Weekend Update and the Proof of SuperHumaness…

Yeah, I couldn’t wait for Wednesday I am too psyched and I can’t post it on facebook because I swore it would be the one place I wouldn’t discuss it so guess what…I met with Dr. H yesterday to go over the results of the PET scan (remember this was the full body scan that can detect cancer and that’s how they found it had spread from my guts to my left lung).  He had an urgent call from another doc about someone else so I just sat there reading the chick magazines and catching up on Hollywood gossip to the point I felt like I had become close pals with Brittany and her man (her manager) and was proud of how rooted her life has become.  See…there’s always a possibility for change and in a good way…so, he finally comes in and stares at my chart and apologizes for keeping me waiting and he’s trying to get over this cold blah blah (and of course I empathized with him because he’s saving my life and he’s adorable anyway in a hug your stuffed  bear kind of way only the bear isn’t chubby, just huggable)…then, he finally sits down and tells me he’s got nothing but good news for me and he can’t quite believe it himself but, everything he’d hoped for turned out with me and not only is my lung fixed but, there’s no sign of cancer anywhere…anywhere…nada…zippo…nil…I told him I wasn’t surprised and acted all casual about it and then said “so, basically I kicked stage 4 cancer’s ass”.  “yes, yes you did”.  At that point I clapped my hands like a 4 year old (I’m known for doing this when I get excited about something).  He laughed and we went over the plan from there.  We’re still going ahead with the 3 months of maintenance chemo just to make sure it doesn’t have a chance to come back.  The good news is instead of a combination of 3 chemo drugs it’ll just be the one.  I asked about side effects and was relieved to hear that sensitivity to cold was from one of the drugs we’re nixing so yaaaaay to that~  I’ll just be a bit tired and still won’t be able to go out in the sun until about a month after its done (hola mexico 😉 and a couple other typical and minorly annoying side effects so I should be able to continue with open mics and more…

So, enough of that chatter.  Feel free to raise a pint or sip on some champagne for me this week 🙂  I think we all deserve it after me going through it and me dragging you all along for the ride.  Friday is payday so I’m officially celebrating then.  Last night I celebrated with a nice glass of Chardonnay (only because they don’t have Pinot Griggio) and an open mic at Hensley’s.  I almost didn’t go because Carrie warned me there was a stabbing the night before.  Not in the pub but someone walking home from it.  Some say it happened in the Barrio but, I say he must’ve really pissed off some chick and she was just waiting for him.  I can think of a few times I wanted to club or stab some of my exes.  Of course I didn’t.  Or…rather if I did I certainly wouldn’t announce it.  What is that old saying…”a best friend not only knows where the bodies are, they helped you bury them”…Oh crap that’s just morbid.  Where the hell did that come from??  Okay…shake the head and back to the pub…there’s a new bartender there…Irish…nice fellow, chatty.  I decided not to try and corral anyone to this one except I did send a txt to M (Michele…that’s her latest nickname…at least between me n Carrie it is) to let her know because she asked me to when she missed the last one.  I didn’t pay attention to my phone again until I pulled up and saw her txt and was txting her back when she appeared at my window with that look of “Helloo dummass…I’m standing right here so why are you txting me already”.  I paint her as a real tough nut but it’s all surface.  She’s a total mush under all those layers of Staten Island badassness ;). 

Shortly after we sat down and were just smiling over the good news I heard my name and turned around to see the guy who runs the open mic.  I didn’t know his name at the time but, he caught me at a moment and I hugged him big time and as i hugged him I said “oh, sorry but, I had a really really good day~”.  Who doesn’t like hugs??  He smiled and it was almost awkward until he saw M’s face and it was full of confirmation “Ali indeed had an amazingly good day so hugs are a must..it’s how she rolls”.  Funny how much it meant to me that he remembered my name.  I wrote it on the sign up sheet and barely spoke to him the last time I was there.  I like being remembered.  It doesn’t happen that often so when it does it’s really cool.   I don’t know…some who read this have known me since grade school so maybe they’ll disagree but, I’d say I mostly blended into the background growing up.  Mainly because I didn’t know how the hell to act (or interact) without making a jackass of myself so I stepped aside.   

Aaaaanyway….so I was the first up and the crowd really wasn’t big and wasn’t there for open mic so I didn’t get the same level of response I did at the Aussie Pub open mic but, it was still appreciative and M was right there in front of me just a few yards away so she gave the nod like3  it’s not you, you’re doing fine so i kept going.  I think I did 3 songs and then the guy who runs it asked me for one more.  So, I played “One Day”….’what if you had one day…what would you do…what would you say…before the world just washed away…”.  It was something I wrote about a year and a half ago when I knew something bad was up but, not sure how bad.  Makes you think about mortality and what you would do differently if you knew you’re time was just about up.  I haven’t played that song in a long time.  Felt good to.  After I was done he asked if he could borrow my guitar (Martin) and I was glad to.  He got up on stage and said this was a song he didn’t have words to and besides his voice wasn’t as pretty as mine (yes, I totally gushed like a 12 year old at the compliment I am sucha dork).  Then, I listened as he strummed and picked his way though this beautiful song (in a way I only hope to be able to play one day) and midway through I looked at M and she looked at me and I said “wow…he can play”….then I focused back on him and toward the end of the song I looked at her again and leaned in and said “I think I found my guitar player”.  It was the sound I was looking for and he totally seems a good soul and devoid of uhm…what do you call it…eh…fek my brain…premadonnaism?.  When he finished I bursted out “I loooooooove it~” and he flashed a smile of genuine appreciation then he called out to me to hold the guitar so he could turn down the amp and it could be unplugged.  I’m telling you…between him (oh I asked the bartender and his name is Jeremy) and the violin/mandolin player…I think we might have a trio…I decided to work on the mandolin/violin first then bring him to open mic at Hensley’s and see how it goes.  I did send a note to Jesse who runs the Aussie open mic so he’s do some recon for me :-).

So, that’s my weekend update.  Not a bad one eh?  Cancer cured…musicians coming into focus and tonite I meet with the tax lady to find out how much I get back and if it will cover the costs of recording the CD.  All that’s left now is to get my ass on a treadmill and start working off the chemo weight (before we start up again mid April).  Well, and keep practicing/playing  and working on forming a trio of course~

I didn’t make Sunday’s open mic at the old Gibs but, I’ll try again this Sunday.  and I’ll go back to Aussie pub in April and this time I’m dragging Keen with me.  You hear that Keen??  He apparently hasn’t played in months and that’s just plain wrong.  So, get ready pal for the nagging of your life~

😉

Until next week I hope that you have many days of good news and good moments and as always…thanks for listening 🙂

‘ali

Weekend update and the forgetful mind…

Yeah, that’s my way of saying “woops”, I totally spaced yesterday and didn’t  blog.  Mostly because I slept through last week…still waitin on the 2nd wind to kick in~

Tonite, is an open mic so I’ll have something interesting to share (finally).  So, look for this blog filled in later tonite or enjoy it first thing tomorrow over your morning cup o joe 🙂

FRIDAY: What…this is first thing for me.  At least today it is.  I was so psyched last night that I couldn’t sleep.  Too tired to type but, my mind was all abuzz from the open mic.  Two of my old workmates were there.  One, it was her first time ever hearing me sing and she is the brutally (with a captial B) honest type so I was a bit leary about inviting her but, I hadn’t seen her since I went on medical leave back in October and it turned out to be a really great and meaningful reunion :).   I had a nice crowd of my own there…Laura, Jen, Daniel (remember my old neighbor/med student/musician?), Margaret(who I’ve known since I was a tween and was roomates with her when I lived in Hawaii in my early 20’s) , her sister Alli and Alli’s daughter Felicia.   I opted to go first and I wasn’t too nervous.  Just  a bit self conscious over looking like a sea lion and all but, I do know my body is making progress at getting back to normal so I wasn’t too freaked about it.  Just kindof  humbling experience. 

They sat just to the side of me in one of the back booths.   Jesse (who runs the open mic) gave me a big welcome back hug and made sure to setup a speaker that faced my peeps.  Was really cool.  Saw some familiar artists and some new ones.  One in particular was this guy that played Mandolin and Violin.  I couldn’t hear him much but, you could see he was really into what he was playing.  Very sincere.  There was the loud Loooooud drunk guy who called out when I was finished “ONE MORE SOOOOONG”.  First time I’ve ever heard that~  Then my friends piped in too so, I smiled, thanked em and was about to play one of the sad ones but, mr. big lungs shouted “FOR MY GIRRRRRLFRIEND”…so, I dedicated it to his girlfriend and he shouted out his happiness at that as she cringed beside him and I went with “The more you love”.  I forgot to put the capo on the first fret so it was a bit low for me and I felt off tune a couple times but, Jen (who had taken up residence just a couple feet in front of me with her phone camera poised) assured me I sounded great.

The two best things that came out of this open mic were Laura (Ms. Brutally honest) saying she really liked my voice and I should record a CD 😉 and the mandolin/violin player who complimented me after I him and so I blurted out “If I were to start a band I’d totally want you in it” to which he said “REALLY?? Coool~”.  Maybe that’s how it happens…we shall see…

The most popular song was my usual first to play…”Baby”.  The new verse brought tears to Jen’s eyes (she’s such a mush).  “now there’s one more thing to add to the story of this lad…Come fall…he and his lady…are gonna have a….baaaaby….baaaaby…the simplest of words but, the best they’ve ever heard…”.  Man do I love that song and the smiles it invokes :).

I didn’t get to have a lesson with Russell (aka Moppet) yesterday.  Couldn’t afford it but, tax return is soon and when it comes I’ll make frequent visits to catch up :).

So, what’s next?  Sunday and Monday are open mics.  Sunday will be my first time playing at the one at the old Gibs.  I used to be a regular there back when my friends owned it.  I loved the house band and the mix of traditional Irish and modern folk/pop they played.  Those were good times…and I remember wishing I had the guts to get up on stage and sing with them so this’ll be a pretty big step for me to go there.  Even though they won’t be on stage it still holds the memories for me.  A musician friend (Jeff Diamond – check out his music on iTunes) runs it and I haven’t seen him in eons so it’ll be good to and dammit if I didn’t make my tax prep appt on Tuesday at the same time as the songwriter’s competition.  They’re tough to come by the tax appt with my regular chica so I’m going to have to postpone songwriters until next month.  It’s held the first Tuesday of every month and I could use some lessons in between now and then so maybe it’s a good thing.

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to and now off to the gym to sweat out those nasty chemicals that keep tightening up my vocal chords~

Lots to fill you in on next Wednesday so until then I hope you have a great week and that good things come your way 🙂

and thanks as always for listening~

‘ali

Oh, and did I tell you I covered the MLS games this weekend in LA?

Here’s a shot for all you Beckam fans…

PS: Margaret took some pics so as soon as I get them I’ll add them here~

Weekend Update and the Lost Hours…ehm Days…

Been staring at a blank page for a while now…yeah am shocked myself that I, the novelist txter is struggling for something to say.  Friday marked the last day of the 6 months of chemo and I think my brain and body got together to celebrate and then go on strike because I’ve slept far more than been awake since Saturday and I don’t even seem to mind it.  I tried to pick up martin Monday but, my throat was still locked up and I think all the little side effects that get under my skin finally hit that limit where you just say “enough allfknready” and I  just shut down with a brilliant theory of sleeping through them until they fade away.

So, not alot of music got done but, I did catch up on NCIS, House and Law n Order…

I did get several open mics setup and this weekend I get to play Photojournalist again and cover a couple MLS games up in LA and while I’m there, I’ll be finally catching up with the imfamous Bernadette O’Neil of County Cork.  Yes, she’s a nutter.  A nutter with a huge heart and apparently a new dog in her life.  She has the amazing ability to take a shack and turn it into something that you’d find in Better Homes n Gardens.  You know I don’t deal well with L.A.  I always feel like I’ve stepped into the twighlight zone whenever there.  Monday is a great case in point.  I know how to drive.  I’m one of the best out there if I say so myself yet somehow when picking my good friend up from the Long Beach airport that night (after visiting her father in the hospital in NY), somehow after about 40 minutes of driving…we discovered we were headed North on the 405 instead of South to San Diego which means we didn’t get home until about 1am and lets not talk about that wacky adventures we had trying to find an open gas station as my little yellow gas gauge light kept burning brighter and  brighter…I felt so bad because she’d been through much let alone a longass flight across country and she felt bad because I was still detoxing, sweating head to toe the whole ride.  I could blame it on my chemo brain but, I’d rather blame the series of mishaps it on L.A.

Ugh.

So, not much happened over last weekend but, plenty coming up to make up for it~  Sunday is the open mic in Carrie’s hood again (which I’ll be speeding back from L.A. for) and this time Jen is coming and bringing some of her nursing school buddies and lest we not forget that folk singing kid who promised to branch out and play his original song “Ninja cats”.  I think I’ll bring the flipcam for that one ;).  Monday is a maybe open mic at Hensleys.  Carrie told me they have something else on the books for that night so I’ll have to call them to get that sorted.  Next Thursday is open mic in my old hood and possibly a guitar lesson thrown in ;).  I’m also going to see some old workmates and neighbors that I haven’t seen since I moved back up to North County back in November.  This week will be packed full of good memories just waiting to happen :-).

Not the most exciting weekend update from this sleepy head but, next week’s will  hopefully make up for it.

In the meantime I hope something good comes your way maybe even out of the blue.  I got a good feeling about it so keep your eyes peeled…

Thanks as always for listening~

‘ali

Weekend Update and the Move to the Front…

Happy Wednesday everyone 🙂

I’m typing a bit slower today…arms sore…got several bursts of energy since last chemo session so I took advantage of it and started training for the 5k I signed up for.  Did I tell you about that already?  Back when I was a runner (short distance trust me), I used to make the annual 5k in Carlsbad a yearly tradition.  It started out because I lived just blocks from the finish line and they woke me up with their f’n bullhorns so I figured I might as well get in on it.  Even when I moved back to Seattle for a few years I still came back for it.  It became a nice, anuual tradition and fun way to re-connect with friends down here.   I doubt I’ll be able to run any but, the last stretch of it but, at least I’m back on that mule (I’d say horse but, it’s not as much fun as riding a horse).  So, my big claim to whoooo look at healthy me is getting to the gym a few times and each time, power walking the 5k + on the treadmill there.   This little mini ipod that you can clip to your clothes has been a godsend.  Still haven’t found the old one that I bought specifically for the race one year but, I’m liking this one and how hard it is to  lose 🙂

Ok, enough of that prattle, let’s get on to the music~  I did finally go back to Hensley’s open mic (which I haven’t been to for months) to find that it had been taken off the calendar for a while and only just started back up again with a totally new host who couldn’t be farther from the style of our Mr. Valentine…this one had back length dreads and a manly beard where valentine was more like a wood nymph.  Both cool people, I’m just sayin…so, the other change was that instead of it being in the back room which is nice and  dark and away from the bar itself, it’s been moved to the main stage in front for all to see…eeeeek is exactly what I said to which the bartender (also new to me) just shrugged his shoulders in Irish fashion to say “buck up princess”.   So, I did.  I sat alone for a while and signed up to go on stage at 7:40 hoping someone else would go first but, so far just one other guitar was in the place…then I turned to see one of my guardian angels had arrived :-).  Sandy is the one that does my vitals and we chat every time and she’d asked about the music once and said she’d be coming to an open mic if I got back to them and true to her word, there she was :-).  I handed her my camera and dubbed her staff photographer for the day which she seemed quite keen on.  In true form, ten minutes before my time and no one had taken the stage yet so I hopped off the bathroom (more out of nervous habit than need) and when I came back she said beardie had called me up.  So, I pulled Martin out of the case, tuned him up and hopped up on the stage.  We test the mic and the input for the guitar until was in order.  Oh and just before that,  another familiar face approached me…Nicole~  She’s the one who’s husband and herself I met and Serg n Annes and found her husband in a guitarist and tried to link up with him for duo work but, he’s heavy metal inspired and so I must seem like pink bubble gum in comparison.   My chair faced them both and they totally put me at ease so I introduced myself, mentioned I’d been a couple years on guitar and am crap at playing other people’s songs so I’ve been making up my own.  I then told a brief story about Serg n Anne and started my set out with the Baby song (because its my happiest of happy songs and always puts me at ease).  Then, I went for Dorian Gray and also prepped the crowd with the general theme before breaking into song.  Funny thought…all day I had a frog in my throat and nearly canceled but, as soon as I opened my mouth on stage it totally disapeared.  Strange.  Anyway, I got a warm response from the place so I told them how Russell taught me a better way to play this but, I’m still struggling with it so, my apologies to all the real guitarists out there and then told them how i was inspired by the mystery man to write the song to which a couple shouted out “Ah, c’mon tell us who it is!”. I smiled and said “nope, at least not today…” and it hit me…look at me ma…I’m connecting with the audience~  It was the coolest moment ever.  I ended the set with “Piece of Cake” that I hadn’t played in a while.  Beardie told me before hand that I could play a longer set but, I told him I’m not quite up for it.  Maybe next time I’ll stretch to six and add a cover song…Nicole said after she wanted to shout “Encore!” oh yes…she’s a keeper~  She also volunteered to be the photographer for the upcoming open mics.  She’s a transplant from Philly.  I like east coasters.  I’m always instantly comfortable around them.  I know how hard it is to meet people in SoCal.  Same as Seattle, people just aren’t quite so open to cold call introductions.  I have no idea why to be honest.  I can be that way too so, if you ever meet me on the street, don’t take it personal.  It’s engrained but, don’t mind it because once I pull my head out of the clouds I’m extremely conversational.  Ever in the clouds though…

What else…oh, the guy who went up after me was good too.  He only did covers but, I wonder if he’s written some originals as well.  He came up to us afterwards and was full of compliments and also explained he’d just moved here for a job from San Luis Obispo.  I used to travel there for work and man oh man a beautiful town (for not being seaside that is).  So, in typical Ali fashion I wrote down all the open mics I know in the area and said I’d introduce him to some of the players I know about town as well as facebook friending.   He’s too young for me to consider him as the duo partner I’m looking for but, I know what it’s like to be new somewhere and how invaluable it is when locals give you a roadmap.  Just payin it forward…

Today, I answered a couple ads on craigslist for singers for projects and one possible prospect for a duo collaboration.  We’ll see…

I also signed up for a couple more open mics in the area and will be returning to the songwriter’s competition at Humphrey’s by the Bay in Point Loma.  That’ll be the first Tuesday of April which is just after the 5k so it might be a painful venture but, WTH.  I will have been on a chemo break for three whole weeks by then and I’m not wasting this break for anything~ 

So, this week I’m signing up for San Diego’s writers competition (as soon as they fix the damn glitch on their website so I can download the entry form #$%#@).  The next open mic scheduled is back in Carrie’s hood on the 20th so…maybe I’ll find another one before then because that does seem pretty far away and this month is the best for it so, I’ll get crackin on it (as Steven would say) Todaaaay fer fkssake~

That said, I’m a bit distracted right now because one of my BFF’s is going through that tough time with a parent in the hospital and with us all in the group being transplants we know how hard it is to live so far away…add the stress of living on a tight budget here and you’ll find yourself sitting at home rocking back and forth, clutching one of the sofa pillows for dear life.   These are the times I wish I’d hit the jackpot and could just hand them a couple grande and say “go, don’t worry about a damn thing and just go”.  I’ve had to rush to my dad’s side a couple times so I know how it feels.  Bad ticker.  Great head of hair though and don’t think he’s not proud of it ;).  Anyway, that’s where my mind is at right now.  That and a gentle reminder from a certain someone that although charming and whitty as they all are, my last blog was a big long for a coffee break read so I thought I’d scale it back a bit just this once to prove I could ;)…ok, maybe he didn’t use the words “charming and whitty” I’ve decided he thinks they are and I’m stickin with that so don’t try to tell me otherwise cuz I’ll have none of it I say~

Ok, so life is short and full of unexpected moments be them good, bad or ugly.  Whichever comes your way I hope you have a solid group of  loved ones (be them animal or human) who can help carry you through it.

Thanks so much for following along.  More and more to come…

‘ali

Singing my heart out at Hensley's

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Weekend Update and Tales of my two favorite Fish

So, guess what I found out today…Michele actually reads my blogs~  How do I know?  Because when we were having coffee this morning she shot me a look and then said “I read your latest blog…(my mind quickly searching to find the cause of her tone)”  followed by an overemphasized “I don’t caaare!”.  LoL and Doh’.  Luckily we’re that good of friends and she’s not easily offended so what followed was “do people really read these tales of dumb and dumber?”.   I gave her a blank stare until she pointed out she meant she n me.  I laughed and said “huuuuuundreds….per moooonth” then she proceeded in the dumb and dumber fashion to recap what I’d written in last week’s blog and we laughed so hard and so loud I half expected the cafe guy to tell us to take our obnoxious selves elsewhere.   We haven’t laughed that hard and that loud in a good long while.  Was an awesome moment.  What does this have to do with my two favorite fish you say?  Absolutely nothing.  Helloooo you know me enough by now~

So, yesterday was my mother’s birthday.  Funny how often I’d forget it when she was alive and now I remember it like a school bell going off in my head these past few years.  Being born on March 1st makes her a Pisces in astrology (if you’re into that) and being my mom, she is still one of my favorite people/fish.  I bring her up not to just deflect from the fact that it was chemo week which means not much happened musically but, because she’s a link to who I am and my love for music.  I know I’ve talked about my dad and his influence in music and the myriad of instruments that were around the house whereas my mom has been more of a sideline or fallguy for the jokes like how she ruined the baby grande because she decided to build her own terrarium to enhance the look of the beast but, neglected to test it to make sure it wouldn’t leak water…yes…there are many stories like this that if you told them without name, people who know us both would have a hard time which one the story’s about.  We have more in common than I’d ever admit most of the time.  The one thing that really set us apart was she was almost always a cup half empty person where mine was almost always at least half full which as you can guess caused a lot of friction over the years.  That, and her innate ability to re-arrange my home on her visits whenever I turned my back for even a split second.   Now some of you are thinking back to a blog in September where my sister came down to help me out when I had my surgery and yes…she will dig her heels in before admitting any likeness but, that my friends is a trait they most definitely have in common~

My mother (who I relentlessly called Maaaaaaaah) was also a creative type.  Her passions were sewing, stained glass and the theatre.  She once not too many years back told me that when she lived in the convent (oh yeah, did I tell you she was a nun before she met my dad of course?) that she had a chance to act in a couple plays and absolutely loved it.  She was torn when she had the chance to go live with a lovely family as a live in nanny but discovered just before leaving that the nun who directed the plays had her in mind for the leading role in a Shakespeare play.  Ma was riddled with regrets like that.  She would’ve been so much happier if she were able to drift in and out of parallel worlds.  I’m not calling her a whiner.  She had it tough growing up, no doubt.  Her mom died while giving birth to her (only) brother, her dad left them (abandonment issues galore) with their maternal grandmother and started another life in another state, her brother resented her leaving him behind to live with one of the most miserable of aunts when their grandmother passed away, she lived through the depression and the loss of a boyfriend to the war and well, she lived in a convent for many years.  That all in itself is worthy of a whine or two.  Do we bring up the raising of 7 kids at this point?   Maybe save that for later…What did go right was she was advised just before the taking of final vows (after that, you’re pretty much locked into the nunnery for life) to look to something more mainstream like nursing instead.  She earned a scholarship and got on a train from Detroit to Spokane, Wa where she spent the next three years in servitude as a nurse in training. 

My favorite of her fish stories?   “I was studying as usual when the girls pushed me to go with them to a town mixer where the Gonzaga boys would be.  I was much older than them (25) and didn’t see the point but, they talked me into it.  I spent most of the night sitting on a bench watching one or two men look my way and one in particular who kept poking his head through his group of pals…after a good long while I thought forget this…I could be studying.  So, I went over to the coat check and handed them my ticket.  That’s when I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned to see the peeker had worked up the nerve to ask me to dance.  We didn’t even realize until our first date that we had the same last name!”.  The other is how she talked about when Pop was courting her and he proclaimed  “One day we’ll have 8 children!”.  “8?!  Why you haven’t even asked me to marry you yet!”.   Nearly 50 years they were married and definitely had their ups and downs but, they genuinely liked eachother and that’s a great start.  I once asked them what the secret was to their marriage and my mom smiled and said “A sense of humor” before my dad nearly cut her off with a resounding “Patience!”.  Oh yeah…you can bet he got a look for that outburst ;).  My mom was the unwitting “bad guy” in most of the scenarios.  I remember when they gave the dog away while we were at school, my brother Chris put up a petition on the kitchen white board to trade out mom for the dog.  Of course as adults we recognize our street was too busy and she was an unruly shephard who kept breaking her chain and threatening the smaller dogs by putting their heads in her mouth so yes…a farm was a much better place for her.  She was better equipped to be it I think but, as grownups we now understand those things we griped at her for were team decisions.  She understood the need for good cop/bad cop.  Plus, my dad was crap at playing the bad cop.  I remember once he was supposed to swat me and I cried and cried and then he nearly cried and then I was sent off swat free.  The boys (I have 5 older brothers) like to take guesses at how many wooden spoons she broke on them.  I don’t remember that but, I do remember her nearly tearing Eddy’s ear off when he smarted off to her and somehow now a fond memory of me being a bratty teenager and the word “bitch” slipped out of my mouth which was followed my a hand whacking my head back and forth along the length of the room integrated words on each impact “dont   you    eeeeever   call meeee that word ever never ever again!”  Luckily by the time I hit the wall she’d made her point and believe you me in sunk in.  To this day whenever I use that word I cringe just after for old times sake.  Although she had half a voice for many years (pierced a vocal chord shouting for the boys to come in to dinner before I was even a twinkle) she loved to sing.  She embraced our French heritage (I don’t care what you say…French-Canadian is still “French”) and often sang in French…”Dominque nique nique…”.  I’m more drawn to the Scottish (loooooooooooove the bagpipes) but,  if you asked her, she’d say I embodied more of the Bohemian side than anything else.  I only agree in the sense that I tend to go the road less conventional but, I am still the daughter of a nun so it only goes so far off the main path before I start to feel a tugging at my waistcoat. 

My mom inspired me even more by her actions later in life.  When she’d calmed from the hair-pulling persona of a mother of seven and went on happy pills.  That’s when she got back into theatre as an actor and an accomplished costume designer.  She made some beautiful stain glass pieces for our home and even took to stenciling the dining room, my bedroom (which used to be a storage area off the laundry room until my sister threatened to kill me if she didn’t get some space for herself and her highschool mates to be well, high schoolers) and her infamous sewing room.  Which of all the rooms in the house, this one was and will always be “her”.  You can smell her, envision her and feel her presence when you’re in there.  It’s very comforting.  She was also the one that taught me how important it is to leave your mark on the world.  Even if its just a little one.  She did so by making a quilt for each of us and for each of her grandkids.   Brilliant she was.  She even held out and passed on Mother’s Day to make sure she would not soon be forgotten.  To add more measure to it, that year Eddy’s birthday landed on that day.  They weren’t that close before but, he was sure it was her way of saying she loved him and I don’t doubt it for one minute.  She was always able to think on many levels or should I say “strategize”.  Another thing I remember vividly is that she would get a sense something was wrong so she’d call me to see if it was me.  If I didn’t respond after the second call she’d leave the following message “Alicia….this is your mother…this is the second time I’ve called and now I’m even more concerned.  If you don’t return my call today I will call the police and have them come to your home and check on you”.  Yup.  And she would too I knew it.  I think she actually did with Den once… She will not be ignored! 

So, what does all of this have to do with anything?   I think it’s just good to look back and remember someone and what parts of them you carry with you and how it brought you to where you are now and how it helps or hinders you from plowing ahead.   One other big thing about her is she was also a Cancer survivor.   She found out when I was living in Japan and was done with all of her treatments by the time I moved back and I remember her insisting when she first told me “Don’t you dare move back on my account…I’m fine.  I mean it”.  For someone who pulled an all out campaign when I said I’d be staying in Tokyo longer than the 3 months as planned (seriously had my friends in tizzy thinking I’d been brainwashed or stranded or enslaved by the Yakuza and needed rescuing) those words carried a lot of weight.  When we were in the same room again I remember her saying that this was a curse on the women in the family going way back and so I should be prepared that I will undoubtedly face it too one day.   Having that in my mind totally prepared me for what came last September.  I think the docs with the “Bad news I’m afraid” speeches thought I was a nutter when my response was so matter of fact but, that’s why.   So much easier to deal with things when you know what’s coming your way.  Why do you think there are so many mediums and fortune tellers?  Oh- I just thought of something funny….John B….remember when we all went to see Poltergeist and when the medium was shuffling up the stairs you nearly shouted “that’s not a medium…that’s an extra large!”.  But, I digress…again..

Maybe that’s my que to move on to fish #2 whose birthday is on the 5th…I can’t say too much about this one because he’s pretty damned sensitive about privacy but, I will say he is one of my favorite people on the planet, one of my best friends in this lifetime and also happens to be my ex.  Anyone who meets us is surprised how well we get along but, I think its very natural.  Am I friends with all my ex’s?  Nope.  Just this one but, I’m pretty damn proud of it and feel very lucky he’s the one fish I didn’t have to throw back.  I even love his g/f.  She’s perfect for him and we genuinely like and appreciate eachother which is always a perk.  So, what is it about him that makes him a favorite fish?   For one, he taught me to not take things quite so seriously.   He’s from Scotland you see and they have a slightly different sense of humor than most Americans.  “Silly cow” comes to mind.  The first time he said it I burst into tears “what a terrible thing to say…you calling me fat?? (and no, at the time I so was not) and he was floored to see my reaction.  I think he was stunned is more the word and I remember the look on his face as he grappled to find the cause of my (over) reaction.  I learned a lot over the years about “taking the piss” out of someone vs being mean and learning to speak up.  I was always the “I don’t care, whatever you want is fine by me” kind of person but, that’s a bad habit to be in.  It’s good to express and want certain things.  Even if it’s just to be heard.  I remember one day him pissing me off big time.  Who knows what it was about but, I turned to him and said “You’re being a real cu#t”  to which he stood and boasted “Good for you Gungadette (one of his fav nicks for me…his friends called me St. Ali if that gives you any idea just how much of a handful he was) and he actually clapped his hands together in genuine approval. 

His view of the world is very offbeat but, refreshing at the same time.  I remember  being in the other room and hearing him chirping at the commercial on TV…”yes…welcome to America, have your credit card ready”.  What most he’s given to me is support when I least expect it (and mostly need it) and an effortless “Of course you can do it”.  I remember having great angst over taking the final Microsoft exam for my MCSE (1 year/7 exams in total) and coming through the front door he says “well…how did it go…” and I burst into tears…not the wipe away but, the blubber, snot nosed bawling…I kept hearing my mom’s voice saying “Why don’t you ever finish anything?” and he just said “oh dear…let’s get you a beer and sort this out”.  So, he pragmatically walked me through what happened, how I’d already proven myself 6 times over and that the next time I take the test I will pass it and if not, then the time after that.   He’s really good at breaking down what seem insurmountable situations and yes Pete…to Cancer I say “no big deal” but, to failing an exam I fall apart.   Big things…I got it covered but, the little things…not so much.  We each have our own idiosyncrasies that’s for sure.   Another thing that makes me laugh is when my mom had hip surgery and he got on the phone to her and said “Hellooo hop along…how are you fairing today?”  Who says that??  He does…as well as some things that can make a whole room shudder on impact.  Above all things he believes in me and he’s shown me many times you don’t have to have a fancy degree or a ton of years experience to be good at something.  I have no doubt of that and that carries me on days when I start to whimp out.  I’ve said before and I’ll say it many times over that I’m very lucky to have a whole group of friends that believe in me and allow me to be completely myself around them.  These are things that carry you through to the next round of whatever it is you’re facing.  

What do these things have to do with my music project??  Nothing and Everything.   The lyrics in my songs come from memories and influences from cetain people in my life, good or bad.  I genuinely hope that you’re at least as lucky as me to have much more of the good and that whatever it is that keeps you coming back to read these silly blogs (be it the tales of dumb and dumber or the curiosity of whether I will actually make it all happen) that you know how much I appreciate it and count you as a part of this adventure.

The only thing music wise that happened last week (other than practice at home) was an incredibly lucid dream I had where I was humming a tune to a song and asking someone if it was someone elses or mine and they said it was mine so I said “Sht, I gotta remember this one when I wake up so it doesn’t slip away”.   Not a clue what was.  Not a note remembered but…the way my brain works with its infinite looping it will come around again at some point.  In the meantime, I’m negotiating with the nurses on which open mic I will play in our area next and looking forward to one last chemo session (next week) before a nice little mini break.   Oh, and I signed up for the local 5k in April.  I’ll be walking it this time but, at least I’m doing it~

A possible open Mic next Monday.  Will take pics and bring stories next Wednesday~

Till then, thanks as always for listening and a special thanks to you all that have been forwarding this on to others.  The website manager shows a ton of new links to it.  That is just so cool~

Look at all who came to read the blog last month....cooooool~

‘ali

PS: While I was proofing this I decided to put some carrots in the steamer (look at me being so healthy) when I was mid way through I smelled something burning…yes…water is a good thing to not forget to add.  Seriously…someone should unplug my oven before someone gets hurt, Oy~

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