Saturday, January 31, 2015

Battle of the Bands ~ The Way You Do The Things You Do (Early... That's How I Do Them!)

I've said this before (in fact, repeatedly) but life is getting away from me. It's not that I'm sleeping all the time, though I do spend more than my fair share of time in bed with migraines. But, even so, not what I mean. I guess it seems like I only have a few good hours every day. That said, I haven't been using those hours to their best advantage, so it feels like time is just slipping through my fingers. Really this is a time management problem, methinks!

With that in mind, I looked over my list of potential battles a few days ago for the battle on the 1st and nothing appealed to me. (I suppose that means we can add "cranky" to the list.)  Then I was out and about (see: sitting in a game room) and music was playing and the song The Way You Do The Things You Do by The Temptations came on. I thought to myself, "Self, that is one heck of a good song. It has some great similes in it (and I do love myself some simile). Surely there must be covers of this song. Self, make a note to cruise YouTube looking for covers." I did. And there were. In fact, there were rather a lot of them.

I'm sure that all of you know the song of which I speak, but if you want to listen to the original version made famous by The Temptations, you can do so right now. Click here to listen. (I originally imbedded the video but my first comment was a vote for The Temptations, so I am removing it. Right now.)



Just in case you missed it, you absolutely cannot vote for The Temptations. No way. No how. 

I bet you're wondering right now, if not them, well who? So glad you asked. This battle is between two covers of this song. The Underdogs Vs. UB40.

What can I tell you about The Underdogs? Not much. I'd never heard of them before I went looking for covers of this song. I did read in the comments on YouTube someone expressing dissatisfaction that Motown didn't promote this band more (and it didn't get much recognition as a result). I guess that person has a point because I'd never heard of them. No publicity=no recognition.

So, they really are underdogs in every sense of the word. Let's take a listen. First contender: The Underdogs....

UB40 was a fairly popular band back in the 80s. Since that is MY era, I knew who they were/are. This song was a hit for them. Ironically, I don't remember their recording of this song. Of course, that could have something to do with the fact that it charted in 1989. At that time, I was in college and the only music I heard was at the bar. And they weren't playing UB40. Ah well. I think that reveals more about me than UB40. Don't hold it against them. Anyway, I discovered, with just the tiniest bit of research, that they recorded not only this version, but two other versions of this song. That tells me they really liked it. One was a Jazzy Club Mix and the other a Paradise Mix. If you want to listen to them, they are easy to find on YouTube. But, you may NOT vote for either of those either. (I know.... picky picky.)

Second contender: UB40. This is the version you CAN vote for in this battle...

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:

If you are participating in Battle of the Bands, and you are not listed here, leave me a note in the comments. Thanks!

Now, is the critical moment. It is time to vote for your favorite version of this song. I even encourage you to leave me long comment explaining all the ins and outs of why you voted as you did! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

BoTB Results and Liner Notes of My Marriage (A Wild West Show)

Let me begin by apologizing for being so late with the results from Battle of the Bands. My migraines have been acting up. What I mean by this is: my chronic migraine has amped up to the point that for the last few days I've spent more time in bed that out of it. And I haven't been sleeping. I also haven't been doing anything "fun." So, it's just been lying there listening to my head pound.

Anyway, that's also the reason I've been so neglectful of your blogs. What time I've spent out of bed hasn't been here on the computer catching up on blog reading.

Anyway, this race wasn't even close, though many of you indicated that the decision was tough for you. So, even though Louis Armstrong won this by miles and miles, many of you gave a smile and nod to Norah Jones. Final tally without my vote:

Louis Armstrong: 20
Norah Jones: 5

I really like both versions, but I'd vote for Norah (not that it matters). I've got her CD and I enjoy listening to it very much.

If you're keeping up at all, I've been giving you the "liner notes" of my life in conjunction with Train songs. I had a pretty good formula in place. Take the albums in order. Play the title cut and then one or two of my favorites. Just so you know the next album will be Save Me San Francisco, but we're not going there today.

Instead, I'm going to address this little comment that Bryan over at A Beer For The Shower made about country music when he saw that my battle was Cold, Cold Heart. "I saw the words "country music" and immediately thought 'oh God no.'" (Oh Bryan, if only you could've seen my head shaking at this comment...)

I addressed this issue with him off of Blogger and we've been doing some music sharing (I think to the pleasantry of both parties). One of the first country tracks I shared with him was the last cut, Live This Life on Big & Rich's first album, Horse of A Different Color. If you want to listen to it, click here. (Stephen T. McCarthy, I think you'll really like this one!) Anyway, Bryan liked it better than he though he might, but not as much as I'd hoped.

So, this next one is for Bryan (and the rest of you non-country music fans, as well as the country music fans). It also goes with the liner notes of my life, which will come after the song. Try and think about this song in terms of what it's like to go through a divorce or particularly devastating break-up. It gets ugly. It gets messy. Sometimes you wonder if either one of you will survive it. It really is its own Wild West Show.

Check out these lyrics:

I'm feelin' like Tonto,
Ridin' a Pinto,
Tryin' to chase the Lone Ranger down.
I'm a little unraveled,
But I'm still in the saddle,
Cryin' your name out to the clouds,
Hey yaw, Hey yaw!

Why don't you meet me,
Back at the tepee?
We'll lay down by the camp fire.
There, in the dark night,
We'll smoke the peace pipe,
Forget about who's wrong or right.
Hey yaw, Hey yaw!

Yeah, it was a big showdown,
Oh yeah, we stood our ground.
Shot out the lights:
It got a little crazy.
I don't wanna see us go,
The way of the buffalo:
Don't wanna have another wild west show.
Hey yaw, Hey yaw!

Only forgiveness,
Will finally end this.
There won't be a witness if we both fall.
There's never a hero,
In a battle of ego.
There's never a winner of the quick draw.
Hey yaw, Hey yaw!

Yeah, it was a big showdown,
Oh yeah, we stood our ground.
Shot out the lights:
It got a little crazy.
Don't wanna see us go,
The way of the buffalo:
Don't wanna have another wild west show.
Hey yaw, Hey yaw!

Hey yaw, Hey yaw!

It's like a ghost town,
Without you around.
Why can't we just forget it,
Ride off in the sunset?

It was a big showdown,
Oh yeah, we stood our ground.
Shot out the lights:
It got a little crazy.
I don't wanna see us go,
The way of the buffalo:
Don't wanna have another wild west show.
Hey yaw, Hey yaw!

I'm feelin' like Tonto,
Ridin' a Pinto,
Tryin' to chase the Lone Ranger down.

So, I had my therapy appointment this week. We were doing something different this time. The issue had to do with loss of voice (which is work we started at the last appointment) after the ribbon incident with my mother at Sam's Club. Anyway, the resulting migraine made it clear that it wasn't about ribbon. Last time, I made this very long list of incidences in which I felt a loss of voice. This week, we started with the ribbon and moved backward. Every single incident, other than the ribbon, was something that happened with me and my now ex-husband. I thought of the incident, went through it in my head, and then told it out loud to my therapist. Rinse and repeat. Over and over and over again. The idea (I think) was threefold. I'd remember more each time I did it. I'd peak emotionally at some point in the middle (often involving crying and tissues) and then become more detached from it each time I told it. Yeah, this meant telling the same story twenty or more times. I was exhausted by the time I left that appointment (and migrainey!)

And just like in this song, a good bit of time I felt like Tonto riding a Pinto trying to chase The Lone Ranger down. I was also really unraveled, fell out of the saddle, and spent a lot of time on the ground (no, I know that wasn't the lyric, but that's how it was). It did get a little crazy. We never literally shot out the lights, but before it was all said and done I could pinpoint the exact moment I stopped loving him and actively began to hate him. (Big stuffs, kids!) I also pinpointed the exact moment I hated me, which was direct result of not being able to SPEAK UP and tell him how I felt. It's really bad when you exercise your voice and the other party refuses to hear you, doesn't care, etc. It's WORSE when you stifle yourself.

And, like the song says, Only forgiveness will finally end this. I was divorced in 2005. It was shocking to me that I was still stuck in that place. That place of lack of forgiveness. Not so much of him, but of ME. I accepted a while ago that you can't hate a snake for being a snake. It's just being true to its nature. However, when you know something's a snake and you STILL pick it up and put it in your pocket... That's where I was getting stuck.

In other words, he showed me who he was before I married him. All the clues were there. And I still picked up the snake and put it in my pocket. I didn't really want to (which shames me to no end). Heck, I blogged about the inciting incident a long time ago and thought I was beyond it. I had reasons, but they WERE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. If you are reading this and scratching your head... maybe even rereading it not sure that you understood it... let me make this very clear. The incident in question happened a few months before we were married. I felt financially pressured to go through with it. I felt emotionally pressured to go through with it. Neither of these reasons were good enough to actually go through with it.

After that, I experienced a whole bunch of rationalization to make it "okay enough" in my own mind to proceed. Not that it was actually okay. I rationalized the situation (aka the relationship) into something it never was.

So, all of this work was about seeing it all clearly. Fully understanding the choices that I made. Fully realizing the importance of voice so that I don't ever repeat these mistakes. They are too damn costly. They cost your health. They cost your peace of mind. They cost your time. And the only place they lead is to a Wild West Show.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Easy as 123, It's Always Midnight (Another Episode of the Dating Chronicles)

Normally, I'd try to leave my BOTB post up just a little bit longer (so that anyone who has yet to vote will see it in their reading list) BUT I don't think there is any hope for this battle getting close. So, I'm moving on. Of course, you can still vote until the 21st. Just click back one post, listen, and vote.

I've been trying to find tie-ins for this uber-fun exercise for me of introducing you to Train albums (via the song from the name of the track) plus one more I like by figuring out a way to tie the whole mess into my life. That makes everyone happy. Those of you who like music get some and those who just want to read the dirt get that. And some of you get both.

Well, after the abysmal failure of For Me, It's You Train disbanded. Wikipedia says they went on a three year hiatus (like it was planned or something). "We're going to all go our separate ways for three years and then get back to making music. Rock on." (This is not a real quote. I made it up.) I don't think it was like that. At all. I think that Pat Monahan (lead singer) was tired of playing parent to many of his band members with drug and alcohol problems. After For Me, It's You did so badly, he threw in the towel. (Conjecture on my part.) They all parted ways and he made his one and only solo album to date: Last of Seven. Yeah, he was the youngest of seven children. Normally, I would post that song but it's not on YouTube. That gives me leeway to just pick and choose.

While you listen to a track, Always Midnight, that I think is quite wonderful (though never released) and embodies the feel of this album, I'll get down to the "story" part of this post, though it is a "real" video and totally watchable:)

Seems like it's always midnight
Sweepin' up broken glass after every fight
But the sound of a train that I could have been on
Remindin' me that the last one's gone
With you it's always midnight

Well, I want to lunch with the tree guy last week. I managed to get his full name when he called me (showed up on my caller ID) so that meant I had his full name. As a Numerology Nut, you have to KNOW that I immediately ran his numbers. I then called him back and asked him for his birthday. I needed that to get the rest of his numbers. I knew I might sound crazy, but I didn't care. I wanted to know what animal I was dealing with... well, that would've been much more helpful if I'd numbered the R in his name as a "9," which it is, instead of a "5," which it isn't. So, I got two out of three name numbers wrong. Accchhhh.

I learned a lot on this lunch. I think I told you that this is a guy who was divorced in 2011. The thing is that he married his high school sweetheart, didn't want the divorce, and has only just started dating (reluctantly). He spent four years convinced that his ex-wife would change her mind. It is only now occurring that it isn't gonna happen. So, in some ways the song  "Always Midnight" is about the tree guy and the way he's seeing life right now. (That's the tie-in, peeps!)

Meanwhile, I got some nice surprises during this lunch. He wanted to pray at the restaurant before we ate. (Good thing) He told the other girl he's dating that he wants to slow things down. I suspect that means to a crawl, since he doesn't seem to be a fast mover. hahahaha. (And another good thing)

What did his numbers tell me once I did them correctly? Well... his first three numbers (the name numbers) are 123. In that order. That is significant all by itself (and fairly rare). That is a person who must do things in the correct order. 123. So, it isn't surprising that being derailed by a divorce he didn't want has thrown him for a loop. How do you get back to 1 after that? It's occurring to me that this isn't anything I can solve for him. He's going to have to figure it out all by himself. However, I think he's a good guy, and once he makes some internal decisions and accepts some current realities, he'll get back to 1 (and his old self). Meanwhile, I'll keep plugging away at my own issues (migraines, remember???) while he does his thing. Maybe our two things will meet. And maybe not.

But if they do, it could look something like this:

She's not afraid, she just likes to use her nightlight.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Battle of the Bands ~ Cold, Cold Heart

It's that day again: the 15th of the month, and that can only mean ONE thing.


I've spent so much time in the last seven days listening to Train that I suspect many of you thought it'd be a Train match-up here today. Can't say the thought didn't cross my mind, but no. (Hand to God: most of the time you lovely folks vote against the version of the song I like best, and I couldn't bear to see my beloved Train lose in one of these things.) So, we're doing something else.

The song is Cold, Cold Heart. Wikipedia actually has some interesting stuffs to say about this song. I'll let you decide how much is true. (I know what you're thinking... if it's on the Internet it MUST be true.) And still... the Internet was created by human beings. Ergo... Moving on to Wikipedia and Cold, Cold Heart.

Cold, Cold Heart" is a country music and popular music song, written by Hank Williams. This blues ballad is both a classic of honky tonk and an entry in the Great American Songbook.

Williams first recorded and released the song in 1951, originally as the B-side (MGM-10904B) to "Dear John" (MGM-10904A). "Dear John" peaked at #8 after only a brief four-week run on Billboard magazine's country music charts, but "Cold, Cold Heart" proved to be a favorite of disk jockeys and jukebox listeners, whose enthusiasm for the song catapulted it to #1 on the country music charts. The song achingly and artfully describes frustration that the singer's love and trust is unreciprocated due to a prior bad experience in the other's past.

That same year, it was recorded in a pop version by Tony Bennett[1] with a light orchestral arrangement from Percy Faith. This recording was released by Columbia Records as catalog number 39449. It first reached the Billboard magazine charts on July 20, 1951 and lasted 27 weeks on the chart, peaking at #1.[2]

The popularity of Bennett's version has been credited with helping to expose both Williams and country music to a wider national audience. Allmusic writer Bill Janovitz discusses this unlikely combination:
"That a young Italian singing waiter from Queens could find common ground with a country singer from Alabama's backwoods is testament both to Williams' skills as a writer and to Bennett's imagination and artist's ear."
Williams subsequently telephoned Bennett to say, "Tony, why did you ruin my song?" But that was a prank – in fact, Williams liked Bennett's version[1] and played it on jukeboxes whenever he could. In his autobiography The Good Life, Bennett described playing "Cold, Cold Heart" at the Grand Ole Opry later in the 1950s. He had brought his usual arrangement charts to give to the house musicians who would be backing him, but their instrumentation was different and they declined the charts. "You sing and we'll follow you," they said, and Bennett says they did so beautifully, once again recreating an unlikely artistic merger.

Me Again:
So, it started as a B-side on a country record, became more popular than the A-side, was then recorded as a pop song and charted again. Since then it's been covered by MANY people and we're going to listen to two of them today. No, I didn't choose Hank Williams or Tony Bennett for this battle (though I'm interested in your thoughts on their version if you're familiar and want to share).

One of the first people to cover this song was Louis Armstrong way back in 1951. Yep, the same year that Hank Williams recorded it. Honestly, that says something (to my way of thinking) for the universal appeal of this song.

Here is Louis Armstrong with his take on Cold, Cold Heart:

One of the things that I particularly like about this battle is that both contenders have distinctive voices (and their arrangements are very different... or different enough... whatevs). Up next is  a much more recent recording of this song by Norah Jones. Cold, Cold Heart is the third track on her 2002 album Come Away With Me. If you're unfamiliar, this debut album won five Grammys, though nothing for Cold, Cold Heart.

Here is Norah Jones with her take on Cold, Cold Heart:

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:
If you are participating in Battle of the Bands, and you are not listed here, leave me a note in the comments. Thanks!

Now, is the critical moment. It is time to vote for your favorite version of this song. I even encourage you to leave me long comment explaining all the ins and outs of why you voted as you did! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

On My Long Way Down

Another day has overtaken me and my level of productivity... well, I'd rather not talk about it.

Regarding my "almost relationship": all remains quiet on the southern front. (Not surprising.) In the course of this silence, I have thought of two things.

1) Patience is not my long suit. 
2) Calling him again is not a good idea.

Why is calling a bad idea? (I'm so glad you asked!)

It's a long story, and I won't go into the details here, but suffice to say that a long time ago with my first serious boyfriend I made a huge mistake. What was it? Well, as I said there's a long story that I don't want to get into here, but the significant part is as follows:

He went to boot camp and I went to work in NYC. I wrote tons of letters and got no response. I'm thinking he's changed his mind (not an unrealistic thought since the relationship had a long and annoying history of being on and off, with him controlling the ons and offs). And when I KNEW he was home and hadn't called me I got really drunk and called him. Nothing good ever happens when you drunk dial. Believe me. The gist was that he got all my letters when boot camp ended, and I was clearly upset at not having heard from him (ya think?), and he decided that continuing on would only hurt me more. Oh, he was so right about that. I figured that out about four years later. Anywhoozle, it took me a long time to fully understand that I stopped loving him right in that moment. I thought I still loved him, and continued on like I did, but the really good part of that love died right there on a parquet kitchen floor in Queens, New York.

You see, I wanted someone who was willing to fight for me. Or maybe thought I was worth fighting for. Whatever. And he wasn't that guy and he was never going to be that guy and it took me four years of trying to turn him into that guy to realize that I should have just accepted his answer the first time. Back on that parquet floor in Queens, New York. Continuing on was only going to hurt me more. He was 100% correct.

So, I've been thinking about that a lot these past few days. This tree guy will either decide I am someone worth fighting for (well not fighting precisely), but you know what I mean. Or he won't. But, if I call him (again), it's the first boyfriend all over again. And I will stop loving him before I even get a chance to start. And that seems like a big waste of time, and frankly I'm getting older and don't have four years to just throw into the toilet.

And that made me think of the Train song called Ordinary. And that made me realize that I should've posted it after the post on My Private Nation. It was released right after that record on the Spiderman 2 soundtrack. It is so much in the style of the My Private Nation record that it could've been on the album and fit in very well. It also is a perfect fit for the not-so-short story I told above.

Is it just me or do we all want to be anything but ordinary? And feel frustrated when our lives are so ordinary. Or our writing.

You read that correctly.

This song causes me to segue from my love life on life support to my writing on life support. I just don't believe in doing something unless you do it really well. I don't want to write a book that as the amazing Bryan over at A Beer For The Shower would say, "It's the best book no on will ever read." (He said this tongue-in-cheek about a story idea for his own book, but it made me pause and gasp a little.) Writing is such hard work that I cannot imagine being that person who devotes so much time and energy to something that is "okay" or "passable" or "fine." Oh God, please anything but fine.

I want to write something so funny, so witty, so damn spectacular (in its own obscure way) that makes a person not want to put the book down. Just like so many books have grabbed me in my life, and the last thing I ever wanted to do was quit reading and then wanted to cry just because it was over. So, I read it again so I could live for a few more hours in that world.

I want to be anything but ordinary. In my life. In my writing. Heck, I could probably settle for just this blog.

And that is why when I put My Private Nation back in the CD player the song that grabbed me by the throat was this one (Lyrics Below bolded by me):

I put ketchup on my scrambled eggs
And everybody thinks it's funny
I don't get mad
I don't laugh 'cause you don't shave your legs
But everybody thinks it's funny
No need to get mad
I don't spend my time with anyone
Who doesn't think I'm wonderful
Or somewhat cash refundable at times

Now I'm out here counting airplanes
Trying to make sense of the change
And I don't wanna be just anybody
So don't try to figure me out
I won't try to figure you out

I don't wanna be some average anybody

Now I got friends that ride into the storm
And ride out of the storm with nothing
They rode into the storm with
And there seems to be a price for everything
You get what you pay for then you pay for
What you already thought you bought before

But now I'm out here counting airplanes
Trying to make sense of the change
And I don't wanna be just anybody
So don't try to figure me out
I won't try to figure you out
I don't wanna be some average anybody

When you're up between the new sky line
The city lights and the warm sunshine
It's a long way down
When you can count on one hand what you love
And can count on who you love to help you
On your long way down

Well you end up counting airplanes
Trying to keep up with the changes

I don't wanna be with anybody else
So don't try to figure me out
I won't try to figure you out
I don't wanna be some average anybody
I don't wanna be with anybody else

When you're up between the new sky line 
The city lights and the warm sunshine
It's a long way down, it's a long way down
It's a long way down

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My Almost Relationship.... For Me, It's You

Me before the Train concert in 2012

This post is going to be two things that I think in a bizarre sort of way go together. 1) I'm going to tell you the story of my almost relationship (yeah, with a man) and 2) We're moving on to the next CD Train released: For Me, It's You.

Remember I told you that the writing on Train's CDs was often a bit like a mirror into Pat's soul? What do I know about his life at this time? Well, not a whole lot, but SOME. During the My Private Nation tour he met the lady who would become his wife. So, I think his personal life took an extremely positive turn while this album was written. Of course, he still had kids with his ex-wife and there was probably some lingering sadness over that mess. But, all in all, his life was pretty darn good. And this album didn't do well--at all--with the general public. No big hits (the only Train album to not garner at least one song that blasted the charts). So, even though the critics liked it, the public... not so much. As for me... this was 2005 when my migraines really took over my life. Even I didn't buy this one. Hard to do when you rarely leave the house, or your bedroom, or your bed for that matter. I dropped 20 pounds this year and looked very like death warmed over. (No, this isn't the story I promised above.)

So, let's listen to the track For Me, It's You (which was never even released as a single) because I think the title track generally reflects the MOOD of the album, as I stated last post. You can listen to this one while you read my story. Or watch the video/lyrics and then read my story, whichever you prefer.

If I ever find truth I'm gonna let you know
If I ever find faith I'm gonna sit in every bit of its afterglow
If I ever find a way to bring love here today
You better bet your life that this is what I'll say
Give it if you've got it
Get it if you don't
Take my hand in the meantime
And let's walk into the sunshine
Everybody got something that they want to sing about
Laugh about, cry about, it's true
For me, it's you

So, here's the story:

I've told you about my forays with mom at the biker bar singing karaoke. I think I've told you at least one story of a man taking interest that was very one-sided (his side, not mine). But those experiences had value as I learned the art (better, if not perfectly) of speaking my mind. Back in November (the last time we were there), I ran into this fella I kinda/sorta knew. He owns a tree service and took down a large tree in our yard (with his crew) shortly after we moved here. I was still suffering mightily with migraines at that time and my contact with him was extremely limited, as it was another day of living in bed for me.

But, I approached him at the bar and asked "Are you____________?" And he said he was. I told him that he'd taken down our tree. Turns out, he remembered our house (and me), indicating that he felt terrible about the noise given my migraine.

And we talked for quite a while.

Not sure what he was thinking, but I was thinking, "Holy cow. I think I have finally met someone at this place I'd be interested in dating." There is something STRONG to be said for a man with whom you can conversate. (Just kidding. You know that's not a word, right? If not, you can read all about it here.) The long and short of that evening: he joined us for a while. He stepped out to go to the restroom or take a phone call.... I really can't recall. Mom decided she was ready to leave RIGHT NOW, and we left.

I hoped he'd come back and we could see what happened. The problem: we didn't come back. And didn't come back. And still didn't come back. The list of reasons is long and varied, but it's January 10, and we still haven't been back.

About mid-December I began to feel some angst about the whole thing. That bar was NOT a regular place for him to go. What if he came back (repeatedly) only to find out we weren't there? As January pushed forward, with no sign in sight of us returning soon, I finally said to mom, "I think maybe I'll call him."

Oh my Lord. The nerves. I don't know how you fellas deal with this sort of thing. I had to think on it for several days. What do I say? Go out for coffee? Lunch? If so, where do I suggest? It was all extremely nerve-racking!

I made the call to his business phone. Only after I dialed did two things occur to me. 1) He might be married. 2) He might not remember me. So, after an extremely awkward introduction of who I was, since he asked if I wanted a tree removed and I told him no, and I'd called to invite him out for coffee. (Mind you, I felt very stupid as I said this since he didn't seem to even know who I was!) I wanted to just hang up. Then, he figured it out. He knew who I was. Whew!

And that brings us to the other Train song on the album For Me, It's You. It's called Cab. It was released to the radio stations, but didn't do well. As for me... I like it. And it fits the mood of my story.

He tells me that he did show up at the bar looking for me. He was divorced in 2011 and hadn't dated anyone since his divorce. I was the second person he was "interested" in. Don't know what happened to the first. Anyway, I wasn't there (yeah, I know). In the meantime, he met someone else at the bar while looking for me and they've been dating a short while. I have to admit that in that moment, I felt just a bit crushed. You know, like a semi truck unloaded it's entire haul right on my head. I mean, I'd only been psyching myself up about this for a couple months... and then a few days for the actual phone call.

Back to the dating. He said they'd been going out two weeks, but I suspect it's more like a month. According to him, she's a "real nice lady" but he "doesn't know where it's going" and "he's not looking for something serious." Which I doubt. I think that when we meet the right person, we're interested in something serious. When we're with the wrong one, that's what we tell ourselves. Besides, he was married 20+ years and hasn't dated anyone since. That doesn't scream player to me. Or maybe I'm reading something into this that isn't there and he thinks she's wonderful.

He then asks if he can call me if it doesn't work out with her. (Yeah, this is why I think that relationship may not be all that.) I tell him that would be great. And it would. He's only been dating her a short time. It may work out. It may not. Although, I think if he was really into her he would've told me that. I know if I met someone and really thought he was The One, I wouldn't be asking for another guy's number.

So, I say something about it all being bad timing, which it was. He then proceeds to ask me questions and we talk for something like 20-30 minutes on the phone. As I said, I really enjoy talking to him, and I think the feeling is mutual. He told me I could call him anytime just to talk, because he enjoys talking to me. I said I didn't feel comfortable with that AND that I figured he'd know inside a month whether or not he and she will continue. He can call me if they don't. And we hung up.

Will this work out? No idea. For a couple days, I kicked myself over the way it all went down. And then I realized it's okay no matter how it turns out. We tend to allow our self image to be caught up in what someone else thinks/does. In this case, I'm not more appealing if he calls or less appealing if he doesn't. I'm just me, either way. (But you can be sure that if he DOES call, I will tell you about it!!!)

I'm still looking for a fare
No one said that it was fair
To be alone

The days are better, the nights are still so lonely
Sometimes I think I'm the only cab on the road

The days are better, the nights are still so lonely
Sometimes I think I'm the only cab on the road
Sometimes I think I'm the only cab on the road

Thursday, January 8, 2015

How to wait after it feels like you've waited so long

Have you ever felt just generally uninspired?

When I get into these funks, I tend to listen to music.

When I was a teenager, that usually involved a record player or cassette player (yeah, I'm showing my age here) and a hairbrush (later a curling iron), because they both made excellent microphones. Besides, what is more fun than dancing around your room singing into a hairbrush? Not much, let me tell you. (This might suggest that I need to get out more... hmmm. Something to ponder later.) BUT, this sort of thing was almost always successful in raising my spirits.

I also spent many years with a tape player (later a CD player) permanently installed in my bathroom. I turned it up loud while in the shower and down (a little) when I wasn't. Again, this was excellent for the overall mood. However, when migraines struck in the early 2000s, this is one behavior I mostly quit. Who could stand the noise???? The water hitting the shower was loud enough... OMG. (Yeah, when this is loud, you have a migraine.)

I've gone on about the band Train on this blog before. In fact, I wrote a series of posts before I went to see them in concert (again) back in 2012 for their California 37 tour.

So, when my mood plummeted to Blah, I pulled the CD player off the shelf. Pulled my meditation CD out. Put Train's CD My Private Nation in.

Short story: I knew the Train hits Meet Virginia and Drops of Jupiter before I saw them for the first time live back in 2003 (I think). It was right after their album My Private Nation was released and one of the many concerts my ex-husband dragged me to (completely oblivious of how painful concerts were to my migraine situation). This one was outdoors (and much more pleasant for this migraine sufferer). All I remember is that a couple of songs in I was hooked. Infatuated. Completely under their spell. I bought a freakin' T-shirt. The ex did not. And soon after I loaded up on CDs. So, I mean hooked.

As I've learned more about this band, the more I believe that you can get a sense of where they were just by the song they choose to name the album after. The first one was self-titled with just Train. So, I guess it was the "this is who we are" album. Drops of Jupiter was second. I watched Pat on a TV special (MTV maybe?) talk about how that song came to him via a dream he had about his mother who recently passed. She was his staunchest supporter and died before the band achieved any "real" success. So, the song Drops of Jupiter is about his mother. Ironically, it's the band's "biggest" song to date, so his mother inspired an iconic song AFTER she died. With that in mind, I'm posting it here, though I think you've already heard it, unless you don't listen to contemporary music. (Yeah, I'm looking at you Stephen T. McCarthy.)

I loved that song before I really understood it. Now, I love it more.

But, My Private Nation. Man, I love that album. I listened to the whole thing yesterday, and damn. Every song on that album appeals to me. Every single one. Pat Monahan writes many of the songs (or at least co-writes), so the albums almost always reflect where he is in life. Does it get more real than that? And he wasn't in this great place when he wrote My Private Nation. His marriage dissolved, and anyone who's divorced know how that feels. So, there are songs that speak to that, as well as songs with just those quirky lyrics that Pat does so well. I could easily find a reason to post every song from that album, but that wouldn't be pleasing to anyone but me. ::sigh::

I will suggest that you listen to When I Look To The Sky, Get To Me, Calling All Angels, and I'm About To Come Alive. That last one really resonated with me on this listening, because I feel like that for the first time in a long time. Like I'm on the verge of it. Just hang with me for a little bit longer. I'm about to come alive.

But, like I said, I've noticed that the title song captures the MOOD of the album, even when it's never released to the radio. So, My Private Nation is the one I'm posting here.

How to get, how to give
How to make ends meet
How to lose, how to win
How to stay on the seat
How to use momentum to keep the two wheels straight
How to wait after it feels like you waited so long

I don't need nobody flyin' in my jet stream
Take the bus
Go on and get yourself your own dream

You can ride on, it ain't free
Leave a light on, so you can see
How to get back when you go

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Battle of the Bands Results and IWSG: The Big Three

Before I start writing my IWSG (you read that right... I haven't even begun that post yet... sigh) I need to post Battle of the Bands results. The song was White Winter Hymnal. Fleet Foxes recorded it originally, and Pentatonix covered it. Pentatonix won it be a fairly large margin.

Pentatonix had 14 votes, and Fleet Foxes had 5 votes.

Many of you said that the addition of the percussion swayed you toward the Pentatonix version. I fully understand that notion. I heard the Pentatonix version first while cruising YouTube and loved the video/song. I, too, loved the clapping, snapping, and thumping. It kinda/sorta reminded me of the song Cups (When I'm Gone) by Anna Kendrick. If you aren't familiar, it first appeared in the movie Pitch Perfect, which as a former choir/acapella singer, I loved. Plus, it was very funny (the movie, that is).

And that was what I said after hearing Pentatonix sing White Winter Hymnal: "Wow." So, even though it makes NO difference, chalk up my vote for Pentatonix. I really like Fleet Foxes (and will happily listen to it), but it doesn't make me say "Wow."

Also, I want to thank everyone who commented on part one or two of my Boundaries posts. Since this is such a big issue (for me and a lot of people), expect more of these posts. Turns out I have LOTS to say on this subject matter.

Now for the IWSG post. What is coming will surprise me as much as you, since I have no idea what I'm going to write today. How's that for "pantsing" it?

These monthly posts are all about airing our insecurities as writers. Turns out, I'm fairly churning with insecurity. Where to begin????

Despite having given it considerable contemplation, I have yet to hammer out in my head even a loose idea for the next book in my Gigi series. In fact, the more I worry that I've overstepped my reach in even trying to write a series (and maybe I only have one book in me, so I ought to reconsider the one I've written), the further away my ideas get. Coincidence? I think not.

Less than a week ago, I prattled on about how great it was that I finished my first ever rough draft in the year 2014 and it was "pretty good." Ah, well, that was before I began this next batch of editing/revisions. Now, my thoughts run more along the lines of, "Oh my God, this is garbage. Just awful. Truly terrible." When you revise, what stands out for you: the gems or the flaws?

Have you noticed that every time you revise it creates a new set of problems? Often that revision is rough. So, you're reading along (and all seems reasonably well) and then you land on the section that you revised last time through, and it seems like you're reading something a first grader would write, which is how I felt about the quality of my initial rough rough rough rough draft.

I guess those are my Big Three.1) Next story is non-existent. 2) This story is screaming flawed right now. 3) Every time I revise, which I'm currently doing... yikes, I only write a new bunch of crap requiring further revision.  Anyone else experience any or all of these issues?

Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for founding this group and the many folks who help him each month! This group posts the first Wednesday of every month. If you want to join, click HERE.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Circling Back To Boundaries, Part Two

If you're here to vote in Battle of the Bands, go back one post.

If you're here for the IWSG post, come back on Wednesday.

This is part two of my BOUNDARIES post. If you missed part one, click HERE.

Okay, so last week mom and I went to Sam's Club. While I was at the membership desk getting a Sam's credit card (since she filed for bankruptcy, she lost her cards), she was shopping. When I catch up to her, she has two rolls of ribbon in the cart.

Note: I'm a nut for Christmas supplies. I just love Christmas. I love wrapping paper, ribbon, ornaments, anything snowman. A nut. It's been a conscious decision to NOT buy this stuff. Since mom and I have combined our Christmas wrapping paper, we've discovered that we have enough paper to last the rest of our lives, and it could be handed down, lasting that person their entire lifetime. We tend to reuse the "good" ribbon, so we've got a lot of that, too.

This ribbon in the cart was the thin wire ribbon, possibly the only element of the gift wrapping process we were lacking. Of course, I was immediately drawn to the ribbon. (Oooh pretty. I must touch it.) I say, "The ribbon was on sale? I want to see the ribbon." There may have been slobber involved here. Can't say for sure.

She says, "We don't need the wide ribbon." Tell me something I DON'T know. "So, we don't need any more ribbon."

And, my blood pressure spikes. In fact,  a whole bunch of thoughts went through my head in the space of thirty seconds. But, I want to see the ribbon. Why do you get to choose the ribbon? What if I like something? I'm paying (50%) for the ribbon, but I don't get to choose?????

And then I think of all the fighting we've done. Remember that Frasier video? Seems like it's constant bickering over Her (Imaginary) Man. So, I say nothing. Nix looking at the ribbon. And I didn't think any more about it. Honestly.

But, that night I had this horrible dream (make it in the very early morning) and I woke up with a migraine in my right eye. Very painful shizzle. What was the dream? Mom and I were wrapping gifts. She got the table. I had to wrap on the floor. She got the tape. She made me use glue. And I was frustrated and pissed and... well, pissed.

I knew it was all related to that damn ribbon escapade the day before. So, I debated my course of action with my eye pulsing. Not fun. Got up and told her about the dream. And she says, "If you wanted to see the ribbon, you should've said so." And I told her I did say so. And her response was we have enough ribbon. True. Then she says, "Well, there wasn't any point because these were the only two styles of thin ribbon." Aha. Now, if she'd said that my desire to see the ribbon... gone.

So, later that day, it's me and my therapist. I've done more thinking about this and realized that this whole thing wasn't about ribbon, contrary to what you might be thinking. It came back to the five fundamental things I figured out last year caused my chronic migraines. The pattern started in junior high school and I revisited it when I got married. Both of those situations made me feel;

Loss of voice
No confidence
Not good enough

The ribbon was lack of voice. I felt like my voice didn't matter. I said I wanted to see the ribbon. She said we didn't need more ribbon. It was a parent to child exchange. Or a person who makes decisions talking to someone who doesn't get a say. And instead of holding to my boundary of "my voice is important," I sacrificed it to not have a (potential) disagreement. And this is how we hurt ourselves.

Every single of the above issues that I've rooted out of junior high and being married (causing illness) came about because I lacked the ability to set and maintain a boundary. Whenever we disregard our own boundaries, we create a problem. I'm not even certain those are ALL of the negative things that came about by those two circumstances (junior high and marriage), but I know that when my migraine escalates to jackhammer status, something has happened. I only need to look at recent events to determine what the REAL PROBLEM is.

The good news: setting and maintaining boundaries will improve your life. The bad news: it is hard. It's really hard if you've never done it well and you're in your 40s. The good news: understanding the core issues helps you to know when you're experiencing one. The untrained eye would've thought this was about ribbon. It wasn't. The bad news: understanding your issues on a rational level isn't enough. You actually have to dig in there and do the "work" of letting all that shizzle go (past crap) AND learn how to do better in your present. Egads. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

Have you read about boundaries? Do you fully understand how setting good boundaries impacts all of your relationships in favorable ways? Likewise, not setting them makes a big ole mess? Have you ever noticed that physical pain in your body correlates directly to emotional pain in your heart?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

What I'm Thankful for in 2014 and Battle of the Bands ~ White Winter Hymnal

Happy New Year blog friends!

Yesterday I posted what I intend to be the first of a series. I'm not sure how many posts it will take. If I were Stephen T. McCarthy, I would have all the posts written and appropriately numbered. Well, I'm not and they aren't. I guess I'm more of a roll with it sort of blogger.

Anyway, before we launch into Battle of the Bands, I do want to take a moment and not complain about events of the past year, but to point out some truly amazing things that 2014 brought.
  • I experienced several No Migraine Days. 
  • To help you understand how MONUMENTAL this was, let's put it in perspective. From January 2002-July2014 I had yet to see even ONE day that didn't include at least a low-grade migraine. Not a knock your head off sort of migraine, but just that nagging migraine. I was functional, but really tired in an emotional and physical way. I think only someone who lives with chronic pain will fully understand how it wears you down.
  • So, experiencing ENTIRE DAYS without any migraine at all. Woohoo. I can't tell you how joyous it felt to wake up and it not be there. 
  • I even had several blocks of two or three days in a row without a migraine. This tells me it's possible. I'm doing the right things to get healthier and well. I hope that next year I report I'm able to work (or have gone back to work) because I reached a point of going several weeks migraine-free.
  • I finished a rough draft on my novel. Yep, it has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • I revised and revised and revised that rough draft to the point that I read it and think, "This is really pretty good."
That is good stuff folks. For everything that went wrong in 2014 two HUGE things went really right for me. I am thankful. I feel blessed. I hope that we all see even more good things in 2015.

Now, let's get down to Battle of the Bands.

I'm not going to yammer on about the song for today... mostly because I don't know that much about it. I discovered it while jogging around on YouTube listening to Christmas music. No, it's not a Christmas song, but people who sing Christmas songs sing other songs and they show up in the sidebar. That can lead to a lot of clicking and random listening.

The song is White Winter Hymnal, which I think is an appropriate title for a January song. The band who recorded it first was Fleet Foxes. If you've never heard of them, take a number. They're new to me, too. I'm going to warn you that the video is strange. You can choose to watch it, but don't allow it to distract you from the song. If you are one of those who will try to find meaning in the video as it relates to the song, this will only boggle your mind (trust me). You've been given fair warning. You might want to close your eyes. The challenger is Pentatonix. In order to fully appreciate what they've done with the song, I think you need to watch the video. Yep. Life is full of contradictions. Don't snap at me. It's LIFE.

Here is Fleet Foxes with their version:

Here is Pentatonix with their version:

For more Battle of the Bands fun, check out the other BOTB bloggers to vote on their battles:
If you are participating in Battle of the Bands, and you are not listed here, leave me a note in the comments. Thanks!

Now, is the critical moment. It is time to vote for your favorite version of this song. I even encourage you to leave me long comment explaining all the ins and outs of why you voted as you did!