies in NYC in the 80's), but I mostly went because there were bands I wanted to see.

I've managed to save some tickets, but confess many more ended up discarded: on arena and club floors, the garbage, I'm sure a few even went through the wash in the pocket of my favorite black jeans. But a few tickets survived and found their way into a photo album. Many of the tickets are for shows in and around the greater NYC area, but a few are from Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama. Take a look at the dates. Maybe you were there, too?

(Some of these uploaded upside-down and sideways. I confess, I have no idea how to flip these- they're saved upright in my pix file)