Touch of Grey will, well, touch upon the rainbow that is life. Good music, good times, and good friends combine to make all the splendid colors. Touch of Grey will celebrate this beautiful rainbow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring Fever

So is everybody else as tired of this winter dragging on and on as I am? A sweet friend's inspiration this morning reflected exactly what my mind has been droning on about, namely, HURRY UP SPRING!

I know, I know, it will get here soon enough, and before we realize it, we will be smack dab in the middle of the good ol' South Texas hundred-degree weather we all know and hate. While I've enjoyed this winter for the most part, being as we rarely have real winters around here, I have officially had ENOUGH.

I would imagine that my folks are ready for spring to "sprung" too, since I've been going stir crazy this week. When I get the broom, mop, and duster out, my dad always says "uh-oh, she's at it again". I have rearranged books on my library shelves, cleaned out my closet (with at least half my clothes going to charity and still it doesn't appear I've made a dent), swept the porches a hundred times, cleaned cobwebs, killed scorpions (not so hard; the cold weather has made them quite sluggish), groomed the cats, helped my dad with projects in his garage, cooked ginormous meals, made several trips to Victoria and Cuero (Cuero??? OK, more on that at a later date), even worked a night at Cuero hospital, gathered my taxes and taken them to the CPA, rode my bike, chopped down weeds (okay, I could have done more of that, but......I get tired!) and watched the Olympics through it all, like a thread woven through the more menial aspects of my life.

Some of it has to do with those Olympics, actually. The last time the winter Olympics were on, my mother was dying of cancer in the hospital on her birthday, and the anniversary of all that will now happen to fall at this time every four years. Sometimes staying busy is the best remedy, but I will never be able to look at the Winter Olympics without thinking of my mother. However, so many things can change in a year! A new home, a practically brand-new father after his successful battle with cancer (almost two years cancer-free and counting!), my grandmother coming to live with me, and other things that simply blow my mind.

So, with another Olympics drawing to a close, I am waiting patiently (or maybe not so much) for winter to draw to a close as well. How do people who live where it snows in FEET at a time do it? How do they not go stark raving mad, dealing with the cold, blustery, grey, snowy days for months at a time? Yeah, for me, I'm just looking forward to the bluebonnets and a trip to Port Aransas, something I haven't done in too long. Come on, Spring!!

To get us through these dreary days, I have some "sunny" songs to brighten your outlook. One of my favorite artists of the 1960s, Donovan (some men are so supremely cool they need only one name), will greet you here with his "Sunshine Superman", a groovy tune that will start you down the path of beautiful thoughts for this chilly day.

Next is one of the loveliest songs by my favorite band of all time, The Beatles. Ask for the sun, and the Beatles will deliver it to you here. Although the world became a little less beautiful when George Harrison died, this song evokes sweet memories of him and the band at their best. Enjoy the great pictures and the sunny tune, and feel you day instantly looking up!

Next up is a "darker", more somber tune about a certain sun, "The House of the Rising Sun", by the Animals. here. Although not a light, bouncy song, it is undeniably a classic, and any day I can see and hear Eric Burdon is a beautiful day for me! My father dearly loves this song, and he has never tired of it. Anytime we are in the car and it comes on the radio, he will turn it up and groove.

You know that I can't do this spring fever blog without bringing in The Doors' "Waiting for the Sun"! Again, any day I can enjoy Jim Morrison is indeed a wonderful day! Here is the cool video for that song that puts into perfect words just how I feel as this winter refuses to leave.

Now for something in a different vein, enjoy Stevie Wonder's "A Place in the Sun" here. I can't imagine why I haven't linked more of his music in my blogs. The man is a true musical genius, and he is one that I have come to appreciate more over the years. I dearly love so much of his music, and nearly every song he performs lifts me up and makes me feel wonderful.

To put you in an eighties groove, check out this song by Glass Tiger, "Diamond Sun" here. Leg warmers, giant hair bows, finger gloves, hair mousse, and fuschia eye shadow are optional. It's a good thing I cleaned out my closet, I suppose.

And last, but never least, I have the song that makes me happier than any other. That song also happens to be my namesake, "Sugar Magnolia", by the one, the only, Grateful Dead. This tune never fails to make me rejoice in the day, no matter what kind of day it may be. I can listen to this song and forget all my woes (and a shot or two of Southern Comfort never hurts either). Enjoy it as much as I do here.

With all this sunny music, I'll bet you almost forgot the cold, ugly weather, right? I know it was a respite for me. Now maybe we're even a little more ready for spring, and I won't drive my folks up a wall with my incessant, whirlwind cleaning.
What do YOU do to cope with this lo-o-o-o-ng winter season? What are your plans to greet the spring? I hope that all the rain we have endured will mean an outstanding wildflower season, as cruising for the best wildflower views is on my list this year.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Valentines

Is there anything more attractive than an intelligent man? A man that has not only made the world a groovier place, but has actually benefited the entire world through the power of his knowledge and the courage to make a difference? Well, I think not. That's why these two sweethearts are my valentines, this year and every year.

Every gal has a guy that comes around and changes her life. He makes her see things anew, appreciate the finer things, and serenades her with the sweetest guitar you ever heard. Dr. Brian May entered my life around 1976 or so, and I haven't been the same since. And that is for the better. The moment I heard that incredible guitar of his, I KNEW what rock and roll was all about. The best Christmas present I remember was the sight of Queen's "News of the World" propped up against the tree one year, sans wrapping. My parents were smart enough to realize it needed none. How perfect was that sight to an 11-year old! I literally wore out the record, and had to buy a new one later. I have never experienced another guitar as melodious, as beautiful as Brian May's. It was a singular, unmistakable sound. Being the young genius Brian was, he actually designed and built his own guitar at an early age. And that was just the beginning of his story.

You see, he formed Queen, along with Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor between degrees. That's right. Educational degrees. Such as a Bachelor in Math. A Master's in Math and Physics, with honors, mind you. But he wasn't finished. In 2007, he completed his long work on his Doctoral thesis on Zodiacal (interplanetary) dust clouds, finally achieving his Ph.D. in Astrophysics. He was installed as chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University in 2008, and has coauthored a book entitled "Bang!" His web site, here, is well worth checking out. Be sure to take a peek at "Bri's Soapbox", his own blog that is both witty and incisive. Living a life free of drugs and drama, he is possibly rock's best kept secret. How could a girl of 11 have known what was going on behind the scenes? With each passing year, my admiration for this gentleman grows, as does my passion for his music. Thank you, Dr. May, for adding so much to my life.

There is another extraordinary gentleman, also a Briton, who has made my and so many other lives better simply for his being here. Dr. Stephen Hawking, the exemplary astrophysicist who has literally shaped the way our Universe is viewed, has contributed a monumental amount of knowledge to science. His unique theories and numerous books, films, and peer-reviewed studies have not only lent themselves to a greater understanding of the workings of the Universe by scientists and non-scientists alike, but have inspired many young people to explore the vast field of science as a hobby and as a career.

Among the most important and esoteric topics Dr. Hawking has studied are black holes and event horizons, gradation, string theory, wormholes, and entropy. He has authored numerous books, including "A Brief History of Time" and "On the Shoulders of Giants: The Great Works of Physics and Astronomy". He is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, and like his cohort Dr. May, has been honored as a CBE (Commander of the British Empire). His long fight against motor neuron disease (likely a form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) has not impeded his search for a greater understanding of the Universe. His amazing web site may be examined here.

Both these men are true heroes to me, and have made my life more positive through their influence. Long may my Valentine sweethearts live!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cool History: Abraham Lincoln Was A Man of Many Talents

Note to Aprill Brandon: Abraham Lincoln is the correct spelling for the gentleman you so disparaged in your silly little blog on the Victoria Advocate the other day.

Unlike you, I have readers that do not have to be bored or drunk (in your words) in order to enjoy an intelligent post. So for all my readers, here is a small insight into the mind of this gentleman here. I think you will be enlightened and entertained.

What a very cool president and great man he was. With this blog and this link, I intend to give him the respect he so deserves. Although he may have enjoyed an occasional libation, I doubt that Mr. Lincoln would have appreciated "drunk history". After all, he was an adult.

That would be something some people know nothing about.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just Because They're So Awesomely Cool

Want to start your morning out right?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Jake and Elwood - The Blues Brothers!

I will let their great talent speak for itself.

So go here.

Then go here.

Now try here.

Check this out.

And this too.

And if this doesn't make you smile, nothing will! Yep, I saved the best for last.

Now fall down on your knees and thank heaven that the Blues Brothers came along in your lifetime.

After all, they are on a mission from God.

Monday, February 8, 2010

When the Saints Go Marching In...

...they win!

To the Saints and all the people of New Orleans ~ CONGRATULATIONS!

This was your year. Your year to shine. Your year to show your spirit to the rest of the world. Your year to lay some ghosts to rest. Your year of glory.

It was a pleasure to follow you this year, as I usually don't care for football or any other sport. But there was something contagious in your drive to be the best. Is it because I could relate to you, having visited and enjoyed New Orleans myself? Is it because this gal in South Texas is practically your neighbor, geographically speaking? Is it because I root for the underdog? Is it because I felt your anger, pain, and anguish as your lives were torn asunder by Hurricane Katrina, and I felt your jubilation, optimism, and perseverance as you undertook the monumental task of rebuilding your beloved city?

Maybe it is all these things and more. Tonight, the world celebrates your hard-earned Super Bowl XLIV championship. To sweeten things even more, I have a couple of songs here and here. What are they, you ask? Well, I guess y'all just gotta follow the link and see!

Enjoy your championship, New Orleans. When you wake up tomorrow, guess what? It will still be there. Nobody can ever take this away from you. With Mardi Gras coming down the pike, I would love to be in your fine city for the next two or three weeks. But, that is not possible. So I will leave it to you to do what you do best - throw THE party of the year!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sunny (okay, partly cloudy) days and Fridays, and a Blue Beauty

What an improvement, finally! The sun trying to peek out, soggy grounds finally getting a chance to dry out, and both morning coffee AND a late night dinner with various friends.

Despite a repeat trip to old V-town yesterday, the burning of gasoline was worth it, for my car is NOT in the shop (after another expensive repair experience last week) and I got to spend time with a couple of the neatest people I know. The fuzzy one, your favorite ferret and mine, was my early morning coffee companion, and I do believe that together we have solved the world's problems, so you all may rest easy. And dinner with a certain friend who is truly one-of-a-kind capped off the night, and lasted into the early morn.

Tonight, to work, then tomorrow, well, I suppose I will be doing what everybody else is doing....gluing my carcass to the easy chair in front of the big screen to watch Superbowl XLIV. Just me, dad, and grandmother, a small party of sorts, but a fine one nonetheless. In between, I may ride my new blue beauty, a Christmas gift from my father. Seems that for the first time in thirty years, he decided his little girl should have a bicycle for Christmas, and so purchased one, complete with a "SPOILED" license plate. Yep, he nailed that one correctly. Through proper diet, a candy ban placed by yours truly upon myself, and rides on that bike (and, yes, it IS true about never forgetting how to ride), I have lost five pounds since the new year, and am on my way.

How do YOU plan to spend Superbowl Sunday? Do you have a traditional party? Do you go to someone else's party? I wouldn't care about it myself, except for an opportunity to spend time with my father. I really don't care who wins, either. Later this year, football begins anew, and each team will once again have the opportunity to prove themselves. My money is on the Houston Texans for Superbowl XLV. What say you?