Tag Archives: retro

More Than This

The first time I heard Roxy Music was at Stacey’s apartment in downtown Chicago, in the spring of 1983. I was a classic rock girl and Bryan Ferry was club music. I didn’t go to clubs; I listened to the Beatles and Stones alone at home. Actually, nothing has changed… but that’s beside the point. I don’t remember why we went to Stacey’s either. We were both taking a computer class and broke for lunch or something. She lived nearby. What I do remember is that she turned on the stereo and fired up her bong. It was the first time I’d seen a bong too. I lived a very sheltered life, in the middle of Chicago. I declined her offer of smoke, but I did get intoxicated with Roxy Music and bought an album soon after.

The only reason I’m even bringing this up is because I was listening to RM’s greatest hits the otter day in my car and I thought, holy shit, I’ve been telling peeps the wrong thing all these years. I always say I moved to California because my parents said they’d buy me a car, which they did say, but that’s not why I left ~ I left because my heart was broken.

Stacey and I were talking about men that day, of course, and I confessed I had a crush on Mark, who was also in our class. Mark and I regularly created outrageous fictions about adventures we had together and no one really knew what was going on between us (nothing), and the rest of the class thought we were very entertaining. Sometimes I would create my own individual stories for Mark, so he wouldn’t think I was such a boring boring. He had his own individual stories for me as well that I didn’t know what to make of ~ they were wild and crazy, occasionally verging on the sad.

Eventually we became lovers, in the summer, though I knew it wouldn’t last. My heart broke the first time we were together, as it always does when I know something will fail, and I floated off into that strange limbo of soaring dreams mixed with crushing despair. It’s a potent drug. I never turn something like that down; I simply wait for it to disappear because I know it will. Each time might be the last, so each time is incredibly wonderful, like I imagine it might feel to be on X, though I never have been. What writer would turn this down? How many chances do you have to experience this in your life? You wouldn’t be able to describe it otherwise. I might have only had the once… but as luck would have it, it’s happened a few more times.

Our relationship ended mundanely ~ I had to work, and Mark wanted to go camping. He asked me to go with him, and I couldn’t, so he took another girl. That was in August and I kept working as my parents planned their move out West. I vaguely said I might stay and find a place with a friend, but I made no plans. My job consisted of formatting disks, all day long. I sat at a reception desk and did that, crying silently.

In September, my mother said, you’re not really staying in Chicago, are you? My father said he’d buy me a car if I moved with them. It sounds amusing to say I left for a car, but I would have left in any case. Chicago is nothing but a big frozen heartbreak; that’s why I’ve never gone back, not once. I like to leave places that remind me of bad times; I like to throw everything away. If I can’t, I gather it all together for an emotional bonfire and a story is born. Sometimes the story lies dormant for several decades, apparently.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Dormant

Windsong

I can’t seem to forget you…
Your Windsong stays on my mind.

Remember that commercial for the Prince Matchabelli perfume from 1980? I thought about it tonight when I unexpectedly ran across someone online from years ago and remembered him, but he had no memory of me at all. It was so vivid for me too, that connection we had during a time that was intense and painful for both of us, about a decade ago, and yet… it clearly meant nothing to him. Nothing at all. He apologized for failing to remember me, but it’s happened before, many times.

When I messaged this man, I was so… buoyant. I think that’s a good word for the emotion I felt earlier today. I had to shop at Target, and the whole time I was a bit floaty, thinking to myself how wonderful it would be to chat with someone who knew me from the time before… before the divorce, before my mother was gone. Why this is important to me, I don’t know. But it is. And so for a couple hours I felt light and happy, certain that my life would take a new direction as the man and I renewed our friendship.

I came home, put my stuff away, fed my kitty, fed the feral kitties (all three were around tonight!), got a snack, logged back on, and after a little while a message arrived. The man did not remember me. Oh well. Then that old commercial jingle popped into my head and I wondered if it would be possible to find it on YouTube. Of course… first hit.

The Opposite of Bird

What’s the opposite of bird, she says. What color is five?

She radiates light and energy, and her questions loop about my head like an undulating jump-rope. I revel in her discoveries; she numbs my pain with a fistful of coffee-paper butterflies.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Radiate

Reconsolidation

Memories are like clay,
I’ve heard,
Half-formed
Into malleable birds.
Pushed together
In a mindcage
Floating on a bay
Of undulating waves,
They escape,
Mutate,
Once exposed
To the eye of day.

Those times with you—
Long ago, so few—
I check the cage,
Surprised to find
These birds
Have turned golden,
Sparkling in the dark.
Gemstone eyes
Radiate precious scenes…
A kiss in the moonlight,
Strawberries at noon.
Smiling and warm,
I close this door.

I don’t even want to know
What you recall.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Exposed

Time Pieces

My mother had some old watches and pocket watches she picked up here and there at estate sales and such, and now I have them. I tried to sell them once and was told they had no value, so I keep them tucked away. I’m glad I didn’t get rid of them after all. They’ve grown on me.

This is a plain pocket watch with no cover. It says “Waltham” on the face. This piece is two inches in diameter and feels heavy in my hand.

Time4

This is the back. It has a cool geometrical pattern/logo, but no words.

Time5

This piece is smaller and lighter, about an inch and a half in diameter, but it’s thicker and more complex, as you’ll see. This is the front.

Time6

It flips open to reveal the clock’s face sideways. “Elgin” is printed on the face. The back of the cover says “Keystone” and has a serial number (1194946).

Time10

This is supercool ~ the back opens to show gears and stuff!

Time9

Next up is a ladies’ bracelet watch. It’s very delicate and pretty. It says “Victoria” on the face and nothing on the back. The clasp says “Hadley” with a patent number.

Time1

The last is another bracelet watch, a Bulova. I like it a lot, though its face is scratched up. I might get it cleaned up and working someday so I can wear it for real. I used to wear it anyway, just for fun, but then I decided it was bad luck and stopped.

Time2

The reason this watch is so special is because it’s engraved on the back. I imagine a husband gave it to his wife for Christmas in 1947. I’ve decided he fought in WW2 and she waited for him.

Time3

My mother died today, nine years ago. I love her and miss her every day. Her voice and presence are both still right here, almost, as if she just left the room a few minutes ago. Nothing has changed in all this time.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Timely

Date with a Vet

Kevin was
Too old for me, but
He knew where to get good drugs.
Guys my age
Don’t like to smoke pot anymore–
They’re too busy making money.
Kevin discussed
His failed relationships
And growth experiences;
He said,
“There’s nothing I’ve done
That Jackson Browne hasn’t
Sung about.”
Later we walked by the lake
On slippery stones
And cold night sand;
The stars had
Someplace better to go.
I asked Kevin if he,
You know,
Ever killed anybody over there,
And he said,
“You bet I did, baby.
I shot ’em dead.”
Kevin called
A few months later–
Said he was having trouble
Meeting people
(He meant women)
Here in the Windy City–
Thought he’d join Club Med.
I wished him luck, but
Today I read
That Jackson Browne has been
With the same woman for
Several years
And they might even get married.
So, I don’t know
Who’s going to record our culture now.

[originally written in 1989]

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Later

Blurry

blurry

This is one of my early cell phone camera photos, taken with my Moto. I loved that phone because it was so easy to deal with. It had internet access, but I couldn’t do “too much” internetting on it, or it would get overwhelmed and shut down. That was fine though. There was certainly enough time to stalk people and rabbit-hole down links from my laptop at home; I didn’t need to be doing that when I was out and about. But I can now with my Samsung Galaxy 5. Great.

The G5 also takes much better photos. Well, sort of. If I get everything right, then I end up with a perfect photo. But since I don’t understand 90% of the feechurs, and can’t be bothered trying to figure them out because there are people to stalk, links to follow into rabbit holes, books to read, pomes to write, socks to alphabetize, etc., I end up clicking away stupidly and getting pretty much the same variable quality photos as before on the Moto. Lots of blurry kitty faces half-turned away, basically.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m much happier with the Samsung now and wouldn’t go back. Once you have more technology you don’t want to settle for less. I have multiple ways to get in touch with my kids, for one thing. Actually, that’s the main thing.

But this pic is still a fave. I like the colors and the composition; it reminds me of the hectic pace here in SoCal. Most of us are not “laid-back” as people elsewhere think we are, lazing around on beaches, not working, chilled out. We are forever rushing somewhere, usually in our cars, and totes stressed. I used this pic as the cover photo for Gatsby’s Facebook page. Because of course I have a page for my cat. ^..^

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Blur

Crafty

crafty

 

I’m trying to remember the first handmade thing I created, in response to today’s “craft” prompt (which could be interpreted as boat or beer, but I’m not going in those directions). It was probably one of those ridiculous summer camp pencil holders made out of a frozen OJ can with glued-on popsicle sticks and covered with paint and glitter. Did anyone ever use these things, or just dump them right in the trash? This would have been when I was 6 or 7 years old, when we lived in Sleepy Hollow,  NY. We were there two years and both my parents worked full-time. One summer I went to camp with mean girls and the other I stayed with a grumpy old lady and her idiot grandsons. Both were horrible experiences. But I digress.

When we moved to Longuyland my new friends were into beads, so I made a ton of beady necklaces and bracelets. My mom saved some of them and possibly one of my daughters kept a few for sentimental value. This would have been when I was 8-9.

When we moved to New Jersey my mom made a giant house for my Barbies out of moving boxes and wallpapered it to match my room. We shopped for accessories to make rooms for the dolls, and she taught me how to knit and crochet so I could make teensy blankets and rugs for them. Later I turned it into a harem, but that’s beside the point. Well, there’s like one Ken for every 20 Barbies ~ Mattel must have foreseen this. Anyway, creating little dollhouse items was my crafty obsession around age 10.

In Jersey, my mom got very into DIY and sewing, so I tagged along and ended up learning some too. I embroidered a denim shirt for home ec and put together an outfit to model at the end of the semester (that I secretly took home at night for my mom to fix up on her sewing machine). I enjoyed that a lot and continued doing needlework after the class ended, buying kits and learning new stitches, making pillows and pictures. Mom and I made candles for a while too.

I stuck with the sewing type crafts for many years. When my girls were little I painted tee shirts. That was a lot of fun and the shirts came out great… I was thinking of starting a biz, until I overdid it and could no longer move my thumb without excruciating pain. Nixed my cake decorating career also. I switched to creating fancy photo scrapbooks, which became my obsession for the next several years. All along I still did the needlework, but as I aged I found I had less patience for it and nowadays have no interest in the detailed “art” type pictures, though I still would like to learn to knit and crochet (I’ve forgotten how). I know there are a million vids ~ maybe I’m not motivated enough yet.

One of the main problem with crafts is that they’re expensive. I priced out how much it would cost to knit a poncho (my ultimate goal)… and depending on the style it might be about 3x more than just buying one! I may do it anyway. And going down the bead path again (occasionally tempting)… yikes! I spent a ton of money back in my scrapbook days… and my tee shirt biz would no doubt have been a tax write-off. 🙂

Yesterday I wanted to go to an antique crafty show near my apt, but there was nowhere to park and I was trapped in the lot for few minutes, which was super stressful. ACK DRIVING ISSUES AGAIN. Anyway, I was happy to escape with my life and car intact. Will try again another time, another place.

*
The Daily Prompt: Craft

My Creative Mommy

When I was a kid, I didn’t think it was anything special that my mom single-handedly remodeled our homes. No, I don’t mean she went shopping and had furniture delivered, hired men to paint, and found contractors to install new flooring. I mean she stripped wallpaper, put up new paper, painted walls, redid floors herself, built shelves, planted gardens with fences, created fancy dollhouses for me out of moving boxes, etc. Didn’t all mothers do these things?

I spent a lot of time walking with her through hardware stores, yet for whatever reason she seemed to avoid teaching me to help her. I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect she didn’t want to impose her interests on me because she wanted me to find my own. While she was busy with her DIY stuffs, I would be reading or drawing doggies or making bead necklaces or embroidering a denim shirt… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In New Jersey, she experimented quite a bit with recipes. We had a large garden and the typical zucchini megacrop. That was fun. She also went through a homemade soup phase and a Jell-O mold phase and a DIY ice cream phase… and of course a breadmaking phase. We also had a summer of candlemaking. I wish I had photos. See, if I’d made candles with my kids, that would definitely have generated a scrapbook spread, but my mom didn’t do scrapbooks, and photos were mostly taken on vacations. I have no tangible evidence of our candle phase, except the memory that it was fun. I know I made a few colorful mushrooms that could have festooned a set of Alice in Wonderland. There was also at least one frog and possibly other woodland flora and fauna.

Later on, whenever I was interested in something, my mom found a way to help me with it, if she could (or if I would let her). I didn’t appreciate this so much at the time, but isn’t it a nice quality of someone who cares about you? I appreciate that now, when a friend offers the gift of their time unexpectedly. It’s such a generous thing to do. I’m trying to be more that way myself, remembering Mom and what a kind, caring, generous person she was.

I will always miss her.

10 Years After

Exactly 10 years ago today I flew to Maui with my husband and children. I still have the children, though they are adults now ~ two beautiful daughters, smart, kind, good people, successful college grads, and fully employed. I no longer have the husband.

Sometimes I think about an event and say to myself aha this is the moment my marriage really ended, even if it hobbled along for years after that. Hindsight is so awesome, right? There are times I believe my marriage collapsed in in 2001, 0r 2004, or on this trip to Maui in 2006. But who knows.

I’ve visited Maui twice (and the Big Island on another vacay) and loved it so much. What a gorgeous piece of paradise. But as my regular readers know, I don’t enjoy extensive traveling, and so I probably won’t go back again. It’s a long plane flight (for me) and it’s expensive. Takes a lot of planning. Etc. I don’t like to leave Gatsby either. It’s important to me to spend at least a little time with him every day. I feel something’s missing when I don’t.

As I age, a new feeling has begun to coalesce: I can like things, even love them, and not ever have to own them or experience them again. Forex, a house. Sometimes I think, oh gosh, I’ll never be able to afford another house and I “should be” sad about that because isn’t that the American dream, to own a house? But I ponder that more and realize, no, I actually don’t want the burden of home ownership again and I’m happy I’ve had it a few times, when I was younger and had more energy (and when my mother was around to help)… that’s enough. Living in an apartment is easier.

The couple times I did stand-up comedy were fun and I’m glad one of my friends highly encouraged me to try it initially. People seemed to be a bit puzzled that I wasn’t going to do a third routine, but all I wanted to do was prove (to myself) that (1) I had the confidence to go up there in front of a live audience and (2) I possessed a bit of talent to get a few laughs. I accomplished these objectives. I had no need to continue.

A serious destination vacation, such as a trip to a beautiful island, is also something that shall have a happy place in my memory box and not be an item on my “bucket list” (such as it is). What lurks on that mysterious list anyway? When I figure it out, you’ll be the first to know. 😉

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