The National Anthem

Radiohead – The National Anthem

Since I want to believe that the absentee ballots won’t all be counted tonight, and that means we will not have answers for a while, I am not investing my emotional strength in watching the returns. I’ve glanced at social media a bit for our local info but I don’t think it will help me to sleep if I just sit here doomscrolling all night. I did my shift outside the polling place this morning, holding up the signs for the Democratic candidates and I went to the grocery store, liquor store, and pharmacy, made ratatouille in the Crock-Pot, and then pasta sauce later in the afternoon, all an attempt to keep myself occupied and not fixating on the results.

I looked at my son after dinner and I could see the dread washing over him. With our internet down he can’t even get online to play games with his friends to distract himself. Luckily we got some blank CDs in the mail today so I told him we could burn some of his recently purchased albums for the car.

It is getting harder and harder to maintain the older formats, new cars don’t come with CD players anymore and even new laptops tend not to have a disc drive. Our oldest laptop was the only computer in the house that I could wrangle into performing this task. Were it not for the goal of keeping his mind off election results, I might have gotten frustrated with all the failed attempts and waiting for it to finish, but we killed a good two hours, maybe more. We also managed to rig up my phone to the printer with an old cable and a little USB-C to USB converter so we could print out album covers. I’m so glad I never fell prey to the internet of things because what happens when all of your appliances and your door locks or whatever, are dependent on the internet working? It sucks to be without internet, don’t get me wrong. Maybe having it out isn’t all bad, though. I successfully steered my son back from the edge with this little project. We’re holding on, hope you are too.

God’s Gallipoli

Poi Dog Pondering – God’s Gallipoli

Our internet died today. Today! And the tech can’t come until Thursday. Thursday! I told the woman on the phone that I’m working from home and my son is doing school from home and can’t someone come sooner? I didn’t bother to say, the fucking election is tomorrow and I need my internet!! I mean, I have my phone. I am making this post on my phone and it can be a hotspot so I am not in the dark, but this timing is unbelievable.

I thought it was the weather at first because it was super windy out but the woman on the phone was pretty certain it’s the router/modem because she tested the line remotely and said it was working. Then she said, how old is that modem? I don’t really know but we’ve had it a long time. She clicked around some more and then she gasped, “Oh my goodness! That modem is 20 years old!!” Ok, it’s old, but it can’t be that old. We got it when we were living in our current house so at most it can be 13 years old, but I’m guessing it’s more like 7 years. Admittedly the modem wasn’t new when we got it and seven years is pretty old for a piece of technology like that. It has been crapping out frequently over the last couple of months so I’m not surprised if it is the culprit, but I have also suspected that we are using the internet far more than it is engineered to handle. Either way, the tech will come, hopefully sooner than Thursday, and something will be done to restore it.

Perhaps there’s a metaphor lurking somewhere in there for the situation the nation is staring down. Things are not going to be magically restored on election day. It will take a while longer, and definitely longer than we’d like, before we will know the outcome. There is massive uncertainty and probable unrest in the days ahead. Even in the best case scenario there is still November, December, and three weeks of January to get through. I need something to get me over the top!

I am telling myself:

Back in the ring now,
with eye held just high enough to see the prize.
Head bent forward and hip into wind as always.
Slugging it out ’til the end, the boxer.

There are a couple of versions of this song but I took this live version because man, do I miss being there. I love how the person recording it goes for the wide shot at the point in the song where experience tells me the crowd is bouncing, and they are. It’s a joy filled moment wrought from a difficult and punishing time. And the fists are pumping because so many of us know what that feels like and you’re there, surrounded by people who get it.

Leave it all on the floor. Take nothing for granted so you have no regrets. Let’s hit the nail on the head and drive that fucker home.

Sugar & Stress

The English Beat – Sugar & Stress

If I can pull it off, this will be my seventh straight year of NaBloPoMo but geez, this is a rough one. It’s not just the election of our lifetime in a handful of hours, it’s also a freaking pandemic with the case counts spiking all over the place, and you know, we’ve all been cooped up with the same people for MONTHS. I love my family but we have been together 24/7 for I can’t even tell how long now. I do not leave the house to go to work, my son does not leave the house to go to school, my husband was laid off at the end of March and so has nowhere to go either. My daughter went back to her college but she is due to come home around Thanksgiving and not go back for three months.

We are lucky, I don’t want to complain, but this is absolutely not normal and it takes some adjusting. I’m not sure how the rest of you have been getting along but it’s a safe bet that everyone is more stressed out than this time last year. When the weather permits I try to go for a walk for about an hour but even then you’re keeping an eye out for people and weaving back and forth across the street to give everyone a wide berth. Plus, there’s no end in sight. When will there be a vaccine? Will it be safe? Will it be effective enough to allow us to go back to doing things we used to do, like go to a show? God, how I miss going to shows. I am not going to be able to go to my friend’s house for election night and my husband hates it when I yell at the tv. Thanksgiving and Christmas plans are a big question mark.

I feel like we all are frazzled, holding our breath, just trying to oust a fascist and his enablers and not die trying. I can’t wait to come up for air.

Psycho Killer

Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

Do you realize that we are not even a week out from the first presidential debate? What the fuck. What the Fuck?! In those handful of days, Trump tested positive for COVID, went to the hospital, had a kitchen sink of drugs injected into him, had doctor’s lie about the timeline of his illness, went for a joyride to visit his “fans” lining the streets outside the hospital, and then demanded he be released. There is a psycho killer in the White House, no way around it. How else can you describe an evil, narcissistic, fascist, hopped up on steroids, while infected and contagious with a deadly virus, leaving the hospital and returning to cough and breathe all over every surface and everyone in the building?

That would be bad enough but first he tweets to all his cult members, “Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life.” Fantastic. It wasn’t hard enough to deal with all of the anti-maskers before, it’s going to be impossible now. More assholes with guns will show up on capitol steps demanding to be allowed to infect their neighbors because Dear Leader told them not to be weak and believe in science. Own the libs. Catch a deadly virus and extend the damage that’s already been done.

I’ve lost count how many people in his administration and other high ranking GOP members now have tested positive for the coronavirus. That superspreader event to celebrate their Supreme Court coup is like a cruise ship in February. I just can’t imagine being so arrogant as to think that there’s no chance you might catch it and to just roll the dice and forego any safety precautions that most of the nation has been living with for over half a year now. 210,000 people have died and millions more have been sick, some with debilitating, lingering health problems, but no, it won’t possibly touch me. I’ll just sit here next to these people who have been god knows where and with whom, not wear a mask, watch as people hug and touch each other, touch their noses and then hug some more. Let’s celebrate the impending decision to strip health insurance away from millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions during a pandemic. Couldn’t happen to us. Cheers!

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

Every single one of those adults at the ceremony deserves what they get. Same with the people at the golf club fundraiser. No, they didn’t know he had the virus, but they knew they were spending $250,000 to hang out with a lying con man who knew from the beginning how contagious and deadly this disease is, yet deliberately sought to downplay it’s severity and deprive the nation of information and medical supplies. I saw this great Twitter thread that summed up this moral failing, “Finding a non-white supremacist reason to support a white supremacist still aligns you with white supremacy. Finding a non-authoritarian reason to support an authoritarian still aligns you with authoritarianism.” to which I would add, finding a non-science denying reason to support a science denier gives you COVID. 

It’s all so bizarre that I can see how people are inclined to believe the whole thing has been staged. His breathing looked really labored on the balcony of the White House though. Time will tell. 

Youth Against Fascism

Sonic Youth – Youth Against Fascism

Welp, these are some pretty fucked up times we find ourselves in, friends. Staring down an election that should be a slam dunk but Cheeto is causing chaos left and right, not to mention there’s a global pandemic and we’re trying to stave off another theocratic fascist from taking the seat of the most beloved supreme court justice of all time. Meanwhile the planet is burning, cops are still killing unarmed black people at an alarming rate and facing zero consequences, and millions of people are unemployed.

Not like I need to summarize for anyone reading here today, but I like to look back and remember just what kind of crazy shit was going on. I have toughed my way through several years of November NaBloPoMos and while I mostly can go back and figure out, or remember, what the details were of the issue of the day, it isn’t always obvious. Muddying the memories are things like this song, eerily as appropriate in 2020 as 1992!

The past six months have been unbelievable and at the same time, not a surprise at all. No, I didn’t see a pandemic coming but if one was going to hit while Twitler was in office, then you knew it was going to be an utter disaster. I really hoped RBG could have held out until 2021 but was anyone besides maybe Susan Collins surprised to see old Turtleface change the rule he created about having hearings for an open SCOTUS seat during an election year? The man has no scruples whatsoever and nothing would make me happier than for him to lose, and lose big. I don’t think it will happen but if ever someone deserved his comeuppance, it’s him.

A week ago I put out a Biden/Harris sign in the yard, along with one for a local candidate. This is not the ticket I dreamed about but if we are to have a constitutional republic rather than an autocratic dictatorship, this is no time to be picky. By the end of the week, two of my neighbors had followed suit, then another couple of signs popped up down the street. There is strength in numbers. I encourage you to declare your support. Maybe you’re in more hostile territory than I am but I guarantee someone will pass your house and feel just a little bit better knowing they’re not alone.

My Problem

Say Sue Me – My Problem

In an effort to not make myself too depressed and anxious about only having two problematic old white guys left in the primary race, I decided to shift my attention to preparing to quarantine my family for two weeks if we are told we have to do that. Because that’s not paranoid or stressful.

I’m not actually that concerned about getting the coronavirus, but the way things are playing out, it seems entirely possible that someone in my house will have found themselves at the same place as an infected person and then we’ll all have to stay in our house for two weeks, even if you never get sick yourself. And then if you do get sick, you’ll be stuck there even longer.

Usually I do a big grocery store trip on Sunday to get the basics for the coming week, my husband will fill in during the week if we need something in between, but there isn’t really room to stash a lot of stuff. There are no real closets in the house and while we do have cupboards in the kitchen, space is limited and storage is at a premium. I just haven’t been in the habit of buying in bulk because I don’t have a place to put 20 rolls of paper towels, and I don’t usually buy a lot of things in cans so the appeal of the big discount stores, Costco, BJs, has been lost on me.

I figured if I just make a point to buy two or three extras of things I normally buy, then put those in a separate spot from the food we eat on a regular basis, that could be our reserve for the end times. However, while I was out shopping, I saw an update that made me think, hmm, I’m not sure there’s going to be enough time for the slow acquisition of enough food to last us for two whole weeks. What if my husband or I come home from work tomorrow and one of us has been told to “self-isolate” there won’t be time to go shopping.

So after getting four pounds of pasta and several cans of beans and tomatoes of different kinds, 12 rolls of toilet paper, 6 rolls of paper towels, cheese for several pizzas, and a few other oddities at Aldi, I then went to our regular grocery store for the usual stuff. I’m cruising the aisles and the in-store ad comes on the loudspeaker, “It’s cold and flu season! And with the coronavirus spreading, make sure you’re prepared with all the cleaning supplies you need to keep your home safe. On sale in aisle 3!” Then I turned the corner and saw someone coughing half-heartedly into their hand, so I made a bee-line for aisle 3. Also in aisle 3? More toilet paper. I didn’t understand the run on toilet paper at first but then someone at work said, “Well, there’s really no substitute for it so you don’t want to run out.” Especially if you’re living off canned beans for two weeks.

I bought more pasta, some milk that’s been ultra heated or something and has a date of April 5, and as many bags of frozen vegetables as I thought I could fit in my freezer. I really hope we don’t lose power for any reason or that will be a huge waste. 5 pounds of potatoes, I’m not sure why. I just thought we’d get tired of rice and pasta, and if we did get sick, I’d probably want to make vegetable soup and then I’d want some potatoes. I also bought four cans of vegetable soup. It won’t go bad. Two boxes of Bisquick, because if we’re all home together, my son is going to want pancakes and I could make biscuits if we run out of bread.

Two weeks seems simultaneously not that long and a really fucking long time. It’s only 14 dinners, that’s not too bad. But not leaving the house for 14 days straight? I think my muscles will start to atrophy. And what if part way through the two weeks, my daughter’s college sends everyone home? How would we get her? And then would we reset the two week clock? I didn’t buy food for four people, I bought for three.

I do, however, now have 44 rolls of toilet paper.

I discovered Say Sue Me from some Instagram videos of their shows back in December. Luckily they finished their tour of the US before heading back to South Korea because they’re really stuck there now.

I Was Home

Sunflower Bean – I Was Home

I should be en route to the Sunflower Bean show/beer tasting that I excitedly bought a ticket for a couple of months ago. But instead I am home, doing nothing.

Not that I need an excuse but I have a few. 1) It’s actually over an hour away. That’s a lot of driving there and back. 2) I had some small cysts removed on Friday and while it was a very simple in office procedure, it actually was surgery and it hurts more than I thought it would (sorry for the TMI). 3) The friend I was going to meet up with texted me that she was thinking of bailing. She lives five minutes from the venue so if she wasn’t up for it, I feel less obliged. 4) It was only $15.

It bums me out because I just feel old and like a loser but I also felt like I’d feel even older at the show, standing there with a sore back and not enjoying it as much as I could and what if people bumped into me where the incision was, blah, blah, blah. Getting older sucks.

If I lived five minutes away I would have rolled on over there at 9 and seen what was what. I could easily have done an hour, maybe a little more. But basically four hours? Sadly not tonight. Hopefully Sunflower Bean comes back through in the warmer weather and I will be more up for it. I haven’t been to a show since September and I miss it.

Hungry Child

Hot Chip – Hungry Child

I’ve been trying to be better about exercising but it isn’t something I enjoy doing. After I’ve been to the gym I tell myself, hey, that wasn’t so bad, you should really try to fit in one more gym day during the week. That never happens though so the week goes by and any motivation I had has gone. I had a doctor’s appointment in the summer to follow up on my ultra low vitamin D levels and she congratulated me on losing a pound. “One whole pound!” she asked, “How did you do it?” I lied and said I added one more day at the gym. Really it was probably just that I had on lighter weight clothes and shoes but I didn’t want to own up to my couch-to-5k-but-only-on-Sundays fitness regime. She advised that I just, you know, come home from work and bang out a mile. That’s an idea, I said.

My preferred mode of exercise is bike riding but for a number of reasons, it hasn’t been practical for me for several years. That makes me sad. My last concerted effort to get back in the saddle a few years ago only served to convince me that I needed to get in better shape before I could even think about resuming that as a regular hobby. Of course there are bike machines at the gym and those spinning bikes are all the rage, but I hate that they are stationary. And probably half of my enjoyment on the bike was tied to the feeling of the wind rushing against me and the music in my ears. It was really more like dancing or skating. That last time I tried to ride for exercise my legs felt like lead and the bike was heavy and the shoes were wrong. I decided I would need to be more nimble before I could go out again.

So that’s how I have found myself laboring along on the treadmill at the gym. I don’t like running, never have. But I was successful at the c25k program once before and I hate those elliptical machines even more than the treadmill—they just feel like you are doing some pointless hamster on a wheel thing. With running I can at least see that it’s a useful thing to be able to master. I can’t do it without music though. I mostly forget that I want to make a playlist for this activity until it’s too late to pull it together so I wind up picking a more dance-y kind of album and just skip any slow songs if I’m supposed to be running instead of walking. Some albums, like this one, have some kind of video going the whole time if you are using Spotify on your phone. This one is just some swirly colors and it makes it easy to just tap the phone to skip or repeat a track. If I ever get past Week 6, Day 1 of this running program, I may need to put a bit more effort into the song selection but this is six solid minutes at 120bpm, which is about my limit.



Courtesy Call

Omni – Courtesy Call

I think that the last few years I have always started out November with some kind of apology in advance about my NaBloPoMo participation. I’ll probably miss a few, some entries will be lame, etc. Why do I even still do it? I really thought about just skipping it this year.

I do know a couple of people actually look forward to my November posts though, and it’s kind of like you get to hear from me, even if what I’ve got to say is mundane. What can I say, middle-aged mom life is not all that exciting. At least it comes with music!


Meet Me in the Street

Sheer Mag – Meet Me in the Street

After a long hiatus, I finally made it out to a show earlier this week. This school year is my daughter’s last in high school and it has been jam packed with activity, much of which required me, or more precisely the car which I was driving, to be around in the late evening hours. That meant it really wasn’t possible for me to go to any weeknight shows and my weekends were often spent prodding her to finish her homework, study for the SATs, do her college applications, taking her to look at schools, etc. But now things are wrapping up and, miracle of miracles, we acquired a second car.

It had been nearly two years since my old Toyota’s clutch called it quits. What started as a way to save a little money and hold off on getting a new car until after the summer, turned into a two-winters long slog with just one car for a family of four people. I’m sure this is not that uncommon and even having one car is a level of privilege millions of people in this country don’t have. But I was also driving that one car 120 miles a day just to get to work. When I also had to tack onto that taking my daughter to three different after school activities, often requiring picking her up, dropping her off and then going back out to retrieve her later on, the time and miles I spent in that car was draining. I hit the trip counter on one of those longer days–170 miles. That wasn’t every day but it wasn’t that rare either.

Back in February, a friend at work mentioned that a woman in her department was thinking about selling her old car. It was in good condition, tiny, had good gas mileage and not a ton of miles. It wasn’t my dream car but she was practically giving it away, and it was too good a deal to pass up. So I became the owner of a 2008, noisy, bright red, two door Toyota Yaris hatchback. Things I like about it: I can park it anywhere, it gets pretty good gas mileage, it had less than 130,000 miles on it when I got it. Things I would change about it if I could: its weak engine, automatic transmission, manual windows and door locks (I would much prefer the reverse – a stick shift with auto locks and windows), a slightly weird odor like too much cleaner or a lifetime of air fresheners, and a non-working CD player. I got it to work once but mostly it just refuses to load a CD. It’s just pushing as hard as it can against any disc you try to insert. Because my previous Toyota was from the last century, it had a tape deck, as you might recall. This new-to-me car is at least modern enough to have an aux port so I picked up a cable and can stream whatever I want through my phone, but I still wish the CD player worked.

It took several trips to the DMV to transfer the title and get it all squared away so I spent my time in line buying concert tickets. With the freedom of a second car, I no longer have to be home to fetch or drop off anyone! The first of these shows was Sheer Mag the other night. Such a fun band. I encourage you to go if they come to your neck of the woods. It was great to be out dancing in a club again. We need that more than ever these days. I feel an impeachment playlist brewing. I’ll throw my poster board and Sharpies in my car’s tiny tucked away storage space, hook up the phone to the aux cord and blast this song as I strain my car’s engine and hit the streets. See you out there!