30 April 2008

School

The son: "Mom, I have a project..."

Me: "No."

The son: "What?"

Me: "I've banned that word from common usage."

The son: "But..."

Me: "No."

The son: "But..."

Me: "NO."

The daughter: "But Mommy, does that mean you won't let me do State Fair? Because Mr. W. will be really mad."

Me: "Is it a project?"

The daughter: "You know what State Fair is! We did it with K."

I glare steely-eyed.

The daughter, a light bulb going off: "No."

Me: "Then you can do it."

The daughter audibly exhales.

The son: "Mom, I need to go to R.'s house to work on our pro..."

Me: "No."

Go listen to some good music: "School" from the album Crime of the Century by Supertramp.

29 April 2008

Watershed

You can stand there and agonize
'Til your agony's your heaviest load


A memory:

Usually by my birthday, the temperatures would be breaking the century mark. We weren't out of school yet, but we couldn't wait for June, a little more than a week away.

Heat has a smell: burning asphalt, sage and greasewood, grass trampled at the Little League diamond, mesquite wood burning in a barbecue. So does swamp-cooled air: clean new wood that slowly gives way to mold and wet. Summer had its own smell, and as kids, by the end of May, we could already smell freedom and the scent of chlorine at the public swimming pool.

Once the pool opened after school ended, my mother would drop us at the park in our suits with our towels, and the dime it cost to gain entry. We never wore sandals (insanity!), and would run across the blacktop, feet burning, into the shadowy recesses of the pool's entryway where the mean little man would take our dimes and give us each a locker key, admonishing us to shower before we got into the pool.

Then, stepping carefully into the puddles around the pool to avoid the hot concrete. Pick a spot to dive in.

You'd think that a body of water that sits in the Arizona summer sun all day would be warm like bathwater. Not so.

We learned early on that wading in was unbearable. Better to dive into the deep end. The shock of the cold was enough to stop your heart but then it was over, and I'd swim down to the bottom of the pool where, weirdly, the water was a little warmer, where I was hidden from view, and where the world became an endless tunnel of varied shades of blue. I'd stay there as long as I could, weightless, peaceful.

When I'm off balance, stressed, sometimes the vision of that cold, calm blue rises up in front of me, unbidden.

A tired mind creates more problems than it solves, and right now, I just can't make sense of the information in front of me. So the tired mind and I are going to make a brief trip to the desert and I can tackle the terror that is my email inbox (costumes for the 8th grade musical! Field trips! Travel week! California State Science Fair!) later. Maybe.

Go listen to some good music: "Watershed" from the album Retrospective by Indigo Girls.

28 April 2008

Dreamline

We're only at home when we're on the fly

I know. I promised I'd write about Oklahoma. I should probably save this for when I'm actually awake, but awake is starting to look like a mythical state.

The show was phenomenal, and from where I was sitting (sitting? As if!), the sound was great. So great, I kept pulling out my earplugs (fortunately, they were my usual silicone, rather than the fluorescent pink and purple ones I was reduced to in San Juan, and that I shoved into my mouth during "Natural Science." I don't even want to think about what that looked like).

"I know all the words to a song about a car," I screamed in D.'s ear. "Serious failure as a girl."

"You get girl points?" she asked, confused.

"FAILURE. AS A GIRL!"

She nodded sagely and we both dissolved into laughter. It's one of my favorite blog labels, and applies to my dislike of shopping, my love of digging in the dirt, and playing all the wrong video games. Not to mention listening to the wrong music.

Later, she grabbed my hand.

"WHAT?"

"Stop clapping!" she yelled.

"What?" I was mystified.

"You aren't supposed to be clapping!"

Other people appeared to be clapping. Why am I not supposed to be clapping? I never did figure that out.

"Digital Man" rapidly became one of my favorite live songs last summer, and "Ghost of a Chance" is quickly moving there this go round. D. seemed dubious when I told her it had been added.

"Just listen to the solo. The vocals," I told her, getting goosebumps just thinking about it. "All of it."

She's convinced now.

It goes by too quickly, though, and suddenly, "Dreamline." Another of my favorite songs live, but it means the end of the first half.

I can go on and on: the lines in songs that catch at my heart, the ones that make me laugh because they're so true. The moments of pure musical perfection, or the song that is pure musical perfection, drums, bass, guitar, lyrics: "Natural Science." The drum solo (now that. That must get "failure as a girl" points. Because surely I am meant to go to the Ladies during the drum solo, right?). "Hope," an exquisite embodiment of an emotion. "Malignant Narcissism," which is just hilarious shake-your-booty fun, and definitely gets a vote for one of the best bass lines ever.

"One Little Victory." Can't I just say they're all my favorites?

See, that's all there really is to it. I love the music. Listening to it live is a completely different experience. It is so much fun to watch three virtuoso musicians perform it. To have fun performing it. No mystery at all.

Finis.

Go listen to some good music: "Dreamline" from the album Roll the Bones by Rush.

27 April 2008

Hydra, pt. 2

You know the legend of the Hydra, right? You get rid of one head and two grow back in its place.

The son is going to the State science fair--2nd place in Social Sciences, so ribbons and gift cards.

(Inevitable.)

Really, I thought the subject matter alone would make everyone laugh and mutter under their breath, "what was he thinking?"

No such luck.

Other than that, I'm home.

I'm catatonic with exhaustion because I just couldn't sleep last night, and then there were taxis and planes and planes and taxis, and it was 98F when I walked out of the terminal.

At least TSA left me alone today. Flying out of San Juan, I'd forgotten there was half a bottle of water in my bag, which naturally caused tremendous consternation. On Friday, leaving JWA, it was my crystal rock deodorant: they were certain that I was, with malice aforethought, carrying a gel in my bag without declaring it.

"It's a rock," I told the woman who was gingerly inspecting the contents of my bag.

"Is there anything in here that is going to harm me?" she asked.

Well, that was alarming! The last time I looked in the mirror, I saw a perfectly normal, though slightly frazzled middle-aged mother of two, not someone who was toting a loaded tube of deodorant.

Trust me, I will never try to take chicken puppets on a plane again. That just about shut the place down.

Trying to remember why I do this to myself?

And I really believe I'm going to get on another plane this week?

I may rethink that one.

Go listen to some good music: "Hydra" from the album Hydra by Toto.

26 April 2008

Oklahoma

Best.

Concert.

Ever.

(more when my feet hit the ground tomorrow. If they do. That airplane on the masthead is not rhetorical.)

Go listen to some music: "Oklahoma" from the musical Oklahoma by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

25 April 2008

Fly away

Alright, enough with dour introspection. There is a taxi and a plane and D. and another plane and another taxi and a concert (then more planes and taxis) in my future.

Par-TAY!




And we know the son won A Major Award at County. Of course. I am so proud of him--both of them, really--those kids work so hard. We'll find out about State on Sunday. Of course, I'll be somewhere over Arizona.

What's that word I like so much?

Inevitable?

But there is another one, too.

Fortunate.

And I am.

Go listen to some good music: "Fly Away" from the album Lenny Kravitz: Greatest Hits by Lenny Kravitz.

On the road again

A travel day.

Have I mentioned I dislike flying?

Of course I have.

The spouse told me years ago that he understood how much I want to go off and do these things because I will actually get on a plane. I've been known to rearrange our vacations so that I don't have to get on a plane.

For this, I will get on a plane.

My life falling into place.

Sometimes I travel without conscious thought, just the pleasure of movement, of looking, of being in places at once familiar and ever changing. Knowing I'm doing something that makes friends shake their heads and say, "And you think you know someone for 20 years..."

People live here, I used to think as a child visiting a land where the zip codes and telephone prefixes were different. People breathe here, I marvelled, looking at a Little League diamond lit up on a summer night hundreds of miles away from where I lived.

Travel is more deliberate this time, a time of leavings, endings and beginnings, work to be done, truths to be accepted.

Unpleasantness rears its head, of course, as it did at the Coliseo, and that shook me more than I like to admit. I cringe thinking I might have to deal with something similar again, but if I do, I will.

I don't like to fly. In the air, I have no control. I like terra firma, that which is concrete and clear cut. But every time I force myself out the door, I'm closer to something. My own life, the lives of others, the work I'm meant to do next.

There's always that next.

And there's that precious three hours where I am allowed just to be.

Go listen to some music: "On the Road Again" from the album The Essential Willie Nelson by Willie Nelson.

24 April 2008

Jigsaw falling into place














Reproachful.

















Depressed.
















Staying home.


And the itinerary is hanging between the same two refrigerator magnets.

Go listen to some good music: "Jigsaw Falling into Place" from the album In Rainbows by Radiohead.

23 April 2008

Gimme gimme shock treatment

Me: "So, how did the science fair go?"

The son: "Great! Both my judges showed up at the same time, and I talked for about 20 minutes, and they really seemed to like it."

Me: "Did they ask you many questions? Laugh at the subject matter?"

The son: "No, I guess I explained it pretty well. It was two old guys. One said his wife did all the shopping but he thought that by now, he was pretty good at finding things in fridge."

Me: "Well, that's cool."

We walk up the street, enjoying the lovely day.

Me, sotto voce: "So...when do you find out about State?"

The son: "I don't know. I think the top two in the division go."

Me: "How many in your division?"

The son: "About seven."

He looks at me meaningfully.

Me: "Uh-oh."

The son: "Yeah."

Go listen to some good music: "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" from the album All the Stuff (and More), v. 1 by The Ramones.

Dance along the edge

The son appears and fusses about his wardrobe for science fair.

"I need a jacket," he says.

"No, you don't," I sigh. He's not grown at all since he had surgery, which means the second his suit is ordered, he will shoot up 4 inches. I am waiting until the last possible minute as he doesn't need it until June.

He makes a noise of disgust, and stomps loudly out of the room.

Sometimes hardwood floors aren't such a great idea.

"You said you don't want to go to State anyway," I call after his retreating back.

"He could wear my blue blazer," the spouse offers as he walks past his annoyed offspring.

And despite my belief to the contrary, the son, taller than his father and nearly as tall as me, is almost sufficiently broad-shouldered for the jacket to fit perfectly. He is elated that it becomes his.

As I slug down the remainder of my first cup of coffee preparatory to making pancakes for breakfast, the son reappears and shoves an iPod earplug into my ear.

"What song is this?" he asks, all pleasure in his purloined blazer and the promise of pancakes on a weekday morning.

I smile. A good song for morning. "'Mission,'" I tell him.

"It's a great song," he smiles.

We are two of a kind, the son and I, both given a gift that in no small measure is also a curse, the secret that sets us apart. At least, though, I've been there for him, never allowed him to feel that he was the freak everyone made me out to be. And in turn, he is mentoring a small boy who is so like him, the child's parents grateful for the insight and empathy he provides.

"Why can't I save the world?" he once asked me.

"You save it one person at a time," I told him.

It's the best we can do.

And we'll walk the line and we'll do our time
For just as long as we've been given,
And pretend that we don't hear the things they've said.


Go listen to some good music: "Dance Along the Edge" from the album Concrete Blonde by Concrete Blonde.

22 April 2008

Accelerate, part 2

where is the rip cord, the trap door, the key?

A love of travel isn't the only gift my father gave me.

He also gave me the gift that killed him.

I thought about this, as well, watching the green waves crash upon the shore at Ventana del Mar.

What I am is always with me, but it is the silent undertow, the current that slices underneath the surface. It grabs at me, shakes me, disorients me, tries to drown me. Sometimes my head breaks the waves, and I wonder what did they see? Am I found out? I try to sink back into the water, to find protective coloration, to blend in.

And I always fail, sometimes because I simply can't disguise it or because I refuse to pay the high cost of going to ground.

My father chose to drown himself, to let the differences be too great. I've chosen the shore, to let the differences be. I watch the waves weave themselves into a greater whole, the strands of kelp, the debris and the currents that are the warp and weft of the sea, and I tentatively take up my place in the greater whole. Sometimes, though, fear still gets the better of me.

Yesterday, considering Ian McEwen's novel Atonement (I've just watched the movie; thought it was well done), I was struck again by how much he relies upon the reader to draw conclusions based upon the information given. I like that in a writer; I don't want to be bludgeoned with minutia, told what to think, treated as though I couldn't possibly understand the point.

And I try to do that here as well. I want to create a fabric of words that allows you take something away from here, something that you can determine, a current that may or may not create a ripple in your own life but maybe gives you something to think about. I want it, though, to have a pattern that is meaningful to you. To that end, I can sit here, and I can give you the statistics about myself, the dry and true numbers, accomplishments and accolades, the labels that are attached to me like so many little post-it notes nailed to my skin.

It is what I am.

But it is not me.

Saturday evening, the spouse and I were talking about what I write here, and I laughed ruefully and said, "I try so hard to make myself sound uninteresting."

"No," he corrected. "You camouflage."

Strictly true. But the stories and the conversations tell a greater truth than the statistics, create a stronger thread, a friendlier current, a whole that is even more real. And the deeper part of the pattern, those other threads, are always there; it is the warp and weft of my life. I trust you to see how the pattern has been woven if you choose to do so. And if you don't want to, or see something else, that's good too. Maybe better. Because what I am is only part of the story, a portion of the pattern. I've always known this, but the world wants to give it greater weight, so much more so than I do.

I watch you. I look to see what you read. Those who know me in the real world and who give me feedback add to the pattern that is here, and it becomes a kaleidoscope, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, new to me as well.

But there is a group of you I don't know, who show up regularly, who are a mystery to me. You are tenacious, and I haven't successfully bored you to death yet. Secretly, this pleases me because perhaps you've found something that resonates. Or you like stories of smelly 14-year-old boys and slightly dopey but lovable 11-year-old girls. But I know there is more than that, because I see the threads you pick up, the threads you follow. I wonder what you are thinking and if you know that your presence adds to the pattern as well.

I hold my breath and wait to see what happens next.

Go listen to some good music: "Accelerate" from the album Accelerate by REM.

19 April 2008

The ghost in you

As I moved through the bookstore the other day, words jumped out at me from tables stacked with books. On one table all the books said "victim." On another, they all said "survivor."

Is this what we have reduced ourselves to? Victims and survivors?

I find it interesting that several memoirists have been outed in recent years for writing untrue accounts of their lives and experiences. Are these people so boring that they have to reinvent their lives publicly in written word? So greedy for notice? Completely insecure about themselves? Morally bankrupt? What drives that sort of falsification?

And what drives others to discuss horrifyingly intimate details of their lives so publicly? Not long ago, a friend with whom I trade books gave me a memoir of the sort I don't generally read, and I got bored quickly. I only wish I'd abandoned it completely because ultimately, this woman discussed not only the abuse she suffered--and it was undeniably terrible that she was abused--but she bludgeoned it home with details that I in no way wanted to know.

I don't remember where I read it, but there was also a story I came across a month or two ago about a woman who found the anonymity of blogging so freeing that she used her blog to talk about all the things she found really horrible in her life, the stuff that she couldn't share with her family or friends. That one was jaw-dropping for me. Blogging makes me so edgy, so uncomfortable, so conscious of what I'm sharing with a group of readers, half of whom are completely unknown to me, that there are days I sit here staring at the blank page in front of me, terrified, mortified...and blank.

But I keep at it precisely because it does keep on me on edge, way beyond my own comfort zone. And I think it keeps me honest about my motivations, how I approach the world. At the very least, it keeps me thinking about those things.

I've been writing since I could pick up a pencil. I've been telling stories since I could talk. All throughout my childhood, I made up stories for my younger siblings, inventing elaborate worlds, maps of which we'd draw in the dirt of the backyard. We were transported. I'd read them books, and tell them bedtime stories that would have them laughing so hard my mother would be furious.

"Don't get them wound up before bed!" she'd yell at me while my youngest sister lay on the ground choking and breathless.

A few years ago, my youngest sister and I were driving down a quiet desert road, and suddenly she said, "Do you remember the three-string guitar?"

"You remember that?" I asked, amazed. She'd been young.

"The pom-pom Santa?"

We had to pull over because we were laughing so hard we were crying at the memory alone.

I don't even remember the actual story. All I remember is singing them a song, bouncing a pom-pom Santa stuck on the end of a knitting needle, reducing us all to utter hysterics. The story apparently didn't matter. The memory resonated regardless.

Writing stories saved my adolescent life. Writing provided the escape hatch I needed, an escape from the confines of the narrow and difficult world I had no choice but to inhabit. Writing taught me that it was possible to create my own reality, my own life that had nothing to do with what others were trying to force me into, or worse, force on me. I learned I could write a script for my own future.

And that may be why writing fiction is so difficult for me now. I've succeeded in authoring an existence that I can live. I have space to breathe in my real world, and no need to create a dream of a fantastic three-dimensional space where my heart can beat freely, where I can't be wounded. These days, fact isn't tiny and limiting and filled with despair, mere existence, waiting to get on with it.

I could say that I was a victim.

I could say that I am a survivor.

Strictly speaking, both would be true. But strictly speaking, I don't see myself as either and more to the point, I don't want to be either. I am filled with compassion for those who suffer, for those who have suffered, but I am confused by those who want to claim suffering as their existence, who want to be defined by their suffering. I am content to say that I am alive, that I am living. For better or worse, for every good day and every bad day, and everything that happened and happens, for better or worse. And I want my life, the sum of my days, to be defined by what I've done, not what I've endured. I want my tombstone to read: "she taught a disadvantaged to child to read, she stood up and yelled for what was right, she cared for those around her."

Sometimes, I wonder if fiction is a part of my past, if telling the true stories is not only my present but my future. I'm not sure that it matters. Perhaps writing well and living to the best of my ability is sufficient.

Perhaps writing well, like living well, is the best revenge.

Go listen to some music: "The Ghost in You" from the album Superstition by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Acknowledgement to fussy.org for "writing well is the best revenge." She's got the t-shirt!

18 April 2008

Safety dance

Sometimes, as much as something is bothering me, engaging it is worse.

Sometimes, it's just better to sit back and watch the ball game.

At least until Sexson hits a 3-run homer.

Sometimes...

Update: Torii Hunter! What a catch to end that game!


Go listen to some music: "Safety Dance" from the album Gold - New Wave by Men Without Hats.

17 April 2008

Free fallin'

Tonight, the inescapable Pentathlon awards.

The son's name is called for a first place medal in the SuperQuiz (written). Having received his award, he leaps off the stage and in the second before his feet hit the ground, I see $30,000 worth of knee surgery hanging in the air.

Go listen to some good music: "Free Fallin'" from the album Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.

16 April 2008

Digital man

When I woke up in Kansas City last summer, I had a bass line running through my head. It took me 5 seconds to figure out it was from "Digital Man." It took me 5 minutes to figure out I was in Kansas City and that I needed to get myself to the airport pronto.

I just got my copy of Snakes & Arrows Live. I resisted the temptation to download it from iTunes yesterday just to have the pleasure of actually holding it in my hands.

Dear God.

I haven't gotten past "Digital Man" yet.

I could pretty much listen to that bass line all day.

Forever.

And I love the extended jam.

Oh hell, I love the whole show.

[end unabashed fangirl gushing. Crank stereo louder. Scare cat.]

See 'em again next week!

Go listen to some good music: "Digital Man" from the album Snakes & Arrows Live by Rush.

15 April 2008

Challengers

This has been a long day, and the rest of the week looms even busier. Next week much the same until it's time to go again. No change the following week and so on into May, into mid-June.

I'm not unhappy, simply tired. Some of this I bring upon myself, so it's not fair to complain, and frankly what I bring upon myself...well, that's the buttercream frosting of life. I wouldn't give it up for the world.

It's too much fun.

Today, though, I'm struggling to find the right words, to say the right things, to get through, to make those precious connections with the world around me.

But the words don't come easily when there is a child hanging at my elbow, a cat stealing chicken off a dinner plate, a neighbor who needs to be soothed.

This is why I've learned to take the time, to make the time, to go away, just for a little. It allows me to find a center of peace, a stillness, a moment that is mine. And I can close my eyes, shut out what is around me and focus on what is in front of me. I can listen to the words and the rhythm and the melody, and there, in that moment, is connection.

Go listen to some good music: "Challengers" from the album Challengers by The New P***nographers.

14 April 2008

Taxman

The best thing about doing the taxes, the very best moment, is when I have to tear the house apart looking for one elusive piece of paper.

This year, it was the mortgage interest statement.

Instead of the mortgage interest statement, I found two modems stashed in the cabinets above my desk, along with four autographed photos that have been languishing up there for oh...two, three, four? years. A USB cord. A phone cord with a DSL filter attached. How long has it been since I had DSL? A recipe I thought I'd lost. The takeout menu for the local Indian restaurant. The nameplate from my last office. Random CDs, a planner from 2003/04.

Mortgage interest statement?

Empty envelopes. A notecard. A notebook with plans for the backyard relandscaping project (which, nearly four years later, still makes me apoplectic. Sadly, a story best left untold if only because the name I persist in calling the landscaper is absolutely unprintable). Exercises to rehabilitate my left foot (18 months old), and right ankle (that was almost six years ago). Next to them? Ace bandage clips.

Mortgage interest statement?

Discount cards for three grocery stores. Nordstrom Notes (I can still use them!!!) that date back more than 2 years. Receipts for an airline flight taken 7 months ago. A four-year-old concert ticket.

Another sheaf of recipes that I would never make in a million years, and can't figure out why I'd bother to keep them. My old cell phone. A box of magazines I've not read.

Around the time it becomes clear that I'm not going to find the mortgage interest statement, I realize that I'm also missing a brokerage statement. The Big Entertainment Company I once worked for spun off some of its holdings, so now I have some new stock from another place that I can't remember anyway, and the statement is gone.

And so are at least three receipts from various charities.

Did I accidentally throw that stuff away? Did it go to the same black hole that swallowed the daughter's Spring portraits? Did I *gasp* grind it up in the shredder without realizing it?

When did I get so damned disorganized?

Go listen to some good music: "Taxman" from the album The Best of George Harrison by George Harrison.

13 April 2008

Breathe

Prodigal mommy has returned.

The world has been righted on its axis.

The cat is talking to me again.

Six hours sleep.

It's 90F and I've just finished mowing the lawn. I needed to trim the gargantuan lavender on the side of the house, which is blooming like mad. I set the trimmings aside, bees chasing me the whole way.

After I finished mowing, the daughter and I sat and stripped leaves from the long stalks of lavender. We bundled the flowered stems together. It was soothing work, the volatile oils in the leaves perfuming the hot air around us. The bees buzzed lazily over our bundles, drunk with pollen and heat. We talked about school and girl things, and how the mean girls are developing more mean girlness. We talked about the daughter losing her temper with a girl she dislikes, and how it's better sometimes to take a deep breath and walk away from a person who is being difficult instead of engaging them in battle. We talked about how neither of us like to be the center of attention.

"I'd rather be the sideshow," the daughter announced.

I know she didn't mean it the way it sounds, so I couldn't laugh.

But I often feel like a sideshow. Or worse, a one-woman circus.

















As we hung our bundles of lavender to dry, I looked over toward the artichoke. A large, lovely bud has emerged.

I planted the artichoke because the daughter and I are fond of them steamed with some garlic. I think that perhaps we will share it for lunch.


















Go listen to some good music: "Breathe" from the album Tripped into Divine by Dexter Freebish.

12 April 2008

Workin' them angels (overtime)

When I was a child, my mother had us recite the Guardian Angel prayer every night before bed. She generally contended that God took pity on my guardian angel and assigned me a backup or two.

I guess I can be a lot of trouble. It's not that I try to be trouble. I would rather think that I approach life with a great deal of determination.

And I was so determined these last few days that those angels were probably all on duty.

On Thursday morning, I flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

On Friday night, I went to the opening night of the 2008 leg of Rush's Snakes & Arrows tour.

On Saturday morning, I flew home.

My body seems to think it's hanging somewhere around New Orleans. I have no realistic sense of time at the moment and tired is a word without meaning, I'm so far beyond the idea of tired.

But happy. Very happy.

The spouse hates it when I go to concerts alone. It's bad enough, in his view, that I travel alone, but going to a concert alone...

In Puerto Rico...

Madness.

I don't mind doing things on my own. I love to be with my friends and family, and to share the fun of events with them, but solitude is ok, too. I am less distracted, less easily overwhelmed.

All was well at the show, for the most part. Security was having difficulty maintaining control over the people who pushed into the aisle on which I was seated, and there was some discord and some pushing and arm waving. There was a somewhat unpleasant man sitting near me who refused to understand that I wasn't interested in chatting with him. The hotel dropped the ball sending a cab for me, but several other concert goers and I commandeered another cab to take us all where we needed to go, and I was back at my hotel before midnight, laughing slightly hysterically as I ran to catch the elevator up to my room.

Otherwise, it was wonderful. There is nothing that compares with the sheer pleasure of watching this band play, of listening to this music live. And I was happy that a song I really like has been added to the set, one I've never heard live before. But three hours is never long enough!

There were other reasons that I wanted to go to this particular show, reasons I touched on here. And during an afternoon spent walking through San Juan, I happened upon a very lovely little park called Ventana del Mar. The view of the ocean there was truly spectacular (and a cellphone camera doesn't do it justice). I sat there for a little, serene, while a stiff breeze blew, and I looked at the trees, some bent by the wind, others standing determinedly upright. The air smelled in a very pure way of salt, a smell that conjured up childhood on the Atlantic shore. Far off, the water was calm and green, deceptive, I'm sure, as the waves hit hard against the rocks. It was an appropriate place to recognize that one of the gifts my father gave me was a desire to see all things, to visit all places, to do everything that I can. It was also the right place to acknowledge that he made a choice to stop living his life, and I've chosen to make mine count in every way possible. And it was a good place to let time move forward, to let the old memory of that day go, to allow it to be replaced with lights and music and cheering and wind and water and salty sea air.

And now it's the angels' turn to take a vacation.

















Go listen to some good music: "Workin' Them Angels" from the album Snakes & Arrows by Rush.

11 April 2008

Accelerate

Live from Puerto Rico...

More later.

Go listen to some good music: "Accelerate" from the album Accelerate by REM.

09 April 2008

Enter sandman

At breakfast:

The daughter: "I had a nightmare last night, but when I woke up, it was morning, so I didn't wake you up to tell you about it."

Me: "I'm sorry you had a bad dream. You know it's ok to wake me up when that happens."

The daughter: "It was about you."

Me: "Oh."

The daughter: "You told me I could ride my bike to school alone. Then you said I didn't have to do my homework."

Me, trying not to laugh: "Most kids wouldn't consider that a nightmare."

The daughter: "But Mommmmm-mmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeee. It's like it wasn't you."

The son appears, pulling on his sweatshirt: "Yeah, don't come back a Stepford Wife."

The spouse snorts.

My itinerary is now hanging on the refrigerator.

Right between the magnets that say "Make your own damn dinner" and "She was comforted by the knowledge that they were helpless without her."

Hasta la vista, baby.

Go listen to some music: "Enter Sandman" from the album Metallica by Metallica.

08 April 2008

Hit me with your best shot

Torii Hunter! Walk-off GRAND SLAM!

I admit, I was grumpy when the Angels signed him. He laughed last night at the end of the game that he's always been "the enemy" at Angels stadium.

Yeah. Just kind of. I can't think how many times I sat in the stadium and groaned when he walked up to the plate. His talent is undeniable.

But his personality really shone through on his preseason media interviews. He talked about how he's tight with the Rally Monkey, how they'd be seen around town in the malls, out getting a tan. He was so endearing that I found myself thawing a little.

Last night, though, watching him hit that grand slam, watching the joy on his face when he got to the plate and the whole team danced around him, I fell just a little in love with him in a very pure and baseball fan kind of way.

Well played, Mr. Hunter.

Go listen to some good music: "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" from the album Crimes of Passion by Pat Benatar.

07 April 2008

It don't come easy

We made it through Pentathlon (or the son did. We just provided drinks during practice sessions, and drinks for the day itself, and chauffeuring services). We survived the various parties. We survived the other things.

And now it's a new week.

My pink leather bag (empty) is staring at me accusatorily. I have to decide what is going into it pretty soon (those size 8 jeans are also looking at me accusatorily from the closet. Where they are staying).

I have at least four boxes of earplugs somewhere. Hopefully I will find one because that's something I know needs to go into the bag.

The cat is staring at the bag and then staring at me accusatorily.

The son is glowering.

The daughter is pretending nothing is going on.

The spouse just looks resigned.

D. is making up hilarious songs (to the tune of "Leaving on a Jet Plane") and emailing them to me.

I have approximately 1,438 things to do before I go anywhere.

And about 60 hours in which to get them done.

If I don't sleep.

Don't think I'm complaining.

It's concert season.

Go listen to some good music: "It Don't Come Easy" from the album Blast From Your Past by Ringo Starr.

04 April 2008

The sound of silence

Wasn't it great?

Well, it was for me.

Then I started getting cranky emails.

"Write, dammit," one ordered.

"That wasn't you quitting, was it?" one asked.

Ok, sorry.

Remember I mentioned that April was FULL? Wasn't kidding!

Of the many things going on, social and school and work, the daughter has been invited to a birthday party and is to be dressed as her favorite celebrity. The problem is that we aren't big on celebrity around here, and although the kids have access to the kids' cable channels, they don't watch them. We watch little television as a general rule and only occasionally go to the movies.* So this has been a bit of a stretch. Since the daughter has been avidly watching HBO's John Adams, I suggested that she go as Paul Giamatti, but she demurred.

And once again, the kids are helpfully out of school today. So one of them appears at my elbow approximately every 4.3 minutes with a request, complaint about the other, or random observation on the state of the world. Some days I wonder why we even pretend they go to school because they always seem to be here.

I think I'll go lock myself in a closet and scream for a few minutes.


*I took them to see The Spiderwick Chronicles last weekend at the IMAX theater. It was ok, but the most notable part of the outing was the preview for the Rolling Stones movie, Shine a Light. A 65-ft. tall Keith Richards may be the most terrifying image I've ever seen. I believe the daughter is scarred for life.

And another random aside: I bought REM's new album Accelerate yesterday.

Oh.

My.

God.

This is the REM that reached out and grabbed me by the ear 25 years ago. Nice to hear you again, boys!

Go listen to some good music: "The Sound of Silence" from the album Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel.