Monday, August 06, 2018

Ramblings About My Lack of Friendship Skills

I am not good at meeting new people. I am not good at small talk. I am not good at trusting people. I am not good at controlling my mouth when people say things I don't like. And I am not good at tolerating people I just don't like.

Last night, TJK had a gig with her awesome little punk band out in PA. People saw a cute girl with her bass guitar and kept coming up and talking to her and then to me (once I was like, uh, dude, she's 14, back the fuck off before I stab you in the dick). We both reacted in the same way to these strangers talking to us: we say hello, expect them to move on, they don't, we glaze over and want to disappear.
Do not be a male over the age of 16 talking to my baby girl.
You will die a slow and painful death at my hands.
I wish I was better at this stuff so I could teach her to be better at this stuff, especially if she is trying to build up her band. Luckily the lead singer is totally good at it (and so are his parents) so they take up the slack...but still.

Even those parents, though. The kids went on about 2 hours later than we thought they would, so the parents went down the street for a drink while the kids watched the rest of the bands. We have a lot in common with these parents: we are about the same age, have kids the same age who go to the same school and have been in the same class for the past two years, love to travel and have been all over Europe, love the same kind of music and love live shows. But in talking to them, they only want to talk about themselves. We have all been to Spain...but, have you been to this tiny town on the water where they drank this cider you could only get in that tiny town? Oh sure, yes, we have been to Italy too, but have you heard of this small village no one has ever heard of where the apples grow only one every 50 years and they were there to experience it? It was all this oneupmanship that I can't tolerate. Like, you tell a travel story, then we tell a travel story. Hubby mentions we have been to Russia. They reply, ooooh, that must have been fascinating, tell us all about it! And then when we start, she interrupts with "Oh that sounds like the time we went to that eastern bloc town about 40 miles outside of Prague...let me tell you all about that instead!"

And I just lose my patience. I stop talking because it's not a conversation, its a lecture. I am sure I purse my lips and roll my eyes and I am visually and completely done with the conversation. Not that they notice, because the lecture continues.

Maybe if I tried harder instead of shutting down, we could be good friends with them. But making friends is not my strength. I am not sure what my strength is, exactly, but niceness to strangers and people who annoy me is certainly not it.


Friday, August 03, 2018

Seattle Nerves

Pearl Jam has been my favorite band since 1992. As soon as I heard Eddie Vedder's beautiful, emotional voice, I was in love (with both him and PJ). I saw them live for the first time in 1992 and it quite literally changed my life and it changed who I was (I know that sounds melodramatic, but it's true). So this band means a lot to me. I've seen them many time since then, and every time it's a religious experience for me.This year, I'm taking TJK to Seattle to go see them and I am so excited about it.

Excited to see them play in their hometown, but also excited to go on a little adventure with just the two of us. The Home Shows, as they are being called, are apparently taking over Seattle. The shows' proceeds are being used to fight homelessness in Seattle, so there are a million companies partnering with PJ: Theo Chocolates came out with a Home Shows chocolate bar (I got 2; they are delicious), Heritage Distilling Company is making a Home Shows bourbon (I got a bottle, can't wait for it to get here so I can get white girl wasted on PJ bourbon), Georgetown Brewing is introducing a Home Shows Pale Ale (you can't get this by mail, so I'll be hunting this down once we get to Seattle), Starbucks has a PJ Spotify playlist that they are playing in all (all, not just Seattle) Starbucks stores, and so on and so on. So this isn't just a concert, it's a city-wide extravaganza. I am so happy to be a part of all of this and it feels totally bucket-list. I'm especially happy to be doing this with TJK.

TJK and I have a whole weekend of stuff planned (I actually think we have three weeks of Seattle planned for the two and a half days we will be there, but whatever). We will go to museums and PJ parties and the market and two concerts and and and and and. And, here's the thing: Hubby usually plans all of that stuff out. He is great at timing everything and figuring out how we will get from one place to the next and what time we need to leave X to get to Y so we can be at Z on time. Me? I'm best at researching where to go, what to see, what cool shit is off the beaten path that TJK will get to Snapchat and make her friends jealous.

So I'm a little nervous. We are staying at an Air BnB for the first time and I am so psyched about it - but nervous too, because it's something we have never done so I don't know how to do it and it's gonna be just me. We have timed tickets for three things in one day, but schedules are not my thing and there's no one to keep me on track. We have to get to and from the airports, lugging our bags and lifting them to the overhead compartment. I like to think I am too dainty for heavy lifting of that sort. We have to walk from the Air BnB to the concert, and back. I am nervous we will get lost, or harassed because we are two chicks by ourselves late at night.

With all that said, with all of my doubts and ridiculousness, I know this will be a big triumph. I travel alone when I go away on business and I am perfectly fine. Turns out I am not very dainty at all and can lift the shit out of a carry-on bag full of shoes. I have a good sense of direction and love wandering around alone when I have non-work time on those trips. It's just, I'm spoiled by Hubby taking care of all of this for me. He does so much for me that I take for granted, and the truth is that it is nice to prove to myself that I can do it alone. And, it'll be even better to be able to show TJK that WE can do it ourselves. Two badass bitches in the PNW, ready to do all the things. Sisters are doin' it for themselves.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

I Will Return (Probably)

Here is the problem with trying to return to my blog. I have no idea what to write about. So apparently, I am going to write about not knowing what to write about.

I quit blogging for Twitter. And then I quit Twitter because it sucks. I have Facebook, but it's really just to post pics of my kid so distant family can see her, and to brag about my travels. I'm too old for Snapchat and mostly dgaf about Instagram. I miss having a place to just write, whether it's in-depth feelings about something or just quick hits of random thoughts. So it seems like going back to blogging might be a good solution for me.

But when it comes down to it, I don't know what to write anymore. I have so many opinions and a lot to say, but when I sit down to write, I can't find the topics. I mean, an obvious one for me is politics, since it occupies such a yuuuuge part of my brain, but at some point I need a mental break from the dumpster fire that our Cheeto Overlord hath wrought upon us. I don't feel like writing about his traitorous ass, honestly. Another topic is just life in general, because I have a lot to say about what's up with me. My life is good and my life is fun. That's what I should be able to talk about here. But I don't know who might someday re-find my blog and read something mean-ish that I've said about them. I don't want to hurt the people I care about. (If I don't care about you? Well, you are probably mostly fucked if I get back into this blogging thing.) Travel? Yeah, I guess I could talk about that. It's something I am passionate about and even on our shortest trips there are a million stories I could share. If you knew how many travel blogs I have started and then never posted a single entry...yeah, I just don't think I am cut out for writing all the details of my trips with hotel reviews and recommendations and all that. That's not for me.

Really, when it comes down to it, the truth is that no one reads this. No one. Not even me, mostly. So I can say whatever I want, I suppose. I would love a place where I can let loose the way I used to, where I can talk about how crazy I can be and rant and rave about stupid tv shows and recap drunken soirees and be silly.

I don't know. I think I am just going to set a goal to write something, anything, even something as meaningless and time-wastey as what I have just written, just to get that writing muscle going inside me again.

Here's to another attempt at blogging *prost*
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Some brainstormed topics for when I am stuck:

  • Nerves about Seattle
  • New bosses at work
  • Drama between S & Y at work
  • Beer escapades upstate
  • Parents aging
  • My shoe obsession
  • Traveling with SIL
  • TJK and Sweggy
  • JV's dad's funeral
  • Music I'm listening to
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So for real, I always love listing what songs I am into right this minute because it's fun to look back on it and determine which songs I loved so much that I played them so much that I got so sick of them that I wanted to die, and which songs I loved for a minute and then discarded, and which songs I loved and loved and loved and continued to love and will always love. Here is today's list...some new, some old, some really old:
  • hell is where i dreamt of u and woke up alone (blackbear)
  • Where's My Love? (SYML)
  • My Crass Patch (Dads)
  • Do You Know What I Love the Most? (Saves the Day)
  • Silver Lining (Panic! at the Disco)
  • Say Amen (Panic! at the Disco
  • Over and Over and Over (Jack White)
  • Take a Picture (Filter)
  • Erotic City (Prince)
  • Conspiracy (RSRC)
  • Jumpsuit (21 Pilots)
  • Nico & the Niners (21 Pilots)

Monday, July 30, 2018

You and Me, Punk Rock Girl

So my kid is now in a punk band.

A couple of months ago, TJK's friend from school asked her if she wanted to join his band and said he'd teach her to play bass. She has taken up guitar and drums in the past and it never stuck, so I was a little hesitant to go out and buy yet another instrument. But ya know, I still am waiting for my moment of punk rock fame and glory as a chick drummer in a punk band, so my hesitation was a matter of milliseconds. I pretty much immediately said yes to her joining the band.

They are a serious little band. They aren't just some kids jamming in the garage. They practice three times a week. They have two albums already and are on iTunes. And they play out at clubs and festivals, which is weird for a bunch of not-even-high-schoolers-yet. But for me at least, sitting in a dive bar on a Saturday night with a beer in my hand is better than sitting on a soccer field at 7am on a rainy Sunday morning. Punk rock mom is more my speed than soccer mom.

I am so proud of her for so many reasons related to this band. First off, it's all boys and her, and she holds her own. The lead singer, who invited her into the band in the first place, really runs the show and manages the rest of the kids. So TJK listens, and follows his lead since he is the leader, but she doesn't take any shit. She isn't intimidated and I love that.

Secondly, TJK is a little shy. With her friends, she is a maniac and has no shades of shy, but with strangers or new people, she retreats and gets anxious. She even has a hard time approaching a salesperson in a store to ask a question. But man, put this kid on stage and the shyness disappears. She is still working on her stage presence (since she is still learning the songs), but she hops up there and you'd never know shyness resides in her. It's similar to when she acts in her school plays: when she walks onto that stage you can't see a single iota of nerves. She brims with confidence. So I love seeing it translate to the musical stage, too.

Thirdly, the band is good. I mean, they are punk so nothing is complicated or deep, but you can tell they love being up there and love people singing along and bopping their heads to the music. I find myself singing the songs randomly throughout the day; they have some catchy little ditties. They write their own songs. They play all originals...this is no wedding band doing covers.

Lastly (although I could go on and on about the ways I am proud of this kid), there seems to be a little rift developing in the band between two of the boys (let's call them S, the lead singer, and L, the rhythm guitarist). TJK was asked to be in the band and I think L is having a hard time with becoming third fiddle. S is an amazing front man - he was made for this and he is captivating on stage. And then TJK is the one girl in a boys' band, so she gets attention for that. She is a beautiful girl and when she is up there rocking the bass and killing it, she commands attention. L is falling into the shadows, partially because the kid has zero personality and zero stage presence and zero style, but also because he is overshadowed by TJK and S. So it's caused some confrontations between the two boys. (The drummer is younger and does not get involved in anyone's drama at all. He gets on stage, he plays, he growls, he screams, and then he checks out. Good for him.) TJK has been able to sidestep the drama between the two boys and let S handle it because it's his band. I love that she is all business and isn't taking sides. For the most part anyway.

TJK isn't going to be a rock star, most likely. She will probably go on to be a scientist or doctor or lawyer or something else. But I am so happy for her, that she gets to have this amazing experience in her teen years. It is going to be an amazing memory for her (as long as she and S don't start dating and then he tries to pull a Thurston Moore to her Kim Gordon...I don't want her memories of the band to be her mom murdering a dude for messing with her). But for now, playing at clubs, hanging with the boys, making music...it is all just so, so good.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Blathering on about Shitty Friends Acting Shitty

I've mentioned here before about a friend of mine, a very dear friend, whose parenting style is the complete opposite of mine. Which, generally, who cares? But her parenting style keeps bumping up against mine in unexpected ways and I am so over it.

M has been a friend of TJK since kindergarten. They have been best friends at times, but have drifted apart over the past few years. M is running with a mean girls crowd, and TJK has no time for that. But they are still friendly and have several close friends in common.

The one example from the past that always sticks with me is when they went to art camp together. M's mom was going to drive them there each day and I would pick them up. After day 1, M decided she didn't want to go anymore. There was a homeless man at the park sitting on a bench, and it freaked her out. M's mom agreed that she would not go back. The impact of this was: 1) now my kid is at camp alone, after we signed them up together, 2) now I have to drive both ways to camp, which did not jive with my work schedule, and 3) M was taught that you can just bail out of whatever you want without thinking of anyone else. There have been multiple instances like this, where M just deserts her friends or an obligation because she feels like it. Another was at performing arts camp, where we signed the girls up for post-camp dance lessons because they ran till 6 and then M decided she didn't want to take the classes and TJK ended up there alone. For 3 weeks.

My parenting style is the opposite of this. And really, it's not just parenting style, its the core of who I am. If TJK had committed to camp (or anything) with a friend and I had committed to driving, I would never let either of us bail. It's a commitment and it impacts other people. At some point you need to learn that the world does not revolve around you, and when you are a kid is the time to learn. M is going to be in for a rude awakening when she goes out into the real world (if she ever does).

So what happened today to bring this up? Months and months ago, a mutual friend invited M and TJK to go see some Youtubers they love this coming weekend. M's mom and I made plans to take the kids to the venue and then hang out for drinks and then bring the kids home. This morning I get a text from M's mom saying that M had been invited to something else this weekend and she really wanted to go, so she was going to let M go to this other event instead of the one she committed to all those months ago. I can't comprehend how this is ok. M already committed to going to to event. You already committed to driving with me and then having a girls night. What are you teaching your kid? How are you treating your friend? Everything is disposable; everything is replaceable when something better comes along.

I worry about M, and that she is never going to be able to stick with anything, or get through anything rough because she hasn't had to muddle through anything unpleasant, or deal with anything that isn't exactly what she wants to do at that moment. And, I worry about my friendship with M's mom because honestly, I can't take this kind of spoiling your kid at the expense of everyone around you. And she hasn't given me a second thought either. Just like with the camps where her actions meant more work for me, she hasn't considered that her decisions will impact me. Is it just that she spoils her kid so much that she can't see outside it? Or is it that, just like M, she doesn't consider anyone else when she makes decisions?

I am really angry right now, which for this moment means ignoring her text so I don't explode on her. I know if I open my brain onto her about how I am feeling right now, it will probably end our friendship. Meanness is coursing through my veins and I want to tell her how her actions impact others and how they are setting up her kid for a lifetime of unhappiness. And I know that won't go over too well, at all.