Category Archives: music

Too Close For Comfort & “Dos and Don’ts”

sign picThis big ol’ bike ride looms ahead at September’s start. Even though I’m still obviously a bit freaked out, a sense of either denial or calm is inching its way into my brain. I try not to think about it for the most part but still take a few so-called “training” rides throughout the week weather allowing. Staying out of my own head too much is the seemingly insurmountable challenge. 

My muscles feel a little stronger, which I notice during yoga. Poses are more comfortable to do, and I’m not as sore as usual. Still winded more than than I’d like but not aching.  

Some days feel like, while I’m not back at square one, I’m faltering at maybe square two from just taking a few days off from so-called training rides. Then another day brings what other more athletic people might call being in “the zone,” something I’ve never previously experienced in my lifetime. It’s those last minutes when I’m nearing the turn into our cul-de-sac and a burst of energy hits me that I can retake the two hills I’d first sucked wind on that morning. A Jonny Cash tune kicks my butt into gear and pushes me maybe just a quarter-mile further but onward nonetheless. 

Those are the same hills that first kicked my ass a few months ago. Now they’re not as difficult to traverse. Maybe I’ve even conquered a few of them. Others still definitely suck. I just don’t want to go on an uphill crying jag in the middle of the MS150. 

bike pic

inertia/picture break

I’ve learned several things through this process. Kezia and I started a list of things to remember beyond the one I began when first blogging about these lessons along the way.

What TO DO and what NOT TO DO:

DO:

Carb load the night before for immediately usable energy

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

DO NOT:

Drink more than one serving of alcohol the night before

Eat spicy or fried foods either (or pay the price)

Eat or drink too much at any of the sporadic breaks

These are all good things to remember! I must also remind myself of the strong women in my corner:

The aforementioned Kezia says she’ll stay with me throughout the 150 miles, but I don’t want to keep her at my eight-mph pace instead of our earlier-attained 14-mph rate. She’s a big moral support regardless of what happens. 

My sister Jeanna sent me a letter reinforcing I can do this since in light of the fact that so far I’ve overcome some snot-rocket-filled training rides and one pretty long stretch with less-than favorable bowel circumstances. 

I also think of my sister Christy and her strength in all she’s done. I’ve never told her how very, very strong I find her to be with all she’s triumphed in doing. Her energy is with me when the familiar scent of Monterey/Carmel washes over me as I pass a neighboring stretch of pines. 

And Mom always stays close to me and my blue heart when thoughts of her fill my head. Her “holy pahzing” came to me UB40 came on my playlist. That feeling reminds me how she was, much like the song says, there right from the start and always will be. A cardinal flying across my path gives me a needed blessing from above (and no copyright issues, LOL).   

 

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Filed under biking, life, music

I Feel Fine

Day 1.jpg

Sherrell bid the year adieu at midnight with a resounding, “Good riddance!” as she gulped the dregs of her gin-and-tonic in a final act of defiance against the year now finished. Gripping the highball glass in her hand, she resisted throwing it against the wall to drive home the point. Surviving the prior 365 days, regardless of its physical and emotional difficulties wracked upon her, required all the willpower she’d been able to muster.  

All other party-goers around the room raised their drinks to toast the incoming new year, circled noisemakers in the air, and blew paper horns in celebration. She silently envied their jubilation and wished she shared such a sense of optimism. The next 12 months surely held a more positive outcome, if only she could imagine it.

Her friend, Frank, grabbed Sherrell’s hand to swing her around. “Come on, Sher, let’s dance! ”

Frank talked her into coming to the party regardless of all her excuses meant to avoid it. “No, thanks,” she told him. “I’m going to just grab a drink.” She turned her empty glass upside down to emphasize the point, suddenly glad she hadn’t catapulted it into the wall after all.

He wouldn’t let go of her hand, though. “You’re divorced now. It’s time you had some fun!”

If that springtime change hadn’t been enough, a car accident in late June caused so many lost days at work they let Sherrell go. “I’m too exhausted, Frank. My new job has me worn out. I just want another drink.” 

Frank’s arms swung akimbo while his pelvis gyrated violently and eyebrows also pranced quickly up and down, as if those motions might convince her to join the fray of other people in relative expressions of excitement. He waggled a finger enticingly toward where she stood on the sideline listless and brooding. 

Sherrell couldn’t help chuckling at Frank’s dorky invitation. He could’ve asked someone else to come with him who, most likely, would be a much funner companion. This was one night in the earth’s last full rotation of the sun that allows complete abandon of all seriousness. Life provided her enough seriousness in that time frame. 

“Oh, shiiiiit, girl! That’s my jam!” Frank bellowed when REM’s “End of the World As We Know It” blasted through the speakers. His body went into a wild spin, head whirling on the axis of his neck, arms now floated askew.

Sherrell recognized those old chords and Michael Stipe’s voice from the past, what seemed like a lifetime ago, when she had far fewer serious concerns than now. The portent of those lyrics mirrored the past period of existence, a stage now — thank God — behind her.

Her shoulders collapsed in capitulation, and her feet moved forward, seemingly of their own volition. “Screw it! Let’s go, Frank. I wanna dance!” 

→→→→→ Here’s to a better 2019! ÷←←←←←

Day 1 photo courtesy of Matt Preston via Flickr through Creative Commons license

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Live Entertainment

peanuts.jpg

With “Honkytonk Woman” playing on the jukebox, she was in a better mood than usual. Living a rough life like Lenay’s could turn a person sour. Her boyfriend reckoned she could use some special treatment now and then, so agreeing on dinner at Millie’s Bar and Grill pleased her. The lights dimmed early and peanut shells littered the scuffed wood flooring, but she didn’t mind.

Hearing her kind of music seemed to make their choice the right one. Cheap-ass Raleigh even springing for the bill surprised her.

Millie made a tasty bowl of clam chowder, even if Lenay’s meal ended with having to see an old lady at the next table use a strategically-placed index fingernail to dig a last morsel from her back molar to savor it. Maybe missing that final bit of food would ruin the woman’s dining experience, but seeing the act added little but disgust to a fellow diner’s appetite.

Lenay’s soup roiled in her stomach. She wouldn’t be pejorative of another customer, though, especially some elderly stranger. No matter how disgusting the person’s actions seemed to her. She’d witnessed plenty of poor manners, including her brothers’ and boyfriend Raleigh’s. Denture digging paled in comparison to their snot rockets.

Raleigh, watching the woman use her crude toothpick, couldn’t help but comment. At his jaw’s first movement to speak, Lenay grabbed his wrist to stop him. “Just ignore it. Please don’t say anything.” Being his usual ruffian self, he stayed true to form with an insult.

First, he rubbed a hand across two days’ scruff clustered on his chin and neck, then pushed back from the table. Rubberless feet of the chair legs scraped loudly across the floor and produced a screech that drowned all background noise and brought everyone’s attention. “You know that’s nasty, right?” All heads turned to see where the question was pointed.

He eyeballed the offending party and asked her, “Are you saving it for later? This joint might be a shit hole, but you don’t have to act like a pig in it.”

The septuagenarian stared at him blankly, his rude comment lost on her. She plunked her drink glass on the Formica tabletop with a flat thud, sucked on a final dollop between her teeth, and responded, “Huh?”

Lenay’s face burned as crimson as the tin Coca-Cola ad on the wall. She simply wanted a quiet night out, an open-faced beef sandwich and some good tunes being all it took to please her. Maybe a little Game Show Network when they got home. She didn’t ask for much.

A minute’s awkward silence filled the room before Raleigh finally stood. He audibly cleared his throat, hacked up a wad of phlegm, and spat it onto the floor beside him. “Come on, hon. Let’s get out of here.”

Lenay sheepishly followed him out the door.

(photo: Jill E. via Flickr)

“Our Write Side” writing prompt – pejorative

http://ourwriteside.com/that-wasnt-very-nice/

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Waking Up 13

practice

The radio blasts Freddie Mercury’s frenetic cries into my brain, as his Scaramouche-ish lyrics act in evil coercion with the alarm clock. The bus will be here in 30 minutes. The calendar shows it’s Friday, which means a Math test today, but I still refuse to believe numbers and letters can exist together in any equation no matter what Ms. Kipling says. A blinding shine off her bald spot keeps me too distracted to concentrate on learning Algebra. I feel sorry for any woman who is losing her hair, even if it’s Ms. Kipling.

At least there’s a party at Holly’s house to look forward to tonight. Her family lives in a very nice house with a finished basement that has a big shag-carpeted family room with faux wood paneling. She said this is the first time she’ll get to use the disco ball she got for Christmas. It’s not as big as the one on Saturday Night Fever, but it spins so light from  other lamps will shimmer off it.

We usually have snacks from a card table in the linoleum-covered corner and listen to music from an older brother’s stereo system. Holly only gets to use it if she promises to not touch his 8-tracks. Many of us bring records from home in hopes our favorite songs be played, most girls begging for the love ballad currently topping the radio charts. Some guy will joke about playing Spin the Bottle, but parents usually keep that from happening if the song’s volume dips low enough to be noticed from upstairs. Audible clues like that can foretell an impending bout of Seven Minutes in the Closet.

I hope the party doesn’t digress to such games or consist of only boy/girl dancing. Otherwise, the scene will be as uncomfortable as any other weekend at the skating rink when couples pair off for “moonlight skate,” and I leave the floor to hang out by the Space Invaders machine again. They play that Boz Skaggs song called “We’re All Alone,” but I feel like I’m the only one who really is all alone. The majority of other girls in my grade have kissed a boy but me. Of course, there was that one time with Todd on a dare, but he already ran through every one of my friends by then, so it doesn’t count.

When the ceiling lights go down tonight and only the lazy strobe light is flashing from beside the potato chips, almost everyone will slow dance. Somebody always brings that record “Babe,” and we girls standing along the wall wail off key about how the guy has to leave and will be missing her. Sure. Watching all the boys grope their partners in fumbling tries at second base in the darkness of Holly’s basement gives new meaning to the lead of Styx crooning about being weary and feeling like giving up.

So I write my name on the rpm adapters of the 45s that I stuff into my Garfield backpack and rush out the door to catch the school bus. Teenage brooding now replaces the earlier excited anticipation of tonight’s party. Maybe solving for “x” isn’t going to be the most difficult part of getting through to tomorrow after all.

*Indie Chick Lit inspired post

(image via slideplayer.us)

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Flying – a love story

I’d been there dozens of times within a pensive and longing crowd of kindred souls, but a cloudy memory blends it all together.  We waited in gleeful expectation — a blissful mob.

My senses took over and made my skin involuntarily ripple as she launched from the stage, and my brain willed itself to freeze the next two hours for clearer future recall. With fierce admiration, I swiped at a tear during the piano solo and internally vowed to carry the moment away with me. We left with spirits renewed in a universal sisterhood, our ears ringing and hearts temporarily lightened.

Image

That is the truth about love.

*writing prompts tear & ripple from Studio30Plus

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You wanna talk about whaaat?

My long-time friend, Lanea, is kicking off her new internet radio show this Sunday, July 15.  She is the co-author of Recipe Records, a cookbook that celebrates the love of rock-n-roll AND food!  Lanea and her friend, Maggie, culminated their mutual passion de la’ melody into 170 music-themed recipes for the book.  

She made the announcement over the weekend of her upcoming first show and its guest line up on her blog Rockblocks.  Lanea will be interviewing an Evansville, Indiana band called The Phoenix Down.  This woman knows her stuff when it comes to popular music and its history, so it should be a fun feature.

I am also happy to announce that Lanea has asked me to be a guest interviewee.  She greatly encourages my writing aspirations, especially my personal penchant for stories with strong female main characters.  Lanea can appreciate a good narrative, either in song or prose, so it will great fun to be on the program.  I can’t wait to talk to her about her own plans for a second edition of Recipe Records either.

Here’s to women supporting each other and their respective labors of love.  I wish Lanea much luck in her newest media project.  So join us Sunday at 2:00 pm on blogtalkradio.com!

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