I've been thinking a lot about the connections we all share - that same life that lights up each of our eyes and fills our lungs with breath.

I've been contemplating how lifetimes of love and experience can be shared between people in a few moments or years - that's why you can be young, but feel so old.

Death or disconnection is such a powerful, spiritually altering experience.

Experience, then change, can leave YOU changed.  It doesn't matter if the change is sudden or not.  (Death vs a slowly dying relationship.)

When I really tune in to what my heart is FEELING - it is a resounding pain for the people who I've loved and since lost.  This can be a living person, too.  Moving away from friends, family, certain lifestyles - it's all being mourned, right now.  I need some wisdom from the conversations we used to have.  I'm fearful I'll never know a connection like that again.  

I live in a beautiful city - with a wonderful husband & our cat & dog.  I understand that I have much to be grateful for, right now.  I do love being here and I do NOT want to discount how much I enjoy being here...

I'm just saying.  I miss my friends in Texas, OK & Miami.  I miss my Nana.  My Grandma Banks.  Reed.

The list could go on... 

So - lately I've been trying to focus on the connection I shared with all of them - and how it is still present in my life, now.  For instance, when a U2 or Depeche Mode song comes on the radio - I'm going to smile and dance in my seat and think about Reed.  And, that helps me to make new friends or it enhances the beauty of this new scenery.  I feel like he's in the passenger seat - playing keyboard on the dashboard - and pointing out things as we pass through this Southern California scene.  I am beginning to recognize that when another person lights up and begins to sing along with Bono - they share something kindred with me & with Reed...and, so the Connection continues.

Sometimes, I'll just sit quietly and send my thoughts strongly and intently toward a person - or toward the greater conscousness (God).  And, I'll be grateful - just so, so grateful - that I got to know that person.  My friend taught me to do that when you miss a person.  And, it has helped me so much.

I know it's a rambler - but, I think that's exactly where I'm supposed to be right now...rambling along in the present and recongizing the Connection.




Cruisin' California for Christmas Lights

It's our first Christmas in California and I am really excited.  The Beach Boys and Barbara Streisand used to sing about Sunny Southern California at Christmas-time, but now I really feel like I'm gaining a perspective.  We'll get to experience the early fall like weather here - before we descend into Oklahoma's true winter weather.  Ah, but for one more week, we can do a California Christmas - shorts, sunglasses and all.

We've been slow to start, in the Banks/Barney Household, this Christmas. Our cup of spirit doth not overfloweth, this year.  We have overwhelming reasons to be happy - I guess it's just human nature sometimes to push those reasons aside and fixate on the things that hurt.  Like losing a loved one.  Especially at Christmas - it brings back so many memories and you can't help but wish  you could see your sweet person's face once more.  Hear their voice.  Give them a hug.  I know how this feels, to an extent.  But, I also know that I do not have the type of perspective some of my family members have - who have experienced a loss so recently - and daily I am amazed at their spirit - their faith - their good cheer.  If they can smile - I've got a reason to smile.  While I may feel blue or lonely now and again - I just have to remember to make a different choice.  Then, I just choose to be happy in this moment - right now.

So, last night Trafton had to work.  Trafton works most nights - and my friends here all have families with small children or live in a different time zone so I can't call them -  so until I make some new friends - I have to get creative with my nighttime activities.   

Last night, I did just that.  Jack (my dog) and I cruised up and down the residential streets  of Santa Monica and Culver City and looked at the Christmas Lights.  

When I was little, my Mom & Dad used to pile us into the Buick Stationwagon to drive to Elk City to see the lights - and we'd also drive around the neighborhoods in Cordell, Elk & Clinton.  We'd play Christmas Music Cassette tapes (my favorite was the Muppetts) - Heather's favorite was Barbara Streisand - we all had our favorites, really - and, we'd just sing along as father kept the car creeping through the neighborhoods at 8mph. We'd sing, we'd "ooh!" and "aaah!" over animated lawn figurines - or beautiful old cars parked out front with a garland or wreath adorning them.  I like how we had enough time to really take in the tableau - the entire scene - and we'd have conversations about what we were seeing together - and we'd come up with ideas or ways to do more things in our own yard the next year.  It was always fun - a sure fire way to get those Holiday Sentiments a'flowing.

It always seemed to propel me into my bed for sweet dreams and a great morning the next day, talking to the other kids at school about who's yard was the coolest, brightest or most creative.

I loved that ritual that my family observed as a child, so last night I took Jackie Bear while Trafton was at work and we piled into my Tahoe.  We had the seat heaters cranked up to "Hi" and the windows down, sunroof open - letting the cigarette smoke billow out as we listened to Ghostland Observatory's "BODY SHOP".  I cannot help but dance in my seat when I'm driving and that song comes on.

It's so fun to see the California Homes all streamlined and eco-focused, wrapped in lights and garland.  I love seeing the palm trees adorned in bright lights.  That's a treat I've enjoyed both in LA and Miami Beach.  Tropical Christmases have their charms.  

Cruisin' California Mission: A Success

I came home laughing, loving life - and energized to wrap those gifts I've been putting off for so long.

Sometimes I think we forget how easy it is to do something for ourselves, that we'll genuinely enjoy.  We blow ourselves off and get to doing the "business" of the day.  Not Cool.  You don't skip recess, buddies.  You just don't.


Now, crank up that Ghostland tune and dance your ass off.  Seriously, right now.  

"Wax it. Grind it. Work it. Ride it."

So far, I'm digging this California-style of Christmas.  :)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Jack is finding a spot to cozy up under the tree.


I just love this time of year.  I always have.  As a child, I played my Christmas records, year round, because they made me happy.  That earned me the nickname "Christmas Queen" from my family.  It's a title I still happily claim.  There's not another time of year that makes me happier or brings more joy to my heart.  There's just something so beautiful about how Christmas brings out the best in all of us.  The warmth and kindness that so often gets pushed aside in other times of the year.

I think a lot about Baby Jesus.  How innocent and tiny he was.  And, how he was born into this world as a Saviour to us all.  God humbled himself in such a way - as to clothe himself in flesh and blood and come to our world to show each and every one of us how to conduct ourselves on this planet Earth.  He came to set an example - and to offer us salvation.  He believed in humanity enough to allow himself to be vulnerable.  A tiny baby born into the crudest of nurserys. 

My sisters now have children of their own, and Christmas has taken on new meaning for us.  As I hold these sweet babies, I look deep into their eyes - seeking to see a spark of their soul.  I realize how fragile and precious life is - and I am amazed that God chose to come in the form of a babe.  Who would've thought that the star maker would allow himself to be laid in a manger - and clothed in rags?

I thank God for Christmas - and for the tenderness it brings out in each of us. 

I pray that God blesses you - this day - and every day.  And, I pray that we all remember the sweetness and the vulnerability that God chose to bring himself into our world.  May we all cherish and protect that tenderness in one another.  For, that's one of the loveliest things about living.


The Ol' Ball & Chain doesn't alway refer to marriage...

I spent my Thanksgiving vacation driving to see my family in Oklahoma - and Janis Joplin accompanied me the entire way. This particular version of "Ball & Chain' has always been my favorite - because of the speech she gives at the end.

I've utilized her way of thinking to get me through a few different tough situations - when I wanted someone who I couldn't have. She taught me to relish the moments you do have - rather than cry about the ones you don't.

Preach it, Janis:

And I want someone that could tell me, tell me why

Just because I got to want your love

Honey, just because I got to need, need, need your love

I said I don't understand, honey, but I wanna chance to try

Try, try, try, try try try try

Honey when everybody in the world wants the same damn thing

When everybody in the world will need the same lonely thing

When I wanna work for your love, daddy.

When I wanna try for your love, daddy.

I don't understand how come you're gone, man.

I don't understand why half the world is still crying, man, when the other half of the world is still crying too, man, I can't get it together.

If you got a cat for one day, man I mean, if you, say, say, if you want a cat for 365 days, right you ain't got him for 365 days, you got him for one day, man. well I tell you that one day, better be your life, man. because, you know, you can say, oh man, you can cry about the other 364, man, but you're gonna lose that one day, man, and that's all you've got. you gotta call that Love, man. that's what it is, man. if you got it today you don't want it tomorrow, man, cause you don't need it, cause as a matter of fact, as we discovered in the train, tomorrow never happens, man. it's all the same fucking day, man.

So you gotta, when you wanna hold him, You gotta hold him like it's the last minute in your life, baby.

It's official. I'm using guitar picks.

I've received feedback that it's hard (impossible!) to hear my guitar on my videos.


Because I'm just teaching myself how to do this stuff.  And, it ain't great.  It's safe to say I am not ready for my guitar solo, yet.

But, I recorded my first video with a guitar pick.  And, if anyone could give me the gumption to do it, it was my Nana Self.  So, this one's for her.

I've had a couple of crappy YouTube remarks.  One person just straight up wrote "Yikes!" on one of my videos.  Did I delete that comment?


Did I delete the video?


Another person told me that someone told them they were "embarassed for me" and said, "What is she DOing posting those videos?" 

What am I doing?  Why am I doing these videos?

Because I want show myself (and you) that I can do this - I can play the guitar. 

More than, that...

I can relax. 

Be chill.

Take a Breather.

Have my recess.

So, there's another video out there for the world, of me hacking away at my guitar. 

And, well - it's gonna be louder, now - 'cause I busted out my flimsy Jesus pick.



Any constructive feedback is welcome - since really need to start taking lessons.

I know it, you know it...we can be open about it.  ;)