Everything I Needed to Learn, I Learned Randomly This Week - Christine Kane

– Listen to Commercial Radio at Your Own Risk

Early in the week, I turned on the radio in my car just for kicks. The song that was playing was “O Holy Night.” It was being sung by some four-notes-where-there-was-only-one-note-written Mariah Carey type. I was so stunned to be hearing a Christmas carol that I left it on just so I could appease the voice in my head saying, “This truly cannot be happening yet.” And what can I say, folks? The DJ came on and said, “It’s the Magic of Christmas on Light Rock blah blah blah…” The next carol was some Mannaheim Steamroller thing sounding like Pantookas and Floof, and I couldn’t get off the dial fast enough.

Here’s my question for you, dear blog reader: Who is listening to Christmas Carols on November 1st and thinking, “Well now, the magic of Christmas… isn’t this nice?”

– Always Back Up your Hard Drive. (But If You Forgot to Do That, Then Shout an Affirmative Prayer and Let Jerry Have his Way with Your Laptop.)

Many of you read about how my PowerBook overheated and my hard drive, which was not backed up, behaved very passive-aggressively by not giving me my data back.

Well, after a few computer guys tried their best, I was told that the data was gone. I went through a very sad couple of days. (They’ll call it my “blue period” in the history books.) Then my friend Suzi offered me the services of her boyfriend, Jerry. (I don’t know what Jerry does, but it’s something so technical that there is no vocabulary in our language that describes it.)

The next morning, I woke up, meditated, and prayed. (I’m still praying for all the people who requested to be on the retreat prayer list!) I was walking downstairs and I realized I had forgotten one big important prayer. And I shouted out loud, “Oh yea! And, ALL of my data is totally recovered. And it’s easy and effortless and everything is fine! Oh, and thanks!”

About two hours later, Suzi called me to tell me that Jerry had retrieved my data. Apparently he did some wizardly things. (One of them – I kid you not – involved putting the laptop in the refrigerator and then turning it upside down. I think it even had to do Downward-facing Dog.) I’m not sure how much data was saved, but Jerry thinks maybe all of it. All hail Jerry!

– Always Remember Your Borrowed MacBook’s Power-Supply When You Travel

So, I’ve been using a borrowed MacBook on which I have been loading my passwords and blog posts, and other various and sundry items. I took it with me to Nashville over the weekend. I performed at the Bluebird Cafe on Saturday night, and then I had a co-writing session on Sunday in an office on music row. At the end of the day, I left the office and left the power supply behind. My MacBook now has no battery power left. I’m on yet another borrowed computer. I hear that Mercury is in retrograde. Is this what is supposed to happen? Didn’t I just blog about how Mercury retrograde never gets me?

– Never Listen to Any Voice in your Head that Calls you “Young Lady.”

Ever since I discovered that I left the power supply behind, I’ve had a voice in my head saying, “Well, young lady, if you don’t even have the sense to remember to back up your hard drive, and you don’t even have the sense to remember the power pack, then you must not have the sense to write a blog…”

Sometimes it takes days to discover that there’s a former teacher clomping through the halls of your head. I finally uncovered this uptight schoolmistress nun voice in my own head. (Then I took one giant step and marched forward and said, “I’m Lisle! And I don’t need a governess!” Then I took a giant step back into the line with my nine siblings.) Then I wrote this blog.

– Even When Everything is Seemingly Going Haywire, Kindness Abounds

Not only did Jerry fix my computer (and this isn’t even his job), but when I finally checked my mail today, I found two amazing things…

At the recent retreat, I told everyone that I wanted to start a scholarship so that someone who didn’t have the resources could participate in a retreat. My goal, I said, was to have two scholarship slots at the next retreat. Every woman at the recent retreat contributed money. Then today, I got two more checks in the mail from retreaters. One of them was for the full amount to pay for one participant. Both checks came along with very kind notes about the retreats and how much they meant to each person.

So, one scholarship participant’s fee has been covered! I’ll post updates on the next retreat soon. (As well as the scholarship process.)

– Never Leave a Big Trash Bag (with the leftover food from the retreat in it) in the Back of Your Car When You Bring your Dog Along for a Ride, Especially If You’ve Just Had Your Car Washed and Vacuumed.

This may be the most important lesson of all of them.

– When All Else Fails, Make Art

I have, amidst all of this stuff, managed to write a new song. (I’m a notebook girl when it comes to songs. No hard drives. No keypads. Just pen, paper and guitar. And rewriting page after page of new versions of the song. My song “Falling in Love with the Wind” took up almost an entire notebook!) Anyway, the new song is called “How Not to Behave.” (It doesn’t mention the trash bag in the back of the car. Or the look in my dog’s eyes as she tried to distract me from the fact that her entire face was covered with vegetarian chili.)

The most rewarding thing is when, in the midst of anything going on, I can sit down with a guitar and just moodle and play and allow a song to be there. All the “shoulds” and the “here’s what’s not going rights” try to distract you. But if you can stay with the song (or the painting, or the writing, or whatever) you rise above (or below) and you get to see who you really are, just for a moment. The peace in that place is why we create at all.

  • Susie

    Wow, the scholarships sound great! I’m glad to hear that kindness is spreading…:-)

    P.S. Folks in Utah really like Christmas and about two weeks ago started putting up their lights…wowza!

  • Gretchen Cawthon

    Christine – thanks for the laugh. I will also admit to having the Christmas music out already. I started with one of Amy Grant’s Christmas albums and I have the Carpenters on deck. I’m also a total geek who is digital everything except when I write music. Love your blogs. 🙂

  • Kelsey

    Great post, as usual, I always read, even though I don’t often comment. My daughter will be two on Friday (we survived another year!) and I find, “when all else fails, make art” works great with a toddler. Especially when you really take a broad defition of art. Banging the lids of paint cans = music = art. Jumping around like maniacs to some good music on the kitchen radio = dance = art. Paper and stickers and pens and crayons, we’ll that’s just plain art! Play dough anywhere but up your nose is also pretty nice art. I suppose play dough up your nose could be considered some kind of performance art, but I don’t think Harper is dabbling with those kinds of abstractions just yet!

  • Dharmashanti

    All good stuff!

  • Dblwyo

    O.K. little lady, he says in a John Waynish accent, just how often do the voices in your head talk to you anyway ? :D.

    Sorry, it’s Fri. p.m. and I couldn’t resist. But I am curious as to who wins ? I generally make mine give me 4 falls out of 3.

  • Easton Ellsworth

    Someone I know put their Christmas tree up last Friday :).

  • christine

    Alright Anthony. You get a point for following your heart and stepping up to that in public. HOWEVER, I’d be MUCH less worried about you if you stuck with the post-Thanksgiving idea. 🙂

    Tony, Thanks for the note and kind words. Yes, it’s much funnier when someone else’s dog was bad. (My friend Joy was on the phone with me when I opened the hatch and discovered the mess. And she just laughed and laughed and laughed.) I can’t wait to listen to your podcast! Great idea…

    MK…Yea, I Have Confidence is a good one. Especially the “Oh Help” moment done with exactly the right accent…

  • mary katherine

    Oh, what fun – my favorite is “I Have Confidence” – I worked really hard on the clicking my heals together in midair move…

  • Tony D. Clark

    Terrific post, Christine. I got a real chuckle out of the dog in the trash bag item. With a 65 pound lab/shar-pei mixed “puppy,” I’ve been there before. It’s always funnier when it happens to someone else 🙂

    I also loved the “When All Else Fails, Make Art” point. How true. It sounds hokey, but taking time to create, really nurtures the soul. I just started a new creativity-themed podcast, so that’s really been prevalent in my thoughts. You did a wonderful job of capturing that freeing feeling of making art.

  • Anthony Cerminaro

    I am reading your blog listening to Christmas music. It’s funny. My normal practice is to listen to Holiday music non-stop from Thanksgiving to Xmas, but yesterday I thought, “I love Christmas music. Why not start listening to it now?” I may be an odd duck, but for me, it’s all Christmas music, all the time, from now until December 25th.

  • christine

    Dave, Thanks for the reference. Your site is really really beautiful. i may have to email you about it. I love the layout. (and your writing.) Oh, and thanks for not calling me Young Lady! (however, I prefer Young Lady to “ma’am”!)

    MK, Well, then. You and I could have a field day cuz I can practically act out the entire movie as a one woman show! (I do a particularly gripping “Climb Every Mountain.”)

    Thanks Joy! 🙂

  • Joy

    yet, one more turn of phrase that is so Christine Kane: “a former teacher clomping through the halls of your head.”

  • mary katherine

    Your Sound of Music reference almost made me shoot orange juice out my nose. I watched that movie (yay Julie Andrews!) on video so many times growing up that when it was on television I could tell you exactly which lines were cut (probably still could without too much trouble).

    Congrats on the new song and the scholarship, very cool things!!!!

  • dave

    Whew! I didn’t call you young lady. I had referenced you in a post the other day: http://www.daverothacker.com/rothacker_reviews/2006/11/the_yellow_bric.html

    Random is good Christine. It’s how I found your site. You are sunshine and water to a whithering soul.