An Ode to Guy Clark

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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

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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.

Austin: a week later

So, I’ve been home from Austin for a week now. But, for reasons unknown to me, I can’t seem to get over it.

Each time I go to Austin, it is harder to leave then the last time. I literally wept on the flight from Dallas to Nashville because it meant that I was leaving Texas. The only time I have cried on a plane simply because I was leaving a place was my first trip after moving to Nashville. I couldn’t figure out why I was leaving my new found home…and it felt just like that when I left Austin.

Why don’t I just move to Austin? Well, for whatever reason, I just don’t want to. I mean, I want to, but if I move there it will change. It will no longer be this oasis in the middle of a huge state. No longer will it be where I can go purely for fun. I wouldn’t be able to spend my days drinking frosty drinks and hanging at Barton Spring. I would probably tire of going to see music every night of the week (as I have in Nashville) and being around the people I know in Austin might lose some of the specialness that comes with seeing them so infrequently.

But still, my dreams are consumed with desolate landscapes and bbq smoke. I’ve written bits and pieces of countless stories since I got on the plane in Dallas and they all take place in Texas, they all deal with joy and heartache and they all make me want to jump in my car and find a abandoned house off 183 or some farm road and just move in and start a whole new life.

However, when I remove myself from fantasy land, I know that Nashville is my home. It just is. I feel more rooted here then I ever have anywhere else. My life here has been created (for better or worse) completely by me and I love it.

Nashville is my home. Austin is my haven.

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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?

To Marie and Jeremy…and Jane

In approximately 33 days, the ‘good guys’ are going to be one girl stronger.

Little Jane Elizabeth will finally grace us with her presence and I, for one, can’t wait! Good things come to those who wait and goodness knows that you guys have waited and struggled and laughed and cried and had hypochondria issues galore ( I kid Marie!!) But know you’re in the home stretch and there are so many great things just around the corner.

Jane is so lucky to have parents like you. Parents that compliment each other in so many ways. Individually you are super cool, collectively you are a force to be reckoned with. You both care for each other and your friends and family in ways that are not sicky sweet, but caring the way people want to be cared about. You have amazing senses of humors and all kinds of quirks that make being around you a treat.

Hearing Marie worry about early life with Jane and Jeremy worry about things like taking her fishing, the girl is going to be taken care of. She’s going to have great taste in music, varied taste in movies and be a reader. I just know it. I wonder if she’ll be a planner or a dreamer, or maybe the perfect combination of both?  All things are possible in Jane’s world right now and she has the type of parents who will do all they can to continue to make her feel that all things are possible, without giving her false hope.

Little Miss Jane, we’ve been waiting for you. You’re not here quite yet, but we’ve gotten some things in order for you. We have a great President in office, that’s a good thing. We’re working on the global warming thing, sorry about that. Hopefully all the wars will be over by the time you are aware of such horrible things. Bottom line, you are already loved and your parents have so much love ready to give you that I can’t even express. So if they get stressed when you cry all night or ticked when you won’t eat….don’t worry, they will always love you. And if you could be a napper…that would be good to. They would appreciate that.

Lone Star state of mind

Texas, you big beautiful state you!

Texas has been a part of my life since before I was born. It’s part of family lore that my paternal grandparents missed my birth because my grandpa was afraid they would hit freezing rain in Missouri on their way to their winter home in South Padre Island Texas. I would bet that they day she died, my grandmother was still pissed about that. I would also guarantee that if he had it to do over again, my grandfather would not have risked freezing rain in Missouri.

Shortly after I was born my grandparents moved to Padre permanently. Sure, I never knew what it was like to have grandparents live in the same town as me, but they lived on a freakin’ island!! How cool is that.  Back in the day there wasn’t much to do at Padre, but I never noticed.  They lived less then a block from the beach and when I was there…which was often…the vast majority of my time was spent on the beach, in the gulf or in the swimming pools at the small condo buildings that lined the beach. Seriously, it was an idyllic experience.

Around the age of 6 I started spending long summers in Padre. Sometimes I flew, by myself–such a big girl, but more often then not I was driven down. My dad and I would hop in whatever vehicle he had at the time and set out for a two day trip that only went through two states. Usually we would stop in Dallas and see a family friend who lived there. I’d swim in the pool or we’d go to another friend’s house for brisket or some other such Texas fare. Then early the next day we would take the long drive to the Island.

I love all the small towns in Texas. They are all so different but are all so similar and are all so….Texas. There was a Dairy Queen we would stop at in some tiny town.  There I would just sit and people watch, even at six, and wonder what it was like to live in such a small town. Sure, Edmond Oklahoma is hardly a booming metropolis, but our streets were streets, not farm roads.  We would drive through King Ranch….which takes forever….and then soon we were in the Rio Grande Valley. So many little random business and so much agriculture. I’ve been a lot of places in this country and none are anything like the RGV. Once I started seeing seashell shops, I knew we were close. We would take that drive along the super tall causeway and I was once again home, or at least in my home away from home. My grandparents and parents would talk shit about Texans and how they acted like Texas was the be all end all, but secretly I think they sort of agreed.  My grandma had a decorative plate that had two angels on it and one of them had a speech bubble over it’s head that said, “And if we are very good, we will go to Texas!”  I have all of her plates…but that one is missing. I so wish I had that plate.

Once I moved to California in 1985, trips to Texas became fewer and further between. Plus I was a teenager and let’s face it, teenagers suck and don’t appreciate anything at the time.  When my grandparents moved to Florida around 1994, my trips to Texas ended. I didn’t even knew I missed them until…

September 2005.  While the gulf coast was still reeling from Hurricane Katrina and anticipating Hurricane Rita, I was on my way to the Austin City Limits festival. When I stepped off the plane in Austin, my love for Texas came flooding back. The smell of breakfast tacos, the live music, sharing a plane with Ray Benson and wishing him luck on getting to the festival on time for his slot. It all was perfect. I dropped my stuff off at the hotel, grabbed a cab to Zilker park and I was off. The natural beauty in Texas isn’t easy for some to appreciate. I, however, am truly enchanted by it.  The scrubby mesquite just standing there against the heat and wind. The long stretches of land untouched by “civilization.” All of it resonates inside of me like few other places I’ve ever been. Austin has the lovely Town Lake, the refreshing Barton Springs and so many trails and byways that it’s easy to forget you are in a city. I spent the next three days sweating and breathing dirt and loving my life more then I knew I could. I didn’t eat, I drank water. I took long showers in the evening to remove the mass quantities of soil that seemed embedded in my flesh. I loved it all. It probably didn’t hurt that the first night we were there my favorite band, Reckless Kelly, was playing at Threadgill’s across the street from my hotel.  I’m not usually one to go solo to a show, but I couldn’t miss it and my traveling companion thought slee sounded like a better option. Then I remembered, you’re never alone at a Reckless Kelly show because RK fans are all friends you just haven’t met yet. Sure, the members of the band aren’t FROM Texas, but the heart of the band is from Texas and that all worked out well in my mind.  The next night I had, what I consider, the ultimate Texas evening. Drove down to New Braunfels in the darkest of nights, ate dinner overlooking the Guadalupe river and saw Reckless Kelly at Gruene Hall. Sweet Jesus, I’ve never been a churchgoer, but if church made me feel like that night did, I would be up bright and early every Sunday morning. Of course, Reckless Kelly doesn’t see many early Sunday mornings, so I think I can keep sleeping in.

My next trio to Texas was for SXSW. Lifechanging trip. Ate the best BBQ of my life at Kreuz’s. Had more fun then should be allowed by law. It was confirmed on this trip that Texas had played and continued to play a huge role in my life.

I’ve only been back once since SXSW in 2006 and that was for a Reckless Kelly live cd recording, obsessed? me? surely you jest!  I was there for 16 hours, but what I 16 hours it was. I made friends that night that I still keep in touch with. We were all part of something super special that night…and I don’t think it could have happened anywhere but Texas.

Lately I’ve been NEEDING to go back. Sure, my best friend since first grade had a baby 8 months ago that I haven’t seen in Chicago. Sure, I never visit my family in Florida. But dammit all to hell I need to go to Texas.  I need to breathe that thick air. I need to shop for random things, and cowboy boots!, in Austin.  I need to drink crappy beer and good liquor with some of the most fun people on the planet.  I need to sit in Zilker park and just think. I need to sit on Town Lake  and drink coffee at Mozarts. I need to roam the stacks in Waterloo. I need some Lone Star time.

I guess I’m kind of a lone star myself. But I hope that, much like Texas, with it’s quiet strength, that there is a nobility with me being a lone star. Texas isn’t about the jerks who act like when you cross out of the state line you lose any reason for living.  Texas is about knowing that when you cross into Texas, you are crossing into a special, stark, beautiful, lush and dry land that has endless opportunities and room for endless heartache.

Don’t mess with Texas! 🙂

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.

First Day of Fall Brain Cleansing

Lots of things are rolling around in this noggin of mine. Sounds like a bulleted list is in order.

  • I have a little under a half a tank of gas, but refuse to go “top off” and be a part of the insanity that has made gas almost impossible to come by in Nashville.
  • The people who talk about driving around for two to three hours looking for gas make me crazy–if you have enough gas to drive around that long, you didn’t need gas!
  • Noodle and I participated in the Mutt Strutt this Saturday and then went to the Dog Day Festival. It was a GLORIOUS time. The highlight had to be Noodle “cheering” for his girlfriend Macy in the Fetching Contest. He loves him some Macy!
  • Terrified isn’t even a strong enough word for my feelings about the upcoming election. The idea of John McCain (or worse, Sarah Palin)  having any power over the United States makes my blood run cold.
  • I wish people would understand that there is no one who is “Pro-abortion”, well, there may be some that are, but the fringe sick-o’s don’t count. The word “choice” is the important word in the phrase “Pro-choice.” It has become abortion specific, but it need not be. It’s about being able to do whatever one wants with their body without fear of legislative interference. “Pro-life” ticks me off too, most people walking around are pro-life, meaning that they are all for being alive. Again, there are the fringe sick-o’s who think death is the way, but that has nothing to to with abortion.
  • I recently learned how to do ghetto silk screening and have perhaps become obsessed. Prepare yourselves for silkscreened items for gifts 🙂
  • The love of cooking has been rearing it’s head lately. The hatred of cleaning up, however, dominates the love for cooking in almost all cases.
  • I am so ready for Fall I can’t stand it. I’ve been keeping my place cooler then need be so I can bundle up. Sweater weather is the best!
  • I’m growing my hair out for Locks of Love and it’s about the make me crazy. I asked a friend of mine if he thought it was ten inches from my shoulder and he said “Way more then ten inches” but then I remembered that men can’t be trusted on judging the length of anything.
  • My work load has slowed to a crawl, but I’m not complaining. I think it is the calm before the storm.
  • I love my Dyson vaccuum cleaner too much.
  • I just openend up my iTunes to sharing at work…and am scared at the judgement that may result from my random music choices.
  • If Reckless Kelly don’t come to Nashville soon….someone is going to get hurt.

I want to cry

I want to sit in the middle of the floor and cry and scream like a little kid.

I want to tear things up, throw things around, wring someones neck, shoot a gun, drink a fifth of whiskey. Something, anything to change the path of things the last few weeks, or at least become numb.

My biggest client at work has been running us all ragged. The creative team came up with all these weird promotions for an event at the zoo and even though I said that some of these would be next to impossible to achieve, I was told to make it happen. I have driven nearly 300 miles hunting down and delivering 600 boxes of animal crackers (that I spent 4 hours Friday night stickering–who would think having no social life would come in so handy!). I have bought 4 different things to try to put a logo on a yoga ball. None of which have worked. I have ordered and paid for 25 yoga balls, 10 of which were what I actually ordered. These are for elephants to play with. I went to college so I can figure out a way to create balls for elephants to play with that are branded with a sub-prime car insurance brand logo!

I have been so physically and emotionally spent that when I get home I just sit on the couch and watch tv or sit at the computer and read people’s MySpace and Facebook pages to try and remember what it was like to have a life.

I want to cry so much that it physically hurts me. But I think the pharmacueticals prevent that these days. Although I am able to cry with joy, as I did when I found out that a dear friend heard the heartbeat of her baby that she has waited so long for.

I want to chop all my hair off and dye it purple. I want to skip paying my rent and buy a bunch of clothes. I want to buy a car I don’t need and can’t afford. I want to do something, anything to shake things up. This brickwall I keep running into is getting tired of the abuse.

I really, just want to cry.