I think I just wiped out my whole second post. L-e-a-r-n-i-n-g, and trying not to give up and walk away, my old pattern.

Some of you have queried my use of “cool”. I’ve tried to come up with other words but keep coming back to this one. For me it isn’t about being so laid back, nothing matters; rather, it’s about being relaxed and open enough, un-uptight enough, to be open to new ideas and new challenges. My inner image: Adding new Velcro, so more stuff sticks, instead of just falling away as so much has in the past few years.

Music is high on the list – trying to open up my ears. For those of you with a natural feel for rhythm and tone maybe that’s no challenge, but my musical receptivity has always been really stunted. Where other people automatically add music to their environment, I’ll sit in silence without even registering that there could be that wonderful added element. The idea of walking around with earphones on, tapping into a music library of a gazillion tunes has no appeal. But I would like that to change, and I believe that – as with so many other things – if you focus on something, your awareness of it grows.  If you focus on the violence in the world, or the political stupidity – well, we all know where that leaves us.  If I focus on art, my eyes wake up to my surroundings – sometimes more than I can handle. I want to see if deliberately tuning into music can work that way too.

G has promised to be my guide. To that end, he interrupted my work earlier this week and insisted I listen to some tunes on YouTube. I was wary, assuming I was in for some growling, throat-scorching heavy metal, but this guy is savvy; he knows his mudder. He started me off with “We Are Young” by Fun – nice ironic choice for this pre-60 project. And — it’s really nice!  Ugh – will have to improve my audio vocabulary too – but I actually want to hear it again!

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Characteristically,  I put off starting this blog. Maria sent me the WordPress link on March 25, right after I announced my intention to chart a year’s worth of efforts to be cool – i.e. to be brave and join the 21st century. But I didn’t know how to start a blog. Everyone said it was easy, just as they said  driving an automatic is easy, but you aren’t born knowing such things. You have to learn how, even if it only takes a minute.

They – the truly great and wise They – say, “Take it one step at a time.” I know how useful that advice is, but my inclination (genetic patterning? – metabolic makeup? – conditioning?) is to tumble in helter-skelter and see how things turn out. That’s why I’ve never learned to play chess, and very seldom cook – but sometimes produce pleasing pictures, and have (Before Marshall) cooked some delicious dishes.

A week later I read the WordPress instructions, and registered. Today, finally, I’m taking that great big bouncy jump on the board (never ever attempted on a real diving board) – and plunging in.  Coming in with me? – Your company is much appreciated! – Your advice is invited too, on anything and everything mentioned here.

Being committed to this course in courage has helped. In my first week, as mentioned on Facebook, it pushed me into opening my wonderful new set of art materials on my birthday and drawing the spectacularly delicious chocolate-and-apricot-jam cake Marshall made (will try to attach a picture of the drawing;  I wish I could attach a piece of the cake for you – but maybe that technology will come). I also yelled out a loud hello to friend Rob (usually can’t raise more than a polite squeak), and went to hear a talk on the magnificently bold 16th century figure, Dona Gracia Nasi.

This week, so far not so good – until now. No drawing as yet. Parenting has been the big challenge: trying to work out what can and can’t be done to shape one’s offspring, especially when inclined to take the helter-skelter, laissez-faire path. After almost 17 years of such upbringing, can our beloved G be steered in anything other than his own chosen directions? – I get weary just thinking about it; want to tuck my head under my wing and hope for the best. Hope his laundry will get done, his lungs kept clear, and his brain saved from chemical and/or techno addling.

Courage is called for – from him, and from us. TBreaking out the art materialhe cliff-at-the-end-of-high-school is rapidly approaching.