Archive for January, 2010

1986 Radio Songs

Moving right along.

Boy, do I have a lot of mixed tapes. Recorded straight off the radio, with no real beginning and no real end to the songs, often with the DJ talking right over the top of the music. They’re all under my bed in one of those tape holders that we used to all have that holds millions of tapes in their cases and displays them neatly on your wall. Only mine’s not hanging on my wall anymore. It’s under my bed. With all my tapes still in it. Most of them are my own recordings of songs recorded off the radio, mixed in with my own self singing along with Soundtrax or while playing piano. Can’t really transcribe the songs of me singing into a format playable on this blog. But I sure can find all the radio songs. Funny that I spent so much time recording and preserving, thinking that once those songs weren’t popular anymore, they would be lost forever. Oh, if only I could have foreseen how easy it would be to listen to anything, anywhere someday. And all for free. I’m still amazed.

So I guess I’ll just keep working my way up. This one is my longest yet. Must have been one of those mega, 120-minute blank tapes, as opposed to the 60 minute ones. I think the songs that make me the happiest from this newly discovered chunk of my past are Kyrie, Crush on You, West End Girls, Who’s Johnny and I Wanna Be a Cowboy. The song I’m most embarrassed about is Bad Boys. Why is that on there? I don’t know, but it is, so I’ve got to leave it. The song I have received the most enjoyment from over the years is Greatest Love of All. I remember when it first came out, I was just in utter amazement at what a totally amazing song it was. I mean, every 8th grade girl in 1986 wanted to look like Whitney Houston, sing like Whitney Houston, basically BE Whitney Houston. She was amazing. And then she put out this song that I couldn’t wait to play for my mom. I’ll never forget waiting for her to have the same incredulous reaction that I had as she listened to what had to be the most amazing song ever recorded. Instead, I was met with a skeptical little smirk as she listened to the whole thing and then said, “Well, she does have an amazing voice, but the greatest love of all is loving yourself? Come on! That’s not love. That’s stupidity. The greatest love of all is laying down your life for a friend.”

Oh.

Right.

What a stupid song.

I went on to spend the next ten years perfecting my own rendition of that song where I start out playing piano beautifully and singing it sweetly and then by the end of the song I’m banging senseless chords while screaming the lyrics hysterically. I think I’m sooooo funny when I do that. I still do it sometimes, actually. The banging and screaming thing. And I still think I’m funny.

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Grounded and Splayed

I’m tired. So, so tired.

And I’m not even part of the “chronically sleep deprived” that I hear so much about. Nope. I get my seven to eight a night. Yep. I’m so tired, I can’t even imagine not getting it. Can’t keep my eyes open past ten-thirty each night. And then the alarm goes off at six each morning. And it just doesn’t feel like I slept at all. Not at all.

It’s never enough. That’s when the sun starts coming up.

There’s never enough time to get all my work done at work. I’m supposed to work part time, but it’s not enough. There’s never enough food to make dinner, enough money to buy the food, enough sanity to get everyone where they need to be, enough brain to help with homework, enough space to decompress in and the house is never clean enough.

But the sun keeps coming up.

Every once in a while I have breakthroughs though. Like the other day when I figured out the secret to parenting teenagers. When a million people asked if they could do a million things this weekend, on the way home from school, in my car, where I sleep-drive a million miles a day; I calmly announced that no one was doing anything until their rooms were clean. No one. Anything. Everyone was grounded. Those rooms have been disastrous for a million years now. Who knew that grounding would move mountains? Oh, me of little faith. You should have seen my teenage daughter who has never done anything fast in her entire life begin to move at the speed of light. It was nothing short of miraculous. In a space of about two hours, those rooms were amazingly clean. Vacuumed and everything.

Okay. Got it. When I want something done, wait for a social situation to come up and then say “You’re grounded.”

Check. That was easier than I thought it would be.

Why am I still so tired then?

When I walked in my front door this afternoon, I noticed the leaves still raked into piles from last November, with the rake still laying on top of the piles. I kind of feel like a pile. I also noticed the shrubs that haven’t been properly trimmed in over a year now. What used to be perfectly circular bushes now have all these limbs splayed in twenty different directions. I definitely feel like those splayed shrubs.

I either need a good trimming, or I need to be bagged up and taken to the dump.

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Revolving Revolutions

I have now seen Fierce Peace through four new years. That means I can go back and see the cold, harsh reality of multiple resolutions that I put in writing for the world to see. Oh, joy. Nothing like a little embarrassment to take me forward into 2010. And as long as I’m looking, I might as well share, right?

January 2007:
1. Spend less on clothes and more at Whole Foods
2. Eat out less and plan better meals in
3. Walk more
4. Make more music
5. Take less pictures
6. Ban Disney Channel forever

January 2008:
1. Spend more mornings outside watching the sunrise
2. Spend as many evenings as possible watching the sunset
3. Purposely go outside when it’s raining at least twice this year

September 2008: (Yes, sometimes I accidentally do September resolutions)
1. Only one school lunch per week per kid
2. No buying anything except food for an entire month

January 2009:
1. This year I resolve to become a gift-giver.

HAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

And that about sums up my 2009. Only one resolution. Only one! And I get a big fat F on that report card. It cannot be done. I cannot give gifts. I don’t get how it’s done. I never will. In fact, I just have a hard time with holidays in general. I always have. Christmas is the worst for me. Even when I was little. I remember often in my childhood being in a house full of loved ones, yummy smells coming from the kitchen, pretty lights everywhere, sounds of laughter filling the air and yet, being sad. Downright mopey, even. I remember my mom talking to me about it one year in high school. Wondering why it is that I get sad every birthday and every Christmas. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now.

I do know that taking down Christmas makes me violently angry for reasons that I can’t put my finger on. Violently? Well, okay. I WANT to be violent. I have visions of wringing the necks of everybody I come in contact with. But I don’t. Only my mind is violent, I guess. I just don’t know what it is. I try to enjoy it all. I really do. After all, I’m an adult. I have control over myself. I love my family and friends. I love beauty. I love my Lord whose birth we celebrate. I love the life I have been given as a result. And yet, all the STUFF just gets to me. I find great freedom in dragging that wretched Christmas tree through my house, dead pine needles everywhere, sticking in my skin painfully, straight out the back door and then chucking it just as hard as I can to the curb. Be gone! I don’t want any of it! Not any of it! Now on to the rest of this great, big, fat mess that I call a house. Be warned. Violence shall take place here today as it’s all chucked. All of it. I won’t keep any of it for next year. Maybe that will make next Christmas better? I don’t know.

And do I have any resolutions for this year of 2010? Not yet, I don’t. Maybe I’ll come up with some in April or something.

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In the Still of This Life

Somewhere there’s stillness. I just know it. I’ve seen it before. I just can’t seem to find it right now. When I have been able to find it in the past, I haven’t been able to keep my hold on it. Which is weird, because you wouldn’t think that stillness would be too fast for me to catch. Maybe it’s not fast. Maybe it’s just slippery.

Today is Epiphany. The day we celebrate the visit of the wise men to the Christ child. The day we celebrate the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles. The twelve days of Christmas are now over and tonight we feast after a short pageant. It is the Feast of Lights and the Boar’s Head Festival. Boy am I excited to finally be able to put this dead Christmas tree out on the curb. It sure is hard to celebrate Christmas ‘round these here parts during the actual dates of Christmas. If you put off getting your Christmas tree until Christmas Eve, you have about two choices between two half-dead trees on otherwise empty lots. And then if you keep the tree up with lights on throughout the twelve days of Christmas, you better make sure someone is always in the room with the tree in case the dry needles spontaneously ignite next to the hot, white lights.

And I seek for stillness in the midst of the lights. It’s gotta be here somewhere.

Let’s see, instead of being in the still, what have I been doing? The Beans came from England for three weeks. That was lovely. I sure do love those Beans. My mother and father-in-law also came to town, as well as my brother and sister-in-law. I got super, duper sick and had to go to Prima Care the morning after Christmas. We waited 36 hours on three different days to get UVerse installed, each time moving all furniture away from the walls and leaving it there all day, as required (with 12 people living in the house…) Technicians came and technicians went. Calls to “customer service” people in India were made where we couldn’t understand a word each other said. It was eventually determined that we could not get service in our area, after they had sworn to us that everyone else on our street has it, but they would be glad to give us half off our first month’s bill for our trouble. “Half off of WHAT????!” I heard my husband’s loud voice exclaiming, as it rose into treble notes and cracked comically. “I don’t HAVE anything for you to give me half off of!” That was pretty funny. We went and got TiVo instead and let me tell you, am I ever happy. No more being a slave to TV programs! It’s wonderful. And then of course, games and food and cleaning and eating and playing and shopping and watching movies and writing research papers and reading good books. And really not sleeping a whole lot. Not sleeping a whole lot at all.

Now the kids are back in school but I spent this morning at the doctor’s office with Grace, who was up all night with an earache. Also, the asthma that I thought she had outgrown is back. The poor girl’s lungs are pathetic. And she plays the part of Mary in tonight’s pageant at church. I wonder if Mary had an ear infection and asthma on that winter night, so long ago?

And someday, somehow, I’ve got to go back to work. I wonder if my office is still there? I haven’t seen it in so long. So much to catch up on. Don’t know how/when/if it’s gonna happen.

I had grand plans of posting all sorts of pictures with witty comments, but I think my life demands that I just put my Flickr link here for you, if you’re the sort that is interested. I just need to put the finishing touches on the King’s Cake and then it’s off to church.

Maybe I’ll find stillness then.

My soul doth magnify the Lord.

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