Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Thoughts on the 1960s: Part II

Shifting from the 1950s to the 1960s, we go from images of holocaust survivors to Father Knows Best and pearls in the kitchen to Vietnam and our boys dying right in front of our eyes.

In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock released Psycho--I had nightmares for weeks. The first televised debates occurred and lasers were invented.

1961 brings us the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Berlin Wall, the founding of the Peace Corps and the Soviets launching the first man in space. President Kennedy advises families to build bomb shelters. I can remember exercises in the school classroom how to duck under the desks in case of an attack. The IBM Selectric typewriter is introduced.The Vietnam War official begins. Roger Maris, of the New York Yankees, hits his 61st home run, beating 34-year old record held by Babe Ruth.

In 1962, Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel. The first James Bond film, Dr. No, came out. The Cuban Missile crisis threatened the world with nuclear war.

1963 brought us the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I was 14 and will never forget that day. I was dissecting a frog in Biology. We were sent home and the images of he and Jackie riding in the car and her blood-spattered suit and then baby John saluting as his father's casket passed by. Also, in this year, Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring and Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique.   Congress enacts equal pay for equal work legislation for women. Patsy Cline dies in a plane crash. Zip codes are introduced in the U.S and I Want to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There are released in the U.S.  Martin Luther King makes his "I Have a Dream" speech.

1964 brings us the Ford Mustang (perhaps one of the coolest cars ever). Seat belts are introduced as standard equipment. Plans to build the World Trade Center are announced. Malcolm X forms a black nationalist party. The Beatles hold the top 5 positions on Billboard Top 40. This is the first year cigarette boxes had a warning printed on it that smoking can be hazardous to your health (and people still smoke).  Nelson Mandela is sentenced to life in prison.

1965 -Medicare bill passes. 32,000 people make a 54-mile freedom march from Selma to Montgomery. Malcolm  X is assassinated. The Beatles do the first stadium concert in the history of rock at Shea Stadium in Queens, New York, where I grew up. My best friend's brother stood outside the stadium to hear them. President Johnson orders bombing raids on North Vietnam and Americans begin protesting the war.

1966 - the year I graduated High School, The Beatles play their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Star Trek debuts with its first episode, "The Man Trap." The Black Panther Party is established. Mao Zedong launches the cultural revolution and there are mass draft protests in the U.S

1967 - Rolling Stone Magazine is founded. The first heart transplant is performed. Boxer Muhammad Ali refuses military service. LSD is declared illegal by the US government. It is also the year of the first Super Bowl and the six day war in the Middle East.

1968 -
Bobby Kennedy is assassinated in California. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots erupt in major American cities for days. Hair opens on Broadway. The White Album is released by the Beatles. The My Lai massacre occurs as well as the Tet offensive.

Neal Armstrong walks on the moon. Woodstock is held at Max Yasgur's 600 acre farm in Bethel, NY. Easy Rider premiers. Charles Manson cult murders Sharon Tate and others. Sesame Street premiers, along with The Brady Bunch. You can see why some folks might feel a bit schizophrenic about this decade.

My teenage years were shaped by assassinations, race riots, Vietnam, anti-nuclear marches, and of course, the hippy movement, which preached peace and love.

Music was my salvation through all of this. It was hard to remain depressed listening to the Beatles sing All You Need is Love. And John Lennon's Imagine gave us hope. Perhaps the drug culture evolved because of the angst everyone felt about what was happening around us. Things we couldn't control. What strikes me is how similar it is now. Terrorism strikes when and where we least expect it and it is something we cannot control. And folks still use alcohol and drugs to mask their pain.

My truth on this Tuesday: I had a major crush on Roger Maris. I was 12 years old and my Dad was a huge baseball fan, so I got to see Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, called the Bronx Bombers back in those days, play all the time. My grandma lived diagonally across the street from Yankee Stadium and we went often.

Soon to come...., Part III: How all of this impacted my psyche.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Musings: Thoughts on the 1960's - Part I

Thoughts  on the 1960s’
In order to have a clear perspective about the sixties, I think I have to start in the 1950’s.   I was born in 1949 so I was just a little girl during this decade. This was only four years after the allies landed in Normandy, the few survivors of the concentration camps in Europe were liberated and the war ended. I grew up seeing images of emaciated people with haunted eyes staring from behind barbed wire fences. It wouldn’t be until years later that I would get to visit an actual concentration camp, but that’s a whole other story.
Dwight D. Eisenhower became President in 1952, blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe was the sex goddess of the century, along with her equally goddess-like co-star, Jane Russell. Both women were full-bodied, buxom, luscious women with curves. It wasn’t until Twiggy appeared on the scene in 196___ that women started believing they needed to be a size 2 or smaller, or something wrong with them. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In the 1950s, it was rare for a woman to work outside the home. World War II brought us Rosie the Riveter, women who took mens’ places in factories while men were off fighting Nazis. But as soon as the war ended, women went back to homemaker status. Our cultural values were shaped by a newcomer in the communications industry--television. Prior to TV, radio was the most common source of family entertainment. That little black box changed so much. The most popular shows in my household were: Bonanza, The Ed Sullivan Show, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver, the Donna Reed Show, and Father Knows Best.
During those formative years of 1 through 10, I watched stories about a mother who stayed home, wore an apron and pearls in the kitchen, had a warm, delicious meal waiting for her husband when he came home from work, served milk and cookies to her children and their friends when they got home from school, never disagreed with what the father said,  and seemed to always be agreeable.  A 1970s movie, The Stepford Wives, pretty much got it right. Women might as well have been robots. Sex was something to be endured, not enjoyed. Heaven forbid a woman should have her own thoughts or try to change things. It wasn’t only children who got the message to be seen and not heard.
So, the 1950s ideal for a woman: grow up, get married to a good provider, have a house with a white picket fence, then have children, see that they are educated and that they marry and have children so you can have grandchildren. 
Part II coming soon: Along comes the 1960s and nothing is ever the same again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gloria Steinem

Last weekend I happened to catch a few minutes of a documentary, Gloria, in her own words. I wish I'd seen the entire film because Gloria Steinem is one of my heroines. I am not, nor have I ever been a political person, but having come of age in the 1960s, one couldn't help being caught up in what was happening.
In the film, I caught snippets of marches on Washington, women burning bras, angry men, newscasters poking fun and misinterpreting statements, and it made me realize that the 60's had a huge impact on my psyche. It's easy to think of the 60s in terms of music--think folk songs like Blowin' in the Wind, and then the British invasion, and music was never the same again, and forget about the assassinations: JFK, Bobby, Martin Luther King, Medger Evers, the KKK. Civil Rights, women's rights, the Vietnam war, all happening in one decade. I was 11 in 1960.

I've written a lot about my dysfunctional childhood, the impact my parents' fighting had on me, the sexual abuse at seven. But I've never explored the impact growing up in the 60s had. It's got me thinking. Uh oh.
So expect a few posts on this topic over the next few weeks--maybe. We'll see if they develop, but it's definitely something that's on my mind.

What's on your mind today?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The intrepid Alex Cavanaugh has come up with a brilliant idea - forming an Insecure Writer's Support Group. Once a month, we all get to write about our insecurities around writing, publishing, marketing ourselves, whatever. But we will also find support around these insecurities by also sharing what has worked for us as we move through our writing world. So, thank you, Alex, for your creativity and your willingness to help so many others on this difficult journey called writing.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Telling the truth Tuesday: At long last - Sugartime

Many of you asked to see and hear Sugartime. It is so hard to post this because nothing seems good enough  - but I've learned there's no such thing as perfect. So here we are, at a house concert back in May, singing for friends and family, which is much harder than for strangers, let me tell you. Please enjoy "the sweet sounds of Sugartime."

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXpLxxQ_Xfg

With many blessings,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Musings: singing at the Veteran's Hospital

My dad was a veteran of World War II. He went to North Africa and was wounded in his shoulder from the same shrapnel that killed three of his buddies. On top of a very wounded childhood, war fundamentally changed my father. He never talked much about it, but when he did, we knew that his time in the service meant a great deal to him.

I didn't understand that until I was much older. I am someone who doesn't believe in violent solutions to problems, but that doesn't mean I don't have a great deal of respect for our military folks and their families. I am grateful to them beyond words for what they do to serve our country and protect us and best they can.

During the last three years of my dad's life, he lived here in Albuquerque so we could care for him. All his health care needs were provided by the Veteran's Administration hospital and the care was superb. His doctors were warm, friendly and knowledgeable, he didn't have to pay for anything, and he loved going there and seeing all the other veterans.

When I began singing and performing around town, I knew I wanted to give something back to the community who had cared so well for my Dad and whom he loved so much. Now, every few months, Sugartime hauls its equipment to the VA and sets up shop in the lobby. Hundreds of folks pass thru there, on their way to doctor visits or to pick up a prescription or to visit someone or for therapy. Waiting for a prescription can take an hour or more. So we have quite an audience. It has become my favorite place to sing, because the folks there are so appreciative. On Friday, an older Vet came up to me and said, "Thank you, your angel voices are so soothing to our old vet hearts." I burst out crying.

What are you musing about today?

Friday, August 19, 2011

The things we don't know

I want to thank everyone who took the time to not only read my memoir, but to write something and post it on Goodreads or Barnes and Noble or Amazon. I am trying to purchase the book of anyone I have met here in bloggydom, but I'm not sure I have posted reviews on each one. I am going to backtrack and make sure I do that now, because it is one surefire way we can support each other. Thank you from the bottom of my heart - I'm not going to list names because I don't want to leave anyone out, but you all know who you are.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blog on Fire award

The delightful Siv Maria, http://sivmaria.blogspot.com/ passed along the Blog on Fire award. 

Thank you, Siv. She says I give her hope. I love that. Here are the questions I am to answer:

Are you a rutabaga? I don't even know what a rutabaga looks like, let alone act like one. I am more of an artichoke heart kinda gal.

Who is your current crush? The actor who plays Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O - I think his name is Alex O'Laughlin.

a picture that makes you happy. 

Hubs and I dancing on our Caribbean cruise

When was the last time you ate a vine-ripened tomato?  Months ago. I can't eat tomatoes (sigh!) - acid reflux.

Name one habit that causes other people to plot your demise?  Probably the fact that I have to eat at certain times and frequently don't eat with others because I do my own food.

What is the weirdest, most-disgusting job you've ever had to do? Hmm, can't think of a disgusting job, but the one I hate the most is filing.

Where da muffin top at? I'm an idiot - don't understand the question.

What author introduced you to your genre? Gosh, I don't remember the first memoir I ever read, but I remember how I felt reading someone else's life story and how I learned from it.

 Describe yourself using obscure Latin words.  Can I use pig Latin? Dang, I don't even remember how to do that....

I hereby pass this along to:




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Telling the truth Tuesday -"Hey, it's good to be back home again..."

Travel is wonderful. Seeing family - fabulous. Driving 9 1/2 hours to get home--not so great. But so nice to be back. I overbooked myself, though. I have way too much going on with doctor appointments, Sugartime rehearsals and gig dates, saying goodbye to a good friend who is moving to Viet Nam for a year, yada yada yada. When I do get some free, unallotted time, I'm too tired to think, let alone write. I am learning to be okay with what is, however.

I've spent most of my life fighting the tide, rather than flowing with it. Today I am rolling in with the wave and flowing out with it as well. Wherever it takes me. I just have to stay afloat.

How about you?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Musings: Family reunions

Hi everyone. Hope you are all okay - missed checking in with you this last week, but I was in Estes Park, Colorado at a family reunion. My husband is one of five siblings. Each one came, with their now grown children, and their children's children. We were 27 in all. Each family stayed in their own condominium unit. The units border a small stream, surrounded by mountains. It was quiet and quite lovely. Everyone had breakfast together, then went off for whatever adventures, then came together for dinner.

I am an only child and only have a few first cousins, so being part of a big family has been a new experience for me. There is raucous laughter, lots of teasing, so many people talking at once it is quite difficult to get a word in edgewise. By the time you might have a chance to respond to something someone said, the topic has shifted to something else.

It was really wonderful seeing everyone - it's been about a year since we'd seen most of the family.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Hubs and I are off to Estes National Park in Colorado for a family reunion. I am going to remain unplugged during that time in exchange for some good family time and perhaps some quality writing time as well.

Wish you all well and will be back here on Monday, Tuesday, August 19. Till then,


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday: Giveaway winner and: Hurt...Anger...Repression...Depression

And the winners are....ta da:

Liz Fichera
Melissa Sarno

I will be contacting each of you to get your snail mail addresses, so stay tuned. Thanks to everyone who participated in my first giveaway. It was fun.

And now here, Telling the Truth Tuesday: Hurt...Anger...Repression...Depression

I had another insight recently, one I'd like to share, because maybe some of you out there do the same thing I do. I was a "good" little girl. Did what I was told. Didn't question things too much. Because when I did, I got in trouble. I learned to keep my feelings to myself. Soon I didn't even know what I was feeling.

It took years to undo that negative training and become aware of my feelings as well as learn how to handle them appropriately. But the one feeling that still gives me problems is anger. It seems I don't allow myself to feel it. It manifests as hurt. Someone hurts me badly and all I feel is the hurt and betrayal. I never get to anger about it. But somehow the anger is there, burning inside me, but I am unconsciously suppressing it. The next thing I know, I'm depressed.  Luckily, I now know when I start feeling depressed, to look back and see where or how I've been hurt. But now I need to learn how to deal with the suppressed anger.

I was joking around with an 86-year old friend the other day. We both were saying that we'd be on our deathbeds and reaching for a notepad to write down one more life lesson before we go. Then I realized, for me, it's probably not a joke.

How about you?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Musings: Tectonic shift occurring


No, we're not having an earthquake. But I'm having an internal one. Ever since I could walk and talk, I've been taking care of others. I felt it was my job to make my parents happy, for starters. Then, every relationship, every friendship, I made their well-being my responsibility.

A recent revelation showed me that there was an unconscious motivation for this: I wanted to be loved and that was my way of ensuring that would happen. Only it didn't and doesn't. I also realized that I don't like it when people step in and offer me unsolicited advice, so isn't it rather arrogant of me to assume others want mine?

This has been a mega part of my persona, and letting go of it makes me feel unsteady. Where I would normally phone or email someone I haven't heard back from to make sure they are okay, I'm not. If someone tells me their problems, I'm not coming up with solutions--unless they ask.

That is the key for me -- wait to be asked. Or ask if they want to hear my thoughts before bursting forth with my wisdom.

It is a delicate balance to recognize when I want to step in and assume responsibility for something that isn't mine and not do that -- and to remain a loving, caring person who likes to help others. I'll keep sharing as I figure it out.

What are you musing about today?