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my Simon game, and still own it 40 years later. At this point we could only delve into our


stockings. There were toys, nuts and always an or- ange and maybe a banana. And, there was candy! We weren’t really allowed to have sweets any other time of the year. I was a candy fiend, so I snuck a lot, but having it right out in the open was liberat- ing for a brief moment in time. The maple candy was the most coveted. Then we had to eat breakfast, which in-


cluded a mandatory sticky bun and scrambled eggs. This was supposed to help mitigate all the other sanctioned sugar. We’d wolf our food down so we could open the wrapped gifts. We’d go round-robin, open a gift one at a time and show everyone else what we got, for review and to make it last. If you didn’t like your gift, this is where you learned how to act and navigate how to deal with it. After it was all done, we had some time to play with our bounty before getting ready to go to my dad’s parents, where we had another big Christmas and a gourmet meal.


The trinkets, gifts and furniture became


more sophisticated as we got older. This all contin- ued until 1992, when my dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in the spring. He was 48 years old. I was 24. My sister and I moved back home to take care of him until the “end.” Because Christmas was the one time of the year he was emotionally “human” and he made it so magi- cal, I knew the holidays would be a huge loss. Not just for the gifts, but because that was when I felt his love the most. The saddest thing he said during the six months left of his life came a few weeks be- fore he died. He sat in contemplation and then said, ”I’m not sure whether to prepare for Christmas or not.” It was all I could do not to lose it. He died three days before Thanksgiving. All those other cel- ebrations continued, but were never the same. Now I live in that 500-mile-away place. My


“kids” and mom go “home” for the holidays. When I can’t go too, knowing that my family and friends are all gathering without me really ruins the spirit. And now there’s Facebook. So when they post pic- tures, it’s all in my “face.” Also, most of the people who made it so special are gone now. But one of my goals this year is to find a new


way to celebrate that doesn’t make me sad. If I can’t have it the way I want, it’s up to me to try to find an alternative. It’s not easy, but it’s important, and no one else is responsible for fixing it for me. I hope your holidays were happy. If not, I


hope you will also contemplate and find an alterna- tive. If you were alone, maybe next year find some friends to be with. Or find somewhere to volunteer. There are many people who are alone who don’t want to be. Visit a nursing home, or you could form a new “family” group. Just be honest about your sit- uation, and be proactive. If you were on the road playing gigs and couldn’t get to loved ones, I hope you found some connec- tions and joy otherwise. If you’re on the road so much that you’ve lost connections with loved ones, I have made helpful suggestions in previous arti- cles. It’s a really tough spot to be in, pounding the pavement to use your self-expression and talents to enhance the lives of your fans and listeners. I for one wouldn’t make it without music. You are my heroes!


So, here we are in the “New Year!” I won’t


spout some unrealistic, feel-good lines about the possibilities being “endless,” but I will say they are bountiful for many and possible for most of you readers. Opportunities don’t always whack us in the face, of course, but if we look we can find them and we can create a new happiness. If you haven’t taken the time to reflect, assess and plan for the coming year, please do so now. I’ll be right there with you. Assessing our lives can be interesting and


enlightening. It can also be a real drag that we would prefer to avoid. We can’t go back and “fix” the parts we didn’t like, but we can learn from them, grow and try not to repeat them. Everything we go through teaches us something. It’s up to us to decipher just what the lessons were and how to use them to our advantage. We can also learn from experiences we


thought were positive and helpful. Identifying these lessons, and making some adjustments and plans to increase the frequency of the good parts can be a re- ally helpful roadmap. It all starts with the first step! Just remember, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” I need that reminder as much as the next person. Onward and upward. Here we are, 2019! •


Electra (The Rock-n-Roll Health Chick) is an Integra- tive Health and Nutrition Consultant and Coach, spe- cializing in the health of musicians. She is the co-creator and host of “Rockin’ Your Health,” which is heard on FM radio, streaming on www.ElectraLandRadio.net, and is archived at www.OurHealthRevolution.net/radio. You can find her online at ElectraLandProductions.net and on Facebook


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