Archive for the ‘College’ Category

Of Tears, Trains, and the Spirit of the Radio

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

I went to bed in a cloud of melancholy. I woke up the same. I cried my way to work. (40 minutes is sometimes just the right amount of time to think. Sometimes it is way too much time.) I usually am really good at compartmentalizing, but today I did a terrible job. I ended up crying in the grassy area behind my building, choking sobs back, rubbing at my eyes with my sleeve, pacing, giving myself the pull-it-together talk. I am really good at pulling it together; I was not able to do so this morning.

I somehow made it through the day. I sat in an hour and a half of traffic. I called two friends and two cousins. I left messages for them. I thought of people I desperately wished I could talk to about everything. I didn’t call them. Part of me thought I should. I called my Mama instead. She picked up, just like always.

I came home and I ran 2+ miles. It was my fastest pace in a long time. I must be running from something. It is like a soothing drug. Squats and crunches and planks are not soothing, but I did those too, because I don’t know what else to do with myself.

It was my turn to do kid duty. I took T. and her friend, M., to eat. It was about 8 pm. They were excited to tell me about their day. They gushed about Cars 3, which evidently has a female protagonist. I guess I will have to see it now, despite the fact that I wanted to shoot myself over all the Lightning McQueen stuff R. loved as a little boy. I miss that age now. I miss Mater, that old goofball.

The girls talked about how to pick a college. (My take was go in state, try to get some scholarships, and avoid loans, if possible, but mostly to just learn everything they can now, and make the best grades they can, and seek out the things that interest them. That would give them options, and the rest would fall into place, and that not everyone decides to college and that is okay too, but it is important to give yourself the option.)

Then we talked about financial security, and about how money isn’t about new shoes or how big your house is. It’s about freedom. Money sometimes = freedom. I also had this talk with my first love’s mother, right after we broke up, in maybe 1993. She liked me, I guess. She invited me to lunch. She gave me Gloria Steinem’s “Revolution From Within.” I may have frightened the girls when I told them that being financially stable was important for women, so that they never had to stay with an *abusive man. That they could always take care of themselves. Sorry, Megan and Andy – #notaprofessionalguidancecounselor

I talked to the waiter about his breakup with his boyfriend. He is maybe 21? I told him he’d live, but it might hurt like hell and feel like death.

We paid the check and walked out into the near-dark. It was cool for June, and we sat and listened to the quiet on main street for a minute. Tiller ran around and up and down the ramp and stairs with her arms out like an airplane. She laughed as she ran. She snorts when she laughs.

The train track signal lights started flashing and the crossing bars went down. The girls yelled, “Train!” and we walked to our car, next to the tracks. I gave both a leg up onto the hood of the car, and they sat on top under the quarter moon and we waited for the engine. It parked and we sat. (I stood. I am too old to jump onto a hood and not fall immediately back off and the whole patio of the restaurant was watching; I only made one attempt. I am going to practice that, though.)

And then it started. Just a single engine, alone, pulling no cars behind it. The girls waved. The driver waved back, not 15 feet away. He blew the whistle. Twice. We all clapped and cheered. The crossing opened back up and the bells went off. We got back in the car, now in the dark. We rolled the windows down.

Rush’s “Spirit of the Radio” was on. I’m not a big Rush fan, but I talked to them about Neal Peart and we rolled the windows down and opened the sunroof and they both put their faces out the windows as I turned onto the main road, as we drove past each streetlight, in and out of alternating darkness and light.

And somehow, at that moment, I realized the day had turned out alright. We would be alright.

* Hypothetical. My husband is not, nor has he ever been, abusive. He is the person I respect most in the world.

Of Tears, Trains, and the Spirit of the Radio

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

The Plain Gray Hat

Sunday, January 10th, 2016
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Remnants of a once vast collection. + one Argentinian fan.

Hats. I love’em. I used to collect them. Vintage hats in particular, but the random, really great baseball hat, here and there, too. Then I moved into a very small two bedroom/one bath bungalow with my boyfriend (now husband) and at some point, I could no longer justify the space needed to maintain a 100-200 piece hat collection.

So, on New Year’s Eve, I found out the party I was attending that night at my friend Cass’ house required hats. As in, “you need to bring funny hats.” THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER THROW ANYTHING OUT. I had hundreds of the perfect hat. I knew I would need those, even if it was 16 years down the road. Damn it.

Todd reminded me that I still had a few in a storage box in the basement. (I admit that it is also true that you kind of forget what things you have when you keep them in storage and you don’t really miss them.) I rummaged around in the basement and found the box. I opened it. I smiled involuntarily. I couldn’t help it.

Those hats.

I do remember when we moved and I put the rest of them into storage, I kept the “prettiest” one out and put it on our new shelves in the basement, along with many hardback books, photos, some artwork we’ve collected over the years, a collection of hammer heads and figurines that belonged to my grandfather, my old camera collection, and my pottery. (That stuff could be a post of its own.) The hat originally belonged to my Aunt Lessie, who was both an occasional Goat Man, and a very fashionable woman of Savannah. She also forever remains ingrained in my memory for insisting on going swimming at our neighborhood pool with us when I was probably 12 or so. She actually brought her own bathing suit. God, I wish I had that still – probably 1960s! She wore it with her swimming cap, also vintage, a plastic number with plastic flowers on it. She was well into her 70s by this point, and I think my Dad almost had a heart attack when she insisted on going off the diving board. 12-year-old me thought she was a badass. I still do.

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Aunt Lessie’s vintage hat that sits on a downstairs shelf.

She and Grandma seemed to buy many of their hats at Savannah’s Glendale hat shop. Most of their hats had the Glendale label sewn inside them.


I love the internet. This postcard, part of the Library of Boston archives, was issued approximately 1930-1945.

Um, I guess I should admit that I also collect some postcards, but only of places that any line of my ancestors lived. (If you are interested in Georgia postcards, you can see the rest of that library’s archived Georgia postcard collection here.) I later ended up with these Aunt Lessie hats and about 10 others, plus Lisa and I split all of my grandmother Palmer’s hats. These are the only ones I kept.

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Two of my Aunt Lessie’s hats: The one on the left is Italian, and the one on the right is a weird, stiff material, with plastic flowers. I always loved the way it fit, although now I would probably not wear it often. For one thing, it looked better with my hair dyed black. I used to wear it with vintage dresses and Dad would call me Minnie Pearl.


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I did not inherit this hat (or her others) until after she died, but seeing photos of my grandmothers and Aunt Lessie wearing hats fueled my love for hats very early on.

My hat collection, though, really started one fateful day in Little Five Points. I believe I was skipping school that day, although I can’t quite remember the details. I was there with my friends Jenni, John, and. . .one other person, but I cannot for the life of me remember who it was. Time makes things foggy. I bought this one at a vintage store. Or it might have been Junkman’s Daughter when it was over near where Criminal Records is now. Again, fogginess.

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Forest green beret with velvet bow.

Oh, how I loved this hat. I know exactly why; If you are a girl of the eighties, the hat with a bow might ring a bell for you, too.

In middle school, when that video came out, I wanted a hat just like Madonna’s. The green beret with the velvet bow was as close as I ever got. Side note: This hat was later hijacked for at least a year by my boyfriend at the time, who wore it liberally. He also wore eyeliner, because it was 1990. My Dad loved that I was in love with a boy who wore hats with velvet bows, and eyeliner. (And he was a Yankee, no less.)

My mom must have picked up on this new obsession, because she gave me the following hat for Christmas one year when I was in high school. (Jason B. Vat 69! And the pink cassette player from middle school. Lisa, why do we not have that any longer? It was awesome.)


Me, wearing a hat from my mom. Christmas of my Junior or Senior year, I guess? That’s Pop sitting over to the side, wearing his signature goat man outfit.

So, over the years, I collected more and more of them. Vintage stores, yard sales, estate sales. It probably got out of hand, but if you ever loved collecting, you know how that happens. I had so many people start bringing them to me, because they knew how much I loved them. Here’s a not-so-great photo of my room at home one Summer.


I used to have a protruding clavicle!

I must have really chopped my hair and it looks like it was black at this point. (I cannot even begin to remember what it was like to have so much time on my hands that I would move home in the summer and decorate my room. Does not compute.)

I know it was college, because my sister is wearing a hat that I either stole from my friend Mike Maier, or let him draw on. I know that the artwork on the hat is his. I believe he also drew on some shoes I had, and definitely some jeans. See all the hats on the wall? They went all the way around the room, and it was not the whole collection. There are some on the bedpost over my shoulder, too. You can also see the very odd 1980s intercom system we had in our house (behind the lamp).

Side note: I had a different room in high school. My sister moved into it after I left for college and I took over her room, shown here. In my old room, I would unscrew the intercom faceplate from the wall, pull it out, hide contraband on the ledge inside with the wiring, then replace the plate and screw it back into the wall. I struggle to see how my children will ever pull anything over on Todd or me.

Remember the boy with the eyeliner and the beret?  Here is a hat he gave me for Christmas the first year we were together. We were Freshmen at UGA at that point. It was a beautiful gift. (Another beautiful gift, in the background, is the fan and silver stand that my husband brought me from Argentina a few years ago. I have a habit of picking men who are more thoughtful than I am. Opposites attract, I suppose.)

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I adored this hat and yes, I kept it all these years, despite the fact that it was too small for my large head. I just loved it. I love it still.
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Side note: It was never lost on me that the boyfriend’s purchase, while acknowledging my love of hats, was also a nod to his obsession with Perry Farrell. I mean, come on.

There was one more hat in the box.

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The gray hat.

It is not beautiful. I don’t remember buying it or someone giving it to me, although someone must have. I do remember it being a staple of my wardrobe in college, though. I wore it almost daily, backwards (the 90s, yo), and I think that it’s functionality was the reason that I wore it so much. It was lightweight enough to wear in Summer and I didn’t care if it got messed up, so I wore it while I worked at The Grill, where every time you went home and you smelled like hamburgers and french fries (with feta) and grease. At one point, I lived in a three bedroom house on Prince Ave. with my friend Mya and a rotating cast of characters, sometimes as many as 6 of us living there at one time. There was also a time when every roommate also worked at The Grill and our house completely smelled like The Grill. It makes me gag now, the thought of waking up hung over, or having to be at work at 11PM for a night shift, and unable to find clean uniforms. We’d just share dirty work shirts off the floor of our bedrooms. My bedroom one summer was actually a dining room. With a curtain to the living room and a swinging door to the kitchen. (It is amazing what you start remembering when you start typing.)

I wore that hat out.

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So, here I am, on the day before New Year’s 2016, and we are asked to wear hats to my friends’ NYE party, and I open that box, and I am flooded with memories of high school, college, music, and friends. Of being excited by things and people and culture and life. But it was that gray hat that struck me the hardest. It made me think of that first time in my life that my heart was broken, and I didn’t know yet that pain lessens over time, or that you don’t actually need other people, because either way things will be okay. I learned that, if you’re patient, things will get better. I learned how to be alone and how to get over things, and how to love myself, all around that period of time that I used to wear that hat.

When I saw it lying in the storage bin, I immediately thought of this photo of me in the hat, and my grandmother’s vintage coat (GOD, why do I get rid of things?) standing on the beach in Charleston. I was brokenhearted and had that awful feeling of wanting to run away, of fear, of not knowing I would be okay. I remember discussing it all with my friend Matt, a fellow insomniac who visited me quite often while I worked the night shift at the Grill. We made the decision to drive to Charleston as soon as I got off work at 7 a.m. We took my truck, a hand-me-down tan Nissan truck with a camper on the back that had belonged to my grandfather, with zero bells and whistles and which smelled like old dog farts, no matter what I did to alleviate the smell. We drove to Charleston and spent a cold day walking the streets, snapping photos, and then finding a cheap motel. And the next morning we drove out to the beach – Folly, I guess – and we had breakfast and then walked on the freezing beach. He took this picture without me knowing.


The other thing I notice about this photo is that it very clearly shows my “old” nose, before the drunken face-first wall incident of my 21st birthday, or the “Memorial Day drunk driver hitting us head on in Florida on the way back from Brant and Melissa’s wedding” accident, both of which busted my nose and required surgery to fix. It looks pretty much the same now, but I can still tell the difference.

I still remember that morning on a Charleston beach, and the thoughts I was thinking, the things making me feel sad and overwhelmed. The feeling of not knowing what would happen. I was on a precipice. And it reminded me of the sadness and depression I felt just last year in 2015, on a different beach twenty-five years later, where I walked my dog at 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day, and snapped this photo of myself.


There I was that morning, on another precipice, seemingly standing at the edge of the world. I was in a similar place: Not heartbroken, but sad, lost, frustrated, and wanting to run away from all of my confused feelings. The difference was that I had already been there once before. And I didn’t really run that first time, 25 years ago, even though I had the benefit of spontaneity, no responsibilities, and a road trip. I came back from Charleston to Athens, and I learned how to deal with feeling the things that I didn’t want to feel, and I learned that no matter what, I would be okay, because I loved myself and I could take care of myself. I learned that Everything would be okay.

And I learned it all while wearing one nondescript, really nasty, trashed gray hat.

A Sloan Kind of Morning

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

SloanI’ve been listening to so much sad and melancholy music this year, but I think I’m pulling out of it. Not that I will ever stop, because I love the sad and melancholy beauties more than any of the others, but I hear variety is also supposed to be good.

A few things have been a catalyst for this . . .  (more…)

Recipe for a Good Weekend: The Five Bs

Monday, September 1st, 2014

I know everyone else says their Labor Day weekend was great, but I’m pretty sure mine was the best.


First of all, I have an 11 year old now. We took him and five of his friends to the G braves game. The main thing you need to know about the Gwinnett Braves is that THEY SELL BOILED P-NUTS AT THE STADIUM.


It makes me feel a little off-kilter when I see how big the boys have all gotten. . .


(l-r) Jonah, Milo, Jack, Ben, Aidan, and Rollie, at the Gwinnett Braves.

(l-r) Jonah, Milo, Jack, Ben, Aidan, and Rollie, at the Gwinnett Braves.


They talk. A LOT. Mostly about farts. They are at a crazy age where they are still little kids, and yet almost teenagers sometimes. They listen to REALLY bad music. I mean, really bad. They think it’s good. One of them went so far as to say, “Parents don’t get it. Pop is the music of the future.” And “Mary broke her middle finger. Now she can’t use it any more.” Me: “Use it for what?” Kid: “Playing the recorder.” So, these six stayed up til like 1 am, laughing, inhaling pizza, talking smack, and playing video games. And now my basement smells like puberty.



And then there was this:

Oh, baby.

Oh, baby.

On Saturday, my sainted husband took the kids and dog to the lake, and Brett came and picked me up. Brett is my ex-husband from high school. I have known him since middle school, through high school, and into college. We have somehow stayed in touch, even though we have not lived in the same city (and sometimes country) since college. He is like family now. And the fact that he gave me first dibs on tickets (after his own family, of course) meant a lot. So, it’s not often that married folks get to spend an hour or so riding in a car, hanging out and chatting. And Brett and I got all day. (Luckily, we made it through the hellacious turn he made off of 316 into the gas station parking lot. There were squealing tires. Brett is very wild.)


So, we drove to Athens, parked at OMG-IT-WAS-SO-FAR. And then we walked. A lot. Fitbit says I walked over nine miles, which explains why on Sunday I felt rather similarly to the way i felt after running a half-marathon. And I didn’t even drink any bourbon while running that one.


What a beautiful (Hot) day it was for a walk in Athens. Oh, the people-watching. There is just not much like an SEC football town on a Saturday. So, we walked all the way from the intramural fields to North Campus. We found Brett’s cousins’ tailgate. (what the heck did people do to find each other before cel phones? I have trouble remembering.) They were gracious and gentlemanly and had lovely girlfriends (ah, to be 20-something again), and had ice and beer and . .  no mixers for the bourbon. That’s okay, it seems I can be charming when i want to – i sweet-talked some poor Clemson boy for Coke. He didn’t know what hit him.


Then Jason and his friend Brian showed up, and wheee! Seriously nothing better than a sunny Saturday, drinking bourbon, and people-watching with two of your oldest, favoritest people, and about 80,000 strangers.

Brett, Me, and Jason. I love these two like the brothers I never had.

Brett, Me, and Jason. I love these two like the brothers I never had.


So, it came time to move on. Kickoff was at 5:30. Brett and I bade goodbye to our gracious hosts, hugged Jason, and set off to grab something to eat. I cannot begin to explain the crowds. We grabbed a hotdog from a corner vendor (flashbacks of my bachelorette party, anyone?), walked through the arches, and sat on the steps of one of the North Campus buildings and just watched people go by. There are old fans, and young fans, and couples, and the endless stream of ridiculous plays on the red and black dress. We finished up and headed towards the stadium. We took the scenic route and sat on the steps of Park Hall, just like the old days. I could have been sitting next to Kevin Fagan, doing the Red and Black crossword, smoking before class. Park has a great view, kind of up on a hill from the stadium, and the streams of people going by, and the sun hanging low in the west, and the sweet, sweet anticipation of kickoff never cease to wow me.


So, we headed towards the stadium in a bourbon haze, in a sea of red, and then we purchased the most trashy red and black t-shirts ever made. They are unable to be worn around children, or in polite company. (They cracked us up, and fueled by bourbon, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I am hoping that Brett will get a photo of Lucy wearing his, and send it to me. Brett and I both suspect we will get nothing but disapproving shakes of the head from our spouses, though.)


And then, a wave of people walking into the stadium, and to find our seats.


It's pretty fun to watch Gurley hurtling towards you.

It’s pretty fun to watch Gurley hurtling towards you.


Great seats! Okay, the good thing about the seats were the location, the view and the overhang, shielding you from the sun. The bad thing is that it was probably 95 in the shade, and then the heat was rising from below and it seemed to just sit up under the overhang. I was never so thankful for the free fan. Talk about a way to feel southern. Dress in the same colors as the other 80,000 people around you, drink bourbon on early 18th century steps, and then use a fan to cool yourself off.


Well, I declare, I thought Brett might have a heatstroke up in that stadium. He’s almost a Yankee now, living out there on the west coast. I guess he just wasn’t used to our heat. Bless his heart.


(That was my best Scarlett O’Hara. That’s all I got.)


So, then? The game. Brett and I spent the first half being uneasy and nervous. Dawgs just didn’t look too . . . inspired. Well, that all changed, and we got quite a show in the 2nd half. That’s all I’m gonna say about that, because I believe in jinxes, and I’ve had my heart smashed to pieces the last two seasons, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for any outward emotional investment yet.


So, we got out of the game and rode the shuttle back out to the car, and drove back to Atlanta. All in all, it was a good day to be a Dawg.




Sunday, i woke up early, feet blistered, and packed a bag for the Lake. And i got there about 11. And it was, you guessed it, so hot. But i read on the dock, and the kids swam, and I drank beer with my two best friends, and I caught a bass and ate a persimmon and some berries right off the tree and vine, and then we at a steak dinner. And I watched the second half of the replay of the game, and it was just as good, and I got maybe a little excited, but JINXES. And then my husband and I did one of our favorite things, which is to sit on the dock, and listen to music, and gaze at the stars. (And a few fireworks across the lake.) The stargazing was not its best last night, a cloud covered most of the lake, but the Big Dipper and the moon were hanging low and bright in the clear western sky. It was hot and I had not showered, so i went swimming, and night swimming in the still lake, gazing at the crescent moon, with the faint notes of music in my ear is pretty damn near heaven.


I slept late (9? Is that late? I guess i am old.) I ate cold pancakes and drank coffee on the screened porch. And then Tiller and I rode the jet-ski, and we went to Goat Island, and it amazes/saddens me that she is so big now that she doesn’t even hold on to me when we ride. We did not see the goats, but boy was the lake busy today. And then i got back to the dock and i took Rollie out. Or should i say, he took me out. Yes, my boy is old enough to drive the thing, and I am just along for the ride. That is both wonderful and scary at the same time. (Still not old enough to take it out on his own, of course.) And my favorite part about that is that we get to have some time together, just the two of us, and we have fun, stopping to swim, and exploring the lake, and stuff like that.


So, i had to come home. Which makes me sad. When i was little, i used to cry about leaving the lake. I love it so. I still get sad to come back home. And now, back to the real world. The work week. The grind. But I feel pretty certain there will be a little Tuesday daydreaming about day drinking in Athens, 100-yard punt returns, fishing, swimming, and the stars.

Recipe for a good weekend: Boiled peanuts, Baseball, Bourbon, Bulldogs, and Bass.


*Photos courtesy of Brett Shell. It’s really hard to hold a drink while shaking one of those pom-poms and taking photos at the same time.

My Memories as Fairy Tale, or Once Upon A Time I May Have Touched Curt Cobain

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

I was laid out on the couch today, with strep throat. Todd took the kids to R’s baseball game, and I was flipping through Netflix, trying to find something interesting. The good thing about being sick is that I can watch tv that I wouldn’t normally watch. Guilt free. Because i’m sick. I can watch four episodes of British teen dramas. (Skins. I can’t quit you.) Then, I can totally decide to switch over and watch music documentaries, which I used to watch all the time, but never seem to find time for these days. Because of the aforementioned guilt.

And yeah, the music is early 90s. Got all nostalgic after seeing facebook photos posted by college pal Jasonaut. Black and white photos, fresh faces, wrinkled, lived-in clothes that didn’t really fit, Athens porches. Beautiful photos that make me think of the past with wistfulness, even as I realize that photos don’t capture heartbreak, heat, humidity, night breezes, the smell of smoke, or the feel of old couches, or what it feels like to have so. much. time. to. think. About everything. To death.

So, there i was, laid out on the couch, watching a documentary about Nevermind, and the kids walk in from post-game pizza at Felini’s and Tiller is looking all cute, with a pony tail on her head, wearing mary janes, polka-dot leggings, a madras plaid patchwork skirt, and a shirt that can only be described as “riotous” (it had a zebra print, at least five colors, including hot pink, and sequins) – she is Belinda Carlisle on acid. And she walks in, puts her hand on hip, and says definitively, “This is my favorite song.”

It’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” And i though to myself, “novice.”

And then I said, “Really? I didn’t know you liked this song.”

And she said, “Yes,” her hands out to me, palms up, making a point, and cocked her head to the right, nodding. “We listened to the Nirvana in the car with Daddy.” Weird. Synchronicity. Also, this is good, because it means he might have been actually listening to me when I was saying that it was sad the kids don’t hear full albums more often.

“Oh. Okay, well, would you like to watch a documentary about the album?” And I totally thought they would say no, while giving me that “fuck no, i want to play. Why would I want to watch this boring shit?” look, but instead, they both said, “Sure!” in unison, and curled up on the chairs, and there wasn’t even a fight about who would sit where.

And then they started asking questions:

Tiller: “Who’s that? Is he the dead one?”
Me: “Uh, did daddy tell you he died?
Tiller: “Yeah. How did he die?”
Rollie: “He got old, Tiller.”
Me: “Well, actually, no, it’s sad. He killed himself. Have you heard of that?”
In unison: “No.”
Oh. shit.
Me: “Well, he did. It was v. sad. Always remember that no matter how bad it might get, Mama and daddy are here, and you can always talk to us, and it’s never bad enough to kill yourself. It is a selfish, terrible, heartbreaking, sad thing.”
Rollie: “How did he do it?”
Me: “Uh, i don’t remember.” Total lie.
Tiller: “Why?” Uh, shit. Too early to discuss drugs and depression.
Me: “Sometimes people are in pain, physically, or they are so sad that it hurts, and they don’t know what else to do.” SHIT.
Rollie: “Was it a gun?” Shit.
Me: “I don’t know baby. Let’s watch. maybe they will tell us what happened.”

And then, my stomach kind of clenched, because they had Butch Vig talking about recording the song “Something in the Way,” which is just depressing-as-hell, a haunting song, and i was thinking, why am i letting them watch this? Crap!

Rollie: “This one is not so loud.” He says this, not with distaste, but with thoughtfulness.

Butch Vig talks about how he recorded it with Kurt Cobain laying on a couch in the room with the soundboard, and he was just lying on the couch, playing the guitar, and singing, and it was so quiet, and so moving. I was waiting for the kids to get bored and start fidgeting, but they are both staring at Butch Vig, talking about doubling up vocal tracks, like Lennon did, and i see R. jerk his head towards me, like, “Lennon! I know him!” but he turns back to the tv. And they just . . . listen.

Rollie whispers, eyes not leaving the screen: “I like that song.”
Tiller: “Me too.”

And then they start talking about Smells Like Teen Spirit and how they made the video, which, well, you know. You’ve seen it. And Tiller says, in a Barbara Walters-gonna-get-you-to-fess-up-voice: “Mom, were you there?” And I laugh and say no.

And then the documentary starts talking about Nirvana playing live. They show all sorts of footage that makes me smile: Cobain wearing a white coat, beating his head into his amp, and Novoselic throwing his bass in the air, and Cobain leaping into the drum set. I am smiling and I look over at my kids, and they are looking at me, like, “Why are you smiling? Aren’t they gonna get in trouble? Isn’t that bad?”

Tiller: “Why are they making that mess?
Me, smiling a HUGE, guilty grin: “For fun. For entertainment.”
R: “Are those people on stage dancing in the band?
I laugh. “No,” more laughter, “they are people in the crowd stage diving.”
R: “What’s that?”
Me, with a lot more laughter. “It’s stupid. People got so excited and they would jump on stage and dance with bands, and then they would jump into the crowd, and the crowd would catch them, usually, and then they might carry them around. And that’s “crowd surfing.”

Complete silence in the room, as they both sit watching this footage of . . . what i remember going to see bands like that was like. And i realized that they are watching people at a Nirvana show, and it must seem like a fairy tale to them, like my dad telling me he met the Rolling Stones, or if my mom up and told me she was at Woodstock.

Tiller: “Were you there, mom?”
Me, more laughter. Laugh out loud laughter. A happy laughter. “Not there, baby. But i saw them twice. One time in a really big place, like the Georgia Dome, but it was called the Omni. But the first time I saw them, i was in Athens and I saw them in a little small place, smaller than the place where we took you to see They Might Be Giants.” The crowd on TV is pushing and shoving.
Tiller: “Was Daddy there?
Me: “No, baby, i didn’t know Daddy yet. I was there with my roommate and another friend.”
Rollie: “Did you get pushed down?”
Me: “No!”
Rollie: “Did you get pushed?”
Me: “yes.”
Tiller: “Were you scared?”
Me: “No. It was fun.”
Rollie: “Did you get up on stage and jump off?”
Me: “Oh, no, baby. Not my style. Remember I don’t like heights or being the center of attention.”
Rollie: “Did anyone jump off?”
Me: “Yes, Curt Cobain did! But not with his guitar like that.” On the TV, Curt is jumping off a huge stage, with his guitar, at some festival into a sea of people. “And there were not that many people there.”
Tiller: “did you catch him?”
Me: “Yes, everyone caught him. He jumped off, and people caught him, and he grabbed a hold of this movie screen, you know the kind they set up for movies at school? That pull out of the ceiling? And he grabbed hold of it, and he pulled it down, while the crowd was holding him, and it came right out of the ceiling and he wrapped himself up in the screen while the people held him up.”
Tiller, eyes as big as saucers: “Did you touch him?”
Me: “Uh, yeah, i guess so.”

And they both just stared at me.

And I gotta admit . . . I felt like a complete and total bad ass. I really did have a life. Back in the day. And what’s more? I’m pretty sure they thought i was a badass. That will probably never happen again. At least until they have children of their own. And then they will know that keeping a kid alive for 8 years is pretty badass in and of itself.

p.s. Mom? Dad? Y’all aren’t perfect, but I do think you’re pretty badass.

post-post script: Interestingly, i found this site, because I was curious if anyone else had written about the show online. I would have keeled over in happiness to find a photo of that night. Not even a complete setlist.

10/05/91 – 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA
Set (incomplete)
Smells Like Teen Spirit • Breed • Endless, Nameless
The band was drunk and out of tune, but the show was apparently incredible, according to attendees.
During “Endless, Nameless,” Kurt vaulted up to the movie projection screen and ripped it out of the ceiling, inciting the crowd to get onstage with the band and trash everything. Meanwhile, Dave kicked his drums over, then piled them up in no particular order and played them with microphones. After the noise and destruction, the band piled their instruments onto the drums, wished the crowd a good night, and left the stage, according to an attendee.
Other Performers
Das Damen

So, yeah. . . i guess i didn’t totally dream it.

Photographic Black Hole for 90’s Music Lovers (of My Ilk)

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I don’t even know how I stumbled on this bunch of photos (mostly polaroids, for which i have a special weakness). It was one of those things where you click on a friend’s facebook link or Google something and find something unrelated but cool, go down a rabbit hole of interestingness, and find yourself sitting there an hour later wondering how you traveled time. Let’s just say that I finally had to cut myself off before I finished looking through them, because I had to go cook dinner. Because my kids are needy. Very needy. Why are they always asking me for things like food? Parenting is fucking hard.

The photos really, really make me wish I had taken more photos in my late teens/early 20s (but who had the money for that?), because I met lots of interesting people, and I would love to know if they really looked the way that they do in my mind today. Sure, few of my people were famous, like this guy’s, but more than the fact that it’s fun to gawk at famous rock stars (“famous,” again, to people who liked the same shit i liked), there is something about these photos as a collection that captures not just the individual faces, but the feeling of what it was like to be 20 during that time, and what people looked like to me.

It was a beautiful time for me. Terrible and beautiful. This guy captured the beautiful.


p.s. He also seems to like to take some photos of some random pretty young girls, which might border on slightly creepy, and there are some photos with boobs, so if you hate boobs/cleavage, etc, you might not even want to click. You’ve been warned.
p.p.s. The boob photos and the young girl photos are not the same photos.
p.p.p.s. Oh, hell, just go look.

Forgotten Post: NC Girls’ Weekend

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Not sure why, but I wrote this and forgot to publish it back in November!

Do you have old friends that you still get together with for weekends here and there?

About once or twice a year, I get together with some of my college roommates. I met them the first quarter I was in college at The University of Georgia. (I may have mentioned on Dogwood girl that I attended that fine institution.) I was trying to study for my first ever college exam, and I was so nervous, that I had studied for hours. (Duh. I aced it. Part of a terrible domino effect of events that resulted in me doing terribly for a year there at school. Better to not do so well on that first test and think that college is hard than to get it in your head that you barely need to study.) Well, I was tired, over-caffeinated, and stressed. My boyfriend and friends had all gone to see a band (Five-Eight, if I recall correctly) and I wished I was out seeing a band, too. I was trying to concentrate, and all I could hear was music booming, shrieks of laughter, and loud voices across the hall.

Have you met me? I am not shy. I marched right across the hall, and I asked them (probably not-so-politely) to keep it down. So, this little tiny thing with dark hair and a pair of the most piercing blue eyes I have ever seen, marched right up to me in the door way. I towered over her, and looking down at her, she was looking up at me, and if looks could kill, i woulda been a dead girl. She stared me down for a minute, then looked at my t-shirt, then said,

“You like Jane’s Addiction?”

I was completely caught off guard. I laughed.

“Yeah, i like them. You?”

“Yeah. I’m Honey.”

That was the Fall of 1990. We’ve been friends ever since.

This is us on our floor at Church Hall.


I think that’s Rachel’s room to the left of Charlie, and maybe Jennifer’s to the right of mine? I honestly can’t remember her last name now. Charlie was my boyfriend at the time. I think he is wearing my Hellraiser shirt! I was wondering what happened to it. I bet Matt Long was wondering, too, because I think I stole it from him. On the back, it said, “So many monsters, so little time.”

So, Honey was a deadhead, as was her roommate Laura. Not really my thing, so it was funny that we ended up friends, but college dorms make strange bedfellows. We all smoked cigarettes like maniacs, and played cards (Spitemouse!) and Nintendo in their room, for hours on end. Honey, and Laura, and Rachel, along with Jennifer, Rachel, Joy, and some chick that lived across the hall from me and could play the guitar like a mother. We laughed our guts out, and acted like complete dorks in front of each other.


Our friendship was cemented that year.

The following year, in the Fall of 1991, when we decided to get an apartment together, we added in their friend, Dana. I didn’t know Dana that well. I only met her through Honey and Laura, but we became fast friends. We shared a room in the three-bedroom apartment, to save money. It was v. glamorous: Two twin mattresses on the floor. Add in two long-term boyfriends, and it was a coed sleepover just about every night. (Sorry, mama.)



Wish I had a picture of Robert, who was Dana’s boyfriend at the time, but I don’t think I do. He is definitely a part of the landscape that was my sophomore year in college. He stayed up late watching TV and drawing. That was the year I had purple hair, which I remember, because Mya and I died our hair together in my bathroom in that apartment. No pictures of that either. I can only imagine that it must have looked horrible, but I can’t really remember. If you have a picture of it, for the love of God, please scan it and send it to me. I need a laugh.

We played a lot of Taboo, and the boys upstairs had lots of keg parties. Ren and Stimpy was always on tv during the weekends. That was also, “The Year Punk Broke,” I believe. Nirvana’s Nevermind came out that fall. I bought it the day it came out. I still remember begging Laura to go see Nirvana with me at the 40 Watt. Awesome show. I think Chris Herren went with us, too. It seems like everyone else had gone home that weekend, or something. And I think Dinosaur, Jr. played the very next night. That weekend is a distant blur of a memory of an awesome rock and roll weekend that I just enjoyed the heck out of. Green Mind, I believe, came out about the same time. Within a couple months, Nirvana was everywhere, and the guy upstairs would play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on repeat for hours on end, when he wasn’t screwing the guts out of his screamer girlfriend.

Then, Honey and I lived together with Scotty on Pulaski Heights. Best roommate arrangement ever. And then like a dream, I was graduating and it wall all over.

This is me and honey, on the steps of my little house, the day after my graduation party. Oi. My head.

Me and Honey

And she moved back to NC. Laura went back to Columbia for law school and then moved to Charlotte. Dana had gone back to NC too, and finished school in Boone. I moved back to Atlanta, and then on to Denver and then back to Atlanta.

Through it all we stayed in touch. Visits, breakups, showers, two brain tumors, weddings, divorces, births and deaths. We are still friends, and we still see each other every year. And I can’t imagine my life without them.

Not sure how I forgot to click publish on this post, back in November, when I spent a weekend with the girls at the farm. Better late than never. I don’t want the Girls to think that it wasn’t heaven. I want them to know how much they mean to me, and how much I love them.