Wednesday, April 11, 2012

... a lifetime is not enough for music

Sometimes I see an event advertised and I think to myself Self, I'm not exactly sure what this is all about, but for some reason I think it'd be a great idea if we went and checked it out! Which I take as some sort of a Diving Intervention thing. Which can easily be confused with a The Devil Made Me Do It thing, as in heyyy! I've got this bottle of Tequila Rose and I think it'd be a great idea if we played Up and Down the River with it! One leaves you refreshed and invigorated; the other leaves you heaving in a bucket until 3:30 the following afternoon, not caring at all about the crusted mess at the end of you hair.

So when I saw The Rose Ensemble was going to be at Young Auditorium in Whitewater, Wisconsin, I totally didn't know what they were, what they did, or what it was all about.... but something told me I had to check it out.

I think it was this statement that sold me: "The Rose Ensemble reawakens the ancient with vocal music that stirs the emotions, challenges the mind, and lifts the spirit." Well, now. If that's not something that spurns interest...

Holy Shitake! Who knew I loved late 1800 Shaker settlement music?! And I'm not even kidding.

Look, I know nothing about singing. Nothing at all. But I know when my spine trembles from the deep, rich sound of a man's voice that reaches into the depths of my soul. I know that man can sing.

I know when an unassuming woman opens her mouth and lets out the songs of angels and the room starts to glitter and shine. I know that woman can sing.

I know when a fiddle mourns and a guitar prances and I know when a man playing a bass forgets he's on stage with hundreds of people staring at him. I know I'm witnessing something so beautiful I can hardly swallow down a breath.

The songs came from their CD called And Glory Shone Around which is described as "a tapestry of early American spiritual songs, ballads and dances." And what a rich tapestry it was! There was original Shaker music from 1893 (Give Good Gifts) and a Traditional Scottish Gaelic Milling Song (Seinn O-Oran Luaidh) and the song that WILL be played at my funeral which was listed in the program as Niel Gow's Lament on the Death of his 2nd Wife.

But it wasn't all slow, sad songs. There was a song from during the temperance movement called King Alcohol. Had us all cracking up!

I would definitely go see them again. In fact, I haven't stopped talking about them since I saw them and only wish they had more samples on their website.

I realized that I'm (1) jealous I have no musical talent like this amazing group of people and (2) was totally put on this planet to appreciate amazing musical talent. And then I wondered why on earth I don't go out and check out more events that I know nothing about. I see things advertised on posters at the local coffee shop, in the paper, splashed across Facebook - and it looks interesting, unique, fun -- and I want to go, but then something holds me back. Fear, I suppose.

I will feel out of place, like an intruder. A few weeks ago the church down the street from us held a benefit dinner, and the menu sounded tasty. The logical side of me said, "good food at reasonable prices, they'll raise money and you won't have to do dishes!" But the scared, insecure part of me said, "you're going to walk in and they're going to take one look at you and know you're not Baptist!"

What do I bring? Do I bring money? How much? Can I come late? Or is there an actual start time? Are kids allowed? Or will I seem like a perv if I show up without any kids? And do I need to shave?

The thing is, every time I've gone out on a limb and went someplace I knew nothing about it's always been okay. In fact, it's always turned out more than okay. I usually end up chiding myself for even considering chickening out and not going. Think about what you would have missed? And I've always learned something. Always. I experienced something I wouldn't have known about otherwise. I come back appreciating people a little more. I come back with a better understanding of the world I live in. And I come back with the knowledge that there is so very, very much to learn in our world, and I best get busy finding out everything that's out there because life is short - and I just cannot imagine living an entire life and not bearing withness to the truly remarkable gifts

Might I suggest, if you're wanting to experience new things, that you check out your local theatre as a first (and must) stop. And if you're around Whitewater, Wisconsin you simply must experience everything Young Auditorium has to offer - because it will blow your mind. And if you're nervous about going alone, give me a call, I'll be happy to join you. Just be warned, I probably won't shave my legs for you.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lesson Learned: Sometimes it makes sense just to order jeans online.

Because Cletus has a hard time hearing, the doc suggested throwing some tubes in his ears in the hopes it might improve things. So, I did what any Mama Bear Loving Her Cub would do and cursed while setting the freaking alarm for five o'clock in the morning. They claim they schedule surgeries by age which is a load of crap because everyone knows moms of youngins get no sleep whatsoever and it's hard enough to get out the door before the minister starts church service. If they scheduled things correctly they'd be scheduling the little kids for just after nap time which totally increases the odds Mommy takes a shower.

I was bound and determined to be a Good Mom when it came to this surgery. Considering I'm the one who has never owned an actual diaper bag, never has water on hand during a hot day at the park - oh, who am I kidding. I steer clear of public parks. Have you met some of the nut job mothers that hang out there? Anyway, my point is, I'm never organized or prepared. But this time, THIS time, I would be someone people would turn to and say good job, Mom. Good job, indeed.

And so I packed a backpack with diapers and wipes and a change of clothes. I tossed in a clean sip cup (and by clean I mean I opened it and saw day old Apple juice, which meant no curdling milk, and swiped it under the water in the faucet until the acidic smell of apples dissipated into a pleasant aroma reminiscent of warm apple pie) and a favorite book. Then - and I'm really proud about this because it required forethought and planning - I lined a small container with a plastic bag (in case there was vomiting in the car) and put that in the car along with a towel, additional plastic bags, and a giant sized Ziploc bag just in case I needed to stash the barf someplace while I waited for traffic to die down long enough for me to toss it out the window, if need be.

*I'm kidding. I would never throw any trash out the car window. It's illegal and gross and I'm deathly afraid littering will get so bad the government will someday mandate every citizen serve two weeks cleaning up the sides of roadways and call it our Civic Duty - much like they do with Jury Duty. And I doubt I could get out of Trash Pickup Duty by saying  just by looking at a piece of trash you can tell if it's guilty or not.

**Also, I don't personally know if you can actually get out of Jury Duty by saying you can physically recognize guilt. Go ahead and try it if you want, but don't get mad at me if it doesn't work.

Anyway, I was prepared. Just not prepared enough to actually wake up at 5:00 in the morning. How do you people do it? I scooped Cletus up and strapped him into the car seat, and proceeded to listen to him whine and fuss and complain that he wanted something to eat and drink and eat and drink and eat and drink for the entire 45 minute car ride. Yay for early morning bonding with a starving toddler!

But all was forgotten when I saw him in that tiny little hospital gown laying on that big bed... allowing me to finally go to the bathroom because apparently you just can't leave up and leave your 2-year old hanging out in Outpatient Cubicle #20 by themselves while you go off in search for the loo.

Luckily, I've been blessed with the ability to urinate fast because the skilled doctor can fillet those miniature ears so quickly the kid was returned in seven minutes. The poor, groggy kid could barely keep his head up to enjoy his ice cream. (Which reminds me, hello?! Chocolate ice cream around all those white blankets? What were they thinking?!)

Aren't those bunnies the cutest thing ever?
A group of volunteers make them for every kid having surgery!
YAY for Volunteers!
 The cute nurses came in every few minutes and checked the kid's vitals, smiled, patted his head, and gave Mommy the talk about how the effects of being put under can make a child wobbly and unstable. I had to promise to carry him all the way out to my car and not let him walk on his own. Although it was tempting...

As soon as I strapped him in he looked up at me with his tired eyes and said Mama, nap now.

Cutest. Thing. Ever!

And I smiled as I started the engine.

And then I thought about how I was in the city. And Cletus does need new pants - the kind with the adjustable waistband which they just don't seem to stock at our local WalMart. And there is an Old Navy nearby. And it is so gosh darn difficult to take time off of work without going through an intense 4-hour interrogation. And it would only take a few minutes....

And then, kind of without me knowing it, my car just happened to turn left instead of right.

But by the time we pulled into the parking lot the slightly irritable side effect was kicking in. Big Time.

But it would only take a few minutes. It's not like it's that difficult to pick out a couple size 3T jeans and be on our merry way. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? [People call this foreshadowing.]

See, what happened was Old Navy didn't open for another half hour. And so then I had a choice to make: take this as a sign from God that I should do the ethical thing and drive my drug induced hazy son home and put him to bed, or carry him next door to the super-sized craft store, that apparently opens at 9am on a weekday (which, seems to me, to be a normal store opening hour).

But then the kid didn't want to sit in the little seat; he wanted to sit in the body of the cart, and frankly, I didn't want to listen to him whine for another 30 minutes so I let him. And then I proceeded to cheerfully point out beautiful things meant only to distract him: look at these scissors! Wow! Those are BIG scissors! Oh! Look! Fake flowers! I love the red ones! Can you find the RED flowers?

But the kid kept yelling go home, Mama! and so finally I just ignored him.

And then I turned the corner and 'lo and behold - it was the yarn aisle! Holy selection, batman! Every color, every texture - I was in heaven. And then I spied the knitting needles and saw bamboo needles and rosewood needles and .... MAMA!

I had enough time to turn my head and register that I'm slightly unstable son was standing up in the body of the cart attempting to swing his leg over the back of the cart seat, which resulted in him leaning too far back and falling out of the cart.


Flat on his back. Smacking his head. Eyes shocked wide open. And not a single noise coming from his tiny body. I could not move that freaking cart out of my way fast enough.

Kids fall. Kids tumble. Kids get hurt. But this, THIS was something I never want to see ever again. He opened his mouth and I thought was going to cry but started gasping, but gasping without sound. The wind completely knocked out of him. (Which happened to me once when we were sledding and I smacked my back straight into a tree and honestly thought I was dying.)

I aged a thousand years watching that little boy in his red pajamas, with the hospital bracelet still around his ankle, wearing his dorky monkey slippers he insists on wearing every time he discovers where his Dad hid them, trying to breathe but not being able to. I cursed myself and my selfish desire to buy pants after my child was just in a hospital having surgery. Albeit a simple surgery, but a surgery nonetheless. What the hell was wrong with me? What if he was paralyzed? What if he was the small percent that dies from a head injury? How on earth would I ever live with myself?

And then he took a deep (much needed) breath and SCREAMED. Screamed like I had never heard anyone scream before. But I knew (read: was hoping) that was a good sign. I sat and rocked him and asked what hurt and he kept pointing to his hip, which made me glad it wasn't his head.

I kissed him and hugged him and said a silent blessing to God for watching over my baby and said, "See? This is why Mama tells you to sit in the cart." Because I believe in teachable moments.

And by the time the drama quieted down and it was determined he'd live we ran next door to Old Navy and picked up two pairs of jeans for $24. Because I also believe in bargains.

Note the super cool skateboard, handmade years ago by my
adorable cousin, Cassie, who used personal photos and decorated the board.
Hands down, most awesome board ever.
Even if you are skating while wearing monkey slippers.