Monday, September 15, 2008

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

It is approaching the midnight hour, but once again, I am awake. Thought this would be a good time for a blog update!
In my last entry two weeks ago I was preparing for my abdominal CT scan. The test went smoothly and Dr. K's office called about a week later to say that it didn't show anything.
So the next step in this "elimination" process is to have an endoscopy. I scheduled it for October month...on purpose. The last time I had that test it affected my vocal cords. With two huge gigs coming up, I couldn't risk anything changing my singing voice.
In the meantime, I went to my ENT that same day (yes, I am a gluten for punishment) since I was having serious issues with my throat. I totally lost my voice at my last gig and it was not coming back. Dr. London used the endoscope through my nose and looked down my throat. Thank goodness all is fine. No polyps, inflammation...NOTHING.
He said that singing for an extended period of the heat, and then going into air conditioning put a serious strain on my vocal cords. The best thing is to take Mucinex daily and rest the voice for a few more days. I was lucky this time!
I started my 'Yoga Mornings' class at the West Babylon Public Library, with my friend Liv. It is a four-week course that is supposed to help increase strength, flexibility and balance...while creating a sense of calm and focus.
Needless to say, I AM NOT FLEXIBLE! I think my excuse is a good one: I have a muscle disease! After our teacher Cathy almost ripped my hip joint out of its socket to put me in the correct alignment for a specific pose, I informed her of my plight and she promised to be kinder to me in the future.
The biggest and best surprise came on Saturday, September 6th...around 4:30. My friend Julie called me on the phone and asked us what we were doing. Since we had spent a few hours earlier in the day walking around the Argyle Fair with our friends Ceil and Liv, I was resting. But not for long!
Jules(I love you, girlfriend!) informed me that she got her hands on two extra tickets to the US Open Women's Tennis Finals for that evening! OMG!!! I could NOT believe it! We were actually going to watch Serena Williams, in person, at the FINALS!
We took the train from Manhasset around 6 pm to the Shea Stadium stop in Flushing Meadow, Queens. When we got off the LIRR, I took a deep breath and gazed at the US Tennis Center in awe. It has been more than a decade since I had been at this glorious tennis icon...and it was the first time I would witness the women's final!
The center is much more commercialized since the last time I was there, but it still was overwhelmingly magnificent. Jules, Sally and I wandered around, taking in the sights and sounds around us.

Entering Arthur Ashe Stadium was extremely emotional. And to top off the best evening of the summer, one of my all time favorite R & B singers, Anita Baker, gave a concert prior to the match! Can you believe it?
My longtime hero/tennis legend, Billie Jean King, strolled onto center court and tossed the coin to decide who was going to receive serve. Tennis great Martina Navratilova was in the audience and waved to the crowd. Many celebrities were acknowledged throughout the match...which made the evening much more special!

My heart was full...I was so blissfully happy all evening. Especially after Serena defeated number 2 seed Jelena Jankovic in a thrilling 6-4, 7-5 final in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Not only was it Serena's third US Open title, but this win earned her the number 1 ranking in the world!

Unfortunately, my happiness was extinguished the next evening at dinner. I was cleaning up around the kitchen and took a spill on the floor...injuring my right wrist.

Of course, I was thankful I didn't break anything. Especially since I was supposed to do a solo performance at a benefit concert that Saturday! Can't play the keyboard with a sore wrist now, can I? Yikes!

Hurricane Ike was slowly inching its way towards the Gulf Coast, causing dangerous rip currents and gigantic waves here on Long Island. I drove myself down to the beach, camera in hand, and took some amazing photos.
The ocean has always been a safe haven for me. A peaceful place to meditate, work out my problems or just to spend some alone time. Despite the larger than normal waves on the Atlantic, the beach was as beautiful as ever. And I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen that evening. God is truly amazing.

This past Friday, Sally and I were interviewed by a Newsday reporter for a story on American families and the US Census. She is sending out a photographer to take a family portrait to go along with the article. It is interesting to be on the receiving end of a reporter's questions, rather than acting as the middle man/PR pro. For almost 25 years I played that part...probably the reason I am so comfortable being questioned now!

Then on Saturday, I had the pleasure of performing at "Coffee, Cake & Comedy IV," a charity event to raise money for the Gay and Lesbian Democrats of Suffolk County. It was the second time I participated in this worthwhile cause, and it truly was an unforgettable evening.
A few months ago I wrote a jazz instrumental piece that I was planning on performing just for that evening. But what no one knew...specifically Sally...was that I wrote the piece for HER! In fact, the piece is entitled "A Song For Sally!"

Despite my obvious nervousness, I took to the stage like a fish takes to water. Once I began to play my keyboard, I felt right at home. The audience's loud applause and yells as I finished my number proved that I still can perform alone.

I must remember that I CAN DO ANYTHING I PUT MY MIND TO! There were actually a number of people who asked if they could buy my CD! Guess that is a huge reason I should get my butt into the studio soon, right?!

On another note, Hurricane Ike did hit Texas over the weekend, and will be entered into the record books for the severe damage it inflicted in and around Galveston. The storm's enormous size, nearly as large as the entire state of Texas, spread its destruction from eastern Louisiana to Texas! Many people lost their lives, while thousands lost their homes.

I want to send a special message of love to Mom Suzanne and her husband Lou who were caught in the middle of the storm. Thanks be to God that you made it through with only minor damage. We love you, and pray that your friends and neighbors in Texas get all the assistance they so desperately need.
Another special message goes out to Aunt Patricia who is resting comfortably and recovering from knee replacement surgery. We love you...and I can't wait to give you a huge hug one day very soon!

This upcoming weekend is my band's gig in New Jersey. I cannot believe I am crossing the GW Bridge and going back to my alma mater, Montclair State... 28 years later, to perform at their Centennial Celebration! I hope to have the time of my life!

I will keep you posted!

Until next time...God bless! And keep smiling!


Blogger Andy said...

I love the use of the photographs--they bring the whole discussion to life.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Donnetta Lee said...

Found you by googling "undifferentiated connective tissue disease." Would love to hear from you. Learn more from you perhaps about exercise and diet and keeping up your spirits! My doc won't commit fully to the diagnosis but says that I have "features" of multiple connective tissue diseases! I am doing quite well but a little over a year ahead had a horrible scary episode. Drop a note to me at if you should ever get a chance! My blog is "My Write Hand." Donnetta

6:44 PM  

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