Unwrapped

It’s that time of year again where Spotify gives your listening stats of the year. I listened to 30,478 minutes of music this year which puts me in the top 82% of listeners in the U.S. That’s a lot of listening. I listen to more music than everyone I know my age. I probably listen to music more than I actually listen to people talking.

Over the past year, I listened to 72 different genres. I honestly didn’t know that many genres existed. Here are my top 4:

  1. Rock
  2. Rap
  3. New Romantic
  4. Alternative Metal

I would have to agree with this with the exception of new romantic. What is that??!? I am a huge hater of romance. I hate romance books, movies but apparently not music. If you are talking about moody mournful songs of unrequited love reminiscent of ’80s hair bands I am all for that. It probably has something to do with my new found obsession with the band Lake of Tears. But romance in general makes me want to gag. Sappy Hallmark movies, yuck! Honestly, I think that is why I never got into Christian music. They all sound like sappy love songs to me. I was mortified when my mom would drive around crying to that kind of music. I always felt a little guilty because I hated that kind of music. But lock me in a room with hymns playing on a pipe organ and I could listen all day.

The pipe organ is my favorite instrument. I always joke that someday when I am independently wealthy, I am going to add a pipe organ room to my house. Apparently no one else is a big fan of that idea. What is absolutely amazing to me is if there is organ music in heavy metal. It’s an acquired taste. My music is very personal to me and it’s a huge compliment if I am willing to share it with others.

I’m grateful to live in a time where I can listen to the music I want to. My gosh how many hours I waited for a song to play on the radio so I could tape it. We had such limited choices then. I wish I had the opportunities my kids had when I was younger. Maybe I would’ve done something more with it. I don’t talk about this a lot but two of my kids are musicians. My daughter Angel graduated with a music degree in 2020 and is employed as a recording artist. She spends somewhere around 30 hours a week singing and another 10 editing music. She has a studio set up in her house.

My son Alex spends most of his free time making music. He is also very talented and waiting for his big break. My kids have utterly ruined music for me because I am incredibly picky when it comes to other performers.

According to Spotify, I start my morning with melancholy, sorrow, and moody music. Then I spice it up a little in the afternoon with sorrow, mayhem, and moody music. Then I end the night with fun, hype, and relaxing music. Gotta save the mayhem for the middle of the day.

My top song of the year is Wanna Be a Baller. I’m not really sure what a baller is but I guess I want to be one somehow. I will have to ask my kids about this again. Yes, I am one of those crazy adults that likes rap music. Not to worry, I prefer the clean versions of songs. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit to the young folks I like some of the same music they do. As a parent I would really worry if my kids listened to the kind of music I do. I’m not worried. Music is a great way to express feelings. I understand that.

This year my favorite band is Pink Floyd. I am in the top 0.5% of listeners. I’m not sure if you noticed this or not. Recently I watched the documentary Died Suddenly. I was very, very pleasantly surprised that the documentary opened with Pink Floyd’s song Sheep off the Animals album. Brilliant, just brilliant.

I’m so grateful for music and how it has enriched my life. Here’s to another great year of listening.

3 days

Today I found out all my closest friends will be attending the wedding. I am pretty excited about that. You know what they say, friends are the family we choose. I have a lot of family I consider wild cards. You never know what you are going to get.

My mom said my brother Luke won’t like the music. There is no doubt about it. After he stopped drinking, he became addicted to faith and very legalistic. He does not listen to any music that is non-Christian and neither does his teenage homeschooled kids. I know he looks down upon my family and views us as a bunch of savages. I also know that religion is where he feels safe from all the crap we experienced so I try not to take it personally. It’s not even that I disagree with him, I totally understand and think it is better for him than drinking too much. But he has a tendency to judge instead of support, the latter something we were never taught to do either.

Luke isn’t the only one questioning the music and other choices regarding the wedding Angel and Dan have made. I told Angel that I trust her judgment. What she really has a problem with is people not trusting her. She’s got this. Music is her thing. She has a music degree and a job in the industry. I can understand why it is so important to her. She said she doesn’t want to take requests because they bog the DJ down when she has a well thought out playlist already made. They will have jazzy dinner music from 6 to 8, dance music from 8 to 10, and club music from 10 to midnight. At the ceremony, they will have several singers and a pianist that hold the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in music. I told my daughter I think she has this handled and validated her feelings of frustration over people questioning and criticizing. It’s their wedding. Angel said she is starting to feel more excited about the wedding than anxious today.

Other than that, I ironed my son’s shirt for the wedding. If it was up to him it would probably still be sitting in the bag I bought it in laying around somewhere. I can’t remember the last time I ironed. Yes, I have an iron. I got it for a high school graduation gift from my aunt. I remember that because when I opened the gift I was excited to see what was really in the box and it really was an iron. Our house has an ironing board built into a drawer in our kitchen island. It looked well used but it was the first time I used it.

As I was ironing, I started to think about ironing. When did that stop being a thing? I missed the smell of ironing. I started to think again of my grandma who was always ironing it seemed. She had a glass soda bottle with a little sprinkler on top to put little drops of water on the clothes before ironing. If you think laundry is a hassle now, try ironing everything.

My mom also gave my grandma laundry to iron. I remember my mom saying the smell of ironing also triggered my brother Matt’s violent outbursts. In the summer, my mom would iron outside. When she couldn’t do that, she sent it all over to my grandma’s. I had forgotten about that, but it all came back to me today. My mom thought if we could perfectly follow all of the crazy rules then Matt wouldn’t be violent anymore when in actuality all it took was the right anti-psychotic medicine. It’s no wonder why my brother Luke fell into following rules so easily and becomes upset when they are broken. I have to fight against it myself with my thinking if I do everything right I won’t get sick, etc. But hey, nothing about my childhood was normal, except maybe my grandma. To think ironing could trigger violence. How flipping crazy is that?

Anyway, I am excited all my best friends are coming to the wedding. I’m happy for the family members attending, even the wild cards. I’m glad Angel is starting to relax a little and enjoy the last couple of days before the wedding. I know it’s going to go by fast now. I’m glad to report everyone is healthy (except Arabella with mono but she will be there!). Only 3 more days to go…

10 days

The church was full and I was in the front row. The sermon seemed to go on forever. It didn’t seem right, how a wedding was supposed to be. It started with a sermon and then they do the rest of the wedding later? I got a call saying it was time to get ready. On the way out, someone said next time not to do such a long sermon.

I went upstairs in the attic of the church to get ready. There was big puffy insulation laying on the floor and the ceiling hung low over my head in an upside down V. There was a small mirror, nothing else. I didn’t look right. Something was wrong with my hair. Something was wrong with my daughter’s hair too. Her long golden tresses were shorn short and didn’t look good. She was the bride, so my hair shouldn’t matter but I kept trying to fix it but nothing worked.

Angel’s college roommate’s mom was there helping us but she really wasn’t helping. She clucked and chirped acting really helpful but did nothing besides make me feel totally inadequate in helping my daughter get ready. I couldn’t even help myself. It reminded me of the college music competitions. Angel and her roommate getting ready to compete, both equally talented, but her roommate’s mom also went to school for music. She dropped names and acted like a big shot whereas I sat silently watching because I had nothing to say.

Angel, who thought I was an amazing singer and wanted my guidance in high school, long left me in the dust. I could hear the mistakes back then. The college competition singers were all extremely talented. Angel would ask, “Mom, did you hear where they messed up?” But I couldn’t hear it anymore. It all sounded the same to me. I was no longer holding that special knowledge we once shared. She could hear things beyond what I could hear. I gave her a gift and she went off running with it. What more could I ask for really? It was the feeling of being left behind when what I thought was once necessary and important. Bittersweet, a loss for me was a gain for her. I couldn’t help her anymore.

Loud heavy metal music was playing as we were getting ready. I knew the song, maybe it was a song by Alice in Chains both Angel and I like. I felt like it was sacrilegious to be playing that music loudly in a church especially overheard by the wedding guests waiting below. It made me uncomfortable. I felt like a prude when I told someone to turn it off because it was inappropriate. They put something else on, something I didn’t like which was more appropriate. I felt comfortable with that although it wasn’t what I wanted.

Then I woke up with 10 more days…

Gratitude week 117

  1. I am grateful for the friendships I’ve made on WP. It means so much to me to be a part of a supportive community as I tell my story and to share the joys and struggles along with other people all around the world as I hear your stories.
  2. Today when I woke up, the sun was shining for the first time in a week. It still is cold out with no foreseeable end in sight…but for now the rain and snow ended.
  3. We’ve had a couple of fires inside this week to stay warm. I guess that’s one thing I’m grateful for with the cold weather. I miss having fires inside in the summer.
  4. My tattoo is healing nicely.
  5. My best friend and I went out to eat for the first time this calendar year. I’m grateful to have a best friend who always checks in on me.
  6. I went out to eat with my brother Matt for his birthday. A couple weeks back I found a record for him at the antique store of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My brother was obsessed with that movie when we were kids, so I was excited to find it for him.
  7. My husband made his famous homemade pizza and we had Arabella and Will over for supper and Mahjong.
  8. Paul and I had a date night on Friday night. We went out for sushi and had tickets to see a comedian. We did a lot of laughing, probably too much laughing because things were going too good. After the show, we walked back to my car. The winds were whipping rather fiercely and the snow was falling. We got back to my car and noticed I had a flat tire. We also found out that I do not have a spare tire. Seriously?? Why? Was it because I let my guard down and was having too much fun??
  9. Thank God I have a good sense of humor.
  10. While we were at the sushi restaurant, I saw something on TV about a store that sells records and realized we were only a block away. So…since we went out to eat really early as not to miss the show, we had some extra time…I ended up buying three new records; Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Prince’s Purple Rain, and Kraftwerk’s Radioactivity.
  11. Last night Angel and our employee James (the only one who still works for our previous business and who does some work for us now) came over for beer sampling, pizza, and to watch the Bucks game. James is the only employee who worked for us that we are still in touch with. He is pretty much an honorary family member now.
  12. Angel’s fiancĂ© Dan came home very early this morning after spending a couple weeks out of state for work.
  13. It was nice to have a really busy week so I could forget how miserable the weather is. Spring is coming, I know it is…

My 2nd tattoo

So, I did something today. I got my second tattoo. I decided to get The Dark Side of the Moon tattoo on my lower back. I’ve always been a big fan of Pink Floyd, but it is more than that to me. I like the idea of a prism, where you can take darkness and turn it into brilliant light. To me there is something mysterious, or mystical, in the process. The unknown, the unseen with a little mix of madness.

I want to take the darkness in my own life and turn it into something good. Music has always been a great coping mechanism of mine. Those are my thoughts about this new tattoo. Here is a picture.

This tattoo hurt more than the one on my upper arm. To get it I had to sit backwards on a chair. I was incredibly nervous about getting a tattoo. I thought I would have a hard time driving myself to the appointment, but all was well. Now I am already thinking about what I want to do next…

Gratitude week 102

  1. I renewed my WP account, so you are probably stuck with me for at least another year.
  2. I survived the family Christmas party!! Everyone was on their best behavior.
  3. I met Arabella’s new boyfriend and he seems nice.
  4. Thankfully, despite the snowstorm, my brothers were able to make the long trip to my house. Luke and his family stayed the night before making it over right before the storm started.
  5. I’m grateful the boiler worked for the party. The kids were able to swim and have fun. The heating/cooling guy literally fixed it and left as our guests were arriving.
  6. My mom totally surprised me with a record player for Christmas. It also has a CD and tape player. It was a lot of fun to grab my old collection of records and tapes to play since music means so much to me.
  7. I gave my old friend Lisa a call after I had a dream about her. It was great to talk and catch up. Lisa and Tom are going to come over next weekend. It’s been a couple years since I saw them last.
  8. Watching my favorite Christmas movie, The National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
  9. Feeling a lot less stressed.
  10. I cleaned out Arabella’s room so my niece’s could sleep there. It looks great!
  11. After the party was over, Paul and I played games and laughed with Angel and Alex and their significant others.
  12. I’m grateful for the new church we are visiting. The best part is that it’s literally two minutes from our house. The pastor has been meeting with us and answering the difficult questions I’ve been throwing his way.
  13. I’m grateful all my kids are in relationships they seem happy in. Not only that, but I think they are all in good relationships for them.

Muse ick

My daughter showed me how to view my 2021 review of the year on Spotify. Numbers don’t lie and it showed me myself which can be scary. Angel showed me her year in review and posted it on Facebook along with all her friends. I would never do that. People would wonder if I was okay.

Music has always been a big part of my life ever since I got my first radio in Kindergarten. For the most part, music has been a healthy coping mechanism in my life.

Through my years music has always been there for me. In grade school, I cried myself to sleep at night with the Duran Duran Arena album. Planet Earth echoed my emptiness. The Chauffeur, The Seventh Stranger I felt my aloneness with them.

In high school I found Pink Floyd. I understood The Wall because by that time I had locked myself behind one. Comfortably Numb spoke to me. I could find myself in the depression and numbness without ever touching a drug. I remember when The Division Bell came out. When I got a Spotify account I searched and scoured everything Pink Floyd. I now have 69 songs from them on my playlist. Sadly, there is nothing new to consume. In a few months I am planning on getting The Dark Side of the Moon prism tattooed on my back. That’s about as new as it gets. They are my #2 artist of this year.

Music means the world to me. According to Spotify, I listen to music 88% more than other listeners in the US. I am beyond happy that my daughter Angel has a music degree and my son plays many instruments and started making beats for a rapper.

I could almost say I have a music addiction. There were times I felt guilty about my intake. I destroyed my collections, later to buy them back again. I am extremely private about the music I listen to. I feel shame because I don’t like feel-good Christian or otherwise music like my mom does. I like music to express the feelings when I am having a hard day: the anger, the emptiness, the despair.

Spotify said my music mood is wistful and spooky. I listen to thoughtful hard to listen to music discussing difficult topics like death, suicide, emotional pain, broken relationships, etc.. I really wish I liked songs about grace, forgiveness, love (in a good way), and happiness. There are a few I like but not many. I want to like that kind of music but I don’t. I can’t force myself to. I tried.

This year I found a new band. It’s not really new, but new to me. I found it by watching the MTV videos on Beavis and Butthead. I know, I know. Just remember I wasn’t able to be a kid and my inner child likes it. I keep telling myself that anyway.

The band is called Type O Negative from when I was a teen. Never heard of them before. Some of their songs I don’t care for. But four out of five of my top five songs this year were from them. They are my top artist this year. I am in the top 0.1% of listeners. I’m predicting next year will be lower because they will no longer be new and they don’t have any new music since the lead singer is dead.

Type O Negative has some really difficult songs to listen to because they have some really really hard grief messages. It really helped me process my feelings about having a suicidal daughter, Arabella, and the resulting depression from it. I can’t take the mental illness from my daughter and it is killing me. Life is Killing Me. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt from this band. I recently ordered the Black No. 1 shirt with the lyrics written on it of ‘loving you is like loving the dead’. Sometimes I feel like anyone who could love me is loving the dead because at times I was so numb it was like I wasn’t even there.

My number three song was from the $uicideboy$ entitled Kill Yourself. No strong suicide lyrics there. NOT. My daughter Angel showed me this song. She said after she found the porn on my dad’s computer she became really depressed and started listening to this song. It helped me understand how she feels. Most parents would be worried but apparently I am not one of those parents since I started listening to it as well by myself. But seriously, it’s not going to be on my top 5 list next year. It’s just too dark even for me.

I wonder if there are any other dark people out there like me. Is there anybody out there? Why am I drawn to the darkness inside of myself? Why don’t I like uplifting music? Why do sad songs make me feel good? It doesn’t make sense.

Why do some people like romance and others horror movies? You probably already could guess what I would prefer. Yup, horror.

It’s hard to explain to people who don’t get it. It’s like music is a friend of mine. When I’m feeling sad it cries along with me. It’s always there for me. As an introvert who struggles with depression sometimes it’s easier to pour out those emotions with music than with people.

Maybe I just figured out why I don’t want to share my music with others. If I share my music, I really am sharing about myself and that is truly scary to put myself out there like that. Now I just have to figure out why I am okay putting myself out there here.

Gratitude week 50

  1. My husband got his braces off this week. Now too bad he has to wear a mask…
  2. I’m grateful for a warm fire on a cold day.
  3. I’m grateful for pajama days.
  4. I’m grateful for my new followers (and the ones who have stuck with me for awhile).
  5. I’m grateful that I was able to do a lot of writing this week. It’s been a rough week emotionally though. I’m not sure if it is because I’ve been thinking and writing about things a lot…or that this time of year is triggering…or a massive amount of stress…or that we are not getting together with family for the holidays this year. But here I am with the hope that things will get better…
  6. I’m grateful for my husband’s work Christmas party tomorrow so I have a reason to get dressed up and polish my nails. It’s hard to want to look nice when so many plans have been cancelled. It’s like, why bother? Pajama day every day…well not quite but you know what I mean.
  7. I’m grateful for Christmas lights.
  8. I’m grateful for my grandparents. Today it’s been 20 years since my grandpa passed away. 20 YEARS! I lit some candles for him and told my kids a few stories about him.
  9. I’m thankful that my son installed some sort of music app on my computer. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make my own music. I’m thankful that my kids can help show me how to use it because it seems very challenging.
  10. I grateful for a really good appointment this past week with my counselor.

Transforming performing

Every day I put a fake smile on my face. I’m probably not fooling anyone.

I sometimes wonder if it’s the reason my children like to perform. When I hear them play or sing something changes in me. I smile, a real smile. They know where they can find the real me, the happy me.

It was always a dream of mine I am living through them.

I wanted to play and sing too. I wrote music then. I wrote the lyrics, played a simple tune on the piano, and sang along. It angered my dad. He told me to stop that banging on the piano and caterwauling. So I stopped forever.

I wasn’t allowed to make mistakes, you see. I was expected to be perfect the first time I tried something or not to try at all. I was an embarrassment if I was not perfect. Even my choir teacher told me that I sucked the first time I ran through a song for solo and ensemble. I wasn’t allowed to go. I wasn’t good enough.

The first time I ever sang a solo in front of people I was so terrified my voice choked out a little croak. I didn’t know then that it was normal to have stage fright. I thought I was horrible. No one ever encouraged me.

For a very long time, I gave up the dream. I didn’t audition for jazz choir or even choir in college although I wanted to more than anything. Music was a stifled passion. I was convinced I sucked which is so sad to me right now.

Watching my children perform opens the door to true joy. They are what I could’ve been. For awhile, I’m able to put the fake smile aside. My eyes shine and my heart smiles at them with everything I have. Their performing is transforming to me.

It is never too late to rekindle a dream.

Gratitude week 5

1. I’m grateful that the sun is shining today. It’s been a long time.

2. I’m grateful to be planning a vacation and visiting states that I’ve never been to before.

3. I’m grateful to have a house with an indoor pool. Last week we had a party for the youth group at church. It’s a miracle, but now the youth group has twice as many kids. Plus I have several new items to add to my collection of things left behind; a sock, a bra, and a cute bikini. Would these be weird items to put in the church lost and found box??

4. If all else fails, at least I have a sense of humor.

5. I’m grateful to watch my son perform with his new band for open mic. I am very proud of his talent. There is nothing like watching my children perform. Plus I saw an acquaintance there who said she goes to open mic just to sing with the house band. She said I should give it a try sometime and I’m planning on it.

6. I’m grateful to live in a state where we can provide unique experiences for our foreign exchange students. Yesterday Paul took us ice fishing.

7. I am grateful to try another new trauma therapy. I have been sleeping better.

8. I am grateful that several friends at this point seem to be winning the battle against cancer.

9. I finished The Tattooist of Auschwitz this week and started another Holocaust book called The Choice written not to long ago by a survivor. I’m thankful that she was able not only to survive but make something good out of a horrible experience. I am very impressed she was able to write such an insightful and inspirational book in her later years of life.

10. I am grateful it is February and the end of winter is in sight.