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Am I Half Dead or Am I Doin' fine?
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Memories
Now Playing: Ends by Everlast
Topic: History

Memories, reading in the hollow in the yard where I grew up, I think it may have once been a treestump, when it was pulled it left a little divot about 18 inches across which I loved to sit in to read (or play I was a bird & it was my nest- but that was when I was younger than the age I'm thinking of) the divot made a more comfortable place to settle into than the flat parts of the ground.
I was thinking of my first garden while readying my garden for planting, we had a couple of cherry tomatoes I think, & I was so impressed with the corn that I took it all apart while it was about as long as one of my fingers. we got a lot of onions which were no bigger than the onion sets that I see in the stores here in VA. I remember the carrots being pretty good though not very large, I was 8 I think & my parents pretty much humored me in making it. My Grandmother showed me how to sow seeds in saved eggshells which were planted with the seedlings to provide nutrients & I know it was my Mother was the one who watered it every evening (Something I know was not really a good idea- you should water in the morning) About once a week a friend of my Fathers would show up with his daughter & take both of us to the beach for the day, we always went to Brant Rock in Marshfield Mass & the daughter & I would spend a lot of the day out on the stones picking perriwinkle shells off the rocks to see them close their little doors. One time my brother walked off & was lost for awhile. There were always too many Jellyfish to have much fun swimming there. I liked Nantasket Beach in Hull better but no one I knew wanted to go there because of the park which everyone said was 'a waste of money' Of course, as a teenager that was exactly where I spent all my time. Chrissie & I got to go a few times before they closed it down for good & put up condos. I know my mother's hair would've turned white if she knew we walked there from Chrissie's grandmothers house. Not much to worry about, we were broke, I think we did one ride each or something like that. By the time we had our first apartment (right near where the park had been) there wasn't a trace of the park, just a big brick condo.
My parents never went anywhere, I remember 1 trip to Vermont for a weekend & 1 trip to Maine. in my entire first 10 years. the furthest we went was the park across the street from the house, the swimming hole there (& I do mean hole) had docks floating in it & swimming lessons which I took every year until I was 13. My brother went to them right through jr. Lifesaving though, I finished early at 13 & by the time I could take Jr. life I was busy doing other things- getting up & swimming at 8 in the morning 5 days a week was NOT my idea of a good time.
I used to climb a giant beech tree in my yard, well, partway in my yard partly in the neighbor's yard. friends & I would carve initials & names etc in the tree, a year after my brother died the tree split in two & fell in the yard, my friend Jackie said to me after making the trek out to the back yard to see the pieces lying all over the yard (it came within 5 feet of the house) 'do you think all that carving we did was responsible for this?' the tree was almost 6 feet in circumfrence & was a very old one, I assured her that it was just the tree's time to go. (she was always a worry wort- we were both 23 at the time this took place)
I spent time in the woods behind the house I grew up in, walking on pathways that were there when my grandfather was a kid. there was swamp lands some of which pooled in areas which formed little pools, there was an uprooted tree with a rock beneath it which overlooked a swamp pool, where I loved to sit & listen to my walkman & think. (brood over my mother's & my latest fight is more like it) in winter there was another swamp place which would freeze & we'd skate, it being a swamp the water would often freeze around trees so you could skate between trees on the frozen swamp water, it was like twisting pathways, I loved it! The woods also had, in later years, a cabin built by neighboring teens who used it to party in, I was old enough to go but too shy to do so. I would go lurk there if I needed to get away from my mother for a few hours during the day while all the 'normal' kids were in school, I'd bring a book & read but it was awkward, everything stank of wet ashes & to this day when I smell that scent I think of that half-assed log cabin. The furniture was all trashed, damp & moldy stuff people had salvaged from their parents houses so it wasn't too pleasant to sit in there.
I would also go to the park across the street & follow the paths there too, just walk around & look at views, (not too great compared to where I live now) & read stuff people had carved in the trees, I actually read where my mother in law (I didn't Know this at the time) & one of her friends skipped school & got stoned for the day & carved this in a tree to commemerate the occasion!

Posted by Becky at 4:55 PM EDT
Friday, May 19, 2006
So Tired,
Now Playing: Once in a Lifetime by the Talking Heads (just got this from napster & am listening to it ad nauseum!)
Topic: History
You can ask my mother at any given time of day or night, any day of the year how she is & she will always say the same thing: 'Tired' I'm sitting here at the computer after having been up til after 2 am last night, & getting up at 10 which is a pretty respectable wake up time if you ask me! falling asleep over the computer, listening to Styx is not the best way to wake up either, I'd be better served with Godsmack or Audioslave really. But since I've got to go take a bath pretty soon I'm not going to sweat it too much, too much fresh air for me today I guess, which is really pathetic since I was outside for only about 45 minutes trying to mow the lawn, it was too cold & it was raining out there too, I looked at the garden space which is dug up but needs to be tilled with the small tiller now, (I didn't know it but there's different grades of tilling, what we dealt with last year was a rough till, I smoothed it out & hoe'd it up into raised beds with out breaking the soil apart much.) the guy who tilled it is supposed to come back & finish. I was expecting about $50. bucks, it cost 15, He showed up to finish on Thursday & now I'm working on making raised beds, I'm considering doing structured raised beds with wood, there's so much clay out there, I can really tell the difference between where I gardened last year & where the guy expanded the size of the garden. the part which hasn't been used before & had dirt mixed in to loosen the clay is like pottery clay, when you sink a shovel into it it stays right in the shape of the shovel. I have to mix more good dirt in to make that clay loosen up, more money to spend! arrgh! if I made raised beds structured I could really control the quality of the dirt, I just worry about the dirt getting sour, I like the idea of structure because I wouldn't have to have it tilled every year & I could eventually have stone paths or something between them rather than just dirt which will get weedy.
I've always tried not to whine about being tired like my mother does, I often tell Lois who is an Aquarius like both my mother & my grandmother that she can be like one or the other, my mother has her life set in stone, she does a, b & c each & every day & god forbid someone or something interfere with when she's supposed to do any of those things, there's no room for deviation from her plan & change upsets her terribly.
My grandmother takes things as they come, she tells me my mother used to get upset at her as a child because she'd ask every morning what they were having for dinner & my grandmother never knew, she waited until it was nearly time to make dinner before making that decision.
As an illustration of how they're at polar opposites on this one time just before my Ex & I called it quits we decided on thursday night to go for an extended weekend visit to Mass, I called my grandmother & asked her if she could stand to have us visit for 2 days & stay at her place with her. She said 'sure, great when will you be here? I can't wait to see you all!'
When I called my Mother & asked her the same thing (we stayed 2 nights with each & 1 with friends) she said 'I don't know, is there anywhere else you could stay?' & when I said there really wasn't I got, 'well, I suppose you can stay but you'll have to sleep on the floor'
My Mother is actually, in spite of this a pretty cool person in many other areas, she's very liberal & is interested in reincarnation, ghosts etc. we get along very well (now that I'm an adult)
My Grandmother & I get along well too, we talk more about the past, the kids & politics but we do talk & she is almost as liberal as my Mother.
I should've written this last week, with mothers day & all, but here it is coming out now!

Posted by Becky at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 20, 2006 12:27 PM EDT
Monday, May 8, 2006
Music & Me
Now Playing: Tones Of Home By Blind Melon
Topic: History
A Wise person told me once that most people like the music they heard when they were teenagers & shut the door to new music/experiences sometime in their early twenties but that a true music lover will listen to new music for many years past the 'norm'

Annother wise person took me to task when I was a teenager because although it was 1984 & I was just 15 years old I was mostly listening to Led Zeppelin, AC/DC & the Who. (among others) & he was of the opinion that I should've been leaving those old bands behind for the 'new thing' Personally at the time I didn't much care for most of the popular music I was seeing on mtv at the time, I didn't like Madonna or ABC or Duran Duran- I liked Def Leppard & the Pretenders etc. though & I must say Mtv was a lot better at keeping a balance between different genres of music back then than they do now.
I have always listened to a wide range of music. (As long as it's Rock) I'm equally comfortable listening to Del Shannon, The Beatles, The Cars, Guns & Roses or Audioslave (my current favorite new band) & I like most everything in between.
As I get older I see what the first person meant though. Many of my friends are only into the stuff they listened to as teenagers (most notably Black Sabbath & Metallica)
Others only like music that reminds them of the past & only want to listen when they're alterd in one way or annother.
Or they've changed completely & listen to only Country music or Rap now & have no use for what they would have killed or died for 10 years ago.
I know only a few people who're still checking out new stuff. Besides my kids that is.
My biggest frustration is that there's not enough time to listen to everything I want to hear & that so much stuff gets left behind. If I hadn't invested in Cinderella's Cd Long Cold Winter I'd probably have forgotten all about 'Bad Seamstress Blues' which was never that popular but I loved it. & of course 'Coming Home' was one of Lois' Fathers & my 'songs'
That brings me to one of my favorite things about music. It's abillity to transport me right back to where I was when I first heard the song. I used to (even at 15- when I had time for such things) write down the mental links I had with certain songs. I would love to sit down & do that again. But where to start? Putting all my favorite songs from my cd collection in the windows media player has been interesting in that way, I found I have some odd glitch in mine which does not save every song's name to the song so I have to go back & type them all in along with rate the song & set up play lists. So as a result I'm hearing at least part of every song I loaded in. For instance right now I'm listening to 'Unskinny Bop' by Poison & remebering in 1990 driving 200+ miles with my mother, grandmother & Lois (she was 6 months old) I did most of the driving as I didn't have a car of my own & missed driving one & My Mother was tired (she always is tired- she's the type who gets out of bed, sits down to have her first cup of coffee & when you ask her how she is this morning she says 'tired' right off the bat) So I drove the whole way & back again. I played the radio the whole way, disregarding the fact that both my mother & grandmother are jazz fans & do not care for rock at all.... That song must have played 10 times over the 4 hour drive & I sang along each time. (nowadays I shudder at the mental picture- but at the time I didn't care.)
Then there's the Whole catergorizing factor that the media player adds. I set up my own names for my playlists but for heavens sake, the auto populated ones? who put this stuff in here? Does anyone actually put songs under the classification "songs I hate?" I mean, why waste the hard drive space for songs you hate? I know, purists will load a whole cd to preserve the integrity of the cd. the heck with that, I want to be able to use the shuffle feature & know that every song that plays I've given at least 3 stars rating because I didn't waste any space on songs I don't like.
Now that I've been naming songs for a few days (I alternate between loading more songs & naming the ones loaded in already) I'm finding that arranging the play lists by decade just isn't working. it's ok for the 60's & 70's because I don't have a LOT of music from those decades (they're mostly on album if I have it & I'm a long way from being able to afford the technology to transfer albums to the computer) but the 80's, how can you have u2 & guns & roses in the same genre? they just don't go together. But since I like them both I have them in the same space. I can already see that I'm going to have to go back through once every song has it's name & then reclassify. This is the sort of thing I used to love to do. (once again, when I was a homeschooled teenager with WAY too much time on my hands)
Of course, I always, when new music comes out, or I begin a project like this, ordering my music in a 'reasoned' way. Wonder what my brother would think. Frozen in time at age 16 like he is it's hard to apply his ideas & attitudes to the world today. The internet was largely unknown in 1989 when he died. He was hardcore to the end though, so I suppose he would've been against the whole thing. He was so caught up in his own labels that he called my listening to anything less hard than say, Metallica. (who, I might add, I don't care for much, having had them shoved down my throat by my brother & every guy I ever dated or even hung around with but Doug- who was too old for that particular music-) Selling out. He then turned on Metallica when they put out the video for 'one' because they had said they would never do videos & then they bowed to pressure & did it anyway (I'm sure he was rolling in his grave during the 'Enter Sandman' phase - which, incedentally is nearly the only song I ever liked by them - 'King Nothing' being annother & of course that Thin Lizzy song- 'Whiskey in a Jar' but that's because I liked the original & the imagery in the song)I can't imagine what he would think of the way music is now though. He'd probably Hate most of it- curmudgeon that he was.

Posted by Becky at 11:32 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 8, 2006 11:36 PM EDT
Thursday, April 6, 2006
Got to do What they Told ya (from the song I'm listening to)
Now Playing: Killing in the Name, Rage Against the Machine
Topic: History
When I was a kid, & I mean right up until 20 or so. When things were put in perspective for me by my brothers suicide, The surest way to get me to do something was for my Mother to tell me not to do it. The reverse was true too, if she told me to do something I would go to outrageous lengths not to do what she said to do. Now, if someone else asked something of me, my Father, Grandmother, Aunt or Uncle, even a stranger on the street. I would bend over backwards to do what they wanted. I was contrary, difficult & rude to her & I know it, but seriously, she was no great prize herself, she was hateful, mean, depressed & morose most of the time & also showed blatant favortisim for my brother. The best thing we could have done was keep out of each others way & we did try to do so for the most part.
One night at dinner on a Saturday (which was different from most nights, my grandmother ate with us & we ate spagetti in the dining room ever saturday night- so it was more formal) I did something or other & she was exceptionaly rude in her reaction to what ever it was (I may have dropped a fork or knocked over my drink- it was nothing too important) & in annoyance I said to her 'you know for everything that pisses you off about me theres 5 that piss me off about you' Probably because it was in front of my grandmother she would not let it go. She bugged me loudly all through dinner & followed me around the house after dinner trying to get me to tell her what bugged me so much about her.
Finaly I wrote her a list. To my surprise she responded to everything on the list & in a few cases (where she wasn't in complete denial) even conceded I had a point! I still have her responses in the diary I was writing in back then & once in awhile I re-read them.
The oddest thing about her parenting & my parenting is we've done the exact same things but differently. Most things she did as a parent were in direct reaction to how she was raised, she didn't like her childhood & had vowed not to raise us the same way.
I can't say much about how she was raised, She has never point by point told me what she didn't like & when I talk with my grandmother about it she says my mother & her brothers had great childhoods (she would though, she raised them) Some of my Mothers beleifs in raising us were that chores were not neccesary, we would see the need to keep our rooms clean, pitch in with the general dusting vacuming etc on our own & just cheerfully & willingly help with out being asked (Yeah, that backfired on her! by the time I was 11 she'd given up on that & I had to do the lunch dishes, clean 1 floor of the house every week -we alternated floors- & clean my room myself- you read that: never cleaned my room)She did not spank or hit us at all, ever. (well once she slapped me for giving her a 'look' but it was early in the morning & she hadn't had her coffe yet, I was about 4 & still remember it to this day so it made an impression.) she yelled a lot though & I am totally unafraid of eye contact with cops or people in supervisory positions because of all the staring contests I've had with her when she was 'trying to get through to me' (she spent a lot of time doing that) I'm no where near as picky as she was about house cleaning, As long as there's a path thru the bedrooms & homework is done & the rooms I'm in (like the Living room, Kitchen & dining room) are all in fairly good order I don't really bitch much (ok, yeah, I like the dishes to be done too)
She belived in letting us do our own thing, that included walking by myself 1 mile to the shopping district of our town when I was 8. (actually that was my father who let that happen while she was at work I think) going swiming at the park every day all summer long (she worked there some years so there wasn't much choice about what we were going to do) while we were homeschooled doing what ever we wanted, even reading for 4 years straight & not doing much else.
However she insisted we go to sunday school, take piano lessons, when I was 8-12, go to campfire girls (hated it)
So it wasn't like she didn't ever force her opinions on me, she just picked her fights.
I am stricter with my kids than my parents were with me, at least when it comes to pitching in, cleaning up & doing what they want vs. what I want them to do. I am pretty laid back though, (my ex thinks I'm too laid back)& we have a lot of fun together, hiking & going up to Mass on vacations, doing crafts together & reading together etc.
As long as homework is done & the rooms I spend time in are reasonably clean I don't stress much about anything. Except I get mad when they fight too much or bug me too much about stuff I can't change, like it's not my fault it's raining & I'm busy cooking dinner & can't drop everything to play a game with them.

Posted by Becky at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 11:47 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Background
Now Playing: Local H, Bound for the Floor
Topic: History
I was born on November 26 1968, I'm a sagitarius but my rising sign is libra & I'm a lot more like a libra than a sag. I am however fairly easygoing, laid back & cheerful so I am a little bit of a sag. My earliest memories are of the crib I had in Melrose, It was in an alcove with either a dresser or a wall at the head & a window at the foot, Melrose is a city mostly absorbed into Boston now. I remember seeing lightning streak across the sky & seeing the buildings in contrast to the sky. I remember watching neighbor kids help thier father pick up glass & trash when I was supposed to be napping (or maybe it was early in the morning)they had filled a whole wheelbarrow full & there was a LOT of glass, I remember the sun glinting on the glass. I know the landlord lived below us & mrs landlord baby sat me & my mother wore a wig to work sometimes becuase I remember it upset me to see her wearing the wig. I'd already be down at the landlords when she was going out the door to work & I'd go to give her a hug but then I didn't like the wig. I know I was an insecure, whiny child, we have audio tapes. I remeber the pantry had a diamond shaped window & there were more rooms than we used in the apartment, my mother had a sewing room & my father had a den plus my bedroom their bedroom & the living room, kitchen etc. the building had the landlords place & annother apartment either above us or beside us, I'm not really sure which. the stairs were very dark wood & the place was unusual in that it had an upstairs & a downstairs. when I was 2 going on 3 we moved from Melrose to Rockland, to live in my mother's fathers ancestral home, the house was built in the 1830s by his grandfather & had been in the family ever since. my grandparents had taken a mortgage on the house (which was owned outright at the time) to renovate it & make it up to date & habitable, before they did the work they did there was a lightbulb in the center of every room & if you wanted to plug anything in you ran a cord from the plug which was in the lightbulbs screw in base. the room we had for a dining room was the original kitchen & the kitchen was a summer kitchen, they added on with a fireplace, a brick area beside it for the stove etc. the dining room had a big picture window & corner cupboards. we had double living rooms, my grandparents living room had built in book shelves lining one wall & my mother's living room had free standing bookshelves across one whole wall too.. one thing everyone in my family had in common was a deep love of books, my father's den in this new house had 2 walls of bookshelves. Of course the legend goes that my uncle built the bookshelves in that room for himself & then my father took it over, I'm not sure exactly what the true story there is, from what I saw my father & uncle (mothers brother) always got along, but I've heard from a couple sources that they did not & could not, in fact, stand each other. But of course though the person who told me this considered himself a friend of my fathers I know my father did not consider this guy a friend so who knows what the truth of the matter is. I know all my uncles thought my father was odd because he was anti credit cards & would buy a car & use it until it died & then buy annother one, never had car payments until the last few years of his life, my father. Growing up in the house in Rockland was great in some ways, terrible in others, I was quickly alienated from the neighborhood kids, my mother didn't like them, I belive she found them coarse & I know she especially did not like how the mothers yelled for the children at dinner time. I'm more like those mothers than I am like my own mother now. But then I spent so many years living my life in direct opposition to her life that it could hardly be any other way! we had a yard which was aproximately an acre of open space & annother 9 acres of woods, one of my earliest memories there was when lightning hit a tree in the woods about 10 feet into the woods behind the house, I don't remember the noise, though my mother says it shook the house, I just remember she put on her boots & jacket & went out to look & left me in the kitchen by myself during a thunder storm (thunder storms were not something I liked untill I was older- now I love to watch them & I discovered when my youngest was born that my mother Hates them) as I said we had a fireplace & my father cut the lightning struck wood up & we burned it in the fireplace, I remember them remarking on how well it burned. The yard had a little rock wall by the barn & below it were raspberry bushes, hyacinths, daffodils & crocuses it was a big deal in mid march to late march (this was massachusetts after all) to go out there & look for the flowers coming up. It was about the only time my mother went outside & by the time I was 11 or so she didn't do that either. just got out a vase when I brought her the flowers that I picked out there. Not much of an outdoors person my mother. Even when she goes to the beach to watch the waves she does it from the seat of her car not the wall or the sand.
Many of my earliest memories are of the yard, there was a 15 by 15 square of lilac trees (taller than the house) behind the kitchen & between the brick wall that was the end of the kitchen & the lilacs there was a path, the side by the lilacs had a row of large rocks lined up on it, I played that this was my kitchen a lot, then in the lilacs, between them & the barn there was annother path that led down to the woods & the cart path thru them. in the lilacs off this path was a large (2x3 foot) flat stone, I would set acorn caps etc on it & pretend it was my store & the stone was the counter I have since found out that the stone was the step to the outhouse & where I sat to run my store was the filled in hole where the outhouse emptied into. no wonder those lilacs thrived so in that spot! I had a swing set but the tree behind it was well liked by the gypsy moths so I wouldn't swing on the swings much in summer, I was allways afraid my hair would get stuck in their nests.
My brother Ben was born in 1973 when I was 4 & 1/2. we got along pretty well & were really close especially as we got older because of course, we were homeschooled & for 6 hours a day had no one else to talk to but each other & my mother. (sometimes my father too. he was unemployed a lot of the time we were homeschooled) My Father was a pretty quiet guy, he was into fly fishing, jazz, reading & photography. he liked to get stoned but didn't drink to excess.
He was supposed to be a salesman but he was not too good at it, he was too nice & never seemed to pressure anyone, if you wanted to buy he'd be happy to sell it to you but he would not twist your arm, as he called it. He got most of his sales by asking & the person was interested (I guess) He definitley seemed to like being home more than working, but doesn't everyone? My mother did a few part time jobs when I was in school then when my brother was old enough for something more than preschool is when she started teaching us at home. She took a job at night so she could work & be home during the day for us, she was a night housemother for mentally retarded kids at a local boarding school & so she could sleep there too once the kids were asleep. Which worked out well for her & really well for me once I was a teenager! Chrissy always wanted to come to my house when we were teens because we barely had any supervision, my father was there but he was upstairs in his den & when I came home from being out I'd often have to wake him up to let him know I was home. My grandmother (widowed by then) was there 3 or 4 nights a week some of that time but was often asleep by the time I (or we) came home too. I never really abused their trust, though it was expected that thru hanging around with Chrissy I would, (at least by my mother) It was Kim she should have been worried about but that's annother story for annother day.

Posted by Becky at 11:21 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 1:15 PM EST

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