Monday, April 30, 2012

Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement
he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise
he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness
he learns justice.

If a child lives with security
he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance
and friendship he learns to
find love in the world.

by Dorothy Law Nolte (1954)

Kind of true, dontcha think? Me personally, while growing up: Plenty of criticism, hostility, ridicule, shame. No tolerance, encouragement, praise, fairness, security, approval, acceptance. I do the best that I can today.

10,000 Maniacs: Peace Train/What's the Matter Here

I originally bought this CD when it came out in '87 and must've listened to it constantly for the next year or more. Since then, in whatever incarnation of poverty, had sold it off in bulk with other CDs of mine to a pawn shop.

When I recently tried to find it again on eBay, remembered that the Cat Stevens song "Peace Train," which appeared on the original '87 CD, had been pulled for every other edition by lead singer Natalie Merchant since Stevens, a Muslim, had at the time supported the persecution of author Salman Rushdie.

I wanted my ORIGINAL collection of music back! While trying to find the original 10,000 Maniacs album "In My Tribe" on eBay, all I came across was every edition WITHOUT "Peace Train" on it! Until NOW, goddammit! :) I just received the original issue of the CD, WITH "Peace Train"! :) $10 or something! :)

Aside from the glee at "Peace Train" being on there... what a great album as a whole: What's the Matter Here, Hey Jack Kerouac, Like the Weather, The Painted Desert, Verdi Cries... I missed this album.

I have heard the excuses everybody uses, he's your kid, do as you see fit,
but get this through that I don't approve of what you did to your own flesh and blood.

"If you don't sit in your chair straight
I'll take this belt from around my waist and don't you think that I won't use it!"

Answer me and take your time,
what could be the awful crime he could do at so young an age?
If I'm the only witness to your madness offer me some words to balance out what I see and what I hear.
All these cold and rude things that you do I suppose you do because he belongs to you
and instead of love and the feel of warmth you've given him these cuts and sores that don't heal with time or with age.

And I want to say "What's the Matter here?"
But I don't dare say "What's the Matter here?"
But I don't dare say.

My Stuff, spring 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"...a pit bull is delicious."

I'm glad I remembered to watch the live Correspondents' Dinner tonight! Obama was hilarious! (And I'm not an Obama supporter; but the guy was really funny.)

One thing that puzzled me (and that, after searching online just now, is apparently the top line of the night according to the online responses) was Obama's paraphrasing an old Palin line. Obama said: "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? A pit bull is delicious."

OK, I get the "eating dog" reference. (In one of his two autobiographies, Obama says he tasted dog meat while he was a kid living in Malaysia. Which gave the right-wing media a big thrill this week, since the left-wingers in the media had been bashing Romney for letting his dog Seamus ride in a carrier on the roof of his car.)

But the majority of the online responses that I just read didn't seem to think that there was also an "oral sex" reference there! (Either they didn't mention it, or the majority seemed outraged that such a "crude" thought would even enter anyone's mind!) When I heard him say that, my jaw literally dropped with amazement and glee: "Wow! That is REALLY an edgy joke! I may just have to vote for you!" (But only if the simultaneous oral sex reference was intentional!) :)

Another top moment for me was Obama's dig at conspiracy theorists who have been warning about what he'll do if given a second term. Obama (me paraphrasing; see the video below for exact words): "In my first term, I sang Al Green; in my second term, I'm going with Young Jeezy... In my first term, we ended the war in Iraq; in my second term, I will win the war on Christmas... In my first term, we repealed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'; in my second term, we will replace it with a policy known as 'It's Raining Men'"...

"Livin' the high life..."

An apartment complex on my street just hung up a huge banner with Bob Marley's face and the slogan, "Live the high life at [name of apartments]." Now... really... Why on earth would apartment managers want to attract stoners to their complex?? When I think of stoners, I think of people who don't necessarily have steady jobs ( not timely) and who might be prone to listening to loud music at all hours (thus...causing complaints from neighbors). I know this area is being hyped as the new "hip" place to live in Austin, but... seems like management would be more concerned with getting tenants who are quiet and clean and pay rent on time!

In other "Youth News": Today at the supermarket, I asked a young checkout girl where I could find "suntan lotion." The aisle she directed me to was full of regular lotion, but no suntan lotion. I went back and told her that there was no "suntan lotion" there. She looked puzzled, then said, "Oh, you mean SUNSCREEN." Me: "Suntan lotion, sunscreen---It's the SAME THING!" What, does no one use the term "suntan lotion" any more?? OMG.

And, lastly: When I went to a cheap outdoor taco place today on the way home from the grocery store, I asked for my usual Puffy Taco plate. The young register girl said, "Would you like TWO taco plates?" Now was my turn to look puzzled: "No, just one. Why would I want two? Is there a special going on?" Then she looked puzzled at my apparently "bizarre" questions and didn't answer, just gave me my number--14--when I paid. A few minutes later, she leaned out of the walk-up window, placing two bags on the counter and yelling, "Number 15! Number 16!" OK, my 14 comes before 15 and 16, but maybe those other orders were smaller than mine... Who knows. I kept sitting there patiently. One of the bags o' food was picked up by a customer. The other sat there. And sat there. And sat there. As did I. After a few more minutes, I started to get suspicious... I walked to the window and looked in, trying to make eye contact with someone that I could ask about my order. When no one paid attention to me, I called out, "Hello! Hello!" The same girl called back: "Just a MINUTE! I'm with a CUSTOMER!" When she was ready to see me, I told her that I was number 14, but that she'd called out 15 and 16... was my food ready yet? She eyed the one bag sitting there: "That's yours." Me: "Are you sure? You said 15 and 16. I'm 14." Her: "THAT is YOURS." Geez, alright already!

And why did I walk away from that feeling like I had been the annoying, stupid person?! Since when does ONE plate mean TWO plates and "14" mean "15" or "16"??? Damn kids! ;p

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Phone at 11:29pm

Wow, but I perked up! :) Nah, nothing good. Just a neighbor who's having an apartment sale tomorrow and wanted to see if I wanted any of her lamps. (Nah. I did, though, earlier already lay claim to a table that I'll pick up tomorrow for 40 bucks.)

I actually, in general, miss the phone ringing at 11:29 pm! :)  Anything after 10 is usually pretty good! :)

Unhatched Chickens

If, as was just confirmed, I'll indeed be working through the end of August at a pay rate that I used to make at my one great 8-month job in NYC... I'ma have enough money to make a big life decision in the fall: Fish or cut bait. AKA: Stay in Austin--permanently. Settle down--finally. Grow old and die here. Or...go back north to NYC/Weehawken and give it one last shot...

One of my first thoughts upon having money in the bank again was: "I'm going to go to NYC for 5 days!" But, having done that -- taken a couple of vacations in NYC in '05 and '06 before moving there in 2007 -- the idea actually made me kind of tired after the initial giddiness of being ABLE to do that... What would I do in 5 days?

Re-visit the place where I used to take my work smoke-breaks in Times Square (right outside the M&Ms flashy billboard).

Re-visit Union Square and environs: where I worked for 8 months (and watched Elvis Costello and babies pass by)/the Strand bookstore/the park/the Taco Bell (!).

Re-visit the Upper East Side: the Metropolitan Museum, plus Joan's apartment (buying a hot-dog and Pepsi -- the latter in her honor -- from a street vendor and enjoying them on a park bench outside her window). Then walk directly across The Park to John Lennon's Dakota building on the West Side.

Re-visit Chelsea: my old hairdresser's (now closed) across from the Chelsea Hotel, and attend the Chelsea Cinema (something -- hopefully Joan -- hosted by Hedda Lettuce).

Re-visit Washington Heights, where I first lived on Riverside Drive; see that apt. again, and the Hudson -- ice-chunk-laden when I first viewed it in February of '07 -- and the nearby Aaron Burr house (where I once sat on a park bench for hours and read a third of  "Lover of Unreason").

Re-visit Weehawken! :)  My old downstairs landlords; my sandwich shop; my pizza joint; my Pathmark grocery store; walk along the gorgeous Hudson view of the NYC skyline. Maybe even walk inland to the Union City "Bergenline" strip of cheap shops!

Here's the thing, though: All of the above said... It kinda feels like stuff that I don't personally feel the need to do right now. I mean, I LIKED -- a lot -- those memories... And I definitely want to visit again... but... it kinda feels too soon. Like, for instance, seeing the skyline from the Weehawken shore would be still like I was living there and had just walked over from my apt... I still feel that view IN me... and so I don't necessarily need to go there right now on a sporadic visit... There's no memory that needs "refreshing" since most seem still current to me...

So: Visit out. As for moving back: Sigh. Just thinking about what I went through the last time is a huge turn-off. Dear god, the job-worrying! The one thing that makes the idea still plausible is the fact that I've not re-accumulated a lot of stuff since being back in Austin. When I moved in 2007, I ditched a lot of pretty things that meant something to me -- including a fast black car and a great '60 vintage padded bar and vintage '30s red-velvet couch/chair. If I leave this time, though, all my stuff is just hand-me-downs (or a cheap $150 bed). All I need to take is my laptop and my iPod player (well, and CLOTHES, of course!). Not to mention: When I moved in '07, I had the trauma of carting my cat Gracie with me. (Traumatic for HER; worrying for me.) No cat this time.

I don't feel either way at this point. Pre-2007, I was so bored with Austin, and so curious about NYC... Having now seen NYC, it was interesting on the surface... but it won't really be "surprising" again. And the job hunt and cost of living (and the snarkiness of the local media -- aside from the wonderful "Post"! -- that got transmuted nationally) not interesting at all, just tedious and soul-draining. (Plus, having been forced to learn about both UT and Austin again --- temp jobs on campus and at UT games, taking the bus around town --- I like and appreciate Austin a lot more than I used to, back when I just basically drove from home to work and back, or else drove straight to a few clubs downtown. I've got more of a feel for the town now, this second time around. It's a pretty place, and a decent, rational place.)

Still... Interesting to have OPTIONS to think about as opposed to being forced into something out of poverty.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yuppie Problem!

On "Jersey Shore," which I enjoy mightily, Snooki and her sidekick are both short-n-chunky and call themselves "Meatballs." Last season, they had some schtick going, calling out "Meatball problem!" whenever some minor annoyance -- not really a "problem"-- crossed their collective path. Example: Once the hot-tub was too hot. So they explained for the camera: "When the hot-tub burns your cooch... MEATBALL PROBLEM!"

Similarly (well, kinda, sans cooch!): For the past couple of days, I've noticed that... having more clothes and more costume jewelry requires more time to get ready in the morning! I used to -- back when I had 3 pairs of work shoes and 3 black shirts and 2 white shirts and a couple of long-sleeved out-of-season fall shirts to choose from -- set my alarm for an hour before I had to catch the bus. It wasn't too hard, after all, to pick a generic, crappy shirt and pair of shoes for the day!

Now though: Wooooooo! Colors! And actual seasonal clothing! And various earrings and necklaces and shoes to pick from! I had to set my alarm back 15 minutes, which is a...


Monday, April 23, 2012

Money Honey

My 7-week temp job was scheduled to end this coming Monday. After this, and the previous 6-week temp job, I was mildly looking forward to a break, but also much more dreading the down-time: more calling temp agencies every day to announce availability, more shuffling around wasting energy trying to get $12-an-hour sustenance jobs, more worrying about money, more nothing-to-do-but-drink-and-sleep-til-3pm...

Today, though, my boss sent an e-mail: "Hey! Come see me if you have a minute." I did and I did. And she told me that I'm needed through the end of summer!! The money is SO boat-loadish. What I'll earn through August will sustain me through the end of the year, even if I get no other work. I've only had Valium once in my life (a direct injection, after a wisdom-tooth-removal gone bad), and this announcement felt EXACTLY like that... A wave of pure relief, "relief" made purely physical, muscles gone kind of rubbery, mind all a-ga-ga, and face stupidly smiling at the world... And it was a GREAT day to be stupidly smiling: 78, no humidity, crystal-clear skies, and me walking around wearing pretty clothes and head-tossable earrings and harboring this great-news secret all to myself... How pretty and grateful and lucky I felt walking around this afternoon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ukulele "Across the Universe"

At a local pizza place last week, my 9-year-old nephew informed me that he was part of his elementary school's Ukulele Choir or Ukulele Ensemble or whatever it is! I couldn't remember then, and I can't remember now. I got chastised in the car for not knowing the difference. It's one of the two. (I can't make a logical guess as to this one: Which makes more sense with "Ukulele"? "Choir" or "Ensemble"??) :)

The whole point was, he was telling me that his Ukulele-la-la had been learning a Beatles song. I was initially mildly dismissive: "What song? 'Yellow Submarine'? I bet it's 'Yellow Submarine'!" Well, it wasn't 'Yellow Submarine' at all! It was, in fact, the much-more-poetic-and non-elementary-school-friendly 'Across the Universe' of all songs!

The lyrics to "Across" are beautiful, but difficult and adult... they're poetry. My nephew started to sing to me across the pizza table: "Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup, they slither while they pass, they slip away across the universe..." Wow!!! :) I got goosebumps! And he even knew the "j'ai guru deva, om" part at the end!

The ukulele part, I'm still giggling about. But hey: As my nephew explained to me, they're learning chords on the uke, too. He showed me some fret finger-placements and explained which were harder than others to do...

Good vibes, man! :)  It's kind of weird being into a 9-year-old and his thought processes... But then... I don't know of any adults who are THINKING and LEARNING about things...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lay Back in the Arms of Someone

Last week, I found and ordered a Smokie Greatest Hits CD on eBay, after loving "Lay Back in the Arms of Someone" when I visited Germany for 6 weeks as a 12-year-old kid in the summer of '77, and never thinking I'd own that song, or hear of the group, again...

Just now turned this song on my new CD up to full volume -- 30! according to the iPod dock/CD player (oh, it's a little dock; it was probably actually like an "8" or something).

If I bugged my neighbors, it was for 3 minutes at 6:30pm. They, I'm sure, can live with that. :)

I LOVE this song! It makes me very happy! :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Those Times...

(Written June 1963, from Anne Sexton's 1966 Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, "Live or Die.")

At six
I lived in a graveyard full of dolls,
avoiding myself,
my body, the suspect
in its grotesque house.
I was locked in my room all day behind a gate,
a prison cell.
I was the exile
who sat all day in a knot.

I will speak of the little childhood cruelties,
being a third child,
the last given
and the last taken --
of the nightly humiliations when Mother undressed me,
of the life of the daytime, locked in my room --
being the unwanted, the mistake
that Mother used to keep Father
from his divorce.
The romantic's friend,
romantics who fly into maps
of other countries,
hips and noses and mountains,
into Asia or the Black Forest,
or caught by 1928,
the year of the me,
by mistake,
not for divorce
but instead.

The me who refused to suck on breasts
she couldn't please,
the me whose body grew unsurely,
the me who stepped on the noses of dolls
she couldn't break.
I think of the dolls,
so well made,
so perfectly put together
as I pressed them against me,
kissing their little imaginary mouths.
I remember their smooth skin,
those newly delivered,
the pink skin and the serious China-blue eyes.
They came from a mysterious country
without the pang of birth,
born quietly and well.
When I wanted to visit,
the closet is where I rehearsed my life,
all day among shoes,
away from the glare of the bulb in the ceiling,
away from the bed and the heavy table
and the same terrible rose repeating on the walls.

I did not question it.
I hid in the closet as one hides in a tree.
I grew into it like a root
and yet I planned such plans of flight,
believing I would take my body into the sky,
dragging it behind me like a large bed.
And although I was unskilled
I was sure to get there or at least
to move up like an elevator.
With such dreams,
storing their energy like a bull,
I planned my growth and my womanhood
as one choreographs a dance.

I knew that if I waited among shoes
I was sure to outgrow them,
the heavy oxfords, the thick execution reds,
shoes that lay together like partners,
the sneakers thick with Griffin eyewash
and then the dresses swinging above me,
always above me, empty and sensible
with sashes and puffs,
with collars and two-inch hems
and evil fortunes in their belts.

I sat all day
stuffing my heart into a shoe box,
avoiding the precious window
as if it were an ugly eye
through which birds coughed,
chained to the heaving trees;
avoiding the wallpaper of the room
where tongues bloomed over and over,
bursting from lips like sea flowers --
and in this way I waited out the day
until my mother,
the large one,
came to force me to undress.
I lay there silently,
hoarding my small dignity.
I did not ask about the gate or the closet.
I did not question the bedtime ritual
where, on the cold bathroom tiles,
I was spread out daily
and examined for flaws.

I did not know
that my bones,
those solids, those pieces of sculpture
would not splinter.

I did not know the woman I would be
nor that blood would bloom in me
each month like an exotic flower,
nor that children,
two monuments,
would break from between my legs
two cramped girls breathing carelessly,
each asleep in her tiny beauty.
I did not know that my life, in the end,
would run over my mother's like a truck
and all that would remain
from the year I was six
was a small hole in my heart, a deaf spot,
so that I might hear
the unsaid more clearly.


She breaks my heart.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Now Playing: Hunky Dory

The CDs I've been ordering, used, from eBay, have been arriving by the mailboxfull. I meant to take a picture of all of them (20 or more), but I got too excited about reorganizing my whole CD collection, fitting all of the new ones in, that I'd filed every new thing away before remembering to take a mass photo...

I had so many gaps to fill in... Stuff that I remembered from a particular time in my life, but that was also GOOD and interesting to listen to, apart from just being nostalgia.

I've pointedly decided against re-buying stuff that I used to sit around and mope/weep to... Pink Floyd, for one. Profound (to me) as "The Wall" is, both film and album, I really don't want to re-live the trauma of the losing-Ginny-feelings it stirs up, me huddling in a tiny dorm room in 1984, trying not to wake my roommate while writing out "Wall" lyrics at 3am and psychologically suffering right along with every track of the album... Similarly, while I also think Depeche Mode's "Violator" is great, as is Concrete Blonde's "Bloodletting," both of those albums conjure up nothing but specific pain and isolation from the Summer of '90... obsessing over losing my first lover while in a generic mass-apartment while my best friends were in Europe for the summer... no one to talk to, nothing to do but go to work, come home... listen to Depeche Mode and Concrete Blonde... and write out Depeche Mode and Concrete Blonde lyrics! :) Jesus. (My own personal hell of one.)

Bowie, on the other hand, is a little different. He's kinda first-lover-M. associated. When we first started seeing each other in the Spring of '89 (but before we moved in together), I learned that she was really into him, so I went to a used record store to get most of his collection (at a dollar or so a pop). I wanted to know (what I thought was) how her psyche worked... Turned out "her psyche" didn't really work at all -- she just liked Bowie because of his sexual gender-bending image when she was coming of age in the '70s, and didn't really know his music that well, aside from the famous "Ziggy Stardust" album. But I ended up getting into him... for his music! I don't know that I'd buy EVERYTHING again, but for now I've re-purchased "Ziggy" and "Hunky Dory." In the future, I would like to also have again "Space Oddity," "Station to Station," "Lodger," and "Scary Monsters." (And NOT "Let's Dance," which was so huge my freshman year of college, 1983 -- not horrible, but not particularly soulful either; just an attempt at having hits... My "Changes" Greatest Hits covers everything I need from that album.)

What's the point of all this re-collecting of albums/CDs? Not just trying to reminisce. I think I miss listening to and thinking about music. I sold off most of my collection before I moved to NYC in 2007. Since moving back home in 2010, I've been extremely tense... annoyed at neighbors for blasting their music, and so not wanting to be hypocritical and play my own, I suppose... But me playing my own at a volume of 2 isn't the same as their playing theirs at a 10... I'm "allowed" to listen to my music... Re-buying my former collection is, I guess, my way of "allowing" myself to enjoy music again, rather than just coming home and turning on the TV for background noise while I'm doing stuff on the computer to pass the time. I think that I don't just want to "pass the time" any more.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Anne Sexton, 1969

...The walls of that grotto
were everycolor blue and
you said, "Look! Your eyes
are seacolor. Look! Your eyes
are skycolor." And my eyes
shut down as if they were
suddenly ashamed.

--- from "The Nude Swim" ("Love Poems")

Why should Hilary Rosen apologize?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues, and when I listen to my wife, that's what I am hearing. Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life.

She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we worry - and why we worry about their future.


Guess what: The uber-rich Ann Romney really has NOT ever worked a day in her life. How idiotic for Mitt Romney to claim that she -- his society wife -- is giving him advice on what women think about economic issues. Hilary Rosen was exactly right, and she shouldn't have been forced to apologize, by either the right or the left, for her completely common-sense, accurate statement.

Shades of the brouhaha surrounding Hillary Clinton's (also completely common-sense and accurate) statement back in 1992:

"I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life."


Guess what: In this day and age, if you, a woman, have never in all your years contemplated pursuing any intellectual/workplace interest of your own and instead chose to be a passive leech living off of your husband (possibly pretending that your kids really "need" you, when in fact they're, at a very early age, completely into their own thing and completely oblivious as to your "chauffeur-ship," et al)... You SHOULD be called on it. You should be called on it CONSTANTLY, and made an example of as far as "what no sane parent ever wants their daughters to grow up to be."

In short: If you're a woman and you don't work after the kids are in kindergarten, you're most likely (a) just plain lazy, or (b) controlled by a domineering husband who wants his wife at home. Simple as that.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Big Toenail is back, baby. ;p

Lordy, the Austin nail place Saturday, which I'd never been to before...

The nail-ladies (stereotypically Asian and inscrutable) ignored me when I walked in and had a seat. Finally, after 15 minutes of sitting quietly, I stood up and made kind of a scene (every employee and customer staring at me), asking who was the manager and did I need to get on a waiting list or something, or just keep sitting there... ("Just keep sitting there" was the answer that I finally pried out of one woman.)

Wait time was an hour, but the pedi was definitely worth the mere $20 for the following hour's worth of attention: Aside from the coats of nail polish, lots of scrubbing and lotion and massage and just-general whipping my toenails into shape. (Especially since one big toe-nail had gotten damaged and fallen off back in the summer of 2010 after I'd stubbed it... and then took nearly a whole year to grow back, forcing me to wear closed-toe shoes for nearly the past 2 years. This spring/summer was NOT going to be like the last two, dammit.)

After the polish, though, they gave me some paper-thin slippers that I was supposed to wear out of the shop... When I tried to explain that I still had to do errands, take the bus and walk, etc., and needed the nails to be dry so I could put my street shoes back on... My nail-person gestured toward the front of the shop. It looked like she was pointing to a heater-looking thing sitting on top of the counter. I approached it, then stood looking at it, waiting for some further guidance. When none came, I again had to be loud-n-obnoxious since no one was paying any attention to me: "What do I DO with this? Do I lift it and put it on the ground?" A sudden chorus: "No, no. [point, point]." Which I still didn't get.

Finally, a black customer (who spoke English) explained to me about the ultraviolet-ray counter that I was supposed to sit next to and put my feet under. THAT was what was going to finalize my nails! Ohhhhh. After 10 minutes of that, my Asian pedi-person came over and told me I was through... "And I can put my shoes on without the nails getting messed up?" She didn't understand what I was asking, but her boss spoke up from across the room: "No."

ME: But... I have to go grocery shopping and walk and take a bus... How do I walk on the street?

BOSS-LADY: There's a Dollar Store next door. Go buy some flip-flops.

ME: That's a good idea. Thanks. [shuffling out in my flimsy slippers]

The Dollar Store turned out to have mainly kids' flip-flops, with exactly two adult pair to choose from, both in men's large sizes. I chose the "camouflage black-n-gray" pair... and shuffled off into the rest of my day...

But hey: Got a pedi for the first time in over 3 years! Whatever one has to do to get a $20 pedi in the springtime and celebrate the symbolic Return of the Big Toenail!

Friday, April 06, 2012

All Trails Lead to Doris

For the past however-many hours I've been online doing Joan-stuff, with music in the background for the first time in ages. (Usually, I just have the TV on.) Interesting (to me) to trace the music path while I've been working:

Beatles: Let It Be
Beatles: With the Beatles
Simon & Garfunkel: Best of
Ella Fitzgerald: Best of, Diva Series
Peggy Lee: Best of Miss
Doris Day: Cuttin' Capers/Bright & Shiny
Doris Day: Golden Girl (Hits)

At the end of all of this, I didn't like the Fitzgerald CD much: Too much scat, too much jokey-jokey. Sometimes you just want to LISTEN, without irony and/or references. Peggy Lee: A more-skilled relief after the clownish Fitzgerald, but Lee's still way-too-surface. Good singing-actress, but... bland, mildly interesting style-wise, no soul whatsoever. (I think she gets "street-cred" today SOLELY -- let me repeat: SOLELY -- because of "Is That All There Is.")

Doris Day, the "Cuttin' Capers" album: I way perked up, after all these years of not hearing her (and after being numbed by Fitzgerald/Lee as background music tonight)... I was focusing on what I was doing online, but every time these Day songs came on, I stopped what I was doing and paid attention to the music: Let's Take a Walk Around the Block, The Lady's in Love, Steppin' Out With My Baby, Why Don't We Do This More Often... Below is "Steppin' Out." LOVE the shift from sultry to belting and back again. I think Doris gets a bad rap (somehow not "cool," not "truly great") because of her bland face and because of her uber-successful generic-50s film career... Listen to the below. She's a GREAT singer.

More Music!

A slow day at work this pre-Easter Friday (we ended up getting let out 2 hours early, too), so AGAIN I started shopping on eBay for MUSICMUSICMUSIC!

Here're the CDs I bought (all that I used to own at one time), ranging from $2.50 to $8.50 each...

Prince: Purple Rain; Hits I & 2
Patti Smith: Horses; Easter
Sinead O'Connor: The Lion & the Cobra; I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
The Clash: London Calling
Doris Day: Day by Day/Day by Night (double CD)
Bowie: Ziggy Stardust
U2: Joshua Tree
Tracy Chapman
Terence Trent D'Arby: The Hardline According to...
McCartney: Flowers in the Dirt

Now listening to the "Let It Be" CD that I just received...

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Diving Into the Wreck (1972)

In memory of Adrienne Rich (5/16/29 - 3/27/12)
Superseded in both life and death by her flashier, sexier (more spiritually adventurous but less emotionally sane) sisters, Sylvia and Anne.


First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

Who Likes My Look

Wearing one of my new spring shirts today, wearing earrings for the first time in at least 3 years today. Feeling like a sleek, well-put-together 40-something woman with a good haircut rather than a sad-sack slacker in a black T-shirt and ponytail. In short: Feelin' sassy!

Got on the bus this morning (mornin') to go to work; had a seat, started to stare off into bus-space... My space-staring was interrupted by a woman who had turned full around in her seat to stare at me. When I made eye contact (I'm perversely aggressive like that; I always meet bus people's stares full on just to let them know that they don't intimidate me), she flashed me a very friendly -- and, yes, a "come on" -- kind of smile... I felt a strange jolt because the look was so blatant, but didn't smile back, just met her gaze briefly, then let my eyes wander elsewhere, as if naturally...

She was clearly an aging hooker: bleached white/blonde hair, obviously chopped by herself (or an extremely untalented/drug-addled friend); makeup SMEARED on... think "Baby Jane" -- wildly dark brown eye shadow, wildly misplaced black eyeliner and red lipstick; rotting yellow teeth; misshapen faded black T-shirt and hot-pink polyester shorts...

"How OLD is that woman?" I thought. At first glance she appeared 70-something, but then once I kept examining her when she wasn't looking, I figured out that she was maybe in her early 50s. And then saw that her features themselves were actually very pretty, just gone extremely decrepit with extreme abuse... And why in the world had she been looking at me like that?

I forgot about her after I got off the bus in the morning, but... guess who I saw when I got on the same bus after work this afternoon... Sitting right across from me this time. Looking at me again...

And this time she spoke: I noticed you at your bus-stop this morning.
ME: [nodding; oh dear]
HER: I thought, "Who is that? She looks very fresh."
ME: Thank you. That's nice of you to say.
HER: I thought, "That shirt is nice." It's very bold, very seasonal. I've always liked those three-quarter sleeves, too.
ME: Thank you! [then, unable to stop myself] I just bought it!
HER: It's just right for the season.
ME: I really liked it.
HER: Where you got off this morning, do you work there?
ME: Well, not there, but I work on campus.
HER: What do you do?
ME: Copyediting.
HER: I don't know what that is. What is that?
ME: Proofreading, correcting grammar and spelling, stuff like that.
HER: Make good money?
ME: Yes. But it's just a temp job, so it's over soon.
HER: I used to be a paralegal. That was temp. But the lawyers, you know, are there all the time. They're not temp...

And then the tangent began: Did I see the catalog she was holding (some Dallas Galleria-type thing): She used to have clothes from there, but someone stole them. And then someone stole her "bank money." And now her landlord is spying on her and stealing her clothes and turning her children against her and hitting her leg and did I know Alan Jackson...

Me smiling politely and gritting my teeth; the random (normal) woman next to me, getting off at the stop just before mine, wishing me luck... And when I got off at my stop, I didn't go toward my apartment building but turned in the other direction, despite the rain, marching half a block the wrong way before figuring the bus had gone and it was safe to proceed home...

How TEDIOUS the whole thing turned out to be! I guess I encouraged the Nutty Hooker-Woman by responding to her praise for my "fresh" look! Is that egotistical because I myself was liking that shirt and wanting some affirmation, or was I just being polite? I NEVER don't speak to someone who's spoken to me first, regardless of how haphazard they seem...

A weird liking of my look today! ;p Now, I KNOW that in some instances, there's a "meet-cute" moment when someone attractive and SANE actually spots you on a bus in the morning, thinks you look "fresh" then, and turns out, by accident, to be on the same bus right across the aisle from you that afternoon on the way home... It's kismet and wonderful karma in THAT kind of case! Just every now and then, I'd like something to happen to me that's out of a Lifetime TV movie rather than out of a John Waters movie! :)

Restocking CDs!

I do plan on getting an iPod in the next 2 months, so I guess my CDs will be obsolete for actual listening purposes, but the thing is: I hear tell that you can download the music you already own on CD to the iPod without having to buy the songs again through iTunes. (I think that's how it works; I'm so behind the times technologically!)

Anyway, let's hope that's how it works, because I've been going nuts on eBay bidding on, mainly, Beatles CDs that I used to own years ago but, in hard times, sold off. I used to have every single CD in the early '90s but that collection had been whittled down 20 years later to only the "Hard Day's Night" soundtrack, the "Help!" soundtrack, and "Rubber Soul."

What I've bought on eBay in the past week (prices include shipping):

With the Beatles ($8.95)
Please Please Me ($12.00)
Revolver ($7.21)
Let It Be ($10.44)
Let It Be: Naked ($8.50 -- the 2003 version remastered and stripped of the Phil Spector orchestration that Paul hated so at the time + 1 disc of various outtakes)
Anthology I ($7.99)

Lot of 3 McCartney solo: I, II, and Band on the Run ($25.00)
Rolling Stones Hot Rocks (2-cd hits; $13.54)


I'm only ticked off by the $12 for "Please Please Me"! Got into a bidding war with a German on that one! Am, overall, aiming to spend only $10 or under (incl s/h) per CD...

Stuff that I know I want/need (and also once owned) but aren't so urgent:

The rest of the Beatles, esp. "Sgt Pepper" and White Album and "Abbey Road."
All 5 of the Doors CDs.
All of Simon & Garfunkel's (5? 6?).
Elvis Costello's "My Aim Is True."
XTC's "Skylarking."
Pink Floyd's "The Wall."
More McCartney: "Ram," "Tug of War," "Flowers in the Dirt." (I already have John's full solo collection.)
George Jones's "Cup of Loneliness" (early hits).
Patsy Cline's 5-cd set.
Elvis's 1950s 5-cd set (I still have the 5-cd '60s set; don't really want/need the '70s set again.)
Doris Day's "Day By Night."

And then... I'll just need a place where I can BLAST all of these again when I feel like it!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

They took my saddle in Houston...

Amarillo by mornin'
Up from San Antone
Everything that I got
Is just what I've got on.
When that sun is high in that Texas sky,
I'll be buckin' at the county fair.
Amarillo by mornin'
Amarillo I'll be there.

They took my saddle in Houston,
Broke my leg in Santa Fe.
Lost my wife and a girlfriend,
Somewhere along the way.
I'll be lookin' for eight
When they pull that gate
And I hope that judge ain't blind.
Amarillo by mornin'
Amarillo's on my mind.

Amarillo by mornin'
Up from San Antone
Everything that I got
Is just what I've got on.
I ain't got a dime,
But what I got is mine.
I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free.

Amarillo by mornin'
Amarillo's where I'll be.


"Everything that I got
Is just what I've got on.
I ain't got a dime,
But what I got is mine.
I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free..."

May I remain strong enough to adhere to the above ideal -- FREEDOM and faithfulness to self -- which is much easier when you're young.