Quite a while ago, I talked about listening to music.  Specifically, the way I've been listening to music for the past year and a half.  In December 2011 I got a new computer.  Part of setting up that computer meant moving all my music over from my old computer.  In doing so, it reset all the play counts on the tracks back to zero.  I took this as a prime opportunity to go through my entire library again, making sure I listen to every track again.  And here it is, July 2013, and I'm about 2/3 of the way through.  

When I set up this new computer, I made tons of playlists for this project.  I set up a playlist for each genre I had in my library.  I set up a playlist for each year in my library.  I set up some playlists for specific artists.  One for all the songs tagged "Live" in my library.  All the songs tagged "Covers" in my library.  I wanted to have a good representation of stuff on my iPod at all times.  Depending on my mood, that's the playlist I would listen to that day.  Then, early on in 2012, I decided I was going to start listening to everything chronologically.  So I started listening, year by year, starting with what I had left unplayed from the 40s and working my way forward.  I have to tell you, it's a really interesting way to listen to stuff.  Every few years, it seems like the trends and sounds of the day start to change.  I was having a really good time with it.

Then I hit the tail end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s.  And things got a whole lot more interesting for me.  Unexpectedly.  And then it hit me why.  In the summer of 1979, my family moved to a town called Port Ewen, NY.  My Dad still lives in the house we moved into then.  I was 13 years old.  And sometime between moving in and the beginning of 1980, I discovered the radio.  I'd never been a die hard music fan.  Sure, I had a few various and sundy 45s from when I was smaller and we listened to the radio in the car, but I never purposely sought out music.  But I found the radio and I fell in love with pop music.  I soon discovered American Top 40 and listened to it religiously.  At some point, I started tracking the Top 40.  Each week I'd grab a sheet of notebook paper and I'd write down all 40 songs as Casey Kasem played them.  I did this for years.  I had an entire binder full of my homemade charts.  It may still be somewhere in my Dad's house, but I fear it's probably biodegraded in a landfill by now.

So when I got to the 1980 playlist in my iTunes, I found some of the songs transporting me back to when I was 13 and 14 years old.  It was surreal.  I wasn't much of an album purchaser back then.  I was almost exclusively a 45 buyer.  I mean, why would you want to buy a whole album?  Odds are there were only three hit singles on it and the rest was full of songs no one cared about.  Looking over my playlist, I owned three albums from 1980 when they originally came out.  It's kind of embarrassing to look at what I owned, but so very telling of the person I was growing up to be.  Those albums were:

But I'm not embarrassed to say that I still love them to this day.

Hearing the hits of 1980 again brought me a new emotional connection to the music I was listening to, one that I wasn't experiencing until I hit this year.  Songs like "Upside Down" by Diana Ross or "Funky Town" by Lipps, Inc., "Yes I'm Ready" by KC and Teri Desario, "Fame" by Irene Cara, "Steal Away" by Robbie Dupree, "While You See A Chance" by Steve Winwood, "I Made It Through The Rain" by Barry Manilow, "Him" by Rupert Holmes, "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime" by the Korgis and "Whip It" by Devo bring back some very distinctive moments from my youth.

I'm having such a great time going through the years.  The 80s were a fantastic time for music.  Once I hit 1980, I knew the British New Wave Invasion wasn't too far behind and I wanted to do nothing but submerge myself in the next 4 or 5 playlists.


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I've got a few minutes before we sit down and watch Project Runway (trying to let it run a little bit before watching so we can fast forward through both the commercials and the L'oreal Paris Smokey Eye Make Up Room scenes), so I thought I'd just jot something down here.  I really don't know what to say, though.  I have an idea for my next "real" post, but that's going to take me more than fifteen minutes to figure out what I want to say or go about it.

It's only Thursday night, but I'm exhausted.  This week has had it's way with me and it's not done yet.  Two nights ago I was so tired, I fell asleep around 8:30 (because I'm old.)  Only problem with that is my brain decided I only needed a nap, not full blown sleep, so I woke up around 11, fully awake.  I laid awake for hours until I could fall back asleep.  The last time I saw the clock was shortly before 2.  The alarm goes off around 5:30.  Shockingly, I wasn't exhausted all day, but I've more than made up for it the second half of the week.  

I've also been working my way up the resistance counter thingie on the elliptical at the gym.  For the longest time I was at 16, but found myself back peddling to 14 for a good long while.  I spent the last two weeks at 15 and started back up on level 16 again this week.  As beat as I was tonight, and as much as I wanted to set the resistance back down, I didn't.  It wiped me out, but in a really good way.  Let's hope the banana bread I just ate didn't undo everything I did earlier tonight.

Saturday night we're off to Lee, MA for dinner with Ken's mom for her birthday.  We haven't been over there in a while and it'll be nice to go out.  She's starting to make this difficult saying she doesn't know where to pick because I can't eat anything.  I've gone vegetarian and she's concerned that no restaurant will serve a non-meat dish.  Every place has one or two things that I can eat.  Trying to convince her of that is getting a little frustrating, though.  I don't think she understands that no matter where we go, unless it's a full blown vegetarian place, that there will be something.  She claims she was vegetarian for years, so she knows better.

Last weekend was much easier.  Ken and I drove down to Poughkeepsie to meet up with our friends from Danbury, CT, Brian and Kevin.  Brian has been wanting to try a new place (we usually go to the diner) called Shadows On The Hudson for their brunch buffet.  That shit was good.  I ate way too much, though the scale wasn't giving me the stink eye for it for some weird reason.  They had both breakfast and lunch items and I think my favorite thing was their mac & cheese.  I don't know if it's because it was that good or that it's been that long since I've actually had mac & cheese.  But that was amazing.

The night before we got a last minute dinner invitation from our friends Lynn and Lori to go down to their place and head out to the Santa Fe, a Mexican place we like in Kingston.  They make this killer sweet potato burrito that I get whenever it's offered.  It's a rotating special.  While it wasn't on the menu, they had the ingredients and were able to make me one.  

Tim Gunn is calling, so it's time to watch my stories.



Getting back to work today was weird.  I took yesterday off, making it a three day weekend.  But it felt more like I'd been away for three weeks instead of three days.  That is truly a sign of a good weekend.  One of the best I've had in a while.

Freddy, or as Ken refers to him as, my Texas husband, was in NYC for business and asked me to come play with him for the weekend.  I initially kind of wrote it off, coming up with some bullshit excuse as to why I wasn't going to go, but he asked again and I agreed.  I really don't know why I'm like this sometimes.  I spend too much time all caught up in myself that sometimes I feel like life is passing me by.  But I fought myself and I won the battle and headed to the city.

We both ended up arriving at approximately the same time.  My bus got off to a late start or I would have beaten him into town.  I got dropped off a few blocks from the train station, where we met.  I love that even though I haven't seen him in just over a year, it felt like it's only been a couple of weeks.  There aren't a lot of people I have that kind of connection with anymore, but it's an extremely comforting feeling.  We met up and headed to his hotel.  I would like to mention that I did NOT get us lost walking there.  Nor did I get lost going from the bus to the train station.  But that was probably about it for the weekend.

I can't say that the weekend was filled with too many specific things to talk about.  There are the times when I lead the way to someplace, but realized much later we were not heading even remotely in the right direction.  Or the time we took the subway to meet friends and ended up missing the stop by two stops.  Or the other time when we ended up in Queens rather than the Village.  Or watching winos pee in the park.  Or watching Freddy scream like a girl and run away from rats.  Both Saturday and Sunday we both got to hang out with two other friends, Eric and Brett, who happened to get married on Saturday.  In the best way possible.  They grabbed a few friends, headed to a bar and got married.  Super low key.  

We spent a lot of time walking all over the city.  It was fun because it's not something that I get to do too often.  When I'm in the city, it's usually for a specific reason.  In our travels, I spotted to pseudo celebrities.  First was porn star Adam Killian.  I noticed him and thought he looked familiar, but couldn't place him.  Then I saw him again and still couldn't place him.  Later I realized who he was.  I also spotted Project Runway winner Dmitry from two seasons ago.  This is the third time in a row that I've gone to NYC without Ken and spotted a Project Runway contestant.  I was down a few weeks ago and walked past Benjamin from last season and the time before I saw and talked to Christopher from Dmitry's season.

I didn't realize how badly I needed this weekend until it was over.

I'm very happy to say that it won't be much longer before I see all three of those guys again.  We're all attending New York Comic Con.  We'll get to do that and hopefully much, much more in October.

I didn't really take too many pictures this weekend, but here are a couple.



Family is something that continually baffles me.  I get the concept of it.  I see it all over the place, but it's something I have a serious lack of experience with.  Biological family I'm talking about.

Growing up, it was really just me, my two siblings and my parents with an occasional visit from my aunt and uncle (Dad's brother and his wife.)  When I was young, we would make one or two trips a year to visit with my Mom's family, but they stopped happening in my early teens.  This was really all I knew about having family.  And because that's all I grew up with, that was normal.  Seeing people who had all these cousins they would hang out with or spending lots of time with their grandparents just confused me.  That, to me, was abnormal.  And still to this day it is.  I see it, I'm kind of envious of it, but I don't really get it.

Recently, my concept of family started making a lot more sense to me.  My cousin was throwing a surprise 70th birthday party for her mother (Mom's older sister).  Her birthday was in March, but the party was in May.  I really wanted to go, even though I would be a virtual stranger there.  Since Mom passed, I've been trying to stay in touch with my extended family and I thought this would be a good way to do it.  We got to the party a little early, walked in and I didn't recognize a soul.  Not that I would recognize many.  I hadn't been up that way (the boonies in Connecticut) in longer than I could remember.  I was probably 13.  But I was hoping someone I knew would be there already.  Ken and I picked a table and had a seat.  Eventually, my Aunt Cheryl and her wife showed up and they made a beeline to us.  At least there was someone to talk to and that eased the awkwardness of it all.  By the time the party kicked off, there were finally people there I knew.  My two cousins.  My cousin Todd's two kids and wife.  The birthday girl.  And that's all I knew.  At one point I turned to my Aunt Cheryl and said "You'll need to point out how I'm related to some of these people."  Her reply was priceless.  "I was hoping you'd be able to do that for me."  And she wasn't kidding.  Even though she lives a couple miles away from everyone else in that room (and has for her entire life), I knew more people than she did.  Case in point, my Aunt Tootsie (birthday girl) at one point brought her sister over to "meet" me (I haven't seen her since I was probably 7 years old) and to meet Cheryl, her own sister.  For real.  They haven't seen each other in just as long, if not longer.  It was at that point that everything really made sense.  I always thought I was an outsider because I lived so far away from the rest of my family and didn't know them.  But they all live very close to one another and they don't know each other.  This was the first time that Cheryl's wife has met any of her family and they've been together for over twenty years.  My aunt Lorraine said it best when she said besides Tootsie, the only people at the party she knew were the people sitting at her table.  I came to realize that my entire family are just people that I happen to share some biology with.  It's fucked up, but it really took an enormous load off my mind.  

I've tried staying in touch with relatives since.  I've exchanged a couple emails with my Aunt Lorraine. I found out I have three cousins through her.  Cheryl invited Ken and I to come to Thanksgiving at their house.  It's just the two of them every year and it's usually just the two of us, so we're going to do it.  I'm looking forward to it.

When people say that family is what you make it, they couldn't be more right.  I have friends who I'm way closer to and that I consider "real" family moreso than the people I'm related to.  I'm working on changing that a little, though.  I'm nearly fifty years old and I hate that it's taken me this long to get to work on knowing my relatives.



I was gently reminded this week that I haven't posted anything here in quite a while. It's true. Looking at the last post, it's been three months. I don't think I made a conscious effort to stop posting, it just kind of happened. Without going into too much gory detail, I've kind of withdrawn a bit from stuff. When I'm down or hurting or overwhelmed, that's what I tend to do. And I've been in kind of a dark place since about my last post. In April they start blasting the Mother's Day commercials. Joy. I'm still missing my Mom a lot and the constant reminders weren't helping. But the commercials stopped in mid-May, but the sadness didn't. Because a few weeks after Mother's Day is Mom's birthday. I had a good six weeks or so when I just didn't want to talk to anyone or do anything except keep to myself. Since her birthday, it feels like life is starting to get back to normal. I find that I've been starting to talk to people again (okay, I could be doing a much better job of it, but give me time) and that I'm making plans to do things. I took an impromptu trip to NYC. I've got lunch plans with a couple of whores coming up in a couple weeks. I've got other plans to see an old friend (or two, even) I haven't seen in much too long. To be honest, I've still been pushing myself harder than I should to the point of distraction, but that's how I process things. 

 As dull and uneventful as my life is, I promise to try to keep up a little bit more. I have (dull and uneventful) things I've been wanting to say, but it's just been finding the motivation to do so.