The PA Jazz Alliance and The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board present the exciting All-Star Montco 17-piece jazz orchestra that will take you on a holiday journey transporting you back to Big Band Era with Tchaikovsky's celebrated Nutcracker Suite as arranged by Milton “Shorty” Rogers and Duke Ellington. You’ll be dancing in your seat while experiencing that swinging brassy sound with clever insightful story narration by State Rep. Joe Ciresi and featured vocalist Amy Banks. Please also bring an unwrapped toy, as this show will be a toy drive! All toys will be donated to The Helping Hands Community Outreach Program – Holiday Project


What's Up?

The last thing she told me 

The last few times I saw Joanne she talked about sovereignty, and I told her I'd need to look it up. I've been keen on the word agency which seems to reflect simply having control over my domain, but sovereignty is owning supreme authority over my domain. I think.

What comes to mind is just about everything in the realm of the personal. Not only what we choose to eat for breakfast, but how we choose to react when our buttons are pushed. Not only how we execute the tasks at hand on the daily, but how we navigate lives of balance that include the “not doing”. What we choose to think about ourselves and others. What we deem our purpose. How we define and express love. How we choose to live our lives and how we choose to end them (which I'm starting to notice is the exact same thing).

The longer I explore the conditioning that brings out all of the things that make me who I am, I am confronted by everything I think I want for myself and everything I say I don't. What made the person who chose my life and how much of that person is “me” or my conditioned thoughts, feelings, and choices?

In the heart of my midlife crisis, I've come to notice that there is a lot of thinking that can be done about these questions. Next, generating some vague answers that would have me pursue a different direction in my life, followed by realizing that the only thing I know how to do is create more of the same. The real “next thing” I do not know how to generate. How does one find that which they don't know they don't know? 

And herein lies the rub: what I want most in life is the experience of having something I've never had and I've never had it because I don't know how to find it and I don't know how to find out how to find it. Try that shit on for size.

But the clock doesn't stop ticking. And then one day it does, and that day could be tomorrow. Or today.

Joanne's query asks me to define for myself what sovereignty will I own and obey. And on those days the heat of death's breath is at the back of my neck, will I be at peace with my decision?

Joanne was one of my biggest fans and a constant friend for the past twenty years. She was my go-to for advice and a supporter of my ideas, big and small. She illuminated my greatness and accepted my ridiculousness. On her 60th birthday last April, she was surrounded by lifelong friends and family that loved her. At one point, we went around the table and everyone shared their favorite memory of their life with Joanne. I was moved to tears thinking, how could one person have such a meaningful and profound impact on so many people?

Joanne demonstrated moving through life powerfully without knowing what was coming next. She exercised sovereignty over her life and her death.  She made space for love, curiosity, uncertainty, generosity, and the magic of the cosmos. She set a terrific example.

In honor of her life, I will call on Joanne's wisdom and courage as I strive to trust my sovereignty, to “go well”, and try my best to not overthink every damn thing.

Give drama a rest 

I know some of you live vicariously through my exciting life. Frankly, that's the best approach – always know there is some game out there you could join in on but prefer instead to watch from the safety of your couch. I'm not a hater.

Today, I got nothing for you. The new car is a month old. I no longer fight with my mom (because I put an invisibility cape on her). I've nearly all but forgotten “that guy” who had my heart for the better part of too many years, (guess I put an invisibility cape on his ass, too). And my hair is no longer falling out because my band, Central City Orchestra is in the slow season. Oh, and the antibiotics worked on the wound from the attempted murder by my cat, Possum. Yes, my cat's name is Possum. Don't be a hater.

You can't call my life boring. I haven't even scratched the surface of describing the mishegoss that is my day job, a veritable higher education soap opera, but that's for another day in a world where people now have the attention span of fleas. For now, I can report my latest over-commitment (not including in-depth therapy,) will be a regular entry and random photo that I will call Day in the Life of a Bitter Wedding Singer. At some point, I might even offer sage wisdom to future brides and grooms advising what to consider and/or avoid in their upcoming wedding receptions (because who better to advise than one who's seen it all?) but for now, I'll throw other wisdom at you or possibly just chat about my life because it's likely more interesting than yours. If that isn't true you don't have to be offended.

Love you always, hate me sometimes, committed to somebody's joy, least of all my own… Amy aka BWS

P.S. I have commenced a batch of Om Mugs in partnership with the immensely gifted Amy Burk Pottery. DM me on Facebook if you want to be alerted when they are available for purchase.