“If music be the food of love, play on.”   ~William Shakespeare

I was searching for an app that would turn my iPad into a clock radio in the morning. If I have to get up at a certain time, the sound has to be better than the blasting alarm that makes my heart skip a beat with it vicious noise.

songza iconI stumbled across “Songza”.

What I discovered is a streaming music app that creates playlists for every mood or situation you can think of. There are other services available, depending on where you live. Being in Canada, it seemed that we were being blocked. I’m not sure how that was being done, but it really made me angry. Every time someone told me how great “Spotify” was, I was newly disappointed.

As I write this, I am listening to a playlist for Sunday afternoon, based on my preferences. In the course of around 100 songs, I am exposed to so many new songs and artists, or oldies that I don’t own and have not heard for a while. Unlike radio, there does not seem to be a formula, where every 5th song is predictably going to be from a “top 40” chart topper.

And of course there is an option to buy anything you hear – brilliant.

It never ceases to amaze me, the power of music. I am more inspired, productive and generally happy with the right playlist going. I don’t have time to be my own personal deejay. Songza does it for me.

Drift Away

The past week has been tough. Even though I was not travelling, somehow settling back into a good routine was difficult. Around Wednesday, it occurred to me that I was not thinking of anything that could be put down into words for “The Good Life List”. Well that’s a problem.

Then last night as I was driving home from Christmas shopping with my son, we heard – “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray. My son asks, (as usual), what is the name of this song and who sings it? I couldn’t remember. But I knew, in a few clicks on my computer, I would.

In all fairness to my memory, the song was released in 1973 when I was just three years old. However, the reason I do know this song so well is that it became quite an iconic song. It was covered by many big acts and was often used as filler for the last song, in preparation for an encore.

There was something about the lyrics that put a real smile on my face for the first time all week.

Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me
I want you to know I believe in your song
And rhythm and rhyme and harmony
You help me along
Makin’ me strong

Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock n roll
And drift away

Grab this song from iTunes and enjoy!

Road Trip

  • 1,000 kilometers
  • 13 hours
  • 2 children in the back
  • Roof rack – full
  • 500 pounds of gear

We have traveled these highways many, many times over the past 20 years. As a child I made this voyage among others in my parents car at least once per summer. So when there are upgrades to this route that generally improve the road or make the trip shorter, it is a major event for me.

There are a few rules and strategies that are commonly used to make it through. Modern technology has made it quite a bit easier on the parents and the children both. Gameboys where just becoming available when I was a teenager. My children take the uninterrupted hour upon hour as a gift to advance levels and beat personal records.

Music choice was always a big one when I was a kid. The local radio station had to be kept on until my Dad’s favourite songs were only a faint whisper through the static. Then, and only then would he concede that it was officially time for a cassette tape. Usually the first pick went to my Mom, but she may not even be in the mood to listen to her one lone cassette thrown into the box. Then we would rotate in turn through all 3 girls. We were very much interested in music. The whole car would be subject to whatever badly recorded pop we had managed to assemble.

Nowadays, while music is very important to my kids, the whole vehicle doesn’t need to enjoy it. They simply plug-in the iPod and turn it up. Meanwhile in the rush to pack up, I didn’t check with my husband regarding our music selections. And given that we both have iPhones, I wasn’t too worried about it. I had even loaded a 30 hour novel read by the author, which I was quite excited to listen to when it was my turn to drive. The disappointment to discover that this Honda Pilot music system only accepted CD’s! So we are back to the old days…radio that we can pick up, who knows what we get or just endless fuzzy, fuzzy, fuzzy.

All that technology and diversion aside, it is a privilege to be able to make the crossing. Most people in the world will not get to experience the sights and sounds that have become a little bit routine for my family.

Feel Good Radio

Ever since I decided to create this blog and focus on “the good life”, I am noticing good things everywhere I look. The latest is 97.7 on the FM dial in Calgary. It is called “Up”, (as in turn it up), Calgary’s feel good radio.

On my latest car trip in and out of Calgary, I had 3 hours or about 300km to kill. The really nice thing about the prairies is that the land is so flat that you can get radio signals from very far away. (You thought I was going to say the best thing was that you can see your dog run away for a week!) I lose radio about 3 blocks from my house as I descend the hillside to the beach away from the signals in Vancouver.

This radio station is a pleasant surprise. The song choices are really feel good music, they made me smile. And I did find myself turning it up, so the marketing is more than hype. (That in itself is a treat!) When I leave Calgary, I am going to try to get this on my iPad/iPhone app Tune-in Radio where, through wi-fi, I can get radio signals from around the world.

The radio

When I was a teenager, the radio was my lifeline. The top 40 on Saturday was the only barometer of whether I knew the “right” music. Inevitably, as time went on, there were stragglers. Some turned to the fm dial. Some wandered off to the country. (That is not hard to believe when you live in Alberta).

The mainstay over all this time has been the morning commute and the popular disc jockey’s who command that time slot. Depending on where you live and the distance to work, they have you for shorter or longer periods of time. You don’t have much choice about it. They synchronize news for the top of the hour and blocks of commercials all the way through. It sometimes seems like there is very little music being played.

Something new happened in our market last year – Shore 104.3 fm. It is a blend of roots, rock and rhythm. For me it is almost a new genre mixing what has become my favourite music.

Now thanks to the makers of “apps” I can listen to this station whenever I have a wireless connection. All you need is TuneInRadio. Of course you can listen to anything from around the world, in any language.

What a fantastic time to be alive!