We Rule The Smaller Markets

Before I scribe even one syllable, I have to thank all of you for hanging in here with me and my kids this week. Between broken collarbones and physical therapy for two kids’ two messed up shoulders, I am toast. I appreciate all the support (and cupcakes!) you’ve given as I have shuttled my boys to their many appointments around southeastern Wisconsin, seeking healing and sanity for us all. 

This is not my best work. You’ve been cautioned.

My husband and I saw U2’s The Joshua Tree tour at Soldier Field in Chicago in June.  I don’t live and die for U2 the way I do for a certain Canadian quartet, but U2 mesmerized me with decibels only a stadium concert could make happen, volume that rattled your bones.  They built a video display wide as an NFL field to complement and extend their musical storytelling.  The crunch of that lead guitar, the driving bass, and that voice.  Oh, that voice.  Bono’s pipes hit all the notes, ALL of them, but what moved me to tears the first time was not what or how he sang, but what he said.  Bono rallied the audience–ONE audience, not one torn by political affiliation–extolling the magnificent country in which we live, the US.  He exhorted us to be conscious.  To be kind.  To help.  To understand.  To celebrate and support women across time and across the globe.  And as they marched from the island (well, tree-shaped) stage on the floor toward the main stage to open The Joshua Tree in its entirety, the power of his words, combined with that guitar intro building Where The Streets Have No Name set against a blood red backdrop, so big and bright I nearly shielded my eyes?  Experiencing an overload of every sense music engages while my husband cheered his favorite band?  I teared up a little.  I did.

I typically don’t enjoy stadium tours.  As I have taught you, friends, second row is not the front row, and you don’t get front row at U2 for under several thousand dollars.  The football field was all general admission actually, which, ugh, just kill me now.

An anxious brain needs to know where its seats are before heading into the venue.  An anxious brain needs to know from precisely which vantage point it will experience the show.  Anxious brains don’t like to have to squat for space and worry that the drunk yahoo sashaying and stumbling in during the fourth song is going to elbow the brain’s body out of its established vantage point.  That shit has happened to me more than once, and I just really, really, really hate it.  Really, really.

It’s time for the front row again, kids.

I’m meeting two of Barenaked Ladies’ most committed fans and my sweet friends Sunday in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Northern Indiana isn’t exactly a tourist hub, but it’s geographically about as close to an epicenter for eastern Michigander Bek, southern Ohioan Nikki, and me, just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world. . .  Sorry, wrong band.  And me, crawling again through Chicagoland traffic from my MKE home to catch my dear friends and my band.

With everyone reminding me of my “big” birthday pending, I’m feeling sorta midlife crisis-y, which is super fun for my husband, you can imagine.  The kids are cool with me taking off for an overnight–they’re so involved in their own business these days that I’m merely a chariot to their destinations.  Sure they hug their chariot driver and say all the right things, but I know where I stand.  I’m feeling moderately-to-mostly crappy that I’ll be leaving my boy with his broken collarbone and missing my younger’s last baseball games of the season, but what if my band never tours again??  What if this is it?  I gotta go.

Reading the last sentences I typed sounds ridiculous unless you’re us, I’ll grant you, but what if?  All those internet memes say tomorrow is not a guarantee, and I’m good at reading comprehension. Plus the internet never lies.  I even own socks that read “Carpe the fuck out of this diem.”  So we carpe.  That’s probs not the correct verb tense, but I don’t know Latin, so whatever.

I cannot wait to give my girls their commemorative tee shirts.  I killed the shirt this time, #nailedit.  There are two in the entire world like them (no, I didn’t make one for myself) and I’m goofy just thinking about them.  As per custom, the message is girly-girl borderline inappropriate, but HILARIOUS, because we are hilarious.  Just ask us.  We totally are.

It’s a surprise, so I can’t show you the front of the shirt yet.


I even compiled a list of things I want to ask the members of the band if we get lucky enough to talk with them after the show.  They’re in my phone’s notes app because I never again want to ask someone I idolize how his thing is.  Seriously.  I’m just gonna go over here and kill myself.

I want to be sure to tell Kevin Hearn how this picture he drew makes my heart skip.  I’m hoping my son is still eons away from requiring a wheelchair for ambulation–stupid @&$^# muscular dystrophy–but when I see kids in chairs depicted in art, well, yeah, I am moved. 


The week my son attended MDA Camp, Ed Robertson hit the Canadian talk show circuit, where he was featured for his support of Camp Oochigeas, a summer camp for kids with cancer. He wrote the camp theme song, and the symmetry of his song for camp kids and my kid’s being at camp was almost too much for me, so naturally, I got all misty-eyed. The point is that I don’t want to sound like a complete idiot this time. Not that sounding like an idiot is foreign territory or anything for me, because #skills, but I can speak cogently. Just usually not around them.

I originally planned to make this a 2-night BNL tour.  The big kid expressed interest in attending the EAA Fly-In and the Barenaked Ladies concert in Wisconsin Monday night. My band is finally coming to my home state, but their show here is general admission (see above for GA commentary).  On his best days, there’s no way my son has the endurance not only to walk around all day, but also then stand for a couple hours before and during the show.  And now with the broken bone slung to his side?  It’s a no-go, Houston. Sad face. 

I’m ever-grateful to connect with a faction of my #Ladiesladies. This will be the third show Ketchup & Mustard, and Relish are a trio. The first time we snuck into sound check, which SCORE!!! and the second time was a big city/small venue.  Nikki says we rule the smaller markets.

I offer commentary like, “I would sever off my arm to hear When I Fall live,” because I am comfortable with hyperbole and I ramble a bunch. Hearing my besties’ faves, Keepin’ It Real or Toe To Toe, would make this trip magic. My Barenaked Ladies fandom wouldn’t be at its zenith without the girls. See, ours is a story of friendship as much as it is about the music.  

And the road trip.  Ladies and Ladies, start your engines. 

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Collective Nouns

Listening to my iPod on the way home from Cincinnati Sunday night, the Air France CRJ200 is building up to its 180 or so mph needed to take flight, and the lyrics from Odds Are “crashed in an airplane” come blasting through my earbuds.  Not cool, universe.  I used that song as my mantra while driving to my kid’s first-ever neurology appointment, and it was wildly unsuccessful in staving off the MD diagnosis.  It did however shield me from a fiery crash en route home from my concert bender Sunday, so I live to write another day. Go, me!

At Saturday night’s show, my fave singer on the planet asked the audience who had an interest in collective nouns, and dork me was like, “oh yeah, totally me.”  So now this is on my mind since Saturday.  All the time.  Who contemplates collective nouns?  Thanks a bunch, Ed.

I began this post titled, Down, Really Down, Up, Holy Crap UP, And Then Down Again.  It was a little busy, I’ll grant.  But now that I’m laser-focused on flocks, pods, murders, congresses, and litters, I am searching for a word to capture all of the emotions running laps in my brain these last few months.  What do you call multiple accordions?  Ah, you had to be there.  Nevermind.

Down

I pretty well covered that in my previous post, and you know how I hate beating a dead horse.  Ahem.  Maybe I’m not really depressed.  I think after last weekend, I’m not actually depressed. Definitely not.  I had to retitle this post because focusing on feeling low isn’t even needed, so let’s all just pretend this never happened, m’kay?

Really Down

At my son’s occupational therapy appointment last week, his therapist suggested it was time for a splint.  Because of the muscle contracture in one of his wrists, she came to believe that splinting his wrist will be one way to maintain some range of motion in a passive way.  It signaled for me the end of an era.  My son has in the two years since his diagnosis begun to need equipment for MD.  Damn that was a quick couple orbits around the sun.  I know I was all leaky eyes when the OT was explaining this to me, and as I in turn tried to clarify what I understood for my son.  Damn.  I ferried him back to school and began the ugly cry in the car the second he passed through the doors.  The ugly cry persisted into my workplace, accompanied by a serious inability/lack of desire to communicate.  Poor Valerie and Jill had to witness the mascara trails directly, and suffer through the sniffing between my commentary of, “I know it could be worse, someone always has it worse.  It’s just that, well, compared to not having MD at all, having MD fucking sucks.”  Having an allied health professional refer to your child’s hand as “well not deformed, but you can see how it’s different” felt like sucker punch.  It’s an honest assessment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not painful.

Up

I met my Muscle Walk fundraising goal.  Which is freaking amazing.  So most definitely trending up.  But not HOLY CRAP up yet.  Keep reading.

 

HOLY CRAP UP!

If you’re new here, you may not know that last year our MDA Muscle Walk team received a $1000 anonymous donation.  Not knowing the source of this incredible magnanimity has eaten me up since last spring.  I’ve had a few moments of absolute clarity: I KNOW who it is!  It’s . . .  only to have been disproven.  I have as much idea now as I did then, which is exactly not one teensy trace of a clue.

I receive an email from the lovely Elizabeth at our MDA chapter, asking how I “managed to pull this off.”  Because I was occupied weighing the am I depressed or am I not? scales, sicker than I’ve felt in some time, and wanting only to spend time with my dear Netflix friends, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore of late, I hadn’t looked often at our Muscle Walk team page.  Holy crap.  HOLY CRAP!!  One thousand dollars.  To our team.  What?  Who?  Why us???

True charity is shown when someone offers something remarkable, genuinely life-altering, y’all, and asks nothing in return, not even acknowledgement.  I love you, Anonymous.  I have no less affection for any of our team supporters, but in my circle, a thousand dollars is a big chunk of change.  Someone saw to it that one thousand dollars got directed to me.  To ME!  To us.  I said this last year, and I’ll implore you again:  please tell me who you are.  I’ll keep it between us, I promise.  Please let me thank you properly.  Although, seriously?  How could I possibly do this right?  The mystery is a delight and a fright at once.  What if I was a complete crab the last time we met?  What if I seemed unappreciative in some way?  Know that I’m grateful beyond words.  I tried last year and failed, and I’m failing again to put it in print.  Thank you.

Remember what I always say, kids: Second row is not the front row.  THIS is where you want to be standing to see your favorite band perform.  Front and center two nights in a row was quite a coup.  For the record, the band is of course HAPPY to see us, not scared as some of you have suggested.  Well, they’re probably happy anyway.  Wouldn’t you want to see smiling faces hanging on your every note down in front?

I want to tell you about my weekend.  ALL about my weekend.  I could relate every detail, every nuance, every tossed monkey and undergarment (even the one Nikki put on my head Saturday night), but as the song goes, it’s all been done.  It’s etched in my memory and in my heart.  My band performed MY SONG Friday and Saturday evenings, and I swear, my heart was teenage dreamy fluttery the instant Ed hit the first note.  I couldn’t breathe.  And yeah, I’ve heard it live before a handful of times.  I just needed it now.  Tyler gave me a shout-out from the stage at the very end of the evening Friday, and my cheeks still hurt from the hours-long smile that’d been pasted on.  My girls.  My friends.  My band.  My song.  Geez, apparently I have petulant toddler issues. Me, my, mine!  I do understand that pronouns other than “my” exist.  Just not in this context.  Girls, I miss you acutely.  Guys, see you again in May.  I’m sure you’re just as excited to see me as I am to see you.  Wait, what?

Because the odds are that we will probably be all right, I did land safely back in MKE Sunday evening.  And what to my wondering eyes does appear?  The three loves of my life, hanging outside baggage claim, each poised with a bouquet of posies.  Tulips–my flower of choice and a beautiful reminder of renewal and hope.

And plastic spiders.  Because this is what my younger son and I do.  He totally started it, but I totally continued it, and now we wage war nightly over who can deposit the spider more plausibly or more sneakily to try scare the shit out of the other.  Because I am a GOOD MOTHER!  But look at the sweet little note Mr. Spider left me under my pillow.  My baby?  My love for that kid is greater than gravity.

Breaking Even

My original intent was to end on a downer, because that’s how I felt Sunday, as I sat alone in the airport awaiting my return flight.  I love and already missed my #Ladiesladies SO MUCH, but then remembered that going home meant I could see the boys I love and missed SO MUCH.  Sometimes life shakes out a lovely symmetry.  I’m not down.  I can’t maintain holy crap up either, but I’m OK.  I’ll be OK.  What’s the collective noun for people I love?  My tribe?  My family?  My love?  Yes.

Dude, We’re Getting 72.7% Of The Band Back Together

It’s totally normal to wake with jolts of anxiety over a concert, right?  I’m unsettled, like despite my pleas with my favorite band to keep playing as long as is humanly possible (which, thank you, Tyler, you did announce to a crowd of several thousand people last July that you would, we totally heard it!  Oh, and by the by, it’s not like they actually listen to me personally) you just feel something’s not perfectly copacetic with your universe, and what if this is the last time I’ll ever get to see them?  What if I wake up tomorrow and everything has changed?  What if I sleep through my flight?  What if it snows and my flight is canceled?

I’m  watching my dog sleep–it’s 3:38 AM and so should I be sleeping, but the bully named insomnia claimed victory in tonight’s battle. My mutt looks like an angel–peaceful cycles of puppy inhales and exhales, all four paws racing as he chases bunnies in his doggy dreams, and I think I would love nothing more than to kiss his squishy face just above his eyes right now.  Then I remember the terrorist he is in daylight, and question “Who hates their dog?”  Oh yeah, it’s me, I’m that horrible person engaged in a love-hate relationship with her dog.  I love him.  I hate him.  I love him.  Ask me again in two minutes.  What is wrong with me?

The weeks-long, snail’s pace strain of viral and/or bacterial shit pummeling my body into an inert blob of coughing spasms, congestion so entrenched I’ll never enunciate a clear p, m, or b again, strep-ish throat, and other super sexy symptoms loves me bestest.  It will not take its leave.

I have time for neither insomnia nor the modern plague.  You can’t reason with anxiety, and you can’t affect the longevity of your fave band by enveloping them in the bubble wrap of your good wishes. People, it’s show time.


Several weeks back (you can do the math here if you like) I rose to get my coat, and noticed the office countdown wall had been amended extra-special, just for me.  See, we’re educators, so we need things to look forward to more than other worker bees.  My friend Christine once stated, and I quote, “People who don’t hear the phrase bitch-ass motherfucker thrown at them in the workplace don’t need breaks as often as we inner-city teachers do.”  Preach, sister.  Anyway, one of my office mates, Melita, very quietly and much to my giddy delight added this.  I snorted.  My poor office mates tolerate encourage my crazy, and OK, I don’t mind it so much.  I do mind the use of bitch-ass MFs, four-year-olds telling me I get on their nerves, or eight-year-old girls blowing snot rockets on my therapy room floor while “sneakily” giving me the finger.  Like I didn’t see it.  Amateur.

I have this group of friends about whom I’ve written before–my Barenaked Ladies super fan friends, the #Ladiesladies.  Not a day passes that one of us eleven misses reaching out in some way to the group.  The #Ladiesladies are privy to an impressive volume of confidences, pinky sworn to secrecy.  We use our message forum to share our lives–the good, the bad, the ugly.

I’m closer to owning up to what I’ve been tap-dancing around: I may just be tilting a little closer to depressed.  Since my boy’s diagnosis, I’ve acknowledged a range of emotions here in print.  WordPress is much cheaper than therapy, and rereading my history on this platform evidences tremendous personal growth (and I’m not just talking the ten extra pounds–now down to seven, go, me!–of belly floppin’ here).  I’ve intermittently permitted that maybe, possibly, could be I’m depressed, or that I’d consider thinking that maybe I’m depressed during the last two years.  But over the last several months I’ve noticed how I’m not bouncing back like I typically do.  I don’t look forward to things with my customary energy and enthusiasm.  I don’t laugh as inappropriately or loudly as is my norm.  I’m still functional, and still appear mostly Wendyesque, so I don’t feel my malaise rises to the level of clinical significance.  I don’t know.  WordPress is cheaper than therapy, sure, but not quite as interactive or diagnose-y.

My #Ladiesladies probably see it.  They notice when I’m posting and responding less frequently.  We all notice that of each other actually, but no matter what, no matter what! we are there for each other.  They’re some of the first people I told about my son’s diagnosis.  “Hey guys!  How was your Wednesday?  My older son was identified with muscular dystrophy this morning.  I’m the walking dead.”  It actually did go something like that, though I don’t precisely remember.  What I do remember is that they were there.  They’re there when I’m sick or annoyed or worried.  And when I’m joyful or exuberant.  We’ve been together through broken hearts and broken bones–cancer, automobile accidents, the loss of parents and other loved ones, our babies’ first home runs, their dance recitals and choir concerts.  We represent two provinces and seven states–of all the gin joints in all the world, we found each other. To the actual Ladies, our band–these women who hold my hand as I peek over the precipice?  We are friends because of you.  Thank you.

Eleven strong last June, clad in our fuchsia team shirts, a few women asked us about us.  “Can we be in your club?” a woman asked of me outside one of the beer gardens. Someone tweeted, “Help a sister out, #Ladiesladies, I need in.”  “When can I get my shirt?” asked yet another.

You can’t.  And not because we’re some middle school junior bitch clique, no. You can love the band, and you can be their #1 fan in all the world (well you can think you are. . .  Even I am not top five, but really I think it’s because I am simply too broke to make it a full-time job), and I will look forward to seeing you again and again. Fans of our band, not just my inner circle, are good, good people.  It’s a blast to go to shows anyway, but those hugs and time spent at shows with people I’d otherwise never have known?  A gift.  Since my concentrated hobby ramped up to its current level of investment, I’ve asked my husband not to buy me material gifts.  My friends and the shows I attend with them are privilege enough.  He doesn’t get the band thing, but he doesn’t have to.  I do.  And that’s enough.

#Ladiesladies membership cards are worth their weight in platinum and out of print.  You can’t deny the oddest of odds–eleven random people with nothing but a shared musical hobby clicked. Eight of our eleven are making the run this weekend, only 72.7%.  Gonna miss my Amy, Jen, and Katie for sure–love you, friends!  But for the rest of us?  Let’s go, girls.  I need you to keep me strong.

It’s show time. #PlanesTrainsAndAutomobiles

PS–pleaseplaymysongpleaseplaymysongpleaseplaymysongpleaseplaymysongpleaseplaymysong

The Answer Is “No”

This rock star business is exhausting, people.  Ha!  Like I would know.  Although I would imagine it is exhausting in fact, I really don’t know the first thing about being a rock star.  I do know a thing or two about being on the road however, and the rock stars are way better off than the likes of me.  See, they get on a tour bus around midnight, and someone drives them to their next city while they sleep.  Me?  I go back to a hotel with my girlfriends.  We stay up til all hours rehashing the show and looking at photos while singing the songs we just heard a few hours earlier.  Then in the morning after too little sleep, we hop in our own damn cars and drive several hours back home.  It’s OK.  Though I’m a touch snoozy for a few days after, it’s so worth it.

You get home and people quiz you, but not exactly in the way you’d like them to.  You want to geek about the set list, the opening acts and improvs, the city you visited and your friends.  Those are the kinds of quiz questions you want to nail, and friends, I’m a straight-A kinda gal here.  Instead, the most frequently occurring question you get is this:  “Don’t you ever get sick of it?”  My friend Nikki wrote a really terrific statement about her homecoming quizzes on Facebook, and instead of stealing hers, which would have been so much simpler, you get this.  I should totally credit her with co-authorship.  You want to ride horses or buy your own spray-tan machine?  Cool.  You are impassioned with Lularoe leggings or have 34 pairs of Toms shoes?  Good on ya.  I won’t judge.  And therein lies the difference–I won’t judge you for spending money in ways that make you happy.  I might not get it for me, but I don’t have to.  If you get it for you, it should be enough.

I’m above average in intellect–I’m reasonably certain I’m at least at the mean with the mean being 100 and a standard deviation of 15 with relation to IQ points–and if I continued to do something that bored me to tears, well, I’d stop doing that something.  Hold on.  Now I’m thinking about IQ, and while a part of me is dying to know my actual IQ, a just slightly bigger part of me doesn’t want to know.  What if I’m not as intellectually intact as I think I am?  What if the magic number is really low?  Am I an overachiever then?  What if it’s higher than I evidence in my daily functioning?  Then I’m just a do-nothing sloth?  I know enough to know that I want it to be at least around 120, but what if it’s not?  Eek.  Here’s what I do know for sure re: my IQ: Years ago, a school psychologist friend of mine would randomly call me with questions I came to learn were part of a psych battery.  That I answered them suggested I was pretty solid.  But I’m also borderline delayed with visual-motor integration (like it’s not funny low) so THANK STARS I got me some verbal skillz.  Obviously my ability to sustain attention and focus to task is impaired. . .  Squirrel!  Ahem.

If I continued to do something that bored me to tears, I wouldn’t continue to do that something.  It’s why I have the ever-changing career I do.  It’s why I crank out my little blog.  It’s why I’m a people person, because my brain isn’t wired to be a tasks person.  I’m not otherwise creative (although I did come up with this beauty of an idea, because OF COURSE Barenaked Ladies wants an autographed photo of US!  Get it?)


While I obsess over song lyrics, harmonies and instrumentation, hearing any band (and I mean band-band, like actual musicians, not singing groups with sick dance moves who crank out a 22-minute tracked dance performance and call it a concert) live is never the same twice.  Even the same song is never the same twice.  So once and for all, I will answer the quiz questions I get asked.  And I passed the quiz with flying colors, BTW.  All you haters get a D-.

Doesn’t the band think you guys are stalkers?  You’d have to ask them, but I think they appreciate up-front fanatics singing and dancing along to their music.  I buy a ticket like anyone else in the audience; occasionally my commute is slightly longer than most in attendance.  We are all professionals with actual jobs and families.  Honestly, we’re all pretty normal less this collective hobby we share.  We’re moms, librarians, accountants, office managers–funny and smart ones at that.  The band has garnered a small fortune from our collective.  I feel like we’ve maybe helped purchase a couple guitars or pieces of artwork for them, maybe endowed a college fund or two for each of their children, so they’re cool with an extra selfie once in awhile.

What could you possibly ask them to autograph now?  My little kid’s second home run baseball this time.  I had to try to make right the fact that he refers to that particular hit as the home run you weren’t there for.

Follow up question–Where do you put the stuff you’ve gotten signed?  Honestly, much of it rests on a shelf.  I’ve framed some of the posters for display, and the blog post copies I’ve had them sign are at my desk at work.  If I had a bigger house, it’d be cool to have a sewing room.  Except I don’t sew, so I’d just have band stuff hanging up.  I think you get the point.

Why do you have to do those meet & greets?  It’s difficult to explain.  Either you get it or you don’t, and if you don’t, you’ll always think I’m nuts no matter how I would attempt to explain.  It’s cool to meet people who’ve influenced your life through music.  It’s cool to tell famous people the difference they’ve made, and that they listen while I gush.  And hi, I’m 12, it’s cool that my idols give me a nod because they recognize me.

Weren’t you afraid that the girls you met would be weird?  Actually, no.  It’s a kind fan community, but there was something about the way we clicked that was genuine and authentic.  These girls have been here for me in the real world and online during the hardest, saddest days I’ve known.

You’re crazy.  This is not a question.  There was no rising inflection at the end.

Are you like, friends with the band?   No.  They recognize me and they’re awfully kind and generous with their time when I get the chance to speak with them.  They seem to remember that my behavior alternates between stunned mutism and being a smart ass, and will smart ass me right back, which of course I appreciate.  They do recall details about conversations I’ve had with them in the past, and I’m blown away that they do.  But they don’t call me up or message me wondering what I’m up to.  I’m sure.  Although I’m not gonna lie–I’m a pretty good friend to have.  But I am also grounded in reality.  For better or for  worse some days, ’cause reality can be a beast, but my ass is still firmly planted on my rocker.

Doesn’t your husband get pissed you waste so much money?  Waste is such an ugly word, people.  I don’t have the typical girly-girl vices like shoes or clothes or girls’ weekends at the lake.  I’m pretty low maintenance with “stuff” (except hair color as you know–LOVE YOU, Andrea, you’re worth your weight in gold, and I’d pay double what you ask to work your magic), and I forbid my husband from buying me the usual stuff at birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. when I know a concert bender is in the offing.  No gift, but a cake is mandatory for birthdays.  Cake with frosting so solid with sugar and lard your teeth hurt thinking about it.  Frosting is not baked, so escapes my “no bakery” rule.

I just don’t get it.  I just don’t think you understand what question means.

Do you get in trouble for blowing off work?  It’s called personal time and after 25 years, it’s the least they can allow me.  The glamorous life of public servitude slashed my benefits, hacked my take home by over $10K, and have now begun to check my work space for neatness.  PS–they’re not finding any!

What do your kids say?  Do you think you’re setting a bad example?  My kids get it, as much as kids their age can.  No, I’m not setting a bad example. What’s bad here?   I’m modeling carpe diem, yo, and I hope I’m showing them in my own special way to do what makes you happy.

Don’t you ever get sick of it?  No.  If not for the guys, I’d never know my girls.  Because it is a story of friendship now in equal measure with the concert experience itself.   End of story.

But of course it’s not the end of the story.

In other news, cabinets were delivered yesterday, and I’m only moderately irate that there’s a chunk out of one of the drawers.  For the money I’ve paid for these custom pieces of kitchen art, I’m going to be the one to destroy them.  They’re blindingly white, just like I wanted, and I may have metaphorically tinkled when I saw the backsplash tile.  It’s SO ME, and it was the one thing I fought for.  Flooring?  OK.  Cabinet pulls?  Sure, whatever you want.  Counters?  Well. . . I don’t love it, but if you do. . .  But the tile?  Winning that was my anniversary gift last May.  That and maybe a concert ticket or two.  Or four.

 

The Jig Is Up

Sometimes it’s good to be me.  How good?  Well, if you must know, read on.  Here are ten good things, ten random-connected really good things about being me this week.

10.  I hope you remember last year’s very important life lesson, ladies and gentlemen:  Second row is not the front row.  Fifteenth row is not even the same freaking zip code, dammit!, but for the Chicago Barenaked Ladies show, the fifteenth was the first row standing.  The crowd sucked, suuuuuucked at Ravinia, but getting a nod from the band acknowledging our awesomeness (maybe a rich interpretation. . .) made the frozen tundra of reserved seating bearable.  I’m sure that’s what they meant though.  Right?

9.  After piloting a 7.5-hour shoulda-been-a-5-hour drive from Chicago to metro Detroit Friday, I and six of my BNL Besties got chauffeured in Nikki’s tank of an SUV to the gig at Pine Knob by my friend Ginger.  Shortly before we arrived at the venue, MY SONG came up on shuffle, and seven other girls sang Did I Say That Out Loud along with me.  I’m not gonna lie, I had tears in my eyes.  Pretty sure that moment will never happen again.  To me, it was magic.

8.  This:  I love these girls.  And these guys.

“We’re the motherfuckin’ #Ladiesladies, y’all.” –Jen Sanders


7.  Having the intellectual wherewithal to say to my favorite performing artist exactly what I meant to say without feeling like I was going to pass out:  Thank you for writing the soundtrack to my life.  I’ll never be able to express my thanks adequately.  Ever.  Also, thanks for helping me shake those last 2-3 pounds.  I always lose a couple pounds before a concert because I get nervous, so yay for that, but I think we can all agree that saying “thanks for helping me lose weight because I can’t eat from nerves” sounds like a peculiar thing to say to famous musicians.

6.  We giggled like schoolgirls until 3:30 AM and awoke way too early with monstrously insufficient sleep.  Still and all, it was the BEST to wake in a different city with a bunch of girls who love my band as much as I do.  After breakfast, Bek and I flopped down on one of the beds, and promised that we’d be doing the same thing until forever.  Still giggling.  “Do you think they know how geeked up we are to meet them?” we asked one another.  Bek feels pretty sure the jig is up.  Any attempt at playing cool around the band, and trying to sound like the mature professionals we are in the real world, evaporates the instant they enter a room.  Please don’t ever stop touring.  Please, guys.  I have never once taken for granted that the band’s meet and greets are a gift to us fans.  It’s a gift you pay for, true, but that they maintain personal contact with their fans speaks volumes about their generosity and human decency.  Even when especially when they’re sassy.  Yes, Tyler, I’m talking to YOU!

5.  Driving home with Amy from Detroit Metro via downtown Chicago.  The Windy City’s metropolitan skyline is simply amazing, well worth seeing, and I drove nearly straight through at freeway speeds.  If you’ve never driven through Chicago, you can’t understand why this is so major.

4.  Arriving home to a houseful of new wall paint.  If you’ve forgotten about my kitchen remodel, well, clearly you don’t live in my house.  It’s chaos, but the progress is becoming more and more visible.  My husband is a superhero!  After working full time, he comes home and works full time in our kitchen.  There’s something kinda hot about a guy who knows his way around power tools.  And  because people ask, no, my husband isn’t a musician.  Weird, right?  He’s the only guy I’ve ever dated in my entire life not to play in a band.  Truth.

3.  Hearing, “Mom, I’m really excited for camp” Sunday morning as my older son and I packed up his gear.  I cried on the spot, and yes, you are picking up on a watery theme for my week.  He was nervous, I could absolutely sense it, but once his bag was zipped, my big kid was good to go.  Me?  Slightly less enthusiastic from the mom perspective, but jacked up for him.  If he’d shown a trace of nerves, I’d have come undone.  (See above for too little sleep and too many hours in the car).

2.  Millions, OK, hundreds of gleeful, geeky messages exchanged Sunday morning about how much the #Ladiesladies loved and missed each other already.  You just can’t know the energy and love our concentrated hobby engenders.  Learning that the live stream of the show was posted on YouTube, and that Nikki and I made the video during Gonna Walk was a fun bonus.  Nikki is super cute, so you should totally watch it.


Videos never fully capture the energy of a live show, but this shows 15,000 fans doing it right.  Suck it, Ravinia!  Nope, still not quite over that. . .  Who freaking shops for dresses during a concert?  That stupid woman in front of me, that’s who, SITTING there all shopping and some shit.  *huff*

1.  Quote of the weekend–upon learning his camp counselor’s name, my big one says, “I like the name Dillan.  It sounds like a name I can trust.”  I cried and whipped out my iPhone to record him verbatim.  We dropped the tall one off at MDA camp, where crowds of volunteers shepherded us through the registration process, nursing check-in, unloading and medical checks.  These people?  Sincerely worthy of the tears I shed.

I miss my big kid.  He’s been gone before at my parents’ place for big slabs of time, but my parents have a phone.  Camp doesn’t allow it, and that’s the way it should be. I know.  I know he’s great.  I know he’s having the best time–he couldn’t wait to shoo us back to the car Sunday, and immediately got to telling Dillan about his Saturday daytrip to Chicago as he booted a soccer ball around.  I miss hearing, “Hey, Mom” 743 times a day, but as the song goes, absence makes the heart grow fungus.  I miss my kid.  I do.  I miss my girls.  I do.

My co-worker Christine left this for my return to work Monday.  PBNLS is a thing, people.  The struggle is real.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

No, not that one.  My most wonderful time of the year is waaaaay more festive, y’all.  It’s better than Christmas, my birthday and my own personal holiday all bundled into one for me. It’s the Last Summer on Earth. Again.  Turns out that ancient Mayan calendar?  Not so much.

I’m an extremely time-aware person, but this snuck up on me.  The past two months have seen my calendar filled with commitments 4-7 nights per week, and I’m what you might call at the end of my rope, with a weak-ass grip at that. I am trying to keep my good fortune at the forefront of my consciousness as each of these myriad activities is 1) something I sought for my family or myself, and 2) something that reflects scratch-battled hard work and/or an innate gift not to be wasted.

My band went on tour again Friday.  They go on tour and I go on tour–my tour is considerably shorter–3 or 4 to their 30-something or so shows, and I don’t get in front of an audience (but that’s only because I’m not a famous musician or songwriter, and I don’t play guitar, bass or drums, and it would be weird standing up there just kinda looking happy, but dang, I wish I had a talent that could land me there).  Nope, I get behind the wheel of my mobile concert stage Ford Edge, and tour the Midwest.  For the first time in our three year history, every one of the #Ladiesladies will be at one show together.  People ask how we met, and it sounds insane, meeting via the internet sounds insane, right?  It’s not.  Maybe it would have seemed kinda off center to 2012-era Wendy, but not now, with our shared history.  I clicked with my friends immediately.  I get to spend a couple days in Chicago and Detroit with the only other group on the planet who doesn’t think my musical obsession is weird. They also don’t even think it’s an obsession–again, for those of you new here, it’s a concentrated hobby.  Sounds more gentle and reasonable, can I get an ‘amen-ah’?

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The last time I road tripped to meet up with my tribe, we counted it down to the second.  We had a detailed itinerary involving multi-state and international travel.  There was cake, and snacks and beverage representing each of our hometown’s specialities to be shared.

This time?  I’m so overwhelmed with work, baseball, MDA camp preparations, and that darn (and fabulous) kitchen renovation that this LSOE is, holy crap, THIS WEEK!!  I haven’t done a thing.  I don’t even have a yellow shirt to wear (sorry, Ketchup, next time!), and I haven’t even been able to keep up on our message threads.  OK, sure you’re thinking, well Wendy, you seem to have found the time to log a little something here on your stupid blog, you could at the very least read a message or pack a bag or something.

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Found this beauty on laurieschechter.tumblr.com

I’m so excited to see my girls, it nearly overshadows the anticipation of seeing my Ladies.  Did I say that out loud?  (You’ll get it if you know me. . .).

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This.  All of the above.

I’m afraid though that I am going to be the odd one out this time.  I’m laser-focused on the fact that my kid is going to his first sleep-away camp, and *clears throat* he’s going solely because he has muscular dystrophy.  There aren’t enough o’s in soooooooooo to describe how so very excited I am for him to have this opportunity, but (broken record moment) I wish he didn’t have to have it.  Instead of ordering a fun outfit to wear to the show, I’m online ordering my son a Harley-Davidson t-shirt because there’s a Harley night at camp and his prep notes said to wear Harley gear.  I told him he could wear orange and black, which I felt would probably cover the bases.  He insisted on the real deal.  We are not Harley folks, but how could I say no to him?  He wanted to fit in, and instead of bursting out in tears, I hit up Amazon Prime.  BTW, thanks to the generous Harley riders taking the campers out for their spins.  It’s a really terrific thing you’re doing.

Baseball has been a four-night-per-week thing for the last several months, and I’m thrilled for my son.  He has some super teammates whose parents I genuinely enjoy.  That’s a gift.  They’re not a highly competitive bunch in the way of the wins and losses, and I tell myself there is something like grace or class one develops when one learns to lose decently.  At this weekend’s tournament, my little guy pitched the last three innings, and had to hold the opponent back from a top-of-6 rally.  He did and they did.  And there’s nobody better on the bases in the bottom of 6 than his teammate Flash, who stole home for the winning run.  After the game, my son threw himself around me, and began to cry.  “Are you crying because you didn’t hit last ups?” I asked him.  Head shake no.  “Are you crying because you won?”  He nodded furiously and hugged me harder.  You can be a graceful loser and still cry 10-year-old tears of joy when you win.  It’s OK.

After the baseball tournament, instead of stalking Twitter for Barenaked Ladies tour updates and set lists, I spent my afternoon writing my older son letters to be delivered to him at camp.  More to come on that later.  It’s an exercise in anachronism of a sort–writing letters today to be sent with him to camp next Sunday and given to him throughout his week away.  I’m just out of time.  Out of time in the way everyone thinks, but also out of time/sync–I’m not present these days.  I haven’t savored the lead-up to my concerts.  I have worried about my son’s camp.  I have worried about baseball and MDA camp and piano lessons and band concerts and work presentations and parent meetings and everything else under the sun.  I’ve felt guilt at leaving my kid days before his big camp send-off (though I WILL be home before we deliver him to Camp Wonderland) and at every other thing I have done less well than I’d like to.  But now?

Now I think I shall grant myself permission to have some fun.  I’m going to give in to the new live album.  I’m going to let the road trip begin to take over reason, replace it with abandon, and sing and dance my ass off.  I’m going to hug my friends, cry my own tears of joy, and tears of sadness when it’s over.  But it ain’t over, ladies and gentlemen, nuh-uh.  This weekend is exactly what I need.  I’m in charge of margaritas.  Has there ever been a more fun sentence to write than that??  PS–Tyler, Jim, Kevin, Ed–I know you’re dying to play When I Fall Thursday and maybe Friday too, aren’t you?  #Ladiesladies, here we go!

 

 

Hiding Out

One of my recently assigned Blogging 101 tasks was to develop a post from a comment or feedback I’d left for another blogger, to expand my response to their post and/or link back to it.  Something like that.  I’ve discovered some super slick, talented writers in the two weeks I’ve been at it here, but I’m going rogue on the assignment.  I know, right?  I’m usually such an obedient little student.  

I received feedback, game-changer feedback from fellow bloggers. I giggled.  I teared up.  I yelled “holy crap!” out loud.  I sighed in deep, grateful contemplation.  But it’s not them to whom I will respond here, though they’ve inspired me to be sure.  I’ve responded to their unbelievably generous comments, but my responses will never adequately convey the depth of my gratitude.  And why do I type “convery” EVERY SINGLE TIME I attempt to type “convey?”  Same goes for langauge (NEVER, EVER get it right) and reiumbursement (just once, please?).  Ahem.

Instead, I’m going at this in reverse.  A comment that resonated with me in a big way was left by one of my Barenaked Ladies tribemates, who wrote this:

I don’t share on any social media like I once did, and people said that they missed me. I guess the reason I don’t share any more is that I am so concerned about the image my extended family has of me. Once I became Facebook friends with all my brothers and sisters in law and my husband, I don’t want to share my feelings. I feel too exposed. It’s funny how I can share with my BNL friends or theater friends, but I can’t share with the ones I care most about.

She is not alone. She got me to wondering, why do we show only pieces of ourselves to others?  Why do we hide from, or if not hide, not reveal our whole selves to those who allegedly know and love us best?  Why does the blogosphere know more about my feelings on MD than my own mother?  How is it that my tribe of #Ladiesladies (yes, the hashtag is necessary as #Ladiesladies is a real thing–check Twitter if  you doubt me, go ahead, I’ll wait) knows me better than some of the friends I spend time with routinely?

My husband knows I’ve been blogging over a year now, but he only recently asked me for my web address.  I’ve sent links to my parents, but have received not one syllable of feedback from them.  I have a huge passel of in-laws who have read a post here and there, but I don’t talk much to them about my son’s muscular dystrophy.  I don’t talk about it much at all to the people who should be most invested.  That’s weird, right?  My family doesn’t find me inspirational or funny or especially interesting–just Wendy, and this blog?  It doesn’t exist or is deemed self-serving or folly.  Maybe both.  It’s also not that they don’t care, let me be clear, I know they care deeply about us.  It’s not that I need to fulfill a role as the “MD mom” or have that define me within my family or friend groups, I mean, I’m the only one, so obviously the role is no one else’s. It’s not essentially me, but it has become a facet of my essential being.  Why don’t they know it?   Why don’t they know how my kid’s status has changed every, single thing for me?  They do. Do they?

Is it the blissful anonymity the internet affords?  Is the internet invisibility cloak why I can share so openly online?  Where I can drop a comment with my keyboard but not have to speak the words?  I can put something out there, but not have to respond NOW or ever really should I elect not to, as a traditional conversation would demand.  

Online we get to pick. Online I get to share what I want, on my terms. I geek about music with my music people, because they GET ME musically. I geek about writing with writers because they GET ME as a blogger. I geek about MD with, well no one, ’cause well, who would celebrate that?  So I drop my MD ruminations right here, neatly packaged and mostly grammatically correct, and I move onto tasks like laundry.  Maybe that’s it–we seek validation and celebration from sources we are sure to find it. My nearest and dearest don’t spend hours selecting vocabulary words or parsing grammar; they don’t care to discuss why the bass/piano outro closing Brian Wilson is mesmerizing (but they totally should, come on!).  It’s not that they don’t care, they don’t care like I do.  And that’s OK. Right?  Right??

I know who will care though, and I gotta go tell ’em!  Right now.  When you find your tribe, love them hard.  

  

Lyrics I Wish I’d Written and Sung (Alternate Title: Lyrics I Wish I’d Written and Sung and Also I Really Wish I Could Sing)

I began a really angry post about the end of our visit to the dentist today.  The kids went to use the restroom after their teeth cleaning, and while they were out, one of the hygienists asked after my son’s health status.  I said he was mostly fine, but that there were days, mercifully few in number, where he floated out there seemingly grasping for a life preserver.  She replied in an oh-so-chipper (read: utterly clueless) tone, saying that it was OK, at least it would get better.  Ummmm. . .

So you have that millisecond where you think, “Do I?  Should I?” and before you know you’ve even answered your internal inquiry, you hear yourself saying, “Actually no, it won’t get better, but we are trying to help him find ways to make things as easy as possible.”

And then the allied health professional (the restraint I’m showing NOT putting fakey quotes around professional here. . .) responds by saying, “Well, they’ll probably have a cure in like ten years because of all the medical advances.”

“Like ten years??” Well, wouldn’t that be the fucking awesomest?   It would.  But in the meantime–those of us grounded in reality?  We hope for the best, like always.  We love like crazy, you know, like it’s Thursday.  We understand that people mean well and try to be upbeat and supportive of things they don’t grasp fully.  People say things not to be dismissive, but because they HAVE TO ASK, even when they don’t actually always want to hear the answer.  It’s OK.  I get it.

So instead of the direction in which I began, I edited.  Edited heavily.  And by heavily, I mean I pretty much started over.  I thought instead of words that do make me feel upbeat and supported–words to some of the songs that sing my stories.  Without further ado, I present another episode of things I wish I’d written.  PS–I think the title of this post might just be my favorite yet. I did write that all on my own.

Hide me in a hiding place where good sense never goes.  Come ON, it’s genius, and we’ve all hidden there. More than once, probably more than twice. . .

Love will give us heart and soul and take us home. I loved it so much I bought the shirt.

I want more than ever before, I want gravy on satisfaction.  (OK, I kinda wrote that one. . .)

Why would I fall back into that shitstorm, I mean what went wrong?  Move forward, people. And we’re walking, we’re walking.

Our secret’s the star of the show.  Are you kidding me?  Every new love, every first everything that makes your tummy flutter.  You think you’re the only one who’s ever felt that whatever it is that steals your breath and makes your heart beat like a hummingbird’s. *sigh*

Drunk on wine, I’m amazing.  I totally am.  (BTW, that’s not at all the message the song intends.)

I’ve been dumped, I’ve been kicked around, now I’m ready for the big rebound.  Pretty well summed up last year, and became my rallying cry and MD/OT/PT anthem.  I would bet I’m the only person on the planet who cried during its performance in concert last tour.  Four times.

Bye-bye self-respect, I haven’t had much of it since you left, I missed out on the best of you.  He sure did.  Ancient history, but I still love the lyric.

When I come home late at night, and you’re in bed asleep, I wrap my arms around you, so I can feel you breathe.   Who doesn’t love an ’80s hair band power ballad!!  I still love this lyric, which transports me to my early 20s when insecure me longed for someone–anyone–to feel like this about me.  Long after the ’80s, I DID.  Now I know better than just hoping for an anyone, but this line is no less sweet to me.

Love’s a gamble, they say you can win the lottery. It depends on what you bet.  I won.  No, not the PowerBall.

All I want is a place in your heart to fall into, all I need is someone to love, and tonight it’s you.  Sing it to me, Robin Zander. A very intoxicated 22-year-old me met the Cheap Trick front man in a tiny little bar one night, and he was indescribably cool. He was way more decent to drunk, young me than I am sure I deserved.  That voice!!  Cool and kickass and loaded with enough swagger to knock you right out.

Anyone perfect must be lying, anything easy has its cost, Anyone plain can be lovely, anyone loved can be lost.  Perfection.  Right?

It’s hard to keep your mouth shut, harder still to make noise. But we can’t have the perfect 20-20 hindsight that our fate enjoys.  Word.

All the world’s indeed a stage, and we are merely players, Performers and portrayers, Each another’s audience outside the gilded cage.  Limelight changed my life. While I love this line, what I worship most about this song is one singular note in the guitar solo that screams, yet somehow rings mournfully while it hollers against Geddy’s bass line leading back into the chorus. GOOSE. BUMPS. Still. Every single time.

Worked out that I’ve probably made a mistake for every thing I’ve done right.  Probably more in favor of the I screwed up side of the equation if I really thought about it, so let’s not!  I would D. I. E. to hear this song live.

It’s the perfect time of year, somewhere far away from here. I feel fine enough I guess, considering everything’s a mess.  Sure, we launch our lingerie onto the stage when this song is played, but it’s actually a happy-sounding little tune about depression.  To me, this lyric perfectly captures that malaise, that feeling of complete inert-ness, when you know enough to know you should want to get out of bed, but just don’t believe you possibly could.

I will shoulder the weight you’ll need. I will shoulder the winter snow.  What we do to honor those we love, and to help those we love work through loss.

The odds are that we will probably be all right.  And then sometimes the odds tell you to go fuck yourself.

But I’ll throw my hands up and drag myself through, And I’ll kick my feet cause I’ve learned to crawl.  Perseverance.

Despite the pretty dress and curls, you don’t throw like other girls, you follow through.  Give it up for strong, smart girls, even when we are breaking your heart.  If we are breaking your heart, you probably had it coming.  You want to come on back?  You gotta earn it, pal.

I’ll have a happy new year next year, ’cause things aren’t going good ’round here.  I discovered this song in June, 2015, and glommed onto it like it was my job, and with it, pinned my hopes for a better 2016.  So far, so good this spin around the sun.

I get a feeling when I look at you, wherever you go now I want to be there too, They say we’re crazy but I just don’t care, And if they keep on talking still they get nowhere.  I LOVED the Tracey Ullman version of They Don’t Know, and I heard it on the radio on my way home from one of my first dates with my husband, after not having heard it for probably 15 years.  I SWORE It was a sign. Tom was Paul McCartney to my bathrobe-clad (though not pregnant) Tracey cart dancing in the grocery store aisle.  They DON’T know!  And when you’re crazy in love?  You’re certain you’re the only one who’s ever felt that way, that completely, that perfectly.

Don’t know what’s got ahold of me, it’s greater than gravity. *drops mic*

Because Crossing Four States and an International Border is Totally Normal

Other than the day of my brother’s wedding and those two times I delivered babies, I have not missed a work meeting in twenty-five years.  I drag myself in no matter what, even if on death’s door, because I AM A PROFESSIONAL and my development, reputation and conduct matter to me.  Even as recently as last school year, I wouldn’t have considered it.  Well, I’d’ve considered it–come on, who doesn’t daydream happily about blowing off work once in awhile?–but I would not have acted on it.  I suffer no illusions that if got hit by a bus or was extradited to Barbados, the school district or the speech-language department would be unable to recover from my absence.  If recent history has taught me nothing else, it’s that the American middle class worker doesn’t matter much.  This statement is breaking me, but I can’t say it’s untrue, or at least that it feels untrue.  It feels very real, but it is perhaps a subject to be fleshed out more fully at some other time.  Anyway, if you’d suggested to me five years ago that I’d miss a work meeting for a concert, I’d have scoffed.  Me?  No way. If you’d suggested that I would be heading to another country for a concert, I’d have laughed loudly, and I do have a loud laugh, especially at preposterous notions such as this.  I’m sure.  Who does that?  I love the music, and I never tire of hearing it, especially live, but to drive farther than a few hours?  And absent myself from a professional meeting in so doing?  Who does that?  Fiscal Year 2016 Me does that.  My-son-was-diagnosed-with-a-progressive-disease-this-year-and-since-nothing-is-a-guarantee-I’m-gonna-carpe-the-fuck-out-of-this-diem me.  I need these socks, people:

I already have socks that read, “Stay away from Assholes, I’m Gonna Get Shit Done-Later and Thou Art The Bomb,” all gifts from friends who recognize humor and the importance of well-placed profanity. These I might just have to purchase for myself to commemorate this road trip.

Most of my friends and family (except my husband, who’s curiously and astonishingly supportive of my road trip) believe we’ve arrived at that moment: the one marking when I’ve finally, completely lost my mind.  The quest for its recovery is taking me to Toronto, they say.  Yes, Toronto, Ontario.  Canada.

Before it would’ve been just the music, and the music is a lot. A lot.  It’s everything really. But it’s no longer just the music–now it’s also my tribe.  Runner Aims from 90 minutes north of me is driving to Milwaukee.  She and I are cruising together toward the Detroit area where wondermom and supercool (yes, each a brand new, just-for-me compound word) Bek lives for the Thursday night sleepover party with new girl “My Autocorrect is Drunk” Lori, and my BNL BFF, Nikki, coming north from southern Ohio.  Friday morning the five of us make our border run and meet up with Janice, Marie, Chantal, Katie and Sarah from New York, Quebec, Ontario, and the UK.

None of this would have been possible had it not been for the electronic written word.  The first not-work-related thing I’d ever had published was for a fan site. I never told a soul then that I’d written it, but in part because of it, I’ve come to know people from around the globe.  Ten of us, part of a tribe collectively known as the #Ladiesladies–we even have a uniform–will populate the first few rows of seats in Toronto’s Massey Hall Friday night.  How did I get here?

How did I evolve from uber-conscientious speech pathologist me into a woman eager to travel through four states and cross an international border to not work?  Music and friends: that’s what sparked the evolution.  And I don’t even think it’s weird.  Not one bit.  I realize I’m in the sizable minority in thinking it’s totally normal.  I wear a somewhat sheepish expression as I talk about it to colleagues–the men and women I’m leaving high and dry for Friday’s meeting (because at work I’m supposed to look a little embarrassed, a little “hey I know it’s some kind of mid-life crisis escapade, my folly” which, PS–I am TOTALLY NOT),  and I know some of them most of them think I’m nuts, and that my professionalism has taken a nosedive.  That’s OK.  Because I also know that there are a few of them rooting me on, cheering quietly and perhaps clandestinely, because it’s so unlike what I’ve been and maybe feels a little bit reckless, and maybe just maybe, they want to feel a little reckless too.  So really what I am is a role model.  YES.

As I’ve written previously, 2015 has been in some respects a nightmare.  I stood up in front of a couple hundred people announcing that very thing–that it’s been a nightmare, but I also said that I got to pick how I reacted to 2015.  For this week I choose abandon.  I choose driving too far and friends and love and Toronto and songs and lyrics that sing my stories and guitars and hugs and dancing and staying up too late.  I choose happy (and I sorta don’t choose but got ’em anyway a little bit of nerves, but I’m going to try like hell to choose brave over nerves).  I choose happy.

Oh, and Tyler, Jim, Kevin, Ed–as you’re assembling your guest list for the Friday after show?  It’s W-e-i-r.  You know, ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ and ‘W’ for me because I’m such a rule-breaker.  Like “weird” but without the ‘d’ at the end, so there’s a helpful mnemonic for you.  I choose hope too.  And gravy.  I want gravy on satisfaction (I still think my misheard lyric works better, just sayin’).  See you Friday night after the show!  I’m really not crazy--it’s called hope, people–though some believe delusional still fits. But I choose hope. Hope is greater than, aww nevermind, you know how this ends, don’t you?

Thievery: It’s NASCAR For Fat, White Women

I suck at Twitter. 140 characters are simply not enough for me. I want not to suck a Twitter, because I think it’s kind of cool to connect with people I otherwise would never be able to meet, but brevity is not in my wheelhouse, and my hashtags are amusing to me alone. Recently a casual acquaintance of mine who apparently reads my lame-o tweets from time to time but doesn’t follow me, because I am simply not captivating enough at or under 140, messaged me with some tone I might add, writing, “You know that you’re a plagiarist, right?”  The message was prompted by this tweet:

“You’re lucky they don’t sue you for intellectual property infringement :-)” The smiley face emoticon was cute.  Really?  Well, I suppose so.  I DID take the name of my blog from the lyrics of my favorite song, so yeah, Ed, I stole from you.  He wasn’t the first in history to string those words together either though, so to my accuser, I say “suck it.”  Because I am classy and used the f-word like three times in my last post, and “suck it” is lighthearted enough when said with a smile not to offend deeply.  I’ve used Barenaked Ladies song titles as blog post titles, so yeah, Ed, thanks for not coming after me for those too.  I admit wrongdoing, and further, I’ll admit that thievery and copyright infringement (Is that even the thing I’ve done?  Larceny is stealing property from someone, so it’s actually probably not larceny, but what is the name of the crime I’ve committed?  Help me out, legal eagles.) hadn’t occurred to me at the time I launched my creative writing therapy.  I launched the blog four days after learning my son was afflicted with a debilitating disease and I was broken.  “Launch” is awfully darn self-important,  Wendy, go on with your bad self.  Who am I kidding?  Writing forced me to stop crying long enough to focus on the screen, diverting my full attention from the diagnosis.  Writing saved me then and does still, and nobody reads this anyway.  Rest assured that if Ed Robertson or a member of his or the band’s legal team ask me to cease and desist, I will.

I DO steal words all the time.  Don’t you?  None of us owns language, and few of us express truly original, never before heard ideas in 2015.  I don’t consider myself a plagiarist because the content of my rants posts is developed in my head and heart, and I pull from the only lexicon I know.  The worst part of this freaking tweet is that I didn’t put a period at the end of the second sentence.  Dammit, @schwinngirl20!  See?  I suck at Twitter.  Here are a few things I wish like hell I had written, but instead, have STOLEN for inclusion here.  Because apparently thieving is how I roll–

  1. This post title.  Not the thievery part; that’s just an ordinary word, people.  The NASCAR part was a gift from my boss, and as she said the words, I whipped out my phone, typing the title of a post I knew I’d develop some day in the near future.  According to her, it’s a reference to scrapbooking.  I don’t craft (yesterday’s news), but I know from others that scrapbooking can be damn near bloodsport for those who do it well.  I can’t speak for the nation of scrapbookers, and I seriously doubt they’re all caucasian and overweight.  See?  Stereotypes are dangerous, everyone.  But these words strung together in this order belong to someone else.  Sue me.  Actually, please don’t.  I took a huge pay cut a few years ago, and seriously have not recovered financially yet.  The title is apropos of absolutely nothing.  No need to dig here.
  2. This card.  It came in the mail this week from my best friend and I LOVE it.  And her. 
  3. These words from my dear friend in the form of an email follow-up to my previous post.  I love her.

    We might not have met earlier in life but we found each other when it mattered. . .  As for your son I remain quiet because I don’t know what to say. But here are my only thoughts on it. He has you. And you have him. And if he needs anything right now it is a kick ass mom that will fight for him to have as much as a normal life as possible. And I think that’s why you guys were brought together. Because he was going to need someone like you down then line. And he has it.

  4. Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson, a writer whose words matter to me.  I haven’t even read it yet, but it’s perfect, I know it is.  Hers was the second blog I’d ever read because a friend recommended this post to me. The first time I read it, I laughed so hard I woke up my entire family.  I’ve recommended it to anyone who will listen, and have received no fewer than seven Beyoncés as a thank you for the recommendation.  I’m going to my first book signing next week to hear and meet her.  I’m not super smooth around famous people, and I’m nervous.  BUT I have long said that we should tell people who mean something to us that they mean something to us, so I’m pulling up my big girl panties.

I think that about wraps up my mea culpa.  Anyone who knows me knows any theft of any type I may or may not have committed is purely coincidental.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is unintended.