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Archive for October, 2008

music on the ipod

I have no idea why, but this is the tune I am digging at the moment. 

On my walk today, I kept hitting the “back” button to replay it. 

Over and over and over again.

It totally cracks me up but made me walk with a skip in my step and I felt all cheesy and corny and weird.

I had a friend once, who said, “you can tell alot about a person by what’s on their ipod.”

My top TEN songs on my ipod, that I tend to hit “replay” on occasion, are below (two I can’t find on YouTube).

What’re yours?

(I need new music to download for my quick trip to NYC with J on Thursday! (two days!) )

Marc Cohn, Silver Thunderbird

The Perishers, Come out of the Shade

Alex Parks, Maybe That’s What it Takes

Angie Apero, Cry

Alison Krauss with John Waite, Lay Down Beside Me

Check in the Dark, Complicated Lullaby

The Connells, Uninspired

Damien Rice, Lonelily

Dave Matthews, Gravedigger

Dire Straits, Romeo and Juliet

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Wonderbra…oh not so wonderful

As I was getting dressed this morning, and putting on my bra, I started to laugh, thinking about last Saturday evening. It was J’s last night playing at the piano bar for the season.  It was lovely and full of fans and friends and people who have known and loved him. We ate dinner, spontaneously, at a bistro near my house, owned by some friends of mine. He wouldn’t let me pay which drove me nuts, I wanted to celebrate the end of the season for him, a “congrats”. He doesn’t “like me to use my credit card”. Well, the reason I use my credit card is because I never have cash on me. Unlike him, who often works for tips. 

At last minute, I dug up a notebook for him to take with him as a sort of “guest book” for folks to put their names and phone numbers and email addresses, to keep in touch during the winter, or to get back in touch with in the Spring. 

In the end, I saw a flash of the book’s pages…they not only had names and contact information, but people wrote notes to him…like a yearbook, through the pages of the book. I choked up at the time and thought people put into it and it was a testament to what he does for the place where he works. A testament to the kind of man he is, personality, talent, wonderfulness.

By the end of the night, he’d had three whiskeys…he generally sips only one, if even that. Me? I’d had about four beers. So in the end, we went home a little spent.

He came towards me in my kitchen, gesturing romantically (etc) and reached for my breasts…

…he pulled back and gasped.

“WHAT IS THIS THING!?!”

“GET IT OFF NOW!”

“I DON’T LIKE IT!”

Yeah.

He wasn’t so taken with the feel of the padded push up Wonderbra.

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Money.

Money is annoying. Every few weeks I sit down with my folder of bills and invoices. I pay my bills and send out my invoices. Sometimes they are second invoices to a client. Sometimes a third. I have one that I’ve been billing for $93, every month, since last December. (that’s December 2007!!!)

I get mad that people won’t pay me, even though I have never been a day late on any bill. Ever.

I also realize that people have things going on and sometimes it’s tight and they push it and leave it and try to ignore it. The woman who owes me $93 actually carries children’s tshirts that I designed, for the last few years, that I designed, in her retail store. She carries huge brands of children’s toys and things along with my shirts. Getting her to pay me is like pulling teeth. She’s been a good client though, WHEN she actually pays me. And my shirts sell well in her store. Everyone knows they are there. People buy them there.

And I bite my tongue when people mention it to me (because it is a popular store) and keep myself from saying “yeah, she’s delinquent in her payment!”

Sadly, with the economy going the way it is and people getting scared and families over extended for one reason or another, some of it is moving close to home.

First, I am gladly and gratefully mortgage free. I own my home. When things are bad, at least I know we have a roof over our heads. A relative is about to lose their home. They are frantically trying to sell their nearly brand new house, with in-ground pool and a sort of farm, before the bank takes it. The difference between the two, selling it for cheap or having the bank take it, is massive.

Family members are losing stock in the market. And I feel the franticness they are feeling as it slides and as they see their numbers dip. What was secure to them for their future, not feeling so secure, especially at their older ages.

I find that I am somewhat frugal. I mean, we don’t do without ALL luxuries, but I definitely watch it, more so now. I was thinking ahead towards Christmas. I did my shopping online already. It has all been shipped. And I consider myself done aside from my mom and dad. Mom wants a particular painting done. Dad gets a rare food basket. (random, I know, he likes food baskets). The girls are done though, along with their birthdays, which fall around the holidays. A tree, though, for instance, is an added cost. And I was thinking how I generally can’t get away with spending less than $75 for a decent tree. I was looking at a table in my living room, and thinking “I could find a $40 tree and put it on the table to make it seem bigger.” 

And then I thought about how the poor tree selling people are going to probably have alot of folks this year, buying smaller, cheaper trees. And then the cycle continues of people not making what they need, not making ends meet.

Of course, I am not about to buy a more expensive tree, just cause I feel bad for the seller, but it gave me something to think about. The cycle of what we do and what we change in our spending habits, effects everyone. Prices go higher in markets, gas is up and down ($2.89 at our local place, woot!) fundraising for schools get crazier. 

In fact, I am even going to be canceling my Netflix. Because I realize, I have every movie station on my cable, with comes with my three package deal, which means endless movies and tv that I can record or watch “OnDemand”. 

But, I am not canceling until I finish the final season of Sex and the City. I am on a roll. Almost done. I’m not sure what I will do when it is over. I’ll feel so empty. Oh, but so educated. 

I was talking to J about what we both do for work and we realized that we are both luxuries to people. It’s kind of a bummer because I personally feel it when people are cutting back. I depend on the wealthy in a way who don’t flinch at a price for a painting that they don’t necessarily NEED. You can’t eat a painting. It doesn’t heat your house. Fortunately for me, right now, people are buying and that is MY great need!

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At one every day I’ve been home painting and made myself a cappuccino with my favorite stovetop cappuccino maker. I was sitting there painting and kept hearing a squeaking near my ear while I was painting and thought there might be a bug buzzing around or something but in the end, it was my cappuccino making some noise. 

It was a little creepy.

And then I was thinking how much it sucks to have bought the girls some really great warm expensive down comforters for their beds for the winter, because if once in a blue moon (like last night), one of them pees in their bed, I have to wash it and I hate washing them more than I have to. Plus, I am scared of ruining them.

It was parent’s night at the school last month and I had it orchestrated where the girls’ dad had his midweek dinner visit with them, he would return them before seven, to my mother who was here to babysit…and I would already be up at the school.

For one of the first times in YEARS, their dad brought them home EARLY, as opposed to the thirty minutes late I am used to. And so unfortunately, I was still at home.

Which means, I couldn’t NOT walk up the street to the school alongside my ex-husband.

He had a good time with a few issues that are mute for me, but I am proud I didn’t get defensive. My favorite line, when my defense is over, or I have stated my position on something with him is “I don’t feel it’s productive to continue this conversation, my mind is made up, what else would you like to talk about?” It gets kind of humorous in my head when I see him flustered, but man, give it up already. Your persuasion and manipulation doesn’t work on me anymore.

I bought the James Taylor “Covers” album. I love JT. I am surprised he did covers. Why didn’t he just whip out another album? My favorite is “Seminole Wind”. It reminds me of a good quarter in college when John Anderson had his album out. It was a quarter I spent alone in a solo room, writing and painting and being alone. And no one was hurting me at the time. My neighbor and I used to blast it on her awesome stereo and jump on the beds in her room, for um, fun.

J and I went to a fair up north over the weekend together with some of his family. I thought my stock was going to drop when I announced I  needed to have fried dough. As in, I NEED FRIED DOUGH. But in the end, he had a few bites and had fortunately forgotten any bad feelings he’d had about fried dough from years ago. (as in, he hasn’t ever really fully experienced fried dough until now) And he admitted that it was rockin’ good. I love that.

Oh and yes. Did you catch that? I met his family. Getting to see a bit of his world was really fun and I didn’t realize I needed and wanted it.

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You’re amazing

Dear Piano Man,

You’re amazing. You’re lying here on the couch in my living room after two little girls pounded away on the keyboard you gave them, to keep, after school today (at high volume) and jumped on you and talked your ear off about their day.

And now you’re asleep.

When I give you the option of napping up in my bedroom, you always choose to lie here in the middle of the chaos of our living space and peacefully sleep. 

I love it when the girls walk by and stare, smile and giggle because you’re snoring.

And I cherish that when you wake up, they light up and go right to you.

They’ve been waiting a while to go to the country fair, you know. And I promised we would, even though I didn’t really feel like going. It’s expensive and loud and dusty and hot and smells alot like livestock.

When I gave them the option of staying up late tonight and going to the piano bar, have french fries, and hear you play one last time before it closes down for the season, or the fair…they chose to see you.

Granted, when Blue realized she’d be missing out on fried dough at the fair, there was a little indecision there. I made adjustments by offering a morning donut run in our pajamas.

But still, if it ended up a choice between you and donuts, well, I am pretty sure she’d pick you.

I haven’t told them you’ll be leaving for a while and I think that maybe I won’t make a big deal out of it. We still have a bit more time, next month you leave.

I want them to know I miss you and love you but I don’t want them to feel the sadness I might feel sometimes.

Or loneliness for you.

We’ll all three miss you and chomp-at-the-bit to see you again.

Love, Me

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It’s funny what I find myself denying when I hear people’s perception of me, either out loud or in my head.

On a day where I felt particularly muffin-top-like in my jeans, my friend came by and took one look at me and said “have you been doing the California thing?” (seeing that I am from California and his perception of Californians are that we all binge and purge)

I realized that although I felt like a total slob, others may think I am looking particularly great that day. And I am knocked on the side of the head with the notion that I’m not feeling terribly good about myself ON THE INSIDE, and therefore, feeling like the outside is hideous.

Growing up in a household that was silent in terms of nurturing, praise, and outward approval, I spent alot of time thinking I was incapable or not intelligent enough to accomplish many things. I was mediocre in school because I half assed it. I would rather have been drawing or making clothes, writing or surfing, than be in class or doing homework to my fullest potential. I mean, I did what I had to do, but I never really tried that hard. 

Even still, as a single mum, with my own business, having moved to a town a few years ago that was foreign to me, not knowing anyone but needing the space to breathe, I continued to think I would not be able to really put the right foot forward. The girls’ dad’s parting few words to me were “Good luck!” as if I wouldn’t be able to handle a) motherhood b) financial stability, even with the child support that he sends (that the court requires to be automatically deducted from his paycheck) every two weeks. And sometimes, I believe I need alot of it. (luck)

Despite the days like today when I feel like I failed as a mom, as the nurturer and listener that I try to be, but lacked on a day of impatience and tiredness, I know deep down I am doing this right.

Being a mom is a reality. Day by day. The reality of things when you have two little ones who will always tell you the honest brutal truth, despite their occasional skewed perception of things, just because they are kids. Like yesterday for instance. Blue followed me into the bathroom as usual and as I pulled my pants down and sat down on the toilet to pee, she looked at me and says “Mommy, your butt fits on that WHOLE toilet!” I know I’m not fat. I know I have a bigger butt than she does. But I know that if my mother told me I had a fat butt, I would think I had a fat butt.

I’ve learned alot since my sister started going to therapy this year. I mean, I’ve learned alot since I started going to therapy about 5 years ago, but moreso, since my sister started going.

On a weekly basis, we have our own follow-up, when she is enlightened by what she has learned about our upbringing or the areas in which we are weak. We’re a sounding board for each other, on separate coasts, connected by cell phone, ichat and email.

A big thing we both learned recently is to not tell our parents anything. Our parents are divorced and have been since 1991 or so. (I forget, but I was leaving for college at the time). It never occurred to us, until therapy, that our lives have forever felt disapproved of through either our parent’s silence, disinterest or judgmental comments. Interestingly, they are both alot alike, even though they don’t live together anymore. And it’s no wonder that sometimes we both feel completely fucked up.

I basically stopped telling my parents things that were close to me, that hurt me or even that make me feel overjoyed. Because if I am thrilled or excited about something, the response is next to nil. When something is hard, they are not sure how to add support or comfort, but more a venue for them to tell us what they would do if they were in our shoes. Generally, they are telling us that we are doing it all wrong.

I know I’ve mentioned once or twice that my mother is a Christian Scientist. A devout one. Neither my sister or I continued to follow it and I believe it is her biggest disappointment in life, that her two children go to doctors, drink wine and had/have premarital sex. Even worse, WE DON’T PRAY.

My sister is currently going through a miscarriage. No one knows except me and my brother in law and my sister’s doctor. My sister is supposed to fly out here for a visit next week and in the end, due to what is going on, she is rescheduling her trip for later in the year. What’s funny is that she is dreading telling my mother. Not because Mom is going to be upset and destroyed by the information but more that she lacks an empathy for people who are struggling, putting on us often, “you didn’t pray enough” or telling us to “ignore it and it will go away”. Sis decided at first to tell our mom at last minute, that she has the flu and can’t fly.

Yesterday, after therapy, she called me and said “I am going to buck up and tell Mom the truth.”

Walking on eggshells to avoid or control a certain reaction that is expected from someone, feels dishonest in a sense, for me. We are being dishonest with the world about what we are feeling ourselves, and not giving ourselves enough validation to be able to express ourselves as we wish to or need to. By telling Mom stuff that is hard, regardless of her reaction, we are standing up for ourselves in a way and what we believe in. The strength in it brings out a truer sense of who we are  no matter the reactions, and breaks down false perceptions, because it is coming from ourselves, not the bozos around us.

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I am going to start calling Piano Man, “J” for now on. 

Mainly because although he is a piano man, he is other things too.

Plus, I am tired of the song “Piano Man.” I got tired of it about twenty years ago.

We tend to shower with each other, and the other night we were soaping up and talking about the day and he soaped me and I soaped him and he hands me the soap and goes “And look! I didn’t leave any pubes on your soap!”

Yes, we’re getting mighty comfortable with each other.

On Saturday night, he gave up his piano bar gig for a bigger one time gig about an hour and a half away. I stayed home and worked and visited with an old college friend who was passing through town.

Knowing he was coming back late that night to stay with me, I thought about leaving the door unlocked, as I do often anyway when he calls to say he is almost here. I thought about making sure I was up in time for him to call me so I could go unlock the door for him to come in.

And then I did something I never did before with anyone.

Never. Ever.

Not even when I was twenty.

Not with the man I dated who became my husband (and then divorced). 

I gave him a key.

And I told him to keep it.

And I didn’t panic.

I don’t feel my safety is at stake as I have with others (the reason I never gave out my key before).

It felt normal to hand it over.

I’m 35 and just gave a man a key to my house for the first time, ever.

We’re getting mighty comfortable here.

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