Category Archives: Music

The New Normal, the Oscars, and, I’m Happy!

post 50 women

Have you noticed how a LOT of people are really into their smartphones these days?  I just got back from Las Vegas, and it was just so weird to see how many folks with their heads down, not relating to the people around them, but deeply into something apparetly very important on their phones.

While walking, waiting in line, eating dinner with other people…it feels not only weird, but sad.  It seems as if the need to escape the moment is so strong.  But wait, isn’t the moment all we have?

Being the curious type, I wanted to see what a table of 3 young men were looking at on their phones while eating.  They were playing games.  Oh, I see.  You’re on vacation and you are sitting with your father, or maybe it’s your grandfather, and you are playing a computer game.  No really, I get it, gaming is so much more important than actually relating.

The most curious thing was that the older man was just sitting there.  I guess it is just enough to be around the younger generation these days because you can’t say anthing: it is their New Normal!

women baby boomers

Watching the Oscars last night with a group of girlfriends was interesting too.  There were some questions that came up during the night, like, how old is Kim Novak, and did she have an accident or just really bad plastic surgery?  Instead of chatting around the group, there was one woman who had her smartphone with her, or should I say, “smart ass” phone, since that’s what these women were calling it, and she would find out the answers.  But while I found it kind of cool, since I haven’t been around this kind of thing before, it was also odd.  I was glad when Eileen spoke up at one point and said, “Hey, I kind of like having some mystery and discussion about things, don’t you all?  I had to agree.


I had to stop and realize that I am from the time when there was more relating, people didn’t talk so fast, and there wasn’t SOMETHING to do every moment!  And while things ARE changing, and there are things that I don’t understand, it’s OK.

I will close with my favorite song from the Oscars, which did not win.  Oh well, it doesn’t matter, ‘cuz I’m HAPPY.

Good Music. Bad Music. And Porn.

post 50 women

There’s always been bad music out there, like just about anything from Captain & Tenille, Barry Manilow, and I’m sorry to say, Tony Orlando and Dawn.  But there always was really, really good stuff to balance it.

I recently watched a clip of older folks listening to Eminem, the famous rapper (see below).

Then I happened to see a clip of Beyonce and her husband have sexual intercourse perform, and then I started to think about good music, bad music, and porn.  I just don’t get what is so great about all the porn involved in the music scene these days.

Take Miley Cyrus:  seeing her perform is like watching someone in a strip club.  I just read that on her latest tour, she does this little thing where she simulates fellatio on a man in a Bill Clinton costume.  It’s kind of like, it’s cool, it’s awesome, but really, it isn’t.
Then there’s that clip of Kanye West with Kim Kardashian doing the wild thing on a motorcycle.  I mean, I know they are rich and have a ton of fans, but is it really awesome to be such an exhibitionist?  I mean, do their fans really like to see them having sexual intercourse being intimate like that?

women over 50

The shock factor is what sells, and you know, looking back, Elvis “the pelvis” Pressley was not allowed to be filmed below the waist because his gyrations were too suggestive.  Then the Beatles were really shocking with their long hair.  Of course Madonna was definitely a performer who shocked us but made us want it more too, so I guess it’s all her fault.

I just went through my CD mixes and am listening to  “The Something Good Mix” right now, with songs like J.J. Cale’s, “Magnolia”, Eric Clapton’s “After Midnight”, The Talking Heads “Burning Down the House”, Leonard Cohen’s “Secret Life”, and that one that I love from Dire Straits, called “On Every Street”.

Now that I got my fix of good music, I’m good and I feel one with everything again.

Peace. Love. And Thank God I grew up with good music 🙂


Remembering Lou Reed


I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, where music ruled my life.  Singing along to Lou Reed’s, “Hey Babe, Take a Walk on the Wild Side” back in Novemeber of 1972 when I was 14 years old, I remember feeling like I was as cool as Lou Reed sounded.  Lou Reed died on October 27th, almost 41 years to the date of the release of the Transformer album that had that song on it His wife, Laurie Anderson, wrote a piece for the Rolling Stones that touched me.  Click here to read it.

Aile Shebar, a wonderful writer and friend, allowed me to share what she remembers about Lou Reed.  It touched me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. 

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Screen Test by Andy Warhol (1966)

Lou Reed was a few years ahead of me in school when we were kids in Freeport, NY, and I was in 7th grade.

He gave me my first smoke, a Camel cigarette, one day when we both ditched classes, an innocent moment that was so memorable… smoking became an addiction of mine for 30 years!

He was always in trouble – walking on the wild side in junior high, given to mood swings… a rebel and an iconoclast – but he was very bright, and was accepted at Syracuse University in spite of ‘behavior problems’ that became the cause of being ‘treated’ by ECT as a teenager, and the subsequent song, “Kill Your Sons”.

At the time, Syracuse was a prestigious university for a Long Island Jewish boy to attend.  Although he considered himself Jewish, he said, “My God is rock’n’roll.  It’s an obscure power that can change your life.  The most important part of my religion is to play guitar.”

I went to all his party gigs with his first (local) band, the Jades, and even a couple of bar gigs, well before I was of legal age to get in – Lou got me false iD – and with enough make-up, and high heels I passed for 18.

In those days, my nickname was ‘Hershey Bar’.

In more recent years, according to my cousin, who was one of Lou’s friends in high school and who had kept in touch, Lou had been seriously ill after years of drug addiction and alcohol, and as a result required and underwent a liver transplant. The cause of death is presumed to be a result of complications connected to the transplant.

Lou was always unusual… of course that was more noticeable in school, because he dared to be himself, regardless of the times we grew up in and his conditioning. His bi-sexuality was something he explored and celebrated, even though he was ‘tortured’ for being himself in his teens.  He was always someone who defied all conventional labels and by being himself, which included horrific behavior at times, and soft, tender behavior at others, he gave permission to others to explore their shadow sides too.

I often felt his pain, as a young person, when kids mocked him or worse, but he had enormous creative power to express himself in spite of, or sometimes because of, the pain he was in… and to transform it into art.  In the end he had the last laugh on our schoolmates, most of whom found another form of oblivion in which to live.

May he RIP, in Rock and Roll heaven, bringing the dark side to light.. and may he continue to Walk on the Wild Side with us all.

Aile Shebar is the founder of “Writing from the Heart”; A gifted Facilitator of Creative Writing, Coaching Writers, and Compassionate Editing.  She is also the event producer at One Heart Productions, bringing wonderfully gifted and enlightened ones to the public.

Aile Shebar
Aile Shebar


Daydream Believer

Davy Jones and Me

I got the news in a text from my daughter.
“OMG!  What?!”  I texted back.
It’s a hoax, I reasoned.  A cruel internet hoax, I told myself as I ran upstairs to Google his name.
I clicked on one of the links detailing the unexpected death of Davy Jones.  My eyes filled with tears as I read about the heart attack he suffered.  My reaction surprised me.  Never before had I been so moved by the death of a celebrity.  Certainly far more stellar entertainers have gone before– Lennon, Morrison, Hendrix—and yet it was Davy who drew my emotions to the surface.

In 1966, when the first Monkees episodes aired, I was a budding adolescent.  It was a time of discovery, of change – garter belts and sanitary belts, mascara and mini skirts, blue eye shadow and pale lipstick,  go-go boots and Jean Naté.
Davy’s rakish grin and Carnaby Street style captivated me.  And what was it about that adorable British accent that turned my heart into figgy pudding?
I never missed an episode.  And even though the show only ran for two seasons, having the teen idol in my living room, sharing in his scripted adventures brought an intimacy to our relationship that I never felt with other performers of the era.

Davy Jones
Davy Jones circa 1966

Over the years, I all but forgot about the object of my first celebrity crush until 2000 when I saw a small article in the local paper announcing his appearance that day in San Ramon to promote his latest memoir, “Daydream Believer.”

A youthful giddiness engulfed me at the thought of seeing Davy in person.  I instructed my husband to meet me with our camera at the appointed hour.  I wasn’t about to let this chance of a lifetime slip by unrecorded.
I stood in line with the bevy of aging teeny boppers queued up in the sweltering afternoon sun, waiting to breathe the same oxygen as their teen idol.
Gracious, friendly and patient, Davy took time out between autographing copies of his book to pose for photos with his long time fans.
My heart still aches when I think about his passing.  But the timeless melodies and lyrics of his songs will forever transport me to that tender place in my memory when The Monkees mischief aired weekly, and daydream believers walked the halls of my junior high.


Camille DeFer Thompson has been writing since childhood.  She has won acclaim for her fiction and non-fiction published in a number of anthologies, including Publishing Syndicate’s recent release, “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Home Improvement”. 

Her feature articles appear in print, and online at

Camille lives with her husband in Northern California.

Visit her website at

A Retiring Mind

Amoke Kubat

I first met Amoke Awele Kubat at the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference in Asheville several years ago where she lead a heartfelt and authentic storytelling workshop for women.  I’ve been asking her for years to write something for, and now that she has retired, we are happy to have her blog with us.

Amoke is also a published author of Missing Mama: My Story of Loss, Sorrow and Healing , a deeply personal and universal story of mother loss.  She feels that internalized grief, due to loss and trauma, has become as intrinsic as any other internalized oppression.  


Missing Mamma


When I turned 60, I told my daughter that I was having a mid-life crisis.  She said that was good.  I was going to live to be 120.  I replied that I was done.  I was done being a teacher, a parent, friend, and associate to a whole lot of emotional entanglements.  I no longer wanted to wake up exhausted, give up 15 hours of my day, then come home foraging for energy by over-eating.  I started to ponder the possibility of retiring – early.

I started asking women who were retired what life was like after working? Their responses differed. One told me she didn’t like it.  Her husband was dead and she was estranged from her adult children.  She didn’t have access to her grandchildren.  The people at Bingo were her family.  Another woman told me that she had “deep cleaned” her house, read one book a week and now was enjoying her first grandchild.

Then I was alarmed by my best friend’s response.  She felt guilty.  We met when I was 14, almost 50 years ago.  She was struggling with being retired.  She felt like she was mooching off the government.  I hardly contained my tongue. “You are not a slave!”  I yelled. “Why do you feel this way?” I asked.

She felt this way because she had not waited until she was 70 to quit working!  We both had started working in our early teens.

I asked Spirit to send me a sign.  If statistics were true, I had 12.2 more good years.  If I was on my dirty dozen years left journey, I needed to get busy.  I began to write my “Bucket List”.  

This list changes frequently.

The sign came.  As I checked in for my eye surgery to remove cataracts, the receptionist reviewed my intake information.  She noticed my age.  She was bubbly.  “I’m 62 too,” she said.  She also told me that she was retiring in 4 months.  I asked what lead her to this decision.  She said, “Most of my friends that retired at 66 and older and were dead in 1-2 years.  Not me.  I want to enjoy my life!”  I retired in February 1, 2013.

A “Retiring Mind ” is a danger to itself and others.  On the first day I retired, I woke up and shot out of bed as was my normal morning routine.  I raced through the house to look outside.  I live in Minnesota.  Last year this time, it was in the high 70’s.  This year we had ice, snow, and single digit wind chills.  Then I looked at my Bose.  I had a startling revelation.  I was not giving “stink eye” to the clock!  Time was no longer my adversary!  I went skipping through the house.  I sat in my rocker naked!  I grinned until my face hurt!  I began to sing and made up my new life theme songs.  “I don’t have to do that”.  “I have all the time in the world”.  “For the rest of my life”.  “I feel like a newly freed slave.”  I was giddy with excitement.  My mind raced with possibilities.

I have no map for this road trip called retirement.  The IRS defines retirement as “willful termination of employment with no intent to seek a new job after age 55”.  (Hell yeah!!)  I have had to wrestle down the “I gotta do demons”.   I have had to harshly counsel myself when my “internal overseer” wants me to “occupy” and “account for” every minute of my time.

I have seen more TV and DVD’s than ever.  I am reading until 3 and 4 a.m.  I am writing, writing, writing.  I am slowly de-cluttering my house of work related stuff.  I am telling well-meaning people that I don’t want any more jobs.  I don’t want to join them in their projects.  I have learned to say no.

I am reacquainting myself with me and the things I love, like music.  I played an old favorite, “It’s Raining Men” loudly, repeatedly while singing and dancing with abandon!  I am calling one friend a week and having deeper more meaningful conversations.

I have made tender discoveries.  Finding a frosted crystal necklace in an old velvet box, I realized I had been saving it to wear on a special occasion.  I realized I had never worn it.  It shook me to acknowledge that in 25 years, I had not had a special occasion or special day?  I wore it all that day.

What I love most about being retired is – simply, being.


Amoke Awele Kubat(M.Ed) is a north side Minneapolis resident who has been involved in empowering families since 1987.  She is a teacher, artist and writer who partners with community artists, activists and organizations to bridge African/American culture and cultural legacies for healing and building sustainable families and communities.  Amoke uses art making, storytelling and education to women, as mothers and first teachers of their children for mapping memory to generational trauma (personal and systemic) and facilitating healing through individualized action steps for recovery.  She has used her skills to work with international youth 12- 25 who participated in The Children of War.  She has worked with bi-racial adoptees, Native American, Korean, and African American, to reconnect them to their mother culture and assist them on their journeys to a holistic self- identity and actualization.