I spent so much time yesterday thinking about writing a post, I thought I had. That’s the problem with an overactive imagination: sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the stuff you do and the stuff you think about.
While I was out running a couple of errands yesterday afternoon, this song came on my iPod. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about things and the meanings we assign to them. A good chunk of this afternoon was spent cleaning some silver goblets my grandparents brought back from some European trip. My mother got them after Grandpa died, but hadn’t done much with them. I was pleased at how nice they look with my teapots in the display cabinet I got at Ikea. The goblets in and of themselves don’t mean all that much–there’s no special family association attached to them–and they’re not worth much money. But they represent a time and people who matter to me.
It’s funny how things take on such important meanings, how we anthropomorphize them until they seem like members of the family. I know there are mugs that I will probably mourn if I break them. Books with battered covers and notes in the margins that mean more than anything the author wrote. Stuffed animals that still end up sleeping in my bed when I’m feeling a little sad.
When my mom had her cataract surgery a week or so ago, she was told to wear loose comfortable clothing. I loaned her a flannel shirt that had belonged to my father. It was a gift that was too large, and he’d never actually worn it; but I like flannel so I kept it. I wear it as a light coverup for when it’s too cool for just a t-shirt, but too warm for a sweater. Mom figured that Dad had been there for her last surgery, so why shouldn’t he come along for this one, too.
So we’ve attached my father to a shirt he never even wore. I’m pretty sure he’d think that was kind of dumb. And that he’d be secretly kind of pleased. He didn’t strike people as especially sentimental, but he never gave away that shirt even though it was too big. My sister-in-law gave it to him, so that made it important, I guess. Things are just things in the end. My disaster plan is grab everything that breathes and important paperwork and get out; the stuff can just burn (or crumble into the sea, or get buried in the rubble, or whatever). But I know later on, I’d go sit in the ashes of whatever was left and cry for all the tangible memories that I’d lost. That’s all these things are, after all. Memories we can hold in our hands
Poems are just songs without music. Words spoken with rhythm and rhyme, incantations sung with power and grace. And Maya Angelou had one of the most musical voices in poetry.
I don’t remember when I first heard this poem, but it’s always been the one I associate the most with her. I’ve never read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, so Maya Angelou has always been her poetry and voice for me. In school, we sometimes watched videos from a series she made about literature, and she helped bring it to life for me. (I don’t remember the name of the series, or what grade I was in; I think it might have been something she did for PBS or educational purposes.) The strength and joy she conveyed with just the tone of her voice, the love of language and writing that poured from her like light, that’s what made her special to me and so many others.
It was announced that Angelou passed away early this morning at her home in Winston-Salem, NC. And although her body is gone, her spirit will always live on in her words and teachings. My heart goes out to her family and friends.
I’m just done.
I know. I’ve said it before. Unfortunately, because this country has its head so far up the NRA’s ass we can see their lips move as they lie to us, I’ll probably have to say it again. Soon. My guess is, sometime within the next six months.
I’ve been struggling for the last few days to articulate my reaction to the latest shooting rampage by a psychopath. I’m still not sure how to say what I really feel like I need to say. This nightmare has again highlighted the need for better mental health care in this country, although I’m not sure how much that would’ve helped in this case. This monster seemed to be able to pass himself off as relatively normal. He probably fooled every therapist he ever had. (I commend his parents for seeing that there was a problem, and trying to get law enforcement’s attention.) But I can’t shake the idea that somewhere in this messed up kid’s life, someone with the right training and right access could’ve done something to stop him before he got started.
But what we really need is to ban guns. Right now. All of them. Every single fucking weapon needs to be gone.
I don’t care about whatever pathetic excuses the NRA or stupid fucks who own guns are going to try to come up with to justify the fact that this horrific crime was committed with guns that were legally purchased and registered. I don’t care about the Second Amendment. Repeal it. It has long since outlived both its usefulness and our ability to properly interpret what a “well-regulated militia” is. (FYI, in my mind that means the cops and the standing military, neither of which we had when the Second Amendment was written.) I just don’t care anymore. I’m so sick of this, so furious to see more parents burying their babies, that nothing anyone will try to say can change my mind. My hatred of all guns is now written in stone.
Sorry. I tried to be articulate, and I came away with more raging. But I am going to start researching how to get the Second Amendment repealed. It seems like that might be the only thing we can do to end this horror.
I’ve been too neglectful lately. I kind of stopped posting on weekends, but didn’t say anything to y’all. I think weekends will have irregular posts from now on; I’ll at least try to do reposts if I don’t have anything to say. And I think Freaky Fridays will become an irregular feature, too. As much weirdness as there is in the music world, I don’t notice or care about all of it. (Yeah, I said it. There’s music out there I just don’t care about. Not everything makes it on to my radar.)
But this song seemed appropriate today. There are so many people remembering the loved ones they’ve lost to war, for one thing. Patriotic music isn’t really my thing, but remembering people is. (I’ve had Dad on my mind a lot, although no more than usual, honestly.) And I spent a little time going through some of my knickknacks and doodads that I’ve had put away since I re-did the house last summer. I was dusting and sorting some things, trying to gauge what kind of shelves or displays I’ll need for my bedroom. (New furniture is a ways off yet, but I wanted to know how much I’ll need to plan/save for).
It was nice to see those thing again. A couple of music boxes that my aunt gave to me during my teenage years. Dolls my grandparents brought back from international trips. A glass rose I bought from a stand on my college campus. Teddy bears, and a few pictures. And a whole passel of Disney figurines. They don’t seem to make them anymore, although I find them once in a while when I visit Disneyland/California Adventure. Small, glazed porcelain figures of various characters. Starting sometime in my teens, I’d get at least a couple every time I went (they generally weren’t very expensive). There’s a lot of memories wrapped up in all that porcelain and glass Things that make me smile. Some things I don’t remember how I got, it’s been so long. Things I think I’ve had my whole life.
That’s what memorial day is about. Remembering the people and emotions behind the official photographs and war memorials. Remembering the toys and baby shoes as well as the medals and flags. I think the media and people get so wrapped up in being patriotic that they forget the people. The things they once held and loved aren’t the same, but at least they’re tangible reminders of the person behind the patriotic rhetoric.
I suppose the same could be said for the people killed yesterday by yet another psychopath with legally owned guns. (And boy, oh boy, was this one out of his ever lovin’ mind.) There will be public memorials and endless interviews with friends and family, but the real memories will be left in the things these young people cherished. And in the hearts of their loved ones.
For some reason this afternoon, I started thinking about some crappy things that happened in junior high. It was right after my afternoon nap, and it seems to have left me unsettled. (Or maybe it was the nap; I could just be sleep-lagged.) I always feel sad when I think of that time. I was such an awkward kid–simultaneously too sheltered and too smart for my own good. I tried so hard to fit in, to wear the cool clothes, to be liked and popular. But what I couldn’t realize then was that I didn’t fit with the mainstream. My personality and intellect would always keep me kind of on the fringes.
And kids are so cruel. I was ignored and rejected by a lot of people before I found a circle of friends that accepted me for the weirdo I was. I can’t even really say I was bullied; although there were a couple of rotten apples that gave me a hard time, I was mostly invisible. Add in all the hormones and insanity of puberty, and you’ve got a toxic mix of insecurity that I’ve never quite purged from my system. I suspect most of my feelings of inadequacy stem from this time in my life. Whenever I’m reminded of it for some reason, I feel that old not-quite-good-enough feeling.
The Replacements are a good tonic for this feeling. This song in particular reminds me that there’s a whole lot of other people who don’t quite fit anywhere, who feel alone and misunderstood by the world. Aching to be. Just like me.
I’m feeling just a tad stressed out right now. Mom had cataract surgery yesterday (all went well, but she’s been a bit cranky). I want to help her feel better, but there really isn’t that much I can do right now. This morning, I noticed that I could smell gas inside my dryer when I took some laundry out. This promptly freaked me out. The guy from the Gas Company fixed it without much trouble (the connection wasn’t tight enough), but he decided to shut off my water heater because there weren’t “combustion vents” in the doors we had put up to conceal it. So I had to call my contractor out to fix the problem. Luckily, I do still have water and gas, just no hot water. I called the Gas Co. a little bit ago to schedule an appointment for tomorrow to get the pilot light relit. They’ll be here sometime between 7AM and 5PM.
I hate problems! I hate change, too, but if it’s change I planned on, I can at least take steps to relieve my stress and anxiety. I know my problems are tiny compared to so many others, but I really do kind of flip out. I’m not quite ready for a straitjacket, and my hair isn’t standing on end. Yet. I just want the rest of the week to go quietly and smoothly. Actually, I want the rest of my life to go quietly and smoothly, but I’ll settle for the week.
I have exactly one word to describe the Dahlmanns: Awesome.
I was up late on Saturday night, listening to Little Steven’s Underground Garage. He plays some great Rock music–deep cuts from famous names, songs from the almost famous, and retro sounds from newer artists. The Dahlmanns are one of the newer artists, although you might not notice it at first. Their sound is so pure, so perfectly styled, it’s easy to think you’re listening to a garage band from the mid-60s.
But I’m not sure there were that many garage bands playing perfect American Rock in Norway back then. That’s about all I’ve got on the Dahlmanns so far, other than their music is some of the snappiest and best I’ve heard in a while. I literally have trouble staying still when I’m listening to them (and you know I went to itunes as soon as I knew who they were and downloaded a few songs). You just gotta dance. The song I first heard was “He’s a Drag” (you can hear it on Spotify, if you have an account; I don’t), but I’ve loved everything else so far.
One of the most fun is their stellar cover of Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road,” made famous by the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation (the
funny first one where they drive to Wally World). It’s loose and bright, but still manages to maintain some of Buckingham’s trademark weirdness. Really, you won’t be disappointed with the Dahlmanns, so any song you pick will be great.