Saturday afternoon jam, March 22 edition

This must be the first Saturday in at least two months that my day has not been swamped with some sort of obligation, work-related or otherwise. I mean, don't get me wrong I've done a little bit of work (for school) but mostly this has been a very Saturday kind of Saturday: Lazy and unproductive.

Later we'll head over to some friends' house for dinner so I suppose that means I'll need to put on proper clothes and brush my hair. Then again, they're really good friends and probably would understand if I showed up in pajamas with a rats nest for hair.

Until then: Laziness. I slept in. By which I mean I got up at 8 a.m. and drank coffee and read and then by 10:30 I was falling asleep with a book in my lap so I went back to bed for an hour-and-a-half nap. Three out of four cats joined me. Bliss.

Got up, ate lunch, did a little bit of work on the laptop, still in my pajamas.

Made brownies to take over to our friends' house so I guess that counts as something productive.

Meanwhile, Cory's provided the soundtrack to the day; spinning records by, among others,  The Felt, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Neil Young.

The latter's "Down by the River" played as I made brownies and I'm not sure what version of the song it was but it played for a long time and as I listened, it struck me that it's the perfect Saturday afternoon kind of song: Long and meandering, lazily snaking its way through time.

Happy Saturday, carry on:


Last night a clock radio changed my life

Sometimes I'm not entirely sure how I became such an OCD freak about music. Neither of my parents was really into music (my dad liked 70s folk/rock/pysch stuff and my mom's tastes skewed mainly soft rock).

Beyond hearing tunes in the car radio, my memories of music date back to the third grade. That would have made me 8 or 9 I think, which means it must have been 1978 or 1979. In any case, that's when I got a clock radio so that I could set my own alarm and get up early and get my ass out of bed already and get ready for school so I didn't make my parents late in the morning.

That clock radio probably changed my life in some small way. Or big way, depending on how you look at it. Certainly it informed such a huge part of who I am now.

Some nights I slept with the radio on; listening to the Top 40 station in Austin: The Bee Gees, Billy Joel, Chic, the Rolling Stones, Wings, Abba, Styx, Dolly Parton, Donna Summer, Blondie.

(This was also the era for Patti Smith and Johnny Thunders and the Clash but, again, I was an 8-year-old living in Austin with parents who listened to Barbara Streisand, the Moody Blues and the Carpenters).

I wasn't really buying music at this point--I wasn't even making mixtapes. I'd start doing both of those things in the fifth grade when I got a stereo system--with a record player and a tape deck--for Christmas.

So for now it was mostly just the clock radio and, on weekends, watching videos and live performances on America's Top 10 and American Bandstand.

The Grease soundtrack was really big that year--several of the songs from the soundtrack made the Billboard Top 40 and were played on the air in what seemed like near-constant rotation.

At some point I got the record on vinyl. I must have been playing it on some rinky dink Fisher Price turntable. I'm pretty sure, for a while at least, it was the only record I owned. In fact I owned the record before I even saw the movie.

I loved, loved, loved that soundtrack and my favorite song was Rizzo's song "There are Worse Things I Could Do" on side four of the two-album set.

Rizzo, of course, was the bad girl of the story, played in the film by Stockard Channing. Even at that young age I identified with her character more than I ever could or would identify with Olivia Newton John's Sandy.

OK, to be fair, I aspired to be Sandy, but deep in my litte rough-and-tumble heart I knew I was really a Rizzo.

Again, I was 8--maybe 9. It's not that I thought of myself as the high school bad girl, sleeping with all the guys and getting a bad rep. Rather, I could hear the sadness and loneliness in her voice. The aching to fit in beneath a whatever-don't-care attitude. Rizzo wasn't the pretty, popular girl--she was the chick who ran around with the questionable crowd and relied on her wits to get by. Sometimes she was mean, but only because she had to be. She was rough around the edges and not always easy to love.

I'm not sure how much of that I got as a third-grader but something in that song, something in Stockard Channing's voice resonated with me. Maybe it was all just an early predictor of my high school years.

Who knows--maybe I'm reading (or listening) too much into it. Whatever the case, "There are Worse Things I Could Do" was my first song crush and  I listened to it endlessly, obsessed.

Put the needle down, listen and sing. Pick up the needle and repeat.

Over and over and over again.




Today's NaBloPoMo prompt asks the question: "Benjamin Franklin said: There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond and to know one's self." Do you know yourself?

First though: "No, that's why I'm in therapy."

Second thought: "Yes, that's why I'm in therapy."

I mean I'm really impressed with all the posts from people who so confidently do know themselves. You've figured out what makes you tick--what makes you you--and you act on it accordingly.

Meanwhile I feel as though my self comprises many selves. Many conflicting selves.

  • I'm an extroverted introvert.
  • Or maybe that's an introverted extrovert.
  • I love my friends fiercely, but I love to be alone.
  • I can be extremely frugal and practical and yet I'm often broke. (I mean not broke-broke, but just sort of frustratingly not not-broke).
  • I'm a narcissist but I get uncomfortable having too much of a spotlight on me.
  • Although I don't mind speaking in public and am pretty comfortable speaking in front a class as an instructor.
  • As a writer I love words and love it when I have the luxury of time to craft sentences and labor sentences.
  • As a writer I really suck at grammar. I blame this on cutting many a high school English class. Comma splices are my biggest weakness. I'm working on this though.
  • As a writer I think I'm OK at my craft. Mostly. I mean, sometimes.
  • Sometimes I can't bear to read what I've written.
  • Sometimes I'm plagued by self-loathing.
  • Sometimes I. Just. Can't. Even.
  • I pretty much refuse to abbreviate or use terms such as LOL, OMG or 2 and U in emails, texts, etc.
  • I'm an emoji abuser.
  • I make a conscious effort to eat healthy and exercise. I genuinely love flax and quinoa and kale and all those other nerdy foods.
  • I eat way too much sugar.
  • I'm a feminist who worries who worries about how I look.
  • I didn't have children and I'm OK with that.
  • I didn't have children and it eats at me a little every day.
  • I love being self-sufficient and smart and enterprising and career-oriented.
  • I think I missed my calling as a rich, spoiled housewife.
  • I'm a really hard worker who doesn't know how to relax.
  • I can be really, really lazy.
  • I can be hyper-organized--live and die by the to-do list.
  • I am super-disorganized and at least once a day misplace something really, really important.
  • Nothing makes me happier than traveling.
  • Or being at home.

So do I know myself? I guess. Maybe. Sort of. A little bit, but really not at all.