Song Lyric Sunday: Bird in the Sky

I am once again joining in with Song Lyric Sunday. The prompt this week is Bird/Fly/Sky/Wing. The song I selected fits several of these words.

For today’s theme, I have chosen an oldie from my own country of the Netherlands. Paloma blanca (also called Una paloma blanca) was written by Hans Bouwens (aka George Baker) in 1975 and was popular across Europe and even in the United States. I never quite understood what a palm tree did in the lyrics, until I discovered today that “paloma” means “dove”.

Song Title: Paloma Blanca
Songwriter: Hans Bouwens
Band: George Baker Selection
Release Date: March 22, 1975

When the sun shines on the mountains
And the night is on the run
It’s a new day, it’s a new way
And I fly up to the sun
I can feel the morning sunlight
I can smell the new-born hay
I can hear God’s voices calling
From my golden sky-light way
Una paloma blanca
I’m just a bird in the sky
Una paloma blanca
Over the mountain I fly
No one can take my freedom away
Once I had my share of losing
Once they locked me on a chain
Yes, they tried to break my power
Oh, I still can feel the pain
Una paloma blanca
I’m just a bird in the sky
Una paloma blanca
Over the mountain I fly
No one can take my freedom away

Song Lyric Sunday: Cowboy

It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for another installment of Song Lyric Sunday. I don’t participate each week, but this week, the theme was easy. For the theme of Cowboy/Gun/Hat/Horse/Western, I am choosing one of the songs on my Country playlist on Spotify. I don’t remember how I first learned about this song, but its meaning definitely speaks to me.

Song Title: Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet)
Singer/Songwriter: Tom T. Hall
Release Date: 1995

He was an old-time cowboy, don’t you understand
His eyes were sharp as razor blades his face was leather tan
His toes were pointed inward from a-hangin’ on a horse
He was an old philosopher, of course
He was so thin I swear you could have used him for a whip
He had to drink a beer to keep his britches on his hips
I knew I had to ask him about the mysteries of life
He spit between his boots and he replied
“It’s faster horses, younger women,
Older whiskey, and more money”
He smiled and all his teeth were covered with tobacco stains
He said, “It don’t do men no good to pray for peace and rain.
Peace and rain is just a way to say prosperity,
And buffalo chips is all it means to me.”
I told him I was a poet, I was lookin’ for the truth
I do not care for horses, whiskey,
Women or the loot I said I was a writer,
My soul was all on fire
He looked at me an’ he said, “You are a liar.”
“It’s faster horses, younger women,
Older whiskey, and more money”
Well, I was disillusioned, if I say the least
I grabbed him by the collar and I jerked him to his feet
There was something cold and shiny layin’ by my head
So I started to believe the things he said
Well, my poet days are over and I’m back to being me
As I enjoy the peace and comfort of reality
If my boy ever asks me what it is that
I have learned I think that I will readily affirm
“It’s faster horses, younger women,
Older whiskey, and more money”
“It’s faster horses, younger women,
Older whiskey, and more money”

Song Lyric Sunday: Movies

I am rather late to join in with Song Lyric Sunday and I’m twisting the prompt a little. After all, I rarely if ever watch movies, so I have no idea what songs are in them. For this reason, I’m going with a song that wasn’t a movie title song, but should have been. Tom Lehrer famously introduces this song that he proposes as the motion picture title song for the movie Oedipus Rex. I am too lazy to look up the lyrics that include the introduction though.

Song Title: Oedipus Rex
Singer/Songwriter: Tom Lehrer
Release Date: 1959

From the Bible to the popular song
There’s one theme that we find right along
Of all ideals they hail as good
The most sublime is motherhood

There was a man though, who it seems
Once carried this ideal to extremes
He loved his mother and she loved him
And yet his story is rather grim

There once lived a man named Oedipus Rex
You may have heard about his odd complex
His name appears in Freud’s index
Cause he loved his mother

His rivals used to say quite a bit
That as a monarch he was most unfit
But still in all they had to admit
That he loved his mother

Yes, he loved his mother like no other
His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother
One thing on which you can depend is
He sure knew who a boy’s best friend is

When he found what he had done
He tore his eyes out, one by one
A tragic end to a loyal son
Who loved his mother

So be sweet and kind to mother
Now and then have a chat
Buy her candy or some flowers
Or a brand new hat
But maybe you had better let it go at that

Or you may find yourself with a quite complex complex
And you may end up like Oedipus
I’d rather marry a duck-billed platypus
Than end up like old Oedipus Rex

Song Lyric Sunday: Desire/Lust/Romance/Passion

It’s Sunday and once again, I am participating in Song Lyric Sunday. Today, the theme is Desire/Lust/Romance/Passion. I am sharing a little song, which I already wanted to share several weeks ago when the theme was Fire or something like it.

In 2008 or 2009, my husband introduced me to Tom Lehrer. The first songs I heard were I Hold Your Hand in Mine and Poisoning Pigeons in the Park. For my 23rd birthday, I however got a CD with lots of songs by Lehrer. One of them is The Masochism Tango, which I am sharing here. I love the upbeat tune and the lyrics, of course.

Title: The Masochism Tango
Singer and Songwriter: Tom Lehrer

Another familiar type of love song is the passionate or
fiery variety, usually in tango tempo, in which the singer exhorts his partner to haunt him and taunt him and, if at
all possible, to consume him with a kiss of fire. This particular illustration of this genre is called
„The Masochism Tango”.
I ache for the touch of your lips, dear
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear
You can raise welts
Like nobody else
As we dance to the Masochism Tango
Let our love be a flame, not an ember
Say it’s me that you want to dismember
Blacken my eye
Set fire to my tie
As we dance to the Masochism Tango
At your command
Before you here I stand
My heart is in my hand . . .
(Yeechh!)
It’s here that I must be
My heart entreats
Just hear those savage beats
And go put on your cleats
And come and trample me
Your heart is hard as stone or mahogany
That’s why I’m in such exquisite agony
My soul is on fire
It’s aflame with desire
Which is why I perspire when we tango
You caught my nose
In your left castanet, love
I can feel the pain yet, love
Ev’ry time I hear drums
And I envy the rose
That you held in your teeth, love
With the thorns underneath, love
Sticking into your gums
Your eyes cast a spell that bewitches
The last time I needed twenty stitches
To sew up the gash
You made with your lash
As we danced to the Masochism Tango
Bash in my brain
And make me scream with pain
Then kick me once again
And say we’ll never part
I know too well
I’m underneath your spell
So, darling, if you smell
Something burning, it’s my heart . . . (hiccup)
‘Scuse me!
Take your cigarette from its holder
And burn your initials in my shoulder
Fracture my spine
And swear that you’re mine
As we dance to the Masochism Tango

Song Lyric Sunday: Road

It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for our weekly dose of song lyrics with Song Lyric Sunday. I don’t participate much at all, but today, I felt like it. The theme for this week is Avenue/Boulevard/Drive/Lane/Road/Street. I didn’t immediately have a song in mind, particularly because I shared my favorite song on this theme already some months ago. I also didn’t want to choose a song that everyone would know. So for today, I’m choosing Six Days on the Road by Dave Dudley.

Dave Dudley is most popular in Hamburg, Germany, due to a German country band called Truck Stop. They have a song titled Ich möcht’ so gern Dave Dudley hör’n. I like that song better than Dave Dudley’s own songs, but that song doesn’t correspond to the theme.

Title: Six Days on the Road
Songwriter(s): Earl Green, Carl Montgomery
Singer: Dave Dudley

Well I pulled outta Pittsburgh a rollin’ down that Eastern Sea board
I got my diesel wound up and she’s a runnin’ like a never before
There’s a speed zone ahead alright well I don’t see a cop in sight
Six days on the road and I’m a gonna make it home tonight
I got me ten forward gears and my George overdrive
I’m takin’ little white pills and my eyes are open wide
I just passed a Jimmy in white been passin’ everything in sight
Six days on the road I said I’m a gonna make it home tonight
Well it seems like a month since I kissed my baby goodbye
I could have a lotta women but I’m not like that sort of a guy
I could find one to hold me tight but I could never make believe it’s alright
Six days on the road I said I’m a gonna make it home tonight
Well the ICC is a checkin’ on down the line
Well I’m a little overweight and my log book’s way behind
Cause there’s nothin’ bothers me tonight I can dodge all the scales alright
Six days on the road I said I’m a gonna make it home tonight
Well my rig’s a little old but that don’t mean she’s slow
There’s a flame from my stack and that smoke’s blowin’ black as coal
Oh well my hometown’s a comin’ in sight if you think I’m a happy you’re right
Six days on the road I said I’m a gonna make it home tonight
Six days on the road I said I’m a gonna make it home tonight
Six days on the road I said I’m a gonna make it home tonight

Things I Do at Day Activities

This is my third attempt at writing a blog post for today. I started writing a random ramble, then started sharing ways to relax. While writing about that, I noticed I was explaining all about the snoezelen® room at day activities. I then wanted to write more about things I do at day activities. So here goes.

Usually, I start the day with a cup of coffee. The staff drink coffee in the central area of the day center before the clients arrive, and since I usually arrive early, they offer me a cup too.

Then, when I go to my group’s room, the other clients arrive and the staff help them unzip their coats. They also read the other clients’ diary, in which their home staff write about them.

I usually do a table-based activity first. This involves sorting tasks, construction play, etc. I particularly enjoy shape-sorting activities.

At 9:30, the second staff for the day comes and we drink coffee. Then, we each go to the bathroom. After that, there are set activities for most mornings. On Monday, I go for a long walk with another group. At my group, the other clients play some games and do other table-based activities. They go for a short walk when the other group returns.

On Tuesday, I go swimming every other week. The day center’s people have the pool to themselves then and most clients have an assigned volunteer or staff to help them. The other week, a volunteer comes to our group and we run some errands.

On Wednesday, we have a cooking activity. For this, another volunteer comes. We generally do some really simple cooking. Since it’s a busy day, the staff really do most of the work. I feel sad that they don’t really involve us much. Of course, watching is cool too.

On Friday, we go to the marketplace. Each of us brings some money and we buy something that everyone likes. Sometimes, it’s fish, while other times it’s a bread roll, fruit or salad.

On each of these activities, the staff can’t take all of us. As such, we take turns going with one staff to do the activity, while the rest do table-based activities with the other staff.

Some people also love the snoezelen® or sensory room. I for one do. The sensory room has a water bed, but also a bubble unit, which is a water-filled unit which makes bubbly noises and has floaty objects in it that you can look at. There are also several tactile boards with all kinds of textures on it that you can explore.

Most people also love listening to music. On Wednesday afternoon, a music therapist comes to our group. I only attended this once, as I normally have the afternoon off on Wednesday, but I love it. The group also owns several tablets, a CD player and a TV to listen to music on or watch videos on.

I currently go to day activities two afternoons: Tuesday and Friday. On Tuesday, we have no set activity for the afternoon. This can get a bit boring, as staff usually spent most of the time writing in people’s diaries and doing administrative tasks. On Friday, I and two other clients go horseback riding with one staff.

At 2:30PM, we have a cup of coffee again, After that, most people hang out some and are getting ready for the bus home, even though we won’t be picked up till four o’clock. On Friday though, we have a dance at another group which everyone from the entire center is invited to.

There are four groups at the day center. My group is for the most severely intellectually disabled people. Another is for the elderly. Then there’s one for people with autism and others who need a lot of structure. This is the group who go for the long walk on Monday. The last group is for relatively capable people. They do kitchen-based tasks like loading the dishwasher. They also do creative activities.

Like I said, I’m in the group for severely intellectually disabled people, even though I’m not intellectually disabled. The reason is I need a lot of support and no pressure to achieve. I can visit other groups if I want to though.

Song Lyric Sunday: Occupation

I haven’t participated in Song Lyric Sunday in months and for a while, I couldn’t find it. Turns out Helen, the founder of the challenge, is struggling with her health. Jim over at A Unique Title for Me is temporarily hosting the challenge now. This week’s theme is Occupation.

The first song that came to mind is a song I used to listen to a lot in the early 2000s, and some later too when I didn’t have an active Internet connection. I had a Jim Croce CD that I’d borrowed from my parents and never given back. Here is the song I’m referring to. For those not aware, I had no idea what this song was about when I listened to it a lot, since I grew up in an era past operators. For those who didn’t grow up with landlines at all, can you imagine this?

Title: Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)

Singer/Songwriter: Jim Croce

Release Date: 1972

Operator, well could you help me place this call
See, the number on the match book is old and faded
She’s living in L.A.
With my best old ex-friend Ray
A guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated

[Chorus]
But isn’t that the way they say it goes
Well let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine, and to show
I’ve overcome the blow
I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words
Could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real
But that’s not the way it feels

[Verse 2]
Operator, well could you help me place this call
Cause I can’t read the number that you just gave me
There’s something in my eyes
You know it happens every time
I think about the love that I thought would save me

[Chorus]
But isn’t that the way they say it goes
Well let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine, and to show
I’ve overcome the blow
I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words
Could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real
But that’s not the way it feels

No, no, no, no
That’s not the way it feels

[Verse 3]
Operator, well let’s forget about this call
There’s no one there I really wanted to talk to
Thank you for your time
Ah, you’ve been so much more than kind
You can keep the dime

[Chorus]
But isn’t that the way they say it goes
Well let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine, and to show
I’ve overcome the blow
I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words
Could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real
But that’s not the way it feels

#IWSG: Creative Outlets Besides Writing

I have a ton of things I want to write about, but somehow I can’t get myself to actually write. I started trying to use my new Mac Saturday evening. So far, it works but is still a bit hard to use. The WordPress app for Mac isn’t available in the app store, so it is a pain to install. I’m just using my phone now rather than WordPress.com in Safari, because at least I know how to work this.

It’s time again for our Insecure Writer’s Support Group or #IWSG check-in. This month’s question is about creative outlets other than writing.

I must say I”m not terribly creative. I don’t do any artsy things and am no good at music either. No, not all blind people are musically talented! I tried my hand at learning to play the keyboards and guitar for a bit, but didn’t like either. Granted, my guitar lessons were while I was at summer camp in Russia and the instructor spoke Russian and English only. This was before I knew English, so it took me half an hour to figure out what he meant by the “strings”.

If we expand creativity a bit to include crafts, I have tried a ton of them. I started out trying to make cards in 2012, not realizing how inaccessible this craft is to blind people. I should’ve known, since the blindness agency used to offer card making courses but specifically to the partially sighted only.

Then I tried mixed media, which was similarly inaccessible. Then came polymer clay, which should be doable but not by me. I tried to learn to crochet and loom knit too.

Lastly, I tried soap and bath and body product making. I still love that craft and would someday like to pick it up again, but I can’t do it independently. This is when I realized that the problem may not be exclusively with my blindness, but my cerebral palsy affecting my fine motor skills too.

So in short, no, I don’t do any creative things other than write. But I’d love to learn.

Queen of Questions (December 7, 2018)

A few days ago, I discovered The Haunted Wordsmith’s Queen of Questions. In it, the author posts a set of questions each day for other bloggers to answer. I badly wanted to answer the questions that day, but didn’t get to do so back then. Now I’m participating for the first time.

1. You have to take the setting from one book, plot from another, and characters from a third to create a new book: What did you take?
I am not that much of a fiction reader, so I really have no idea how to go about this one.

2. What is your favorite candle scent?
Oh, I love love love scented candles! Or rather, wax melts, as candles are a bit risky for me to use. I have a lot of favorites. Now that I think of it, I think my all-time favorite is the Cappuccino Truffle one from Yankee Candle, although Mango Peach Salsa is also great.

3. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Yoghurt with crunchy muesli and some fruit in it, especially blueberries. I must say though that I eat this combination mostly for dessert when at my in-laws. For breakfast, I usually eat it without the blueberries.

4. Did you play video games in the arcade? If yes, what was your favorite (pinball counts too)?
No. I have no clue what the arcade even is. I am blind, and back when I was interested in computer games, all the accessible ones were boring.

5. Pool, darts, beer pong, or something else?
Showdown. Not that I like it, but it’s the only remotely similar game played by blind people.

6. What was the last thing you saw that made you do a double take?
I don’t really know..

7. How do you like your peanuts?
Salted but otherwise not coated. I hate the plain ones that you still have to pop out of the shell, because I’m way too lazy to do that.

8. What is your favorite lunch meat?
I don’t particularly like any kind of lunch meat, but if I have to choose, i’d go for salami.

9. Do you believe in magic?
Not really. Sometimes I try to, but it’s more of an entertainment thing than true belief.

10. What song best describes your mood right now?
Dancing Queen by ABBA. Not that I’m dancing, but I feel like it.

Full Day at Day Activities

Hi, I’m Marieke. I am the insider who is most often out at day activities. I enjoy sensory activities, movement activities and just relaxing in the weighted chair or snoezelen (sensory) room. I am also very good at relating to my fellow clients. I know that I am (or should be) intellectually more capable, but I don’t feel that way. I guess it’s something to do with social and emotional development, or whatever.

Yesterday, we went to day activities for the whole day. We’ve been going for the whole day on Tuesday for about a month now and we love it. We had fun yesterday too, going for a short walk in the afternoon. There’s a farm with lots of cute animals next to the day center. We walked near the animals. I couldn’t touch them, but the other client who was with me and the staff could see them. He said lots of funny things about the animals. Like, when we passed an alpaca that had its behind turned towards us, he said “butt” and laughed.

Today, our support coordinator would have visited us in the afternoon after we’d spend the morning at day activities. However, she was off sick so couldn’t come. Our support worker also couldn’t fill in for her and our mother-in-law couldn’t come either. As a result, we would actually have nothing to do and no-one to rely on for the afternoon. Our day activities staff were a little concerned about us, so they asked the manager whether we could spend today’s afternoon there too. We get funding for six half-days and we already go on Tuesday and Friday for the whole day and Monday and Wednesday morning. The manager was willing to treat this like an exceptional situation though. So we could attend for the full day today too.

It was so much fun. In the morning, we did a cooking activity. I went shopping for it with the staff. Usually, I participate in the cooking itself too, but we felt this would be too overwhelming. Instead, I went into the snoezelen room. The staff made a stir-fried egg roll with mushrooms, onions and bell peppers.

In the afternoon, we had music. A music therapist came to our group. She sang and played the guitar. We could also play on the guitar for a bit. We sang St. Nicholas songs. I am glad I was out, as some of the others would’ve found this too childish and just been annoyed at the noise. I really loved it though.

Tomorrow, I’ll have the day off, but I will go horseback riding in the afternoon. That should be fun!