Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Year Comin' On...

I wonder what this one will be like. It's got to be better than last year, right? Maybe absolutely wonderful things will happen. That'd be nice. I'd appreciate it- but then, who doesn't appreciate good stuff?
This year didn't start so good, and it's not looking like it's gonna end so hot either. But, hey, there were good parts, right? You can't forget the good parts. Like they say, "Don't squander time, for it's the stuff life is made of."

Skittles was attacked Christmas Eve by a dog. She's got two very large holes in her throat now, but neither are in a life-threatening area. They're just huge and quite frankly gross to look into. I have to clean them three times a day, so looking isn't optional. Poor girl- she has no idea she's little with the heart of a lion.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Stories

There's always the good moments and bad moments of every year that people always remember, and this year will be no exception for me. But I think this will be one of my favorite Christmases.
First, I got a text message this morning from a boy I know that went north for the holiday. Well, more correctly, it was a picture message of snow on huge old fir trees. The caption below said "It makes me think of you." It made me smile. Living in south Alabama, if you get a white Christmas, it's because someone dumped washing powders all over your yard....or toilet papered your house.
But last night was most special.

There's a friend of mine who has two young boys. Her husband is ex-military and works at Sears. She just recently was able to find another job, and so they've fallen on some lean times. So lean in fact, they really weren't going to have a Christmas this year to speak of. So, I called up a friend of mine, Charlie, and we concocted a plan to "Christmas" them. We bought them a tree, two boxes of 100 light strings, 100 ornaments, a stand, and presents for her kids. The plan was to deliver it on Christmas Eve. Charlie got called away, and I got terribly sick, so I had her come to my house (and leave her kids in the car because I was burning up with fever and wanted to minimize exposure). First, I handed her the presents, and she thanked me profusely. I could feel the grin on my face when I told her "Wait a minute, there's more". And then I took her to the garage, where the tree and the lights and ornaments were. The look on her face was priceless. I helped her load it up, and her kids, sitting in the backseat, were like "Wow, she got us a Christmas tree! Thank you so much!" Some other friends had gotten her boys presents, too, and they were laying in the back as well. And so, I sent them on their way as "Christmased" as they could be. She texted me later and told me one of her boys said this was his favorite Christmas ever, and honestly, I couldn't have been more pleased. I was so glad to do it.
I went over to my parents a little later, and I told them what we had done. I had already told my dad earlier because my dad had questioned why there was another tree in the garage. His reply was this: "Okay, little Jude. You know, she found someone to do that to every year." I didn't know this, actually, as my Aunt Jude had died when I was nine- but I'm constantly told how much like her I am. And my father, being THE quintessential storyteller, launched into his favorite story about one such time that they'd done the very thing we had done.

This woman dropped off her four year old daughter at her grandparents house. They lived in a two room shack at the back of a man's property, and the man that owned it let them live there for free because they were so old and frail and it wasn't really the kind of place that you could actually rent out anyway. There was a single bulb in it, hanging from the ceiling, and two electric outlets. Because they were so poor, they could not afford to do anything for Christmas, and they told the little girl that there was no Santa and that they couldn't afford to do Christmas. Well, Jude would have none of this. She went and got the old folks and the little girl on Christmas Eve and brought them to the family dinner, and my grandmother (who was a hair dresser) kept them occupied by fixing the old lady's hair and the little girl's hair. My Aunt Jude gave the little girl a frilly red dress to wear. Daddy said she looked just like a little princess doll. And while they were diverted, my dad and Jude's husband Jimmy, took a tree, ornaments, lights, and a boatload of presents (including a tricycle) over to the house and set it all up. When they were done, Jude loaded them all up again, and brought them home. When they walked in, my dad plugged in the lights on the tree, and being as it was dark, that's all you could see. The little girl's eyes lighted up, and she looked up at her grandparents and said "See? I told you there was a Santa!"
One of the best Christmas stories ever.

Jude did this every year for a family, apparently. I didn't know it, but it's nice to have yet something else that links her and I together. That story was one of the best presents I got.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It'll Eat You

Seriously, how do people have so much time on their hands to be soooo miserable? Better yet, how did I do it for so long? It's more than annoying to me when every little thing annoys someone else and they feel the need to tell EVERYONE about it. It's like, "really? You have NOTHING better to do with your time?"

In beter news, I got an amp for Christmas- well, pre-Christmas anyway. Apparently my father couldn't contain himself. I'm excited- it's not anything like what I was looking for, but I'm still excited. And I'll never tell him that. But...I wanted a 2x12 guitar amp, or a 1x12 with a minimum of 50 watts. What I got was a 35 watt keyboard amp- no 12 involved. I'm grateful anyway. I'll just get a MIDI cord and hook my keyboard up to it (because a guitar at a very moderate level overloads it) and continue looking for a guitar amp. I'll just hide the new one when he comes over. He was so proud of himself, I didn't have the meanness in me to go "Dad...this isn't going to work." It will work, just not for what I had originally intended to buy an amp for.
In other news, my nephew is slated to arrive at my house January 3rd. I had no intentions of living with anyone ever again, but he is family and he's coming to work and go to school. I'm hoping this goes well- it'll be nice to split the bills. I'll have a lot more cash unharnessed for things I'd like to do with it- like save and spend some. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mmmm, The Rock n Roll Snake

I've spent amazing amounts of money on music lately- not amazing because it's a massive amount, because it certainly hasn't been that. It's amazing that I've gotten so much for so little, actually. I bought every Red Hot Chili Peppers album that has ever been PLUS 4 Widespread Panic CDs for 7 dollars at a yard sale. SEVEN DOLLARS. Fantastic! Then, on a whim I went to Barnes and Noble, and lo and behold, they've got a sale on CDs. I got a Coheed and Cambria CD for (strangely enough) 7 dollars. As I mentioned, I also went legal with iTunes, and I've gotten a good number of songs from there as well. Music, music, music. Everywhere in my life.
I've recently been looking at buying a new amp for my guitar, also. I think it's time to go back electric. I love my acoustic, but I think it's time for a little bit of a change. Plus, since the neck of an electric is slimmer, I can do more chords on an electric. God shorted me in the finger department- meaning that my index fingers need to be about an inch longer than they are so that I could do any chord on any guitar. Sadly, when I try to bar chords on an acoustic with a thick neck, it sounds more like...pain and suffering. Not like pretty pain and suffering- there is no blues in it- just the ineptitude of a short finger pain and suffering. I suppose lofty goals of playing everything I hear is to blame...ah, probably not.
I come alive with music. I feel it sneaking, writhing even, coming up my spine like some kind of snake. And I can't help but move, to smile, to scream sometimes, drive fast. Sometimes, I can feel the strings of a guitar waaaaaay down deep in my belly, like my soul resides there and every note resonates perfectly....It's so hard to explain something like this. I wonder if there's anyone else who ever feels this. Anyone's mood can be altered with notes and phrases of sound- but can they literally feel it the way I do? I don't know- no one's ever said so. I'm sure the "greats" do- I watch them on stage and I can see it. But, I'm not a "great"- I'm a normal, everyday girl that's so in love with sound that I wonder if there's any room in that part of me for anything else.
Another musical memory:

I was 19 years old, getting divorced, back at home with my mother, working at a seafood restaurant, going to school, and struggling hard to keep it all together. The feeling of failure was huge, a magnificent beast that just wouldn't let go of my jugular. The air show had come to town (like it did every year), and I had watched the Blue Angels practice manuevers over my house, but it had done nothing for me. I was on my way to work and dreading every moment of it. "Change" by Blind Melon was in the deck, and I was holding on to the lyrics like a security blanket. As I came down the road, the Angels were coming toward me at high speed, and as the words came from Shannon Hoon "keep on dreaming boy cause when you stop dreamin it's time to die", the Angels broke their perfect formation, and two went to each side, and one went straight up into the sky- and I whooped and hollered like something crazy, and "the beast" let go, and I knew right then and there that I would be okay. Shannon Hoon and the Blue Angels said so.
And they were right.

Sometimes it just takes Angels and a junkie to be okay.

....And sometimes it's necessary to be bitten by a snake.