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In July I attended my high school reunion. I had a great time and enjoyed reconnecting with friends. Some of them I see often even now and some I had not seen since high school. We danced, drank, ate, stayed up way too late, and basically behaved like the kids we still are somewhere in our own minds. A good time all the way around and I’ll go to the next one as well- gladly.

A couple of days later Facebook flooded the cyber-verse with lots of happy, smiling pictures of the event. Nice shots, good memories. Then the comments caught my eye. More than one person wrote something to the effect of, “Ahhh, look at you! So great to be able to celebrate the best days of your life.”

The best days of my life?

The best days of my life weren’t in high school, or even in college. And they aren’t past. I didn’t peak at seventeen. Sure, I had some amazing times. Beautiful pain, fierce joy, abdomen aching laughter, life-shaping lessons, all those formative, profoundly necessary moments. I’ll carry these precious memories with me for the rest of my life, diamonds that shimmer so long as I do. They stand alongside other amazing times: when I fell in love, carried, bore, and raised my children, the stories I’ve brought into the world, and the friends who have carried me through days that encompass the glorious and the downcast.

Even as I gaze fondly at the past, I appreciate my present and I welcome the future. All the things I have yet to learn, embraces to give, and songs I haven’t heard yet. They’re all waiting for me, like books on a library shelf.

This song encapsulates something of what I’m trying to say. It was recommended by an old friend of mine when he found out I was attending the reunion. The group is new to me (the song is from 2015, so not too ancient). New voices for me, but the lyrics bring up memories from my past. The best of both worlds. Past and future… never forgetting, but still eager for the new moments.

My friend Kimberly gave me a magnet I keep on my frig where I see it every day. It reads, “Isn’t wonderful to know that some of the best days of your life haven’t happened yet?”

Yes, yes it is. Here’s to the future… and the past.

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.

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Sometimes our partners in life do and say the most amazing, perfect things. Things we can hold on to, treasure, and weave into the fabric of our lives. Touchstones that sustain us. Sometimes our partners are perfect.

Don’t worry, honey, I’m not expecting it on a daily basis. But it sure helps.

This week’s song is by Jackson Browne.

Please click here to enjoy.

Have a great week, my lovelies. Hug your darlings.

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. Erika’s debut novel, The Dragon in The Garden can be found at Tirgearr Publishing.

 

This will be short, but honest. Some people haunt us. They come up again and again. No matter where we go… they are there. Don’t lie- you have them, too.

I have one friend I met when I was when I was thirteen and he was twelve. My first love, my first “go with” boyfriend, my first so many things. We went to cross town high schools- constantly ran into each other. Then I went to Davis and he went to Sac State. Crossed paths through 1995. I ran into him at an Iron Maiden show in 1998, then a Dio show at The Filmore in 2000, and then in Times Square in 2010. Plus we met a few times on purpose. Some people, you just can’t escape. But I’m sure as hell going to try.

We say it’s a small world. It’s not. We all have gravitational shifts. I know I’m not the center of the universe, but you keep spinning around me just the same.  Now stop. In these aspects crazy is a choice. Choose wisely. Walk away.

We don’t have to repeat mistakes. I didn’t. I broke the pattern and have a lovely life as a reward. I’m not going back.

The center of the universe can shift- never forget that. And it can be… glorious. A new, better day.

This week’s song is Heavy by Linkin’ Park- please click here to enjoy.

“Heavy”
(feat. Kiiara)

I don’t like my mind right now
Stacking up problems that are so unnecessary
Wish that I could slow things down
I wanna let go but there’s comfort in the panic
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything’s about me
Yeah I drive myself crazy
Cause I can’t escape the gravityI’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy
 
You say that I’m paranoid
But I’m pretty sure the world is out to get me
It’s not like I make the choice
To let my mind stay so fucking messy
I know I’m not the center of the universe
But you keep spinning round me just the same
I know I’m not the center of the universe
But you keep spinning round me just the same

I’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy

I know I’m not the center of the universe
But you keep spinning round me just the same
I know I’m not the center of the universe
But you keep spinning round me just the same
And I drive myself crazy
Thinking everything’s about me
 
I’m holding on
Why is everything so heavy
Holding on
So much more than I can carry
I keep dragging around what’s bringing me down
If I just let go, I’d be set free
Holding on
Why is everything so heavy

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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This week’s song comes about from one inescapable fact- Life goes on. Music is a huge part of my life, as evidenced by this blog, the shows I go to, even many of the friendships I’ve formed and kept over the years. I have enjoyed some truly exceptional music over the years. Here’s the thing though… bands age, musicians die (as we saw this past week with the passing of Asia & King Crimson’s John Wetton at just 67), and before you know it your playlists are occupied by ghosts.

This doesn’t make their music any less amazing or cease to touch my heart. However, over time one misses the anticipation of a new album from a favorite band and the excitement of a live act, especially an act introducing and passionately performing fresh music, not simply trotting out their greatest hits list. Mind you, I love the hits, bring on those classics. Still, with 2016 being such a devastating year for musicians (we just lost so damn many good ones) my dear concert-going friend, Michelle, and I came to one inescapable conclusion… we needed fresh meat. Time to find some new bands to augment our musical, metal storm of joy.

Turns out, that’s not so easy. The 1970’s produced some amazing hard rock, the 1980’s were the glory days of metal, and the 1990’s saw plenty of innovation. Nowadays, sure metal is being made, but less so than some other genres.

God bless northern Europe!

Power metal is enormously popular there. Thanks to strong concert attendance, merchandise sales, musical downloads, and a thriving festival scene (I so want to attend Wacken) bands can survive, even thrive. Consequently a number of bands are carving out impressive careers. So much so that they can afford to travel the United States. *huge grin* Last year Mitch (yes, I call her Mitch) and I went to see Delain, Nightwish, Blind Guardian, and Sonata Artica. (Not all on the same bill.) These bands are actively composing and touring with passionate, complex, melodic music.

I’m sharing with you a favorite, I Have A Right by Sonata Artica out of Finland. Yep, Finland. Man, do I love northern Europe. Thanks, guys.

This song was written about child abuse (as the video shows), but considering the vaudevillian antics of American politics I believe it works well for the rights of the American electorate. And that’s all I’m saying about that right now.

 Please enjoy their video here.

This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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This week’s song might not make a lot of sense at first, but bear with me… yes, I KNOW it’s NOT Monday.

Over our kids’ Winter Break we visited Maui. We had a great time, but I have to admit… it’s getting harder to keep the kids’ attention. They are almost 18, almost 16, and almost 14. The siren songs of their peers, social media, and online video games call to them. You’d think that an island paradise with beautiful beaches, fabulous restaurants, amazing activities, and parents willing to spend money would at least TEMPT them, but not always.

Imagine my surprise when one of the best moments of the trip came as we were stuck in traffic south of Lahaina, trying to return to the Kaanapali Beach and our resort. Because we clearly weren’t going anywhere fast, we put David (our oldest) in charge of the radio. He treated us to some of his playlists.

My husband and I exchanged shocked glances when he busted out some favorites from the Disney Days… and not only did David and I sing, but his sisters and dad joined in– all of us singing at full voice. Words I didn’t even remember that I knew. Dorks. Happy dorks. A return to the days of cartoons, legos, crayons, and play-doh. Good times.

So for a little while in the traffic on Maui I had my babies back again- all of us, singing, badly, off key, but happy. A great vacation moment.

Here is the Colors of the Wind from the cartoon, Pocahontas. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Here we are on top of the world… dorky but happy! May all your vacations be as joyous!

This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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