Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Solo concert night #theveils

Last night I went to the Roxy alone to see a band called The Veils. I can't remember how or where I learned about them but their song "Sit Down by the Fire" is beautiful. I might have found them on Pandora, I really don't remember. I've asked around, and none of my friends know who they are. The lead singer, Finn Andrews, is the son of the keyboard player for the band XTC, but I don't really know much about either of them (aside from the bio that's on their website).

They released a new album recently and announced a tour. Last night's show in West Hollywood is the only one near here on the whole tour. Patrick was going to go with me but it's not really his music, and it was a school night for Jules, so after much back and forth, and failed attempts to wrangle a friend or two to join me (it's my own fault: I was a little lackadaisical in my approach to this because I was conflicted about going at all), and with his encouragement, I went alone.

Walking up to the venue, I was pretty anxious. I had my ticket already but there were people lined up in front (I don't know why) and a couple of dudes who looked like bouncer-types. I walked to the corner and texted Patrick ("Do I just go in or do I have to wait in this line?") like a dork. I hate walking into bars or places alone. I think I've mentioned this before. If there's a friend waiting for me, even that part makes me anxious. What if I don't find them? What if they see me wandering around, looking anxious? But this time nobody was looking at me and nobody was waiting for me, so I walked up to the door and gave some guy with long hair straight out of a John Hughes movie my ticket. Another guy slapped a blue wristband on me, and then the first guy scanned me with a wand. For weapons. "Really?" I asked (implied: me?), and "Really," he answered.

I felt awkward and weird, waiting for the band to start. Following my brother-in-law Joe Rezendes' tip, I pretended I was waiting for a friend for most of the time I was standing there (I did not take his advice and remove my wedding ring to see if anyone would buy me a drink. Ring or not, nobody bought me a drink, which is fine, because I threw up at home right before leaving and a drink would probably have been a bad idea). I fiddled with my phone and checked my email, but the only emails I had were from Jules' school, regarding drama club registration. It seemed too obvious and lame to be on Facebook, though I did post a couple "I feel like a dumbass" type updates. It was too dim to indulge in people watching, but the girls in front of me (dressed like Lorelei Gilmore probably dressed to see The Bangles before she got pregnant) were pretty entertaining (and good dancers).

The band went on more or less on time, and from the second they started, I loved every minute of it. It was loud, the Roxy is very intimate (I was about 20 feet, less by the end of the night, from the stage), and almost perfect (they didn't do my two favorite songs, "Sit Down by the Fire" or "Another Night on Earth"). For most of the night I had a good view of the drummer, which you know is always very important to me, but the singer has that lead singer animal magnetism, and like every other woman, I felt his eyes on me a few times. I have to admit, I wondered, as I wandered out when the show was over, if I would feel a tap on my shoulder and an invitation to go backstage... but nothing like that happened, and I collected my car from the valet at the Rainbow Room next door (have I been there? I have a distinct feeling that I've been there but the exact memory escapes me. Perhaps that's a good thing). 

I didn't take any photos, not even when the band was playing, because the people doing that were annoying the woman standing behind me. I also didn't really want to take my eyes off the reality in front of me to look at it through a screen, even for a second. 

I haven't been to a lot of concerts, but this one made me wish I did. 

I think they're going to be in San Francisco this weekend, and I wish there was a way we could go. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Attending a conference

I'm attending a conference for work in San Diego this week. It's for ADA coordinators, which I am just beginning to learn about (ADA, I mean. I'm on a 15 minute break in my room, this will be a rushed note).

I've noted this before at other meetings: the connection between ADA and Civil Rights, and I'm finding that to be of interest to me. I need to do some reading later tonight.

I also realized that I never completed the update I was writing on my flute choir blog about the flute convention I attended the last time I was in San Diego, so it seems I have some reading and writing to do.

I don't have much to say yet about the conference itself. It just began about 2 hours ago, and we listened to a woman read some updates from the Department of Justice. Interesting things but, she read them. I need to do some additional research in a way that will interest me.

Stay tuned, unless I flake out like I did on the flute choir stuff.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Dance like no one's watching (and thank God no one was)

Last night while cooking dinner, "Blitzkrieg Bop" came on the radio.

That music was an undeniable invitation to dance, so I did.

Unfortunately, all day my neck has been hurting me, and there's no other reasonable explanation, except for my oddly enjoyable and probably incredibly awkward moves.

The funny thing is, I don't even like the Ramones.

Who do I sue?

Monday, May 16, 2016

I've had Lenny Kravitz' song "Let Love Rule" in my head for a couple of days, and I have thoughts.

The first thing I should tell you, though, is - I had a moderately high (it was 101.3 at the highest; I have no idea if this is moderate or not, I just didn't want to sound like a drama queen) temperature over the weekend. Coupled with a headache that felt like someone was actually piercing my skull with an ice pick (sorry, that cliche just works), I self-diagnosed myself as having an acute sinus infection. On Friday and Saturday I tried extra strength Tylenol. By Sunday, I had switched to Advil. Now, I don't know if that switch was magic or if my brain just got tired of trying to kill me, but by 5 p.m., I was starting to feel like myself again.

Except for this song. In my head.

I'm not a Lenny fan, so, if someone out there reading this is, you should know that before you keep reading.

(Who's reading this, though. Seriously.)

I know Lenny gets a lot of press, and coverage on fashion blogs, and people are interested in him because of his relationship with that girl from the Cosby Show (or are people interested in her because of relationship with him? Also, isn't she older than I am? So where do I get off calling her "that girl"? Man, if I could remember her name, I would totally apologize). Or maybe they're interested in him because he looks good in leather pants? I really don't know. The thing is, I haven't heard enough actual music from him to form an opinion on his music except for what I know from this one song.

This one, idiotic, not even fun for a non-singer to sing, song.

You know I'm a car singer, right? I'm not terrible. But I'm not good, either. And I'll admit that first line of the song is tempting. It sounds good, doesn't it?

"Love... is gentle as a rose..."

And then you sort of forget all the in-between mediocre stuff until he gets to the peak of the song... two lines later. And that is it. That song is OVER. Except it isn't. He tells you, at least 20 more times, that, "We got to let love rule!"

The funny thing is, he's won a ton of Grammys and I could not name one other song or work by him, at all. Not one. Now, it's totally possible that he's accomplished a lot of stuff, helped a lot of people, spread the word about letting love rule so strenuously and competently that we are indeed, letting love rule...

Oh, wait. We're not doing that.

Monday, April 11, 2016

#robotvoice #subdivisions Hello, April!

The month of March was kind of a shitty one. Without delving into the gory details, I'll just say:

It's done, and now I don't have to do it again, and hello, April, why, you're so pretty, aren't you, April!

It's taken me like, 11 days in to get to this point, and it's possible I'll take a u-turn again and get all squiggly, but right now, here I am, sort of, and I'm glad to be here.

I'm going to try to stay. And if I don't, I'll start all over again, and it will get easier, because nothing truly life threatening occurred, and it's just my ability to deal that has been tested, and even though, as you keep reading, you'll think that I feel like a 100 year old ancient person, in truth, I am still a kid, still have a lot to learn, and have a heart the size of a Greyhound bus. I can say that because I've seen at least one other heart that big, and I know what I'm talking about.

I met up the other day with my old friend Bo (20 years ago I would've said, "emphasis on old" but 20 years is a long time for us both) about some changes I've endured (encountered? Endured), and his response to our conversation, which pretty much just consisted of me saying, "Owwwwwwwww! Owwwwwww," perhaps with a few details, was genius.

He said:

"You don't know what tomorrow will bring."

Dude. So simple, and yet so smart.

One way I deal with stuff is with music. Playing it when I can, yeah, but listening, too. The problem is, certain kinds of music gets me in a bad head space. And then the radio, rife with crap like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or the Eagles, and other junk that should've been banned from the airwaves 20 years ago (when Bo and I were young, and hated this music the first time around), or new garbage, like Maroon 5 and Coldplay, is, in general, a dangerous place for me to be, so I've been enlisting my friends Rush, via streaming.

Patrick read somewhere that Rush's lyrics were once voted amongst the worst lyrics in the world, and while I totally agree, on the one hand, on the other hand, nothing distracts from one's emotional basket-case self like "Tom Sawyer" or "Subdivisions."

Math rock to the rescue, and I mean it (without being melodramatic or anything), I kind of needed rescuing.

On Saturday, I was putting away laundry and sorting out my closet, and Jules was in the bedroom with me, playing with his legos on the bed. "Subdivisions" came on, and I started teaching him when to drop in with the robot voice. Hearing his awesome five year old voice say, when I pointed at him, "subdivisions" was the highlight of my weekend.

Here's to another week (or month) of blasting Rush in the car and other places. Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Too much information.

I have to be honest: it's been a rough month.

However, I've found myself turning to two things that are doing me a lot of good:

Music, and friends.

(If you've gotten a weird phone call from me at 4:30 p.m., that's when I'm on the 710 freeway, sitting there, trying to not stew about everything.)

I've been trying to play more, and practice, and think about tone and power and volume, and that's slow going because time is not my friend these days. It's funny: work is the no. 2 cause of my stressed-out feelings, and also the cause of my shoulder pain (NOT tendinitis, as my physical therapist told me today but rather... something else having to do with posture and weak muscles and sitting at a desk for 9 hours a day for 15 years that I can't remember the name of), but I do actually like being there. Is that weird? However, having to be there means I can't practice or do the other things that soothe me (laundry being another).

(I'm at Starbucks, and some guy just asked if he could plug his phone charger into the plug beneath my table. He said, "Do you mind if I borrow some of your power?" I said, "WHAT power?" I think he thought I was kidding around but it was amusing, and SO APPROPRIATE. Personal things are making me feel a bit like a bug under a tire.)

The funny thing is the music I've been listening to. I think people assume that when there are hard things to go through and think about, that women tend to turn to sappy, sad music (the opening to Bridget Jones' Diary comes to mind). But I don't need SPECIFIC music to make me cry, and honestly, that kind of stuff does NOT make me feel better. I know how to do that shit all by myself. Nope, I've been turning to Rush for when my brains are scrambled, and it has been so therapeutic.

I think I read somewhere that so-called math rock can help with concentration and learning; for me, the mostly lack of sappy love-centric lyrics and the complicated rhythms are what I'm looking for. Yesterday I was happy when I thought I hit every bass drum beat with my thumb on the door of my car during "Tom Sawyer." I'd love to try out some King Crimson - a favorite of mine and Patrick's for years - but I don't think I'm ready for all those lyrics. Bill Bruford's drums, though! The yearning quality of Adrian Belew's voice, which I love, just isn't what I'm looking for right now. The other band I've been listening to a lot is Weezer, but only the obnoxious songs like "Everybody Get Dangerous," "King," and "Troublemaker." Weezer's ability to make me laugh is appreciated; "The Red Album" delivers.

The other day at home, I was getting a little work in on "The Magic Flute," which we're playing in flute choir. It's hard, and I'm inspired (and, I have to admit, a little challenged) by the woman on 2nd flute. Her name is Loretta, and I'm really fighting to keep up with her. She's got great fingers! I was practicing and Jules sat on the piano bench next to me. The little dude was ROCKING OUT. I've also been playing, on the radio, all my favorite corny classical music greatest hits (The William Tell Overture, Bolero... the Star Wars soundtrack - ssssh, don't tell anyone), and he seems to love it. Me too. It works, right now.

Hey, there are worse things with which to self medicate, right? YES. Maybe I'll get in some piccolo playing today. After my massage.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

If this post were set to music, the composer would not be Wagner.

March 1st of this year was a momentous day in my career.

Not really, but it looks cool up there, doesn't it?

I don't know what I wrote about last year or whenever it happened, but at some point in the past couple of years, I went from being an organized and glorified secretary ("Administrative Assistant II"), a job I enjoyed but didn't challenge me very much, to handling one of the aspects (possibly the easiest) of an employee's time off work, FMLA. I work for a large department, though, so there a lot of parts to that, and policies and laws, and I had to learn a whole new set of skills, and I don't take to change easily, and I let things like this make me anxious and doubtful.

"Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" -- That's a quote from "Lear," by Young Jean Lee, now playing at City Garage Theatre in Santa Monica. Using it here is an inside joke, between me, and myself.

Anyway, my point is, I was so upset when I had to change everything, and then I mastered it, and then I made it better, and then I was told that I have to become a full-on Return-to-Work Coordinator effective March 1, 2016, and take on even more responsibility, learn another whole new set of skills, and I am once again, freaking out.

I just explained it to a coworker (someone with whom I have a history of not always getting along with, but as I am discovering, she and I are so alike, as much as it used to bother me to admit): I got built up (I raised my hand to over our heads) and then now I have to start all over again, at the bottom (slammed my hand on the other one, at waist level). I'm so dramatic. But it's totally what it feels like.

It doesn't help that my office is chaotic, it doesn't help that you ask a question and you find out it's just the tip of the ice berg, it doesn't help that everything here is multi-layered and complicated, it doesn't help that my coworkers (and me, too, probably) tend to be a bit passionate and sometimes passive-aggressive.

It doesn't help that last month I hurt my shoulder and though it's not excruciating or stopping me from functioning, it hurts a lot and is constantly on my mind (and it affects my sleep). I'm being seen by a doctor, and tomorrow I have some physical therapy, but it hurts.

It doesn't help that something else, personally traumatic, is happening to me that I can't control. It won't kill me, but it does suck, rather a lot.

I'm sure that events will transpire as they usually do (history has shown!) in that I'll begin to understand, I won't be so anxious, and that I'll start to feel better (and that I will see that though I feel like I'm in the midst of a lot of drama, this is just how it is sometimes), but for now I'm sort of drowning.

Hugs welcome.