Track #9

I found out Lou Reed had died between football games, house cleaning, and pumpkin decorating. During a quick Twitter break, I noticed a press release saying that he had passed away. I am sad for reasons that I do not completely understand. I have never been a big Lou Reed fan and can only name maybe a handful of songs off the top of my head. One being “Sweet Jane” and another being “Heroin,” which is really The Velvet Underground as was explained to me.

“Heather, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground are two different things,” Trey, not so patiently, tried to tell me.

“Yes, but Lou is part of The Velvet Underground.”

“Yes, but they are different. It is like saying “Crazy Train” is a Sabbath song. It is an Ozzy song. The two things are very different.”

I enjoy Neil Diamond, Everclear, Johnny Cash, and Kanye West equally. There are bands that I had never really enjoyed that I became a fan of through listening with Trey, and I have high hopes that one day I will get Elvis Costello. I have no musical identity and I am married to a man who prides himself on his. This has led to the occasional argument and the occasional musical discovery. When we drive anywhere and have the radio on he says, “What is this? I have never heard this in my life.” This leads me to say, “Of course not, it was released after 1994.” He doesn’t find that joke at all funny.

In the 90s I was a fan of The Doors. It would be safe to thank Oliver Stone for this particular stage of my musical heritage. I fancied myself a poet at the time and Jim Morrison had fancied himself the same thing. I was 16 and full of hormones. Morrison was charismatic and had very tight pants and beautiful hair; he had also been dead for 20 years. It was love. I bought all the albums (on tape of course) and listened to them on the boom box that was seat belted into my yellow Cavalier. With the window down and my left foot propped up on the dashboard, I would drive to work feeling alive. After work I would change into one of my many Jim Morrison tees, shirts that were purchased in a hole in the wall shop next to a bowling alley. I bought poetry books by Jim Morrison and made a necklace of red and white beads to match one I had seen him photographed in. In the absence of my own identity, I decided to wear Jim Morrison’s instead. At some point I moved on from The Doors, but I never again felt so connected to a group and their music.

Maybe that is why I am sad for Lou, his family, and his fans. They lost something that connected them. Some spark that made them feel a certain way at a certain moment. Maybe they remember the freedom of driving with their feet propped up, warm sun on their arms as they hummed away to “Sweet Jane.” For me Lou Reed (and The Velvet Underground) will remind me of my parents and our Florida vacation when I made them play my The Doors soundtrack, and track number 9 was “Heroin.”

“Cause when the smack begins to flow
Then I really don’t care anymore
Ah, when the heroin is in my blood
And that blood is in my head
Then thank God that I’m as good as dead
Then thank your God that I’m not aware
And thank God that I just don’t care
And I guess I just don’t know
And I guess I just don’t know”

Today I thank Oliver Stone for leading me to The Doors and I thank The Doors for leading me to The Velvet Underground and I thank The Velvet Underground for reminding me of a long car trip with my family. I may not have much of a musical identity, but I feel for those who have lost a part of theirs.

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Trying My Best to Love Me

This week on Facebook, the radio, and news there was much discussion about a meme showing a very physically fit woman and her three children. The heading said, “What is your excuse?”  There was much discussion both supporting and vilifying this photo. I came down on the side of “if the heading had said, ‘I am proud of what I have accomplished,’” I would have had no issue with the post.  There are many ways to be healthy and many bodies to be healthy in. Size is not always an indicator of health, because like meth y’all. You can be thin and be anorexic. You can be thin and a meth head. You can be all different types of unhealthy and be thin. It needs to be repeated that size is not a sure fire way of determining a person’s heath.

I have body issues by the dozen. Some days I change clothes three times because I feel constricted. I huff and puff and yell that I am too fat to wear anything. Other days I feel like I am a womanly fertility God and meant to be worshipped. Every day is different and I have a sneaking suspicion that some of this is hormone driven. I am me and this is the body I live in. I am beautifully flawed (we all are) and I think it makes me interesting. When people meet me I don’t know if my weight is the first thing they notice? Maybe they say, “Why is that fat lady saying ‘fuck’ so much?” Who knows what they think?

A few nights ago I lay on the couch and watched The Little Couple. Saidee climbed up next to me and asked if she could lie on my boobs. I laughed and said yes, she snuggled up and asked questions about the show, because that is what she does.

“Momma, why are they little?”

“Well, Baby they were born that way.”

“Who is Zoey?”

“Zoey is a little girl in India that they are adopting.”

“Why?”

“She lives in an orphanage and needs a family to love and take care of her.”

“Like Annie?”

Soon she stopped asking questions and I felt her become heavy. Her breath was rhythmic and I could hear a slight snore. On my chest was the head of a six year old that has no question of her place in this world. She is safe, loved, and protected. I worry that I have inadvertently passed on my own body issues to my children. To help keep this little girl from feeling bad about her body I need to be more self aware about the things I say regarding my own body. 

So, to answer the meme I say. I don’t need an excuse for not looking like you. I look like me and I am okay with that, or at least I am trying to be.

I am a size 22 and I am many things: friend, daughter, wife, mother, student, employee, funny, smart, occasionally hateful, and occasionally insightful.  Most of us have a lot going on and don’t need the added pressure of being asked, “What is your excuse?”

Things That Cannot Be Denied

  1. Rainy days are best for sleeping.
  2. When I am angry I feel like my hands are electric.
  3. Breaking Bad was an excellent show and I miss it very much.
  4. The old haunted house at Noble Park was very loud.
  5. My kids are cute.
  6. Google is an excellent source of information gathering
  7. A Facebook meme is NOT a good way to gather information.
  8. If you find an evil book and the first page says, “You have found the answer.” The next line would not say, “I wish that you were dead.” That is silly; an evil book would not warn you away.
  9. Heaven and Hell had questionable (but awesome) song writing skills.
  10. If ever given a chance to nap you should take that opportunity.
  11. My love of Pine sol verges on weird.
  12. As does my love of hoarding candles and Scentsy.
  13. Chili is a soup.
  14. I never stopped cheering for Walter White.
  15. If the dead pig on The Walking Dead is not referred to as “Zombie Wilbur” we have missed an excellent opportunity. 

Thank you for your time.

That Time My Kid Was Kind of an Ass

As a parent I have always felt like my one job is making sure that my kids aren’t assholes. Overall, I am feeling pretty good about my success rate. The oldest two are neither racist nor homophobic. They are witty and have opinions. They work, travel, and have varied interests. I know that Kiaya would never walk down the mall corridor with her hand in someone else’s back pocket.  I don’t think that Selena would do that, but I do think she may have at least once made out behind a mall Pro Active machine. Selena has a larger sense of whimsy than her older sister. The one I worry about is Saidee. She is the youngest, only six as of this post, and she is our princess. She is sweet and loving. She weighs a lot and still wants to be carried to bed every night. She is our third daughter; she is both the youngest child and an only child, due to the large age differences. She also had an invisible vampire friend named Spike.

The girls and I are TV people. We love it and many of our conversations revolve around the lives of fictional people. We talk about them, dissect their intent, worry about them, and question their decision making. Here are examples of text messages I receive:

“What is Meredith going to do without Christine? Christine is her person, Momma.”

“If Jesse dies I don’t know what I will do. They won’t kill Jesse, will they?”

“I have really thought about it and I think I could be Jax’s old lady.”

“I need you to make sure Supernatural and The Walking Dead are Tivoing.”

These messages are not unusual; they happen at least twice a week. One of our biggest bonding experiences is a love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched the show when it was originally on and I may or may not have cried once when I missed it. On a list of 100 things I wanted in a mate, number one was someone who will shut-up while I watch Buffy. They don’t have to like it, but they do need to be silent. Kiaya was the first to jump on my Buffy bandwagon and later Selena. It was Kiaya who introduced Saidee. They would spend long hours cuddled up together watching on the portable DVD player and later the laptop. The questionable parenting skill part comes into play when I bring up that Saidee was three when this practice started.

Saidee was never scared of the violence, she was oblivious to the sex, and didn’t get the humor. What she did get was the knowledge that if something went wrong you could blame Spike. Spike was a few hundred years old vampire who looked like Billy Idol. Actually Billy stole his look from Spike. He was funny, crafty, evil (but with a heart of gold), and the best part was he wasn’t all whiney and put upon like Angel. The three year old was pretty quick with blaming everything she did wrong on that blonde vampire. Some of his crimes included: coloring on the walls, coloring on shoes, throwing toys, shredding paper, and trashing bedrooms. Spike was a busy invisible friend/petty criminal.

To Saidee, Selena’s room is a fascinating land of things she isn’t allowed to touch. It is a toddler Vatican, filled with figurines, paintings, art supplies, and treasured baby dolls from Selena’s youth. Much of Spike’s atrocities took place in Selena’s room. We once found a strip of blue fabric on the floor. When I asked Saidee what it was she shrugged her toddler shoulders and said she didn’t know. When we found a second strip we began to investigate and noticed that “someone” had taken scissors and cut up the bottom half of Selena’s sheets.

“Saidee why did you cut up the sheets?”

“I didn’t.”

“Saidee, it was you, you are the only other person in the house.”

“I didn’t do it.”

“Saidee, really.”

“It was Spike.”

At this point we have tears.

“Saidee it wasn’t Spike it was you. Please, admit it.”

“It was Spike. Or it was my toes.”

I put a high premium on creativity; but come on, this kid and her vamp were just being assholes. Kiaya and Selena were busy when they were little, but their busy was nothing compared to the busy that Saidee and Spike laid down. I refuse to blame the 15 year age difference. I am still young and spry, right?

One night I had been in the back of the house and had lost track of the toddler. Only a few minutes had passed when I started walking towards her bedroom. With each step I took I heard a small voice.

“Spike did it.”

“Spike did it.”

“Spike did it.”

With each step I took her voice became louder and more insistent. It held a panicky waiver.

“SPIKE DID IT!”

I found her covered in lipstick. Most of her face was covered in a lovely Revlon wine color. It was on her hands, the wall, and the mirror. She cried hot tears and swore that this was all the work of that blonde vampire. Carvell had come running and we were unable to stop laughing.

“God, Heather, that vampire is a fucking asshole,” he laughed.

Eventually Saidee stopped blaming Spike. We tried to convince her that he had moved, that he had packed his bags, blacked out his windows, and drove off in his DeSoto. She really just outgrew him and no longer needed someone to blame her crimes on. Oddly, I miss him sometimes or more likely I miss the three-year-old she was.

One of Spike's crimes, of course.

One of Spike’s crimes, of course.saidee spike 1

 

Zombies in Jodhpurs

As of late I have been reading a lot. Not books, articles, because I am grossly unaware of the world around me. I have read articles about the Weiner/Franzen/everybody feud, and deduced that Franzen is a giant douche. Who calls out Salman Rushdie for using Twitter? The guy lives with a bounty on him, let him use 140 characters without taking crap for it. There have been articles about fat acceptance and health and a dozen articles about rape. One article was about a professor who doesn’t teach female authors except one short story by Virginia Wolfe. And really it was a short story, so does he even count that as literature? Two articles were about voting fraud, and another was about a cold case that was recently solved. This has been a depressing venture, and it makes me feel too much. So today I am blogging about what I feel is an important topic – zombie pants.

I am an avid watcher of The Walking Dead. I have never read the books, although they are on our book shelf. So, the twist and plot turns are still surprises for me and I don’t feel bogged down by the “it didn’t happen that way in the book” mentality. It is a good show with lots of drama and action. There are a couple of things that drive me crazy and one of those things is the way the zombies are dressed.  If I am to believe that a zombie apocalypse has occurred, it would be safe to assume that many of those zombies would have no pants on or be in some state of undress.

Let me start by saying that this zombie pants fixation I am currently suffering with is strictly within The Walking Dead world.  In this world, an unknown pathogen/virus has infected the human race. We do not know the origins of the illness, but we do know that everyone is infected and it may lay dormant in the brain until a person dies. At that time of reanimation, the virus would reactivate the brainstem, so the reanimated zombie would have no higher mental functioning. Zombies do not have problem solving skills (this will be important later). The original outbreak seems to have started with flu-like symptoms that progressed fairly quickly. When I am sick I am generally pants-less. I want to be as comfortable as possible, and not having pants on is the way I am most comfortable.  In theory thousands of people were at home with fever and body aches but somehow remained fully dressed.  Nope, I am not buying that. There were patients in the hospital, including Rick himself, who would have been dressed in hospital gowns.  Want to know what you normally don’t wear with a hospital gown? Yep, a pair of dungarees.

Dependent also on the time that you were overtaken by the pathogen it is safe to assume that people were asleep when they died and reanimated. Guess what I don’t sleep in. Yep, trousers. It is safe to assume that people died/reanimated in the shower. Guess what you don’t wear in the shower. Yep, chinos. I have showered in socks, however. We see the zombies in suits, jeans, overalls, cords, blue jeans, and a shocking amount of Laura Ashley dresses, but I cannot recall ever seeing a zombie in a pair of tighty-whiteys a la Walter White.

Another issue I have about the show is that a zombie would not have the power to problem solve. The only thing kicking up in their noggins is the brain stem. So, a zombie trapped in a room would not have the power to find the door, he may happen upon the door, but if he was facing a wall he would continue to walk into the wall.

Zombies cannot climb stairs.

They just can’t. A few years ago I broke my leg pretty badly. I was in a cast for a few months, and in all that time I never figured out how to step into my house. I was incapable of figuring it. I would hop from my car to the door where I would than throw myself into a waiting wheelchair. I would like to believe that I am slightly more intelligent than a zombie. There is some possibility that if a bunch of “walkers” fell into a stairwell, a zombie could walk over them while standing up, but it seems unlikely. Something else that drives me crazy is when the undead are walking in the woods they make almost no noise and are unsusceptible to changes in terrain. The point (if there is a point) is that I dislike when the undead show more social constraint and grace than me. But soon on a Sunday night I will be perched in front of my television (without pants on) to watch Rick and Daryl fight the good fight. I am a slave to my television. I may even be the pants-less undead.