I’ve been a little obsessed with the song, Sylvia’s Mother performed by Dr. Hook for the past few days. I have a long history with Sylvia and her mother. The song was a track on one of the first albums I ever owned. Yes, I had it on vinyl. It was on my first album, K-tel’s Believe in Music – 22 Original Hits. I had a little portable record player, and I listened to that album over and over. Sylvia’s Mother was one of my favorite songs on the album. I could practically feel the singer’s pain as he begged Sylvia’s mom to allow him to speak to her daughter. I wished with all my heart that Mrs. Avery would put Sylvia on the phone. I could imagine the caller plugging dimes into the payphone, which I was sure had to be located in a rainy, bustling place while he implored her for the chance to say goodbye. He just wanted to say goodbye, but Mrs. Avery and the nagging operator didn’t care. As a little girl, I felt so bad for him. Gosh, he must have really loved Sylvia. I wondered if I would ever break a man’s heart by marrying a fella down Galveston way. I hoped so! Continue Reading »
My grandparents gave me a piano over 40 years ago. I was about 5 years old. I had shown an interest in playing any and every keyboard that was near me. If I was in a church, I found eventually found my way to the piano. I loved to play on my aunt’s old pump organ. The neighbor girls were teaching me how to play on the piano in their dining room. I’ll never forget the day Grandma and Grandpa followed the truck carrying my piano to our house. Through eight houses or apartments, that old piano has been a part of my life. I have pictures of me, my grandma, and my great-grandma sitting together on the bench. There is another picture of my sweet dog, Susie, sitting next to 8-year-old me while I practiced my lesson. My parents and I posed on the bench one year for our Christmas card photo. My long gone pets, Abe, Hank, Pete, Puffy, and Violet all sat by my side as I played. Boo and Pepper sit on the same bench now. Continue Reading »
In 2010, I began to create a new iPod playlist each month. I usually copy the entire list from the previous month into the next month’s list, and then I begin the process of adding new songs and deleting songs that I’m sick of hearing. I have saved all of the lists from the past two years, and it’s been very interesting to see how the songs from each month have had a way of reflecting the events in my life at the time. Each list tells a story. Often though, that story isn’t revealed until months later as I look back at the songs and remember the events from that time. Continue Reading »
It started a couple of weeks ago. T and I were driving to Chicago. As we drove along, we were enjoying “Willie’s Roadhouse” on a Sirius station. We’ve never had Sirius before, never even considered it. A free trial subscription came with my new car. The subscription was only supposed to last for one month, but we kept receiving signal months after our free trial had expired. While I don’t listen to it that much during my drive back and forth to work, T and I have enjoyed it on longer car trips. This particular day was no different. We were singing along to our favorite classic country tunes. We were smiling most of the time, but every now and then our eyes would fill with tears and emotion as the lyrics, slide guitar, and pain reached out and touched our hearts. Neither of us like modern country music, but we have a deep love for the old stuff: Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Waylon, Willie, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, and so many others. On this particular day, the station was doing a tribute to the Queen of Country Music, Kitty Wells. Continue Reading »
I pushed through that wall. The one good thing about all of this is that I have learned to be patient, be stronger, and wait it out. Redirection. When things get tough, I try so very hard to redirect my thoughts to thinking that is actually productive. I try to think about what I have in my life that DOES work. What can I do to alleviate the negative thoughts? Those thoughts aren’t T’s fault or my kids’. I own those thoughts. It is no one else’s job but mine to get things turned around. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve read a lot. It seems to have paid off. Much of it seems to be working. YIPPEE! So screw you, Negativity and Depression. I will not only win this battle, but I will win the war, too.
I have spent too much time these past few years fighting for things that were not worth my efforts. This time is different. This time, I’m fighting for me. I’m fighting for my life, and I know I will win, because I have finally learned to care about ME. I don’t mean that in a selfish way. What I mean is that at one time I put so much effort into something that did nothing to benefit me. I cared for what did not care for me in return. I was hurt. My family was hurt. Everyone around me suffered due to my misguided efforts. This time is different, because if I fight to get back to ME, then it also benefits the people who love and care for me. Win. Win.
Yes, I was in a crappy state of mind for most of the day. I didn’t accomplish much at all, but I plugged away to the best of my limited abilities. I suppose that’s the most we can ask of ourselves. We do the best we can. If we don’t backtrack, give in, give up, or falter, then we have won a victory for the day. That is something, my friends. Self-respect and integrity at the end of the day is something to be proud of.
Tonight as I was driving home from work, I put my hair up in a ponytail, opened the sunroof and all of the windows. The warm breeze whipped around me. I stuck my arm out of my window and let my hand cup the warm air. My iPod was blasting, and a song from my waaaay distant past came on: Rasul by Spyro Gyra. It’s an old, old song. T and I were so young back when we loved Spyro Gyra. No one we knew had even heard of them. Rasul was a song that moved me. Soprano sax is the main instrument. That was back before Kenny G compromised the poor soprano sax with his greasy, long-haired elevator music.
When I heard Rasul again today, I had such sweet memories. I remembered the old apartment where we sat on the floor listening to LP’s. We had no money, but we had an excellent sound system with GIANT speakers. Sometime in the early 80’s, Spyro Gyra came to a local college for a concert. We scraped together enough money for the tickets, and I still remember what a fascinating show they put on. Their percussion section was amazing, the horns, too. We were transfixed during the entire show.
I listened to Rasul twice today as I drove home, then I called T. He remembered. I could hear the smile in his voice when I called him and told him what I had been listening to. As soon as I got home, I brought my iPod into the living room, and played it on our sound system. T and I laughed. We remembered the giant speakers, and laughed as we looked at our surround sound system. Oh, how things have changed! Now, there are six tiny speakers strategically placed around the room, and the sound could blow our old big boy speakers out of the water.
As we listened, Emily came running down the stairs. She said, “Mom!” when she saw me standing in there. She looked confused. She had thought I was playing. I hugged her for the mistake. I haven’t played my soprano sax, or any other sax for that matter, very much in over a year. Someday soon, though, I’m going to get it out. Someday very soon.
I have been working on a blog post off and on all weekend. I’ll write a little bit, quit, come back again later, and write a little bit more. I feel like I should write about moving Andy to Chicago. It was a significant event in all of our lives. I have written out the facts and many of the emotions, but I can’t seem to bring it to any kind of conclusion. It feels like I am writing a report for school. “What It Felt Like To Move My Son Away From Home.” Bleh. It didn’t feel good. Sure, I am happy for him. Yes, it was a hassle. Yes, it was emotional, but it probably wasn’t any different or more significant than anyone else’s experiences. It was LIFE. It was simply another step into the next stage of all of our lives. The details aren’t what is important. The fact that the apartment was a mess doesn’t matter. It’s clean now. The fact that it was hotter than hell on moving day doesn’t matter. It’s cool now. I’m wearing a sweatshirt. What we had for dinner doesn’t matter. Where we stayed while in Chicago is insignificant. Those are the details that don’t matter in the long run. They are soon forgotten.
What matters is now and what is to come. What matters is the void that is left by the absence of my sons. What matters is that they are happy and adjust well to what lies ahead for them. I hope they are adjusting better than their mother. I’m sure they are.
Four days. We have had four days at home since Andrew moved. I am already sad in so many ways. I am shocked by the disruption in my own routine. I had thought to feel a sense of freedom and relief. Instead, I am feeling sad and lonely. I had hoped that T and I would look at each other with smiles on our faces and think of all the thing we could do together now.
Andrew and I had a routine of watching TV together before we went to bed. We would pick out something on Netflix and watch together. T would always be in the room, but he usually fell asleep within minutes of sitting down. I would sit on the couch with my laptop. I would usually be writing, working, or messing around on Facebook while we watched. Andrew would be across the room in the red chair. (It’s not even red, but for some reason everyone in the family calls it the “red chair.”) T would sit in the green chair. (It is green.) Now the red chair is empty.
The first night after moving Andrew, we ended up in our same places and turned on the TV. It was just T and I now. As we watched TV, something made me laugh. I looked up to smile at Andy, but he wasn’t there. I looked over to share it with T. Ugh…. What did I see? T sitting with his head thrown back, mouth hanging open, and sound asleep. My God. For over twenty years, I have looked at that! My heart just dropped. Now there was no one. The boys are gone. The girls were in bed. It was just T and I, which essentially means that I will sit alone in a room, or I can choose to sit in a room where he is sleeping. I know this routine. I know it all too well. I hate it.
I am tired. I am so tired of being the only one who tries. I am tired of trying to be entertaining so that he will stay awake. On Saturday afternoon, I caught him sleeping on the floor of the boys’ old room. He was supposedly in there cleaning, when Em came to get me. “Dad is laying on the floor and not moving. Would you please go check on him. I’m afraid.” I was, too! That sounded really strange, so I rushed upstairs to see if he was OK. Yep. Sleeping on the floor.
On Saturday night, I watched a History Channel documentary while he slept in the chair. He’s the one who turned it on. I wasn’t at all interested in it, but I thought if he made the choice, then maybe he would stay awake. He was out in less than 10 minutes.
Tonight Em asked me to watch a movie with her. We sat down and watched about half of it (T slept across the room) until her boyfriend called. He left yesterday for college in Wisconsin. Seems all the young men in our lives are gone! Emily was excited to hear about his day, so she went up to her room to take her phone call. She asked me to pause the movie so that we could watch the rest tomorrow.
There I sat. T was asleep, and I was wondering what to do. It was too early to go to bed. I’m a night owl. I wasn’t even tired. There was no one to talk to. I just sat there thinking, “This is it?? Is this really it? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?”
I know. It has only been four days, but I am having some really bad memories return. I remember years and years of this. When the kids were all little, my day was lonely after they all went to bed for the night. T may have been there, but he was inattentive and uninterested much like he is now. His daily after work routine consists of dinner, slot machines on Facebook, sit in the green chair, fall asleep.
To be honest, I am shocked. I didn’t think this was going to happen. I hadn’t given it an ounce of thought. Maybe it would be easier to understand this if I had anticipated it. I thought this was going to be a good push in the right direction for T and I. Instead, it seems like we were working well together in the interest of organizing and moving the boys, and now our partnership is over.
Today, I tried to have a good attitude. I tried to be good. I cleaned. I organized things. I shampooed the area rugs. I went shopping and bought a roast and fresh vegetables. I stood in the kitchen and cooked for hours. A roast, carrots, potatoes (two kinds,) fried apples, fresh rolls, fabulous homemade gravy. It took hours to cook, about 15 minutes to eat, and an hour to clean up the mess in the kitchen. At least there will be leftovers for dinner tomorrow night.
Of course, I have talked to T about these issues. There is no problem. He is happy. “What?? What’s so bad about sitting down to relax at the end of the day? I’m tired.” End of story.
Tomorrow I will be heading back to work, and I’m looking forward to it. Our next few weekends will be full, and I have a business trip to Charlotte later in the month that I’m excited about. I’m not sure if I am ready to putter around all day and then watch my husband sleep in a chair all night. I’m not ready to be an “old married couple.” Life is too precious and too short to spend feeling sad and lonely.
All evening, I have been wracking my brain. What can I do to change this? Four days, and I am feeling like a caged animal. Do I go back to playing in the band? Do I take another class? Maybe I’ll practice playing jazz piano. Maybe I’ll dig out the clarinet or the sax and get back up to speed. Maybe learn to play trombone? Maybe I’ll do some serious writing. I would have to set up an office. Maybe I’ll repaint all the rooms in the house. Maybe I’ll set up the loom and weave rugs again. I have too much energy to spend evening after evening like this. It seems that I have come full circle again. All of the things I can think of doing, I will have to do alone. Music, a class, home decor, all alone. I am once again looking at things and ways to fill that void.
Sad, and yes…feeling sorry for myself. Why is this so hard? It seems like all I really want is someone there to care. At the end of the day, I just want a friend. They don’t have to be exciting, just awake. They don’t have to entertain me, but just share a smile.
Tonight was a good night, and I needed that. Another concert on the plaza. Two down, eight more to go. It’s easier this year, because I have some help. All I have to do is show up and introduce the band. No more lugging things from my car, dumping bags of ice, and later the water from the melted ice. Still, concert nights make for a long day at work. Eight hours in the office and then what feels like another work day in the evening. I’m not at my best right now, both mentally and physically, and these concert days wear me out. Tonight was good, though. I knew the band. They are friends. Back when I was a musician, I played in bands with several of them. That seems like a lifetime ago. It was. I was a different person back then, but that is another story. Right now, I am trying to concentrate on the life in front of me.
The drummer for tonight’s band is from my own little town. I’ve known him most of my life. I can remember being a middle school girl and watching him play. Years later, he was my son Andrew’s drum teacher. He is also my friend, and we share many mutual friends. I had calls all day from people in my little town. “What time is the concert tonight? Can we bring a cooler? Do we need to bring chairs?” Even so, I was surprised to see rows of people that I knew! I was surrounded by friends and family tonight, and that felt so good. My worlds collided in a good way. My work world in a city that I love and my real life world from the town where I am rooted were all gathered in one place tonight. I danced on the plaza with childhood friends to music played by other friends. The sun was setting over the river, and a sliver of moon shown in the sky.
Tomorrow will be another day. Tonight’s magic spell of peace and calm is now just a memory, but it is not gone. It is not lost on me. It was a stepping stone on this path. Tonight bolstered me up just when I needed it. Good people were once again put in my path at a time when I most needed my faith in human kindness and goodness restored.
None of it was about me. None of it had to do with me. No one was there to see me, or because of me, or for me. Still, the evening touched me. Once again, I was an observer. I watched. I looked at people and their reactions. It was seeing those reactions that reminded me of how it felt to be happy. I remembered! I saw them enjoying music, the evening, the company of their friends. I saw them smile and laugh and dance. Watching it all, these people from my town and my life in the place where I work, reminded me of some lost song that my soul used to sing.
My life has changed. I am no longer the middle school girl watching the band. I am no longer the mother listening to her child learn to play drums. I am no longer the woman in the band. I am no longer the woman filled with hope who once stood and watched the snow fall twinkling like magic through the lights of the plaza almost four years ago. I have seen things I should not have had to see. I have lost things I should not have had to lose. I am someone else entirely now.
We have all changed. None of us are free from the pain and changes life throws our way. We have all changed. I still don’t know who I am or who I have become or will become. Maybe the people I watched tonight know who they have become. Maybe that is why they are happy.
As I sit here writing, I am afraid. I am afraid of sleep and dreams and tomorrow. What it will bring? I don’t want to plunge back down, but I know I will. It’s inevitable. I know that. Tonight was a brief intermission. Tonight I was not alone. I felt good and whole for a few moments. That’s why I must dissect those moments and glean all possible knowledge from them. Tonight was a stepping stone that I must carefully place in a solid resting place on my path.
Before the curing of a strong disease, even in the instant of repair and health, the fit is strongest.
Evils that take leave, on their departure most of all show evil.
~ William Shakespeare
In January of this year, I began making a new playlist each month for my iPod. I took all of my 2010 playlists and dumped them into one big list quite cleverly named, 2010 Playlist. I didn’t get rid of the songs, but I needed a fresh start. Each month in 2011, I have created a new playlist. I have kept some of the same songs from month to month. Some of them are left over from last year, but each month I change things. I remove a few songs. I add a few more. What started out as the desire to refresh my list of tunes, has turned into something else entirely. Now that it is July, I can look back at the months of this year and remember what I was feeling and what I was thinking as I created and listened to each month’s playlist. My musical selections have reflected many of the emotions I was/have been experiencing in my life at the time. Of course, some of my selections mean nothing more than the fact that I like the song!
On the old blog, I posted my list each month, but I haven’t kept up that tradition on this new blog. I’ve been too busy, too tired, or too lazy. I was talking to my dear blogging sister today. We were discussing music or particular songs. She wondered about the playlists. I felt guilty!! I felt disloyal to my old blog, which I dearly miss. I felt disloyal to my iPod(s), which have been giving me fits! I have four iPods, and none of them are working properly right now. It seems that I am in flux in about every area of my life. Not much is working very well right now.
The Little White Pod is just barely able to hold the July Playlist. I miss having my other songs on my current iPod. Those songs are just sitting there waiting for me to pull the trigger on a brand new iPod. I’m not sure which model to buy. I’ve looked at them, but none of them are speaking to me yet.
Below is the July Playlist. My newest favorite artist is Amy Winehouse. WOW! Her lyrics crack me up, AND she is an awesomely talented musician. I know her personal life is a bit of a train wreck. Maybe that’s why I like her. She makes MY life look tame! 🙂 The girls and I have been enjoying “Perfect Two” by Auburn. Even T knows all of the words to that song, and it cracks us all up when he sings it! I’m still hooked on Christina Perri and Adele. They’re both so fantastic!
“F***** Perfect” by Pink has wonderful (if you overlook the F word!) lyrics. A friend sent me the link to the video. I have only watched it twice, once alone and once with the girls, and I cried each time. (Well, I’ve watched it three times now!) I’ve decided to include the video at the end of this post. BEWARE. The video is graphic, but LIFE is sometimes graphic, my friends. I would love to have your comments on this video. It says so much to me as a woman, a mother, a person who has been hurt, a person who doesn’t understand so much cruelty in the world, and a person who often feels much less than perfect….
JULY 2011 PLAYLIST: Continue Reading »