Daughters

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
She’s just like a maze
Where all  of the walls are continually changed

I’ve done all I can
To stand on the steps with my heart in my hand
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

***

Boys you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong and boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without warmth from
a woman’s good, good heart

John Mayer, “Daughers”

The Song in My Head has returned! It’s been on a bit of a hiatus for several reasons. For one, I just haven’t been paying attention in the mornings. Since the advent of daylight savings time I’ve been stumbling out of bed in the dark hours of the morning when both I and the voices in my head are barely awake. For another, I’ve discovered that many of the songs in my head…aren’t. Songs, that is. I’ll be jiggered if I can recognize, much less name, the tunes I wake up with some morning. I’m convinced that many of them are unique and new creations. If I could capture them, write them down and set down the notes, I’m sure I’d be a musical genius.

Aside: I also dream sometimes that I’m playing the guitar to a song of my own creation. I know it’s an awesome song and I know all the notes and lyrics whilst I’m dreaming. The tune fades rapidly as I awake, however, and I realize I have no knowledge of how to write music. I’ve made several attempts to capture the songs with little success. I think the definition of genius is the ability to capture these God-given inspirations and bring them forth into a concrete state.

Kinda’ like Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s penning of “Kubla Khan“. He managed to get out something like 100 lines that he’d dreamed before it faded into oblivion. If only we could produce what we dream, where would mankind be?

***

Anyway, and thirdly, I just haven’t had a lot of time to post.

Seeing how today is Saturday, I slept in a little later and it was light outside when I pushed my feet out of bed and onto the floor. The voices were like lively little puppies, licking my nose and encouraging me to get up, walk and feed them before they urinated on the carpet. They were singing rather gleefully and it was a tune I recognized and sing along to often in the car: John Mayer’s “Daughters”.

I love this song more every time I hear it. It reminds me of…well, several things. It reminds me of C, of course. (…and I’ve done all I can…) Most John Mayer songs do at some level. Probably because we went to his concert together. Maybe it’s because I know she hates this song. It’s typical of our relationship that she would hate the song that I most associated with her.

It also reminds me of another C. (There are lots of ‘C’s in my life, apparently.) This C was the only woman I ever loved at first sight. She was 10 months old at the time, staring up at me from her car seat with these big blue eyes. I think we had an understanding from the very first moment. Her father, at that time, wanted nothing to do with her. (He has since come around.) To me, she was gorgeous and I couldn’t understand how someone could not want to love and be loved by his own daughter. I decided then and there that she needed me and she became the daughter of my heart. That was nine years ago and,  after much water under the bridge, I love her still. I rejoice now in the fact that she has a loving family around her and a good father figure to guide her as she grows.

Lastly, it reminds me of the people around me. Several of my close female friends had no kind of relationship with their father at a formative period in their lives and most of them are still dealing with the hurts and wounds inflicted by that time of their life. Their need and longing for the love of a man is often frustrated by their inability to accept or understand it, simply because they have no good example by which to recognize it.

It makes me fearful for my good buddy and his six month-old daughter. My buddy doesn’t have a great relationship with the mother and, because of this, is only a father from afar. He’s not part of his daughter’s daily life and I worry that, though she’s young yet, wounds are starting to open that just won’t close for the rest of her life. I pray daily that her parents find a way to put aside their own hurts in order to find a way of preventing hers.

These types of hurts are so cyclical, passing  easily from one generation to the next, spreading out like ripples on a pond. It certainly makes it easy to see how all the trouble in the world can be traced back to mankind’s rift with our own Father.

So father’s be good to your daughters. Daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers that turn in to mothers, so mothers be good to your daughters too.

***

My Father, My Self

Do you ever have those days when you wake up just knowing it’s not going to be the best day in the world. That was how I woke up this morning. I was pissed off at the world as soon as I opened my eyes. Mainly I was aggravated that I had to open my eyes.

Maybe I was annoyed that my landlady was going to swing by to spray for bugs and my home was a complete and utter disaster. In addition to getting myself ready for work, I had to rush around stuffing things into hampers, closests, trash cans and dish washers. My landlady knows that I’m not the greatest house keeper in the world, and she doesn’t care, but I feel that the apartment must be at least presentable when she comes every month. She gives me a little less than 12 hours notice, typically, so I don’t have a great deal of time to prepare.

If I’m a poor housekeeper, and I am, it’s largely because I am the son of my father. My father, as I have noted previously, is the world’s worst house keeper. He is the perfect combination of unmotivated and blind. I’m sure it’s one of my mother’s great frustrations in life.

My father is also absent minded and given to doing things like searching the house for his reading glasses whilst they are perched atop his head. It was a great game for us. He’d ask if we’d seen his glasses and then we’d send him all over the house with places we had seen them last. We’d have him tearing the house apart for half-an-hour before he realized he was wearing them the entire time.

I’m sometimes like my father in this respect. I’m not nearly as bad as he is at misplacing things. My oldest brother and sister are much more like him in that respect. Each of them has lost their keys, wallet, drivers license more times than I care to count. I am still prone to goofiness though. I can’t help it. It’s genetic.

Like this morning.

I wake up annoyed and, therefore, somewhat distracted. I get myself together, get the apartment somewhat presentable and get out the door for work. I get to work and everyone wants to talk to me. This only makes me more annoyed. All I want to do is put on my headphones, drink my coffee and get my work done.

Along about 11:30, after my coffee has had a chance to do its work, I head into the mens room. I’m sitting there, enjoying my quality time, when I note the tag in the front of my underwear. “That’s strange”, I think. “The tag is usually in the back. Must be because I’m wearing the fancy Calvin Klein underpants.”

Notice anything wrong with this picture?
Notice anything wrong with this picture?

Then I noted the crotch flap in the “rear” of my boxers. “Son of a…” Yes, in my rush to get myself and my home in order, I’d put my underpants on backwards. And here I was just assuming they were the kind that didn’t have the easy access crotch flap.

The rest of the day got little better. It’s hard to have a good day when your underpants are on backwards. Everything is just a little off all day. Especially when you have a tiny metal snap digging into your posterior every time you sit down.

All-in-all, I’ll be happy to have this day behind me. I did finally make it home to turn my underpants but the damage to the day had been done. There was no salvaging it.

Hopefully, tomorrow will have a better beginning. If not, I have only myself, and my father, to blame.

Burgers and Beer at Treehouse

Just got back in from dinner at Treehouse Restaurant and Pub with my buddy Jimminy. I love that place. I’ve only been twice but, I have to say, their burgers are leaps and bounds above those at Flip Burger Boutique.  They also have a great outdoor seating arrangement that is great on a warm Spring evening. It’s cool to see folks out dining with their dogs in tow.

It was also good to catch up with buddy Jim. Hopefully we’ll get to make the catch up burger a regular occurence. It’s good to have a buddy that is able to and appreciates talking about college basketball. Most of my friends around here are either ambivalent about it or are pro basketball fans.

I just don’t get it. Growing up in North Carolina, college basketball is life. Here in Atlanta, college basketball is something that happens in the background after the SEC football season is over and before the Braves begin their season. Thankfully, there is an AM radio station that carries UNC basketball every so often. When I really need my fix, I torture myself driving around looking for spots where the signal is strong enough to come through.

I really need to get cable, I think.

Anyway, Jimmy went to school in Ann Arbor and is a long-suffering Michigan fan. He prefers college football, but can still speak intelligently about the world of NCAA basketball.  Being a Michigan fan, and finding his team beaten by them in most years, he’s no admirer of Duke. I appreciate that in a friend. He who hates my enemy becomes my friend.

I also “discovered” a new beer. I know it’s been around and it’s really no secret, but I tried Grolsch for the first time, at least in my memory. I have to say, it is a great beer to accompany a burger. It’s flavorful, clean, refreshing and not intolerably heavy. Heavy is a no-no for a burger beer. I may like it more than I like Stella Artois. And I like Stella a great deal.  I’m happily impressed and foresee more Grolsch in my future.

If you’re in Atlanta and you need a good burger, a good beer and good buddy time, do yourself a favor. Check out Treehouse Restaurant and Pub, over in Peachtree Hills. It’s a good time.

Dr. Feelgood

It’s been a long day and I desperately want to shut off the PC and go to sleep but I’ve also been wanting to post all day long. Which to do? Turn off and go to sleep or try to slog through a post I know won’t be nearly as interesting as it could’ve been and will not be timely at all come the morrow? It’s a quandry. I’m going to try to err on the side of simply updating the blog since I haven’t been able to do so in several days.

But, you know what, I know it’s not going to be interesting. I don’t have the energy or the enthusiasm or the words to tell the story like I wanted to tell it and it pisses me off that I can only get to it at 11:oo p.m. Don’t know when else I would have posted though. I had a doctor’s appointment first thing this morning, was at work until 8:00 p.m. and then working from home until right about now. It’s been a long day.

I wanted to tell the story of my doctor’s appointment but the good has leached out of the story now. My frame of mind has changed because I’m so tired. Not even sure I want to attempt. It doesn’t feel right.

Anyway, I have been unhappy with my primary care physician for some while now. He was uncommunicative, gave me very cursory examinations (when he examined me at all) and would rather write unsubstantiated subscriptions than actually attempt to diagnose what was going on with me. He also had clammy hands. That was more than I could bear.

I finally came to the conclusion that I needed a new doctor but didn’t have any way of finding one short of using my insurer’s website. Being as that is how I found my old physician, I didn’t want to do that again. Since that was the only thing left for me to do, I did it anyway. I choose a doctor based on proximity to my home and bit the bullet.

This morning, I had my first appointment with the new doctor. It was a real joy.  The doctor was engaging and engaged, actually examined me, listened to my symptoms, talked to me about my medical history and that of my family and, as he gave me prescriptions, told me why he was doing so and what next steps might be. He even made suggestions based on observations he made without any help or prompting from me.

And they didn’t keep me waiting at all. It was funny. The old doctor would keep me waiting an hour-and-a-half. The good thing about this is that I could get a lot of reading done. The bad thing (other than I had to wait forever) was that all the magazines were three years old.  At the new place, they have plenty of current magazines just lying around. The bad thing is that I didn’t have any time to read any of them. Every time I picked one up, a nurse would pop up and call my name. I guess promptitude of service is a two-edged sword.

Just so you know, I was there for a basic physical. I had an EKG, updated my tetanus shot and gave the obligatory blood and urine samples. The EKG was normal and the lab results on the rest are not due for another two weeks (Aside: the nurse had to shave patches of my chest and legs in order to attach the EKG stuff. I did the whole “40 Year-Old Virgin” thing. The nurse appreciated when I screamed for Kelly Clarkson.)

I went in fearful that, since my age is advancing, that I would have to undergo the shame and humiliation that is the prostate exam. I was relieved to know that I probably wouldn’t be due for that for another two years. I did, however, have to suffer the indignation of the “turn your head and cough” routine.  You’ll be happy to know that all is well on that front.

I do have some minor complaints that I brought to the attention of the doc. They are:  my knee (diagnosis: strained ligament. subscription: anti-inflammatory, rest), my eyes (diagnosis: blepharitis, subscription: sterile eye wash) and bald patches on my calves (diagnosis: alopecia. subscription: propecia).

The doctor, of his own accord, suggested I might take the propecia for the thinning hair atop my head, too. I told I’d take it under advisement. What is it with doctor’s these days? The last one told me I was fat and this one tells me I’m balding. Thanks, docs!

Anyway, all appears to be well or soon to be well. Really looking forward to getting my eyes and my knee back. Getting my hair back would be a great bonus.

Creepy “Coraline”

Went to see “Coraline” at the movies last night. I hadn’t heard a whole lot about it. I knew it was based on a Neil Gaiman novella and I must’ve seen a headline saying it was decent but, other than that, I went in blind. I knew the basic premise was that a young girl found a secret passage in her house but that was about it.

What I found out when we got to the theater was that a.) it is a Henry Selick film, much in the vein of “A Nightmare Before Christmas”, b.) it is in 3D and you have to wear 3D glasses and c.) it is all sorts of creepy. It’s not scary. It just gives you the vague creepys.

I think it’s because of the button eyes.  As I said earlier, the movie is about a young girl who finds a secret passage in her home. By following it, she comes to an alternate world that mirrors her own. The main difference is that, instead of regular eyes, people and creatures in the other world have button eyes, much like a doll might have.

Ever see a person talk to you with unblinking button eyes? Try it some time. It’s creepy, I tell you. Like, hair-standing-up-on-the-back-of-your-neck, chills-running-down-your-spine creepy. Especially when at least one of those persons doesn’t talk but just smiles and stares with those big black button eyes.  It gave me the heebie-jeebies.

The 7 year-old girl behind me didn’t seem to be phased in the least. Maybe it’s because she’s used to staring into the button eyes of her dolls.

Maybe she just hasn’t seen the things I’ve seen.

Other than being creepy, the movie was entertaining. It seems to start rather abruptly and it doesn’t really give you a lot of back story. You figure out that Coraline’s parents moved her to the countryside from some city and that they are writing some kind of gardening catalog. You don’t get much else in the way of character development and one of the main characters jumps out at you early in a full-formed state. Being that the movie is animated, I don’t count lack of character or story development against it much.

At just about an hour and fifty minutes long, the movie ends just about the time it seems to start dragging. I was entertained but was definitely ready for the credits to roll. For one thing, I can’t watch a movie without a bucket of diet cola.

For another, the Hispanic guy behind us picked up his phone in the middle of the movie and started talking in a very conversational tone. I had to turn and shush him rather loudly and was looking for the opportunity to call him out when the lights came up.

Seriously, how self-absorbed do you have to be to pick up the phone in the middle of a movie and start having a conversation? And this is coming from a guy who talks through almost every movie. At least I do it in hushed tones to whomever my partner in crime happens to be for the evening and not to the theater at large.

I never got to confront the guy, unfortunately. As soon as the credits rolled, he gathered his family and left. It’s a good thing too. I’d been combing my memory for all the Spanish swear words I could remember and was prepared to unleash them upon him. He had a fair amount of Spanglish abuse headed his way. I think he knew it was coming. That’s why he left so quickly, I’m sure.

Or it could be that he was just creeped out and had to leave. I’m telling you, those soul-less button eyes…it was enough to make your skin crawl.

New World Man

Woke up with Rush‘s “New World Man” this morning. It is the second time I have woken up with Rush in my head and it makes me think of summer camp from something like 27 years ago.

The first Rush song I ever heard was “Tom Sawyer”.  It was 1982, I think,  and I was at summer camp. That was the same summer I first heard Van Halen. I probably didn’t know much about music before that. I think my exposure to mainstream rock and roll at that point consisted of some MTV and the Styx album my oldest brother won at some high school function.

I remember liking the music but it was, in my mind, of the long-haired hippie variety and I wasn’t really into that. Even at that early age, I was into more alternative music. I don’t know how that can be as I’m pretty sure we didn’t get MTV until October of that year. I distinctly remember having that feeling, however.

I have tended to appreciate Rush whenever they came on the radio through the years. “Tom Sawyer” is awesome and I remember seeing the videos for that and “Limelight” on MTV way back when. I didn’t really become a real fan, however, until I saw a clip of “Anthem” on YouTube a few months ago. From Geddy Lee’s voice to his bass playing to Alex Lifeson’s jamming on the guitar to Neil Peart wailing on the drums…the whole song just rocks. I watched that video 10 times at least. They took the good copy down because of copyright infringement but I have linked a poorer quality version.

I can’t say that I really enjoy much of Rush’s stuff after “Moving Pictures”. It seems they lost something of the edge with which they played.  Maybe it’s too much synthesizer. Lee doesn’t seem to use the bass as much and he seems to forget his voice is just as much of an instrument as anything.  Whatever the difference, I certainly prefer the older stuff.

Maybe it’s just because it takes me back so far.

Little Heaven

A quick post and then I’m off to bed. The song with which I awoke will also be the song that sends me to sleep. Toad the Wet Sprocket‘s “Little Heaven” with all it’s dulcet tones was the song in me noggin’ this morning. You have to love waking up to a band named after a Monty Python sketch. Hopefully, falling asleep to a band named after a Monty Python sketch will be equally peaceful.

Three Years

If I was in Romania four years ago, that must mean that, three years ago, I was walking the streets of Paris. If memory serves, and it usually does, I was actually on the way home from Paris three years ago today.

A roving band of American houligans in Paris.
A roving band of American houligans in Paris.

That was probably one of the longest days of my life. The flight from Paris is something like 10 or 12 hours and the flight was delayed somewhat due to overbooking. The Air France people tried to keep us off the flight because we were late arriving at the airport. We touched down in Atlanta in the middle of the evening but it was nearly four a.m. by our internal clocks when we got off MARTA to hike the mile to C’s place. We were, needless to say, exhausted.

We were also barely speaking to each other. After 8 days of constant companionship in Paris, our patience with one another was wearing thin. She’d also tried to teach me how to Salsa on our last evening in Paris. As with most other attempts to teach me to dance, it ended in horrible, flaming failure and a shouting match to boot.

From the paragraphs above, you’d probably think that we had a terrible time. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. I had a blast. As much fun as I had in Romania, I had more fun in Paris, largely because of C. It was great to see all the sights and explore the city with her. I’ll always thankful I got to see the city with her and can’t imagine having done so without her.

My favorite things were the Eiffel Tower, the scenic boat ride down the Seine and Sacre Coeur. I liked Notre Dame but Sacre Coeur seemed much more spiritual. Notre Dame was much more noisy and crowded and touristy. We spent a good 45 minutes sitting in Sacre Coeur just praying. It was very peaceful and still.

Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur

Apart from that, just being in the city was great. There’s a wonderful energy about it, as there is with most of the really big cities I’ve been in. It was great to just get on the train and go or to walk the narrow streets and alleyways and see the city. St. Germaine and Montmartre were some of my favorite areas, just because they were so tightly packed and full of secrets.

I visit Paris in my mind sometimes, especially around early March of every year. In my head, I walk the streets again or ride the metro or look out from Le Tour Eiffel. I walk through the catacombs or down the Champs Elysee.

C and C in Paree, atop Le Tour Eiffel. She's wearing both our coats against the biting wind. I was immune.
C and C in Paree, atop Le Tour Eiffel. She's wearing both our coats against the biting wind. I was immune.

Mostly I just remember who I was with and I share it with them again in my heart. It always makes me a little wistful but rarely fails to bring a smile to my face. I guess, no matter what else, we’ll always have Paris!

Four Years and Two Days

I hate sometimes that I only get to update the blog late at night. I have so much more energy to say the things I want to say during the day. I think of things I’d like to write and the words seem to come so much easier than when I actually have time to write.

Maybe it’s the physical act of sitting and having the computer in front of me that makes it more difficult. Maybe it’s just the fact that, during the day, writing on the blog would be a welcome distraction from work.

Whatever the reason, I find it hard to say the things I want to say when I actually have the opportunity to do so. This is why my loyal readers get lots of the song in my head and little of the thoughts in it. Posting songs is easy. Composing thoughts…not so much.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot lately of traveling. I haven’t been thinking so much of the places I want to go so much as I’ve been thinking about the places I’ve been. Little things keep popping up to remind me of them.

For instance, I’ve recently started drinking kefir every day. Kefir, roughly translated into English, means “omfg, this milk has gone rotten and has chunks! Sorry but it is now in your hair and all over your luggage.”  It’s a drink I first experienced in Romania, four years and two days ago.

The people who were with me then, the Italian, the Greek and others, would be surprised to find me drinking kefir willingly on a daily basis. The first time I tried it, I quite literally sprayed it all over our bus.

The UNCG MBA crew in the Carpathians.
The UNCG MBA crew in the Carpathians.

When you’re parched and in a foreign land, there’s nothing quite as quenching as cold, fresh milk, especially when all the water is of the mineral variety. When you’re parched and anticipating a long, refreshing draught of milk only to receive a mouthful of sour, lumpy kefir…well, let’s just say that there is nothing quite so likely to stimulate your spontaneous spit-take reflex.

But that’s not what I want to write. That’s just one story of many from the trip. What I really want to write is that it’s been four years since my trip to Romania with the Italian and the Greek.

It’s been four years since I shared eight days worth of long flights, cramped buses, bitter cold and taxi rides to nowhere with those two. It’s been four years since we stayed up all night drinking the night away in a chateau in the Carpathians. It’s been four years since we visited Bran Castle. It’s been four years since we regretted our carousing on the excruciating bus ride down the mountain.

View of the Carpathians from our Chateau. You can't quite see how cold it was.
View of the Carpathians from our Chateau. You can't quite see how bitterly cold it was.

It seems like only yesterday but, already, it’s been four years and we’ve all moved on. We’ve graduated from school, moved, changed jobs, some of us three times already. And the Italian is getting married, for crying out loud.

Where did the time go? Has it really been four years? Hard to believe.

And am I really drinking kefir every morning? Seriously? After the nasty shock I received that day on the bus, all those years ago? I guess life does move us all down the road after all.

I guess, in a nutshell, that’s what I’m trying to say. During the day, there just seem to be more words to say it, more ways to express it.  Life move us all on down the road, no matter how we might like to stop and linger for a while. The best we can do, when we remember the people who shared the trip with us, just for a little while, is to smile at the memories, raise a glass and drink a toast in their honor.

Greek, Italian
Greek, Italian

Here’s to the Greek and to the Italian and to all the rest. Thanks for sharing with me a little piece of the trip called life.