It’s been a little over a year since the world lost Chris Cornell. I’ll confess that I only knew of him through my daughter’s sweet sister-in-law Steph, who adored Chris and his music. Since Chris’s death I’ve paid attention to his incredible talent.

Yesterday I was listening to Howard Stern on SiriusXM when they played a song released by Chris’s daughter, Toni, for Father’s Day. I sat in my driveway and sobbed. It’s beautiful and so poignant. Hopefully you’ll be able to utilize the link below to hear what moved me so.

Love your people. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

Peace, people.

Dixie Chicks in Tampa

Last Friday night Studly Doright and I went to see the Dixie Chicks perform at the Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa, Florida. Studly is not a music lover. He knows the words to only one song–“Happy Birthday”–and that’s no joke, but Studly loves me, so in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary he consented to accompanying me to see one of my all-time favorite groups. 

He blanched slightly at the cost of the orchestra section tickets, but he shelled out the money with a smile. I think that was a smile. Might’ve been a grimace. With Studly it’s sometimes hard to tell.

I love the Dixie Chicks. Lead singer, Natalie Maines and I have much in common. We were both born in Lubbock, Texas, we are both super fans of Howard Stern, and neither of us can stand Donald Trump. We’re practically twins, only she got all the talent and I’m at least twenty years older. Other than that, it’s hard to tell us apart. 


Natalie Maines




Uncanny likeness, isn’t it? 

When I was a child my parents loved to drive to Lubbock and dance to the music of The Maines Brothers, Natalie’s dad’s band. I feel like this binds us, as well, even though I never got to see the group play live.


Maines Brothers Band


The Dixie Chicks have had to deal with some nasty stuff for more than a decade stemming from a candid comment Natalie made about then President George W. Bush while touring in Europe in 2003. Country music stations turned their backs on the Chicks and many country artists condemned them. 

In comparison to statements made by current GOP candidate Trump and his followers in regard to President Obama and Hillary Clinton, Natalie’s comment was harmless, yet the Dixie Chicks have lost millions of dollars in revenue since 2003. Funny, that freedom of speech thing seems to be selective.

Enough politics, though, this concert kicked ass from beginning to end. The opening acts, Smooth Hound Smith and Vintage Trouble were totally engaging even in the intense tropical heat. I’d pay money to see both groups as solo acts, and was tickled to see artists from the acts appear later in The Dixie Chicks‘ sets.


Smooth Hound Smith


Vintage Trouble


But it was the Dixie Chicks we’d come to see: Natalie Maines, and sisters Emily Robison, and Martie Maguire. They did not disappoint. 

 Even Studly mumbled along to “Goodbye Earl” and “Wide Open Spaces,” throwing vague lines about happy birthday in to fill the gaps. 

I sang every song, but as the evening went on I began to worry that they wouldn’t sing “Not Ready to Make Nice,” the Chicks‘ anthem about the price they paid for Natalie’s comment about President Bush. You see, I’ve alienated quite a few friends over my outspoken Liberal views, and “Not Ready to Make Nice” resonates with me. I needn’t have worried. They saved it for the encore and brought the house down.

From what I witnessed in Tampa, The Dixie Chicks are being embraced with open arms. They were a long time gone, but now they’re back with a vengeance. And I know I like it. 

Here’s “Not Ready to Make Nice” from YouTube. The lyrics follow. Enjoy.

“Not Ready to Make Nice”
Dixie Chicks

Forgive, sounds good

Forget, I’m not sure I could

They say time heals everything

But I’m still waiting.

I’m through with doubt

There’s nothing left for me to figure out

I’ve paid a price, and I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice

I’m not ready to back down

I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time

To go ’round and ’round and ’round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

‘Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is

You think I should

I know you said

Can’t you just get over it?

It turned my whole world around

And I kinda like it

I made my bed, and I sleep like a baby

With no regrets, and I don’t mind saying

It’s a sad, sad story

When a mother will teach her daughter

That she ought to hate a perfect stranger

And how in the world

Can the words that I said

Send somebody so over the edge

That they’d write me a letter

Saying that I better

Shut up and sing

Or my life will be over?

I’m not ready to make nice

I’m not ready to back down

I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time

To go ’round and ’round and ’round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

‘Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is

You think I should

I’m not ready to make nice

I’m not ready to back down

I’m still mad as hell, and I don’t have time

To go ’round and ’round and ’round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

‘Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is

You think I should, what it is you think I should

What it is you think I should

Forgive, sounds good

Forget, I’m not sure I could

They say time heals everything

But I’m still waiting

Written by Dan Wilson, Emily Robison, Martha Maguire, Natalie Maines • Copyright © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

I’m too Fat for my Ukulele (and Other Stories from the Road)

No bull! 

At the Houston rodeo. I’d have won my event, except that my bull wasn’t real.
Apart from the skirt pulled up way too high–Erkel style under my boobs and the dainty sandals on my pretty feet I look like a real life bull rider. Right? Right? Why do I hear crickets?

I own a ukulele now, purchased from a shop in Amarillo. So far, I know two notes, but the ukulele is small and my body is bulky. Together we look odd, like the instrument is being absorbed into my flesh. Like Jabba the Hut swallowing a little invertebrate whole. Gulp.

I’m not going to let appearances prevent me from learning to play the ukulele. Nossirree. But I might need to purchase a muumu just to complete the whole vibe.


 Each day, the tattoo my nephew Russell bestowed upon me becomes prettier. I’ve tried to explain my feelings about it which go above and beyond anything I expected. 

Having never been a particularly attractive woman, it pleases me more than I can say to have such a beautiful piece of art adorning my body. It makes me feel happy. And just a little bit special. I only regret not having it done sooner. 


One friend asked what I’d listened to during my adventure. If I were to try and list my choices in some kind of order, it might look like this:

Howard Stern on Sirius 100


John Fugelsang on INSIGHT Sirius/XM 121

Diane Rehm on NPR

An audiobook by John Scalzi
A V.I. Warshawski novel by Sara Paretsky
I also listened and sang along to the Classic Vinyl station, as well as the 60’s and 70’s stations on Sirius/XM. The comedy stations helped me cover many miles as well.

And then there were great distances without any sound other than that of my tires on pavement. Driving through the cities of Nashville, Kansas City, Dallas, and Houston required a great deal of concentration, and radio silence was a balm for my soul and a boost for my driving skills.


Being home feels good. Today is a day for tackling mountains of laundry and snuggling cats, and for reading blog posts. I’ve been a terrible follower these past two weeks, clicking through blogs with nary a comment.

Thanks for all your positive vibes and support during my journey. Here’s a little Simon and Garfunkel to tie things up.

Peace, people!

A Trivial Concern

Once a month the golf club to which Studly belongs hosts a trivia night. Last month our four person team fared abominably. We did well on the science, geography, and sports questions, but pretty well stunk when it came to song titles and artists. Unfortunately every single question had a music question tied to it as a bonus.

With another trivia night on the horizon I thought I should do a little studying. Pinterest is a great source of trivia questions, and more importantly, answers.

And I’ve been playing Trivia Crack.

Contrary to its name I don’t find Trivia Crack all that addictive. Compared to my old Candy Crush addiction Trivia Crack is like a walk in the park. Amusing, but not habit-forming.
I win more often than not at Trivia Crack, but to be honest most of the questions are ridiculously easy.

I’ve also switched from the Howard Stern channels on SiriusXM to music channels hoping to sharpen my knowledge of singers and songs. Did you know there are bands named Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons?



And my parents thought The Beatles and The Monkees were strange names for bands.


Wish us luck! Peace, people!

Howard Stern, Neil Young, and Inspiration

I have an hour between testing sessions at schools, so I’m sitting outside in my car listening to Howard Stern’s interview with the great Neil Young.

The two spent a great deal of time discussing Neil’s songwriting legacy and what inspires him. Neil spoke about the ideas that come to him as a gift. When he gets an idea, no matter where he is or what he is doing he stops and takes care of the idea right then. His ideas, he said, come to him out of the ether.

Howard chose that time to play one of Neil’s greatest hits, “Ohio,” the lyric story of the murders at Kent State so many years ago. The inspiration came from the Time magazine cover that captured the horror of that day, an image that drove Neil into the woods where he sat on a rock until he had captured the song. It didn’t take him long–many of his songs came to him quickly.

He made me think a lot about inspiration. Some days the ideas flow like a wide open faucet and I’ll end up with five or six posts without breaking a sweat. That doesn’t mean they’re all great, but that’s not the point. Someone else, says Mr. Young can decide if what one writes is good or not. The world has plenty of critics.

Other days no ideas come. It’s like I’m knocking on a door, but nobody answers. On those days I just start typing. Sometimes what happens is surprisingly good, but usually it gets the delete treatment. I try to capture my ideas as soon as they hit me, but many float in and out of my head before I even recognize them as ideas. What I’d really like is for Neil Young’s creative genius to be magically implanted in my brain.

Fun fact: Did you know that Neil Young and Rick James once roomed together and played in a band called the Mynah Birds? They weren’t yet out if their teens.