Songs We Used To Sing

Music is life – for all of us. We all have our stories: where we grew up, what we heard, what we sang, what ran through and through us, and continues to. Because of a recent trip visiting a friend, I now hear Sia’s I Love Cheap Thrills, among others, in a new context, and my friend is with me when I hear it.

My history continues in song, being a vocalist, or even just interested in music, but I doubt there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t experienced some form of music. If so, I’m sorry for them. Music is an entity unto itself, and I’d be sad for anyone who never experienced music’s transcendence.

My older brothers cued me into The Beatles, and other mid-sixties music that my parents found irritating and banal. They appreciated the swing and ballads of the 1940’s and 50’s.

I grew up in dire circumstances, not only in my personal life, but in the world around me. Vietnam was raging, my oldest brother escaped my family horror to fight in that war, and other family members went as draftees or joiners.

Music accompanied life’s tension: releasing and building – crying out and pleading – or ignoring the larger world for personal circumstance, or love and romance.

I understand the far-away look in my mother’s eyes when she heard the songs of the late 1940’s and the 1950’s that touched her heart and soul. You Are My Sunshine brought tears to her eyes, and because of that it brings tears to mine – a learned sentiment.

Driving home tonight I heard several songs from my youth, but one in particular: Love Hangover, enveloped me, and I time-traveled like a boss. A friend, long passed on, was with me as the dulcet tones flowed out of the Honda Accord’s inadequate speaker system because we needed that shit turned UP. She was there with me, feeling the beat, vocalizing, and jamming out, and then she was gone.

I was in my driveway, loathe to turn off the radio and take the key out of the ignition in case another song came on calling her back, but the DJ interrupted the moment, so I turned the few clicks releasing the key, and sat in the silence – hoping she’d materialize – speak to me – something – but the empty air grew colder, so I went inside.

My life has reached a weird divide where the past barely matters anymore. That’s good – fantastic even – but also a loss. My brain has changed and my memories aren’t as vivid, except situationally – like tonight in the car – but I feel like I’ve lost something important.

Maybe we’re designed this way. We slowly let go of what no longer matters and now I can focus on what’s in front of me.

I’ve heard that the past is gone, the future is unknown, but now is an alive & vibrant gift – that’s why it’s called the present.

I understand that sentiment, but I still miss friends and acquaintances, and our place in time that’s quickly receding. I’m becoming not even a footnote in history, among other barely-footnotes that I appreciate more and more.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endings Bring Beginnings

I don’t catch on quickly when I’ve been friend-dumped, unless it’s overt. It’s the ‘nice’ friend dumping that eludes me. It shouldn’t, but it does, especially when it felt like the friendship was real.

But here’s the thing about friendships: they’re not commitments. They’re not contracts, they’re gifts.

An old saying about friendships coming ‘for a reason, a season, or a lifetime’ is useful. I’m a fairly loyal friend, unless our values are so different that we oppress rather than uplift each other.

That time has come, and probably has been there for a while, but I didn’t want to see. I also relate to another saying that ‘everything I ever let go of has claw marks all over it’.

It’s painful – and I understand life is pain, but I do my best to avoid it. It’s all about lessons, though, right? I gained from those friendships, and I hope they gained from mine too.

It’s embarrassing when they’ve moved on and I didn’t notice. I just thought they were busy, or dealing with life stuff.

Of course it’s something we all go through – and get through. I hate that platitudes start churning through my brain – my effort to feel better – to find meaning and understanding, but there’s nothing to understand. I did nothing wrong, but it feels like I did. Sadly, my trauma brain, that old, worn, neural pathway tells me I fucked up, and I need to make it right:

…Then the beatings will stop. Then I’ll get what I need. Then I’ll be worth liking and loving.

The only way out is through. The only. way. out, is through.

I’d like it to not effect my whole life, so I must remember that my trauma picks untrustworthy people to try to make trustworthy so I can heal my hurt.

But it doesn’t work like that.

I have to build new, unsullied, neural pathways – and then make them stick. You know, easy-peasy…

Not everyone is honest. Some people just want superficial friends, and there is nothing wrong with that; I just wish they’d wear a sign so dense people like me would know.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Marie and Me

Stepping out onto the front porch, I visualize Marie sitting on the old wood-slatted metal glider.

She came back East to see some family, and help her brother struggling with issues Marie had dealt with before.  I had moved in with her and her husband in California when my son was a toddler, spending two years in San Diego, and when I knew I couldn’t make it out there, I came home to Massachusetts, where I’ve been ever since.

Marie spent an overnight with me up here – us falling into the easy friendship we’ve had since the fifth grade – but I also saw us with fresh eyes too.  She and I went through so much together, and we’ll always be soul-sisters, but I saw our differences, and somewhat prefer my idealized version of her.

Those differences haven’t ruined our bond, but I see how much I’ve changed from the inexperienced young woman I was to who I am now.  It shouldn’t have affected me so much – it’s simply that we’ve matured differently, even if our essential selves are intact – but I felt a loss – of innocence perhaps? – of youth?

Maybe her presence emphasized time’s passage, and what we can never get back, or never attain, but also, that I like who I am, that I’m comfortable with my beliefs, or lack thereof, and mostly of where life has led me.  I can’t do anything about what I didn’t accomplish; I can only do the best with whatever time I have left.

Remembering the sweetest times of our visit, driving to the old farmhouse where she lived when we first met, as well as the house I lived in by the railroad tracks, both laughing and tearing up as we pondered the past.

I didn’t know that my dearest memory would be of her sitting on the porch glider that bright summer morning, the humid air sticking exposed skin to the seat, us breathing in the heady scent of honeysuckle wafting on the scant breezes, saying how nice it was at the same time, with me winning the first to tap her arm and say ‘owe me a Coke’.

 

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Writing 101, Day Eighteen, Neighborhood Troubles

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

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Today’s Saturday.  It’s Cinco de Mayo, which is Spanish for the fifth of May.  We learned that yesterday in history.  Ms. Jenkins told us about the Battle of Puebla victory against the French army that the Mexicans won, even though they didn’t win the war, but it’s sort of like how we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  Mom helped me decorate the window with red, yellow, and green crêpe paper streamers, but she wouldn’t let me have a piñata, but at least we’re having tacos for supper and some fried ice cream for dessert.

I wanted to put some of the streamers around the stair railings outside, so I put on my favorite Hello Kitty cap, pulling it down so the sun was shaded all the way and went out.  It was still morning but it was hot already.  There was a green and yellow car with, Marble County Sheriff, in big white letters outlined in black parked outside Mrs. Pauley’s apartment. The sheriff got out of the car and went up the cement stairs to Mrs. Pauley’s apartment.  Some other guy I’ve seen a couple of times was standing outside Mrs. Pauley’s too.  He’s shorter than the sheriff, and the grey suit he’s wearing looks a little big on him.  I hope Mrs. Pauley’s not in trouble, or maybe something happened to one of her kids?  She’s got six kids, but they’re all grown up, and I only know George, who moved out last year.  He was there a few times when Mrs. Pauley watched me.  George liked building card houses with me, but I could never get mine to stay up as well as his.

The last time I saw George, and all of Mrs. Pauley’s family, was when Mr. Pauley died. It was the same day I started school last September, and I watched through the living room window that night when the ambulance took him away, and after that the Pauleys’ apartment was dark for a few days.

Mom and I went to the memorial service because the Pauley’s were nice to us – they were nice to everyone – but, like I said, Mrs. Pauley watched me sometimes when Mom worked late.  I really liked going over to the Pauley’s with mom in the summer when Mrs. Pauley was weeding her flowers she planted on both sides of the stoop.  All the flowers made her house look happier than all the other houses on the block.  Mom would make up a batch of iced tea or, my favorite, lemonade, and we’d bring some to Mrs. Pauley.  We’d all sit down and have a drink while Mom and Mrs. Pauley talked about the terrible Peterson’s next door, with their bratty kids who got in trouble for spray painting swears on the side of City Market at the end of the block, and stuff like that. Mrs. Pauley got sad talking about Mr. Pauley losing his job, and how they weren’t doing so good lately.

I felt bad for Mrs. Pauley, and started helping pull some of her weeds until she asked me to stop because I accidentally pulled up some things that weren’t weeds. I started watching the ants scurry around the sidewalk instead.  One was pulling a dead bug that was way bigger than it was, and I wondered how it could do that.  I liked being there with mom and Mrs. Pauley. I liked the way the breeze felt on my arms and legs, and how it ruffled my mom’s hair.  Only a few of Mrs. Pauley’s grey hairs moved around because she wears it up in bun all the time.

Mrs. Pauley is my favorite neighbor because she doesn’t ask too many questions, and she likes baking chocolate chip cookies – the chewy kind that I never want to stop eating.  I loved helping make cookies the last time she watched me because I got to eat one almost right out of the oven, and the chips were all melted and tasted so good.  Mrs. Pauley also likes that I have good posture and that I keep my clothes clean.  I guess she doesn’t see me much because I do not always keep my clothes clean!  I didn’t like it when we were on sitting on the stoop and Mrs. Pauley said that someday I’d find someone ‘as good as her Harold to marry’.  Eww, I don’t ever want to get married.  Mom laughed and said, “Jeanine’s barely cut her second molars, it’s not time to start talking about husbands!”  Then mom took off my hat and ruffled my hair, which she knows I hate, but I let her that time because she looked so happy sitting there with Mrs. Pauley, and she’s usually so stressed out.

Mrs. Pauley started crying after the sheriff handed her a piece of paper, and I decided to go over and see what happened.  I pushed my hat up a little so I could see better, and went across the street as soon as there were no cars coming.  I’ve been wearing my hat since I got in for my birthday last June, and it’s getting dingy looking around the brim, but I won’t let mom wash it because I’m afraid it will get ruined.

The sheriff was telling Mrs. Pauley that she had to have all her stuff out by Monday, and the other man said he was sorry, but the rent was long overdue.  Mrs. Pauley didn’t even see me standing there.  She just closed her door and the sheriff and the other man left.

I ran back across the street and told Mom that Mrs. Pauley was getting kicked out of her house.  Mom’s eyes widened, and she said ‘oh, no’, and then she took out her phone and called Mrs. Pauley.  They talked for a little while and mom had tears in her eyes when she ended the call.

I decided that we had to help Mrs. Pauley.  I asked Mom what we could do and she suggested starting a collection to help, but Mrs. Pauley was going to need a way to continue paying her rent.  I thought of calling George, and her other sons – maybe they could help.  Mom helped me find George’s number off the internet, and we called him right then.  He didn’t even know Mrs. Pauley was in trouble, never mind lots of trouble!  I didn’t understand why George didn’t know, but mom said some people have too much pride to let others know when they’re not doing well.

The day I saw Mrs. Pauley almost lose her home was a terrible, horrible day – kind of like Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which was one of my favorite books when I was nine. George must have called his other brothers and got their help too because Mrs. Pauley didn’t move out.  Mom and I went to the City Market and they gave us a bunch of old plastic containers, and I used a red marker to write ‘Help Mrs. Pauley’ in my best lettering.  City Market let me put a container on their counter, and we brought the others to the library, the Happy Bean coffee shop, and I brought one to the school office, while mom brought the last one to work.

We only got a hundred dollars the whole month, but Mrs. Pauley thanked me over and over.  We’re going to keep the containers there, and try to find other ways to help too.  I told Mrs. Pauley she should start selling chocolate chip cookies, and she thought that was a good idea.  It may not be like the Battle of Puebla, but it did start on Cinco de Mayo.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Is This Like The Guest Who Comes Late To The Dinner Party?

In April and May (of this year – thank goodness) I was nominated for three awards.  I did thank my wonderful fellow(ine?) bloggers at the time, and meant to post about them that week (what’s that saying about best intentions?)…

Time runs away, and while I didn’t forget about it, I’m lazy busy.  Ahem.  Please forgive me! :-/

My first two awards came from Emma at: http://emmabauer.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/sunshine-on-my-shoulders-makes-me-happy/ – The Sunshine Award, and the second, The Versatile Blogger Award: http://emmabauer.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/go-ahead-make-my-day/

I was bestowed with The Versatile Blogger Award by Renee Moore (http://pooterandboogersplace.wordpress.com/) last year, and feel I’ve fulfilled the requirements for that, so I shall fulfill the requirements for my other awards below.

My third, the One Lovely Blog Award, came from Diane at: http://hometogo232.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/one-lovely-blog-award/

I have updated the One Lovely Blog Award to: One Awesome Blog, because that encompasses more of what I like.

(You can view and copy these Award pngs here: https://seekingsearchingmeaning.wordpress.com/this-is-where-ive-written-something-about-myself/)  You need to scroll down past my introduction to find them.

Thank you so much Emma and Diane, (and Renee too!) for these kudos!

The Sunshine Award: Given to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.

Nominate and link to ten blogs/bloggers that you believe worthy of this award:

Streams Of Consciousness http://brendamarroyauthor.com/

Joe Mohr’s Cartoon Archive http://joemohrtoons.com/

Happy Valley News http://happyvalleynews.wordpress.com/

Clotilda Jamcracker http://clotildajamcracker.wordpress.com/

Photo Nature Blog http://photonatureblog.com/

FrizzText Flickr Comments http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/

Dean J. Baker http://deanjbaker.wordpress.com/

Bucket List Publications http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

Corporate Skirts http://corporateskirts.wordpress.com/

The Good Greatsby http://thegoodgreatsby.com/

Then list ten things about yourself:

Ten things you might (not want) to know about me:

I can ride a unicycle.

I want to run a 5K as soon as I’m fit enough.

I have crossed off two items on my bucket list in the last few years: Kissing the Blarney Stone, and going to Smead Island (a small island in the Connecticut River near Montague City, MA).

Swimming with Dolphins, traveling to Greece, writing a novel/memoir, and singing with Bono/U2 are the biggest items left on my bucket list.

Orbit is my favorite chewing gum.

Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, and The Jetsons, are at the top of my favorite cartoons list.

I had never heard of ‘Cowpunk‘ until one of my band-mates said that’s our basic genre.  I thought we were classic rock, uptempo-ed country and pop.

I recorded my first song when I was eleven or twelve.

I lived in a commune/cult for over half of my childhood.

Davy Jones was my favorite Monkee, David Cassidy was my favorite Partridge, and John Lennon was my favorite Beatle – although Ringo Starr was a close second.

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I’m only listing other blogs I like for the One Lovely Awesome Blog Award requirements because I’ve already said enough about me!

Gingerfightback http://gingerfightback.com/

The Dissemination of Thought http://disseminatedthought.wordpress.com/

Colddeadheart’s Blog http://colddeadheart.wordpress.com/

Stories About My Life, 92% True http://93percenttrue.wordpress.com/

Life As Modern Wife http://lifeasmodernwife.com/

Sue Healy [Craft Tips For Writers] http://suehealy.org/

Anita Mac and Travel Destination Bucket List http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com/

Thecvillean http://thecvillean.wordpress.com/

Ghost Cities http://anilbalan.com/

Life As A Publisher http://karensyed.wordpress.com/

I so appreciate the awards given to me, apologize for my tardiness in posting about it and giving out props to other blogs I follow.  I hope you enjoy them too – and happy reading!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Thrill The World

I took part in thrilltheworld this morning, a yearly event seeking to break the Guinness World Record for the most people dancing simultaneously to Thriller around the globeThere is a morning dance slot and an evening one, but with the forecast for snow, and various other Hallowe’en-related events, the morning slot was the best option for me and my friend.

I got up at 6:30 to drive to my friend’s house so we could ride together to Great Barrington, about another hour from her house.  Check-in ended at 9am, and the official dance time began at 10am.

It was freezing out!  The forecast was for snow later today, and I think it was about 30°F when I got to my friend’s house, and probably a bit warmer by the time we got to the school where the dance took place.  I didn’t realize we would be dancing outside!  I thought they’d hold it in the school’s gym.

There were a lot of teenagers and younger kids there, but also a good showing of older people too.

I had learned and practiced the dance yesterday, so I was a half-step or more behind the rest of the group, but that’s why I stayed in the back.  My favorite part was getting Zombified:

We all warmed up and ran-through the dance on the track, but the official dance took place on the field.  We started out by lying down on the cold, wet grass for about a twenty-second count, and then began our rise as zombies until the music cue that starts the dance steps.  It was so fantastic to see such a variety of people who all knew the moves, and were dressed either typically, or in costume with full Zombie make-up.

I had brought a white Zombie outfit that I put together last night, but it was way too cold to wear it, so I stayed in my street clothes.  I’m glad I wore my ‘Spooky’ graphic-T-shirt today, so at least I had something apropos on.

Despite the bone-chilling cold, we had a fantastic time.  On my drive home, it started to snow, and there’s about two or three inches of accumulation already.  I think the forecast was calling for eight to ten inches of snow, but I hope the weather report is wrong…  I can’t remember the last time it snowed this much in October.  It’s too bad because I really wanted to go to a Hallowe’en party tonight, but I guess it’s a movie and hot chocolate evening instead.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Good Dog

My friend’s dog died two weeks ago.  He was one of my favorite dogs.  I met him a few years ago at a party I attended at my friend’s house.  I had a plate of food and sat down outside and there were at least twenty other party guests sitting around with a plate of food on their lap, but Cooper decided that he wanted to sit next to me.  He followed me all day long even though I never offered, or dropped, a bite of food.  I didn’t know it then, but we had just become friends.

Any time I went to my friends’ house after that, Cooper would follow me around and be so happy when I would pet him or pay attention to him.  He was a sweet bulldog and I’m so happy I got to know him.

I went to my friend’s house tonight after a fun night out on the town, and we were so full of our evening that I didn’t even absorb Cooper’s absence until I went into their living room, and it hit me so fully that he is gone.  I was misty-eyed as I remarked that it was so weird that Cooper wasn’t there, and my friend’s husband said: ‘here he is’, and pointed to the pretty box with his ashes.  I held the box for a while, even though I know Cooper’s soul isn’t in there, but I really felt that beautiful dog’s presence in the room with us.

There are very few times in one’s life that the feeling of unconditional love is encompassing, and tonight was one of those nights.  My friends said that Cooper’s spirit now lives on ‘Bulldog Island’.  When I was a child, and our dog had to be put down, my father told me that she went to live in the ‘happy hunting grounds’.

All I really know is that Cooper was a good dog, and he will be missed.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Jump!

It’s raining hard and steady today, as it was yesterday, and I am ruing the end of summer.  It was a hot, sunny and sultry summer weekend before this past one, and I went swimming with some old and new friends a few times at a place called the Pumping Station where there is a covered bridge over the Green River, and a concrete dam where the reservoir water spills over.

Some years ago the river below the dam was filled in with tons of sand to keep people from jumping off the bridge, and the bridge walk-way was fenced over from the roof of the bridge to the bottom of the walk-way rail.

It was an effective deterrent until the huge storms of the last years washed the sand downstream, and actually made the swimming hole deeper than it had previously been.  Someone had also bent the fence out enough that you can slide through the railings, grab hold of the fence on the other side and pull yourself out to step onto the ledge to jump, and that’s exactly what we did.  Getting out onto the ledge was more frightening than jumping, although the first jump I took was dizzying.

I wanted my friends to jump with me, but I was among only a few adults jumping with the group of kids and teens.  My friend who used to jump off the bridge with me many years ago was happier staying on the edge of the water taking pictures of the rest of us

This is me, and my friend, Barb, back in the day when we’d go nearly every weekend and jump and swim:

Here I am last weekend:

Closer:

Happy and proud:

It was an extraordinary weekend spent in the company of some of my dearest friends, and the memory comforts me now, even as I long to be back in the water again.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Long Ago Summer Night

Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, by, Meatloaf, is playing on a humid July night. I’m reading Pardon Me, You’re Stepping On My Eyeball, by Paul Zindel, on the hood of a friend’s Chevy Cavalier, waiting for a few of my other friends to show up and decide what we’re going to do with the rest of the night.

It’s quiet on the Avenue, but I hear the strains of Meatloaf out of the jukebox coming from the bar next door, and I look up from my reading to watch the moths and other night bugs swirl around, looking like aberrant snowflakes in the street light above the car I’m perched on.

My shorts and top cling to me in the sticky humidity, and I hope we decide to go swimming in the Green River, or at the Leyden Glen.  We had been removed from there by police officers the week before, but they couldn’t be there all the time, so we took our chances going back on hot, humid nights.

I had worked at, Zapmia Pizza (baby), earlier that evening, and was glad to be done with my shift on such a hot day. I was anxious to meet up with my friends, and hoped they would show up soon.  Debbie was the first to arrive. I was so absorbed in my book that I didn’t notice her until she hopped up onto the car hood, causing it to buckle a little as she plunked down, but the hood popped back up as she shifted her weight toward the center next to me.

We exchanged greetings and then chatted about the book for a few minutes, and finally other friends started arriving so we made our evening plans.

I remembered this so strongly tonight that I could feel the night air around me as I did back then, and hear how the music sounded muffled until a patron went in or out of the bar and the music would blast out from the entrance for a few moments until the door was shut once again.

While I don’t miss that time of my life, and especially what was happening to me, I dearly miss my friends and the closeness we shared.  A part of my soul is back there with them – maybe it’s even trapped in some odd space/time continuum – or perhaps less trapped than enshrined.  I get to visit the museum exhibit in my mind, but it’s an empty picture of the vibrant life that was actually there.

They were the people who knew and understood me on a level that no one else will ever come close to, but they live on in my heart and soul, and I hope I live on in theirs.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.