April 16, 2014

Closing Time

Blowing kisses goodbye
It's here. The final Twisted MixTape, at least until the fall comes.
My Skewed View
I'm sad. Saying goodbye to a friend sucks. But it's a part of life.

This last mixtape's theme is "Farewell." I thought about putting together a collection of songs that say goodbye, but I'd like to do something else. I'd like to say goodbye to other friends I've had to part from.

So here are goodbye songs for many of my friends from whom I've parted, and a few little stories about our farewells. Because I can't just give you a list of songs. As always, I have to give you a miniature musical biography,

I hope you don't mind.

This first song is for Uncle Brony. Uncle Brony, the first good friend I made when my family moved to Michigan the year I started middle school. He and I made each other mixtapes constantly. That's not really true, he made me mixtapes for every occasion. And from him, I learned the skill. This song was on the tape he made me to listen to in the car when I got my first driver's license. And it's that tape I was listening to the first time I drove on my own, in the car, with my license. As I drove home, I saw him walking down the street. I rolled down the window and waved... hitting a parked car in the process. I'm not sure he noticed I was listening to his tape while he laughed at me. I never really said a proper goodbye when I moved to Chicago. But I love him and think of him often, particularly when I hear this song.

This is for my friend JP. She was in my wedding. We worked together, once upon a time. She was one of my best friends, and then one day... she wasn't. I called her about something, and she ranted at me for half an hour about all the things I'd ever done wrong during our friendship, most of which had never even happened. I was shellshocked. I apologized, and honored her request never to contact her again. I still feel confused and guilty about the whole thing. I still don't really know what happened. I would still love to hear from her again. And if I could sent her a song, it would have been one that managed to convey guilt, and frustration, and confusion, and affection. And this is the only song like that I know.

This is for Aunt and Uncle Texas, who moved. To Texas. And who I think of often, although I see them so rarely. Uncle Texas and my husband were practically married in college. When Uncle Tex got married, M was in the wedding. And he was best man at our wedding. Aunt Tex was a master at making jokes at M's cancer when he was sick, and made herself MVP for my wedding party. They're two of our favorite people in the world, and no matter when or how, we always know we'll see them again. Though I have no doubt Uncle Tex would prefer I picked a Hanson track for him. That's not a joke.

This song is for Sara, Ellen and Krista, the girls I spent all the sunny days of my middle school glory with. We swam in public fountains, danced down city streets, wore crazy clothes and crazier hair, and blissed out on youth and beauty and freedom. I really haven't seen those girls since, but I think of them often and wish them well in everything.

This is for my art school friends. Keeley, Erica, Nichole, Wade, Jesse... the people I spent so much time with in the dorms, painting and crafting and generally complaining about the limitations of our assignments, and who scattered to the winds (and me with them.) I loved those crazy artists. And I hope they're happy doing what they're doing. Lunatics.

For Aunt Blackbird (do you like the name?), who moved away just when we were starting to get so close. Distance never keeps friendship from happening. If there's anything the internet has taught us in the last decade, it's that we can have friendships that have nothing to do with proximity.

For Dynamic Tension, who I spent so long with. Who I bled with, and sewed with, and danced with, and laughed with, and slept in huge exhausted piles of people with. I leave you with this.

This one is for JS. My oldest friend, my best friend. I haven't seen her in almost six years, and that's about how often I do see her. I'm going to make a trip to visit this summer, and keep the streak going. Every six years seems like was too long. It is too long. But we've seen each other ever six years since we were eleven, with a random brief visit or two in between. I always feel a little alone when I think of her, so far away. But I always feel loved and happy at the same time. She's a kind of magical person that way.

For Aunt Vox, who I love and who marches to the beat of her own drum- always. I miss you constantly, and I wish I had a better chance to say goodbye before you left the midwest. And every time you leave it again.

To all my Community High School friends- Cat, Kent, Eric, Nick, Teo... I love you all, and even though I didn't graduate with you, the sappy "graduation song" thing still makes me think of everyone from high school so fondly. I love you all.

Last but not least, goodbye to the Twisted MixTape crew.
I'll miss you.

April 10, 2014


I love this little girl.
I have dwelled long enough. It's time to put this blog to therapeutic purposes and tell you a story.

It's the story of how when I looked in the mirror on Tuesday morning and found three, yes, three brand new grey hairs growing out of my temple, I knew exactly where they came from.

There are moments in parenting that make you want to simultaneously throw up, curl into a ball and cry, and drink until you pass out. There are always going to be those moments. And the thing that makes them so awful is they're always such a surprise when they happen.

Once upon a time, I had a wonderful pyrex mixing bowl. It was a thing of wonder and beauty, even if my husband did nearly concuss me with it. I also had a marvelous pizza stone. And they were both dirty.

I did what any reasonable adult would do. I washed them.

First, I washed the pyrex mixing bowl. And I set it in the drying rack on the counter. Then I washed the pizza stone.

Of course, this was in the build-up to making a family meal, which meant RH was toddling around me like a noisy shadow, tugging and my skirt and demanding juice, asking for apple slices as I prepared to boil water, the usual.

As I set the pizza stone into the drying rack, RH walked around me, to paw at the drying rack. I rolled the vacuum cleaner into her way, so she couldn't pull down the rack filled with heavy stone and glass objects. Seemed like a no-brainer.

And then I grabbed the pyrex mixing bowl, for mixing purposes.

As I lifted it, the weight distribution on the rack shifted, and the heavy pizza stone started to fall forward. Right over RH's little head.

I reacted instinctively. I threw my hands in between my twenty one month old child and the falling piece of heavy stone.

My hands, still holding the gigantic glass bowl.

The glass shattered into a million pieces, shards as long as my forearm and as sharp as any knife in the kitchen exploded from my hands onto the floor. Tiny slivers rained down.

This all happened one foot over my toddler's head.

Unfortunately, she wasn't wearing protective
I screamed. Of course I screamed. And RH, her hair full of glass fragments, with glimmering pieces of broken glass shimmering all over her clothes, froze.

She didn't cry. It was like she'd been turned to a pillar of salt.

As quickly as I could, I set down the chunks of razor sharp glass still in my hands, and moved the pizza stone into the sink. Then I did what you have to do when your one and a half year old daughter is both covered in and completely surrounded by broken glass.

I stepped into it to rescue her.

I spent most of the night cleaning up broken glass. Picking it out of her hair, out of the bottom of my feet, off of the vacuum cleaner. I had a beer and I called my mother, because apparently that's how I deal with trauma now. I'm still not satisfied the glass is completely gone. There was so much of it.

But RH? Not a scratch. Not a single scratch on her.

And I keep reliving it.

I couldn't have been more terrified and certain that something terrible was about to happen to her if she's beed surrounded by snakes or crocodiles or tarantulas.

And as soon as I put her to bed that night, satisfied that she wouldn't roll over and slice her scalp open with a hidden bit of glass, I realized how badly hurt I could have been, with my arms and wrists right there, next to the explosion of glass.

And I had a Bailey's on ice to help me get to sleep.

First of all, let me say I know, drinking is a terrible way to deal with stress. And it's one I don't generally resort to. But I couldn't get my hands to stop shaking. I couldn't get my heart to start racing. I needed to do something to force my body to act like it wasn't in fight or flight mode, and I happen to know I'm a more competent parent on a glass of Bailey's than I am on a xanax.

But to be perfectly honest, nearly killing my kid with a giant glass explosion seriously fucked me up.

I know, she wasn't "nearly killed." But she also was. The enormous, sharp, heavy chunks of glass all around her could have easily killed her, and just as easily mutilated her for life.

Not a damn scratch on her, though.

Every time I think about it I feel sick. I blame myself, because I should have been so much more careful. I blame myself because I hesitated for a moment before I put my shoeless feet into a mound of glass shards. I blame myself, because who else is there to blame?

She's okay. She's totally unharmed. She'll never remember it, she won't know it happened. That's how toddlers work.

Me? I'm growing a nice streak of grey at my temple because I'm responsible for giving my youngest child a broken glass shower.

And that, right there, is what parenting is like some days. You worry and worry and blame yourself and second guess yourself because you're responsible for the life and happiness of another human being in a way that only comes with children. And after all that worry and self-blame and fear and agony... the kid is fine. The kid is happy. The kid is oblivious.

The kid loves you, even though they have no idea what you've just gone through in the simple hope that they will remain happy and healthy and safe. Because they already trusted implicitly that it was the most important thing to you. And they were right.

She's a quirky little thing.
That's parenthood, some days. Some weeks.

Picking glass out of your toddler's hair while she drinks a cup of juice and laughs at being shaken upside down to knock the glass of her shirt.

Picking glass out of your feet and ankles and being relieved that it's your skin that got scuffed up. Committing to memory every adorable and heartwarming thing your kid does because you never know what you'll have to remember if next time you aren't so lucky.

Some days, that's it.

Not today, thank God. But some days.

And those other days, there are always extra hugs to enjoy, smiles to ignore, or fights to end. Because life is messy, and it doesn't stop just because one day last week you traumatized yourself.

You just have to learn to be a little oblivious to your own trauma, too.


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