Running Away = The Best Medicine. This time.

I ran away from you and I’m not sure what I was thinking.  At first.

I feel like I went to a commune during summer vacation while all the rest of the kids went to the same camp.  I’m out of the loop, but I’m back.  How are you?  Remember me?

Maybe I was running away from the world, but it turns out that one can only slip away for so long before we’re forced to admit we need to get back to real life.  Trials and tribulations will never cease to interrupt our lives, so it’s impossible to wait for peacetime to begin living again.

Living life got in the way of blogging about it, even though I was hell bent on doing the 365 bit.  I was mad at myself each day that I didn’t write because I continuously fooled myself into saying, “no, I’m really going to do it tomorrow”; only to be even more annoyed with myself and too embarrassed to reassess my 2012 writing challenge I’d made to myself.

I did reassess.  But I know now that I did not fail.  As a matter of fact, I kicked 2012’s ass.

Hell, I accomplished so many of my goals from last year that I didn’t have time to sit still.  Not that you would know that.  But you can trust me.  We are friends from the good ol’ days.

I changed careers, traveled, learned, I’m happy and I’m working on a new resolution, even though I hate that concept.

Are you ready?

  • I’ve decided to live more for me and less for the expectations others have of me.

It’s a fresh approach I’ve heard, I don’t know, my whole life, but never took into action.  It’s a revelation that coincides with the unfortunate passing of another close relative and being caught in the waves of it’s aftermath.  I wish it hadn’t taken a second painful demise to figure this out, but it turns out I’m a little behind.  My teachers must’ve been right after all.  Is that why my handwriting is crooked?

But I’m here.  I’m a little late to the party, but ready to be the life of it.  Who’s with me on this vague and exciting adventure?

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Discovered Postmortem

I’m sure this has happened to you, because it has likely affected every genre one can be a fan of.  Have you ever felt sad that you discovered you are a fan of something or someone that no longer exists?

Probably the first time I really thought about it was the time I bought my first Jeff Buckley cd in 2002.  Damn.  His voice was pristine and emotional.  I’d never get to experience it live.  He died in 1997, young and still so much untapped.

He wasn’t the first artist I’d appreciated after their demise.  I had listened the Beatles early in life and shuffled through Mom’s albums before Kindergarten, but because they were “old” to me, I never expected to see them.  There were also three of them that toured and alive for so much of my life.

Buckley was the first time I felt mournful that I hadn’t experienced something, not because I couldn’t get a concert ticket or I’d be out of town, but it just could never be.  Beyond that, once I’d purchased all his music, which there never seemed to be enough of, that was it.  There would be no more waiting to get the new album at midnight at Tower Records (RIP) or anticipating his release dates in Rolling Stone. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

This is my hand holding my Great-Grandmom’s hand.

By the time I was born, she was already 71. She had already lived a full life and had been retired. She’d be a widow a year later and I only knew her to be one. She would take me to bingo and we would play board games. She’d teach me things about cooking and tried to teach me to crochet. She was one of my favorite people and her hands always fascinated me, even the way she twiddled her thumbs.

Her hands had what she called “liver spots”, though most of us know them as age spots. She had been an avid gardener all of her adult life, so it was likely sun inspired damage. After she ate, I remember how she’d sweep her fingers over the table to gather any crumbs. Her fingers were strong and crooked and her fingernail and tips were oval. I just remember always thinking how unique they were. They weren’t thin and ladylike, though her movements were not harsh; they were the result of lifelong hard work.

I took this picture one morning when I sat alone with her before she passed. She was unable to speak, but she knew I was there as she squeezed my hand in response to my words. I knew I’d never forget her hands, but still I was afraid that I might. I haven’t forgotten, though it’s only been two and half years, but I like to know that I have a picture of one to remind me.

She would’ve been 100 this week. Happy birthday Grandmom.

“God bless you, little animal” and Other Sappy Feelings

I’m not sure if I’m an idiot or compassionate, but I’m definitely sad.  On my way home from work this afternoon, one of the cars in front of me hit a little squirrel. I didn’t know until I came up closer and saw it flailing in the middle of my lane, clearly badly injured.  I’m not particularly a fan of squirrels but I love animals and it really broke my heart.  It was flopping around, like it was trying desperately to get up.  I contemplated the rest of the way home if there was something I could do for it, so it wouldn’t suffer any longer, but I couldn’t imagine running it over to “end it” either.

I’m such a sucker for animals, yet I’m such a hypocrite with living things.  Here I am with tears for this little squirrel that I have zero connection with, but when I listen to the news and hear about humans who’ve tragically died; it doesn’t upset me this much.  I feel bad for them and their families of course, I’m not cold or heartless.  Maybe it’s the fact that I saw the squirrel struggle and there was nothing I could do for it.  I mean, I know if it were a person who got run over, I would feel just as affected.  And if you’ve followed me for some time now, you also know that I don’t like crying; that somewhere I have some deep seated distain for it.  I’m slightly embarrassed that my husband will come home soon and see my puffy eyes because of a simple squirrel.

I’ve seen plenty of road kill in my day.  I suppose my sensitivity comes from my Mom.  She is very compassionate and loving.  Since as long as I can remember, if we ever saw a dead animal, she’d say “God bless you, little animal”, even if it were a big deer.  It was something that I consider sweet and kind because they live and hurt like we do.  I started saying it myself when I got my license and had/have gotten made fun of many times by fellow passengers.  It didn’t bother me because I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong.  I’d feel like an ass if I stopped saying a simple blessing because of peer pressure.

I’m not even a vegetarian.  Continue reading

For the Love of Music

Shannon enjoying music early on, before walking. Most likely listening to Mom's Elton John. (Disregard the hand, it's an unintentional gesture)

Music is crucial to one’s existence for many people. I am one of those people.

From an early age, it impacted my life. I remember waking up, pre-Kindergarten years and pulling out my Mom’s vinyl, trying to figure out how to play them before she woke up. I’m happy to say I never did any damage and I also inherited the collection when I moved out on my own.  What a great collection.  I attribute my passion for music from her.

As time went on, my allowance of $1 per week went toward cassettes.  The purchase was always a huge decision because it took a good deal of time to save the money, and I treated each one like an investment. More than one song had to be appreciated to buy a whole cassette; otherwise it would get taped off the radio.

By the time Santa got me a CD player, I found CD’s pretty expensive for my habit. My first CD was given to me by my Mom after I had some painful dental work. My gauze-filled mouth was all smiles when I had the joy of painstakingly opening my first CD, even with all those unnecessary and impossible sealing stickers. At one point I considered only purchasing CD’s from the labels who gave the convenience of those little pull tabs on the plastic wrap to get the CD open a good two minutes faster.

Eventually in high school, the money I made at my first job at a Hallmark store went almost exclusively to music.  Maybe a little went to gasoline to get to shows.  The towers of CD cases I accumulated were staggering and alarming to my Dad, who at one point asked how I afforded them.  He didn’t want to ask if I was stealing but looking back, I can see how he might have thought it to be impossible to make $5.25 per hour for a few hours a week and create such a collection.  I can tell you in all honesty though, each was legitimately purchased.

Today, my iPod is now full, of music ranging from the 1930’s to today, in any genre you can think of. Music impacts our lives and can help define moments, which is probably why I seem to have generated a playlist for so many routines and events.  So many of us recollect moments in conjunction with a song, immediately allowing us to recall events and slip into old emotion, even years later when an old song is played.  Though it’s probably morbid, I even know what songs I’d play at my funeral and my husband has strict instructions to do so. We must be a good match because he agreed he had some defining songs he’d already chosen post-mortem for himself.  My playlist is called “After”.

Alongside writing, for a short time I studied sound engineering and my Professors agreed that I had a knack for it.  Instead of following my heart, I decided to divert to more logical courses of study while feeding my need for sound on growing piles of debt, of which only ticket stubs and memories remain the acquisition.  These are the best investment I ever made.  The culture and experiences that music provides is overwhelming and never ending.  Today, surviving on the basis of music seems to be becoming more difficult and unfortunate.  For the rest of us, we can peruse our way through our daily lives with little devices that fill our heads and ultimately our souls with escape and inspiration.