Wednesday, June 9, 2021

I Love You Forever...

     Often times in our lives, we are faced with ambiguity, leaving us unsure where we stand with someone. Then, sometimes, it takes only a small gesture to displace the ambiguity forever. 

    Such was the case with my Aunt Mary Carol. She was a relative who was just kind of there for the taking or leaving. She did not impose herself nor was she standoffish. She just was. 

    I, too, just was. I was an unconventional child who never fit into any social group. Not that I never tried, of course. I just never fit into any conventional box. Because of this, I was under constant criticism, and my self esteem was in the dirt. 

    Sometimes, a relative or family friend would invite me to spend some time with them, only for me to realize (too late to escape) that they were not interested in actually spending time and getting to know me. It was only an opportunity for them to lecture to me on all the things I was doing "wrong" yet giving me no keys of advice on how to achieve "normalcy." Being a very trusting and lonely person I fell for this dehumanizing trap many many times. 

    In the summer of 1987, when I was 14, I was visiting relatives at the far end of the state from where I lived. My Aunt Mary Carol lived in the area, and showed up, wanting me to go to her place for the night. At the time, I never had much to do with her. Don't get me wrong, I liked her okay, there were simply some other relatives that I was closer to. I opted to go with her. This could be another trap but I was used to those. I thought those were normal. We got in her car.

    One thing about me that seemed to irritate some people was that my music traveled with me. I had my boom box (remember, this was the 80s!) and several cassettes that traveled with me. It was just one of my many "things" that just came with the full package. Quiet drives just didn't happen with me. 

    I figured that if this was going to be another "I love you but your problem is..." visit, we may as well get that part out of the way as soon as possible. Maybe if the lecture was done first she might want some real time with me afterwards. It was worth a shot. I loaded my weapon, the ammunition being Billy Idol's Whiplash Smile, and slipped the cassette in my boom box. I turned the volume knob up all the way.

    The song, Don't Need a Gun, began. It starts out abruptly, yet quietly, with an ominous feeling that steadily grows for about a minute. When suddenly, Billy screams:

    "WOP BOP A LU BOP SON, YOU GOTTA MOVE UP FLIP FLOP FLY!!!"

    Aunt Mary Carol's eyes went BOING!!!

    I laughed and asked her mischievously, "A little loud for you?"

    At this point, most people would have started in with something to the effect of, "Actually, I've been wanting to talk to you about your failings..."

    Instead, she said simply, "No, I like it."

    I did not expect that. Not at all. What she said had a much deeper meaning than the simplicity of her words. She was not just saying that she liked Billy Idol music or liked that it was loud. What she said told me that she liked me. All of me. Even the parts of me that the conventional society does not accept. This was not a lecture trip. Aunt Mary Carol wanted me to be with her just because. 

    I spent two days with her. We talked, played cards, went for walks. Sometimes we talked, but she seemed to understand that I was not terribly chatty, and she made no attempt to "fix" that so we had quiet times as well. She made no attempt to fix anything about me, except for the places in me that were broken for real, such as the lonely parts that craved acceptance. She accepted me. She loved me. There was no ambiguity in her love. 

    Towards the end of 2013, cancer ravaged my dear aunt. I stayed with her for the last week and a half of her life. We spent hours talking and not talking. That had been our way for decades. As the illness took parts of her away from me, both in body and in mind, she kept making sure I was there, not leaving her. She loved and accepted me. All of me. She needed all of me with her. 

    The day before she died, the last bits of who she was were reduced to her speaking a repetitive chant of, "I love you forever. I love you forever. I love you forever..." When she became to weak to chant, she spoke no more in this world. 

    I miss her. Her love for me was always real. I knew this to be true since 1987, thanks to Billy Idol. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Five Years, What a Surprise

 Five years ago, Planet Earth lost its Starman. 

The world reeled with sadness and loss when news had come over that David Bowie had passed away. He was, is, and always be my favorite singer. Even now, his passing doesn't yet seem quite real to me. 

He was also the largest influence on the members of Duran Duran. Without him, my favorite band just would not be. Naturally, the Duran Duran band members feel the gravity of his loss. 

Five years after Bowie's passing, Bowie's longtime pianist, Mike Garson, produced a concert that included various artists playing Bowie songs as a tribute to celebrate Bowie's life. This included Duran Duran playing one of Bowie's earlier songs, Five Years. 

This was an interesting choice. It was shortly after his father had passed away that Bowie had a dream that his father told him he only had five years to live, which distressed him greatly at the time. Of course, Bowie lived several decades after that, but it was beautiful how that song was used five years after his actual passing to keep his memory alive. 

As a Duran Duran fan, this was a delight for me! It was very sweet and moving to see them reach far back into the roots of their music to give the song a gentle embrace in a way that is so... Duran Duran. It was also good to see them look good while doing it. This has been a crazy time with the whole COVID thing, and John Taylor was even sick from it last year, but they all looked radiant and healthy. It was wonderful, and a relief, to see them in action again! Plus, it has been five years sine their last single, which makes the cover of the song all the more welcome!

As a David Bowie fan, however, I felt a bit conflicted with how Duran Duran covered Five Years. 

The first reason is that there was a slight change in the lyrics. Subtle, but I felt that the modernized lyrics was untrue to Bowie's art. David Bowie did not modernize. He recreated. He did not adjust his art to fit the times. He made the times fit his art. 

The second reason is that Five Years feels watered down without the angst. Don't get me wrong, Simon LeBon sang it beautifully, and with apparent care. But when David Bowie recorded it, he threw all of his emotion into what he was doing to the point that he was very nearly uncontrollably crying and screaming towards the end of the song. It was reported that it took him a while to collect himself after they were done recording. The song covered in a controlled manner has left me a bit... underwhelmed. 

However, being both a David Bowie and Duran Duran fan, I am so very glad that this tribute happened.  It was a very moving experience to see Duran Duran collaborate with Mike Garson to help keep the spirit of Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, Jareth, Black Star, and all of Bowie's personas alive for us all!


Smiling and waving and looking so fine~ Five Years

Sunday, May 24, 2020


Hello lovely readers.
I do apologize for my absence and that this is my first post for this year. Although I have very much wanted to write more frequently, life has been complicated.
After suffering a concussion over a year ago, in some ways, parts of the way that my brain processes things have not quite healed, and it's uncertain if I will ever completely heal.
One of the things that I have been struggling with has been an on-and-off blockage with my creative writing, which includes adding something interesting each time I add something to this blog. It seems the part of my brain that drives my creative writing has been broken, which has been very frustrating.
I have been waiting for something inspiring to come to me to add here... time passes... things in life happen... time passes... am I inspired to write something here? No? I wait some more... time passes... the world is struck with the plague of the century... yadda yadda yadda...
Yes, we have the Covid 19 thing going on, which has been giving thousands of people time to explore all kind of creative energies. However, my job has been declared "essential" which means I have been working extra hard for the past few months instead of attempting to see if I have healed enough to allow my imagination to flow through my fingers to my keyboard.
I am hopeful that life, both in the world and despite my injuries, will soon gradually come together in a kind of "normal" that will allow me to write here more frequently and I ask only for your patience and understanding.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

I Knew Santy Claus

Once upon a time, I was very small and had very limited knowledge of the world around me, but that didn't stop me from figuring things out... my own way.

A few houses up the street from where I grew up lived an elderly couple who were very much my surrogate grandparents. Their names were Jane and Emery. For reasons I never knew, everyone called Emery "Chub," so that's who I knew him as. Jane and Chub were a large part, and one of the best parts, of my world.

Something called Christmas was coming up, though I knew little about it. My dad got a tree and stood it up in the living room, though nobody seemed to think that this was strange, and put shiny balls on it that I wasn't allowed to touch because they could break. A special little open-faced house was placed on top of our television where all the little dolls in it were fixed to gaze lovingly at a special baby. The record player played special tunes that I knew had something to do with the tree and the little house, but these things weren't customarily explained to very small children.

One thing that everyone frequently did talk to me about was Santy Claus, an old man dressed in red who was going to give presents to me and my brothers. My experience with Christmas and Santy Claus was very limited at the time and I'm not sure if I had retained any information from the previous year concerning this mysterious man.

This Christmas thing finally did arrive and with it came Santy Claus!

He didn't come down the chimney, the way that he did in legend. Instead he knocked on the front door and came in when my dad answered. My brothers, who are older than me, were quick to point out that Santy was wearing Chub's glasses! They were right! I knew those glasses. Plus, Jane came in the door right after him. I knew exactly who wore the red suit!

It all made sense to me at that point. Chub was Santy Claus! It even said so in the book that was read to me frequently at that time of year, The Night Before Christmas, right in the line that read, "He was Chubby and plump..." What more proof was needed?

Chub was really and truly Santy Claus!

The rest of the world could go ahead and believe that he lived at the North Pole. Now I knew that he lived in secret, living a normal life, just a few houses down from me, where I got to enjoy him all year round. The rest of the world could believe in the fantasy all they wanted to, because I knew that it would be wrong to spill Chub's secret. Even when other kids would tell me that Santa Claus (yes, they always said his name wrong) wasn't real, I never told them that he was my neighbor. I would rather look foolish to them than to betray my friend.

I kept his secret too, long after Jane and Chub had left our world. Even so, Santy Claus is real!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Many Years Ago On This Date

Today, August 1st, Facebook was kind to remind me that today marks the anniversary of MTVs debut in 1981.

I loved MTV in the 80s. It was my after-school friend and my main window to the world outside my tiny pocket of existence just south of Seattle. Unfortunately, in the beginning, the cable plan that my family had did not include MTV. It didn't bother me then. I had no idea what it was. In fact, when my peers talked about MTV, it had to be explained to me what it was: Music videos. Popular music accompanied by artistic visuals.

It sounded stupid to me. When I watched TV, I wanted a story with dialogue. When I wanted to hear music, I had the radio and a record player. If I wanted music with physical movement I went to the roller rink. Sounds simple enough. Why make things more complicated?

I saw some music videos played on other channels and I just didn't get it... at first.

Come the weekends, my brothers would be glued to the show Nite Tracks, which showed all the cool videos we were missing by not having MTV. Being that my brothers were older than me and, therefore, had control over the TV knob (remember those?) I could either find something else to do, or watch videos with them. What was I to do but watch those silly videos?

Pretty soon, I was begging alongside my brothers to my parents to get a new cable plan that included MTV. It was either late 1984 or early 1985 that we got our wish, not because our parents thought that a channel that played that racket at all hours was a good thing, but they needed to upgrade the cable plan and this just happened to include the golden channel!

So there it was in all its 24 hour a day glory! And not just videos, but guest appearances and interviews by all my favorite musicians!

Now for the good part...

August 1st, 1985, MTV is having a celebration! Happy 4th birthday, MTV, and they're having a party!!!

I was watching this, having a wonderful time, while waiting for my own celebration in the evening. You see, The Power Station, a music project that included Duran Duran's John Taylor and Andy Taylor, was coming to the Seattle Arena that night and I was going! Yes, I was going to see John for real!!!

While I was waiting, the only thing that kept me grounded was watching this MTV party. Duran Duran's Simon LeBon was there! And they asked him where John and Andy were, because they apparently weren't there at the party.

OOOOOHHHHH! I Knew! I Knew!

I just about lost my 12 year old mind when Simon mentioned that they were touring with Power Station.

YES! They were here! They were in Seattle and I was going to see them for real!

And so the time came: My very first concert!

Without parents too! My brother and his girlfriend chaperoned me, but since there was no assigned seating, I lost them in no time. I got a shirt and pins and made my way to the arena floor.

The adults sat up in the bleachers. On the floor in front of the stage, all the young concert-goers were sitting on the floor, patiently waiting for things to start. I sat myself as close to the stage as I was able to without crowing anyone else and waited with them. I was a good 25 feet away from the stage.

Suddenly, there was a stir in the crowd and everyone looked back towards the bleachers behind us. John Taylor was walking among the bleachers! A large gaggle of girls got up and ran towards him. Only it wasn't him. He had his hair and style of clothes, but the jawline was wrong, I knew it wasn't him. I thought about saying something to the girls who were getting up and leaving, but the John Taylor likeness seemed to be enjoying the attention... at least that was my reasoning for staying quiet. I got up and sat ten feet closer to the stage.

Thanks, Not-John!

Then the lights went down and there was an amazing shrieking from all around me. I screamed too, and I was a pretty loud screamer if I say so myself, but I simply couldn't hear my own vocals for the shrieking arond me was so loud. And then... AND THEN...

The supporting act, OMD, took to the stage!!!

Who?

What was this?

Where was Power Station?

I looked around. There were others around me who wore the same Power Station shirt that I did so I was in the right place. Though most people around me seemed to be into the show, I saw a few who looked as confused as I was. Luckily, though, I managed to catch somebody close to me explaining to someone else that Power Station would be coming on after this band.

Ok, then! I could appreciate this OMD, just as long as I get to see my John Taylor sometime this night!

And they were good too. I made a mental note to remember this band and maybe get their record someday.

Though many of us were not familiar with OMD, we crushed forward towards the stage. I was determined to stand my ground 15 feet away from the stage until the main attraction came on!

Until I got sick. Between the heat and the bodies crushing on me from every direction, my stomach started saying some unpleasant things that I didn't need to hear with my ears to understand. I started to push myself away... but I was pressed in place pretty good. I pushed some more but people only pushed back. I started getting mad and tried pulling at the people behind me, but they only got mad and slapped my hands away. My sight got hazy. I was going to faint. Suddenly, my biggest fear was passing out and being trampled to death unnoticed while Power Station came and performed to a crowd that was standing on my dead body.

"I'M GONNA THROW UP!!!"

The people around me heard that and pushed me back from the spot to a new bunch of people who resented this sudden invader of their area.

I repeated my message and I was pushed back again. This happened a few times until a reached an area that was not nearly as condensed so I was able to get out of the crowd and find a solitary spot next to the bleachers and sit on the delightfully cold floor.

After I got myself together (and managed not to throw up) I put myself back into the crowd, but not near as close as I was before. That was okay. This way, I could save my energy and ready myself for the physical and psychological chaos that comes with being in that mob for the main event.

When OMD finished and left the stage and the house lights came on. The crowd near the stage loosened up as many people left to get merchandise, leaving many gaps. What was I to do but fill those gaps?

Oh, I was sneaky! Without appearing as if I'm stealing space ahead of me, I inched forward, leaving no open space ahead of me alone. However, when I looked around, there were dozens of 12 year old girls doing exactly the same thing! I locked eyes with some of them, and then we moved forward, racing, shoving, showing mercy to nothing in front of us. How dare they try to get ahead of me!

Too soon, we were all locked into place, in our own tight wedges, as close to the stage as possible. There was no moving forward for any of us. My little nook was about 15 feet away from the stage. I was happy with that. Some of the others made it in front of me, but there was nothing I could do about it. Let them enjoy things from there. At least most of the others were behind me!

Then the lights went down again.

Did I say there was no moving forward for us from where we were? I was wrong. Everything moved forward another five feet! Any space that existed beforehand was crushed into a solid form. Air? Who needs air? I was ten feet away from the stage!!!

And there they were! There HE was! It was as if all my glossy magazine fold-outs came to life and John Taylor was there, ten feet from me! Yes, he was gorgeous!

And he played well. The whole band played well. I may have lost my voice by the second song but I still screamed and screamed.

At one point, my earring caught on somebody's shirt. Luckily, the owner of this shirt noticed my problem and stood as still as he could while I unhooked myself. All the while I'm thinking, "Please don't look, John! Please don't look, John!" Because it would be just my kind of luck that the one time he ever sees me is when I'm unlatching my stupid earlobe from some guy's shirt. But, Luck was kind to me at that moment because when I looked up, John was on another part of the stage.

But then it happened.

The moment.

My moment.

At one point, he was directly in front of me, at the edge of the stage, ten feet away from me. The lights are illuminating the audience for a moment and he looks out at us. At me. I blew him a kiss.

He smiled.

He smiled his John Taylor smile, the smile that only John Taylor can make!

And he did it at me! That made my night. It made everything worth it. You have no idea what that meant to me at such a tender age. It gave me so much joy to hold onto to pull me through some very dark times ahead of me. The concert as a whole was an amazing thing that could never be duplicated in my life, and I thank the other band members, Andy Taylor, Tony Thompson, and Michael Des Barres, for their participation in that outstanding band and amazing night!

August 1st. That date commemorates a lot of things for a lot of people. MTV has its own thing and I most certainly have mine. Even now, I remember that concert every single year.

May that memory never fade!



Thursday, March 22, 2018

Healing Through Macgyver

I think that many people can agree that today's TV shows stink. Lots of gratuitous sex, violence, special effects, and a story that's so layered that's its lost somewhere under the chaos. Except the "reality" shows, of course. Those have no story.

I don't watch regular TV anymore. When a show comes up in conversation, I have nothing to add because I know nothing of the characters or story. Whenever something is described to me, nothing raises my interest in it. Instead, I watch episodes of older programs. I have binge-watched Rosanne and both the original and TNG Star Treks.

My latest fancy has been Macgyver. Not the new one, of course, but the original show that ran in the 80s and 90s. Strange choice for me, considering I never watched it in the 80s and just wasn't my kind of show, but I find it therapeutic.

You see, I watched it for a short while in the 90s. It wasn't my choice to do so at first, but it was a show that my first husband liked, therefore, we watched it. I have mentioned before that he wasn't a very nice guy. In fact, he still gives me nightmares. So, we watched what he liked, if you see what I mean. After a while, I did grow to like it. It was fun watching the genius ways our hero would turn ordinary objects into inventive 007 works of art to get out of any situation. I'm rather proud to say that I tend to fix things and invent solutions with the basic everyday stuff around me and it was cool to see someone else do it on a James Bond level.

Pretty soon, I started pointing out flaws in Macgyver's inventions, such as how the odds were against things lining up so perfectly, or he would have needed more of this, or less of that, in order for things to work the way that they did. Nightmare didn't like me doing that. Perhaps he took it personally that I was finding flaws in a show he liked. Yes, he's that petty. Or maybe he was mad that I saw things that he didn't because he thought it made him look stupid. Yes, he has a way of twisting things like that and making the world seem like a conspiracy against him. Or perhaps I was simply being annoying, blurting obvious things out, during most spell-bounding scenes. Yes, I can see the other side of this too. But, whatever the reason, he went ugly.

Whenever I displeased him (and this happened frequently) he would get very angry and use everything in his power to hurt me to the core. Whenever this happened, whatever was giving me happiness at the time would become poisoned to me and I couldn't enjoy it anymore. I don't remember the argument, or the scene that took place (much of my life during that time is still blocked from my memory,) but in the end, I no longer wanted to watch Macgyver. When it came on, I would find something else to do. If Nightmare insisted that I watch it with him, I would sit with him and tune out the world around me. It just wasn't safe for me to watch anymore.

So, back to present time, after exhausting Rosanne episodes for the third time, I was scrolling through Amazon Prime for something new/old (meaning new for me but old for the rest of the world.) As you probably predicted, Macgyver popped up. It was still something that wouldn't have sparked my interest, even without the poison, but now it flashed out a familiar twinge of that old fear that likes to pop up from time to time, even though Nightmare is long out of my life. After looking at it a bit, I thought, "Go to hell, twinge, I'm going to watch it, enjoy it, say what I want and debunk whatever I want, and HE WON'T HURT ME!

I'm on season four now and enjoying it thoroughly! Yes, the whole thing is cheesy, and I can say so without the back of my head getting slapped, and I enjoy the freedom of expression my opinions to myself during the show and here on this forum. I love the campy 80s feel with its predictable story-lines, bad foreign accents (they have two of these, European and Asian, and sometimes sound as if the actors get the two confused,)  bad-guy and good-guy music, scripts that seem to come straight out of the after-school-special reject pile, theme music that was likely made from a single synthesizer in one afternoon, and the fancy slow-motion-running-away-from-explosions move.

What I also like is that it is nothing like today's television shows. Violence is minimal, and touches of innuendo are... just that. It's just a story and all the cheese the producers could pull together to make it into an exciting one.

One example of this was a scene where a dog was murdered. The murderer pulled out a knife, said something that implied the intentions, and then things were cut to the next scene where it was verbally confirmed that the dog was killed. Had that scene been made today, there would have been a stabbing scene, blood, a terrible cry from the dog, a shot of a carcass, and possibly a lingering scene with someone with a carcass fetish, and all of that would have been completely unnecessary.

Also, no, I will not be watching the new Macgyver episodes that came out this year. The innocent charm of 80s TV shows is sure to be absent. I would rather preserve my feelings for the original show by not muddying my mind with images of the "new" version. To those who do enjoy it, more power to them, by all means, enjoy it. It will simply be another show people can talk about in my presence and I would have nothing constructive to contribute.

In today's TV, there is so much darkness and desire to show just how evil people can be depicted. I miss simple stories wrapped up in single episodes. I also miss how good characters did not shy away from positive depictions of Catholicism. While I am well aware of the stigmas against the church, it seems that every bit of media out there seem to think that it's open season. While one can agree with the stigma, keep in mind that negative depictions of the church are coupled with the garbage that today's television, such as glorified rape and dismemberment scenes, which are designed as "entertainment."  Something to think on.

I suppose it is another example that I have healed, not only in my walk in life away from Nightmare, but hurt that I have carried around in the further past concerning the Church, such as stuff from my childhood. Much has happened to me since last September in Medjugorje, giving me the strength to let go of a lot of the hurt. The healing has come in many ways, from many angles, since Mary, the Queen of Peace, has reached out to me. She has used Duran Duran to reach me. Could she be using Macgyver too?

I am enjoying Macgyver on a surface level, which is pretty much all that it was designed for. At the same time, watching it is an achievement for me; a victory even. I am moving forward in my life, farther away from the nightmares of my past.

 All I need are all the basic everyday objects around me to get there...


Monday, March 12, 2018

Lamp Story

Hey there, dear readers!

It has happened again, that Hellfreezer, a narrator on YouTube who reads strange stories aloud, has read a submission of mine. This one is different from my glitch-in-the-matrix story. It's more of a spooky experience I had involving a lamp in my childhood.

Mine is the 4th story in, starting at 13:32.

Enjoy, readers, and thank you, Hellfreezer.