Memory is a funny thing

as are internet message boards. I was browsing my regular DnB message board tonight when I saw a thread asking what our earliest music memories were; as someone who was raised with music constantly around, that was kind of a tough one.

What first came into my mind were background memories; ambient sounds and situations that seem to weave through all the years of my childhood. Growing up there were always lots of 'oldies' in the car on road trips and my dad talking about which was #1 when and what it made him think of. Lots of Rolling Stones and CCR, not to mention tons of one-hit-wonders that he could remember with complete clarity, even if he never liked them. Some songs sparked talks about 60s politics - race riots, peaceful demonstrations, hippies, fear of being sent to war, personal experiences, and national ones - each song prompting a mini-lesson in what it was like to be college-aged in a time of turmoil, and how those influences created some amazing music. Funny how now I do the same thing when I hear 90s music countdowns; I can't peg which ones charted, but I can remember instances, people, and all kinds of emotions wrapped up in the good, the bad, and the ugly; perhaps my era didn't witness such profound national changes, but each song chronicled massive private changes of one kind or another.

After that there are the goofy songs from the Dr. Demento show. We used to listen to it coming back from the demolition derby at the long-gone Santa Fe Speedway. These songs are tied up in memories of Indian Princess/Indian Guides friends, bikers in leather, lots of smoke, and an odd instance where for some reason I used the men's handicapped bathroom while my dad guarded the door outside, but somehow or other someone accidentally walked in. The speedway was an awesome contradiction to the tame suburbia in which we grew up: people smoked, drank, fought, made out, peed on walls, and cheered as mud spattered the people all around them - kicked up by colliding rust-buckets. Minus the mud, and it's a lot like how I remember old Comiskey Park.

Stream of consciousness, mixed in with some Weird Al Yankovic.

My first distinct musical memory was me visiting the nursing home where my Nana (Mom's mom) was living. My grandpa (Dad's dad) was a career musician and played in various bands, one of which came to entertain at her nursing home once a month - a bunch of old timers playing polka, tamburitza, etc.. Anyway, I was hanging out with Nana and her friends when grandpa got on the mic and called me up to the stage; I must have been about 5 or so. He asked me to sing 'You Are My Sunshine' while the band played. To this day I still have terrible stage fright and will only sing alone in the car
. Despite the mental scarring, I got over it and never held a grudge against grandpa, but I was always sure to make myself scarce when he was playing (as long as I wasn't out of earshot)!

"In memory everything seems to happen to music."
~ Tennessee Williams
The Glass Managerie


Beautiful day

Who could ask for anything more? Headed to work in the bright sunshine, but oddly in the middle of a heavy snowfall - it was like moving about in a snowglobe of my city. The radio was full of meaningful, celebratory music and constant commentary about the goings on in Washington.

When I arrived at work a projection screen was up and running with the feed from CNN. Words really can not describe the sight of the capital flooded with people, waiting breathlessly for things to begin - like waves, shimmering from the heat of the collective excitement. The proceedings were grand and poetic; the music and spoken words inspiring through their simple messages. Obama himself appeared confident and almost stoic, though once or twice a smile crept through - a foil to Biden's constant grin. Everyone was silent, except for murmured agreements with points being made, or the silent-but-joyful weeping of the sweet old lady next to me - she said she never thought she'd live to see this day. I'm very glad she has.

Now it's time to get down to work, both here at The HistoryMakers office on the small scale, and for President Obama on the grand scale - all my best wishes to him and his people for the huge mountain of tasks ahead.


Final Countdown

We're now in the dwindling days of the Bush era; tonight was his last prime time address to the nation. To be 100% honest, I had no idea the broadcast was going on until I returned to the locker room at my gym after working out. I had my earphones on, so it took me a bit to notice he was on cnn, up there in the corner on the TV - the thing that tipped me off was how irritated everyone in there looked, and how people were watching me to see my reaction to the screen. I took off my headphones to listen, and continued to change.

What was normally a chatty locker room at a small gym was completely silent except for that usual, awkward voice; I avoided reacting to anything because I didn't feel like getting into anything political when I could already feel the tension in the room. Finally, the speech ended and Bush left the stage. On the TV the commentator mentioned the 'standing ovation as Bush leaves the stage for the last time.'

"Good riddance" says a female voice behind me. To my other side another girl starts to laugh. Immediately the mood lightens as it becomes serious that we're all on the same page. One girl makes a quip about how given the 30-something % approval rating, at least someone in the room had to be a fan. Eyes turn towards the shower stalls - one of which is in use.

"Hey Audrey," I call out, "are you a fan of President Bush?"

"Hell no!" is the immediate answer.

Everyone laughs, makes comments about it all coming to an end, and I head out to wait in the lobby.

Eight years - I can't believe we're finally at the end.


What a difference a week makes.

Day 1: Get picked up and taken to try out a new gym - feeling the need to change the way I've been treating my body. Had a good workout, felt the burn, decided to join the gym. Got ready for new position - find nice clothes, get to sleep relatively early, fight the jitters.

Day 2: get dressed up for my first office-type job, a bit nervous about walking around in a skirt at something other than a wedding, funeral, or family event. Meet new coworkers and hit it off pretty well, though it was impossible not to compare them to all my friends at my old job and the relationships I miss having there. Get through the day - it was slow but not terrible. Went back to the gym for round two.

Day 3: Half day of work - had my outfit planned out the night before. Things went really quickly, so there wasn't time to think about it. Had some nice chats with the lady at the front desk; a grandmotherly type who loves knitting and really appreciated my favorite hat from Peru. Went to the gym again and rocked out some cardio. Ran three miles in about 34 minutes, and had an "ahhhh" moment when I found my stride. Stretched and rocked 12 miles on the bike, watching the snow swirl outside. Got home, ate more soup, and passed out before 11:30 (if you know me, you know how huge that is!).

Day 4: Full day of work - was actually excited to get all dressed up and enjoyed using the nice clothes I never seemed to wear. Finally spent some time in the archives and got things done; had good conversations with my workmate. Went and got issue with my nosering looked at by a piercer and found out things were OK. Came home, ate the soup I made at the beginning of the week, and turned on the TV to find the Hawks game about to start. Told Dan that life was good and meant it for the first time since the end of August.

Tomorrow? Looking to go chill with Audrey and then hit the gym again.

Saturday? Tryouts for a professional, co-ed roller hockey league. Could be cheesy, but if it isn't it could be a lot of fun; I got the invite from some people I skate with, so I thought I had nothing to lose by checking it out. I'm not really a roller hockey player, so if things don't go well I won't take rejection too personally. Also on the docket is signing up for the new gym's biggest loser competition with Audrey - we need to think of a team name; suggestions welcome.