July 29, 2011

Flashback Friday: The sporadic songstress

Who's up for some shameless self-promotion? 

About a year ago, I discovered that I could do karaoke at home--sans audience!--using music and lyrics from Youtube.  Since I've got a bit o' stage fright, this finding was a boon!

Here's a post from my old blog, written in May 2010.


The Sporadic Songstress

So, I used to sing. My mom tells me it started early--at 3 or 4 I was giving concerts for family and friends. I was quite the diva. The love of performing continued in elementary school. My mom got us a talent agent and she and my brother and I did commercials. I took part in talent shows and did musicals too. It was fun. What a gift to discover something you're good at as a little kid!

I continued singing as a teenager. R&B/soul was my style--influenced by growing up in two racially and musically diverse cities, St. Louis and Dallas. I liked Anita Baker, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and En Vogue. During these years I became increasingly self-conscious about performing onstage. I was curvy and not as comfortable with having all eyes on me. I also struggled to read music; I learned songs by ear instead. These two things kept me from pursuing music in college.

My taste in music has changed somewhat over the years. I still like listening to women with big, soulful voices like Christina Aguilera, Pink, and Jennifer Hudson. But I've discovered contemporary blues! Bonnie Raitt, Joss Stone, and Susan Tedeschi are awesome. White chicks with soul! :)

I don't sing much anymore. When I do, it's along with CDs in the car. My son is my audience. I might do karaoke for fun once or twice a year. And I'm OK with that. I just like singing for the joy of it.

Last weekend my mom (who also sings and used to have a country band) and I planned a karaoke night with friends. They flaked on us, so we went out to dinner instead. When I got home, I decided to do a little karaoke-ing on my own in front of the computer. I found the instrumental version (with lyrics) of Black Velvet on Youtube. I'm rusty, but here it is:

And here's a love song for my husband, Save Me From Myself:
P.S.  If you get my blog posts via email, these videos might not show up.  I know not why.   
P.S.S.  I'm working on a couple of new songs to post here, just fer you!

Ask Dani: the good enough marriage

Remember that I told you I have a small but mighty advice column on Facebook?  Here's another Q & A from an anonymous querier.


Dear Dani,

I'm really struggling in my marriage. We have been married 22 years and I act like everything is fine, but it's really not. He is content with our marriage/life, but not me. Things are just alright. No excitement. No connection. We seem more like roommates than lovers.

I don't want to hurt him, but I'm miserable.

What should I do?

Unhappy Wife


Dear Unhappy Wife,

I think what you're going through is completely normal. I think we (Americans, women, white chicks with Cinderella complexes) have been sold a line that does nothing to help marriages last. We grow up thinking that happy, loving feelings are the most important factors in relationships, despite the fact that we fight with our frenemies, have mama drama, and alternately adore and hate our siblings—all while continuing to love them. In no other relationship in our lives do we expect to feel loving and happy all the time. And that's crap! I believe the core problem is that we have unrealistic expectations for intimate relationships.

There are so many facets to a healthy relationship: friendship, companionship, partnership, co-parenting, I-got-your-back-ing, mutual financial advising, co-dreaming, sex, affection, fun, learning together, laughing together. (Running toward each other in a field of wildflowers with arms outstretched is a cliché, not reality.) How are the other aspects of your marriage going? Do you have fun together? Have you talked about future plans you can both get excited about? Do you value your peaceful home, your stable marriage?

It sounds like you value passion and excitement. There's nothing wrong with that. They have their place. But they aren't enough by themselves to sustain a marriage for life. Instead of leaving, why not put your effort and energy toward revitalizing the 22 year commitment you're already in? You didn't mention telling your husband that you're unhappy, so I assume you've been keeping your suffering to yourself. I suggest you think about what you DO want and ask for it.

Have you considered the possibility that what you really want is more passion and excitement in your life in general, and not just your marriage? Do you think it's possible that you're putting too much pressure on the marriage to make you happy with your life? What else do you have going on? Is this lack of contentment just marriage-specific, or do you feel uninspired and directionless in general?

I think answering some of these questions for yourself will get you started on a plan for a more fulfilling life. Counseling might help you flesh all this out, as well as develop realistic expectations for your marriage. I wish you the best.


July 26, 2011

Guest Post: Mimi speaks, part II

In Part I of GC Brawler's thesis about Facebook, she quipped about her addiction to Facebook games.  Here is the second installment.  This time it's personal.  

Click here if you missed Part I.


The Joys and Foibles of Social Networking - Part II
By my mom, aka Mimi, aka GC Brawler, aka Badass Kas

Thinking about how my life has changed since Facebook has been an eye opener.

I am able to see, without being in close proximity, the wonderful friends my daughter has in her life.  Friends are the presents we give ourselves, so way to go, Dani.  It says a lot about the person you have become.  Facebook has also shown me that she's not only funny in person and in day-to-day life, but also in print.  Her "drawer-ings" are priceless.  Just as priceless are the pictures of her father in a kilt.

When folks leave a job or town, there are always promises of staying in touch.  We all mean that, too.  But for the most part, it doesn't happen.  Life gets busy.  How long would it have been before I got to see my oldest and bestest bud's first grandchild back in Illinois??  With Facebook, it was one day.

I otherwise wouldn't know that my fifth grade boyfriend is still pretty much the same nice, intelligent guy he was when he bought me that ring.  I got to see pics of his house, wife and kids.  Wonderful people and good souls I met in high school.  People I haven't seen in 40 years...I know what their kids look like.  I learned it seems we change so much but in the grand scheme of things, not so much.  I'm blessed to have them all back in my virtual life.  (I also stumbled across my nasty ex's wife.  DOH!)

It's amazing to know that I have become friends, yes, actual friends, with people from all over the world.  There's the Hispanic couple whose life and posts read like an episode of I Love Lucy.  They are deeply in love.  And I love them.  When they went to see Lady Gaga, she had to put the beat down on some chick who was acting up on her husband.  He bragged about it the next day.  Sorry to have missed the visual.  It still made me LOL.  Really.  I did.  When he deployed to the war we are fighting, I worried for both of them.  He's back, safe at home once again.

I have now a vast knowledge of new (to me) and different cultures.  For example, I've learned that the Turks are very much into their music.  I know more Muslim DJs than another other kind.  I may not know their family lives, but I do know they are passionate about their music.  And their God, fans and peoples.  I didn't even know what "trance" music was before them.  They include me, because I think it's fun for them to share and introduce new music.  I show my appreciation.  You don't have to understand the lyrics to get it.  Music is a universal language.  

During Ramadan, an adopted son sent me pics and videos of some very beautiful things and traditions.  He taught me about his culture.  He was also the link to the man that made me stop saying, "I'll never get married again."  Yep.  I found my husband-to-be on Facebook!!!  LOL!  Literally LOL!  I am so blessed by this, I cannot make a joke here.  I witnessed a freakin' revolution (in Tunisia) firsthand by folks living it!!!  During the revolution, Facebook was my only means of contacting my friends in Tunisia.  No email worked.  No mail got in or out. 

And speaking of sons, I am the adopted mother of my son Collin's best friend from high school.  (Collin passed away in 1993.)  We are "together" frequently on this social media.  I know what his wife and kids look like.  I know he likes to fish, he likes music and big trucks.  He loves his family more than life, and he genuinely loved my son.  We are bonded.  I also know that he's got a huge heart which fits with his ginormous body, and that he's pretty damn funny too.

I get to see my niece and her huge family in pictures and posts.  Before Facebook, it had been years.  Our family is quite damaged actually.  I would not have known which kid went with which name if not for this. They are a great bunch!  She's a good mom.

Most of all, I laugh more.  This is hard to imagine, but I do.  "When I hear stop, my brain says hammertime." Bahahahahahaha!  The world is chock-full of funny, intelligent, talented people.  Try to remember that the next time you are at work and the village idiot speaks up.  Somehow, knowing that keeps me from having a violent picture in my head. 

So here we are.  People I don't know and will probably never meet are reading this.  How freakin' cool is that??

July 22, 2011

Flashback Friday: Dairy: A Lament

I'd like to share a poem I wrote in July 2009.  It's about the joy and the pain of being a lactose intolerant dairy lover. 

Dairy: A Lament

Dairy, oh dairy, why do you do me this way?
You're creamy and dreamy; I can't stay away.
I just wanna love you, but you're bad for my gut.
So good going down, then a pain in the butt.

The misadventures of Henry and Bess

I love having a car.  I love the freedom to come and go as I please.  But I do not love car trouble and its accompanying expenses.

We have two geriatric Fords, both bought used.  Tree Guy's car is 9 years old and has 130,000 miles on it.   Ol' Henry is a little battered, owing to Tree Guy's propensity for backing out of the garage without making room for the side mirror.  I think the busted side mirror gives him character.  It makes him look a little grizzled, like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino.

Ol' Henry has been a faithful guy.  He's pretty fuel-efficient, so he's become our main mode of transportation since moving "out to the country."  Unfortunately, the old lungs gave out a couple months ago and now he has no air conditioning.  This is a problem here in the South.  I don't hold it against him, but AC surgery would cost a little over $1100.  And with everything else going on (veterinary bills, renegade money borrowers), we just don't have it. 

We'd planned to put him out to pasture, at least for the summer.  Tree Guy has a work vehicle and I have my own car.  This plan worked for about a month.

Ol' Bessie is 10 years old and has about 115,000 miles on her.  Since she's my car, she's pretty dinged up.  It all started when this street sweeper jumped out in front of us in 2005.  Those things move fast, you know.  And then there was that time a stop sign fell on her and scratched up her shoulder.  (Who has a STOP SIGN fall on them?!)  Oh, and that time I was so eager to shop that I neglected to notice a metal bar blocking the entrance of my favorite thrift store.  It left an 18 inch gash on Bess's hood.  (Stupid bar.)  And let's not forget the time I ran out of gas in the middle of a busy street and a cop pushed my car with his to get me to a gas station.  It damaged the old gal's bumper. As if that wasn't enough, she also has a giant crack in her windshield.

Aesthetics aside, Ol' Bessie's had more than her fair share of mechanical trouble.  She's not fuel efficient.  She's needed several AC surgeries, brake jobs, hose repairs, and more.  We still don't have her lungs figured out.  The cold air flows smoothly for about 30 minutes and then her AC fan freezes up and we have to turn the AC off to let it defrost for about 20 minutes.  This is not enjoyable.  But some AC is better than no AC, so after a 5 month sabbatical in the garage, she's back in action.

Or was, until recently.

Now Bessie's got a little incontinence problem.  She's pouring what looks like transmission fluid all over the driveway.  My industrious husband checked her out and discovered that she is pretty empty "down there", confirming the transmission leak.  She needs some work, but with everything else going on, she's gonna have to wait in line.

With Bessie peeing everywhere and Henry's lungs messed up, I've been bumming Shrinky Dink's swagger wagon.  It's a sweet ride.  It's been well over 100 degrees down in these here parts, so the air conditioning is wonderful. 

In other old folk news, my grandma has been guilt tripping me lately about not coming to visit her often enough.  Apparently, having no AC in my car in 106 degree weather is not a good enough reason.  So I'm taking her to an ice cream social at the senior center today.  I'm lactose intolerant*, so this may not be a good decision on my part. 

On second thought, maybe the car ride home with Meemaw will be payback for guilt tripping me.  Bwahaha!    

*Stay tuned for my poem, Dairy: A Lament.

July 19, 2011

Guest Post: Mimi speaks about her Facebook addiction

Yeah, I'm still slacking with the old blog, but I figured I could insert a guest post here and still maintain my blog cred. 

Because I DO have blog cred, dammit.  I am certain that all 30 of my blog readers are at the edges of their seats waiting for the earth-shattering revelations to transmit from my brilliant, insightful mind to my agile fingertips.  (I'm just wondering why the convention organizers at BlogHer aren't jamming up my phone lines begging me to come speak.)


My mom, GC Brawler, wrote a ridiculously long wonderfully insightful Facebook note that I have stolen taken with express permission and excerpted here.  Well, half of it is here.  I might include the other half later.  Maybe.  If I feel like it.  (Which is likely because the second part says good stuff about me.)


The Joys and Foibles of Social Networking - Part I
By my mom, aka Mimi, aka GC Brawler, aka Badass Kas

I play too many games on Facebook.  Subconsciously, I have probably known this for some time.  What brought it to the forefront of my gray matter (Grey or gray? Ah, who cares?!) is that there's a new Zynga game that I just don't have time for.  My playa friends keep sending requests, and I keep ignoring them.

I get it.  I am a loyal gifter, and I always show up for the job.  But when gifting your family, crew, clan and neighbors takes the same number of hours as a part-part-time job...  You play too many games.

It all started when my son-in-law began to play Mafia Wars.  He needed some crew members.  "But Tree Guy, I don't want any new friends! I'm happy with the ones I have. In REAL life!"  With the cunning of a heroin dealer, he said, "You don't even have to play. Just set up an account and accept my game invitation."  Simple enough.

He and Danielle have long since quit playing and now I have two "families" and 803 mafia friends of my own.  I'm a level 865 Fearless player.  My mob name is, of course, GC Brawler.

I kick ass.

Facebook has given me much comic material to riff on.  The games constantly try to get you to pimp your friends into games and apps.  Pop-ups.  Annoying pop-ups:

"You need more friends. Invite friends."
WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK I MOVED TO AN ISLAND?!!  To get more friends?  Nope.

I got tired of walking into my living room in Yoville and finding people there that I didn't know! 

The pop-ups that annoy me in Treasure Island say things like:

"You found a lost turkey.  Can you help find him a home?"
Hell no! I'm on an ISLAND!  That sucker is dinner...

“You found a stash (hehe).  Share with your friends!!"
Screw most of 'em--only a couple ever stop by!!

Having no game time left got me to thinking.  (I think a lot.  Sometimes I even think important usable stuff.)  But thinking about how my life has changed since Facebook has been an eye opener. 

(End of Part I)

To read about how Facebook has given GC Brawler a new lease on life, check back for Part II.

July 14, 2011

The Gang

Just a quick note to let y'all know that I've added a new tab up top called Cast of Characters.  It's a handy-dandy photo reference of all the usual suspects stars of the show here at Yeah, I said it.

You're welcome.

July 09, 2011

Brokeback Poutin'

I feel like crap, y'all. 

So I've been taking a break from the online world.  I think I'm having an autoimmune flare.  I'm tired.  So tired that while pulling up in the driveway, I start mentally detailing every little burst of effort necessary to get from car to house. 

First I've got to push open the car door.  Then I've got to heave myself out of the car.  Then I have to reach back in the car and get my purse and the load o' crap in the passenger seat.  Then I need to walk to the door.  Then I need to put the load o' crap down and unlock the door.  Then I need to pick the load o' crap up and open the door.  Then I need to put the load o' crap down and shut the door.  Then I need to go collapse on the couch.  Oh, how shall I manage it all?!

What do I mean by an autoimmune flare?  Autoimmunity is a wascally wabbit.  It's hard to pin down.  In my case, it all starts with Crohn's disease, which is affectionately called inflammatory bowel disease.  (Sexy, I know.)

Autoimmune diseases are joiners, so when one shows up, others tend to follow.  My party crashers are Crohn's-related spondylitis and peripheral arthritis as well as fibromyalgia.  When I have a flare I experience fatigue, widespread muscle and joint pain, and sometimes low grade fevers and night sweats.

I get IV infusions of the biologic drug Remicade every 7 weeks.  It keeps Crohn's in check, but for some reason, it doesn't seem to help the arthritis and muscle pain.  Even though it's supposed to.  Stupid autoimmunity.
In addition to the usual craptastic blend of symptoms, I also seem to have a pinched nerve in my neck that extends down my back.   

Your regularly scheduled blog posts will return shortly.

In the meantime, check out these funny blogs.

The Blog O' Cheese

The Zany Housewife

Diaries of a Grumpy Grateful Mom

P.S. I'm too tired to obsessive-compulsively proofread this post, so pleez forgiv enny airers.