Sunday, February 24, 2013

Scene From An American Sunday Morning

". . . Gooooood morning."  =)

I blearily open one eye to find that there is jawa standing a foot away from my side of the bed and addressing me politely. 


I didn't think their species was generally that concerned with courtesy.

I blink.  Rub my eyes.  Streeeeetch.  Take note of the Spiderman pajamas and beseeching eyes.

It is, of course, young Padawan.  In the blur of dreams of sleep still clinging to me, I had momentarily forgotten that he was here this weekend.  I glance back at him, where he is staring at me expectantly.  (Much like the cat does when he's hungry, and only slightly less meow-y.)

"Good morning buddy."

I glance at the clock and, once the notification that it is not quite 7 a.m. reaches my brain, my body shuts down and I burrow deep into the covers once again.  I can practically HEAR Padawan's frustration.

". . .Why don't you go turn on cartoons in the living room, REALLY quiet, and I'll be in there in a minute?"

Panic.  He is obviously about to panic.  "But what about my choccy milk??!?!"

(We have REALLY got to teach this kid to use a spoon.  Mental note to give a chocolate milk tutorial.  TODAY.)

I try to sound pacifying as I say, "I'll be in there in just a FEW minutes. . ."


And Michael wakes up from the other side of the bed, emerging from the covers like a great whale emerging from the sea, just long enough to solve my little early-rising jawa problem.


Sadness.  Piercing and deep.  (From my side of the bed, but not from me.)

And so he goes back upstairs.  And proceeds to do it in his special Padawan way that of course insures that he has just awoken the baby.

So good morning, indeed.

But I'm awake at this point anyway, so no big deal.

Feed the cats, rescue the baby from his crib, administer good morning-juice and chocolate milk, and I find myself standing in front of the pantry with Padawan, parading the handful of ready-made breakfast delicacies that we have on-hand and trying to locate something he finds appetizing.

"Okay.  Would you rather have a waffle, some cereal, or a pop-tart?"

"Uuuuummmm. . . two-tart!"

(He knows how to pronounce 'pop-tart.'  He has known how to pronounce it for several years now.  And yet he still calls them 'two-tarts'.  I am forced to conclude that this is either a matter of personal preference, or that he believes that his father and I are intentionally mispronouncing the word and then maliciously feeding him misinformation.  Misinformation!  It's what's for breakfast!)

And so I take out a pop-tart, cut it into pieces (like he likes it), and take it to him in the den so that he can eat it while he watches cartoons.  (Because I'm awesome like that.  And because the floors need to be swept anyway.)

Two minutes elapse.

*In his BEST whiny 6 year old voice*  "Daaaaaaniiiiii!  My two-tart's all hard and stiff!"

(His tone indicates that this is a predicament only slightly better than finding oneself knee deep in quicksand.  PIRANHA-infested quicksand.  . . .I don't know if the piranha's could survive all the sand, but if they COULD. . . wow.  SUPER undesirable situation.)

"They're 'stiff'?"

"They're stiff!  . . .probably because you put 'em back in the box without wrapping 'em up."

(He has heard Michael get on to me for this.  When the baby eats one pop-tart, I will often ---fine.  ALWAYS. ---- put the leftover tart back in the box, housed only in its sleeve.  It is NOT the big deal that Michael makes it out to be (is not even a 'real' offense, and I refuse to recognise it as one), because the baby always eats the remaining tart before it has time to get stale.  In a sidenote, the tart that I provided to Pad on THIS morning was one that Michael had GONE BEHIND ME AND PLACED IN A ZIPLOC BAGGIE.  (With no small amount of grumbling, I might add.)  Can I overstate how extremely irritating it is to have one's nefarious deeds undone at EVERY TURN by a conscientious husband with a ziploc baggie???  I really don't think I can.)

And so I explained to Pad the little story about the baggie.

He was unconvinced.  The tart remained 'stiff.'

Completely inedible.

And so we returned to the pantry.

"Okay.  So you would you rather have a waffle, or cereal?  We have flakes and honey nut cheerios."

He did NOT look enticed.

What he LOOKED like was that I had just told him he was going to have to go to school year-round.

Twenty-four hours a day, with no recess, where all the lunchroom serves are three day-old, incredibly stiff tarts.  BLUEBERRY.

"So what's it gonna be?"

"I want french toast."

"That wasn't an option."

"What's an option?"

"It means a choice.  But it doesn't matter, because french toast isn't on the table."

(Turns around and looks at the kitchen table.)

And I'm just staring at him like, I love you very much, I love you very much.  I'm sure I was an idiot, too, when I was six, but sometimes you do things and all I can think is:  Jeebus.

"OH!!!  Breakfast bars!!  We have breakfast bars!!  I forgot about those!  Do you want a breakfast bar?"

"What kind are they?"






And so I get him a breakfast bar, and one for the baby as well, because I know he'll want one as soon as Pad has one, and I feel QUITE relieved to have solved this morning's breakfast dilemma.  (I also feel that I will probably have to cut Michael for introducing the child to french toast.  I mean, I don't mind cooking.  I'm not great at it, but I don't MIND.  UNLESS it is first thing in the morning.  THEN.  I MIND.  Well. . . even then, it's not really so much that 'I mind', as it is that 'I'm not doing it.'  So yes, Michael.  You are going to be cut.  So maybe you should be looking out for that.  Or locating the neosporin.  However you choose to deal with it.  Entirely your call.  I believe in options.  I'm very open-minded like that.)

Anyway, I am happy.  The kids are in the den, the cartoons are blaring, Michael is still resting comfortably, and we have put this whole nasty breakfast issue behind us.


I make my coffee.


I check my interwebz.

La-da-da-DI-da. . .

I pick up a few toys and start to put them away. . .

JUST in time to see Pad's rear end disappear around the top of the stairs.


Look at the coffee table.

Yep.  There's the breakfast bar.

"Hey Pad?"


"Whatcha doin?"  =)

"I'm going upstairs to play."

"Did the breakfast bar not taste right?"

"No.  It was fine."

(Stupid.  Sometimes he is just unbelievably stupid.)

"Come back down here, please."

"I'll be down in a little while, I'm gonna play a game."

Soooooo. . .

This is the point where my hair turns into snakes.  THIS is the point where I tell him that there are kids STARVING in this world that would be HAPPY for his breakfast bar, or his STALE FREAKING TWO-TART!!!!  THIS is where I tell him that there will BE NO SNACKS today, there will BE NO rummaging in the fridge, and if he utters ONE WORD about being hungry, I am going to send him to the Himalayas to become a sherpa.  (Where they are NOT renowned for the freshness of their two-tarts.)

And it is at this point that I realize that it is not even 9 a.m. yet on a Sunday, and I have already come dangerously close to stomping a child.  Stomping a two-tart in his ass.

(Sidenote:  This should probably become a phrase.  Stomping a two-tart in his ass.)

And why the hell is Michael not up yet?  HOW is Michael not up yet? 

And yes, I guess I really AM a mom now.  (Even if I refuse to make french toast.  I said I was a mom, not a PERFECT mom.)

And also, yes.  I suppose it really IS too early for wine.

And so I take a deep breath.

I sip my coffee.

In my head, I repeat the phrase "I am just the universe, experiencing itself.  I am just the universe, experiencing itself."

And I wonder, vaguely, what kind of sicko sadistic universe gets its jollies from giving itself a tension headache.

Your typical Sunday morning, I guess.

Aaaaaand. . . scene.

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Few Points To Note

Not a great deal going on in my cozy little breakfast-nook of the universe at the moment.  Not so much that it would even warrant a weekly wrap-up.  But a couple of points are buzzing around in my cranium, and so I will introduce them in a segment I have decided to call:

A Few Points To Note

Item 1:  Self-Grooming Toddlers

It occurred to me recently that, in his roughly one and a half (glorious and juice-filled) years on this planet, I have never ONCE trimmed my son's toenails.

And I am completely serious.  In a year and a half on earth, I have never trimmed his toenails.  Never. 

And yet they are short.


(Also, further evidence to suggest that my baby might be magic.)

So I immediately went to Mister with this.  "Have you trimmed the baby's toenails?"

He assured me that he had not.

And so I am in a quandary.

While my Grey Took's (our nickname for him) fingernails have presented no end of problems (and wounds), and are, in fact, deadly little toddler-weapons. . . his toenails have apparently been passed over by the unfeeling hand of Time.

Before you ask, I will tell you right now--No.  The toes do not appear to be deformed in any way.  Nor do the nails.  They simply do not seem to require trimming.


And so I am making a mental note to begin preparing Mister this VERY NIGHT for the talk show circuit, as I am quite sure that, once word of our self-grooming toddler gets out, the world is going to want to know our story.

. . .


I've just given this more thought. 

And I've realized that, once the world does learn of our Amazing Self-Grooming Toddler, the only LOGICAL avenue to take would be one of intense research and study.

And when it comes to my child's future, 'lab rat' is a career path that I neither envision nor embrace.

So I guess I'm just going to have to keep this one under my hat for the moment.


And so we move on to. . .

Item 2:  Nocturnal Hand Lickings

While I would really love to say that this is some awesome new sex-thing that Mister and I have just discovered, and that it is JUST GOING TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE. . . I'm afraid that isn't the case.  Primarily because it is DECIDEDLY un-sexy ('annoying' would be a more fitting term), and secondly because one of the parties involved (the 'lick-ER,' as it were) is our new kitten, Waylon Jennings.

I don't know if she wasn't hugged enough as a baby or what (or whatever cats do instead of hug. . . probably high-five. . . because the thought of a bunch of high-fiving kittens is the kind of thing that gets me through my week) but she has decided that while we sleep is the PERFECT TIME to bathe any parts of us that have been left exposed on the covers.

. . . And apparently we have really dirty hands.

At first it sounds really cute, I'm sure.  (I'm a fan of cats.  See above.)  Aw!  She's just giving you kisses!!  . . .But I'm the kind of person that, when it's time to sleep --- I want to SLEEP.  I don't want to chit chat, I don't want to cuddle, and as it turns out:  I don't want my freaking appendages licked by a member of an opposing species.

And so, all night long, we perform this intricate little dance of:  Arms outside the covers. . . lick, lick, lick, . . . Damn cat. . . shove arms inside covers, fall asleep. . .  Forget about cat, roll over, place arms outside covers. . . lick, lick, lick. . . Damn cat. . .  And repeat.  (You get the idea.)

It is really a million wonders that the precious little ball of fur and tongue hasn't found herself suddenly airborne at some point during said dance.

But it's coming.

I can assure you:  It's coming.

Feline cruelty aside, we move on to . . .

Item 3:  Unsolicited Foul-Smelling Beverages From Strangers:  Good Idea, or GREAT Idea?

This one actually happened this morning, and she wasn't a COMPLETE stranger --- she was my chiropractor.  Still. . .

A little backstory.

I went in this morning for what is becoming my usual Voodoo-That-She-Do that keeps my head from being an inhospitable, and quite hellish, torture chamber.  So, as I was lying there with the little devil-machine on my shoulders, waiting for her to come in and perform her witch-doctor magicks, I succumbed to a particularly rough coughing fit.

(I have been fighting off a bad cold for over a week now.  Though I don't know if I am 'fighting it off' so much as I am weakly batting at it with a rolled-up newspaper.  But whatever.)

So she walks in right as I am in the middle of a nasty spasm.

And, whether due to her genuine concern for my well-being, or her great desire to get me and my germs out of there with HASTE, she suggested a couple of home remedies.  One of which was to drink some apple cider vinegar diluted in water to help loosen up the cough.

(I DID mentally take note of this.  . . . However, I ALSO mentally know how DREADFUL apple cider vinegar tastes, and so I immediately wadded up this mental note, and threw it in my mental waste basket.)

But, as I was checking out, my Witch Doctor, MD said that she happened to HAVE some apple cider vinegar in the kitchen right now. . . and would I like some?

Well?  WOULD I?

My hands really were tied, and so I agreed, and not ten seconds later she reappeared with a plastic cup of a just AWFUL-smelling concoction, then walked away smiling, obviously happy to have helped.

I stared at the cup.

I stared at the receptionist. 

We stared at each other.

She cocked her eyebrow.

(She was gonna tell on me if I didn't drink it.  I just KNEW IT.)

And then the Witch Doctor was gonna be all, Oh, why should I bother treating her if she's not committed to getting better?  What kind of person would look me in the face and tell me they're going to drink apple cider vinegar and then LIE??

Really.  What kind of person WOULD do that?

So I stared right back at that hateful receptionist.  (She wasn't really hateful, I just kind of hated her for doubting me.)

Well, you know what, lady?  You HAVE NO IDEA WHO YOU'RE DEALING WITH.

And I drank it down in ONE GULP.  Like a shot.  Of awful.

And as I walked back to my car, gagging conspicuously and mentally patting myself on the back for being JUST SO INCREDIBLY HARDCORE BACK THERE, it occurs to me that perhaps it was NOT the smartest thing in the world to drink an unspecified beverage from a woman who (though QUITE polite) is essentially a stranger to me.

However, I WILL say that my throat has never felt cleaner, and, though it probably WAS a stupid thing to do, it probably was NOT the most stupid thing I will do this WEEK, or even this DAY, and so I guess that makes it okay.

The End.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day baby =)

Valentine's Day.



The male of the species feeling quite confident in their feeble attempts at awe-inspiring romantic gestures.

The female of the species expecting quite profound and moving expressions of love.

The people currently without a significant other in their life feeling mildly pissed that everyone has taken a day just to remind them of this fact.

Hot air balloons.

'I Love You' spelled out in rose petals.

Bouquets of flowers sent to places of business.

But I. . .

I require something a little bit MORE.

I am hard to please.

Though I have occasionally been unseeing, and quite stupid, regarding those that I have entrusted with my heart, I will readily admit that I am rather hard to please when it comes to grand, sweeping, romantic gestures.  A store-bought card and an afterthought of flowers is not going to be enough.

And my dear one HAS set the bar a little high.


Our first Valentine's Day in the loft (we have gotten on well for a while now, and I find that I have completely misplaced the year), he made a Valentine's video for me, featuring a sequence of him walking down the street with a video camera to the place on a sidewalk in downtown Birmingham where we first laid eyes on each other.  After that, it was pictures of us together, synced up with a song by Davey Jones (My Personal Penguin) from a Sandra Boynton book that I LOVED to read to Pad right before he went to sleep.

Not sure why I just wasted time describing it.  Here it is:

It was the very best thing I had ever gotten on Valentine's Day.  It was beautiful.  It was moving.

It was perfect.

As I said, the bar has been set RATHER high.

And so, the NEXT Valentine's day, I really pulled out (what *I* considered to be) ALL THE STOPS, and  purchased several little bags from our neighborhood crafts store, and affixed tiny candles in the bottom of each one.  With glue.  And roughly 20 little pink bags.  . . .Words cannot even express the horrible, astonishingly sticky, mess I made trying to glue those candles into the bottom of those bags.  If I remember correctly, I completely ruined a perfectly good pair of work pants, and it took roughly 8 years to complete.  (This last bit is, of course, an exaggeration.  But only SLIGHTLY.)  And then I filled the bottoms of all the bags with sand.  (Because I am afraid of fires.)

Then, when the time was right, I had Michael start a Valentine's playlist that I had created especially for the occasion, while I ran down to our courtyard and arranged the bags into the form of a heart.

I then lit each candle in the bunch (which also took MUCH longer than I anticipated, and I was seriously starting to wish I had purchased a fire extinguisher when I was at the craft store, too), and he came to our balcony and looked down to see this:

But for THIS V-day. . . the bar is set a bit lower.

We are parents now.

Time is short.  Romance is a luxury.

But I STILL require quite a bit more than the usual chocolates and flowers. . .

(Though this is NOT to say that I am opposed to chocolates in ANY way, or at any given time, for that matter.)

I require loving looks when he first walks in the door from work.

I require a laugh the enunciates JUST HOW FUNNY that joke that I just made was.

I require a kiss on the cheek on mornings when he leaves for work before 5 a.m.

I require that longing look in the eye that CANNOT be falsified that says that, in HIS mind at least, I am more alluring and attractive than Angelina Jolie on her best day.

I require snuggles.  In the middle of the kitchen, WHILE he's making dinner.

I require, and reserve the right to, dry-hump him in any room of the house, in a display that would make ANY canine envious, and exhibits very clearly how untethered I am to any sense of decorum or propriety.

I require tiny smiles, and long glances of indulgence, when I am performing interpretive dance in aforementioned kitchen, that say 'I would never survive a single day without you, and your silliness, and magic, and you do nothing less than keep me afloat in this weary world.'

. . . I kind of require quite a lot.  And I am completely unapologetic about it.

If I could write songs, I would write a beautiful ballad that would tell the world just how much I adore this man.

If I was a gifted painter, I would capture him on canvas.  Because despite any physical flaws he may have, he is the most beautiful creature on earth to me.

And if I were a man who made potions in a travelling show. . .


But the only discernible gift that I possess is the ability to write down what I feel in such a way that I (hopefully) convey those thoughts fairly accurately.

And so I will try to do just that.

I love you Michael.

For everything you are, and everything you're not, and everything you dream of someday being.

I love you for being a father that delights in his children.

I love you for being a friend that I can count on.

I love you for living this life with me, and I love you for keeping me from taking it too seriously.

I love you for making me laugh.

I love you for trusting me with your true opinions, and your true feelings.

I love you for holding my hand, and kissing me on the cheek, and being my personal definition of beauty and truth.


I adore you.

You are my favorite person.

And you have made me happier, and more complete, than I ever dreamt was possible.

I feel this way every day.  I feel this way every time I look at you.  I still get overwhelmed by you on an almost-daily basis.

You amaze me.  And the ability to still be amazed is quite a great gift in itself.  So I thank you for that.

So, in addition to the list above:

I require sunsets, and backyard cookouts, and giggles in the den, and uncountable Christmases still to enjoy with you.

I require dinners on the couch, with you by my side, bitching that I use too much ketchup.

I require vacations with you, and Saturday mornings spent together, and feeling that if it is just us against the world. . . then we're gonna be just fine.

I require a lifetime of kittens, and hugs, and live music. 

I require you by my side as we watch the kids grow into the men they'll become.

I require several more decades of ironing your shirts for work, and I require that you NEVER spend one day of your life where you DON'T know how treasured and adored you are.

And, seeing as how my Valentine's Day gift last year was a kitten. . . this year I'm going to have to require a Valentine's Day gift that doesn't poop in the den.

. . .You are really just SO close on this one!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up

Yeah, I know.  Today's Tuesday.  Not exactly the time of week that calls for a wrap-up.  But my life is such that my only real schedule is my husband's work schedule.  It is a rotating shift kind of schedule, and, after almost 5 years together, I am only just now getting the hang of it.

What I am saying is that 'Tuesday' means very little to me.  A lot has happened this week, and I felt like wrapping it up.  So here we go.

First off, it is almost Valentine's Day.

It's going to be a weird Valentine's for me, and I really don't know why, or what to say about it.  Things are . . . strained. . . with Michael right now.  (This is largely my fault, and I accept that.)  I have picked up smoking again, after several weeks without it, and he is mad.  So before the anti-smoking people pipe up about it, I am fully aware of how awful it is.  But it is what I turn to for comfort, when I am feeling stressed, and honestly I don't see it as *that* big of a deal.  But he does.  He gets angry, asks me why I don't just STOP, and I sit there and wonder why he can't just accept me for who I am, and realize that I have good qualities, too.  He is quite a wonderful man, in most respects.  However, I have to wonder how he can continually put his disappointment into words every time I walk outside to smoke.  We lay down to go to sleep at night, we are on good terms, all is fine.  We wake up the next morning, and I walk out back, and he's mad all over again.

This just confuses the hell out of me.  We are on opposite sides of the fence on this one (he on the 'right' side, while I of course fill up space on the 'wrong' one), and it stresses me out.  And you know what I want to do when I'm feeling stressed?  . . .

You betcha.

Moving on.

Since the big V-day IS upon us, and Michael and I have traditionally tried to mark it with homemade Valentine's, and as I am completely without monetary means, I decided a few days ago that I would paint him something for his Valentine.  . . . It was not a good experience.  In a moment of extreme confidence and horrifying hubris, I took one of the photos off of our nightstand, and spent the afternoon trying to recreate it with pencil and paint. 

The results were. . .  Laughable?  Crude?  Really, really, awful and sad?

Just pick one, they all work.

So anyway, THIS is the picture I tried to use:

And THIS is the unholy result:

Now, I know that they say that you're often your OWN biggest critic. . . but I really have to feel that I'm spot-on on this one. 


If this were a valentine that *I* received?  I would probably either consider it an insult, or a thinly veiled threat.  But at the very least, I feel that I have disproven that old adage of "anything that comes from the heart is beautiful."  And so I feel that I have salvaged this fiasco in some small way, in that at the very least I have provided a public service.

Anything that comes from the heart is only beautiful if you have talent.


Michael, the baby, and I went shopping for underwears,  and kittens.

First stop was Target, and I am not at all ashamed to say that our entire family now owns a collection of snug, junk-holding clothing that should last them until some time next year.  Depending on wear and tear.  You know.

Then, in a momentary lapse of judgement (and what I now think of as a descent straight into madness), we went to a local vet to browse their kitten selection.

It was to be a Valentine gift.  A new kitten.  A new expression of love.  A new entity to share our hearts and our home.

What the hell kind of drugs were we ON??

So we walk into the clinic, and with an announcement of "We've come for your kittens," they led us into an exam room and quickly ushered in two adorable little balls of fur and claws.

They were sisters, two little stripey kitties, and they were about six weeks old.  They did not APPEAR to be defective in any way.

But then, I *appear* to be normal.

Looks can be deceiving.

So with one misplaced comment to Michael of "Oh, it's going to be so sad to leave one here alone," as were trying to make a decision on which one to take, we almost accidentally went back to the truck with a box carrying TWO new kitties.

Again, I have to wonder if someone spiked our breakfasts that morning with some REALLY potent mushrooms. . .

But we brought them home, and old Ash Ferley-cat has still not quite forgiven us for it.

I will say, in the kittens' defense, that they have made themselves QUITE at home, fearing neither Ash Ferley nor the baby, nor apparently even my great wrath.

Because one of them is trying desperately to mark the space behind our bedroom armoire as her litter box.

And I say "one of them," but we know which one it is.  In keeping with my history of being a complete and notorious fuck-up, the Masked Pooper is of course the one that I have chosen as 'mine.'  (You can tell them apart because one has a dot on her head.  Michael is claiming her, and naming her Waylon.  I have taken to the other, and she is to be called Wednesday.)

So yesterday, in a flurry of hopefulness, Michael purchased some Boundary spray, and we have soaked the area in question.

But Wednesday is wily, and will certainly find a way around it.  (Gotta say, I respect that.)  And so they are being sequestered in our bathroom for the time being.

And so we have learned that kittens really *are* the gift that keeps on giving.

In other news, I toured our local YMCA yesterday.

I have begun to feel more voluptuous than I am personally comfortable with of late, and as it is still too cold and rainy to take the baby on our daily walks, I've decided that I guess I'm going to have to start going to the Y.  So I went yesterday, just to have a look around. 

Okay, fine.  I went to size them up, and get a feel for the place.

My first impressions were. . . uncomplimentary.

But I am exceedingly odd about some things, and so I am NOT attempting to slight the organization in any way.

It was probably just me.

For example, I came to learn very quickly that all the painted concrete blocks make me feel VERY claustrophobic. 

Also, I can't help but feel that they were trying to hide something.

Sadly, "So what's up with all the concrete?  Got something to hide?" was NOT a question that I felt comfortable posing to either of the little old ladies working the front desk.

Not to press a point, but I also found THIS to be highly suspicious.  It was just a little too convenient for my tastes. . .  Oh, little old sweet-smelling ladies working the front door?  Well nothing bad could POSSIBLY happen here, right?


I'm on to you.  And when I am there to work out, I will ALSO be listening for muffled screams.  When I head to the ladies locker room, I will ALSO be looking for doors leading to secret torture chambers.


. . .

Anyway, the worst part was the kids' room.

(The preschool kids' room.  Perhaps the other kids rooms are fine.  I don't know.  That wasn't a part of my tour.)

What I DID see was a children's room much like any other. . . reeking of tears and desperation and snacks, furnished with colorful rugs that have soaked up untold amounts of fear-urine, and situated behind a large, chest-high door.  You know, so the kids can't escape. 

To go back to the families that have abandoned them. 

Or to start a new life on the lam.  I don't know.  I just know it was scary.

. . .I feel compelled to add that Michael has said that I greatly exaggerated this last bit. 

To which I replied that he was emotionally dead inside.

Once again, we are at an impasse.

Which leads me to my next point:  I believe I might be an empath.

It is something that I have long suspected.  Luckily for me, the internet is just chocked FULL of information on the subject.

Unluckily for me, so far I have been unable to separate the pearls of truth from the people that just seem to think they have super powers.

. . .

But once again the internet worked its special dark magic, and provided me with a helpful little test.

1.)  You get overwhelmed in situations where there are many people around.

Yes.  Yes, I totally do that.

2.)  You feel drained after being around certain people for too long.

Not gonna name names, but yes.  Completely.

3.)  You feel physically or emotionally ill when seeing violent
images in movies or on TV.

Check.  Some commercials destroy me.  Not in a passive, oh-that's-just-so-sad kind of way. . . it HURTS.

4.)  You can influence the moods of those around you.

I don't know. . . .How do YOU feel right now?

Anyway, beyond all the supposed sorcery and self-importance, I really learned a couple of helpful things:

---I am greatly influenced by how other people are feeling and thinking.  Even if they don't say anything about it.  For me personally, it makes a LOT of sense.  In that I've been walking around my entire life like an emotional sponge, flowing up and down on currents that I don't understand, and that often aren't even of my own design.

---It's not a magical power.  Everybody does it.  Some are just more sensitive to it than others.

---I can learn how to block some of it, so I'm not constantly caught up in emotional whims, and literally aching to make others happy.  (So that *I* can be happy.)

Useful stuff.

Also, I can summon the wind.

. . .

Just kidding.  If I could do that, TRUST ME, you'd hear about it on the news, NOT just on this blog.

So to wrap up:

My family has new underwear, Michael is not pleased with me, and I do not foresee large amounts of chocolate candies in my future.

Very sad.

We have two new kittens in the house, one of whom is very badly behaved, but largely likeable.  We should probably make it into a reality show to see who gets to stay.  At the end of every episode, I could tour the house looking for poos, and then give a rose to the kitty that has been the best.  Pretty sure SOME animal rights group would have a problem with that, but really--- who doesn't like to get flowers?

I'm totally on to our local Y.  I'm in complete Nancy Drew mode.  It's really only a matter of time.

I'm not going to say I AM Jean Grey. . .

. . .but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to keep an eye on the news.

These powers are new to me.

Things happen.


Friday, February 1, 2013

This Is Why I Go To Shows. . .

Last night Michael and I went to Bottletree to see a friend and his band play.  And this morning, despite a nastier-than-usual brand of my daily headache, I am reminded once again of the oceans of reasons that we do this. 

By 'this', I mean music.  We go see music together.  It was something that I did before I met Michael, and something he did before he met me, and now it is something that we enjoy doing together.  It was a shared love that, in the beginning, helped to bring us around to each other.  Kind of a "You can trust me---I like candy too!" quality that made it easier for a wallflower like me to relate to another hominid.  And it is a love that has assisted us many times in finding our way together since then. 

It is not something that we are likely to ever give up.

. . . I know that this probably won't make sense to everyone.  After all, I am, for all intents and purposes, a suburban housewife.  (Just looking at that phrase in print is unbelievably strange.  That term describes me.  Unreal.  Moving on.)  My husband goes to his job every day, he is dedicated, and he works hard.  I take care of a toddler, and often a 6 year old, too.  I play games, and make grilled cheeses, read bedtime stories, and change diapers.  We are parents.  We are responsible friends and neighbors.  We are members of the freaking Home Owner's Association.  And yesterday we got a babysitter so that we could spend our evening in an eclectic little bar, where we MIGHT'VE been some of the oldest in attendance (some would say 'old enough to know better'), just so we could see some music and get home well after midnight on a Thursday evening. 

If I was trying to explain why we did this, all I would be able to come up with would be:  It was important.

We went, primarily, to show support for a friend.  He is a singer/songwriter, a caring father, and an all-around nice guy, and possibly and quite probably related to my husband in some not-too-distant fashion.  We've been promising him we would catch one of his shows for ages, and last night we decided to make it happen.

So we showed up at Bottletree around 9-ish, and not too long after that the first band went on.  Voices In the Trees. 

I'm not ashamed to say that I had never heard of them before.  (I'm a music-lover, but I am nowhere even CLOSE to being hip.  You'd do well to never confuse the two.)  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with their performance.  Not that their style, which I think can best, and most fairly, be described as "schizophrenic", was exactly suited to my tastes.  Because it was not.  Truth be told, each member of their 5-piece ensemble seemed as if they could easily ALSO belong to another band of a different genre entirely.  And their lead singer, to MY mind at least, was an impressive amalgamation of Fiona Apple and mythical banshee.

I probably won't be purchasing a CD.

But I enjoyed their set all the same.  Because last night I sat there and watched 5 people from five seemingly different walks of life get on stage and (sometimes DESPERATELY) express themselves.  They got up there and CREATED something together.  And so what if it only lasted the length of a song?  It happened

Human beings are strange and complex creatures, and these five decided to stand in front of some of their own and just wrench some emotion out of thin air.

You have to marvel at that.  And, if you're me, you have no choice but to respect the hell out of it.

Next up was Baak Gwai.  (Pronounced, to the best of my knowledge, as 'bok-gwy'.  But I could be wrong.  I could look it up, I guess, but I'm a woman with things to do.  And you didn't come here to be coddled.)

I have been peripherally aware of them for some time now, but last night was the first chance I'd ever had to see them perform.  Let me just say it:  I was impressed.

They gave an unassuming, refreshingly real performance that I would just describe as awesome rock.  You didn't feel that they were there to impress you, and that they would've probably given the same happy performance if no one had been watching at all.

I like that.

They reminded me a little bit of early Pavement, back when Pavement kept it real.  . . .And it is entirely possible that they would consider that last sentence to be slanderous.  They are likely far more hip and gritty than I have ever been or will ever be.  Or possibly not.  (The lead singer WAS wearing a snuggy hat, that he made a point of telling us was a Christmas gift, so. . . I dunno.  I tend to trust folks like that.)

My revue?  They were fun, and talented, and awesome.  I wanna see them again.

Finally we came to the last performance of the night, which was our friend (and possibly distant relation) Justin Turberville and Future Enemies.

And it is at this point that my fingers are getting tongue-tied.

Their performance was incredible.  I feel like I just need to get that out of the way to begin with.  Because it WAS.

If it hadn't been, I would probably still be kind about it, because I'm not one to try to tear down hardworking musicians.  But it is a comfort to me that I can honestly say it was a great show.  (I'm a straight-shooter like that.  That's what old men often say about me, in fictionalized situations in my head:  'That girl's a straight-shooter.'  So you can trust my opinion.)

But it was really just a beautiful thing to watch them play.

And as we were standing there, with the bass echoing in my gut and teeth, and only a few feet away from the stage, but still BEHIND Justin's dad, I realized:  This is why we go to shows, and why we always will.

Justin is a musician, and a damned talented one at that.  I would be hard-pressed to come up with an instrument that he could not make music with.  To my knowledge, (and I could be wrong, but don't think I am) he does not have a 'day job.'  He is a MUSICIAN.  It's what he does for a living.  It's what he does for groceries, and gas money, and for pure joy.  And so we stood there last night, and let him speak to us.

We learned a lot.

We related a lot. 

We shared some happies, and some sads, and some gut-wrenchers.  And there were many, many moments of:  "Damn.  Yep--I've been THERE."  Which is, for ME at least, the very definition of what a good musician does.

Musically speaking, one of the most impressive things about his music to me was the fact that JUST when I thought I knew where he was going. . . he wasn't.  He took us somewhere else.  You thought you had the song scape all mapped out, and then he changed it.

Because it was his.

And he was telling HIS story.  And that's really just the only way to do it.

It was honest, and imperfect, and just stunningly beautiful.

And yes.  I WILL be seeing him play again. 

Possibly in my garage, after we have all stuffed ourselves on some grilled delicacy that Michael has prepared (but no shellfish, as we do NOT want him to die), but preferably in another bar-type setting.

I am not a betting woman.

But you could probably take this one to the bank.

. . .When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I started writing poetry.  (Mostly 12 year old type stuff, largely self-involved and whiny, and nothing worth sharing here.)  But through it, I learned that my greatest fear in life was that I would come to the end of it and realize that I had not lived.  That I had not noticed it, or appreciated the struggles AND the joys, had not actually EXPERIENCED the sadnesses and the exhilaration, and had just skated through and let it pass me by. 

This was the most horrifying thing I could imagine at the time.

And it probably still is.

But, through books, and music, and people like Justin ---who go out there and DO IT, and make the effort, and KEEP DOING IT even when it might sometimes be easier to stop --- I have decided that I don't think that will be my fate.  Through THOSE things, I have lived a thousand lives. 

I have felt the pain, and I have related to others who have, too.

I have shared the joys with them, their triumphs, and their smashing failures.  I've been there for the biggest events in their lives, some of which closely mirror my own.  And I've been there because they CHOSE to let me in.

And, as I have mentioned, I have stood close enough to the stage to feel it resonate throughout my entire body.

And I have seen a grown-ass man stand 6 feet away from a stage his son was playing on, and not move from that spot for the ENTIRE PERFORMANCE.  If there hadn't been another soul in the room, I don't know that either man would've noticed, or cared.

And THAT is beauty.

And I just feel so damned lucky that I got to see it.

(Justin is the one with his back to you, his dad is in the foreground to the right.)

I saw it last night.

And I honestly almost cried.

. . .

Because sometimes. . . sometimes there really IS such DEEP beauty in this world that you just don't know what to do with it. 

You have to be paying attention, though.  And sometimes you have to leave your living room for it.  But if a hermitzed, antisocial coffee-junkie like ME can do it, I'm fairly sure anyone can.

You experience things through music.

Yes.  It was important.

And THIS is why we do it.

It is why we always will.