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Day 13: The Serial “Number” Finds Her Voice

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IMG_3131My name is Taylor, and today I found my voice!

I’m curvy, and beautiful, sleek, and shiny, and I found my voice today!  I’m brown-skinned with a beautiful long neck, and my voice is back.  I love the way I sound, and others love me too.  You see I was born in the month of November on the seventeenth day, in 1998.  I was the eleventh of my kind to be born, and the most beautiful and intelligent of all my sisters and brothers.  We were all smart and beautiful, but of course  I am the smartest, and most beautiful!   I know this because my person told me so, and all his people said so  too!

El Cajon, California…. 

I was born on a beautifully warm day, about 86 degrees, with clear blue skies, a slight breeze,  not a drop of rain in sight, and you could see fifteen miles in all directions.  That’s a good thing because on that day, I needed to dry out after being created.  My person told me all this when I got old enough to remember  this interesting stuff!

I’ll bet you’re wondering who the heck I am?

My sound is mellow, and I sometimes will bring tears of joy to your eyes!  I’m an acoustic guitar,  a pretty sweet one if I do say so myself, and pretty soon I’ll be having my sixteenth birthday. (I’ve been told that you shouldn’t get kissed before your sixteenth birthday, but everyone kisses me all the time.  he he)   My person just brought me home from the guitar fixing man, where  my frets were replaced, I was given new strings, a few other things that I needed, and now I’m sounding more beautiful that ever.   My person loves me so much, that  I hold a special place in his heart, and the hearts of all his family.

Today I found my voice!

 

 

Day 12: Dark Clouds on the Horizon… I Wish I’d Said Something!

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The problem is…

I speak up, I speak up all the time!  The older I get, the more I speak up, the more I speak up, the more trouble I can get myself into.  Sure when I was younger I wasn’t as self-assured, and I didn’t speak up, but  now…well, now I know who I am, and I can’t keep my mouth shut!  When I meditate at night, I meditate on patience, understanding, and keeping my mouth shut!

Throughout my life, with all the different hats I wore, I’ve always been a feather smoother.  When there was a conflict of some kind at home, or at work, I knew what to do, or how to cool everyone off, settle everyone down, and resolve whatever issues were at hand.  But, almost as soon as I stopped working, right that very minute that I retired, my skills vanished from reality!  No longer does it even occur to me to feather smooth, it’s the furthest thing from my feather smoothing mind.  In fact, before there is any feather smoothing going on, I usually have said something that makes the situation worse.  Honesty is the best policy, right?

When I was married to my second husband, boy did I learn lessons there,  our personalities shall we say clashed.  I was strongly opinionated, and he was very opinionated.  When you put two people together with their own opinions, and absolutely no wiggle room for discussion, what do you get?

Yep, you guessed it!

I have to admit, that’s probably where I really learned to keep my mouth shut.   The shut that I now have forgotten how to do!  After a while, I learned that it was futile to argue any point with a person who is beyond reason….and he was beyond reason!  So we got along because I learned to be quiet, and only fight battles that were important.  Not the listening part though , ’cause when someone like that rambles on and on you shut them out!

Here’s the thing…

When you live with an evil person, you quickly learn to maneuver in a relationship in an evil way.  Oh I wasn’t evil, but when push came to shove, I learned to operate the same way, and it was impossible for him to put anything over on me.  He had met his match, I had learned my lessons well,  big time!

When I met #2,  I had two small boys, and a home of my own.  My car wasn’t new, but it ran well, and was well maintained.  I was in my  late twenties, and working all day without any fun, it  was boring, and I was lonely, and lacking in the fun that everyone should have when they are young.  So what do women do in that situation?  They look for a bad boy!  You don’t have to look very far for bad boys, actually you don’t have to look for them at all, because they find you!  This one came riding in on a motorcycle, with curly, dark,  longish hair.  How they do that, I’ll never know, but I think it boils down to spotting someone stronger than yourself, and maybe needing someone in your life you can lean on.  (I’m being nice here because, I thought I was the needy, and doing the  leaning…)

I remember my Dad, and I had many heated, long conversations about how I was ruining my life by associating with him! We were at a standstill, and things between Dad and I were tenuous.  I couldn’t imagine why he felt that way, maybe it was the “Hell’s Angel” look, and attitude  that put him off…

I don’t remember how long it was before we got married, but here it comes……

If only I’d spoken up!  I knew I should have never walked down that isle, every cell in my body was screaming at me to STOP!  But, I thought that couldn’t be done because, invitations had already been sent, cake was purchased, reception was paid for…..  And………..how could I ever have faced all those people again?    I didn’t have the courage!

The entire thing was to save face!  I didn’t want to admit I had made a mistake, and I was going to show my Dad!   In our home growing up, my parents were both perfectionists – there were no mistakes!  We weren’t allowed to do anything on our own, without our parents consent, therefore alleviating mistakes.  In their eyes you only ruined your life,there wasn’t any such thing as a mistake, or learn anything from the experience – ruined your life!  Plain and simple…

Of course, anything any of us tried to do on our own, was a “ruin your life experience!”  They tried to tell me not to get married, but I had to do this.  After all I was starving for some fun, and someone to have it with, and let’s not forget independence.  A Bad Boy was just the thing I was looking for!  What I didn’t realize at the time was that there are bad boys, and there are BAD BOYS. 

There were good times and bad, but I can tell you that over the sixteen plus years, I learned oh so much.  I learned how to hold my own, I learned how to keep my mouth shut, most importantly, I learned to be strong, and stand on my own two feet!  Never in a million years did I  realize that I was the strong one in the relationship.

I wish I had learned to speak up before the wedding, but since I didn’t…what I did learn that was a “life altering experience,” and that was to stand on my own two feet!

Things happen for a reason, and maybe that was what I needed to learn from all those years… to stand on my own two feet!

 

Day 11: When I was Twelve….

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I lived in the suburbs of Los Angeles.  In an average size home in Van Nuys.  Soon we moved to the outskirts of Sylmar!  But, we lived in Van Nuys, on a sleepy little street called Cohasset, right behind the Schlitz Brewery, where we had big trees in the back, and were surrounded by a walnut grove  – when I was twelve!   My best friend was Charlene, and she lived about five houses down on the opposite side of the street, in the same  track house we lived in.

There were four of us kids, I was twelve, my sister being three years younger was nine, my other sister was just under two, and my little brother was around one.  Quite a family to keep going I might say, but Mom and Dad did a great job!

In those days we ate a lot of fruits and vegetables.  We were kids on the go, and we’d grab an apple before we’d take off down the street, or a handful of walnuts Dad had just harvested from our walnut tree.  Fruits came from our own trees, or the trees of neighbors, or family.  A lot of veggies came from the farmers market, or from my Grandma’s garden.  I remember asparagus, and rhubarb.  Why those particular ones, who knows?  Basically we ate them uncooked, and raw!  Foods weren’t sprayed either, like they are today, and everyone was much healthier.  Sorry, this is another story altogether, for another time altogether.

I had my own room until I was around ten, when much to my surprise my second sister was born and I had to share a room with my other sister.  That sure did suck!  I was neat, she was a pig, I was quiet and reserved, she was fat and obnoxious!  We couldn’t have been more different, but she was my sister, and neither of us had a choice.  We had to find a way to make it work!

We tried dividing the room off, you know,  I take one side, Sis takes the other, but one of us would always have to walk through the space of the other.  I didn’t want a loud, and obnoxious sister walking through my section, and she didn’t want her prissy perfect sister walking through her section.  This presented a real problem, so we fought constantly….bickering about this and that, all stupid things that kids find to fight about!

Our home wasn’t small by the standards of yesteryear  – but by todays standards it was a downright shoebox.  The size was probably 1400 sq. ft, had two bathrooms, and three bedrooms, and an eat in kitchen, dinning room, and a good size living room with a fireplace.  It worked for us, and we didn’t think it was small.  We had a big window in the back of the living room that over looked a giant patio the length of the house, and a huge backyard.

Dad eventually  had a pool build in the back, and that was the beginning of all of us kids turning into prunes.  We were constantly drying out in an effort to return to our natural state, but I think our skin was permanently pruney.  People would stop us on the street and ask us why we were so pruney.  Really they did!  I wouldn’t lie about a thing like that!  We didn’t have an answer so we just stared at them like the water had soaked up all our brain cells.

One day about twenty years ago on a trip into the San Fernando Valley, my husband and I drove by our old house in Van Vuys.  I could hardly believe how everything looked.  All the houses looked really small, the neighborhood was well maintained which was a surprise given the age of the homes, but things had changed. Brick had fronted many homes, old trees were removed in an effort to save the remainder of the structures, and new trees were planted in their place.  Driveways……well, many of the asphalt driveways had been  lifted  by roots from the old trees, and were left cracked with huge gaping veins running in all directions.  That saddened me, but knowing my neighborhood was still standing, and in not so bad a condition made me happy.  In a small way I wanted to go to the front door and ask to see the  inside of the house, and backyard, but I think it’s better not to know, not to see.  Nothing will ever be the same, and I’ve learned it’s better to remember what was, than to know what isn’t any longer!

 

 

 

 

Day Ten: A Sweet Sixteen Birthday In My Backyard?

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Ramblings of  a sixteen year old on her  birthday!

Today is my sixteenth birthday, and I know something good is going to happen, after all I’m sixteen now!!!  There is definitely a hush over the entire household because no one is saying a word.

I’m starting to get excited, could Mom be planning a party for me?   If she is, and doesn’t tell me, I could be caught totally off guard!   And yet, a surprise party would be fun….are there really any surprises…of course she’s would be planning a party for me…I’m  Sixteen Today!

Don’t they know I’m old enough to know what’s going on… better get ready, well you know…anything could happen…after all I’m sixteen now….

Late morning …

It’s been  really stressful so far,  just hanging around, listening to some of my favorite records. Mother is starting to clean up the patio, and set the table for four people.  Strange, why only four?  …  I think I need to do my hair, and get dressed…I need to look my best!

 I am at my dressing table making myself gorgeous…just in case

When I pranced out of my room dressed, with my hair done to perfection…….the patio had been decorated with pink, and white crate paper all around the gables, and down the pillars.  The table was set with all pink and white flowers, with Mom’s best china, and paper cups.  Paper cups…what’s with that?  Aren’t I worth putting the crystal out for?  How could she treat me like this?  Another time she just clearly doesn’t care about me!

Soon…three of my best friends are at the front door. Check it out…there is Charlene, Sandy, and Bonny..but they aren’t dressed up.   They should have dressed as if this were the special occasion that it is!  After all this is my birthday party.. and I am sixteen now!  Also, the presents weren’t very big…what’s with that?  Aren’t I good enough for bigger presents?

Meanwhile…

I feeling kind of , well…..sick!  My stomach is starting to churn, and I feel dizzy.  This isn’t good!  Not good at all!!!  I’m trying not to show how I feel, but I think I’m getting pale, might just really… throw up!  CRAP…CRAP CRAP CRAP!  What did I do to deserve this?  The girls are changing into their bathing suits, and I’m stuck here on the patio.  I don’t dare move around or I will hurl.

My friends are splashing around, swimming, laughing, and playing tag in our pool without me, and I’m stuck here, on the patio, on the chaise….sick…ready to splat Cheerios and milk all over everything!

Mother is starting to  put food on the table, it looks so yummy.  How fair is this?  The chips and dip are already out – which I love, but now..finger sandwiches, potato salad, and Petit fours….OhMyGod!   I love potato salad…. I love chips and dip too, actually I love food!  All food, any food you can think of, I love it all.  Except maybe lima beans, I don’t love lima beans.  I really hate lima beans!  Mother always tries to serve lima bean casserole during lent, and I always gag.  Once I told her they tasted like SHIT,  wow that went over well!  I really thought I would lose my life over that comment, but I’m still here!  After all I was being honest, and they always told me honesty is the best policy!  I guess…not when it comes to lima beans though.  Anyway, I’m now realizing that even though all this food looks really good, if I take even one bite, I’ll lose it!

The party went on without me because I was so excited I had made myself sick.  I never sat at the table, I don’t even remember opening my presents although I know I must have.  The food never hit my mouth, and my entire party was horrible.  I spent the whole day on the chaise lounge watching everyone else have fun, while I gaged down vomit.  After everyone left, the table was cleared, the decorations disappeared, and everyone went about their normal routine….. miraculously….. I recovered.

And that my friends, is the story of my perfectly wonderful, devastatingly horrible Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party!

 

PS:  As I sat to do research looking for the tunes of the late fifties that all of us listened to, at least where I lived in the suburbs of Los Angeles, they brought a smile to my face just remembering those early days.  I use to tell everyone I was an original Valley Girl until I realized that made me older than dirt!  So now, I’m just a Valley Girl, and that made me somewhat as old as dirt!   Don’t you just love YouTube, there isn’t  anything, you can’t find on YouTube, and I thank them for all the wonderful stuff.   I hope you enjoy.

Going Back…

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Going Back…

This afternoon as I was thinking about writing a post, and most definitely struggling with content.  As I reread some of my old posts,  I was stunned to realize that I had actually written them.  The content was familiar, and I could feel the words, but I couldn’t believe I wrote them.

On one post, I wrote about our trip to the Island of Kauai, and on another the day we picked up my son, Dennis from the airport after he made his first CD.

So whats your point?

I sitting here wondering if my writing is getting better, or worse?  Just like the paintings I create.  If you go back and revisit old works of art, often it is unbelievable  to think you had created them in the first place.  They aren’t all great, some of them I can actually believe it was me who painted them.  That’s painful to admit!

 Who did those, it couldn’t have been me!

But in fact it was me, in both cases.  When I write I pour my heart out just like when I paint!  It may be good at the time, or a struggle at that time, it depends.    Sometimes we don’t even realize how much of an effort it is until it unfolds.

Art is different for me because when I struggle,  I always know it!  It’s great when it flows, but that doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes I struggle painfully with something, a concept, a start, or maybe even more than that!

The Abstract Dancer has already taken two or three sharp left turns.  I have ideas, and who knows if they will work, but it’s better to try something than nothing!  Right? By posting this online, maybe it will shake me loose, and drive me to work on it!  I’m trying to avoid doing the Jackson Pollock thing to it.

At least that is my hope.  So someday when I look back on prior posts, I can look at this one and remember how I was struggling to pull it all together, and make Abstract Dancer a real painting!  Someday maybe I can read this post, and say to myself,  I did pull it together, and that Abstract Dancer is exactly what I had envisioned!