A Not So Glorious Quest

     Today, my significant other wanted to cook dinner in a crockpot. While he is an expert with this cooking device, I have never used a crockpot. But I am an expert at minimizing messes. So, the crockpot needed a liner. At least, that’s what my friends told me. So, I went to the store in search of crockpot liners.
     Initially, I thought Lady Luck was on my side. I got the first parking spot, next to the handicapped spot. Bonus! This was going to be a quick in-and-out shopping experience. A piece of cake.
     As I entered the store, there was an enormous display of crockpots of all makes and sizes. I thought it was weirdly coincidental. But alas, the display lacked liners. But that was okay. I figured they would be in the paper products aisle with the aluminum foil and oven bags. So, I made a beeline for the paper products aisle.
     When I reached the spot where the liners should have been, the shelf was empty. Everything else on that shelf was fully stocked. An employee was behind me.
     I said, “I’m looking for crockpot liners. Do you know if you have any more?”
     She replied, “They took them and put them up front. Look in the baking display.”
     I thanked her and headed for the baking display. There were no liners to be found.
     Another employee asked, “Can I help you?”
     “I’m looking for crockpot liners.”
     “Did you look in the paper products aisle?”
     “Yes. The lady there told me they should be here.”
     “They’re not.”
     Duh. “I know.”
     “Let me see if there are any in back.”
     My mind decided to start singing, The Impossible Dream.

     To dream the impossible dream
     To fight the unbeatable foe
     To bear with unbearable sorrow
     To run where the brave dare not go

     After several minutes, I knew she wasn’t coming back.
     In the meantime, I counted four endcaps that had crockpots on them. Four endcaps! What’s the deal on crockpots? Why was every make and model on sale? Was this God’s way of taunting me? Or was I on an episode of The Twilight Zone?
     I trudged up toward the front of the store. I wasn’t ready to give up yet. They were pushing crockpots hard. Those liners had to be somewhere. And by God, I was going to find them!

     This is my quest
     To follow that star
     No matter how hopeless
     No matter how far

     I approached an older employee who was stocking the Christmas section. She looked as if she was a seasoned employee. No pun intended! And I wanted to slow down Christmas from coming to the store. I mean really! It’s November 2nd. Anyway …
     “Excuse me, can you tell me where the crockpot liners are?”
     “Did you look in the paper products aisle?”
     ”Yes. The lady there told me they were in the baking area. They weren’t.”
     “Hold on. Let me check.”
     She proceeded to use the radio clipped to her blue smock to ask if anyone knew the whereabouts of the crockpot liners.
     The first response: “Check the paper aisle.”
     I sighed heavily.
     The second: “Check the baking display.”
     I rolled my eyes.
     Thirdly: “We’re out. We don’t have any.”
     I threw up my hands in exasperation.
     The radio chatter ceased.
     She said, “Sorry. Guess we don’t have any.”
     I thanked her and walked away. But I was not done yet.

     To fight for the right
     Without question or pause
     To be willing to march into Hell
     For a heavenly cause

     I walked around and searched every single display in the front of the store. And dum-da-da-dum! Success! I found the stupid liners on a display between two registers.

     And the world will be better for this
     That one (wo)man, scorned and covered with scars
     Still strove with her last ounce of courage
     To reach the unreachable star!

     Thrilled with my victory, I skipped back to the lady in the Christmas section. “I found the liners. They’re between two registers two aisles over.”
     She smiled. “Glad you found them.”
     The song, Celebration, by Kool & the Gang, came on the radio on the drive home. I cranked it up and sang along. Hey, I was happy after all of that.
     I walked in the door and proudly handed him the box of liners. “You won’t believe what I had to go through to find these.”
     Sheepishly, he said, “Um. I didn’t wait. I started already without one.”
     Oh, my God! Are you freaking kidding me?
     Without uttering a word, I walked away. At that moment, only extremely colorful language would have come out of my mouth. And being the good Catholic girl that I am, and since today is All Souls Day, I thought it best to keep my mouth shut.

Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Purewal

With the exceptions of excerpts from “The Impossible Dream”
From the Man of La Mancha
Music by Mitch Leigh, Lyrics by Joe Darion

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Featuring Singer/Songwriter – Lisa Dotolo

lisa dotolo3     Today’s Pursuing My Passion spotlight shines brightly on singer/songwriter, Lisa Dotolo. She has two CDs on the market already, and there is much more to come! Her music and lyrics are guaranteed to move you. Of course, I might be slightly biased because Lisa and I performed together in high school. And I am so proud of what she has accomplished!

What is the first childhood performance you remember?
     The first childhood performance was Loretta Lynn on her Coal Miner’s Daughter Tour. My mom took me, and I remember standing in front of her tour bus and having my picture taken. I still have the photo, and that was the first concert I went to that inspired me to pursue my performance career and go after singing as my career!

Where do you find your inspiration to write songs?
     All of my songs are inspired from my actual experiences in life. I write from my heart always and feel very connected to everything I write. I write only when I feel that the emotion from the experience needs to be expressed, then it turns into a song or poem. Some poems require further exploration and become songs.

How would you describe your style?
     I have so many musical influences, and they all kind of blend together when the song is produced in the studio. I describe my style as Emmy Lou meets Jewel + Natalie Merchant + Charlotte Church, with a WHOLE lot of love and inspiration. My foundation is Catholic liturgical music that I learned to sing and play when I was in a folk group at my church. It expanded to encompass gospel, traditional Catholic hymns and ultimately, Christian folk songs.

lisa dotolo2Do you have one guitar or a collection?
     I have a lot of guitars all over my house and in storage!!! I have collected them along the way and some have been given to me. All of them hold memories for me about the performances I played them in and the people who were so generous to give them to me!

What performing venue is your favorite?
     My favorite venue is ANYTIME I play in Gulf Shores, Alabama for festivals. They are so receptive to music, they have amazing musicians, and they are such nice people! Another favorite venue is the church; the acoustics are awesome!!

What is your dream venue?
     Wembley Stadium, London, England – sold out 5 nights… 😉 Of course, there’s Madison Square Garden for my friends state-side!!!

Which song is most meaningful to you?
     Angels on the Corner – It’s a lullaby I wrote about my brother a few days before he died. We knew he was going to pass, but we weren’t sure when. The day I wrote it, he was sleeping on the couch after a long surgery. I began to strum the chords and the words just flowed out. He rested quite peacefully throughout the entire creation of the song. He eventually passed, and I proceeded to record the song. I have three versions of the song; one is fully produced, and another is the acoustic version that I am playing with my mom on harmony.

When did you realize that singing and songwriting was your true calling?
     I believe when we find our calling we have a lot of peace in our choice. Whenever I write and sing, I feel happy and peaceful. People get inspired from my music, they are moved to feel happy, sad, joyful or just simply content. My calling in life is to create music and if I can bring some harmony to someone’s soul, then I have done my job, and I have used my talents that God has given me.

Your first album, Someday Soon, was released in 2004. You followed up with Doing It All My Way, in 2010. What can we expect from you next?
     Since I finance all my music, it does take some time to produce each song. I have many, many, many songs, ideas, titles and concepts for songs. The goal is to be signed by a major label so that side of the business is handled by them, and I am free to write and record all the time – those records will spin out A LOT faster with label support or financial backing!! However, right now, I have a third record in the works, hopefully to be released in 2013. All of my music is currently launched under my own indie label, Bella Mere Records. Would love to expand the label to continue to launch my music and other artists.

Lisa DotoloWhere can people buy your music?
     The internet or directly through me at Facebook. I am very, very accessible. I want to hear from people and know they like my songs. And I want them to email me directly and buy from me. CD Baby too, iTunes and more!

Where can people go to find where you will be performing?
     Facebook has a lot of my dates as soon as I get them. Right now though, I am wrapping up a record and looking to pick up gigs this summer and fall 2013.

To experience Lisa’s talent, check out her YouTube video of Lorelei. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aacxMIIYlzs

Follow Lisa on Facebook http://facebook.com/ldotolo

Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Purewal

Poem in My Pocket

From_14_to_41_front_cover_092311Today is Indiana Poem in Your Pocket Day! The idea is to carry a favorite poem with you all day and share it with everyone you meet.

So, in that spirit, I am sharing my poem, Maestro, with you. It is one of the poems in my poetry anthology, From 14 to 41. I wrote the poem years ago, when I was in college, but its message is timeless.

Sit back, relax and imagine me unfolding the piece of paper in my pocket and reading this aloud to you!

Maestro

Play me like an instrument
That needs to be broken in.
Send your song straight through me
Whether piano, trumpet or violin.

I feel the opus rise within you.
The bass line is strong and low.
The introduction—smooth as the ivory
Your fingers tickle as they flow.

The first movement is bright and happy.
There are no blues sung in this song.
It’s as if heaven sent a chorus of angels to
Encourage the notes to float along.

Praise the Lord for this masterpiece—
A work of unparalleled beauty and grace.
Do not doubt its magnificence for a second.
See the mesmerized look on my face.

Ready for the second movement,
My body awaits the touch of your bow,
Surprised am I to hear instead
The melody meant for a piccolo.

From your lips I will taste it—
The sweet tune of your pounding heart.
From staccato leaps to longer-held notes,
I yield to your grand work of art.

With an abrupt change in rhythm,
The third movement drives in with elaborate flourish.
You conduct each note with gusto,
My soul—it does richly nourish.

Glowing from the warmth of your love,
A quiet interlude provides a few beats of rest.
My instrument trembles in anticipation.
Virtuoso, you are undoubtedly the best.

The final movement gradually swells.
You demand, “Crescendo, my only love!”
I dare not question. I readily comply,
While calling upon mighty God above.

Your fingertips find the perfect cadence—
My strings reverberate at your slightest caress.
Musician and instrument in concert—
Basking in the glow of our collaborative success.

Copyright © 2011 by Suzanne Purewal

Want to read more? I am running a special this month, in honor of National Poetry Month, on my website. Check it out by clicking here: http://www.suzannepurewal.com/books.html

Worst Pick Up Lines Ever

     My girlfriends and I love going out for dinner, drinks and dancing. We enjoy drama-free nights out with the girls. However, inevitably, we are approached by less-than-desirable men looking for a good time. Here are the worst lines we have heard recently.

20130406_13133910. My buddy and I noticed you from across the bar. I really love your spangly bracelets.
     Sure, it was my spangly bracelets that caught his attention. Not. I was wearing an outfit similar to one I wore for my professional photo shoot. So I had the romantic vibe going, including soft waves in my hair, flawless makeup and a hint of cleavage. Needless to say, after we stopped laughing, we sent him on his merry way. However, I gave him points for effort and creativity!

9. I think we would make beautiful music together.
     Not really a bad line, in and of itself. I gave him points for creativity. But when a guy old enough to be your father, wearing a zoot suit, delivers it, it is just creepy.
     “No, thank you. You’re not my type.”
     “What’s your type?”
     I wanted to say, “Someone who’s not my father’s age.” Instead, I rattled off a list.
     “I don’t like what’s on your list.”
     “You don’t have to. It’s my list.”
     “There are a lot of things missing from your list.” And then, he proceeded to tell me the attributes that should have been on my list.
     I reiterated that I was not interested, but he would not leave. However, within moments, I was saved. He had signed up to sing karaoke, and he was up. Thank you, God!

8. How’d you get that scar on your neck? Did you have a tracheotomy?
     What a jerk!
     “No, I had cancer. Great way to start and end a first conversation.”

white black jeans7. Nice jeans.
     Attention ladies! This is a “politically correct” way for a guy to tell you that you have a nice ass. Apparently, it has replaced the wolf whistle and other direct commentary that could be construed as sexual harassment. I did not bother to acknowledge his presence. But, to tell the truth, they were nice jeans. Actually, they were my favorite jeans, found at White House | Black Market. http://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com

6. My friend and I have a bet going. Are those real?
     Seriously?
     “Yes, my eyes are this color. I’m not wearing colored contacts.”
     “That’s not what I meant.”
     “I know. But that’s the only answer you’re getting.”

5. You’re hot. I’m hot. Let’s f***.

     Are you kidding me???
     “Oh hell, no!” Picture me rolling my eyes and shaking my head in total and absolute disgust.

drink - Copy4. What are you drinking?
     Okay, the question is not the problem here, it was the conversation that followed that did him in.
     “Ginger ale with cranberry juice.”
     He laughed and replied, “I want to buy you a real drink. Order something strong.”
     “Nope. This is what I’m drinking. I already had my one alcoholic drink for the evening. I’m the designated driver.”
     “That’s ridiculous.”
     “No.”
     “Come on. I want to talk to you.”
     “And you can’t talk to me unless I’m drinking alcohol? That’s pretty pathetic.”
     “It levels the playing field.”
     “I’m not interested in playing games. Go away, and grow up.”

3. You girls are gorgeous. Have you ever considered doing porn?
     This guy approached us from behind and put one arm around each of us. We immediately pulled away and told him to get away from us. Eeeewwwww! No matter how hard we tried, no amount of antibacterial wipes could make us feel clean after that.

2. I’m a single dad with four kids under the age of five. I’m looking for somebody to raise them for me.
     Well, good luck with that!
     While we were laughing, he explained he liked to cruise around on his motorcycle. He was searching for someone to raise his kids for him, so he can gallivant around the country. We suggested he hire a nanny.

1. I loved 50 Shades of Grey. How about you?
     “Hated it.”
     “How could you hate it? It was fantastic.”
     “The plot was ridiculous. It was poorly written and 200 pages too long.”
     “Come back to my place, and I’ll convince you otherwise.”
     “I can’t say ‘no’ strongly enough.”
     “I’ll have you saying ‘yes’ and begging for more.”
     “Not in your wildest dreams.”
     “I guarantee to make your wildest dreams come true.”
     “Really?”
     “Yes.”
     “My wildest dream is for you to leave us alone.”
     And with that, he called me the “B” word and left. Gee, if only all of my dreams were that easy to fulfill! 

     Despite dealing with unwelcome advances, my girlfriends and I will continue to go out and enjoy each other’s company. And, if nothing else, we will end up with some really interesting stories to share!

Copyright © 2013 Suzanne Purewal