An Ode to Guy Clark

guyclark

Oh Guy Clark.

You wordsmith.

You craftsman.

You Texan.

A few years ago I went to a show at the Country Music Hall of Fame. They have an “artist in residence” series in the Ford Theater there. The place seats like 200 people and these amazing people play there once a week for a month….it’s one of the ways that Nashville IS Music City. One of the first people to be the “artist in residence” was Guy Clark.

I hate to admit it, but for most of my life I’ve taken Guy Clark for granted. His music has been a constant for me, and I didn’t even know it. So many hours on road trips listening to Jerry Jeff Walker cassettes with my dad and I didn’t even know how those words were permeating my being, let alone who wrote so many of them. I knew I liked any song that talked about vanilla wafers, but didn’t know of my fondness for the man who wrote them.

Upon getting immersed into the world of “Alt-country” or “Americana” or whatever you want to call it, Guy Clark is like one of the apostles.  While standing in the Georgia Theater in Athens GA selling CDs for a band I loved, “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” came on and I just started singing it. I don’t recall hearing the song before, but I knew it and it knew me. The headliner of the show that night was from Texas and he happened to walk by while I was singing. He nodded at me and said “Ain’t nothing better then Guy Clark!” I nodded in agreement and made a mental note to find some more Guy Clark music ASAP.

A couple years after that fateful night I was in the Ford Theater. I have only fleeting memories of that evening because it was all simply TOO GOOD to take in. I know that Rodney Crowell performed (always a good thing) and that Guy called Vince Gill out of the crowd to join him onstage (also a good thing!). But the clearest memory I have is the feeling in my stomach when I heard him sing the opening lines to “Dublin Blues.”

I wish I was in Austin
In the Chili Parlour Bar
Drinkin’ Mad Dog Margaritas
And not carin’ where you are

My stomach dropped, in that horrible yet wonderful way it does when you are on a roller coaster.  Those 21 words encapsulated my general feelings that day more then any I could have come up with myself.  I looked at this man who is 15 days older then my father and fell madly in love. I’d heard the song countless times, but that night, sitting in that room, it was all different.

I have since seen Guy play a few different times and a few different places. I love to hear his stories about his home here in Nashville during the ’70s, which sounds like my dream scenario of a “Home for Wayward Musicians.” I love hearing the way he talks about his wife Susanna.  I long to own one of his handmade guitars because I am sure that it is built in such a way that even I could make beautiful music with it.

The life that Guy Clark writes about isn’t always easy and isn’t always fun, but it’s always good and it’s always the way it should be, whether we like it or not. His song “The Cape” in my opinion, distills his general theories on life in the following words:

He’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold you breath
Always trust your cape

1guyclark

Come take a ride on the hormone coaster!!!

It’s week 3 of my little packet of birth control pills. Sometimes I’d like to think that I take BC to allow me to be kinda slutty, but it’s mostly because my periods have a mind of their own. (overshare…sue me!)

However, these tiny little pills have a strange effect over me for one week every four weeks. Week 3. Sometimes referred to as the “green m & m” week as I can tend to be hornier then a teenage boy. Sometimes I am all sad and dreary during week 3. Sometimes, like this week, I have such crazy mood swings that I think my hair gets blown into knots from all the ups and downs.  Of course, I’m a good mid-western girl who tries to hide these mood swings as much as possible, but inside my head is a mess.

Last night on the way home I went from feeling like I was totally alone in the world to being so thankful for my friends and back to being alone all in the time it took me to drive about 2 blocks.

I will admit that there are some things going on in my little world that aren’t helping to calm me down. For example, I’ve recently decided to buy a house. Well, I’ve decided that I want to buy a house. I have no savings and iffy credit, but am bound and determined to be a homeowner by the end of the year. I’d like to say it’s just because I want the $8000 first time home-buyers credit, but I know it’s more then that. I want roots. I want something to call my own. I have finally realized that thinking I will have a husband to buy a home with is holding me back from having things I really want and seems like something I can no longer chase, it just keeps running and I’m tired.

There’s the baby thing….but whatever, that will work out somehow. I truly believe that things work out as they should and am trying with all my might to let things happen instead of trying to make them something they are not and possibly never should be.

I have friends who are going through all kinds of things in their lives and I don’t know how to help. I don’t know what to do because so many things have to do with their relationships. I officially declare myself unable to be of any help in relationship issues because my lack of experience makes my opinions useless. I find myself thinking of what I should say to make the outcome what benefits me most, not what is necessarily best…and I hate that.

The grass is much greener wherever I am not these days. Making minor changes of my immediate surroundings helps for awhile, but then I start daydreaming of being somewhere else. Austin, Los Angeles, Michigan, places I associate with fun and being loved. But then again, I only go to these places long enough to have fun and be loved. It’s not that I don’t feel loved in Nashville, it’s home and it always will be, but it’s just different.  Again, it’s the difference between a date and a marriage…..but I’m not well experienced in either of those things, so I just want the easy thing. I want the long random conversations. I want to be able to talk about things to someone who knows little about them but is interested anyway. I want new experiences and random silliness.

But I also just want to be home. Snuggled with my furry friends and puttering around doing lots of nothing.

I guess I am mostly just ready for week 4 of the bc pills. Cramps I can handle, my crazy mind I cannot.

Baby fever……kind of.

Little Miss Jane is finally here and I cannot wait to meet her and kiss her chubby cheeks and play with her chubby feet and bask in the general glory that is new life.

It has dawned on me that the true heroes in this world are mothers. I know my mom is my hero and a lot of my friends would say the same about their moms. Seriously, you bring a life into this world, love it, take care of it, deal with it being a little asshole….all the while thinking it’s the most perfect thing ever. That is some heroic stuff right there.

For the early part of my life I never doubted I would have kids. At least a couple (only children are weird–I can say that, I’m an only child). After some dubious years in my early twenties, I then started wondering if I really wanted kids. I knew that if I wasn’t sure, I shouldn’t have kids. For the ten years since I decided that it would be ok if I didn’t want kids, I vascilated between never wanting kids and wanting nothing more then kids. Yes, it can be exhausting being me.

After a surgery a few years ago that took an ovary and a fallopian tube, I started facing the fact that having a child might be more difficult (although Jane is proof that one ovary is all you need) and I thought more about whether I wanted to have a baby or be a mother. Most people would think that these things go hand in hand, but I disagree. I don’t think that not actually “birthing” a child makes the act of being a mother any less heroic. Plus, I’m single (oh so single), have that one ovary and know that there are lots of kids out there who just want/need to be loved.

I often feel like I have to much love to give, or not enough people to give it to (again, it’s exhausting being me!) and while no one grows up playing “Adoptive Single Mother House”….the idea keeps churning around my head. I mean, there is no way I would think of adopting a child right now….but perhaps in the not too distant future? I’d like to think that I would be willing to adopt an older child, and maybe I would. But if I had my way, I would get a baby. Some new litle person who I could use to prove that nurture can beat out nature from time to time. A little person who knows me as mom, not because I carried them for 9 months inside of me, but because I love them unconditionally and forever.

Of course, I type all of this while really looking forward to having alcholic beverages on a patio this evening, then sleeping a good portion of tomorrow and taking Noodle to the dog park. What am I thinking? I mean really, what kind of fool am I to think that my selfish lifestyle could go away just because I feel like my life will mean nothing if I’m not a mother?

Have I mentioned it’s exhausting being me?

Nightmare @ Furry Friend Farm

This time next week I will be packing my bags to fly out to Cali. and drive back to Nashville with my mom and her evil cat Lucy. I am so excited that my mom decided to retire to Nashville that I still can’t really believe it’s happening. I see only good things coming from her being geographically close to me now. However, there seems to be one bad thing that is happening in my subconscious.

For the last few weeks I’ve been having nightmares about my mom moving here. That’s not accurate, I’m having nightmares that my mom is moving here and bringing my former stepfather with her. A man that neither of us have seen for around 18 years now. I have these nightmares where she doesn’t mind that he doesn’t work, that he drinks himself to oblivion and then hits her. That she thinks I need to just get over it and make nice. While these thoughts have no basis in reality, they are messing me up.

Everyone has gone through shit in their lives. Mine was my stepfather. When my mom called me at my dad’s house to tell me that she had gotten engaged while on a trip to NYC….I cried. I mean, sobbed, terrified of what would happen.  I knew this guy was a jerk. He had his moments, but he drank a lot and wasn’t nice to my mom a lot of the time. I didn’t even know that the scar above her eyebrow wasn’t from a sailing accident, but from him pushing her down the stairs!

I tried to make the best of the situation. I tried to not be devastated that instead of going to middle school with my friends I’d had since Kindergarten I was moving to California to be closer to my stepbrother….the stepbrother who threw darts at my Duran Duran posters and hung my stuffed animals from the ceiling when I was out of town.

We moved to California and there were the basic trauma involved with something like that. My stepfather was a lawyer and had to pass the California Bar Exam. He seemed to wait forever to even take it and then when he finally did, he didn’t pass. He didn’t have a job or seemingly any intention of getting a job. At our first place in Hermosa Beach I didn’t have a bedroom….I slept in the dining room.  California dreaming my ass. After a particularly horrible stretch where my stepfather was drinking a lot and berating me and my mother for being lazy, etc….my mom decided we should make a break for it. She didn’t tell me what was going on, but called me to let her in the security gate of the building. I came down to open the gate and she was with a friend and they told me to just get in the car, we were leaving. My 6th grade mind raced through all the things that I didn’t have with me…but didn’t care. We were going to be free.

Except we weren’t. We were gone for a few days, they apparently “worked things out” and we went back. I am pretty sure that it was right then that I was completely over this man and hated him being in my life.

Everything was pretty much status quo until my Junior year of high school (status quo meaning he was a drunk bastard, didn’t have a job and was horrible to my mother at every opportunity!).  The summer before my Junior year  I had made a birthday dinner for my mother. I had to run to the store to get something and asked my stepfather to watch the food in the oven to make sure it didn’t burn. I came back. It was black. I was furious! As any 17 year old would do when furious, I cried. I screamed at my stepfather asking him why he couldn’t do one little thing. He proceeded to throw the burnt food at me and slap me across the face. Happy Birthday Mom!

That was it, I left the house and started walking to my friend’s house. I couldn’t even think straight enough to drive. I walked and cried and walked and cried. I called my mom later and told her I couldn’t come home until something was done about him. She asked that I give her a few days and she would work something out. The next few months were a disaster. As to not dwell on these more then I need to, here is a bulleted list that is not necessarily in chronological order:

  • Restraining orders were filed and then rescinded
  • One holiday weekend my mother and I were basically held hostage because one of the therapists my stepfather had been seeing had called the police because he was homicidal
  • Another of the therapists he was seeing had called the police because they thought he was suicidal…that sounded like a great thing to me!
  • The SWAT team was called out and stationed on the roof of the houses next door
  • The Redondo Beach police knew our names and address by heart, which actually got me out of a speeding ticket (sometimes pity is good)
  • My father came up from San Diego and placed my mom in a hotel, took me back with him and told my stepfather he should leave or my dad would make sure he left.
  • During my stay in San Diego, the police escorted my stepfather from our home and served him with yet another restraining order….but not before he stole all of our stuff. My mom called me to tell me that from a phone she had to go buy because he even took that.
  • After yet another retraining order was rescinded, I came home to find my stepfather passed out on the kitchen floor. (My mom and I lived upstairs, he lived downstairs, we shared the kitchen) I walked over to the counter, stepping over his drunken loser body and grabbed a kitchen knife. I was thisclose to ending this nightmare for once and all. But I couldn’t do it…I couldn’t let this man ruin my life even more. So I ran upstairs and locked myself in my room.
  • I don’t remember specifics, but somehow my mom got him to leave. He gave back some of the stuff he had stolen, took his cat and his truck and left.
  • We moved across town. Occasionally got random letters from him filled with hateful things.
  • We moved again and I don’t think he ever got that address.

This monster made it impossible for me to go away to college. He ruined my mother in ways I can’t even comprehend. What makes me most angry is that he has obviously made me question my mother’s judgement, even now, nearly 20 years later. I want to be past this….but I don’t know that I will ever be.

Solitary Freedom

or “This is why Heather doesn’t like to go out much these days”

For at least 86% of my life I have been single.  I’m an only child. I’ve had a select few relationships that lasted more then a couple of weeks. It would seem that flying solo would be my forte. In some ways, it is.

However, at 35, the idea of hitting the town alone doesn’t hold the same allure it might say, in college, etc… I’m not talking about going to a bar alone or things like that, never been my thing. I’m talking about driving alone to a venue, walking in alone, meeting up with some friends and then ultimately going home alone.

Being alone at home is one thing. Being alone in public is a whole other world. Walking from my car to the door of a bar, restaurant, what have you is like ‘Dead Girl Walking’, for me anyway.

“Will anyone I know be there already or will I be forced to sit alone trying to not stare at the door hoping it’s a friendly face?”

“What if everyone decided to cancel and no one told me?”

‘Did I get the time right?”

“What if everyone has been there for awhile and could care less that I show up?”

“What if there isn’t a chair for me and I have to go searching for one or stand there like an idiot”

I could go on and on with the questions that go through my head at this point. I can say that I’ve never turned around and gone home at this point, but I’ve been tempted…..

The actual social event is usually fine. I vascilate between being super social to being super quiet….rarely entering the grey area between. Since my days of getting falldown drunk are basically behind me, there comes a time in the evening when I start thinking about going home.

“Do I want to be the first to go home?”

“Do I want to be the last to go home?”

“Should I wait to leave with someone else so I can kind of ‘sneak’ out?”

“Can I convince someone to leave at the same time so the ‘being alone’ doen’t start immediately?”

Again, there are a million other questions that go through my anxious little mind. I used to get really drunk so someone would either have to drive me home or let me stay at their place….healthy huh? Sometimes I stay sober so I can leave early, as though I feel superior for not getting silly drunk, and then hear about everything I missed later. It wears me out.

The loneliest I ever feel is driving home after being with friends.  Their voices ring in my ears. I think of witty things I should have said. I cringe at stupid things I said but shouldn’t have. I secretly wish that someone will call me and invite me back out or just want to keep talking to me. Pitiful much?

So, there is a little insight into why I go into hermit mode from time to time. It’s so much harder to be a single, never married 35 year old woman then I ever imagined. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with the vast majority of my life. But sometimes, just sometimes, the loneliness I feel is beyond explanation.

Ok, no more pity party, back to our regular programming.

Abandonment Issues

I’m sure that this here blog is thinking I don’t love it anymore. That it’s no longer the cute, fluffy blog it was when I first got it and the new has worn off.

However, I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.  I have written dozens of little notes of ideas about what to write. Things that make me happy. Things that stress me out. Random thoughts. Dozens I tell you. But I can’t seem to make it all come together.

Do I write about how I have self diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder? I mean, sure, I tend to turn down or flake out on more plans then average. Sure, I’m paranoid that no one likes me, but even more freaked out if it seems like they do like me. But really, who wants to get inside that messed up of a mind?

Do I write about my job? My job that I truly love and cherish, particularly in these trying times? Who wants to hear about a business that is well run, that has a contingency plan, that is turning down business that isn’t “worth it’s time?” That kind of talk gets no attention these days. It’s almost a fairytale.

Do I write about my new car? I love it. It’s a 2007 Nissan Versa  hatchback. I’ve named it Earl. (it’s grey, get it, Earl Grey?!?!)  It reminds me of a baby elephant. It has all sorts of fun bells and whistles, including a sunroof. Sunroofs are cool.

How about boys? Let’s see what I have to say about them these days. Love them. The fuzzier the better. Silly? Sign me up. Possibility of stunted maturity…WOO HOO! Completely uninterested in me….YES! So, basically same ‘ol same ‘ol in the world of boys.

Politics? Always a good subject. Obama’s in. Life is good. I’m proud of our president and have to punch myself every once in awhile when I hear “President Obama.”

Fear? My fears are random and somewhat debilitating. I fear I will never find true love. I fear that I am too OK with being alone. I fear that my parents will die suddenly and I won’t know how to go on. I fear that my hair never looks good. I fear being depressed, again. I fear that my outfits are too “matchy-matchy.” I fear I will never be a parent. I fear that if I were to become a parent, I wouldn’t be a good one. I fear that my cats feel neglected. I fear that I love my dog WAY too much.

My dog…that’s a good one. I love him. Possibly too much (see above) but he is a companion to me in ways I have never known. He got to go to California with me at Christmas and was a camp on the plane. We took him to the beach and that little furry face smelling all the wondrous smells of the ocean was one of the most joyous things I have ever witnessed.

Wii fit? Love it. Haven’t been on it for a week (thanks virus!) but it makes me actually enjoy exercising. I can actually tell that I’m becoming more flexible, etc…..Bravo Nintendo!

I could probably go on and on. Typing lots, saying little. Basically I just want my blog to know that I still love it. Hopefully, one day soon, I can sit down and write a thorough, possibly interesting and informative post.  But not today dear blog, mommy’s got a headache.

An edit to a previous post

When I mentioned people having “too much” I misspoke (man, I could be a policitian!). I was quite upset when I wrote that as I had just been told that my lack of ownership somehow made me less worthy by someone who said they didn’t care about education because they didn’t have kids.

I don’t really believe that people have “too much.” I do, however, feel there is a responsibility that comes with success, any level of success. In general, folks should do the right thing. Many wealthy would pay someone copious amounts of money to avoid taxes. When my father was in the oil business he had a business acquaintance who figured he paid an accountant $100,000 a year (this was in the 80’s) to avoid about $100,000 in taxes.  His reasoning was he would be mad if the government was going to get his money. I never understood that.

We are so fortunate to live in this country, every damn one of us, whether rich or poor. But there is responsibility associated with this good fortune also, and that is taxes. If 95% of the nation are going to see tax cuts,  isn’t that what a democracy is about? The greatest good for the greatest amount of people?

I hope like hell to one day be part of the top 5% of the economy in the United States and if I am and seriously believe that by bringing home only $162,500 of my $250,000 salary makes me feel that I am poor, please someone smack me!

Thanks for clearing that up!

I just told someone I work with that I am voting for Obama.

Their response, “That’s because you don’t own anything!”

OOOOOO, so that’s it?  It has nothing to do with wanting a president who will tax those who own too much?  It has nothing to do with the fact that I want a president who is concerned with education not just veterans and a war that’s going nowhere? It has nothing to do with the fact that the idea of Sarah Palin being even remotely able to be the leader of the US keeps me up at night?

It’s just because I don’t own anything.

Well, here’s some news. I DO own something. I own my body and should be able to do whatever I want with it. I own my mind and should be able to think what I want, when I want, where I want.  I own my pride in my country, that doesn’t make me blind to the fact that there are issues with it. 

I own my freedom and would like to know how the Iraqi war really is defending it?  I want to know what we win? How do we determine we have won the war?  When all of the Iraqis are dead? How many more of our military men and women have to die before we’ve won? It seemed to me that the objective was to get Sadaam Hussein out of there…he’s been gone awhile and yet $10 billion a month goes there while our financial system crumbles.

I would like to own my future, but I don’t know that I do. I do know this, I own my vote and it is going to Barack Obama. Not because I’m voting AGAINST someone, not because I’m a bleeding heart liberal, not because I don’t “own” anything. I’m voting for him because he exemplifies what this country could be, a place of hope, a place of change, a place of honor and he will be a leader I can be proud of.

So there.

I think I’m missing something

At lunch today, a coworker, I dare to say a “friend” made the statement, “I don’t know how a white person can vote for Obama.”

Go ahead, let that sink in for awhile…..I’m still trying to make sense of it.

I know she’s a Republican and super conservative and blames her racist tendencies on being raised in the country, but really? You don’t know how a white person can vote for Obama?  Well, wait, I don’t know how ANY person can vote for McCain, so maybe I am no better then she is. Then again, my issues with McCain have nothing to do with his race. His ignorance, advanced age and freakishly short arms don’t help him in my mind, but his color has no bearing on my decision to not vote for him.

When confronted with statements like the one I heard today, I tend to sit in silence. That kind of blatant hatred and ignorance terrifies me. In my mind I am screaming “WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU SAYING?” Then I wonder where this comes from. Sure, my parents raised me to think that we are all equal, etc…and that helped, but I’m a grown up and can make decisions on my own.  The person who made this statement is a good 15 years older then me. Surely she can make decisions on her own. Let’s say she came to these racist ideals on her own…WHY? Why does it matter what color someone is?  I don’t get it. I simply don’t understand.

Similar thoughts of inability to understand come up when discussing the rights of homosexuals. The only people who’s sex lives make any difference in my world are those that I chose to have sex with…..an ever dwindling number these days. What bearing does loving a person of the same gender have on your ability to raise a child?  Why is love between two men or two women less important and special and rare then it is in a “traditional” couple? Is a commitment less than because both people have the same parts? Seriously, I want explanations.

I feel naive lately. I feel like some stupid Pollyanna who just wants everyone to be happy and loved. Then again, I also feel like a militant person who doesn’t give a fuck what anyone does as long as it doesn’t effect her…and thinks that others should feel the same. Be self-centered folks….worry about yourself and that is all. I don’t know.  It’s hard times these days. The world is in a crazy place and it seems like no one really knows what to do. As a result, the worst starts to come out of people. My only hope for the future is the fact that I have many friends with young children or children on the way and these amazing people will fight the good fight to leave a good world for their kids…..hopefully no one will find THAT a controversial statement.