Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's new on the blog

Well, I have been busy rearranging the blog a little.  What has initially started as just an outlet for some of the stuff that I want to write about has quickly morphed into a story about my journey as a new author.  I will still be posting opinion pieces under the page "On My Mind," but the main page of the blog will be dedicated to the trials and tribulations of writing a novel.  Please sign up for an email subscription on the right and you will get an email when the blog is updated.  I will be updating and changing the look of the blog over the next few months too.  So keep coming back and checking it out.  Hope you enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

iTunes and Marriage

My husband, Michael, and I share an iTunes library. Frankly, when we bought our first Mac it never occurred to us to do any differently. We share everything, a bed, checking accounts, a wonderful daughter. It's funny because our personalities, relationship, and our stages of life are reflected in our iTunes library. It is like a mini archeological dig to look through the music in there.

The first thing we did was load all our CDs. Or I should say all of Michael's CDs. He has hundreds. I have three. His were all the classic 80s rock and hair bands plus every Elton John and Beatles album ever made. Mine were weird semi-famous people, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Amy Grant, Cathy Denis. (Yup, those were the three). I never bought music, I relied on my cool older brother and sister to make tapes for me for my walkman and let me listen to their cast off albums (yes, actual vinyl). Think Upstairs at Eric's by the Yaz (my sister) and I Wanna be Sedated by the Ramones (my brother).

At that time our daughter was probably five and didn't have much interest in music beyond Raffi and the Disney soundtracks. So guess what got loaded next? You got it, Disney sound tracks and Raffi. As her musical tastes changed we then ended up with Hannah Montana, The Jonas Brothers, and High School Musical sound tracks. At this time she got her own computer so the iTunes road started to diverge. Just like she is starting to break away from us as a tween, she is developing her own tastes in music. And the iconic words often leave my mouth: “Turn that noise down!” It’s scary how music makes us sound like our parents!

My husband developed an interest in country music. So he downloaded some Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban. I thought it was weird that a Jew liked Jesus Take the Wheel. He claims he doesn’t really hear the words, he just listens to the beat and the music. I do hear the words and that explains my country downloads which would be Cleaning This Gun by Rodney Atkins and Online by Brad Paisley. The lyrics are very funny and I listen to them on my iPhone and grin. People think I’m nuts.

Even as our iTunes library continues to be the Grand Canyon of our relationship, the first layers our past, then as our music tastes and lives have changed, more layers have been added. The thing that struck me is how it represents our marriage and how we make it work.

In a marriage, you have to make room for each other’s personalities. One person does not call all the shots. The iTunes library has room for Pat Benatar (Michael) and Death Cab for Cutie (Me). Beyond that, we have influenced each other so that we are both listening to music that we probably wouldn’t have with out our partner saying “Hey, check this out!” David Gray would not have been my first pick as I am sure The Foo Fighters would not have been my husband’s. So our horizons are expanded, our live enriched because we are together.

There are times when he does download a song I can’t stand. That is what play lists are for. I can ignore the stuff I don’t like. Just like I do in real life. We both have strange habits that drive each other nuts. The fact is, those quirks don’t matter. It doesn’t do any good to focus on them. My personal play list has in it what a great father he is, how much he loves me and our daughter, how hard he works to make a stable financial home for us, how supportive he is of my typing away here, when I ask him for help or to do something he does it, and the list goes on and on. I listen to the good stuff all the time.

The fact is that a marriage and a play list has room in it for a lot of things. Bad choices, arguments, quirks in personality. It’s all what you pay attention to. I’ve forgotten about Michael’s extensive collection of Elton John, just like I forgot about what we were arguing about last week. Just like the 80s hair bands are standing patiently next to the last 70s punk rockers, we stand patiently next to each other. Waiting to see who will show up next and what is around the next corner.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Goodbye to the Girl

The Girl said...

The Girl is my daughter. I call her The Girl because she is the only girl to me. I was tucking her in one evening, one of the few motherly things she deigns to let me still have, and we were discussing Christmas. This was a safe, neutral topic not likely to provoke an outburst followed by dramatic eye rolling and sighing. Although I am never sure what is safe anymore.

“Mom,” The Girl Said. It is impossible for The Girl to start a sentence without the word ‘Mom’ at the beginning, even when she is addressing her Dad. “I don’t want to go see Santa this year.”

“Are you sure? I love Santa.”

“I think I’m too old.”

“Well, I might go sit on Santa’s lap.”

“Yeah? Well I won’t be going with you then.” Eye roll. Sigh. I laughed. All I have to do to embarrass her is breathe, never mind sitting on Santa’s lap.

“Well, how about we walk around the mall and look at all the decorations and then get a manicure?” This provoked an enthusiastic response. Even though The Girl is not a girly girl, she is all about pampering.

Do you know the saying “Be careful what you ask for, you might get it”? My husband and I had been waiting a little impatiently for Santa to be over. Our daughter hung onto Santa longer than most kids and with a conviction that made me think I would be stuffing her stocking secretly when she was 21. Santa was starting to be a little inconvenient. We wanted to travel during the holidays, but couldn’t because there was such concern about Santa finding us. The Girl seemed to doubt that even though he could magically fly around the world and deliver toys to millions of children in a night, that Santa’s magic did not extend to being able to find her in a different house, even if I emailed him to let him know.

I looked at The Girl with her budding breasts and newly curvy figure. Her pajama bottoms were too short because she had shot up and was well over five feet tall. I now had to jealously guard my shoes. I realized with a pang of regret that Santa was gone. That the magic of childhood went with him. That things were ordinary now and there was no hope of ever going back. I knew for sure that The Girl was already leaving me.

I hugged The Girl tight that night and snuck a kiss onto the freshly washed hair. She sighed and rolled her eyes. As I turned off the lights, I said a tiny prayer that she would let me keep tucking her in for a while. As I walked downstairs it occurred to me that, even though she would always be The Girl to me, very, very soon she would be The Woman to everyone else.