Thursday, August 7, 2014

All The Young Dudes

Well it's been quite some time since I have written anything and it feels odd to be sitting here in front of a blank screen, white page, ready to go.  I have had a turbulent year, and an active couple of months. I almost died from a "dead gallbladder" but I didn't, and that's kind of cool. SO to celebrate my still having a brain that works, I thought I would  I guess what brought me to the blank white page on this evening is the wine of course, and the fact that my favorite band from "the day" is doing a reunion show this weekend, 2 nights at Jilly's in Akron.  I have been talking to friends and everyone is all a glow about having potentially 48 hours to relive our youth, reconnect with people we shared something so very special with and I am reminiscing as well. Hammer Damage was the first band I saw at The Bank in downtown Akron, 1979. I had never seen "punks" I was from Fairlawn and I wore Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.  But once I stepped in there I was, so beyond, hooked. Not only was that band amazing, they were all so damn good looking, skinny and edgy and they just looked like trouble waiting to land on someone. I, of course, was hoping one of them would land on me. I have no idea why I remember this but I do, I wore a denim skirt, white shirt and black tie, tights and canvas mary jane shoes. I moshed in the pit, but it was probably way before they called it that. I was there because Liam Sternberg's (The Bangles Jane Aire and The Belvederes ) parents wanted me to "make it in the biz" and they talked to so and so and they thought if I did a song with Hammer Damage, I would be on my way, so I was there to check them out and meet with their manager, Dale. I don't know what it was but I fell in love with everything about the energy in the place, the energy of the band, their rabid fans and life in that club.  I never did record a song with Hammer Damage they were far too cool to add an 18 year old chick from Fairlawn, but I started my own band and we went on to open for them more times than I can count.  We even went on to NYC to showcase with them the next year. We were the "it" crowd, we were the Akron version of what was going on in New York during the Andy Warhol Edie Sedgwick period, or we thought we were anyway, we tried to be, it was quite the scene.  I became very serious about creating that music, that energy and I wanted to absorb it all and spew it back out. I walked the walk, talked the talk, drank the booze and wore the clothes.  Even when I wasn't playing out myself, which was not that often back then, I went to see Hammer Damage, I danced all night and I was in love with all of it. I made so many friends, well...acquaintances back then and we all would meet up and just dance, drink and dance some more. I thought they were like The Beatles, they had the cool look, the shaggy hair and the cool suits and every single girl I knew had a favorite. Mine was George with his tight pants and cigarette hanging out of his mouth, he was and is, one HELL of a guitarist. It was really very innocent, it was just that we were lucky enough to have our favorite band in our city.  Like the girls at The Cavern in Liverpool, we could go whenever and the world did not own these guys ( the case of The Beatles).  Hammer Damage should have been such a huge thing internationally, but they had their bit of success, George went on to play guitar for The Dead Boys in their hey day (is that one word or two)?
Now it's 2014 and I am not 18, I am 55 and I am still incredibly excited to go see Hammer Damage, in Akron, at Jilly's and I know there will be so many people from "back in the day" and it will be so strange and so exciting all at the same time.  I hope I can forget that years, decades really, have gone on like a clock ticking frantically to get nowhere. I hope I can forget that I am an old woman just for this weekend. I hope I can just relive a little of what was then, with what I know now, how magical is that? It's like Time Travel, and though everyone is gray or fat or bald or wrinkled they will be just like me...trying to turn back the clock to a time when we were all young, wild, beautiful and full of everything that ever was, full of hope, not beaten down by money, failed marriages, death and dreams unrealized.  For just a little while, all those hundreds and hundreds of people from the Akron Scene in the early 80's will gather again to dance a little slower, to hear a little less, to dress a little less provocatively and to appreciate it all one hundred million times more. Most of our children are grown, our parents are gone (so we can stay out all night) and our dreams lay dormant somewhere but that's OK because our hearts are the same, our souls are the same just housed in bodies we don't really understand anymore. I would love to wear my purple spandex pants, or the black ones, but alas that ship has sailed so I will skip the spandex and skinny tie, though I may be rebellious and break out the skinny jeans and my hair will be less Debbie Harry, but I will still have cool shoes, shoes are the one thing you can get away with forever. I will see gray versions of all the boys who once loved me.  I recently had a conversation with an old friend, also a singer, she had way more success than I did and she was quite a thing for quite a while.  We were talking about how "all the young dudes" adored us and we abused the power so many times and we pretended like we didn't know, didn't care but we did and we did. Thinking of seeing all the fan boys in all their middle aged glory is hilarious, I doubt they will recognize me I am most definitely not that girl anymore nor should anyone expect that of me, nor I of them and I don't. I am so anxious to know what everyone has gone on to, how they fared through all these years of "adult time".  Fan boys turned into fan men, fan Grandfathers, still Hammer Damage fans, all of us. I ran into Mike Hammer today at The Bomb Shelter while looking for cool new things for my cool new apartment..he had no idea who I was. We used to hang out, he came to my house, we played softball on Sunday's and we shared the bill over the years SO MANY TIMES and yet it was all gone, he had no idea that I used to be Tracey, his pal from Unit 5.  Time has not been all that great to me and I was not bothered by it to any great extent but it made me wonder about, moments, memories. It's not possible to get through unscathed, we all have our demons, battles, trials and tests. I have had more than many and I am not the light hearted, ditzy blonde girl I once was and for some reason everyone still expects me to show up to things, 20 years old looking like Debbie Harry.  Time stands still, in our minds until it doesn't and then, we realize how very fleeting it all is which makes events like these all the more special because once we get over the fact that we are all no longer 20 and looking like Debbie Harry, we realize that we are all still here, and fabulous and ready to dance...however Hammer Damage one more time.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Like Sand Through The Hourglass So Are The Days Of Our Lives

It's funny really....yet it's tragic but it's OK that it's tragic because like anything else in life, you get used to what you know and it's comfortable because it's familiar. So how did I get to this place where I will now and again laugh because it's so normal, that feeling when everything goes wrong? Is that good or bad?  How did I get to this point where it seems I have reconciled the argument between my past and present, I almost miss the fighting because it was what I knew. I am sitting here listening to my wonderful family laughing downstairs, happy to know they are enjoying this place I have created for them to be accepted and loved, free of negative opinions and influences presented by the world outside the door that leads to all kinds of possible pain and all kinds of possible beauty.  I not only have my children (grown or otherwise) here tonight to eat the leftovers from Thanksgiving, but their friends whom I have grown to love over the years and I am so happy to hear their voices down there, laughing, singing, cussing like sailors (probably my fault there). And I realize I am at peace with all the shit that has flown overhead and underfoot for 5 decades, I am happy and that worries me because it could mean that I have just given up.  I have retired to my room to write, have a glass or 3 of wine and to contemplate things that have recently taken place in my life.   I love my room, it's not overly pretty, the floors are old wood and the white paint has rubbed off, the doors are scratched at the bottom a reminder of beloved pets long since passed trying to wake me up to start my day, the walls are an ugly sort of turquoise that Emma picked out when she was about 15. The room I love is not a room that has escaped death, I watched my Mother leave her body here in this place, this room has seen many tears and much laughter over the 10 years that it has been part of my life.  My children used to crawl into the bed with my Mom every night and watch Wheel of Fortune and they would guess what color Vanna's dress would be.  Then there were nights when I would be downstairs making dinner and I would hear my Mom call them up to watch Golden Girls with her, they all loved Betty White (Rose) and I could hear them laughing. My Mother's voice still echo's through the halls of my mind and I am so happy that I haven't forgotten the sound of it. Before she passed away, she was so worried that we would be afraid to have this room because "someone died in it" so she told us that whomever took this room would be watched after, by her, from wherever it is that she was going.  We all have chosen this small room at one point or another since her departure, Emma loved it, she re-decorated it and she was the first to take it after the fact. A few of  her early music videos that she posted to youtube were recorded here in front of the black and white wallpaper and turquoise walls.  Scott had it for a while as well but I live here now, embraced by the memories and the colors and the life that has been lived in this little square place at the top of my house.  I do not share a room with my husband, we really only did that for a couple of years then we realized, love doesn't mean having to lay awake while someone else snored. Our relationship is stable and we can handle not laying in each others dead skin cells night after night. I'm OK if Scott is in the next room it doesn't threaten me that we aren't attached at the hip.  I prefer my room to smell like Chanel No. 5 and dogs and Scott's smells a whole lot like beer and smokes and musty old albums, we all have our favorite scents I guess.  So as I was saying, well...typing. I am at this "place" and I'm not sure I've been here before, this particular place in my life.  For many years I would crumble and take a while to snap back when things went awry. I am not sure how it is that I find myself crumbling yet simultaneously standing and going on with things.  I am not sure if it is maturity, and experience or maybe resignation because I am so used to being defeated that it's second nature now...I find that sad, but I also find it the more likely of the  2 possibilities.  So do I spring back like a great gymnast who has fallen but is unaffected because she is so certain the fall is behind her, lesson learned, craft perfected...OR do I spring back with such ambivalence that I don't even recognize that I am ambivalent, I just fall because I am crippled and stand back up because it's instinctual, only to take a few steps and fall again because to lay there forever would be admitting defeat?  So it's half hearted and without much hope that I stand up to face another walk, another start, another beginning, another craft, another career, another home, another friend, another me...on and on and on and nothing comes to fruition, my tree is planted in sand where no root will ever hold and I just can't admit it to myself because I like me too much to say "It's not going to work" and so I believe over and over that this new person, this new challenge, this new start, this new project, this new God, this new love, this new me will finally root itself firmly and I will have a place to be, to stand strong and confident, secure that I will not fall and then I's all sand.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

You Can't Get On

As a songwriter, and that's what I consider myself first and foremost, there is always a period of nothingness, where the little spark that turns into a song just doesn't manifest.  For a year now I have been "all dried up" I don't know what changed, I never do really but there you have it...woke up with an idea and the song followed and I am so thrilled, I miss writing it's my passion and it's my thing. I hope there is more to come I would LOVE to do a bluesy folky kind of album, it may be one song or It may be the dry spell is over.  Either way I decided to post the lyrics before the song is out of the gate...this is "You Can't Get On".

Sometimes you need to shut your mouth, to keep your pain from jumping out. Nobody cares, nobody sees what drops your body to it's knees. There's nothing there for them to say we all dry up and blow away. You drew a circle in the air, you danced around the invisible band, you shot the bad guy in the end and all the people clapped their hands. Inside your mind is where it all goes down, the good the bad the fear of clowns, the apple falling from the tree, the ghost of who you meant to be.

     (Chorus) And when it's gone it's so far gone, you lost your mind, I lost my song. And when we meet it just feels cold, is that the way it's s'possed to be, or did your demons swollow me? What made you good then made you fall. What made you laugh before you cried? What made you think that you should die?

You are forever standing still, when all that moves me moves me deep. Tomorrow's not another day, tomorrow's blend with yesterday's. But yesterday it never comes you keep talking to yourself, about the past that's all burned down, you can't get on you can't get on. You paint your pictures on the wall, nobody told you it was gone, the walls around you all broke down and somehow still you can't get on.

     *And When it's gone it's so far gone, you lost your mind, I lost my song. And when we meet it's just so cold, is that the way it's s'possed to be, or did my demon's swollow me? What made you good's what made you fall. What made you laugh then made you cry? And in the end I need to know...what made you think that you should die?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

As a firm believer in "right here right now" I am being challenged to look forward and back against my will.  The trials of our last few years, this one in particular are blurring my focus on the here and now.  Having said that, I embrace the challenge and continue to try and deal with today and stay centered. Because the main point of blogging my journal in the first place was to let my children have access to my life, the life we don't sit and talk about because that would just be boring, I am posting this particular piece so they are inspired to have proper perspective even when the going gets a little tricky.  So 2013 has been an odd year, so many things to be grateful for that I don't  like to wallow in the negative but it's been hard not to do that lately.  My family is cool as hell, talented, brilliant children, who are no longer children in the scheme of things but to me, ya know how that goes Mom's of the world. My husband is a wonderful guy, I have my amazing furry kids whom I adore (always had a great love of dogs).  The challenges are all about money, I hate money, root of all evil sort of thing but it's the way the system is set up, not that I have an actual dislike for a literal piece of paper.  It's the entire system, how we operate, what we are used to. The Federal Reserve Bank controls the world, and sets it's standards for a certain few, and good for them I hold no animosity towards the people who have plenty and have worked for it.  My animosity is for the system that reveres only those people who have enough financially, people who have perfect credit and...teeth and shiny happy children, the Stepford system. It's humbling to know that you have "fallen" that you are one of those people that you used to feel pity for and in my case, try to help but with very little passion and only if it was convenient, I thought I was a giver but I wasn't I just didn't know.  I don't want to be helped, I want to be the helper. I hate being in this position and knowing that there are actually days now when we have to go to family or friends to have a nice dinner because we can't afford it.  AND IF YOU ARE READING THIS PLEASE DON'T OFFER ANYTHING, I am FINE, we are FINE and money issues ruin friendships, we are managing better than you may think after reading this, I like the challenge it builds character so if you have a comfortable life and lots of money, enjoy it!!!!  I did, please don't read this and want to fix it, it's our lesson, our karma whatever and when we hang out, we will talk about life, news, politics, gossip behind our other friends back, I really need that more than anything.  I talk about that here, publically, because we are not the only ones and my new focus is to help the people, like us, who have fallen.  We are soldiers in a new war, I am bonding with my brothers to fight a system that isn't working anymore. I am only fighting in the corner I have been pushed into, but fighting none the less, recognizing that poor isn't lazy and usually the opposite. I am currently cleaning houses, doing piece work at home and selling Tastefully Simple to make ends meet, 3 jobs, making less than ever.  I have learned that love is really what fuels people, you can give a few dollars but what everyone really needs is to know someone cares.  One small gesture can change a great many things.  It's my opinion that life lessons are to be embraced and learned, challenges overcome and examples set for the next generation.  I think this is the most important thing there is to do here on this planet, in this universe, in this experience...learn and grow and love unconditionally.  Some days I am not so focused, I cry and stay in bed, play to many video games, eat junk food. The other day I threw my cell phone in an uncharacteristic moment of complete frustration, (I usually just cry) which was the one thing I still had that made me not feel "poor" I loved that damn thing and now it's gone.  My friend Marcia gave me her old phone and it allows me to call out and receive calls and I'm grateful but don't get me wrong the former spoiled brat in me is pissed that I am in such a state now that I can't even do all the fun things on my phone that I was so used to doing. No more Netflix, texting is impossible, no more photos in HD.  I mourn my phone, but unlike my other things that I mourn this was my fault, I lost my mojo, losing our home and possibly the store, losing our future and our dreams, that was NOT our fault.  Scott is the hardest working man I have ever known.  In the 19 years we have been together he has missed work maybe twice because he was sick.  We took vacations "back in the day" and he left the store in good hands then, back when there were employees.  But to actually miss because he was ill...twice in damn near 20 years.  He has fought the hard fight to keep that store going, it's his passion, it's the love of his life (well actually our dog Boones is and I'm cool with that).  As I write this now, the store has to go, it's no longer paying the bills and we need to re-evaluate our lives, he knows that intellectually but not sure he can ever do it, not sure that he will ever walk out of there and lock it up, not look back, he knows it's the only way but we can only handle what we can handle right? It's been a very hard stretch but not without some fantastic lessons learned. I for one know EXACTLY what I do not need and I now know how incredibly spoiled and selfish I was, I would not have believed it then but I sure as hell do now.  I also have learned my strengths, and some good qualities that I didn't even know I had.  Scott and I had a very charmed life, great family, wonderful romance, plenty of money to do whatever we wanted, we vacationed twice a year, we had a beautiful home (have for a few more weeks anyway though I wouldn't call it beautiful now it's overrun with damage because upkeep has not been a possibility for years), we basked in the great family we were building, and we still do. The romance is gone, the money is gone, the vacations are really missed but we deal with it. Scott and I are strained but hanging in because we have great respect and love for each other, he is my best friend and it's very hard to watch him lose what he worked so hard to build. We ate at RUSSO'S at least once a week and GOD I MISS RUSSO'S, probably the hardest part of losing everything is losing our weekly Russo's nights (OK leave it to me to miss the food part).  Scott and I were regulars, we just signed for our meals and paid the bill in trade to Dave (Russo) because he shopped the store all the time.  Eventually as music became an internet thing and less of an own and collect thing, the trade deal was off and that was that, we would still go for a while but now we are lucky to have family night at Subway.  The strange thing about all this, and my fellow poverty warriors will get this, mainly the people who have had it and lost it, is that it's no big deal, to me it's like...OK I can't go to the mall on a perfume adventure (which used to be my favorite thing to do go and smell everything and pick my new favorite). I can stay home and paint terrible portraits and scrapbook with actual scraps not cute things purchased in a store, I can clean and rearrange the house, which I love, I can play my guitar and throw the stick with my dogs.  I can't buy the kids things for no reason anymore, I can't just go to the grocery and get what I want without pricing every damn thing (I don't like that part much) but I can still cook, read,  have beautiful evenings with friends and all the things that REALLY matter and it took this "experience" this "journey" for me to put that into perspective and for that I am eternally grateful.  I can never see me ever being materialistic again, that is gone and what a burden lifted! Remember this (spawn of mine) the stuff is dangerous, it clouds your mind and your heart, stuff is just meaningless garbage that takes over and keeps you from seeing the beautiful side of a simple life it keeps you in a state of "defense" always worried that you will lose your stuff, someone will steal your stuff, and it's a horrible thing.  I lived like that, I was afraid of someday not having the means to shop and vacation and when that actually happened, it was a blessing in disguise.  So chin up! Bright lights everywhere (unless they are multi colored then go to the doctor it could be a stroke). I have nothing to give anyone anymore that isn't my love, time and energy, I can't just hand my friends cash and presents and you know what, my gifts of love are the best  I can give because they come from a place of honesty.  You know how I always say I would rather you guys make me something than buy me something, that's so true, and now that I can only give things that don't cost money I feel like it's more "real" and my friends are getting something I really care to give, not a candle or a set of dishes or a sweater from Old Navy. I can make soaps, breads, candies and bad art. So here we are today, the once "well off enough" family haven fallen to poverty level, even though we are now working harder than ever, we are flat broke in a material sense but (speaking only for myself) far richer than ever in a spiritual sense. I didn't even know I wasn't seeing the world correctly, I thought it was fine to have more than you needed, fine to give the guy on the corner a couple of dollars when you could afford 20. I thought it was just fine to be who I was but it wasn't,  it took a complete collapse of my way of living for me to see that.  I now give the guy on the corner whatever I have in cash, which isn't much, ever, but it's not just a token to ease my guilt for having more than he does, I give what I have because we are now floating in the same boat and I want my warrior brother to have less strife because I know that kind of strife and it's heavy.  So I am not sure how to handle the loss of the house, I am taking it one day at a time. I grew up (as I have discussed whilst blogging before) with an unstable Father, we moved over 30 times before I was 12 and my fear was always that I would have to relive it, that my now stable and grown up life would turn into that again, I have nightmares about losing my house, I always have. Now that it's happening, I'm not sure what to do to stay in the present without reliving a life that has long since passed me by.  I am in counseling again, and I'm not embarrassed by that, it's the "free" counseling but I have found there are great resources for people who have fallen off the happy wagon for a minute and I'm glad to utilize them.  I just want the tools to handle it without slipping into a cycle of dwelling on my upbringing, so counseling for me is the greatest gift I can give you guys, as my family so that I can keep a stiff upper lip and show you by example that all you have is the present, there is nothing else worth dealing with.  By keeping me whole and focused, I hope to keep you guys whole and focused, because it's just "stuff" and it shouldn't be this big of a deal.  I have joked (half joked) about putting a tipi (yes that's how you spell it) out on Mark's property, just having the dogs, some books, a garden and the stars, that may just come to pass and I'm telling Mark right here...clear me a spot on the back nine, guess I will know soon enough if he reads my blog :)
That sounds lovely to me, after all the adventure, the money wasted that could have helped someone, all the fullness and the temporary high of a materialistic life, I just want it all to be simple, honest and real, authentic. I hope that you get what you want, really, I just hope you have learned that what you want dims the light on what you need, and that what makes you happy is not what necessarily fulfills you.  Give your love and time to people who need it, paint lovely pictures even if you suck at it, sing songs, look at the stars, have a fire going that you can have a nice glass of wine by, OK a cheap ass glass of wine by, hug your siblings, your parents, pick the far away parking spot so someone who needs it can park closer, spend Thanksgiving feeding the people in shelters, make Christmas presents, don't buy them, take long walks and sit quietly in the woods and watch the deer, sleep under the stars when the mosquito's are gone for the season, believe in God, believe in life everywhere not just here, and most importantly believe in yourself...I do, and that has made all the difference. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Past Presents Future Presents

So it's May of 2013 and Cory's 26th birthday has passed and Emma's 19th is upon us in a few days. May is our busy month I am glad Marisa picked February.  I know that it's such a common dialogue, especially for parents but I can't even comprehend how fast the time has gone.  My maternal Grandmother used to talk about it a lot and I was never the Grandchild that ignored her stories so I would listen to her but I couldn't understand it from my perspective then, pre-Mom years.  Now that I completely get it, I can't tell her how right she was but she certainly was. I think our concept of time is just that, a concept, something that was a good idea but maybe didn't come fully to fruition.  It's great to have a reference, days, weeks, months, years, a way to understand what needs done and when it needs done, a way to keep track of all things coming and going but it's certainly flawed in the large scheme of things.  I think it would be fixed somehow, it wouldn't ebb and flow like it does (now pardon my physics this is just me thinking way to far into the matter and let's not even start talking about matter) it would be more constant and uniform.  If I were floating in the universe as a single being with no "life on earth" experience I believe I would have no concept of time it would probably only be a sensation of now.  I would be in the center of it, the looking back would be the same "length" as the looking forward, equal time past and future with no concept of them being different at all, they would be the same and I would just be in the center of it.  BUT!  I am a single being having a "life on earth" experience and relying on the time/space laws as I have learned them so I find myself looking back and finding the whole thing happened in a fraction of the time that my looking forward self is experiencing.  SEE?  The future still seems longish, like there is plenty of time to get to this and get to that, not rushed, even at my age.  HOWEVER the past seems like it's actually trying to catch up to where I am in the current scheme of things.  So I see my children and I remember going to parks, playing on swings, learning to ride bikes, watching Barney, then high school dances, first dates, first jobs, moving away and all of that kind of just happened recently in my perception.  Then I think about them marrying someday, having families of there own, working at a career they have planned for, college, whatever and it seems way off but I know that in an instant it will be behind me but I can't conceive of that until it's past, then I will realize how lightning fast it actually was.  SO TIME.......I don't get it, I think it's a flawed system and with that I realize I am rambling and off topic (somewhat) so here is what got my mind in a tizzy about time...
My children are grown, I need to face and accept that, embrace the new stuff without mourning the old stuff so how do we do that?  As Mother's how do we just step back into the life we had before we were one hundred and fifty percent, hands on care takers? It's an odd sensation because all of the sudden you realize your OWN life and your OWN needs can be addressed again but you don't remember how to do it.  Sometimes it is so great, I used to cry because I was so overwhelmed with things I was happy just to have a bath and I didn't care that they banged at the door to get in I was so glad just to have a few minutes to relax and not move my physical self from one spot to another.  I remember Emma and Marisa would actually get books and sit on towels in the bathroom floor because they wanted to be where I was.  If I locked the door they would sit outside the door and whine to get in so I just set them up beside me and they were so excited they thought it was fun and I knew they were OK because I was still supervising but our bathroom was like a big playpen and I could unwind without worrying, and of course we would sing and that was just so cute.  The other night I decided to take a bath, I got a nice glass of wine, lit some candles and while I was laying there I remembered that and I was so overwhelmed with everything I was so happy that I could have a glass of wine and enjoy the feeling and not worry that someone would get out of bed in the night or get sick in the night and I would have to be in Mom mode in a second (I never drank when my children were young in case something would go amiss in the middle of the night and I would have to drive or whatever) so it was really nice knowing that was OK now but then I started sobbing because put in a different light, that just meant no one needed me now and I felt so lonely it was overwhelming. I am not sure why all of my life's positives came with a negative attached, it has always been that way and I am sure a lot of my quirks and ticks are a result of it all but therapy is a bullshit concept to me so I may never know and most of the time I don't care it is what it is.  I see so many people who's children leave the nest and they are out and doing things, filling time with long awaited dreams to conquer, embracing every second with new adventures and I want to be that person.  MONEY, money is an issue most definitely.  We were hit with the PLAN B scenario in 2009, unfortunately we didn't have a PLAN B. That year our business began to fail (but not entirely because my husband refused to let that go so he's still hanging on and good for him) at one point it was costing us money to keep that store open but it was Scott's life's work and you don't take that lightly.  We lost our cars, our house was on the chopping block for 2 years, kids college money gone, vacations we used to take 2 times a year, gone, the only thing we could do was try to keep chins up and food in the cupboards and we did both of those things, not always and not always to this day and it's 2013 but things are getting better, we just found out we are able to keep our house but it's not going to be easy that's for damn sure, but we are doing it. If I had not experienced losing my financial security I would not be the person I am today, it was a blessing looking back because I am more humble, I understand people that I once did not understand, I am thankful for things I should have been WAY more thankful for but took for granted.  So it's not all bad but my ability to do the things that I had planned to do once my children were grown has been completely obliterated.  Scott and I were going to travel, we thought about a houseboat in the Carolina's for a summer home, we talked about fine dining with couple friends that we would most certainly make once we could get out and meet more people, we had dreams and goals and we did not see the crash coming but it's not as bad as it sounds, we just kind of got through it a bit at a time, so a negative with a positive attached this time.  Our marriage was really rocky for a while and I don't talk about that often but if I'm going to be honest to a fault in this blog I have to mention that.  Scott become sole proprietor, he works 7 days a week then comes home and watches television and goes to sleep which is all he has had the energy for and I understand that.  He drinks way to much and I don't blame him, his life is all about work, keeping the store going and not about the nice casino's and nice vacations with his wife that were planned at this stage of the game, he was so financially set we had no worries...until we did and that is hard for a man, they are so "provider" minded and I know Scott took it as his failure and he never quite saw that it was circumstance and not anything he did, we certainly understood that and would never blame any of it on him personally, this family LOVES THAT MAN and respects him so much and he earned every bit of the love and respect he has gotten from us, he is a great father though admittedly not a great husband (but he's mine) because he is married to his store and I have long since gotten over coming in 2nd (well 3rd if you count his dog Boones and she really is way cooler than me so fair is fair).  I have wanted to medicate too, just to find that one thing that didn't make you feel shitty all the time.  Scott picked beer and I picked cooking everything for everybody all the time and then eating to much of it. It's fun and we all need something right?  Somehow we managed to make some couple friends, we don't need a babysitter anymore and that's another "time" thing, I remember Scott saying "it's ok because before you know it they will be old enough to stay home alone for a while and we can sneak out for a little bit and they will be fine", it felt like forever away and now it's past and I am still reeling from the fact that I can go wherever I want and no one needs to come stay at my house for a couple of hours.  I didn't do babysitters I was to over protective, it was my Mom or Sister or Scott's Sister or our niece and that was it.  I still worry like that but everyone just laughs at me.  Emma was visiting last night with her boyfriend and when she left I said "make sure you wear your seatbelt" and everyone thought I was ridiculous, I am but for good reason I live in the middle of nowhere and there are deer everywhere so good advice right?? Never to old for good advice. So these days Scott and I still don't see a lot of each other but we have grown accustomed to it all, we have very separate lives so we really appreciate our time together.  We have made great friends in Tom and Marcia Kelly the past few years, we do a lot of fun things together and Scott and Tom are hilarious, they make us laugh all the time.  We are now able to hang out with Scott's Sister Janelle and her husband Bob (Sponge Bob to my girls who have called him that since they could speak and Cory even calls him Sponge to this day).  Scott's Mother and her husband are close to 90 now, June (Scott's Mom) has a wicked case of dementia and Bob and Janelle have moved them in to care for them and they can't get away a lot so we go there, sit on there beautiful front porch in lovely Akron Ohio, smoke cigarettes (Scott doesn't inhale) and drink wine, eat to much and talk about life and I am so grateful for porch nights.  Our kids meet us there a lot, usually stop by on the way to somewhere else but they love porch nights too.  Janelle's son Ryan usually comes on Sunday's when he's not being a rock star (he's the lead guitarist of Red Sun Rising) and somehow we always end up talking about when they were all little, how Ryan teased Cory to no end and how Cory tried to stab Ryan when he was 9 (ahhh memories).  So the 6 of us have become our own little group of old people friends, I always wanted that because my parents had that and it looked so fun.  I remember poker parties with my Mom's cousins and their husbands.  So life is taking on a whole new vibe about now and I am not sure what to do with it, I am "Happy and Sad Together" to quote The Innocence Mission.  It is very nice having Cory back home, I know it's just for a bit but I love it.  Emma is out of the house, Marisa is moving to Vermont in a matter of weeks now actually and that doesn't compute yet.  So that positive with a negative thing can be looked at many different ways, lucky to have positive AT ALL, negative keeps you humble, balance is the key, all positive would make you write stupid songs anyway right?  So off they all go, and I spend many hours alone at home now, but HEY...I have a home to spend those hours in and I am forever grateful, I love my house with it's leaky roof and ugly basement but I LOVE IT.  I may not have loved the city of Hudson for a while, being an Akron gal but I actually have fallen back in love with it, just like my husband, it's where I belong.  The people hurt me here, not all of them, not most of them but some of them. We were talked about, especially my daughter, by people who don't know us, wouldn't understand us if they did so water, bridge, who cares.  But I have many friends here, and I am grateful that I can drive 5 min and have coffee in my pj's on my friends porch if I want to, meet for lunch at Aladdins, walk downtown with my dogs and I feel at home again.  I have re-embraced my old friends too, whom I have missed and whom I misunderstood and was misunderstood by.  So here I am 53, kids grown, money scarce, still working my butt off for chump change as they say, still singing because I don't know how not to, still socially smoking though every single day I quit, still eating Ben and Jerry's at midnight when someone hurts my feelings, still laying in bed watching re-runs of Downton Abbey, Merlin and Sherlock with my dogs, bleaching my kitchen, burning to many candles, and cooking to much food in the home where I raised children, took care of my dying Mother (at the same time) who eventually left the world through one of my upstairs bedrooms, and it's all fine and as it should be.  I am so thankful for lessons learned, experiences had, friends made and while I can't jet off to Scotland as planned I can sit in my backyard surrounded by nothing but trees and animals and friends and family when they stop by, and they always do. I may not be driving a new car with heated seats and On Star with DVDS for the kids but it's OK (I LOVED THAT DAMN VAN) I can still drive and while it's a borrowed van from Scott's Sister with over 200,000 miles, it works and it has a radio and though I would not have believed it 4 years ago, it suits me just fine these days.  So some of the things I have always wanted to do I am doing, and some of the things I always thought I would do, I am not and so what really.  I have taken to antiquing and thrift storing and I have gone from Office Manager of a Theater and Professional Musician (which is my hobby now not my livelihood) to cleaning lady and piece worker so if you put it in Downton Abbey terms, I have moved from upstairs to down and I have found that downstairs is WAY more fun.....until next time when I talk about getting my DNA ancestry chart and finding out I am not related to the man I knew as my Father........Tracey

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fear and Loathing in Las Akron

HOW MUCH EASIER, would life be if we instinctively knew what people thought about us?  Sometimes I think it would be brutal, other times I think it would be an incredible super power.  I spend so much (way to much) time worrying about the way I impress upon people.  I am always checking myself so I don't offend, defend, insult, annoy, etc.  I am always going to assume that I am bugging you, it's how I am wired and if you don't hit the like button on something I say on facebook I am probably going to feel like I suck (and it is hard to admit to that kind of weakness). All of that inner drama would be wiped away if instantly when I struck up a conversation with someone a little red light went off over their heads telling me they were not enjoying me in their space).  If the light were green, I would know we were "bonding". SURE the red lights would make me feel really badly, I am so overly sensitive anyway it's not a new sensation, but the red lights would keep me from wasting time blabbing to someone who did not give a shit about anything I had to say. 
I am always thinking my personality is odd, I do not have a cohesive flow of thoughts, I have random misfires routinely and I spend way to much time worrying about the fallout from my, well..mouth.  I have a couple of traits that are faults and perks all rolled into one.  I can be friendly and outgoing, I just assume everyone wants to talk to random strangers.  I talk to people in lines at stores, on the street, in social situations, just assuming they want to chat or say hello. I am not unlike a puppy, I am in fact, a middle aged human female puppy.  Some people enjoy the random strange person addressing them (sniffing them if you will) and some people just think I'm a freak and then I get my feelings hurt and the inner dialogue starts "WHY am I such a loser"?  "WHY do I just talk to people like that"?  "I should keep my eyes down and get to my destination without addressing anyone about anything, who cares if her dress is pretty or her hair is nice or if you buy the same coffee, COOL"!  Not everyone wants to pet me and a lot of people are allergic to me but I can't help it, I like the people sometimes and I just want to be social, then I hate myself when they act like I am a douche bag.  There are times when I am over familiar and I don't even know it until I have done it.  I am THE WORST on facebook, I realize it but I keep doing it (truest form of insanity) the only way I believe, is to just delete my account but I can't because I love talking to the people I haven't seen in decades and I love keeping up with the people who have moved away that I still care about very much.  My fault is I read all the posts on my home page and then I comment on them because I find them interesting and then I worry that everyone out there is thinking "why is this woman commenting on my wall all the time"?  I comment on my own posts, I like my own stuff and I second guess every status worrying that someone will think I am an idiot...but I still do it because I also think it's all in my head and no one else is thinking that at all, then I think I'm wrong because of course they can see that I am a dweeb and then I think, I am over thinking it.  Cycle complete until it starts again.  I have some very very cool aquaintances, I know some interesting, lovely people. I sometimes feel like if I reach out to talk to them, they will think I am trying to get into their inner circle like a limelight leach so I keep my distance and then I feel sad that there are people out there that I really like and would love to "do lunch" with but I can't because I am not cool enough or wise enough to be in their space.  I once thought I was on the same level as everyone, we were all equal and everyone was welcome to bond with everyone else.  For some reason, as I have grown older I have felt a fall from grace on so many levels that I assume no one wants to entertain my company, it's really sad and completely pitiful that I cannot step out of this mindset and give myself a break. I am not sure what happened to make me feel like I should stay in the house and read, cook and clean so as not to bother anyone really, I have a few ideas but none of them really warrant how I actually feel about people not liking me.  I think my initial problem started with my weight gain after the girls were born and then our financial crash which put me in a self induced, new social bracket which I call, to poor for the superficial to associate with.  The devestating part about being someone who was once succesful, young and vibrant, is that it's not a forever potion, the magic wears off and it's shelf life is quite brief and someone should have put the warning label on, and the side effects should have been weighed, some of the long term effects of believing anything lasts forever include:  inflated ego disease, sever withdrawl symptoms (taper off), over confidence, failure to recognize anything that doesn't put you in the center of the known universe.
So the magic lasts until approx. the age of 40 (at least for me anyway) and then it begins to fade, you can feel it but it's so slow and sure that it's not overly recognizeable as the end of your self worth, self esteem and confidence.  The physical downfall is interesting to experience, the body plumps up, the face loosens, the hair thins, the teeth dull, and then at the age of 45 you realize what is going on not only physicaly but mentally you realize you can't use the same personality you have always used because you are to old for it now, you have to rethink who you are or you will be stuck with a set of personality traits that have been instilled for years and years that you can no longer "work".  This is not pretty when this happens, ex: the 50 woman in the fishnets and miniskirt with the stillettos at the bar hitting on 25 year old men (OK I DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE).  I have to say it is weird, trying to figure out why the police officer that pulled you over doesn't think your awesome so you still get the ticket, why the boy at Swensons calls you ma'am, why construction workers don't realize you are walking past them, why no one wants to hire you, why the clothes you like are no longer suitable but you hate Talbots, why you try to join a conversation with your younger friends but you keep getting interupted while they chat amongst themselves, why your spouse comes home and falls asleep in the chair while you chat about your day, why your kids don't want to go to the movie with you anymore they have to protect their street cred.  WOW, who knew being a middle aged woman was so lonely?!  OF COURSE I am now worried about annoying people or being "not cool enough" it's the new software's fault!  The old software that made you love your computer, has been updated and you can't figure the shit out now, you liked the old version DAMN IT!  Everyone is always changing things just when you get the hang of it.  I hate that I have always worried about how my little insignificant person will be percieved.  I see myself as a friendly, compassionate, extrovert when I'm in the mood. Introvert when I'm not (I have been known to retreat for a time from all association that is not my family).It's a weird dynamic because I hate being NOT noticed and I hate being noticed just as much. I actually didn't like the taste of success that I experienced, I didn't even like it a little bit. I am NOT someone who wants to be judged, assessed and critiqued and it was not good for my self esteem or well being, I am not strong enough stock for that and it takes a really strong, confident, relaxed person to have all that going on and I am NOT any of those things and yet, I still hate it when I am not noticed, there is no winning here. I love playing clubs in Akron, seeing the same people come out, getting to know them, it's lovely I feel really lucky to have the audience I have, there are some wonderful people here that share my love of music and art and I would rather play for 50 people and write my own rulebook than thousands with no say in my life, which is how it was back in the day when record labels were the means to an end. I believe it's very different now and that's a wonderful thing, you don't have to sell your soul.  With a daughter that's an up and coming singer/songwriter I am thrilled that she can be spared the sign on the dotted line experience and still be a creative source.  I went for a nice evening out recently with a group of friends, aquaintences that I haven't seen in a while.  At the table were 3 published authors of renown, whom I have known for years, we got together for drinks and I just felt so out of place the whole night because I never made my mark on that level. I remember talking and saying, yes I still play but most of my time is spent home, raising a family.  They all thought it was great, I thought I was boring even though I LOVE that part of my life, I was just uneasy the whole night even though I am SO happy for their success and loved hearing of their adventures, book tours, people they have met and interviewed etc.  I have shared the table over drinks with rock stars, writers, poets, actors, directors and I have shared the table over drinks with bus drivers, construction workers, doctors, lawyers, chefs and line cooks, bartenders and bar owners, I have had such a rich social experience, I love getting to know everyone and I am interested in everything they have experienced.  I sometimes just want to talk to older people about what defined their lives, I so enjoyed my Grandmother's stories and my lovely Mother in Law is 87 and full of memories of the past (not so much yesterday mind you but decades ago). I love hearing about peoples lives, it means the world to me to just sit over wine or coffee and hear what you (all of you actually) are about.  I guess if that makes the red light go off, so be it because it's worth the risk to me.  If I annoy you, I apologize I never mean to be overly anything it just happens.  I am curious about people, I love a good chat even if it's with myself, for example, this blog.  I guess I feel thusly, if you don't put yourself out there for people to evaluate, you stay home, and that's just no fun at all sometimes.  As I sit here, I am worried that this post will make me seem pathetic and that you all will expect me to be a bumbling bag of nerves and insecurity if we meet and/or hang out.  The truth is that no one ever knows this about me, people don't see that I am a self doubting Thomas (get it)?  I have the role of confident woman down to a science, I should win the award for best actress really, I am THAT good at faking it.  SO...let's do lunch.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

All Is Quiet......On New Years Day

It's New Years day 2013, it appears we were not smyted on 12, 21, 12 after all.  I have decided to write this because I have not done it yet....this particular thing.  As you all know (all 8 of you) I write this for my children to someday get to know me, of course they do not, will not know me until they read because I can't hold their attention verbally for more than a minute.  I am going to admit that while writing this post I have probably indulged in to much red wine whilst celebrating the holiday, ringing in another year (oh goodie).  To those of you who read this before I inevitably delete it while I am sober, forgive my indulgence but I am most assuredly past the legal writing limit and so be it.  I will now write about my lovely children, this is the story of the person behind the Mother, I am not just some dumb, middle aged, emotional piece of person that gets on your last nerve on a daily basis. SUPRISE! I am just another person on the planet,  trying to figure out how I got here and why, I am full of questions (and answers actually).  I was once your age, I once had dreams, I once sought love and laughter and fun with wild abandon.  Isn't it odd to think that the very thoughts you have, I once shared.  I was never comfortable thinking about the fact that my Mother was anything other than my Mother, ever, but when all was said and done we were very much alike, my lovely Mum and me.  It's far easier to think of her as a young vibrant woman, now that I am older I get it completely and so will you...someday you will understand that just because I am someone's "Mother" does not mean that I am not a woman, who was once a girl, who was once, not stupid.  So here it goes, here is a list of things that make  I am directing this not only to my girls but with regard to my only son as well, even though you are not a woman (most of the time) you are my spawn and you may relate to some of these things that you have been given, like it or not, by me and mine...your Thomas side.  I love you guys, I hope I have earned your love and respect dispite my mistakes (we all make them).  You know me as "this person" however, I do not know me as you know me, I am very different on the inside than on the outside and here I will tell you about the inside of me......what I want, truly want, what I have settled for and what I left behind...

I wanted to sing, that's the strongest feeling, emotion in my arsenal.  I wanted to sing from the time I can remember being.  I loved the feeling of it, the power of it and it never mattered at first if anyone heard me or not, I just did it.  I would LOVE to say that my first longing was to be a Mom.......SORRY, it was not.  I used to say (I was around 18ish) that if I ever had children I would lock them in the closet. My best friend Andrea and I declared very early on that Motherhood was not for us.  I hear you guys say that now and my first reaction is.....HA!  I know it's not the reality of it, eventually you will have room in your space for a family and you will love it.  You were all raised with a strong sense of that.  Next on the list of things that moved me, drove me...I wanted a home, a really nice home of my own.  My father was wicked, he drank daily and got fired and we got evicted and it was repeated over and over.  Before the age of 12 I moved at least every few months and I dreamt that I would have a lovely, little, home with all the cozy fluffy things to be had. I am not a big house person, I longed for and still do, a cottage style home with history, wooden floors and rugs and pillows and a fireplace with a lovely garden.  I must admit in my heart of hearts, I am Bilbo Baggins minus the adventure (I did indeed see The Hobbit for the 2nd time this very day). I should never, ever have been born in this place or this time period.  If there is a God, and you need to know I truly believe there is, he placed me wrongly.  I should have been born in England in approx. 1812, London proper or a little cottage outside of either way I love the city and the country, I hate the burbs.  I would have been perfectly at home in a flat in the city as long as it was comfortable, clean and cozy, I may have had to skip my garden but it's all ok.  I truly feel like a displaced person, I have always, will always pine for a foreign country in a time period that has long since passed.  I am not sure if I believe in reincarnation, but something inside me feels literally homesick for a place I have never been, in a time I never knew. My clothing preference, everything that means anything to me reveals this odd little twist in the time space continuum.  I was not, am not, cut out for this space in time, I am not cut out for the lifestyle in this country though I have come to accept it, even if I don't champion it.  I don't scoff at technology, I am on facebook as much as anyone else.  HOWEVER, the things that matter to me, the things that make me feel connected, happy etc.  have nothing to do with anything most people want out of their life experience. I don't need ridiculous amounts of money, jewels, cars, long expensive resort vacations etc.  I aim no higher than this...a lovely home where I can cook and clean and tend to the things that are more traditionally female in nature, I think everyone should do what trips their trigger, I am very liberal but for me, I love traditional roles.  I love to put together the homestead, knowing that my family can come and go as life presents itself, always a room and food for you my spawn. I love caring for people and animals, I like gardening and nurturing and nesting.  I am obsessed with books and blankets, I'm sure you know that by now.  While a lot of people spend money on cars boats and clothing, I like blankets and books and candles.  To live in a home with soft rugs, blankets, thick curtains, candles and books is perfect. I don't need fancy artwork, I don't need matching "sets" of things (furniture).  I like pieces with personality, history and comfort.  I like people to come in and feel safe and comfortable, I love people in and out all day, friends and family.  I love a huge table where everyone can sit and if the chairs don't match even better.  I want dogs and a cat, a single cat is usually quite fine, 2 dogs of course. I love it when everyone comes in and sings and plays music together.  We are one lucky family to be able to play and sing like we do, what a blessing to make your own music and use your own voices to fill the space.  When my family sings the harmonies are infectious, it's a lovely thing and no one knows it but us, it's "our" thing.  Scott usually listens.......HA!  He does do a mean Ziggy Stardust at Karaoke however, but he leaves the sing alongs to Cory Emma Marisa and me.  One Christmas we all sang Mountain Goats songs and it was so fun...we all love them. I love to cook, I hope I have passed that down to you guys.  I truly love to be the one to "feed the people" who visit my home.  I like working with fresh vegetables, pasta and wine, I am a casserole junkie, love to mix a bunch of stuff up in a bowl and bake it.  Normally you won't find instant foods in my pantry, sometimes you guys want the sponge bob mac and cheese instead which I will never understand.  Cooking your own meals in your own home is such a great thing for the soul. I have spent WAY to much money on to go food and if I could re-do anything that may be it.  I don't always have my day figured out so that 3 homecooked meals make the table, I know this, but I am saying when I can do that, I love it.  Nothing quite like music to set a mood, whatever mood you need to be in or indulge, the right music can facilitate the process.  90 percent of the time I listen to classical, jazz or standards.  Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, happy for hours.  I LOVE The Black Keys, Adele.  I love it when people can really sing, really sing and I don't mean vocal tricks, runs or theatrics just pure from the heart, singing.  There has to be some emotion behind the voice or it's dull for me.  Tom Waits...LOVE.  OK, while I am a loner by nature, I do enjoy a nice dinner with friends followed by a lovely glass of wine and interesting conversation, some light music. I LOVE  a good storm, snow or thunder either way.  I do not like the tropics, I do not like the heat of summer, I like and appreciate nice days with a bit of sun but I am a very big fan of wind, unlike one of my idols Dusty Springfield who was scared of the wind, I love it, rain, blizzards and extremes in nature.  I am a lover of dogs and would prefer the company of my dogs most of the time to the company of people (not my family and friends of course).  I am NOT what could be considered a people person, I am much the loner even though I do enjoy when people come over for holidays and gatherings.  I love it when the kids (well you are not kids anymore) have friends stop by.  I am not a fan of idle and fake chatter with people on the street, in the pub or at the store (time traveler).  I try to be nice to everyone I come across because it's very important to be good and to make people feel appreciated, however, I would be lying if I did not say that I prefer a night at home with a good book and a cup of tea and a fire.  I find that as I get older, I retreat more into my thoughts and my creature comforts.  I LOVE books, to say I am a fanatic would be stupid but I love books, I don't care at all about a kindle, I like the feel the smell and the vision of a book, shelves of books displaying your journey, in your home, showing you, reminding you what you have "taken in" over the's a must.  Keep your collection of Carlos Santana and Jessica Simpson shoes, I just want my books and a great pair of crocs.  I don't understand why I love rugs, but I LOVE rugs, I spend a lot of money on rugs. I hate carpet, I like banged up interesting wood floors with throw rugs.  I do not dress my dogs, I do not buy clothing for them but I like comfy dog beds and cute collars.  I like GREAT coffee, I do not like to buy it ground, I like to buy whole bean coffee and grind it fresh in the morning.  I do not love television but I do have shows I like that I watch after the fact on Netflix most of the time.  My television does not go on until the evening, daytime television is ridiculous.  I like the news but not FOX, I don't watch FOX and neither should you.  I adore chocolate, I once had my own coffee shop/bakery and we made candy as well, my mother and my sister and I made candy every year for Christmas, I love Christmas too.  I am Christian but I am NOT one of "those" I am not born again whatever the hell that means, probably should be taken literally with a nod to reincarnation.  I believe in a guy that was beyond what we could comprehend, I think he came, he went, he came back and he had a lot to say and teach us that the Christian religion has screwed up so badly that no one gives a shit anymore....very sad, I think that he was probably really cool. I have read the bible, I have read A LOT! I believe he says some things.....noteable things but people have screwed it all up.  I also love anything supernatural, ghosts, aliens, fascinating stuff, I believe in everything, that's part of my problem.  I am plagued by fear, I have horrible panic attacks and I am a hypochondriac, you know that my kids........sorry to pass that on but it can't all be fairies and roses, sometimes it's guns and roses.  I love movies, I see everything, I love to go by myself for some reason.  I love theater, the greatest job I ever had was working at Young Actor's in Hudson, I loved the kids, the plays, the excitement, it truly is magical.  I am completely insecure, I have never felt confident in my own skin.  It's so weird that people will come up and say, HEY you are so laid back and together.  It's especially funny when they think I come off as confident on stage, I am SO NOT.  I am always a bit nervous, I second guess myself, I worry about my appearance (even when I had one I thought it was ugly).  I have huge issues there, the good news is, it gets easier with age, everything just kind of mellows and you learn to appreciate who you are and what you have become.
I love to mow the lawn....RIDICULOUS!  I can't help it, I will sit on that tractor for hours, making sure all the strips are even.  I love a good bath, with a book and a glass of wine, Bigelow mint body wash from Bath and Body Works is a must.  I still like cook books even though every recipe can be found online, who cares...I like a real cookbook.  I can't even tell you how magical the sound of a train in the night is to me.  There is something so cosmic about a train, for whatever reason, at night.  I think of the people for generations who have gone to exotic places, or escaped persecution or run away by hopping a train to somewhere, it's cosmic.  I love trees, they are the most mystical thing on the planet, a tree is one of the most amazing things, life, death, rebirth, flowing with the wind, placing roots....a tree is quite a thing.  I also love my friends, I have not had a lot of friends in my life, given my tendency toward hobbitism.  HOWEVER, I have had some great people come and go and fortunately for me, many of them are still here.  Andrea Beckett, my first best friend, we shared everything in our high school/middle school days and I still have her in my contacts!  Mark Jendrisak, I adore him, we have been in bands together since we were babies and have seen each other through many ups and downs. There are so many wonderful people I have known and would like to get to know better.  Elyse Romano, we have drifted but you are like a sister to me, Marcia Kelly you sure crept up into my life and I am very glad for it.  I love my sister Sonny, Janie, my sister in law Janelle and the most unlikely bff in the world for a woman of 53, battle scarred and crazy...Ryan Humbert.  There are a few people out there I feel a connection to and would love to spend some time getting to know better.  CHUCK A!  I think you are a hoot and you have a heart of gold, you and Mary should have a night out with my lovely Scott and myself.  Connie W.  I enjoy my time with you, wish we could hang out more. Cyndi O...always love spending time with you. So, loner or not, there are friends and people whom I would love to get to know.  I LOVE TRAVELING!  I don't need to go a lot, I get homesick.  I don't need a "vacation" per say, I like just heading out to someplace historic or interesting and walking around.  I KNOW, I have done casino's and beaches and resorts but those were not really my pick.  I love historic towns, I like walking and reading the dumb plaques OK?! I admit it.  Savannah GA......fantastic.   I would like to go on a ghost hunt, do a ghost walk, or something like that, I admit it again.  I like seance's and things that go bump in the night.  I do not like anything demonic in nature, WAY to scary, I have never seen, nor will I ever see The Exorcist.  I love Harry Potter, I admit to reading the Twilight books and loving them, my favorite series is probably the Outlander books.  I do like cool shoes, but I am a fan of ugly shoes, crocs, doc martins, that sort of thing.  I love to paint, I do paint and I fancy painting furniture in wild patterns and colors.  I am not crafty but artsy.  I love redecorating and rearranging things...I do it to much really.  I like to sit on my deck in the late spring early summer, late summer early autumn and listen to the sounds of the woods where we live, I like mornings on the deck with coffee and evenings on the deck with wine.  I like my husband, Scott...he swept me off my feet with his delightful personality and Nick Nolte looks, we have had a bit of a rough patch but we are forever partners when all is said and done, he's my guy and he may drive me bat shit crazy sometimes but I love him. I can't resist drives to see either leaves in the fall or lights in the Christmas season, I am a sucker for early dinners just like the old people who move to Florida but I hate Florida.  I love twinkle lights, any kind of sparkly light fascinates me and I like them, tacky or not.  I have strands of green twinkle lights in my room at all times.  I like seperate rooms, I love my husband but I like my sheets to smell like Chanel no. 5 and men kill that.  I shower before bed, Scott showers in the morning so he goes to bed with the day all over him, I wash the day off and crawl into my space, alone, with Chanel and a good book.  Brad Pitt killed the image I had of my lifelong favorite fragrance Chanel No. 5, with his new, dumb ass commercial, but I can't help it, it's my forever favorite.  Our financial problems have become so cumbersome that I hadn't had my perfume in a while so my fantastic, loving, friend Janie Lindsay bought me a HUGE bottle of C5 just because, now everything smells as it should, my sheets, and my...self.  My friend Marcia gives me gifts all the time just's really cool the people who care about me, I am blessed all over the place.  Sometimes there is nothing better than just...Hershey's kisses.  My dog Luna (Boones) and I...we have that in common, she loves them like I do. NO milk chocolate is not bad for dogs, dark chocolate is bad for dogs so don't go there, YES I give her Hershey's kisses and she loves me.  Marcia got Boones Hershey's kisses for Christmas, I love my friends.  OK KIDS...PEOPLE, that's it, things I love, my displaced life (I should be living in Dickens era London) and my friends, and my favorites, it's like a long boring interview.  Before I quit, here's what I hate...people who are judgemental and prejiduced, I  believe in accepting everyone as they are, I love that we live in a world where there are different, textures, colors, beliefs.  I hate mean people, I hate war or thinking about war, it's very senseless.  I hate retail jobs, cooked carrots, pop music and bad crossover country music. I hate the extreme heat and extreme cold, I do not like fake teeth that are so white and big it's all you can focus on, I do not like that fat people feel bad about themselves, I do not like that people feel ugly when they are probably beautiful.  I love planet earth but I hate what we are doing to it. I hate that our financial lives hit the skids and we are now struggling, but strangely enough, I love the lesson it has taught and the new sensibility I have because of it.   So as I close I will tell you what I said I would from the start of this entry...what I truly want, love comfort and stability. What I have settled for, the familiar, what I left behind, the dreams of my regrets. To all of you lovely 8 readers of my blog, and to my gorgeous grown children whom I live for,  Happy New Year!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty........

I'm now 52 years of age, I have been a musician since the age of 16, I do not know how not be what I have been, what "I am".  I have officially finished recording my 6th solo album, last night to be exact. I am so honored that people still like me (in that way) and yet I am completely frightened by the fact that they still like me (in that way).  At this point I am not afraid to come right out and admit that I am a wreck. I am so torn between what I love to do and what I feel I am supposed to do.  I am afraid to get on stage and do my thing because I feel like I have worn my welcome completely out and yet I feel cheated by the fact that I feel that way.  I embrace many female artists over the age of 50 and I feel so many of "us" have so much to offer and I feel like it's under-appreciated because of our age.  At this stage I am more confident in my writing and vocal ability than I have ever been but there is no self esteem to support that as I walk onto the stage. I have long since lost my youthful grace both physically and mentally (well, nevermind I have never had much mental grace) and I feel like, if I could just be invisible and sing and write that would make me happy.  I want to shut myself up and yet I don't because I can't be a good example of aging gracefully if I do that and I have 2 teenage daughters who need me to show them strength and confidence, but I don't have any, not really.  I am so lost and confused and my reaching out to people is me trying to hang on to something familiar, I am trying to keep going with confidence and gusto but I don't want to be on stage, I am dreading all of the shows and the pressure and I am not sure if I will follow through because doing so would mean I spend the next few months on autopilot while I try to pretend I am personable and care free.  All I think about when I meet everyone is "what are they thinking of me"?  "Do they find me hideous and old"?  "What am I doing here I should retire"?  But I will be smiling all the while and in my mind I will be singing "I Feel Pretty".  I don't want to be a a fat, old, singer and yet I don't want to be anything else because I have no motivation to change. So if I chicken out on this promotion thing, I can promise you one thing...this album is great and if you listen to it while looking at the cover of UPDATE:  11/2012  OK so I am editing, re-reading my entire blog.  I get to this page and I realize as I read it I, not only, did not finish it, I published it thus.  This is me, the old me creeping out and falling into the pressure of the upcoming album promotion for Queen Of Nothing, I am focusing (here) on all the wrong things and I didn't even realize the backslide until I read this unfinished post. So, guess I'm not as together as I should be come album promote time, but better than I once was....weird.

Demons in the backseat

It's been such a long time since I was a morning person.  I am finding that I actually love being awake before the light, watching the sun come up, feeling the stillness of the house before anyone wakes up. I fancy myself deeper in the morning, I fancy myself, a lot of different things.  The one thing that completely escapes definition for me is,  There is something very interesting about the aging process, it is not something you could explain to anyone who is not there yet, but those who are will understand I am sure of it.  The fact that your inner person becomes significantly more interesting than your outer person, is indeed a fact (for me and those I am going through this with it's just a given).  I started off, like everyone I assume, concerned and pre-occupied with people's perception of "me".  I wanted to make my parents aware of me, proud of me and so I spent my days trying to do the things that would facilitate that notion. I wanted to make friends in school, so I adopted whatever personality would make that happen, in elementary school I found that just being quiet and not saying anything that would draw attention to myself was the best way to skip the verbal abuse they threw at each other so that was more of a fit in by not standing out sort of thing, that carried through middle school, where I was horribly shy and lonely and not coping very well, probably not a unique scenario.  To be someone in school who didn't get bullied or have self esteem issues was a miracle, I was not so lucky but I tried to make myself a smaller target, I missed a ridiculous amount of school, sometimes hiding in my closet until the bus went past, once my dad left for work I was home free and my Mother was glad for the company. High school was all about who I knew, how I looked, and who looked at me.  I learned very early on that if I was the absolute opposite of the "me" I was in middle school, I would kick high school's ass.  In my sophmore year I decided to be noticed and I wasn't going to do it just being myself so I adopted this personality and look that would change everything for me so I could get through it and maybe enjoy the process (I never did get that last part I hated school with a burning passion).  I changed the way I dressed, I didn't eat in the bathroom stall anymore, I actually ate in the lunchroom where everyone could judge my choices and then I cut my hair off and joined ranks with some of the more popular people though I didn't really like them, most of them, at all.  I found myself a boyfriend, popular jock type, very cute and I was in with the in crowd.  All I cared about was how I looked, and who noticed me.  I was very thin, fashionable and quirky, I used and abused it to get my way and I was not overly "deep" I had as much depth as your average 16 year old in a high school environment. I wanted to shop, dance, make out and draw attention to myself.  I liked the attention I was getting, it fueled me.  I did not get a lot of that attention before that, I was somewhat afraid of it but now I found that I liked it and the monster was created. After high school, I was an attention addict, started singing in bands, dressing in clothes that would single me out and let everyone know I was not like them, I talked louder, danced harder and was just all about myself. I was enjoying what my late teens and early twenties had done to my physical appearance and I had no idea what was going on in the world outside of Akron Ohio and the club scene, it didn't even seem real, I was just a big ball of loving the moment and waiting for the next event, everyone I knew was just like me...very self centered, fun first.  The difference was the fact that I had a lot of baggage at home that couldn't be ignored so I gave up a lot of evenings out to keep the home fires burning, that should have been a positive, something good I saw in myself so I would more fully understand that I was not a one trick party pony, I should have liked myself more because there was a redeeming quality there, but I didn't like myself much at all and that's a whole different blog, so I made sure that other people did.  Once I was married I shifted a bit, it wasn't all about me, it was about the impact Tony and I together would make, we were quite a thing and I really knew it and abused it.  We were both (really) blonde and blessed with very dressable bodies, I loved clothes, we were all leather and spandex  (it was the 80s after all). The people just gravitated towards our wonderfulness (that's how I saw it) and I felt very loved and adored which was something I could never feel about myself so I let other people do it and that seemed to work for a while, how bad could I really be if everyone else thought I was awesome?  Even a trip to the grocery was full of attention, our fav cashier at the Sparkle Mkt. in Akron always said we were just so beautiful, what  perfect couple, we were her favorite customers and she always told everyone about us, how we "stood out" and should be living in New York, and we were just completely in love with us. My Aunt Fern once said that "we were not really in love at all we just thought we were because we were in love with what we were together".  Having Tony as a side kick was the best because he drew women to him like a magnet, he was such a bad boy punk rocker, so ridiculously good looking and I hate to say it but I loved making them envious.  These were the girls, in my mind of course, that hated me in middle school, said I was ugly, anorexic, pale, wanted to kill me, and now I had the company of the guy everyone wanted, we were like Akron's 80s version of Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani, (and when my bands popularity eclipsed his bands he did not handle it as well as Gavin Rossdale I can tell you that) and I was very aware of how to use it.  We made the paper when we got married, seemed to be noteworthy to people and I thought I was just the shit, well...I was, I was shit.  I did not care about anything except climbing the popularity pole, and whatever it took to get there.  It was NOT a ladder, that would have been far to easy, it was indeed a pole, straight up and straight down!  I was addicted to having my hip and shoulder bones stick out, I liked looking a little gaunt because it gave me more of an edge, less of a pop princess and more of a punk (the punks thought I was shit pop and the pop peeps thought I was bad punk so I didn't pull that off completely and they were both ultimately right I had NOT found my groove).  I threw up constantly for fear of calories invading, I worked out like a maniac.  I was an avid dancer and gymnast and not a day went by when I spent less than 3 hours moving intensely. I always looked at my back and if my back had even a hint of fleshy over pants, I went into a tailspin. I would not eat without throwing it up until I looked at my back in the mirror and saw that the little fleshy pocked was gone.  I never starved myself much, I was not anorexic, I was definitely bulimic, I was diagnosed in my teens, treated off on and until my late twenties, then I kicked it's ass with very few relapses.  I have the same doctor to this day and she still asks me if I am throwing up (should be pretty obvious I am not). I am sure that was the point when I realized I was off course, it took motherhood to put my life on my radar and I did not like the size of my bleep. Once Cory was born I shaped up, stepped up, gave up the self centered, narcissistic, ass that I had been.  I no longer cared who I was seen with, what I was wearing or who noticed me.  I actually gained so much weight during my pregnancy that I didn't go out much because I was humiliated.  I think it was close to 70 pounds, I was so thin at first and then I had such a ridiculous appetite and I knew I could not throw up or it might cause problems so I just rolled (literally) with it.  Tony thought I was fat and he slept on the couch (he told me if I ever got fat he was on the couch that was his constant worry that I would gain weight) sad thing is I was pregnant and I thought that was like a get out of jail free card, but it wasn't it counted and that was the beginning of the end for us.  By the time Cory was 2, Tony and I had seperated and eventually we established a great working relationship, friendship (after a really bad rough patch we saw the bigger picture and it was Cory). I put all the focus, all the energy on Cory and I was really turning from someone who was not very conscientious into someone who was finding a true sense of self and purpose, I was not looking my best but I was completely suprised by the fact that it wasn't a big deal (for a while). I eventually lost the pregnancy weight because I was still to vain to accept myself as chubby but it was no longer all consuming like it once was, it became something I could deal with, my weight obsession, I definitely dealt better and  was seeing hope that one day I would just let it all go and my mind would be free of the thing.
I got back into music at the age of 29, it unfortunately caused a slowing down of my personal growth as the focus was put back on me, my appearance (short relapse).  My comeback album Standing Alone was really a great achievement for me, I overcame a lot, reclaimed my love of music which was always the biggest factor even when I was self obsessed, I was a music person first and foremost. It was at this point that I realized there was a huge difference in creating music for the love of it and creating a product using music and image.  I still cared about the image more than I should, but I was shifting.  By the time I was winding down the Standing Alone promotion I was ready for a break, I took a break and dealt with a few things that had been waiting to be dealt with.  Losing Tony was HUGE, I hadn't properly worked that out emotionally, though working on the album, working with Persona 74 had been a great outlet for me as a writer and I found it amazing that I could vent so much musically and not be called out on it.  The guys in Persona 74 really gave me freedom to create and I loved that band. I finally called an end to my soul search mission which was 3 years of no dating, no relationships just self study, and growth and I stuck to it.  THEN out of nowhere I felt like I was (just maybe) falling in love with Scott Shepard and it scared the hell out of me.  I will absolutely say without doubt that he saved me from a lonely bitter life.  I had wrapped myself so tightly and wrapped Cory WAY to tightly to protect us from going through that kind of devastation again that we were almost on our way to living in a cabin in the woods, with no contact.  Scott showed me, not only, what love COULD and SHOULD be but how much it could take me out of myself and into others by putting them first.  After Emma and Marisa were born (back to back and OH MY GOD that was hard raising 2 girls that close together and its still not a walk in the park I must say OY VAY)! I was no longer this self created Tracey Thomas person whom I did not like so much.  I was not even slightly in love with "her" or "her" lifestyle. I had adopted a strong love of Yoga, meditation and (some) selflessness. I was caring for 3 children and that was what now mattered most, my Mother was getting older and was unwell so I took her on and there was no time to even think about myself and fortunately I found out that my priorities were solidly in place dispite my best efforts, I was not a monster, I was someone who loved deeply, took myself out of the equation as needed and stepped up.  Remarkable really when I think about how I was and how I am.  I constantly (still) struggle with the fact that I feel ignored, overlooked and under appreciated, and I am all of those things now and it's not always easy, I truly believe this is the middle aged woman curse and we just kind of become invisible except to each other which is why I treasure my old bitch warrior friends.  I realize one thing for certain's  a bit of Karma.  Karma is real people!  I am a perfect example and you know what?  I am glad to be paying it off, it's a great system really, it makes me feel better like I am attoning for my former self.  So today as a 53 year old Mother (always first) musician and wife, I have gotten over my self, I have raised wonderful people to put out in the world, not without some emotional issues to deal with I mean they are mine after all.  I have gotten over my obsession with my appearance (obviously) I would now call it a worry not an obsession.  I love to cook, cooking for my family is something I treasure and with Cory living in Colorado and Emma out on her own, I still can't control it, I cook way to much food at one time.  My weight is 50 pounds over what I said would cause me to jump off a bridge if I ever "got there" and my happiness is 60 tons over what I ever thought it could be dispite a rough patch financially and in my marriage.  I still want to run and hide when I have to dress up for an occaision, like my CD release party in 2012 GOD!!  I was so self absorbed then, I had a bit of a relapse because I didn't want to go on stage fat and I knew I had to overcome it.  The beautiful thing is, I did.  I put it into perspective, convinced myself it wasn't about my age or body size it was about the music I had created that I wanted to share (Thank you Judi Collins).  The thing is now, the "me" thoughts go away fairly quickly, they have to or I would be a terrible wife, mother, friend.  Scott and I have become fairly complacent, I think it's normal after 19 years together, he is always in his own brain, not very talkative these days and I pout about it now and again.  Even if he doesn't spend as much time with me (he can't because of that thorn of a store) I know he loves me and would probably at least break an arm for me, it's unconditional though not overly romantic these days but I think that's what solid relationships evolve into.  The kids are doing the things that people do as they grow up, they don't need (or want) my input anymore and I am struggling with that, trying to find a place or a purpose because I have been a mother for 25 years, it's a hard thing to just "retire" and not advise the hell out of everyone but I'm working on it.  I have come full circle, I went from someone who wasn't noticed, to someone who was over noticed, to someone who is just another face in the middle aged woman crowd.  Sometimes, I hate it, sometimes I love it. It's funny the one thing that bothers me is when I have my hand stamped to go into a show/bar whatever, I leave and comeback and they ask to see my stamp and I am always shocked that they forgot that I walked through the door, HA!!! PATHETIC but funny. I was never forgotten before I turned 30, it was always "Oh I remember you" or "Go on in" no one, forgot me...ever and now no one remembers me and you know what?  It's all so poetic really......Karma, life, love, circles, beauty and fading, aging and growing inside while shrinking outside.  There is no fighting it, you have to ride it out, learn and enjoy all the processes that brought you here.  The other day I looked in the mirror and I was really happy with the fact that I am the age I am and my eyes are not wrinkling yet, it was a really "me" moment it had no importance in the grand scheme of anything, nothing does really, but it was a nice feeling to see that those eyes that have looked into themselves for 53 years, still held some beauty, some hope and reflected back the woman that I have become, against great odds, a woman of substance, love, character, a wonderful Mother Daughter and Friend.  The frown lines around my mouth are disconcerting (to me) they are deep and they make me look sad, but they are representative of everything that brought me to this place, in front of the mirror, summing up my worth, my purpose and well, my age.  I am the perfect representation of former self meets current self, I think you can tell that I have been challenged and hurt and scarred (like most of us) and I think you can tell that while I still struggle with that damn "no one really loves me at all" demon, his voice is quieter and he doesn't shine out of my 53 year old eyes like he once did, he seems comfortable in the back seat, with his seat belt on, letting me drive him around for a change, maybe even demons grow old.  The best part of putting my demon in the backseat now?  I get to pick the music and I

Saturday, November 17, 2012


It's 9:30 on a Saturday morning, I have just read the news on the net and it is starting to sink in that the world has some big ass problems, not just this country, this town, this family, that family...the world and I have been feeling sorry for myself for a couple of years now, I think I need to snap out of it, really...snap out of it.  My day consists of (now that I have quit my job that lasted for 3 weeks) sleeping in when I don't have to take Scott to work because we share a car now, an old car, broken stuff all over the place, no On Star or heated seats these days, having coffee (not Starbucks but Maxwell House) and reading the news, checking in to see if we have all killed each other yet, then facebook and usually cleaning and coming to the aid of whichever of my children needs something.  Emma still has no license so I spend more time with her, she has work and rehearsals so I'm still a functioning Mom at times which is a nice wind down to 25 years of full time parenting.  Marisa works, drives and goes to school (college 2 years early). Cory now lives in Colorado which is a challenge, not having that smiley face with dimples popping in on a regular basis's what we do right? We raise them to set them free with some great talents and skills, to conquer the world.  Well now I am wondering what there is to conquer? Every single day the world outside my window becomes a more depressing place and the world inside my window is not getting any prettier and that's what I focus on because as I just I guess I am innately self centered, who knew?  I spend a lot of time worrying, a LOT of time and I hate it. I worry about everything being ripped away because that was my reality in my formative years and even into my 20's and here it comes again like a freight train, a freight train that mocks me for being so stupid and thinking I was in "sunshine and flowersville".  Stability was all that really mattered, all I wanted was a carefreeish
normal life because it was not something I knew, and I wanted it desperately. So I gave up everything at the height of my career to choose the path of love and stability, family and the white picket fence and garden sort of vibe.  I found that with Scott, we had a nice "thing" a great relationship and he made me feel completely loved, protected and adored.  We had a wonderful start to our family, we had plenty of money so for the first time since my brief financially comfortable teen years, that was not something I had to deal with and it was so peaceful, I was at peace just knowing the lights weren't going out, the car was still in the driveway and no one wanted to shove us out of our home. Scott drank a couple of beers over a nice dinner (usually Russo's because money was no thing) and he was always aok to drive and function and be there for us, which had not been something I knew with my Father or Tony (my first husband). I was about as happy as I can remember being.  My children had cute little toys all over the place, great bedrooms, Cory had every video game his heart desired and fun money whenever, the girls had wonderful little matching outfits and at one count 90 Barbies (Dear God) and my children were loved and adored and indulged and I hope they remember that, I hope they remember that being the most important thing, a family full of love AND stuff, that was nice too.  I didn't count money before the grocery trips, we took at least 1 vacation every year, we saw the ocean, the mountains, ruins and Disney Disney Disney, and we did it together.  Well that was then.....and the now I've been kicked awake to realize that was just a dream and now I am back to what has been my more common reality and I feel like I'm in a nightmare at times, like some cruel joke has been played on me and I feel sorry for myself. THIS is the place to be, this is what I am "used to" and until today when my lightbulb blinked I was wallowing in this fact, THE OH I NEVER GET A BREAK fact which turns out to be fiction, so yay.  YES the money is gone, the nice, heated seats and tv's in the cars are gone, the house is going we just don't know how long we can squat here before they pull us out with the little cane, like on the Gong Show, that's how I imagine it, they will just shove the hook/cane in the door and pull us out.  Scott lost his spark when his buisness began failing, he's not really Scott anymore because the stress of it all the loss of our lifestyle that he felt responsible for keeping up is so far in the front of his mind and heart that he can't see out now.  I miss him and who we were, and it's always on my mind and I'm not sure about riding it out anymore, most of the time I don't wake up with lightbulbs over my constantly chattering brain, telling me I am truly blessed, most of the time I am just worried about what's to become of us and I find it impossible to sleep without popping pills so thank God for generics. I think this may just be our life, just like it was always my fate my purpose to be completely unable to achieve a lasting stability. So I count coupons before grocery visits, we haven't had a family vacation in 8 years, my 16 year old daughter who is the only one at home now, works so hard just to have some money to help with school and clothes and gas and she contributes so much of her time and money to her charity "Random Acts" because like her nickname bestowed when she was a baby, she is Mother Theresa.  I swollowed my pride and got a job at Giant Eagle, checking in flowers and checking out people with nice wines and expensive meats and cheeses, all the things I never once gave a second thought about purchasing.  I let them roll their eyes when I'm slow packing and I let them look at me like I was probably not capable of being anything other than a 53 year old grocery clerk, I understood it....for 3 weeks and then I didn't understand it anymore but I understand something so much more profound now that it took waking up at 9:30 on a Saturday morning and reading the news to teach me a valuable lesson.  I am not always appreciated by the people around me and quite frankly I deserve to be, but bla bla bla. And even though I may not feel like it very often, I know I am loved, I followed my heart and made music my life instead of something with a bigger payout, I chose my passion over my wallet.  I did that at a great cost to myself financially, heart over head, turning down the things that meant I was going to make more money but give more soul.  I may not have "a pot to piss in" anymore but I have my husband who doesn't say much but he probably doesn't really have to, I get it, I know him and I know he's the guy for me, drunk, sober, depressed, happy, young or old, fat or thin, looking like Nick Nolte or Fred Flinstone, I don't give a shit...we are a team. I'm not a viable music product anymore, I'm overweight and getting frown lines and my feet hurt all the time...again bla bla bla.  I have gloriously talented children, all 3 of them are so soulful, by that I mean, they are in touch with the core of themselves, they all may just be hot messes emotionally but that's the family traditions!Cory and Emma write amazing songs, songs that I wish I had the ability to write, to dig that deep.  Marisa is a fantastic artist and she does not even realize how talented she is, it's amazing and she has an unbelieveable singing voice, her comedic timing as an actress is just something to watch, I see her as the perfect Glinda in Wicked, blonde, funny, huge voice, she would kick that roles ASS!~Emma's voice is crazy, she writes and sings her songs with such passion but people don't realize how BIG she sings, when she did a song from Dream Girls in the school talent show, it was kind of like a hush fell and the people behind me were saying "Oh My God" and I knew that was my kid, it was better than heroin (well..that's a guess because hypochondriacs don't really do that sort of thing).  She can sing Adele like it was row row row your boat and she is a wonderful actress as well.  Marisa did a song from Funny Girl and posted it on YouTube and people were writing me constantly saying...OH MY GOD (we get that a lot round here so another positive OH MY GOD)!  Cory could possibly be the most intelligent man I have ever met, he was a crazy genius kid, he's still really crazy but he's still a genius, it's a delightful combination.  He knows medicine inside and out and he should have been a doctor, we all know it but he doesn't have the organizational skills to conquer the schooling. He is a wicked classical guitarist, blues, jazz, rock (but he doesn't like that much) he can play with the best of them. Dan Auerbach hooked him up with Pat Sweeny who offered him a job in his band, playing guitar and touring.  I will never forget the night he realized he couldn't do it, we just sat and cried about it because the fear demon got him and I knew that ship was going to sail and he absolutely should have been on it, like my ship that sailed when I turned down my life changing offer, out of fear, I knew that he was standing at the Crossroads and he was going to choose the path that kept him safe, secure because he probably felt like the world was going to end while he was gone, and he would be alone in the cold and dark...because that gene survives generation after generation and takes away all of our chances and I was sad for him but he found another road, another way to be and now he treks the mountains, swims with (not funny) beavers and hikes with the bull moose, feeds horses and a feisty alpaca, He's learning to love the world around him, he plays music for himself not the masses and he is happy with very little, he seems to have figured it out in some way and that makes me happier than vacations every year.  So my point is this after all the rambling, I read the news today (Oh Boy). There is fighting, escalating to war on the Gaza Strip. Hurricane Sandy victims are not going to have Thanksgiving in their homes with a cozy fire and plenty of food. A woman in the middle east was just savagely killed by her husband and it was considered justified because she did something like "talk to the pool guy".  A family in New Jersey saw a toy floating in the flood waters that turned out to be a dead baby.  People are starving, really starving, hoping for a bowl of rice a day, they pee in the streets and rivers because they have no indoor plumbing.  Someone out there is beating a dog, beating their wife, beating there child.  Someone lives in a cardboard box in the winter, someone wishes they had a cardboard box so they havea to sleep on the subway grates for warmth.  Someone's child never came home from school and they have no answers, someone's house is burning down with every material thing that ever mattered inside. Some old woman is in a nursing home trying to remember her family and who she is, how she got there. Someone is sick from chemo, someone is dying of a drug overdose, someone is at a funeral for a friend, someone is watching their wife walk out the front door into the arms of their best friend, someone is alone on Thanksgiving with just a television and a frozen dinner.  Take the house, take the cars, close the store, skip the vacations and buy the fucking Value Time.  I have so much more than I could have ever hoped for in the big scheme of things outside my window for however long I have the privledge of looking out that window...and I don't have to work on Thanksgiving because my family loves and supports me even if I only lasted 3 weeks at Giant Eagle.  God Bless Us Every One.