photo of miraj sitar

Image via Wikipedia

Daily Foglifter:  Listening to music assists in pain management, reduces blood pressure, soothes migraines, boosts immunity, enhances intelligence and memory, increases productivity, and promotes relaxation.  Source

A few weeks ago, I received a gift from a reader named Jeff.  After reading my Autism entry, he e-mailed me asking if he could send a relaxation CD to play for my son.  Music is an effective method of relaxation, particularly for those with Autism.  Never one to pass up free stuff, I agreed. 

I will confess that I was a little worried.  When I hear the term, “relaxation music”,  I think of sitars and chanting.  Neither of these things relax me, as I can’t relax when being creeped out.  I had a massage once with some very disturbing demonic chanting.  Completely counter-productive.  When the CD arrived, my apprehension grew when the blurb on the back of the CD case read, “the ideal tempo and rhythm for creative inspiration, massage, yoga, scenic drives, or just winding down.”  At least it didn’t mention meditation.  I don’t have anything against any of these things, I just don’t understand the particular soundtrack people use to do them.

It took a while for me to actually play it.  I usually tune the DIRECTV to my favorite music station (Channel 832, Adult Alternative) or listen to my Playlist on the computer.  I play CDs in the car and since I’m always running late, I never remembered to grab the CD off the desk.

I was feeling really guilty about not listening to it.  Jeff wasn’t pushy.  In fact, he never once contacted me and said, “Why haven’t you mentioned my CD?” or “Have you listened to it yet?”  Of course, that made me feel more guilty.  I immediately put it in my car for the next trip.  And it sat in the CD changer for a week, unheard.

Then, on a day when the kids were being particularly loud and irritable, I remembered the CD.  If it could calm down my rowdy bunch until we got home, that would be high praise indeed.  I turned it on, hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, and was pleasantly surprised.  Not a sitar, singing bowl, gong, or chanter anywhere.  Just a guitar and a piano, playing pleasant relaxing music.    It was playing for a couple of minutes before I noticed the kids had gone silent.  Seriously, not a peep.

I drove for another five minutes when the 12-year-old asked, “What is this music?”

I answered, “It’s instrumental.  It’s nice, isn’t it?”

He said, “It’s making me sleepy.” The other three kids agreed.

DING DING DING!  We have a winner!

This is now my “go-to” CD when the kids are getting rowdy.  They immediately calm down.  They may talk, but it’s in a quieter voice.  I use it sparingly, in fear they’ll acclimate to it, but it still works every time I turn it on. For them and for me.

The CD is  “Escapes” by Jeff Gold.  You can buy or download “Escapes” and more music by Jeff Gold by going to or 

When you enter the code “momfog” in the shopping cart you will receive a 20% discount.  A free download is included with the purchase of a CD. 

“Almost all children respond to music. Music is an open-sesame, and if you can use it carefully and appropriately, you can reach into that child’s potential for development.”  ~Dr. Clive Robbins

Nordoff-Robbins uses music therapy to help over 100 handicapped children learn and to relate and communicate with others.


The Momfog Music Awards

It’s finally here.  The post you’ve all been waiting for.  It’s time for the Momfog Music Awards.I want you to know that I’m taking this seriously.  I am decked out in my Red Carpet Best.

  • Stunning fleece pajama pants featuring smiley faces, peace signs, and hearts.
  • Blue T-shirt with a spot of spaghetti sauce courtesy of this morning’s breakfast.
  • Hair done in a semi-Up-do, random tendrils of hair escaping the purple scrunchy I put in my hair last night before going to bed.
  • Make-up is left over from yesterday.  One eye sporting the smokey eye look, a result of rubbing the left-over eyeliner and mascara in a fit of hayfever, the other completely devoid of make-up.  The pop-eyed effect–it’s going to be huge!
  • Let’s not forget the most important accessory of all–the footwear.  White socks featuring the musical staff is appropriate, I think.

Red Carpet Ready

(Note:  I’ve gotten a lot of comments about the socks.  As a courtesy, here’s a link to wear you can order a wide variety of musical socks.  Buy Music Socks! )

It’s probably a good idea to go over the criteria.  Simply put: My Blog, My Rules.  You will be happy to know that if you responded to What’s On Your Playlist?, you will get an award.  It’s a concept I learned from Little League Baseball.  You participate, you get a trophy!  Yay!  Everybody’s a winner!  Don’t you feel duped special?

So, without further ado…

Image by

Image by

Welcome to the Momfog Music Awards!  (Applause)  In the grand tradition of awards shows, I promise the list of awards to be long, overly generalized, and completely inadequate as it relates to the actual music preferences of actual people.  It will also be boring.

I can promise there won’t be lame back-and-forths between two reluctant presenters blandly and badly reading a teleprompter. (Louder applause and some maniacal whistling and screaming.)   It’ll be lame, of course, but as I’m not a celebrity and have no artistic integrity to consider, it will be less painful to witness. In fact, I’m not going to attempt to make clever segues into each award.  It’s going to be a list.  Maybe it will be as painful to witness?  Anyway, on with the awards! (Uncomfortable spattering of applause and concerned murmerings.)

Artist in Exile Award  The winner is Unga Bunga Girl.  This talented poet professes to live in a cave with only The Doors and Pink Floyd to keep her company.  She’s on the lookout for new music so pay her a visit and prepare to be impressed.

Independent Spirit Award   For submitting people I’ve never heard of, the winner is Make Me Believe.  Her choices were Jaymay and Frank Turner.  She is only 15 and I’m…not, so that may explain my ignorance. 

Best Comedic Performance  This award goes to A Life Bewhiskered, aka Eleanor,  who confessed to liking Bon Jovi and then apologized for it.  As we all have our own personal “Bon Jovi,” I applaud her courage and spunk for sharing. 

Apology Accepted

The Indie Lover  With groups like Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, and Guster this award could only go to Jamie.  I’ve been reluctant to admit my enjoyment of Vampire Weekend since most people I know would probably assume it’s some kind of goth freak show.  It’s not.  It’s fun and I like fun music.

The Most British  This is actually a tie.  The first co-winner is xnicc who submitted the English radio station Kerrang!   The other is theianfox for his decidedly British choices of Dove, Mint Royale, and Gorillaz (a virtual band). 

The Aussie Award   As the only Australian participant, teamoyeniyi is the lucky winner!  Of course, her patriotic choice of the first Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian certainly qualifies her for this coveted award.  Patriotism aside, she is in a fight between Love and Bureaucracy, which she documents beautifully in Love versus Goliath.

The Best Group Name With names like Arcade Fire, Gorillaz, and Jaymay it’s hard to believe there could be a more interesting name, but Idle Emma obliged with “Bowling for Soup.”  Idle Emma is from Ireland and her blog is dedicated to art, poetry, and photography.

As we’ve reached the half-way point, I believe now it’s time for the obligatory Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Lifetime Achievement

Selecting the recipient of this award was an easy task.  First, he was one of the oldest to respond.  Second, his description of himself as “an almost 50 year old English bloke that would gladly sell his soul for rock n roll” was by far the most passionate comment.  Third, his blog is dedicated to music, in one way or another.  A visitor is treated to music playing in the background while reading his poetry, which is often about music. 

And the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award is…

Words Asunder!

Be sure to visit his blog and let him know he’s won this coveted award.  While you’re there check out “My Affair With Lady Stella.”  I’m rather fond of that particular poem.

Imagine, if you will, Words Asunder’s grateful speech the goons in the orchestra pit won’t allow him to finish, his uncomfortable escort off stage, and the cut to commercial break, after which we’re subjected to the latest “song” from a future member of “the one-hit-wonder” club.  

Glad that’s over.  Back to the awards.

It’s now time for the more traditional awards. 

Classic Rock/Country Award   Will the lovely Tiffaney please proceed to the podium?  Her particular choices were Country, REO Speedwagon, and Journey. 

The Best in Classical Music   The winner is Jae.  She submitted the only song to fit the category:  Pachelbel’s Canon in D.  It’s a smart choice.  It played at my wedding in lieu of Mendelssohn’s “The Wedding March” from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,”  although I absolutely love that one, as well.

Movie or Musical Soundtrack  Although there were several soundtracks submitted (Glee and Wicked), the award goes to Breakingfreefromme for her submission of the “Once” soundtrack.  Primarily because it’s a less obvious choice.  My Blog, My Rules, remember?

Best Duo or Group  This award is shared by three e-mail subscribers.  They get this reward because they were the only three people who actually shared the same selections.  The shared selections were Adele and The Zac Brown Band, in some combination.  The winners are Stephanie, Mandy, and Becky.  It’s important to note that while these ladies shared selections, they also differed widely in their other preferences.

Christian Music 

Christian Rap  For this unique genre, the award goes to Emily.  She had a wide array of other choices but this one stuck out.

Southern Gospel  On the complete opposite spectrum of Christian music were yo lovee and Mrs. Cecile, the recipients of this award.  It makes sense, as both are veteran singers of Southern gospel.  Also, they share another connection.  Yo lovee and Mrs. Cecile’s husband currently sing in a Southern Gospel Quartet together. 

Now it’s time for the Big Awards of the Night.  You know, the ones you watch entire awards shows for, just so you can adamantly disagree with the winners?  We all know the winners are chosen as part of a Music Industry conspiracy to boost sales.  The same principle applies here.  In place of “Music Industry”, place “Momfog.”  In place of “sales,” place “her own agenda.”   

Soulful Sharing Award Not only did the winner of this award leave answers, he left links, thereby eliminating the need for me to Google anything.  He likes soul of all kinds and left two links to JazzanovaIn addition to being considerate, he has very cool taste in music.  This deserving winner is Comedian Reid Price.  His brilliancy didn’t stop there.  He also left another link to the music of his brother, who happens to be the winner of the following award.

Best New Artist  To complete the genius of Mr. Price, the link he left happens to be to a cover of the Mumford and Sons song, “The Cave.”  As no one seemed to share my appreciation of the Mumford and Sons (at the time), I was stoked.  I assume that people are put off by the banjo or maybe the name “Mumford and Sons” (it does sound like a funeral home or antique furniture dealer).  If that’s the case, check out the Best New Artist with the completely normal name of Chad Price  and rest assured that there’s no banjo in sight.  It’s just Chad and a guitar and it’s very, very nice.

And now, for the Final Award of the Night.  The award to end all awards.  The recipient of this high honor almost didn’t make the cut.  By chance, I happened to notice his post in the “Latest Posts” section of my dashboard here on WordPress only last night.  To think I would’ve missed out on his sheer genius if I hadn’t glanced at the computer screen at the right moment. 

The Blogger of the Millenium

The winner is The Saxton.  What’s so great about The Saxton?  He agrees with me, of course.  He loves Mumford and Sons.  He appreciates their talent, their relevance, their creative use of the banjo and the kick-drum.  Unfortunately, if you try this link, it is inactive at this time.  I’m assuming it’s because he couldn’t handle the sudden influx of traffic that naturally comes from this kind of exposure. If it’s for a more sinister reason, don’t tell me.  I prefer to keep my illusions, thank you.  (Note:  Silly me had the wrong link.  It should be working now)

Mumford and Sons

So, there you have it.  The long, irrelevant, and boring awards show that I promised.  Believe it or not, I did have to make choices as to what to include and what to leave out. To see the complete list you’ll have to peruse the comments of “What’s On Your Playlist?” 

I would love to go into deep philosophical discussion about how “music is the univeral language” and all that, but it seems I’ve already gone over by about an hour.  The local news stations hate that.  So, I’ll just end it with the customary but abrupt wave and a “Thanks everybody!” as the orchestra plays and the screen fades to black.

Disclaimer:  The links to other blogs were my idea.  No bloggers asked for the exposure, but I wanted to thank them for participating in my survey.  Comments are not easy to come by and I hope that if you visit any of these blogs and see something you like, please let them know. 

Disclaimer 2:  If any of the blogs listed here prefer not to be linked to by Momfog, please let me know and I will remove the link immediately.  Any such request will be confidential. 

Butchering Beethoven


Daily Foglifter:   Beethoven never married but had an unnamed “Immortal Beloved” to whom he wrote a series of romantic letters.

Super Cool!

Yesterday, I had one of those moments when I wish I could go back in time and say to my younger,dumber self, “You are an IDIOT!”  There are several points in time I could have chosen–when I bleached my hair blonde, when I thought piercing the cartilage in my ear was a super cool idea, the day I quit college.  But yesterday, it was the stupid, short-sighted girl who decided that piano lessons were far less desirable than talking on the phone all day or being a cheerleader that I wanted to visit.  I mean, seriously.  A cheerleader?  I wasn’t even any good at it.  What a ditz!

I did take piano lessons for a few years.  First, my mom taught me.  She got over my eye-rolling and general disregard for anything she tried to teach me pretty quickly.  I remember the day she said something along the lines of  “If you want to do this I’m going to send you to Mrs. Hanz.  She won’t take any of your crap, you know.”  Mrs. Hanz was my mom’s teacher and she is one of the few truly great people I’ve known.  But that’s a subject for another day.  That dear lady deserves a tribute I’m probably not capable of writing yet.  She always expected my best and she’s going to get it.

So, I went off to “real” piano lessons.  (Not that my mom’s lessons weren’t real. She taught piano and voice for a living.  But she was my mom.  If you’re a daughter, you understand.  If not, ask your wife, girlfriend, or your mom.  They’ll totally get it.) Back to my piano lessons.  The instruction was excellent but my dedication was not.  I didn’t care one iota for the fundamentals of music or the piano.  Chords and scales? BOR-ING!  Time Signatures? Say what? (I can still hear my mom yelling, “COUNT!” from the kitchen as I practiced.  Come to think of it, she said it the last time I played something for her. A few months ago.)  Correct Fingering? Why does THAT matter?  Correct positioning of the hands? Pointless.  Besides, I like the way my pinky fingers stick straight up in the air.  It’s very dainty when drinking a hot cuppa Earl Grey, why not when playing the piano?

Dainty Digit

What I retained of my brief foray into piano lessons is the ability to read music and play it, badly at first and then okay after A LOT of practice. I have to work at it, diligently, with no natural talent to spur me along.  It’s tough going, especially considering the standards set by the people in my life.

I am surrounded by people with insane natural musical talent.  My mom, with the perfect pitch.  My husband and mother-in-law , with the awesome singing voices. My brothers-in-law, who write music, play music, live and breathe music. My father-in-law, who plays the piano so well, it’s enough to make me never want to sit at the piano again because, really, what’s the point?

The point, of course, is that I love it.  What I lack in skill I make up for in passion.  My personal preference is the Classical and Romantic Periods–Mozart, Debussy, Liszt, and of course, Beethoven.  It was Beethoven that brought all this on.  I was sitting at the piano, laboring my way through Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (Transcription by Franz Liszt–double bonus!), and cursing my uncooperative fingers when I thought back to that clueless little girl who gave up the piano before she had the chance to appreciate it.  She stuck around long enough to learn the basics and just quit.  Of course, she was only 11.  But she was still an idiot.

I’m grateful I took any lessons.  At least I can play. So I’ll continue to sit down to the piano, butcher me some Beethoven, and enjoy the sweet sounds along with the sour.

Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men – At my age I need a steady, quiet life – can that be so in our connection? My angel… Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell. Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine

ever mine

ever ours

~An excerpt from one of Beethoven’s letters to his “Immortal Beloved.”

What’s On Your Playlist?

Image via stock.xchange.comDaily Foglifter:  There are an average of 50 albums released per week  in the United States and United Kingdom.  That’s 2500 per year.

I’m always interested in what kind of music people listen to.  Many times, it’s not what I would expect at all.  I get an average of about 60 visitors to Momfog every day.  A lot of those are regular visitors and we exchange comments and have mini-conversations here, as well as in forums or other blogs.  We have a certain degree of “relationship” and I think we form opinions about each other based on the limited information we exchange.  For instance, one “regular” said the other day that she liked fantasy literature.  I was surprised for some reason.  It just didn’t seem to fit.  That’s ridiculous, of course.  I couldn’t tell you my best friend’s favorite literary genre.  Someone who resembles me in age, marital status, number of children, backgrounds, and religious affiliation is not likely to share my taste in books or music.  It’s a completely individual thing.  I want to put together a little report about the different kinds of music people like.  It’s sort of my own personal research project so….

Help a girl out and answer a few very easy and quick questions!

What are you listening to?

I want to know the favorite genres of music or the favorite group/singer/composer of the people who read this blog.  Include your age, gender, and nationality when responding.


  1. Name your current favorite song(s) or group(s) or musical genre.  Include your reason for liking if you want to share or persuade.

  2. Give your age and gender.  (Ladies–feel free to leave an -ish answer if you prefer.)

  3. State your nationality.

I’ll start.

  1. I’m on a Mumford and Sons kick at the moment.  I think it’s the “bluegrass” kind of feel I get in the songs.  It reminds me of Kentucky, my home state.  Also, the lyrics are heavily influenced by literature.  LOVE that!
  2. Female, age 32.
  3. American

Now it’s your turn.  Hit the comment button and make my day!  Thanks!