Monday, December 31, 2007

start again


keep art alive; art by journeytonowhere

whether you believe in new year's resolutions, or not, what is one thing you would like to change this year?

did you see the stylish kids in the riot?


somehow this seems appropriate for new year's eve. something about the sentiment of it all, a time for heroes, and a feeling of the passage of time. this song is an ode to friendship and connections, and to the trappings of youth, all interwoven with literary and otherworldly references. it is more than what is on the surface, and i am pretty sure that is part of what i found so appealing about the libertines when i first stumbled upon them.

there have been two bands that i would say changed my life. bands that had that enormous impact on me that i could not shake, ignore, or forget. for christmas david bought me the best of the libertines. and, though i know the band did not choose the songs selected, and even though i know there are ones i wish were among the wreckage, i still sort of love it.

once upon a time they were magic, and i'm ever grateful for the music; thanks, boys.

mix theme: start again


keep art alive; art by erik abel

the trick is to make it your own; to take the theme and craft it into some kind of musical landscape that paints the picture for you.


if you would like to play along here are the guidelines (i do not like the word rules):

* themes given on a monday
* mixes due on a friday

* feel free to post your finished results in your own space, in comments, contact me if you would like me to post it here, or just keep it for your own music drunk enjoyment.

danger in the shape of something wild

"so young to be loose and on her own.
young boys, they all want to take her home.
she goes downtown, the boys all stop and stare.
when she goes downtown, she walks like she just don't care."


history lesson:
hot child in the city is a pop rock ode to runaways. it was recorded by nick gilder and it went to number one both in canada (october 14, 1978) and in the united states (october 28,1978). he won two juno awards in canada and a people's choice award in the united states.

after seeing young girls on hollywood and sunset boulevard, it inspired gilder to write this song. he explained, "there are young people around (downtown los angeles) finding out about themselves. and so it was a reflection, i think, of youthful angst and the passion that you feel when you are young, to find out what its all about in this world."

- seems a little naive if this song is really about runaways, to say they are finding out about themselves and full of youthful angst and passion. the runaways i knew, both from the streets of hollywood and the ones who hung out around sears at the south coast mall, they always seemed better described as full of desperation, wanting, and disillusionment. that said, i never took this song as being anything about "runaways". i always took it to be about being young, going out, being a little wild, and experimenting with sexuality, and attraction.

personal reflection:
in the late eighties it was the seventies that captured us. it started as an underground sunday night club, the first spot in a corporate cafeteria where you were tasked with knowing a special code for the door. next it was an old mexican restaurant whose name meant the cockroach. there were mirrors on the wall, and red leather booths; it looked like the set for a blondie video, all smoke-hazed and glowing. the next was an old skating rink, snack bar and smooth wood floors, you could almost hear them call for a couple's skate. this song stood out to me, one of the few i'd never heard before as a child of the seventies; i think that made it more mine, or ours. these particular lyrics, kate and i found ourselves inside of them, and we sang aloud, with half knowing smiles.

hot child in the city ~ nick gilder

the 70's

all these things that i've done

keep art alive; art by gympumpkin


aftershocks and angel wings: love off the streets of los angeles: an a mix

anyone else but you ~ the moldy peaches

"you're a part time lover and a full time friend,
the monkey on you're back is the latest trend;
i don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else,
but you."


"and im tired, of so much wanting,
and what if, don't even think it.
but why not?"

the angels hung around
~ rilo kiley

"ive been clubbed, and ive been snubbed
by the dogs of la;
and ive been burned, and ive been learned
in the same city."

archangel tale
~ m. ward

"come with me to the place im thinking of."

angeles ~ elliott smith

"i could make you satisfied in everything you do,
all your secret wishes could right now be coming true,
and be forever with my poison arms around you."

avalanche
~ ryan adams

"they taught you how to feel,
but you just feel numb."

angel mine
~ cowboy junkies

"i search all the time on the ground
for our shadows cast side by side,
just to remind me that i havent gone crazy
that you exist and are mine."

all flowers in time
~ jeff buckley & elizabeth fraser

"i know you say that there's no-one for you,
but here is one."

anna begins
~ counting crows

"but, im sure theres something in a shade of gray,
or something in between.
and, i can always change my name
if thats what you mean."

achin to be
~ the replacements

"and, she's kind of like a poet
who finds it hard to speak,
poems come so slowly
like the colors down a sheet."

america
~ simon & garfunkel

"toss me a cigarette, i think theres one in my raincoat.
we smoked the last one an hour ago.
so, i looked at the scenery, she read her magazine;
and the moon rose over an open field."

all the right reasons
~ the jayhawks

"i don't know what day it is, i can't recall the seasons,
and i don't remember how we got this far.
all i know is im loving you for all the right reasons,
in my sky you'll always be my morning star."

alternative to love
~ brendan benson

"maybe im just damaged goods,
and, baby, you're a babe in the woods;
and me, im just a little lost lamb,
but, you love me wherever i am."

albion
~ the libertines

"if youre looking for a cheap sort
set in false anticipation,
ill be waiting in the photo booth at the underground station.
so come away, wont you come away?"

all apologies
~ nirvana

"i wish i was like you,
easily amused."

apply some pressure ~ maximo park

"what happens when you lose everything?
you just start again,
you start all over again."

atomic
~ blondie

"tonight,
make me tonight."

ashes to ashes
~ david bowie

"strung out in heavens high,
hitting an all-time low."

all these things that i've done
~ the killers

"i got soul,
but im not a soldier."

all you need is love
~ the beatles

"its easy,
all you need is love."

a mix ~ zipped

Sunday, December 30, 2007

leave it where it can't remind us

"i know, what i know,
i know
this last time around
i'll hear it in my head real low
turn into
the only thing you ever know."


turn into ~ yeah yeah yeahs

if you think you might come to california, i think you should

"a long december
and theres reason to believe
maybe this year will be better than the last."


a long december ~ counting crows

Saturday, December 29, 2007

if you knew you could not fail


keep art alive; art by sarah joncas

i have been on a bit of a hiatus this past week due to the holidays, and a much needed vacation. i have also been gearing up for my 2008 plans for this space; setting up themes and schedules, thinking up writing prompts and ideas to help bring out words, compiling music mix playlists, and signing up for activities like blog 365. first days, especially new year’s day, have always been a big deal to me. i am a sucker for the fresh start, the clean slate, the do-over. this year, though, i would like to sort out a way to hold on to, and sustain, the kind of inspiration that first days’ gift to me. thus, the projects and goals that i am putting together for this space are an attempt at that; a way to keep my creativity flowing, my focus on, and some of those often fleeting goals consistently attainable.

a few days ago i was at the archlight with my husband and brother. we were there to see juno, and had arrived earlier than expected. we walked around the gift shop as a wasting time endeavor and ended up at this wall of magnets, where we stood side-by-side, sharing the ones that we each found witty, or outrageous. the wee shop is reminiscent of soap plant and wacko, favorite stores of mine that used to reside on melrose avenue, but have since relocated to the we are now way cooler silverlake. there were stacks of coffee table books, the kind that i covet and wish for in that someday sort of way, novelty items like the wash your sins away soap pack and a looks like expensive crystal but is really plastic vases. i wandered over to a spinning rack of greeting cards, the kind that are shaped in squares with quotes on them, and one in particular caught my eye. the message sprawled across it's paper square front has settled nicely into my psyche, and is asking to be my chosen mantra of 2008:

“what would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

with that in my mind i started to contemplate the coming year. and really, what would this time of year be like without a list of resolutions? (i should probably mention i am quite a sucker for lists, too).
so, in the spirit of ringing in the new, here are my, in no particular order, 2008 resolution round up:

1* write more. write about everything and anything; memories from my past, dreams for my future, anecdotes about my kids, reviews, fiction, and other random things.

2* work on rebuilding our music and film collection that we lost while living in chicago, replacing the old and adding the new.

3* keep to a budget and try to save money (for once) so that we hopefully never find ourselves in a situation where we have to sell off almost all of our belongings.

4* sort out a way to spend more time with my husband. plan things out, put them on the calendar and stick to them, at least once or twice a month. dating your spouse, or significant other, is just as (if not more) important when you have been together for years. it is easy to put this sort of thing in last place, especially if you work as much as i do, and have three children; but, just because it is easy to put off, does not mean it should be lowered in the priority list. a solid and well cared for marriage and/or relationship will spread out to the rest of one’s life, and help keep a good balance going; at least in my opinion.

5* read more, to myself, and to the kids. there are so many books i want to read, and so many i do not even know about that i want to read. i think it is time to dust off the library card, spend some time reading things that are not on a computer screen, and even doing some book trades with friends. as for the kids, they all love books as much as i do, i just need to take more time out to read together.

6* take more pictures. i am a horrible photographer with seriously no talent, at all. i am a small step away from my grandmother’s level of photographic skill who had her trademark thumb-shadow in every shot. they say the more you take the better you get. if that is the case i may want to seriously consider the photo 365 project, as well.

7* reinstate more sunday traditions: potlucks, homemade breakfasts and dinners, and something my grandparents did with me that i have not yet done with my own family: the sunday afternoon mini roadtrip. i love sundays.

8* eat better and treat my body better. the recent health scare that i am in the midst of dealing with is a wake up call, and for that i am thankful for the experience for the gift of perspective. i need to stick to a healthier diet, drink more water, and get outside and move more.

9* try yoga. i know with my level of stress and anxiety just the breathing techniques themselves would help me relax more. i took a class once, years ago, and i remember it was harder than i expected, and that that night i slept deeper than i had, possibly ever.

10* balance. it is one of those things that all the magazines say we should seek more of, that all those self-help gurus spout off about causing me to roll my eyes and break out the my snark and saracasm over. but, the last couple of months have been rough; the last few years, actually. and, i think i can finally recognize the need for some balance in my life. just some little things, really; more visits to the ocean (the ocean, she soothes me), more organization to hopefully make things more manageable, more one on one time with each of my kids, the previously mentioned dates with my husband, and some almost unheard of time for me.

whew!

there are some other random things i’ve thought about, like learning to cook chinese food, searching out any still existing drive-in movie theaters, finally eating at the formosa cafe, and visiting the getty; but, i think ten is enough to try and incorporate into my life. i know the fail rate of resolutions is high, and that setting myself up with too many goals is self-defeating; but i will honestly be happy if i can remember to try to do the things above, at least some of them, some of the time.

what are some of yours?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

i'm in love with how you feel

there are more than a million things i loved about juno, seriously there are; these are two of them:

michael cera and ellen page singing anyone else but you

and the fact that the writer of juno, diablo cody, wrote this in her blog:

"to answer an increasingly common and much-welcomed question, yes-- the reference to "tino" in juno is absolutely a mscl shout-out."

the second i heard "tino" i thought of the show, but am pretty much doing a silly dance of glee over the fact that it was a reference.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

cause it is my favorite holiday

"then suddenly we laughed and laughed
caught on to what was happening
that christmas magic's brought this tale
to a very happy ending!

merry christmas! merry christmas!
couldn't miss this one this year!
merry christmas! merry christmas!
couldn't miss this one this year!"


quite possibly my favorite christmas song, if nothing else it is the one that i have always looked forward to hearing, and have never grown tired of. it used to be a kroq staple, and i can remember many a season blaring it as loud as my stock car stereo could handle it, rolling down the window to let the predictable 70 plus degree southern california weather in, and singing along.

it's late, and i'm still wrapping last minute presents. i was thinking to myself that despite the financial slump i find myself currently in, and all the stress my job as created recently, i am really quite happy and so are the kids. so, all in all, this christmas is pretty keen. i hope you all can say the same.

happy christmas everyone.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

mirror in the back of my brain

"indie boys are neurotic
makes my eyes bleed
tight black pants exotic
some loving is what i need
but hey
i'm starting to feel okay."


lucky number nine ~ the moldy peaches

one hand's just reaching out, and one's just hanging on

"been running so hard
when what i need is to unwind
the voice of reason
is one i left so far behind
i waited so long
so long to play this part
and just remembered
that i'd forgotten about my heart."


there is still a little part of me that wishes i'd gone off and joined a girl band.

head over heels ~ the go-go's

Saturday, December 22, 2007

there was something in everything about you

brown corduroy overalls with a hand-me-down striped shirt, i think it was kristin's, the girl who first told me what it was like to french kiss a boy. she had that magical teen at the end of her age, the aura of being older, of really knowing things.

her parents would come over on saturday nights, back when they were still married, and they would drink wine and play records. i knew all the songs by heart, and sang them quietly to myself when no one noticed.

kristin would talk me into sneaking outside so she could spy over the fence at the twin boys who lived across the street. i thought they were awful, the same boys who refused me entry into the no girls allowed treehouse, and threw baseballs at me when i was six.

i thought to myself that i would never want to french kiss either of them, but kristin thought different, and whisper-sang baby come back to them as they got into one of their cars and drove off.

if its love, she said, then we are gonna have to think about the consequences

"you try to tell your self the things you try tell your self to make yourself forget
to make your self forget."


anna begins ~ counting crows

love is all you need

"there's nothing you can do that can't be done.
nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
it's easy.

there's nothing you can make that can't be made.
no one you can save that can't be saved.
nothing you can do but you can learn how to be in time
it's easy.

all you need is love."


dedicated to those who are out there feeling lonely this time of year, or who are feeling far from where they wish to be. anything you want to do, and anyone you want to be (or be with), it is possible, you just have to believe. deep down inside each and every one of us we know what we need to do to live, and love.

all you need is love ~ the beatles

Friday, December 21, 2007

with a girl

there once was a boy who sang this song to a girl sitting atop a train tunnel, as the sun was just starting to come up. the girl knew he was never really hers, that he was fleeting, temporarily hers to hold. yet even in the few stolen moments they had the girl leanred from this boy. she learned passion, she learned want and need, and she learned how it felt to be seen as beautiful. not beautiful in the constructs of society, and not even beautiful in the poet's way of definition, but beautiful in the way one becomes when they are truly seen, and loved. sometimes the girl thinks about the boy, and she remembers what it was like to kiss him, to feel him next to her, and to watch the day wake up with a song being softly sung to her.

"they may say, those were the days,
but in a way,
you know for us these are the days.
yes, for us these are the days,

and you know you're my girl
such a classic girl
such a classic girl

yeah for us these are the days."


classic girl ~ jane's addiction

i take my twist with a shout

"stay if you wanna love me, stay
oh don't be shy, let's cause a scene
like lovers do on silver screens
let's make it yeah, we'll cause a scene."


appointments made that i dread, but cannot put off and goodbyes to someone i don't want to see leave. oh yeah, i need a little brandon flowers today.

glamorous indie rock and roll ~ the killers

Thursday, December 20, 2007

if no one's on your canvas, i'm achin to be

i much prefer being seen like this, and for this to be how i am thought of. what i found today, written by someone who once claimed to love me, hurt more than i expected. when you come from a past where the abuse you suffer is put back you, blamed on you, pinned to the idea that you deserved it, that you are worth nothing except for what your body can give, then it is very hard to grow up with any sort of healthy view on sex. but, i've tried. i've fought for it. i've worked on my issues, and even allowed a few people in that close. it takes a hell of a lot of trust for me to allow myself to be that vulnerable, and if i give that trust to you it means more than most people realize. today, what i was defined as, it brought back those insecurities and worthless feelings. i felt like big parts of my self-esteem were chipped away at with a dull knife, leaving marks that take awhile to heal.

i have to remember to step away from this kind of thing and remember that some people do see me for who i am. and in that, in the experience of really being seen, is a place of safety, intimacy and trust that i am grateful for.

thanks to the two k's in my life, the one that stood up for me today and the other who sent me this song. i love you both.

xxx.

"well she's kind of like an artist
sittin' on the floor
never finishes, she abandons
never shows a soul

and she's kind of like a movie
everyone rushes to see
and no one understands it
sittin' in their seats

she opens her mouth to speak and
what comes out's a mystery
thought about, not understood
she's achin' to be

well she dances alone in nightclubs
every other day of the week
people look right through her
baby doll, check your cheek

and she's kind of like a poet
who finds it hard to speak
poems come so slowly
like the colors down a sheet

she opens her mouth to speak and
what comes out's a mystery
thought about, not understood
she's achin' to be

i've been achin' for a while now, friend
i've been achin' hard for years

well she's kind of like an artist
who uses paints no more
you never show me what you're doing
never show a soul

well, i saw one of your pictures
there was nothin' that i could see
if no one's on your canvas
well, i'm achin' to be

she closes her mouth to speak and
closes her eyes to see
thought about and only loved
she's achin' to be
just like me"


achin to be ~ the replacements


my vampire


"you're not friends. you'll never be friends. you'll be in love until it kills you both. you'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other until it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. love isn't brains, children, it's blood - blood screaming inside you to work it's will."

spike, buffy the vampire slayer

hand me my leather

"look im standing naked before you
dont you want more than my sex
i can scream as loud as your last one
but i cant claim innocence."


leather ~ tori amos

whoah! boy, that was one big, ugly bear!

"i unpacked "frustrating" first.
reached in and found the word "worst."
then i picked "soggy" and
next i picked "foggy" and
then i was ready to tell them my tale,
'cause i'd unpacked my adjectives.

adjectives are words you use to really describe things,
handy words to carry around.
days are sunny or they're rainy
boys are dumb or else they're brainy
adjectives can show you which way."


it is an odd feeling to stumble into something that someone has written about you, and to really see how skewed people's perspectives can be, and how nasty people can be that once said they loved you. it is taking all my composure to not unpack my adjectives and tell him what i really think of his dismissal of our entire relationship of being nothing but sex. i thought i could look back on that relationship as something that just did not work out, but to see him as someone kind. thanks for making me feel like nothing better than a whore, or as some bridge to something better. i really did not need this today, at all.


unpack your adjectives ~ daniel johnston

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

and if you care, dont let them know

keep art alive; art by zpanishzcorpio

"rows and flows of angel hair
and ice cream castles in the air
and feather canyons everywhere
ive looked at clouds that way
but now they only block the sun
they rain and snow on evryone
so many things i would have done
but clouds got in my way
ive looked at clouds from both sides now
from up and down, and still somehow
its cloud illusions i recall
i really dont know clouds at all
moons and junes and ferris wheels
the dizzy dancing way you feel
as every fairy tale comes real
ive looked at love that way
but now its just another show
you leave them laughing when you go
and if you care, dont let them know
dont give yourself away
ive looked at love from both sides now
from give and take, and still somehow
its loves illusions i recall
i really dont know love at all
tears and fears and feeling proud
to say i love you right out loud
dreams and schemes and circus crowds
ive looked at life that way
but now old friends are acting strange
they shake their heads, they say ive changed
well somethings lost, but somethings gained
in living every day
ive looked at life from both sides now
from win and lose and still somehow
its lifes illusions i recall
i really dont know life at all
ive looked at life from both sides now
from up and down, and still somehow
its lifes illusions i recall
i really dont know life at all"

a case of writer-truth


"but this is what a writer does: his life is a maelstrom of lying. embellishment is his focal point. this is what we do to please others. this is what we do in order to flee ourselves. a writer’s physical life is basically one of stasis, and to combat this constraint, an opposite world and another self have to be constructed daily. the problem that i encountered that morning was that i needed to compose the peaceful alternative to the terror of last night, yet the half world of the writer’s life encourages drama and pain, and defeat is good for art: if it is day we made it night, if it was love we made it hate, serenity became chaos, kindness became viciousness, god became the devil, a daughter became a whore."

when all we wanted was the dream

"you know if i leave you now
it doesn’t mean that i love you any less
it’s just the state i’m in
i can’t be good to anyone else like this."


it has been a rough day today emotionally. i joked with jess that santa doesn't come to emo-village, as it feels like a dark cloud of sad has landed over our little burbank office. funny how i am drawn to certain singers whenever i feel exceptionally blue, and sarah, she seems to hit me when i am at a low point.

i am not okay today, but i want to be okay; that counts for something, right?

wait ~ sarah mclachlan

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i used to let you wear all my clothes

i remember when we used to go to the mtv video awards together, back when they were something, back when they still played videos on mtv.

i think i've always had a thing for girl's singing prince songs. this is probably my favorite, though.

"when u were mine
you were kinda sorta my best friend
so i was blind
i let you fool around
i never cared
i never was the kind to make a fuss
when he was there
sleepin in between the two of us."


when you were mine (live at the mtv video awards, 1985 ~ cyndi lauper

i thought i'd be out of here by now

used to be the two of us spent more of our time
on the other side of the 101 freeway
then we did tucked between bedsheets inside growing up walls
or behind the expectations of a text book stare

a phone booth on gower
best pizza on earth discovered smack in the middle of forsaken tourist's sunset
train tunnel sunrise serenades
and innocence lost in the backseat
parallel parked on the far side of willoughby

our pulse was quicker
fed upside down and turned topsy
from all those cocktail fed chemicals
slid through and up under our collective skins

yet we always wore that tint of addiction
with a fuck you if you can't understand glow
sidled up right next to a screamed
i dance circles round stick figure magazine girls

punk stained threads sewn well
into donate at the door fabrics
stolen shoes paired with dance tights
and candy coloured cigarettes

we were a post modern late night breakfast at tiffany's
shoved up hard against an alley wall
nancy spungen after a bath or edie sedgwick
gifted with curves in place of needle marks

we saw the beauty ever after stuck in-between
the lining in the pavement cracks
beggars sat betwixt two sidewalk stars
as we skipped between them with silver plated coins thrown high in the air

ever trying to spot the one we might take as our own

tonight we go back there with water spot lenses
nicked from an all-night gas station attendant
he smirks as you ask him where he hails from
and if he has a script tucked just behind that counter

our lives are still pinned up just somewhere over the horizon
we used to see ourselves as fallen angels
with those count past thirty days before expirations
how will the stories play out to our grown up out of focus perspectives

do we choose to hide the hell-a recollections
polish up the reality and narrow the click click camera here we go smile denial
or do we just lose ourselves in the boys who cling to the mic
let them dirty up the images that we grab with held hands and jump through

see you tonight, baby

we will kiss lipstick imprints on the back of our ticket stubs
drop them deep in the wish you were here well
close your eyes tight
and jump into the music

this is the first song that comes to mind when i think of you,
los angeles, my bittersweet friend.
(written by me)

still in hollywood ~ concrete blonde

i promise i'm not trying to make your life harder

"i know i left too much mess and destruction to come back again
and i caused nothing but trouble
i understand if you can't talk to me again
and if you live by the rules of "it's over"
then i'm sure that that makes sense

but i will go down with this ship
and i won't put my hands up and surrender
there will be no white flag above my door
i'm in love and always will be."


white flag ~ dido

Monday, December 17, 2007

i'll light a candle for you

rickie vasquez and jordan catalano ~ my so-called life

sleeping beauty trips me with her frown

"he says
when you gonna make up your mind
when you gonna love you as much as i do
when you gonna make up your mind
cause things are gonna change so fast
all the white horses have gone ahead
i tell you that i'll always want you near
you say that things change
my dear."


winter ~ tori amos

julia

julia & i, almost sixteen years later

"half of what i say is meaningless
but i say it just to reach you, julia."

julia came into my life when i was very confused, and unsure about myself. at 23 years old, the adolescent ghosts of insecurity still hung about haunting me, voices echoing in the back of my mind that i was never quite good enough at anything, or for anyone. i think it was because of this doubt in myself that i had proclaimed over and over again, to anyone who would listen, that i would never be a parent, and that i would never have kids of my own.

i am the adult survivor of a childhood wrought with abuse, and was still carrying the hurt and anger surrounding abandonment issues from my father leaving my mother and i when i was so young, for him not even showing up for court to fight, or to say anything, when my stepfather petitioned to legally adopt me when i was a child; he never fought for me, he just let me go, and in the viewpoint of my childhood vision i equated my father's actions as one more reason to add to the running list of why i was not good enough.

i know that even at 23 i still felt responsible for my stepfather's abuse towards me, and for later damaging incidences that happened in my life where i found myself in the victim role again. i honestly felt that i had nothing to offer a child, that it would be one more thing i would fail at, and i was firsthand aware of the fact that terrible things can happen to children, and do. the thought of not being able to protect a child of my own filled me with deep rooted fear. i even had reoccurring nightmares of being a mother, and having things go horrifically wrong; a house catching on fire and me not being able to pull a child out to safety, my feet cemented to the ground and my body paralyzed; or watching as horror film type monsters would tear the limbs from my body, leaving me powerless to just lie there and watch as they carried a child away; all i could do was scream.

i was honestly terrified of being responsible for someone else's life, and i also felt that i had enough struggles holding myself together to have anything at all to offer a child in life.

i remember the very instant i suspected that i might be pregnant, i even clearly recall the night julia was conceived, and the events that took place earlier that day, something that has forever felt like fate stepping in and changing the course of my life; subsequently altering the state of my heart and mind. my best friend's mother was expecting a baby that year, a surprise late in life when her other two children, my best friend included, were well grown, or nearing adulthood. it was the day i went to visit her mother at the hospital, to first meet my best friend's new baby sister, that my life changed. i remember holding that newborn baby close to my chest and leaning in to kiss her head; it was the baby smell that got me, that unique and almost soothing scent that emanates from infants that is quite possibly the sweetest and most intoxicating smell i have ever encountered. it was right at that moment that i thought to myself "i think i want this someday, i think i want to have a baby."

i left the hospital in a daze, feeling dizzy and disoriented from the experience, and shaken by the sudden opposing emotions that were coursing through me; this was a wish that was completely contradictory to the set in stone decision i had made for my life. it was as if fate reached down and jump-stared, or woke up, my biological clock. and i guess, as they say, you should never say never.

it was that night that i truly believe julia was conceived. it was her father's birthday and we had been out with friends until the wee hours, giggling and shushing each other as we stumbled into the house he lived in with his parents. we were trying to sneak into his bedroom, unnoticed by his notoriously light sleeper mother who would have frowned at me being in her house at such an hour, let alone in her youngest son's bedroom. it made no difference that he was 25 years old, she still saw him as a boy, and treated him accordingly.

i can recall lying in his bed staring up at the glow-in-the-dark constellation of stars as he snored asleep next to me, exhausted by the last gift i had given him for his birthday. i counted each star over and over again in an attempt to lull myself to sleep, and i wondered to myself that night if wishes on plastic ceiling stars counted; either way, i made a few wishes on them, just in case.

it was a few weeks later that the most dreaded girl fear surfaced. i was late. i stood in the bathroom and closed my eyes, going over the days in my head, counting backwards and then forwards, repeating them in an attempt to somehow come up with a different outcome. but, each time the days were the same, and there was no denying that i was definitely late. my best friend was sitting on the bed that faced the open bathroom door talking to me when i turned to look at her, a flash of panic painting hot across my skin. i told her what i suspected, and she jumped up and hugged me, then said with a bit of false bravado and assurance that she was sure it was something else, that i shouldn't worry. we took turns then coming up with possible reasons for it's tardy arrival; stress, just newly moved in with my boyfriend, allergies, change of job. we both knew right then, i think; at least i believe that deep down i knew, that i felt it somehow, and maybe those stars worked after all. but, was i ready for such a thing to be my reality? wishes were one thing, but did i honestly know what i'd asked the universe for?

a few days later i finally got up the courage to buy one of those home tests. my hands shook as i held the stick in my hand, waiting to see what color it would become. i joked that this was sort of like those mood rings we'd bought off one of the street vendors at venice beach, a touch of magic prediction using hue to designate what your mood was while wearing it. but, this answer would be about much more than a mood swing. the directions stated that you had to wait fifteen minutes for the most accurate of results, and those fifteen minutes felt like hours dragging by. i wondered how long it took for a rabbit to die, and pondered whether or not they really found out if you were knocked up that way; i laughed at the thought of a tri-state killing spree of rabbits, taken down by a wanted and well-known gang of pregnant mother's who shot at the innocent floppy-eared victims with water pistol's full of pregnancy pee. the most random things come to mind when you are waiting for your life to be changed drastically, or not.

i was flooded with relief when the color in front of me was the sign of a negative test. perhaps one of those fabricated life alibis had turned out to be true, maybe this was just stress, or a change in the weather, or something. though after the initial sense of relief subsided and settled a differing feeling emerged, and sat itself heavy in the pit of my stomach. i sat in the car outside of my work fighting back tears, my eyes stinging from the effort to keep them from tear-trickles escaping down my face. it was then i felt the shock of realizing that i was actually disappointed. it made no clear sense to be let down about this, i was barely able to support myself as it was, and my boyfriend and i were on very shaky ground with each other. two weeks prior we had moved into our apartment. it was a rash move, a burn yourself in the fire after tumbling out of the frying pan kind of decision we'd both jumped into fueled solely by our mutual desire to escape our parents. not once did we ever talk about wanting to share space with each other out of love, or even friendship. it was all just a stupid act of desperation.

after two weeks in together and i already knew it wasn't working, that it wasn't going to last, and that we as a couple were not making it. i was already preparing myself for the inevitable "this just isn't working out" talk that was creeping closer each day. it was looming over each of our heads like a cartoon drawn bubble that lets the reader in on the secret thoughts of some walking and talking bear, or a mouse donning a silly pair of red shorts. while i mentally readied myself for the on the horizon break-up i had been calculating the facts and figures, lining them up, and grimacing at the proof staring back at me that my record store paycheck was barely enough to keep me living, sharing the rent, much less on my own. so, why the tinges of loss? it was good news, the best really, exactly what i needed it to be.

two months later my period still hadn't arrived. i would walk around and wonder if something else was wrong with me, entertaining notions of incurable diseases and hospital beds, wondering if this was the life changing moment, but just in a much more dire way. fear kept me silent about this new current state of my body. i held the passing of each day inside, fooling myself into believing that if i did not say it aloud that whatever was possibly wrong with me would just disappear. it was a naive coping skill to shield myself from things that scared me more than any reality of being somebody's mother, and i was dealing with the seriousness and fear like a child who tucks their head beneath the covers as a false sense of security, convinced that they have rendered their bodies invisible; that what you cannot see could not possibly ever hurt you. it is amazing how you can trick your mind into all sorts of senses of folly, and denial.

when the next month passed i noticed a difference in my body, suddenly my pants were hard to button, and my unhealthy diet regime of coffee, diet coke, cigarettes and maybe one meal a day was not cutting it any longer. i would wake up in the morning ravenously hungry, eating uncharacteristic generous portions of breakfast, and then i would find myself just as starving a few hours later. i was not as daft and out of touch as this may all seem, i really wasn't, i think i just held on to that test's result as fact because i needed to believe in something, and denial can be a very powerful force to be reckoned with. deep down i knew that it was not some illness that was causing my body to change, or my emotions. my hands began to instinctively rest on my belly, and i would catch myself talking to an imagined baby inside of me, singing and telling it about my day, or about a film i had just watched.

his best friend was the first person that i confessed my suspicions to. i don't know why he was the first choice of who to say those words aloud to, but it just felt like he was the only person i could utter any of this to, at all. we were close, but not confidantes, yet i knew somehow i could trust him to keep the possibility to himself. and, i secretly hoped he could shed some insider's light on how he thought his friend might react to the news, if it was what i thought. i needed to have blueprints and plans of what to expect, something, anything to prepare myself with. his guess was wrong though, he thought his friend would take it well, and stand by my side in support. he was wrong. he did not take it well, at all.

the first words that my boyfriend said to me after a very long and uncomfortable silence was that this was not part of his plan for life. he explained that he planned to adopt a child someday, much like his idol john lennon claimed to have wanted to do, and that he had made that decision long ago and had no intention of changing it; he refused to accept a differing future. he told me in a very matter of fact tone that i simply was not pregnant, that it was impossible, and he would not accept it as truth. i countered his declaration immediately, my words running together, disjointed and jangly; my voice hot with anger and shock. i threw down a challenge for him to prove me wrong, a gauntlet laid between us in the shape of a family planning office. once again i was waiting for the color of fate to come in and change my life.

this time the results were a resounding "yes, yes, yes young lady, you are most definitely pregnant, just about five months pregnant, at that." i felt the undeniable rush of every emotion i think a body can ever contain meet up and run an indy 500 lap under my skin. my head felt light and fuzzy, my vision blurring slightly, and my heart pounding as hard and fast as some kind of rave thump beat spun across a dance floor. this was happening, i was actually somebody's mother. i looked over to see some kind of realization, or feeling, on his face. i was stupidly wishing to see something i could pin on a cloud of hope that this woudl be something he could find a way to be happy about. silently hoping that maybe we could find a way to make it work. i said, in a hushed tone to him "well, i guess you won't need to adopt now." my poor attempt at humor, tinted with sarcasm, an inherited family trait passed on by my mother and grandmother. the women in my family were ever expected to have inappropriate humor spill out when they were most afraid, or nervous. humor was definitely not the right thing for that moment though, at least not directed towards him. he stood there, unmoving, staring at me in response with a look of such cold blank emptiness that i felt physically chilled to the bone, and suddenly, overwhelmingly alone.

he spoke in steady, flat and emotionless tones; droning over me like the charlie brown voice-over parents that we never could understand, or even believed existed. his intentions were clear and concise, this was not something he had any intention of being a part of, and he told me that he trusted that the only decision to be made was obvious. an appointment was to be made, and then soon enough this momentary falter of ours would be gone, and not brought up ever again. he grabbed my hand and led me over to the counter, asking for the appropriate papers that would need to be filled out and signed, and he set a date for the week following for me to come in and have this situation taken care of. i remember my body feeling paralyzed in disbelief, my feet heavy and immobile, my words stuck thick in the back of my throat, and my head throbbing in pain. i had that same overwhelming helpless feeling like from those repeated nightmares of not being able to keep a child safe from harm. i felt all sense of control or strength being pulled from me with each and every exchange of words that passed between the slid open window that separated us from the nasally voiced girl on the other side. she kept repeating directions of what i would need to do, and reminding my boyfriend again that i was not to come here alone.

i began to silently count the criss-crossed intersection of lines that patterned the wallpaper, trying to find a way to disappear right there into the orderly design, to find a way to make this all just go away.

after we drove home in silence i told him i had to go to my mom's, blurting out some story about promising to help her clean out closets, or some such laughable project that my mom and i would honestly never do together. i wasn't really sure i'd even end up there as i drove away. i did not know if this would be one of those times of disappointment when i let myself really need her to be strong for me, to make it all better, or at least just listen and only be met with the reality that she was just not able to be that for me, not when i needed her to, at least. but, it has been my experience that no matter how dysfunctional or distant our relationships are with our mothers, we all have at least once experienced something that hits us so hard that all we really want is that childlike security of our mother's love.

i did end up there eventually that day, after hours of driving around aimlessly, playing music as loud as i could stand it, until the speakers crackled and spit back at me in defiance. i sang until my throat hurt and my mouth went dry. i think i was trying to throw myself into the songs i was singing, spin around in them and find what i needed in the sounds, and in the lyrics. finding answers in music was something i had always turned to, the one place i trusted, and was never let down by a song i loved, ever.

i drove past the beach and decided to stop and pull over, parking the car so i was facing the ocean, rolling down the windows so i could breathe in deeply the salty sea air. i could feel it fill me up and begin to clear my head as i sat there, unmoving. time felt as if it was frozen still and stopped, my eyes fixed on the ebb and flow of the tide, letting myself become hypnotized by the soothing rhythm of the waves. eventually i stepped out of the car, threw my shoes into the backseat, and walked barefoot across the sand. when i reached the water i waded in it until i was knee-deep, the hem of my skirt getting soaked and salt-sticky, clinging to my legs. i felt drawn to the water, my legs turned heavy, and i was filled with the desire to just drop and let the water take me in; the pull to go was almost too strong to fight against. eventually, though, i offered the ocean a compromise. i fell down onto my hands and knees, letting the water soak my clothes, the chill of the pacific turning my skin pale and prickle sharp. the spray of the waves danced across my face and shoulders, and it was right then that i screamed into the water. the scream was filled with everything i had. a long, loud guttural wail that did not even sound like anything that could possibly come from my mouth; but it did.

when my lips finally closed and pressed together, when there was no more sound left in my body, i stood back up and felt a rush of electric current pulse through my veins. i felt stronger, more alive. tears streamed down my face without any care or control, i stopped trying to hold them back and just allowed myself to cry. the tears dried up and turned to intermittent sighs and soft sobs by the time i reached the familiar turn of streets and blocks, leading into the neighborhood that i grew up in. i wiped my face and rubbed at my eyes, blinking away my distorted vision, as i walked up the driveway towards my childhood home.

they say when you have a near death experience that your life flashes before your eyes. i always imagined it to be something like the click of a film strip, like those safety ones, or the "you are becoming a woman...here comes puberty" films we all had to suffer through in junior high school. or maybe it is more on the lines of a music video, you know the ones that flip between flashbacks and now. they are predictable in their storytelling progression. they go something like this: girl meets boy with guitar, click to first kiss between boy and girl, then another click to boy caught with groupie confrontation. skip on ahead to the girl for some random reason lying atop a car dressed in a skimpy bikini, then click a tragic accident befalls the girl and regretful boy with guitar leans sadly over her grave, skip on to the end where boy writes this very song for the girl. i know that i'd prefer at that moment before death to have my life flash by accompanied by a running soundtrack; it would not seem like my life if it didn't have music playing along, actually.

but, i digress.

at that precise moment of walking up the uneven driveway i was filled with a sort of sense memory overload. i could almost smell the fresh cut grass being dampened by the sprinklers on a hot summer day, my friends and i running through them. i could just about feel the grit and cold, damp sensation of soil with the occasional worm as i sat cross-legged by my mom, planting our first garden in the side yard. i felt as if i could lean in a bit closer and make out the sounds of duran duran coming from a long gone turntable, the same album that was played countless times over and over again, that initial scratch and whir of the needle when you first set it down on the vinyl and it started to spin around. i could almost see my bedroom window propped open with stacks of books, and my best friend and i, our teenage voices in unison singing along inside. it was as if i could feel my entire childhood blowing circles around me, and slipping softly inside of me, flooding me with an overwhelming flush of remember. the strange thing was that most times when i looked back on my childhood it was the pain i remembered. but that day, right then, the memories that came to me were all good ones, memories of laughter and peace, playful abandon, and song.

i think it was at that very moment that my decision was made, that i knew without a shred of a doubt what i would do, and i did not pause for a moment to care what he thought of it, or what anyone else thought about it either. i was going to have a baby, and i was thrilled, and scared as hell. but, i was sure of it, i was going to be somebody's mother.

why do i find it hard to write the next line

this one is more high school dance than the last. the first one i ever went to, walking down the steps to get inside. true was the first song i heard, and all i could think of was samantha watching jake dance with his girlfriend (and that image of her crying in the hallway).

i remember vividly the boy i had a crush on. he was there with friends, short brown curly hair, white shirt with a skinny tie, docs under his long suit-style pants. he was a senior, and beautiful, and hardly knew i existed (though we did share a dance later in the year). as this song played i looked for him in the crowd, saw him dancing with a varsity cheerleader, and a little piece of my heart broke.

this memory is so stereotypical of high school i am actually cringing. do we ever really forget what it felt like to be an adolescent?

true ~ spandau ballet

to cut a long story short i lost my mind

"questions questions
give me no answers
thats all they ever give me
questions questions
"

there is nothing quite like that new romantic 80's bass line (though i'd argue that john taylor did it best), the over-dramatic lyrical turns-of-phrase, the eyeliner and of course the keyboards.

this was always a favorite song of mine, one i danced to at knotts berry farm's cloud nine, and countless dances held in the basement of st. john's church.

to cut a long story short ~ spandau ballet

this is the first day of my life

keep art alive; art by stella im hultberg

"oh, i had a day like that last week."
"really? what happened?"
"i woke up and thought, this is the first day of the rest of my life."
"then what happened?"
"i drove to work."

no one belongs here more than you ~ miranda july


Sunday, December 16, 2007

they'll have to take two


"i'll be looking for you, will, every moment, every single moment. and when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. every atom of me and every atom of you...we'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...and when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight..."

the amber spyglass, philip pullman

just like you said it would be

"and so it is
just like you said it should be
we'll both forget the breeze
most of the time."


the blower's daughter ~ damien rice

don't be so amazing or i'll miss you too much

i suppose tonight is just another reminder why cassadaga is my favorite album of 2007. i remember the first time i listened to the album; it was this song that hit me the hardest, even though another would end up being mine later on. there are still parts of this song that get caught in my throat when i try to sing along, and get caught in my heart when i just sit and listen.

it is a bit of amazing when you spin an album again, and find it even more relevant then when you first fell hard for it's songs.

"everything gets smaller now the further that i go
towards the mouth and the reunion of the known and the unknown
consider yourself lucky if you think of it as home
you can move mountains with your misery if you don't
if you don't."

lime tree
~ bright eyes

but leave that blanket round you

death may come invisible
or in a holy wall of fire
in the breath between the markers
on some black I-80 mile

from the madness of the governments
to the vengeance of the sea
well everything is eclipsed
by the shape of destiny

so love me now, hell is coming
yeah kiss my mouth, hell is here


no one would riot for less ~ bright eyes

i was a hopeless romantic now i'm just turning tricks

"his room is on fire since he painted it red
there are a stranger's silk sequins at the foot of the bed
he has been to weddings and funerals but he still never wept
now sorrow is pleasure when you want it instead."


soul singer in a session band ~ bright eyes

everybody feels this way sometimes

"i will be ignored.
i will be denied.
i could be erased.
i could be brushed aside.
i will get scared, and i will get shoved down,
but i feel like i do beause you push me around.

i'm starting to ignore you, i've doubted you so long.
i'm tired of over-thinking, i know you don't belong.
now i'm asking questions - no one pushes me around.
everybody feels this way sometimes, everybody feels this way -

and i do.
you can't hear it, but i do.
you don't seem angry, but i do.
i do."


i do ~ lisa loeb

making up for all this mess

"i'll sing it one last time for you
then we really have to go
you've been the only thing that's right
in all i've done."


run ~ snow patrol

Friday, December 14, 2007

you don't deserve to be lonely


i have a soft spot for the broken souls in this world, which is probably a reflection of my own somewhat tattered self. when i was nineteen a good friend of mine said that if she put me in a room with hundreds of people i would immediately be drawn to the one with the most pain; perhaps she was right. but, in all honesty, we all have scars, we all have stories, we all have scattered and shattered pieces inside. i suppose i like to believe in hope, in redemption, in the part of all of us that rise above what hurts within us. and, that hope, i think it is so beautiful. i wish that elliott smith had stuck around long enough to find his moment of begin again.

he is so wee

"well, you're not that lazy
and you know how to act when
you're with the upper class
my dreams of you are hazy
as we lie on the grass and we talk about daydreams
you're so unconceited
yeah you couldn't be slack if i paid
you the shirt off my back
you're my pop queen."


pop queen ~ ben lee

five minutes in the closet with you

"i'm ready for it now,
already on the ground."


spin the bottle ~ juliana hatfield

my first five (more to come)


what i found keen in 2007: my take on the top albums (the first five)


1* cassadaga ~ bright eyes
without a doubt, my favorite album of 2007. i slid it into the cd player, in my car, and started listening to it and had to pull over to the side of the road to take it all in. i have cried many tears to this album, quoted lyrics from the songs countless times, even named this blog from a line in when the brakeman turns my way. this is conor's cleaning up, growing up, struggling but finding a bit more of himself album, and oh my stars do i feel it.

2* under the blacklight ~ rilo kiley
my favorite gig of the year, and an album i have loved with almost as much passion and fervor as cassadaga. continuing with their take on los angeles, in all it's grit and glory, is a collection of songs that veer into country, rock, indie pop, and something that is so uniquely theirs that it defies genre categorization. sex and love, sin and redemption, and all the dangers that fall in the in-between. i love it, so much. and i sort of adore that so many friends who never bothered with them before seem to have fallen in love, too.

3* neon bible ~ arcade fire
this is a sure thing on just about any list i am sure to find. i think it out-indies even radiohead, and somehow i still find it in my top five. the album is so visual-inducing, each song feeling like a tiny film just waiting to flicker across a screen. there are stories in every line, and i find myself getting lost in each and every track, not quite sure that i want the end to come.

4* once soundtrack
as much as i adore soundtracks, i do not think i have ever put one on a top album list. but, this is definitely an exception worthy of any top list. i still have not seen the film, though i am quite sure that once i do it will also find it's way into a top list of films, too. the songs, they slay me. they bring me to tears and overflow me with a level of emotion that i sometimes lack words to describe. i think that if you listen closely enough there will be a song among the album that hits you so deep beneath your exterior self that you will swear it is about you. it is that personal, that intimate, and that full of raw truth; love with the fairytale peeled away to reveal what lies within.

5* boxer ~ the national
this album reminds me of something i would have fallen hard for in the late eighties; the album leaning right next to the cure, psychedelic furs, sisters of mercy, and my (at the time) newly discovered velvet underground. there is something slightly dark here, laden with emotion and self-deprecation. this is the music of uncertainty, confusion, and longing that is stained with the ugly marks of jealousy and lust. it feels like the soundtrack of losing yourself as you find yourself, falling apart to fall in love, breaking down before your time has come to collapse.

a cemetery song we'd never sing

this song, it feels like i've taken a drive through the garden state, in the sixties, while wearing a borrowed prom dress that once belonged to a great-aunt who spent her youth in paris trading stories with miller and nin. and, there's something elfman here, too, lurking just underneath it all. i half expect to see edward scissorhands pop up in the background, turning everything into a topiary wonderland.

neptune city ~ nicole atkins

Thursday, December 13, 2007

you're gonna give it all a try

does anyone actually say a penny for your thoughts anymore? do we stop and take the time to ask how each other are thinking, do we ask much of anything anymore? sometimes i think the advances in technology and communication has actually made us less communicative, at least to each other. sure, we all have spaces to call our own, and to share ourselves in, but have we lost a sense of connection and community in the process?

not that i'm any better at this then anyone else, and it is rather ironic for me to be posting in my personal blog about whether or not we are too caught up in our personal things to truly communicate, but it was something that has been on my mind lately.

if you asked me for my thoughts today i would say that i'm ready for some change. not the big changes i've been known to take in the past. i am not packing up my car and moving across the country, i am not uprooting myself in any way actually, nor am i leaving or starting a relationship. a matter of fact, i really want to hold my family and relationship closer in the days to come. i think the kind of change i am considering is more local, more personal, more connection focused.

i would like to get to know the world better. i would like to know my friends and family better. i would like to know the artists, musicians, filmmakers, authors - the people who fill my world with color and beauty and awe and inspiration - better. i am thinking that as i connect more to the life i live, the people i love and admire, and to the things i find so keen, i will get to know myself better in all of it; or, at least that is my hope. i think sometimes if we open our arms, minds and hearts to the world we live in we get more of ourselves back.

so, there will be some changes around here, some projects i've been formulating, and hopefully some things that inspire others to respond, share, write, connect.

and, of course, there will be a whole lot of music.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

she said she knew what my books did not

we have all had them in our lives, those people who have a light to them, a spark. these are the people who push us a little farther, who challenge us, who make us open up parts of us that we did not even know existed. and sometimes they stay for a lifetime, sometimes they come and go in a flash; sometimes they are friends, lovers, strangers we share a seat on the train with, or a child who asks a question that has us reeling and thinking for days after. they are part of our story, the pages that are loaded with the stuff of whispers and i will always remembers.

i don't believe i went too far
i said i was willing
she said she knew what my books did not
i thought she knew what's up

past the mission
behind the prison tower
past the mission
i once knew a hot girl
past the mission
they're closing every hour
past the mission
i smell the roses

she said they all think they know him
well she knew him better
everyone wanted something from him
i did too but i shut my mouth
he just gave me a smile

past the mission
behind the prison tower
past the mission
i once knew a hot girl
past the mission
they're closing every hour
past the mission
i smell the roses
past the mission
and i smell the roses

hey they found a body
not sure it was his but they're using his name
and she gave him shelter
and somewhere i know she knows
somethings only she knows

past the mission
behind the prison tower
past the mission
i once knew a hot girl
past the mission
they're closing every hour
past the mission
i smell the roses

past the mission
behind the prison tower
past the mission
i once knew a hot girl
past the mission
they're closing every hour
past the mission
i smell the roses

past the mission
and i smell the roses
past the mission
and i smell the roses


past the mission ~ tori amos

i sway in your waves, i sing in your sleep


i realize now you're not to be blamed my love
you didn't choose your name my love
you never crossed the seven seas
i realize now you're not to be blamed my love
you didn't choose your name my love
you never crossed the seven seas."


silently ~ blonde redhead