Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's time to make my boys a mix tape.

I have a lot of moments where the past intersects with the present in completely opposite ways.

Music, is so much more that the radio, where all I hear is Sleep Country commercials and "Black Hole Sun"

Music is so much more than a means to name drop the cool groups you listen to.

It's part of my DNA, and in someways, OK many ways, I am a bit autistic about music.

But that's a good thing!!!

I don't mean this to be boastful, braggy, or without modesty. I started playing by ear when I was 3. Soon piano lessons followed, and as it turned out I could carry a tune vocally as well. That's from my mother. She is a lovely soprano.I had a lot of fun singing at weddings and being the acolyte who led the church hymnals after a night of partays and sneaking out. So if you've known me a long time, you know most of brain storage is shelved with music. I can remember keys in the songs of life,up in my head, and often as a kid ,I would run to the piano to verify that it was indeed the same note. If you're going to have music in your head all day, it's a bonus when it's in the right key.

Now I ask you this:

Do you ever have those moments where you're with your 5 year old, or your 7 year old and you think you've entered the Twilight Zone of, "I can't believe I'm pushing my offspring around in a grocery cart listening to INXS "The One Thing" and I can't believe that this is what they are playing at the grocery store!!! Don't read me wrong. Total upgrade!!! I went to Trader Joes and rocked out to Billy Idol "Don't need a Gun" and The Kinks "Come Dancing" while my kids screamed for Pirate Booty and candy. The Kinks made the melt downs less annoying.

I've worked for the same company long enough to see a "Before": muzak and excessive piano renditions of "Satin Doll" And an "After" tasteful interludes of piano standards that we love and treasure ,co-mingling with Radiohead,"Let Down", a magical piece from OK Computer that was the highlight of my afternoon while getting coffee. This morning was an expception, the AM playlist (prior to store opening) was some sort of Time/LIFE Soft Sounds Mix (Micheal McDonald "What a Fool Believes"....I like that tune, and Air Supply "Lost in Love"...whatever.

I have to giggle sometimes when I'm doing my job, matching a foundation shade and listening to Led Zeppelin "D'yer Maker". I wanna belt out like Robert Plant, and I am thinking how many bottles of Bartles & James got drank up to this as a teenager, while some kids parents were out of town for the weekend. I just roll with it, when I'm talking about anti aging and "Boys Don't Cry" strums up... it's a bit surreal. But I love it!

My boys need mix tapes. Not a laptop that shuffles. Not a playlist where I have dragged the mouse and put songs in a certain order and there it sits on a screen. I will go to my dad's old pawnshop. Where I always got my gear as a kid. Our friend bought it from my brother after my dad died. Cassettes, or cd's to cassette. Whatever. I think it's still possible. I can't believe that I don't even know if something I did quite compulsively is still operational, without too much hassle! The hassle doesn't bother me.

I just want Wyatt & Charlie to experience how you can find music and keep music like you keep books. I will decorate them all colorfully and put some tunes together. I have not a clue if they will like the mix.

Wyatt, he's a mystery. Very little in the way of revelations about songs that make him smile. I do know that he likes "Heroes & Villains" by The Beach Boys. As well as "Boggis, Bunce & Bean", but if you start to sing along the auditory clamor is too much and he basically tells me to STFU.

Charlie, well he's my musical theatre fella. He could end up like his mom and spend many years in local productions of "Oliver", "A Christmas Carol" and "South Pacific". He doesn't mind if I sing to him.

A few years back I bought them "Maurice Sendak's Really Rosie". I had so many fun times listening to this. I had a grand time revisiting "Chicken Soup With Rice"! They were non plussed. Although, if you ever read the book "Pierre: A Cautionary Tale" you would almost think that kid was somewhere on the spectrum.

Tonight as we were driving home from Tacoma, all 4 us in the Ford, I had a hankering to listen to a few songs by The Verve: "Sonnet" & "The Drugs Don't Work". I remember being 22,23, I was Clay's girlfriend and this was the shit! That's a whole nother mix tape.

2011, here we are, on our way home, kids strapped in car seats, yelling about various sensory related pet peeves (all 4 of us), and I'm almost 37! I could end this by saying it's a bittersweet symphony, but I have heard it too many times. So have you.

I'll end this by saying that this: If my kids can figure out how to hold my phone hostage, and beat the angry birds out of it, they can learn how to press record and play.

Clay will show them how to make some RAD cover art ,with TMBG classics, saturated heavily on the playlist. But I will certainly be there to ensure a confusing blend of Hall n' Oates "Kiss on my List" and The Cure "Six Different Ways". Essentials every 6 year old should have in their tape recorder.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All that energy has to go somewhere

I have not picked up the computer pen for a while. This entry is a carry over from the last, and then we'll find something else to discuss.
Mortality. I don't like it.

When I was 5, I was stunned, saddened and hyperventilating with tears to learn from the neighbor boy that "we're all gonna die someday ya know". I was sitting on my back porch, sunshine in bloom, and BTW, you're gonna die. I remember even then thinking at 5, "I have no control over this." Sure as we grow up we learn about prevention, health, wellness, being present, not worrying about death and on and on...

I have looked death in the eyes many times. Grandparents that passed too soon. A beautiful cousin that had a tragic end, at our neighbors house on the 4th of July. She was 9. My brother's close friend hit by a car in 5th grade and buried with GI Joe and a fishing pole, as tokens from my brother. I had a stillborn in 2006 that I am grateful that I was able to deliver naturally, knowing his fate. To feel Henry coming through my body and out into the world, alive for less than a minute, was a feeling I can still feel today.

Then there is Dad. Gone too soon. Too young. Day after Thanksgiving. Last time I saw him alive. November 24th, 2005. Dad had trouble with his speech for years after his 2001 stroke.In his last words to me he was stammering, stuttered, holding my hand and gently asking me to stay a little longer.In hindsight it was a peaceful request spoken like none other from him.I was the retail asshole, with impatient urgency and anxiousness about next days workload, who was like "Dude, I gotta be at work at 6am, duh, Black Friday." I felt guilty but never thought for a moment that this was our last goodbye.
Prior to his stroke dad was robust with wit, honesty, insight. He still had it in him, he just couldn't keep up with the fast paced conversations. I remember asking him what his thoughts were on 9/11 shortly after. He didn't have much to say. But my mother later confided that he cried and cried as he watched the coverage. This brought me much closure to learn. To not have him to discuss 9/11 with, was a loss all it's own. I wanted to listen to his perspective, insight and how the world could change as a result. Bob Burton was my go to on all things from Carl Sagan, the galaxy, is there a God, politics, Nixon,Carter, Reagan,Clinton, democrats, republicans, not aligning with a political party. He was my touchstone every night as we both smoked Marlboro lights on the back swing. No not healthy for either of us. But I was 18, in rehab, and he was helping me to stay motivated to find a new path.

He was so proud when I went to start working at Nordstrom. My father, kicked out of high school, finished with a GED and went to Bates where he studied mechanical engineering. He was gifted. He loved that I was going to work for a company where it was not about your pedigree of degrees. He challenged me to read "In Search of Excellence" and I still have that book he gave to me along with his first copy of "I Gave Them A Sword" (Nixon/Frost). When I had been accepted to WWU, but was sucking ass in Chemistry and risking a late graduation despite my overall GPA, he worked with me to PASS. He could figure out mathematical problems that were on scale with "Good Will Hunting" . Like Will Hunting, it wasn't his upbringing that gave him those gifts. My dad, nor his 3 other brothers, lived a charmed life. Theirs was a youth spent, with parents who either punished them, or left them to their own devices, to fend for themselves. I know that if Bob was here, he would be such an advocate for Wyatt, and he would bring out the best in Wyatt's wiring. They would likely be building a car together (Dad rebuilt 3 of them).

I've always felt that my dad was right by me at all times, after his passing. I have had some spiritual conversations with people who have told me about the older man they see as my spirit guide, they see a cane, and a description of his ring, in detail, and they tell me his light is so strong with me.This has happened on more than one occasion. Starting back a few years ago. First time with a woman I was putting makeup on, she nailed it. They have brought personal messages that only I would understand. Last time , I learned that my father is at a place where he feels he can step away from me a little bit, because he has great work to focus his efforts on. Whether I've lost you at this point and your thinking "geeze Holly, enough with the Sylvia Brown crap", there is something to be said for learning that when your soul leaves your body your are still purposeful and find new paths and new roles.

My dad was not religious, not exactly spiritual, had more questions than answers about one God. So I never really got that insurance policy from him," you're goin' to heaven, fear not death." But I don't fear that all we'll ever be is fertilizer after this life is over. So when my life is over ....at 105...I hope that I am doing what I imagine my dad doing now, flying over rooftops of all the people he loves, dropping in like Santa Claus down the chimney, or Mary Poppins with her bag of magic, and bringing them gifts of light and peace.