#1 reason to love Rory, in 1978, Bob Dylan was not allowed backstage at one of his concerts, because Rory did not recognize him.
#2 reason to love Rory, he is among 100 of Rolling Stone Magazine’s best guitarists.
#3 reason to love Rory, Jimi Hendrix, when asked what it felt like to be the best guitar player in the world, responded with “I dunno, ask Rory Gallagher.
#4 reason to love Rory, his sweat had so much alkaline in it, due to a rare blood type, that it wore off the paint/varnish of all his guitars.
Two things hit me while wanting to write about Rory Gallagher. One was a comment that Blu, left here yesterday, that has echoed through my mind. This idea that time is irrelevant has sent me thinking about past events. I realized that in my history, their were times when I knew more than I do now. Maybe I knew what was meant to be or maybe not. But I was definitely more together mentally if not intellectually. I do not attribute that to naivete.
The other thing that struck me was the idea of alone. Rory Gallagher’s music conveys what “alone” really is. And while “alone” may be this very sad thing to some, “alone” can also be very empowering. You can stand on your own two feet and you will always have those two feet. I mean, I really hope you keep both your feet. But if you don’t, think of the money you will save on socks.
It isn’t the lyrics to Rory’s songs that fill me inside. It is the guitar. He managed to play his guitar as a voice, he made it scream of his despair, his loneliness, his own angst. Rory was more than a talented superstar kid. He was more than a tortured soul, driven to drink. Rory represents what happens when we live life devoted to our true talents, to mastering our craft. He sits right up there with Bruce Lee when I think of lives well spent.
I flashback often to my twentieth year. I was knocked up by a bartender who never looked back. He had his chance and he didn’t take it. I never thought to feel bad about the situation. I was optimistic and young. Life found me 7 months pregnant driving around the countryside with an ex. I took a turn at the end of a hill and hit a snake. We got out of the car to have a look. I stood there, tiny in the world, looking at a thirty or more baby snakes writhing all over the road. That snake was pregnant. I felt my feet on the ground supporting my giant swollen belly. I knew then that I would never be able to depend on anyone else. I knew what freedom was. Life was never going to be about money and jobs and bills. Life just was and it was always going to be me who created my own happiness. That is the real “alone”. It is not sad it just is. I am not sure why a dead mama snake and a pregnancy ala “Natalie Portman left at the Walmart” showed me that, but they did.
I had forgotten about that feeling until yesterday. I lost track. I was so much smarter back then. I now have the greatest husband, and the best family in the world a girl could ever ask for. This is “luck of the draw”. I am here to paint my reality. I create it. This is my world. Lyrically, Rory Gallagher was so strong with seemingly simple words. The formula of Rock and Roll is, live young die fast. The problem with this is that some of us refuse to die, refuse to give in. In the mid seventies, amidst the glitter and atrocious fashions, Rory showed up in a flannel shirt. I am not going to be bought or sold and neither was Rory. Instead of lyrics, listen to the guitar. That 1961 Fender Stratocaster with the varnish eaten away, the one Rory kept track of and played for over 30 brilliant years, that is your lyric. That guitar was stolen and it found its way back to Rory. That is your story. That guitar is telling you everything you need to hear.
I love my Christmas glasses. I have been collecting them all year at thrift stores and garage sales. Some of them make sense, some are things I remember from my childhood and some are just drunk Santa and his drunk ass elves.
This glass is most fun when you pour a beer into it. Oh, Santa!
This elf is in the beginning stages of drunk. Happy, giggly and taking a bow. The elf next to him is a little bit more lit, and he is doing a one armed handstand! Whee! Little Drunk Elf!
This elf is in the middle stages of drunk. Dancing and thinking he is good at it. I have drank enough to dance, but never enough to believe I am good at it!
This elf is in the final and most haunting stages of drunk. He is ready to kick your ass! Oh no! Santa help!
In the spring of 1994, I met Blu. One day before Mother’s day. My brother had picked him, his girlfriend and dog up in East Saint Louis where they had been hitchhiking. I consider this meeting an intersection in my life, that changed my path. It was a strange chaotic time in my life. I was living like Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey and Hunter S. Thompson spawned a girl child together. So restless and unsure. Life back then was confusing and I was holding on the best I could. Meeting people who were free of material possesions with new ideas was the best perspective I could have been shown. I look back to that time often, and I am haunted by ghosts from that time, both good and bad. It is hard to lose friends, and when you realize that there are many still out there, it just makes life happier. I feel like your path crosses with people who are meant to be in your life, sadly, we have little control over when they will disappear.
We hung out with Blu for a few days or so and then parted ways. He left a tape which was later it in constant rotation, as we set out to see the world in a Chevrolet station wagon. Life happened and we bumped into each other now and again. I crossed paths with Blu in Lawrence, Kansas a year or so after we met. We were all staying up on the KU campus in an abandoned frat house. I think that I could live my entire life without ever staying anywhere quite that crazy again. Early one afternoon,I was enjoying an impromptu tailgate party, when someone kicked the back door open and bounded out with a guitar singing, “Good Morning America I love you…” I know there are points in my life that my brain records, not unlike a record skipping. I knew when I saw Blu bound out of that place singing loud, I knew I would never forget it. I still see him, singing, as a house full of punk rockers were strung out on crank. I laughed and drank beers with a guy we called Garbage. I can still feel the air. I can still hear the words, surely a train was going by somewhere, even if we were miles from tracks.
This song played on that cassette tape, and many years later, I played it to get through my first Chicago Marathon.
This song is getting me through, currently. Don’t know what would have become of me, if Blu had not crossed my path. I am a better person for it, that is the truth, Ruth. Inside my mind, we are all sitting in a parking lot, shooting marbles and drinking 40′s. Shooting marbles and those who shot up too much, are still alive and well. Everybody is there and accounted for laughing it up and living free. Don’t know how everyone gets through, but music always gets me through. Thank you, Blu!
Let your faith, be your headlight
Let your hunger be your road
And you will never be forsaken
If you know this, you will never be alone.
No matter how lonesome, you may feel now
You’ll find your own way, make it safe for those behind
You’ll need protection, make it your wonder
Show them direction, give them cover from the rain
And when you need it, you will be receive it
If you need money, if you need honey when you’re sick
And I’ll be waiting, to see you coming
So I can follow you , in suit with all the rest
And you’ll be amazing and I’ll be so happy for you
And whatever you may do, it will be easier for you
You are a golden,a shining pearl among the storms
It will be so natural for you, you’ll show the others what to do
And they’ll know also, not to question you at all
You will be evidently chosen and your words will prove it all.
Headlight guiding you, don’t turn away from it
You’ll have to find your way again if you go on without it
You’ll have all that you desire, you won’t need to beg for it
You will have it when you need it, though you’ll still be satisfied without it
So let your music, be your headlight
Let your family lead the way, they share all your deepest memories
They’ll stand by you till the end, They’ll make you laugh when you’re afraid
They’re more loyal than a friend, when you’re needing to rely on someone, you rely on them.
Let your eyeballs, be your headlights
Let your fingers, make you an instrument of life
We are just people, still trying to conquer the frontier
We don’t mean to hurt each other, but our planet’s getting smothered
Though you whisper to yourself, someone will hear
Though you whisper to yourself, we all can hear…
Over Thanksgiving break we traveled to Alghanistan. Word on the street wass that Alghanistan is lovely this time of year. You can watch Star Trek, meet the Morton Salt Girl or get 2 free sweet kittens!
A dizzy fuzzy stumble into the dark woods will reveal a one kickass abode, full of beer and good times. The Prime Minister of Alghanistan is Old Dirty Allen and he is the hostess with the mostest. He has the mostest skateboards I have ever seen. He makes those wonderful things and breaks them. He breaks a lot of them. I have one hanging one the wall in my kitchen, along with an orginal O.D.A. painting. I hope to tour my kitchen on this blog one day! Allen has shared beers in my kitchen and one time I even got to make him some Macaroni Salad!
This trip was a short trip, but a worthwhile one. Much fun was had. The music was pumping and Alghanistan is sometimes “Standing Room Only”. That is because bitches be dancing and shit!
I count myself lucky to have had Allen work on my house, building me the best party deck this side of the Mississippi! (another some day blog post) He has built us a shed and an KICKASS tree house. When my brother came out to visit I was so happy to show him, we had a tree house growing up, it makes me smile to have one for my kids.
I think the most important part about Alghanistan is the music. OH! The music! Allen introduces me to so much new/old/cool/crazy shit, it is great!
Here are 3 of my favorites:
Mickey Avalon! Jane Fonda! I always wonder if she secretly jams out to this song!
HANDS DOWN THE BEST COVER EVER! I love you, Agnes Chan! Fuck you, JOLENE! Even Agnes Chan HATES you! I love how even in Chinese this song translates emotionally!
And Finally: The craziest/happiest/saddest suicide song I have ever heard! Deaf School, best band to ever come from Liverpool!
Love you Allen, you big cold tree! Hope to come back and visit real soon!
This is real. Merlin was our waiter. At Pizza Hut. The ordeal lasted well over 2 hours. I expected more out of someone named Merlin.
Chicken Nutget. REALLY? We had to get one. Turns out, they were just nuggets.
This was in Florida, at a Dollar Tree Store. How could you EVER throw trash in that store? It is already full of trash! And only costs one dollar!
One big ass mother fucking toe. Measures how much? 3 1/2 inches?? That is big!
Traffic that will stay? Come on in! It is just a busted up bridge over a creek, pull over and shoot things!
I love metal, so NO GENTLE!
This should not make me laugh. I am SO sorry Dennis Wojtkiewicz. I have googled you. I cannot find one single picture of your fingers. Or even your hands. Your paintings are pretty amazing. I need answers. Click this for his amazing paintings:
AND finally, my baby kitty, Simba. He is still kinda stupid but I love him. Even if he climbs the Christmas tree and costs me one million dollars at the vet. He is my baby boy kitty and I love him!
Sorry Dennis! HOT DOG FINGERS! That should not be so funny. But still, I am googling you OLD HOT DOG FINGERS!
There are few things so sweet in this world as a partner in crime. A sister. From the moment of birth, this younger creature was there to assist on every adventure your mind could conjur. Magical things, these siblings, so close in age, so willing to suspend disbelief with you.
As children, my sister and I had a summer home on our back screened in porch. It was carpeted, albeit scratchy indoor/outdoor astroturf, and our wonderland. We had all of our play dishes and my mother gave us some Blue Dawn dish soap to wash these tiny things. They were washed and dried and we were allowed to eat tiny portions of spaghetti on them. I think of it, every time I am washing dishes, in my grown up life. I used to dream, back then, of having our own homes, our own stuff. We agreed that when we grew up. we would eat cookie dough and cake batter for every meal.
Those early dreams, turned out better than I ever could have imagined. My sister owns a bakery. She works very long hours, with patience, hard work and skill. But when I visit, she carves out time for me. We have drinks and we dance. And laugh and talk. I can never stay up as long as she can, she has more endurance for that thing. She lives in a building and the first night I was there, I wandered in and out of her apartment, confused. Laughing. Wondering where I would end up. I had to call for her, to help me find my way. It was like a strange dream, but all of it was my sister’s world.
The weekends I spend with her are so amazing. Sweets and treats galore. Hobart mixers that are big enough to throw a man in and kill him, mafia style. Shiny knives and giant butcher block tables, where I lean and drink coffee. Watching her drizzle icing, or prepare sandwiches. Sunday mornings coming down, she makes me eggs and cookie sheets full of tater tots. We giggle and recover.
Our lives may not be as neatly lined up as the baby dishes, we washed and dried in our summer home, but they are happy ones. I hope everyone has a partner in crime in their lives.
There is a god, maybe many of them. Somewhere along the lines of human existence one of these gods spawned forth a Willie Nelson. It matters not, how he got here, just that he is here. He is here for me.
Willie Nelson is the god of calm. No matter how hectic, stressful, erratic and crazy my life becomes, my moment of “count to ten” is always Willie Nelson. The calm that radiates from the soul of that beautiful man is more than weed and voice. I can’t sing and I don’t smoke.
Willie is a gorgeous example of what happens when a human just chills the fuck out. In my mind, he walks into a room and life stands still. No road rage, no sadness, no Rush Limbaugh.
Willie Nelson has been there for me. I want him to visit my home. I want to sit on the front porch and watch cars drive by, while we drink cold Miller Lites from a cooler sitting between us. I want to walk through the woods with him while the light changes into the yellowish hue of a 1970’s photograph. Not that Instagram bullshit either, the real thing. The crosshatch texture, the smell, the carpet and beer cans, cigarettes lit in the ashtrays, the real 1970’s in a photograph. Willie Nelson and I will have a slumber party and wear our flannel pajamas and drink strawberry soda and eat M&Ms while watching the Flintstones. Imagine falling asleep under a quilt, outside, staring up at the sky with a fire beside you and Willie Nelson playing guitar and singing beside you. There are a million miles to go in the morning but that moment is so calm. Thank you, Willie Nelson.
I love bubbles, jump ropes, parachute guys, those styrofoam planes, marbles, and fireworks.
I love music, music, music. Live or vinyl or ipodded.I love noise and chaos. I love parties and crowded bars.
I love running long distances. I love tattoos, I love getting them. I love my sewing machines, and I love paints.
I love cities and I love the country. I love food. Bad food. McDonald’s French Fries and Milkshakes and Doughnuts.
I also love fresh fruits and vegatables. Almost all of them. I love baking.I love cupcakes and cookies.
I love Dr Pepper and Mt Dew and Coca-cola. I love coffee-flavored coffee. I love Miller Lite and Early Times. And Fighting Cock.
And St Paulies Girl and Grolsch. I love green Trident. I love children. I love to laugh. I love anything ridiculous and funny.
I love Twisted Sister. I love cute things. I love the holidays. I love road trips. I love the beach. I love the sun. I love being the first one up on a warm summer day. I love the front porch. I love a porch night. I love a Natural Lite with my Dad and his best Friend. I love a whiskey and coke or a fabric store with my mom. I love to sleep and I love to dream. I love clean sheets. I love a hotel room. I love candy. I love ziploc bags and ball chain. I love ric-rac and patches. I love punk rock. I love black leather. I love safety pins. I love libraries. I love a book. Most books. I love Art. I love Artists. I love all things created. I love the woods. I love the quiet. I love backyards. I love swings. I love walks in the woods. I love construction paper. I love buttons. I love attics and basements. I love fancy department stores. I love tights. I love boots. I love hoodies. I love a short skirt. I love meeting new people. I love to annoy people. I love steak with lea and perrins. I love ice. I love kool-aid. I love area rugs. I love blue glass. I love swimming. I love toys. I love a new pair of pajamas. I love a bubble bath. I love bubbles.
One of my most vivid memories and still the funniest. Was part of our daily vernacular, no matter where life took us. At about 11 years old, we were walking uptown by the fire department. A man was dropping off his mail at the post office box across the street. Those boxes were on the passenger side of the road so you had to get out of your vehicle to put your mail in. Smart one. He was an older man, very short. Reminiscent of a character from those Police Academy movies, the” THAT DIDN’T HURT” guy. He went to get back in his van and it was not put in park. It was slowly rolling away with the driver’s side door open. He lunged and jumped at it and hit his head and missed. At this point he was on his back in the middle of the road. He kind of looked like a bug with all it’s limbs in the air, trying to turn over. This would become a physical exercise we would reenact for the next 27 years. We were both in shock and it didn’t seem there was another soul around. Christy mustered up enough composure to yell, “Sir?” and that was it. Away, went his van while he groaned in the road. Time stood still. Eventually, a fireman ran out of the firehouse, jumped in the van, put it in park and saved the day. He walked over to the man and asked, “You Okay Pete?”. We continued walking for another half block in silent shock. About then, we made eye contact and laughed till we almost peed our pants. “You Okay Pete” became our favorite expression, for any and every situation. We said it after childbirth, after divorce, when we answered the phone, when we were to drunk to walk, etc.
I wrote this on September 11th, 2012, which was one month after my best friend’s death. At the time, I was still so numb, and the phrase was haunting me. I won’t hear it again. But I promise to use it every day in memory of one great bitch. I mean friend. Love you, Bitch!