Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sammy conquering everything


Sammy conquering monkey bars
Originally uploaded by V'ron
Yeah, I know I promised a round of of everything cultural I've been doing (with a special "Did you know all this was FREE?!?!") in the past month or so, but something more special has been up.

It's Sammy's birthday, and that takes precedence.

I've already written before about what a ray of sunshine he is, and I used to be afraid that one day he'd just turn into a mouthy teenager and all that. I've kind of evolved that for two reasons. One, everything that's been happening lately has taught me to live in the present, and enjoy today, because you will go crazy dreading tomorrow. The other is that, I'm pretty well convinced that although Sammy will go through a rebellious phase, I think he's always going to be a guy with a sunny disposition, generous and caring about his family and friends, and funny as all hell to boot. It's just in him.

Even when he was little, he's always been able to make me laugh with brilliant comic timing. (Granted, the humor behind the timing was kind of simple and sometimes coarse, but still...). And he's always been able to make me smile, whether it's been with his artwork ("Mom, this is a leaf monster that's going after Godzilla!") his enthusiastic singing, or just a big squeezy hug either out of the clear blue sky, or when he' sees that I'm down and could use a hug. He's very sensitive about that too -- he innately knows when something's wrong and genuinely wants to help.

He's come so far this year. He's conquered the monkey bars (so I don't have to spot him across any more), he's conquered cracking eggs into a bowl, he's conquered his fear of going down a tube slide at a water park, he's conquered reading! He's massively curious about math and how numbers work and how much x times y is, and I know all these things will show up on his report card at school. He's so insanely happy when he hits a milestone, and his joy de vivre is so infectious I put him to bed every night and thank whatever name I'm referring to "God" with that he's in my life.

But when that report card comes, I read it and see all the progress he makes, and there's a constant message every term that makes me explode with happiness and pride. Yes, he's reading. Yes, he gets his numbers. Yes, he's understanding those basic little kid physics. But every term, his card ends with how he reacts with his classmates and it always says "Sammy is a good friend."

And he is. This summer I saw a particular instance of that: he'd wiped out on a cement sidewalk (after I told him NOT to run because it wasn't the best paved cement ever) and he'd badly skinned his knee. After that was taken care of and the ensuing Federal case was closed (all accidents involving blood-- even less than a drop of road rash-- do involve a Federal case, you know), he saw his playmates horsing around the same way. "Don't run! Don't do it!" he cried in a panic to them -- clearly worried about them and not wanting them to suffer this same fate. It was genuinely his concern for his buddies that was coming across his face and voice. He does this a lot -- he warns us of bad things, and he's always willing to share good things with all of us. Sammy is a good friend, and he's conquered our hearts.

Happy birthday, little buddy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I wanna job ... one that satisfies my artistic needs

OK, this video pretty much illustrates why I haven't been posting a whole lot lately. I've been busy looking for work, and you'd be amazed (or maybe not) at just how exhausting -- both emotionally and physically -- being unemployed is. So much so that I'm here to tell you that this whole Maslow's hierarchy thing has a lot to it. My big worries these days are not "Who's playing at Points East this weekend?" or "Is that sound guy ever going to do something about the bass player's EQ?" It's not even of concern to me that some band is doing the exact same thing they -- and about thirty other bands -- were doing eight years ago. These are not the things that are burning me and keeping me up nights. Go on and do what you were doing, everybody.

Yes folks, I'm a candidate for Mayor of Bitteropolis. Only thing that will lose me that post is the fact that I live in a town with a multitude of excellent free music to see and terrific free things to do, which I've been doing and hope to slam chronicles of same in the next few days. I have a goal of posting every day this week until Sammy's birthday.

So, really, this blog hasn't gone dark or anything. I'm not refusing to write in protest of any weird thing. No, there hasn't been any band that's been threatening to ban me from all their shows just because I said their lead singer's voice was too wussy for their genre. I'm just working up the emotional energy to write anything besides another version of "Dear Hiring Manager: Looking for a Project Manager with 10 Years of experience that will blah blah blah and yadda yadda and save you big money at Menards?"

In the meantime, here I am, with this clip from Sid and Nancy (dir Alex Cox, 1986) and I have to admit, it pretty much summarizes my life at this point. "My artistic needs"? Just having enough money so I don't have to spend my nights curled up in a fetal position worrying about how to pay the bills rather than writing this sardonic yet appreciative blog about enjoying music arts and life in the Milwaukee underground and mainstream. I know this character is kind of a dork, but dammit, I have to admit, it's a catchy little tune. Stella's been catching me singing it to myself as I drive the kids to school, a task that wasn't mine until lately (and I actually enjoy morning with the kids. I know, give it time...). But I also have to admit, despite my punk roots, that this song says more for my life lately than "Pretty Vacant." Oh well.