Friday, September 30, 2005

Times Have Changed

So I have been thinking that seeing as I've billed this blog as partially being about music, perhaps I should include it occasionally as a topic. There's a thought! I don't know if I am having a mid-life crisis or a reawakening or what, but lately I have been obsessed with music again. When I have freetime, I find myself wandering around different sites online. You name it, sites for bands, online music stores, music e-zines. I'm there desperately looking for something. I just can't figure out what I'm looking for yet.

Maybe I'm trying to reconnect with my youth. Maybe I'm trying to find that perfect new band that I can't stop listening to. Maybe I'm trying to identify with the aging of some of my old favorites, see how they are handling and expressing the changes your soul makes over the years. Have we softened up yet or are we just more realistic? Have we figured out what matters?

I'm still not sure why I turn to music when I do some soulsearching. I guess I find it comforting when I find a sound or an idea that mirrors what I am going through at the moment. Sometimes I think it's a little weird that I've chosen such an impersonal way to be a part of the collective consciousness. I guess I'm kind of introverted. Now that I'm older, I wonder if I am being immature. I guess I still really don't know why I love it so much. It's simply part of what makes me tick.

The difference between me now and 20 years ago, where music is concerned, is that then it was who I was. Lauren and I had a whole discussion this past week about how I used to be so concerned about my "cred" when it came to what I would and wouldn't listen to. No way in college would I ever have admitted to liking bands like Van Halen (there's a whole horrific story that goes with that one) or some funny song from younger years like "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Now, I'm OK with it all. No shame involved, no judgements placed. Wow, it sure takes a lot less energy! There are definitely some great benefits to getting older. I find myself more able to enjoy things for what they are. Simple.

I guess what got me thinking about this today is that tonight Lauren and I are going to go see Bob Mould. He is someone who I think has aged gracefully where his music is concerned. What is great about this show is that he will finally be playing both his newer solo material as well as some old material from Husker Du and Sugar. I never blame musicians when they decide that they aren't going to play certain things from their past. Imagine having to tell some story from when you were 21 over and over again. Not only would you get tired of the repetition, but you're no longer the person you were then. I do think that as you age, it becomes easier to revisit the past, as time has a way of smoothing out even the roughest edges. You learn to appreciate that you are what you are now because of a process and that it was all important. Trite, but true.

I guess I decided to write about this today because my last experience with Bob Mould was far different than the one I know I will have tonight. Tonight, I'll pick up Lauren, drive to the show, have probably one beer, maybe two, stand in the back, and be fine with it. Almost twenty years ago, I bought my Husker Du ticket from a friend the day of the show. I piled into a VW microbus with a bunch of people I barely knew and we drove from Columbia, SC to Chapel Hill, NC. I don't know exactly how long this took, but it was more than a few hours and I know I missed class the next day, but I'll tell you about that in a minute.

So, we drove all the way there and managed to get to the show on time. I knew I wasn't feeling so good that day, but by the time we got to the show, I knew I had the flu. Cold sweats, woozy head, exhausted. So, what did I do? Why, drink of course!!!! The show was amazing. What was more amazing was the rest of the trip. Amazing? No, STUPID!!!! So, we all leave and decide that we didn't want to drive all the way back to Columbia. We stop at a hotel somewhere. This is when I realize that I have now been railroaded. No one in the van is 21 except me. Mind you, there is also another car traveling with us and they've stopped, too. I am now legally responsible for about 10 people I barely know.

We pull around the side of the hotel so the front desk can't see how many of us there actually are. I go in with one of the girls and check in and get ONE room. Right. I'm sick and delerious and feeling a little nervous, but does this stop me? No. We all load into the one tiny room and are sprawled all over everywhere and of course we are not quiet at all. At this point I realize I am really sick and pretty much attempt to pass out. In the fog my head was encased in, I do realize that my roommates are loud, they have alcohol and they are in possession of, and are using, various types of drugs. If I hadn't been so sick, I probably would have freaked out. Even then I knew what was crossing the line regarding legality and the possibility of getting in actual legal trouble. Regardless, I just laid there. Nothing happened and we all made it back to Columbia the next day, but I definitely was not happy. Needless to say, I never went on a roadtrip with that crew again.

Long story short, I am very glad to go see Bob Mould tonight. I am very glad to be going with Lauren. I am very glad that I know I will be in my own bed at a reasonable hour tonight. I'm very glad that I can tell this story of youthful foolishness with no embarassment. I'm very glad that I am 40.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'd Do It Again

I could call these shoes my instruments of torture or I could call them my companions. Either way, my shoes and I both endured 60 miles of pavement, gravel and grass. We walked from St. Charles to the Montrose Harbor and with the help of 2,409 other pairs of shoes and their owners and we collectively raised $6.2 million for breast cancer research and treatment. It was hands down the most physically gruelling thing I have ever done, ... and I can't wait to do it again.

Without detailing what Lauren and Jane and I were calling the "Littany of Complaints," I can briefly say that Day One was tiring, but doable. Night One was freezing cold and miserable in a way that I can't begin to describe. Which led to Day Two's problems for me, the seizing up of my calf muscles. Unless I kept moving, they cramped up. So I paced around a lot even at the breaks. We wimped out and ditched camp for Night Two and retreated to the civilized confines of the Musgrave home. At this point my calf muscles had completely rebelled and were nearly immobile. We ate and passed out and woke up early the next day to head back to camp. Were it not for a hot bath that morning, I have to say, I'm not sure I would have made it. Well, a hot bath and a lot of Vitamin V (Vicodan). Day Three was unbelievably difficult from start to finish, but at that point, who's giving up? No way! I believed at one point that I could see my pain and it took on different colors at different times. I was like a runaway truck. I could only go in one direction and had no brakes.

Happily, this is the picture of me at the closing ceremonies. Obviously I made it, as did Jane and Lauren (who, if you read her blog, was considerably more messed up than I was-stupid stubborn Viking!) I feel like I did something good. I feel like I just gave my mom the best birthday present ever. I feel like I need a nap.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Walk, walk, walk, sleep in tent, walk, walk, walk, sleep in tent, walk, walk, walk, collapse

Wow. I can barely believe it. Only three days until the walk. Sadly, one of our team members, Lauren, is suffering from a painful foot injury and may not be able to join us. I am not sure what I think at this exact moment. I am excited and anxious at the same time. I am riding an emotional rollercoaster.

It barely seems possible to me that this time last year we were celebrating my mom's birthday. Although by then we knew her time was short, she was still here and in good spirits. It was my last happy memory of my mom. Shortly after her birthday we began the revolving door of hospital stays that engulfed last fall. And so, this is a bittersweet time of year for me, heightened now by the focus on her memory as I complete this walk for her and the thousands of others who have lost their mothers, daughters, grandmothers or sisters.

Hurricane Katrina was a massive blow, wiping out a large swathe of humanity in one single blow. The images are there for all of us to take in and assess. It is easy to feel the weight of such an enormous disaster. I think of breast cancer in similar terms. It's just not so graphic and palpable. It destroys family units by robbing young children of their mothers. It kills thousands each and every year. Not just once, when the weather provides specific conditions. It is an ongoing destroyer of life. It causes financial hardship for those it touches. It does not discriminate. It devastates those who are economically disadvantaged, they seldom have access to the preventative care and God help them if they need the unbelievably costly treatment. It leaves families grieving for loved ones and fearing for the future of those left behind.

I am not making light of the horrible devastation of Katrina. I personally plan on taking action and doing my part to help those affected by such a horrible disaster. I am simply saying that quietly and doggedly, breast cancer will declare more victims than hundreds of hurricanes and will continue to do so until a cure is found. So this weekend I will do my part with the support of many dear friends and family members. A huge thanks and much love to Jane and Lauren who have committed to this with me. I wouldn't be doing this without them.