Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Even A Shade Of Mom

Dear Little B,

Today is a special day so I decided to do something special.  It's Mom's birthday, so here I sit playing Celtic music ....You are going to LOVE Pandora...., drinking coffee and remembering all the things that Mom will do for you. (and there will be a lot) This woman, who at a tender teenage year married and started the journey that you would join several days later along with your 4 sisters.

Mom is a tough bird who never loses that soft edge. If there is one thing I regret the most in life, its that I was never able to be half the mother she was and is. I don't say that because she was perfect (which she was in my eyes) but because no matter what is going to happen she is going to keep it together. So, here comes today's advice.

Your children are not going to be children long. You are going to have times you want to rip your hair out. You are going to want to scream at the top of your lungs. You are going to want to sit and cry and say "I can't do this!!!" but you will never think or say you wish you hadn't. Roll with the punches and learn to laugh.

One time, for example; you are going to be driving to work about an hour away in the horrible NJ traffic and you will think your oldest at 3 is sleeping peacefully like an angel in the back. HEADS UP! What he is really doing is using bright red lipstick that he pulled out of your purse to draw on as much of his face and your powder blue interior of your first car. If you hadn't been late for work and just pulling to a park at daycare you might have been able to find the situation as funny as I do now looking back on it. That one will be the devil himself and an absolute angel all rolled into one.

Little B, listen to me and heed my words here. They are going to challenge you both physically, financially and without equal emotionally. There will be times when you won't sleep for worrying about one of them being sick or not having enough to eat. There will also be times when your heart seems so full to bursting you couldn't imagine you could take any more. When you become me, you relish every bit of those times - bad and good alike. Even when they become horrible teenagers and you can never do any right.

Time with your children is going to be short, savor every single second. Include them in everything you do. Let them help you make dinner even if it will take twice as long as be twice as hard to clean up. It will help you on your journey to becoming even half the woman she is and even more it will give your own kids those moments to remember.

Be honest with yourself even if you can't be with everyone else (like that time you are going to be chasing a rainbow in Parsippany with the kids and are going to hit the car in front of you with Mom's car). Make memories with your kids because in the end, like it or not, if all works well they will leave and those memories will surround you when they no longer have the time to do so. Enjoy your time and keep a sense of humor and strive to be even a shade of mom.

Lipsticklessly yours,

Bigger Little B

The Corrs - Runaway
Six Pence None the Richer - Kiss Me
Sophie B. Hawkins - As I Lay Me Down
Gaelic Storm - The Devil Went Down to Doolin
Paddy Reily - The Town I Loved So Well
The High Kings - The Wild Rover (No Nay Never)
The Dubliners - The Partin' Glass
Foster & Allen - Maggie
Paddy Riley - The Old Refrain
The Irish Rovers - The Black Velvet Band
The Dubliners - Whiskey in the Jar
Sharon Shannon - The Gallway Girl
The High Kings - Red Is The Rose
 The High Kings - Will Ye Go Lassie?
The Clancy Boys - Wild Colonial Boy bedb821fa30d00a3cce60ed5fb7bca0635e3f0952f990be0ee

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Make a Kodak Moment

Good morning dear Littler B,

This day has started off a little slow. I woke up a little bit late this a.m. because I woke in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. That makes for a very low level of motivation to kick off the day, so I switched things up a little bit. I decided to get dressed and walk down to the grocery store to pick up dinner and make lunch for a friend.

I walked by myself in the rain down the path that leads to the grocery store. The right side of the path boasts an apartment complex but the left side is what fascinates me. There is a wooded area some 3/4s of the path long that encompasses about an acre or two. I find myself mentally drifting to when I was you and spent a lot of times in the woods. You are lucky enough to still have them bordering your yard. I miss those woods. I still absolutely love that rock that you go sit on and just write for hours.

That's when it hit me what I wanted to write about today as I'm enjoying the rain softly falling on my cheeks and the quietness of the trees swaying. No matter where you are you have an uncanny knack of finding peace in a simple moment. It's a trait I've actually given classes on. Just being in the moment and letting things outside of that place and time just go.  A couple years ago for me (and couple decades to go for you) someone is going to make a bucket load of money making a song that tells you just that - so it must not be a "too far out-there" concept.

This is going to be about the only way you are going to be able to cope with the toughest times in life. You will either take yourself off to find/make one of these moments and others you will sit and remember these purposeful "Kodak Moments".  They are going to be essential to your being able to balance your state of mind and even work through some anxiety attacks down the road. It's how you will become the mentally well balanced (ok that might be a crock of shit but seriously....) pillar of community that I am today.

I can't stress how important it is for you to do, but make & take the time at least one time a day to put yourself in that situation where you can consciously make a Kodak Moment. Life can really seem perfect in a snap-shot even in the middle of a shit-storm.

Posing for another shot,

Bigger Little B

Christina Perri - A Thousand Years
Adele - Someone Like You
Cam - Burning House
Jana Kramer - I Got the Boy
Adele - Hello
Deana Carter - Strawberry Wine
Dixie Chicks - Not Ready to Make Nice
Sugar Land - Stay
Evanescence - My Immortal
The Band Perry - If I Die Young

Monday, January 25, 2016

Don't Go Status Quo

Dear Littler B,

Here I sit tapping away at this keyboard when I realize there is so much more I should be doing, procrastination however is one of your enduring qualities on the journey of you becoming me. Luckily it's early in the morning and we have plenty of time to get up off our bums and rectify that situation. It's not like anyone is coming to visit and the hubby won't be home from work for hours.

It's amazing what an instant gratification world we live in right now. In the old days if you wanted a meal you worked hard on it and it always took quite time to prepare. Today, you just pop it in the microwave and it's there. Spend your time doing things "you" things and you can cobble together last minute an amazing number of things. In this everybody gets a prize society it really makes self motivation feel like a huge undertaking.  Kids have to bring calculators to school for math and they don't even teach cursive writing anymore! If we don't challenge, those who struggle won't feel left out.

This thought entered my head after a commercial was on this morning for an automobile company where a child's winning team got a trophy for some sport and it said "Participation" on it. The father decided that wouldn't do and he pulls the plaque off and writes "Champs" in its place.  I'm sad to say that these things have begun happening because of our generation. We've begun a system of inclusion that really has led to a lack of striving for success. Why bust your ass if you will get a trophy regardless? I know every generation has their fear for the future stories and until this letter I didn't realize I have become one of them.

 You are going to win two trophies in your life. One will be the one you already have for softball back in '84 and the other will happen many years from now in a bowling league. While they are both things you have earned, the bowling trophy is most definitely the favorite. Why you ask? The answer is simple, it may be small but perched atop the typical marble base is the shape of a golden horses ass. You will get it for being the absolute worst bowler there. The wonderful thing though about that trophy is that you will use it as a motivation to do better and come in a heck of a lot closer to the first place in subsequent years.

I guess the point I am trying to make in all of this is not to accept the status quo. Don't go meekly into the night. There is only one person who can make you accomplish wonderful things and that is you. Don't be afraid to do that. Take this letter out often dear little me and use it to inspire you to do something.

 Do something new, something exciting, something difficult and something that takes practice as often as you possibly can. If you don't how will you ever know what you are good at? I have lived by this method and as a happy accident along the way I have learned to play guitar, paint, cook, teach, sing on stage, fix cars, write a computer program and so much more. Above all it has taught me so much about myself, the incredible spirit of perseverance and fortitude that you don't believe we have.

I am going to go now and take my own advice and self motivate my butt to a mop and dishwasher even if no one is coming to visit. I am visiting me. 

Do you know what happens if you don't try? 

Absolutely nothing.

Manic Monday Music
Eagles - Hotel California
Depeche Mode - Enjoy the Silence
Rolling Stones - Paint it Black 
Heart - Alone
Tears for Fears - Shout 
Scorpion - Rock You Like A Hurricaine
Police - Dont Stand So Close to Me
Tom Petty - Free Fallin'
Guns N' Roses - Paradise City
Leann Womak - Dance

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Things You'll Miss... And Not So Much...

Dear Littler B,

The last couple of letters I've written to you have been a little heavy at times so I though I'd make this one a bit lighter.  I'm sitting here watching a stand up comedy special of Jim Breuer. (don't worry, he will be there in only a few years for you) You are not going to like him at all when he first comes out but the older he gets, the funnier he gets.  It's a Sunday and I'm trying to fill the hours until football comes on and planning for a day of games, beer and pizza.

Having written all that I realized these are things I NEVER would have done when I was you. I'm sure you are pacing around in circles, hands on your head shouting "Oh the horror of it all! THIS is what is to become of me?" but it's not so bad I promise. This imagery in my head brings me to the subject of today's letter. I figured I would make you a fun little list of some of the things you have to look forward to on your journey of you becoming me.

Things You Will Miss
Shaving Your Head - Something you will miss very much because not only is it an act of freedom and individuality, it's damn easy to do. Never a bad hair day with that much hair.

Videos on MTV - Sadly, as of the writing of this there are multiple MTV stations and I don't believe any of them have videos. For a little while they will have an actual competitor in Vh1, though all those channels now are over-run by reality shows so you gave up on them long ago from my perspective.

Original Movies - Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of really great movies in my time however a vast majority of them are remakes of movies from your time. One good thing is that computer graphics are going to make movies so realistic they will be completely enthralling.

Not having real responsibility - I remember what it is like to be you and yes school sucks but when you are me you'd do just about anything to go back. It is all on you whether you succeed or fail. If the power is out or you have no roof over your head it's your own fault.

Riding in cars with friends for no reason at all - I'm not saying I can't do this now, but it will lose it's appeal for you. Nothing says wonderful freedom like cruising around in Helga, windows open, music blaring no place to go and no place to have to be.

New Jersey - The Beach - Familiar places - While you are going to be going to some amazing places you will never have a love or connection to anywhere like you do home.

Not being afraid to hang out in NYC on your own - Some of your best times right now are hanging out in the city and feeling invincible. Call it the fear of breaking as I've gotten old or the concept that the internet (we talked about that the other day) has made you aware of just how heinous the crime can be. 

REAL music - I know this is all relative. Those who grew up in the 50s thought Dion was the shit, you will forever think music from the 80s was the real deal. The music they come out with now is so manufactured and connived that you don't care much for it. At one point big conglomerates actually put together something called "boy bands" and at another they have talent shows that society obsesses over. Think Star Search but on a global scale. No true grit and from the streets musicians who play soul jerking music.

The feeling that you could to change the world - You feel like a giant and the whole world is your oyster. You are going to make a difference. You can do anything. You will realize as time goes by that you are who you are. While that is good to know yourself, you also know things you are not.

Party Lines - While the internet has allowed you to converse with people all over the world you will never have that initial awe and enjoyment as you did spending late hours meeting people outside your area like that guy from Red Bank. The first feeling of the world being a bigger place than what you knew.

Being a Snarky Wise Ass - This one is a pretty big deal. You are witty and say what you think. When you are me, not only are you too "grown-up" to do that but the world has turned to a "you hurt my feelings, you should be punished" kind of place. People are pansies...

Writing Letters / Pen Pals - This is a lost art. I know when I was you writing was a very large part of my life. Journals, poems, stories and letters that you would send and someone would actually reply. With the release worldwide of the internet no one does this anymore. I especially miss pen pals. The whole getting to know you and glimpse of a life unknown. Now with social media you know everyone's life so it is info overload.

Imagination - Creativity and imagination are abundant because you create to fit your situation. Now if you have an issue you go and look up something someone else has already done and put out there. It takes the drive to come up with new things out of a lot of people.

Things To Look Forward To
Long Hair - I know that doesn't seem like something you want but believe me the guys like it. I will say that if I had to take my looks when I was you to the smokin hot goddess I've turned into now, there would be no contest. (only kidding)

Google - This is going to be a place to go on the internet where you can find out just about anything about anything. It's going to be a tool that you love because anytime you want to know even the littlest fact you can "google" it and feel like you are so much smarter than you really are.

Digital Photos - You are going to be able to take thousands upon thousands of pictures and fit them all on a little device no bigger than your thumb. This is great for memories and making those collages you like. Be careful however, you sometimes end up taking so many photos for memories that you don't always soak in the experience you are supposed to be having like at Graceland.

Social Media - This is a double edge sword. Social media is a type of location on the internet that people have an account and post things about their life and chat. It will unite you with a lot of people you haven't seen in a long time and your loved ones that you don't get to see as often as you'd like. On the other hand a lot of people have a tendency to over share and start stupid battles. It takes the personal aspect out of things.

Flatscreen TVs - This goes with technology which I've touched on before. Technology is going to make things a lot simpler and "smarter". Like in a lot of those futuristic TV shows you will have a TV that hangs on the wall and is so thin that you can lift it on your own but will be larger than your dresser. The quality of the picture is amazingly lifelike too. 

Flying Cars - Ok, what talk of 25 years from now doesn't including flying cars eh? Nah, I just threw this one in here to screw with you. They STILL haven't come out with these, however they are still working on hoverboards and they have come up with a place that you can order almost anything called Amazon that has little flying device that can deliver to most areas an hour after you order something.

Living as a grown up - This sucks and is awesome all at the same time. While I complained before about not having responsibilities, I didn't mention that by gaining such responsibilities allows you to go where ever you want because you answer to you. If you want to drink alcohol you do. If you want to fly to Mexico you do. If you want to go to a certain nude beach and/or walk around naked you do. If you want to decorate your walls with comic books and movie posters, you will.

Exploring new places - You are going to be the grown up so you will get to decide where you are going. You have been a lot of places and countries (though not as many as you want). Remember 8th grade when the Washington DC field trip seemed like it was so far away?
Having children - This is probably the best thing that will ever happen to you. You can't understand the hole you have in your heart until they are here and you can't imagine how you didn't realize it. Though now at my age they don't make much time for me you would not have missed out on them for the world.

Netflix / Hulu and more than 15 channels - Ok, Netflix and Hulu are internet sites that you can go to and call up almost any kind of movie or tv show when ever you want on your computer, phone or television through your game console (yes, Atari is great but just you wait!). There is always something you want to watch. On top of this I believe cable now that it is digital has over 1500 channels though a lot of them are crap.

There is so much more that I could put in this letter but I don't want to be completely full of "spoilers" (a phrase to look forward to when you meet your good friend Dr. River Song. :-) ) 

In anticipation and fond memory,

Bigger Little B


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hold On For One More Day

Dear Little B,
Good morning across the years. I have locked into what seems to be my regular routine now a days of coffee, music and window watching with the exception of slow cooking a pot of chili as I
type my letter to you. Yes, you learn how to cook but not very well. Piece of advice? Never get less than 80/20 and for heavens sake get decent kitchen ware. Put me out of my misery. You will learn to love stews and "one pot wonders", much more than that is as common around here as a yeti due to necessity. 
We are bracing for a snow storm the likes of which we haven't seen in this area for several years supposedly. I laugh at that idea. Where you are snow means nothing, but remember when Mom & Dad moved us moved down to SC and if they even talked about snow on the news EVERYTHING shut down. (Spoiler Alert) It's a lot like that here in Nashville. They've been talking about this for days, the coming "Snowmageddon" or "Snowpocalypse". There is supposed to be about 4" of snow. Do you need a second to go get a paper towel to sop up the Jolt that sprayed out of your nose while you were laughing? In all honesty though, in the south's defense they really don't have it often enough to know how to handle it or learn to drive in it. They are ill equipped.
I know the only word out of that sentence you really comprehended was Nashville. Yes, you moved to Tennessee several years ago and YES you finally get to go to Graceland. Dream upon dreams isn't it? Even now the girl who has a shaved head and combat boots hanging out in NYC amongst all the big hair Aqua Net freaks still has that poster of Elvis up on her wall. You can't lie to me, I've been there remember? 

You have quite a few things on that to-do list in your journal that are going to be scratched out. Some not as soon as others, but in the end you accomplish most of what is already there and will add one for every one you tick off so that things never get boring.  Yes you will live for a brief time in NYC and yes you will make it out of the country (Twice so far, but hopefully time will change that).
 I know you are wondering why I am telling you these things. When you get older you will get the "I wish I could smack my young self in the head and told them look what you will become" feeling.  It may not be spectacular. You may not be singing on a stage, publishing that new book, rubbing elbows with the elite but you are gloriously and beautifully ALL YOU. It's going to be a long time until you figure out what that is and just when you think you know, you will reinvent yourself. Lets face it, you are not one who handles stagnation or boredom well.

Brace yourself kid, you are going to be disappointed and you are going to cry - buckets.  There are going to be more than a few times we go through that seem dark. Very dark indeed. Two in particular you are going to feel like there is no hope, no option, no shining sun. Know that it is ok to feel that way. The best thing about times like this are the times when you are on the other side of it and you look back. The beauty of the strong as iron spine you developed. The aspects of your character that you never believed you had will arise and surprise the hell out of you.

(insert palm slap to the forehead here)

The thing that you need to remember at these times (and these two in particular) is that believe it or not you WILL get through it and find ways to mend, cope and excel. Don't give up. Taking the easy way out is not as easy as you think. Sure, it may be for you but in the short term think of the resulting chaos. Mom & Dad, your family, your friends and yes even once your children. Is that the legacy you want to leave them? Twice you will try and luckily for me, twice you will fail.

I don't say things will ever be perfect but I do say thing will be perfect and that is what you will have to grasp onto to pull yourself through it. When I say thing I mean a moment or a sunset, a song or a breeze.  Just let yourself let go mentally enough to grab onto just 1 thing. No, it will not make your problems go away but it will give you a chance to step out of your beautiful horrible overworked mind long enough to take a break from self-torture.  Soon you will be able to string a thing together with another thing and before you know it things will look a heck of a lot better than they did.

I am lucky I have this chance to tell you about the things you wouldn't have if you had succeeded, most people don't get that. You have a man who loves you more than anything in the world, you have beautiful children, you have a kind and giving heart borne out of the ashes of many fires you were not able to put out and quite honestly at the age I am now I'm damn sexier than I was 10 and 20 years ago. Your life is beautiful in all its flaws because of the turmoil not in spite of it.  Even this many years later when I have lived longer on my own than at home something that Dad said rings in my head no matter what the difficulty. "This too shall pass". No matter how difficult things may seem, you can handle it even if you think you can't.

You are a Phoenix who always rises from the ashes. I can't wait to see what our next incarnation will bring!

In Love and Hope,

Bigger Little B 
Eagles - Take it to the Limit
Mama's & Papa's - California Dreamin'
Dion - Runaround Sue
Simon & Garfunkel - Graceland
A-Ha - Take On Me
Eagles - Hotel California
Joan Jett - I Love Rock n Roll
Eddie Money - Take Me Home Tonight
Journey - Faithfully
Survivor - Burning Heart
John Melencamp (yeah he drops the "Cougar" somewhere around 91 I think) - Hurts So Good
Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf
Journey - Open Arms
Queen - We Will Rock You
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Take the Time...

Dear Littler B,

Well good morning again. I'm not sure how long we will have this line open or how many letters I'm going to be able to smuggle to you through the pipeline of the years, but I will keep going as long as I have something to say. You know you, so that could be quite a long time with that mouth/mind combo.

Here I sit, same routine as yesterday coffee in one hand and screen in front of me with that blinking cursor begging to travel along the page. What can I tell you today that will make any difference or consolation? I guess again I will let the music be my guide.

I keep wondering where you are hiding reading these letters? Are you down at the tire park at Patania? In your room? No more likely you snuck out your second floor window while everyone is sleeping onto Dad's car and are on that big fallen down tree on the beach of the second lake. I can just see you shaved headed, olive drab flight jacket, big ass earrings so no one mistakes you for a boy and combat boots that have no place on a beach. They should have known not to put us in that bedroom right over the driveway....

I guess that brings me to today's subject. Where ever you are, I know you are probably alone. Not because you don't have friends but because I know how much you value that quiet alone time to sit and just think about everything. As much as you love your friends (both the one you met on the swings that day in 3rd grade and the tall blonde bombshell who you think you will never hold a candle to) you still have your times that you just like to go hide and soak in the enormity of the experience of life and how to survive in it.

What a mind you have. I'm sure it's because you are always firing on all cylinders because you haven't learned about what ADHD is and you have no clue how to control it. (not that you ever do completely if these letters don't give you a clue on that) Your mind is in so many places at once.

Try this little experiment, put the letter down and look at one of the billion Swatches you have. For 3 minutes just think about 1 thing. You pick what, that bike ride to Pakanack Lake, that friend of yours from Parsippany who you are absolutely in love with but will never tell him, I don't care just pick it.

5 minutes later, I bet you thought of the guy which segued into about 300 things minimum. You started with all good intention of focusing on that one thing and you have no idea how in the name of the Gods you let your sister pop into your head or your dang math teacher (you know the one who makes you use carbon paper) or the Navy or the really hot band teacher (if this gets to you senior year – if not, there's something to look forward to.)

This is one quality that is going to be a huge asset and a huge downfall over the next several years. Some call it scatterbrained, it won't be for several years that they have a medical term for it. One thing I can warn you is that with your mind whirring like it does and at the speed it does, it's going to lead to a high level of anxiety that is not necessary. I know you have already experienced that. Remember that time you got your cherry popped at Rocky Horror and all the sudden couldn't breathe and ended up with your very hot friends extremely hot brother who helped you through it and got you home? That was an anxiety attack.

You are going to feel like you are dying or going to pass out. You are going to feel like you are possessed. You are going to feel lots of things and it's going to happen often until you recognize it for what it is. It will be worse at night when you are supposed to be sleeping and the house is quiet because that is when your mind won't shut off.

I know this seems like a horrible prognosis but it is really not. One of the things that will come hand in hand with the ADHD – Scatterbrained fueled anxiety attack is a burst of adrenalin. You will learn to harness that and do some great things. It will take time to learn but it is so worth it. Pick up your clarinet, play your drums, write, sing, read or anything that takes focus. You will learn to draw, play guitar (yes really) paint, build and so much more. More than these things learn to count. Breathe and count. Count the breaths. There is a science to it, they say if you can get through 20 minutes you have made it through.

People who don't suffer from these attacks will not understand them and it is not something you can ever explain. Just don't try, accept it. You don't know what it's like to be color blind or tall so look at it that way. Be patient with others who have to deal with you and above all be patient with yourself. Fake it till ya make it baby.

Patiently Yours,

Bigger Little B

Kansas – Dust in the Wind
The Corrs – Send Me a Song
Elton John – Crocodile Rock
Jackson 5 – ABC
The Corrs – No Frontiers
Bengals – Eternal Flame
Simon & Garfunkel – Kodachrome
Sinead – No Mans Woman
Beatles – Inner Light
Bob Marley – Three Little Birds
Harry Nillson – Everybodys Talkin'
Stray Cats – Stray Cat Strut
Dixie Chicks – Can't Hurry Love
Sinead – Three Babies
Flogging Molly – The Sun Never Shines
Elton John – Daniel
Dixie Chicks – Sin Wagon
Fallout Boy – Light 'em Up
Garth Brooks – Papa loved Mama
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
Simon & Garfunkel – I am a Rock
Extreme – More Than Words
Guns N Roses - Patience

Soar Without Fear....

Dear Littler B,

I'm sitting here listening to my music and staring outside at the snow gently coming down trying to decide what to write to you today about. Sitting next to our puppy and drinking my third cup of coffee. Yes, you will drink copious amounts of coffee before noon to get your ass in gear. The good thing is coffee has gotten much better over the years. It's almost become a science. It's not like that coffee that they serve in that cafeteria machine although I know you like that crap.  Nor is it like the swill Mom & Dad make with the skim milk. Have they switched to skim yet? It seems when people get a certain age they all the sudden think they can make changes and wipe out all the bad crap they put into their body all along. Don't believe the hype. You should be making those changes now. Quit going down to the store every morning with that friend of yours just before school so you can sneak smokes and get your regular breakfast of Reese's cups and Jolt Cola. Get a jump on it. Early bird and all that crap.

I know you read all that as coffee...blah blah blah... PUPPY!!!! Yes, you have a puppy. He is several years old right now even though I call him a puppy. I know you are in love with those two Alaskan Malamutes in the house over by Gwen's but you might as well love them from afar because after several years of trying you are going to do the unthinkable and fall in love with a little yap yap dog.  He's going to be your best friend and know just how to treat you no matter what your mood.

In her defense (Older you, younger me) he does not yap at all and he is not annoying like most.  It was one of those love at first sight situations, she couldn't help it.  It was a 50/50 shot, could have gone either way because when she first saw him he was sleeping.  I'm not going to tell you where and when, space time continuum and all that rot. This is one of the things I'd thank you not to screw up. :-) I know you don't know what the heck :-) is but you will use it often. Tilt your head to the left slightly, it will make sense.

I know the last couple letters I've been trying not to shoot down being "grown up". There is a lot you are going to miss, but there is a lot you have to look forward to as well. You know those things you love to do right now? Well listen to you several years down the road and older than even Mom is right now, there is only one of those things that is going to remain constant - your family (well, your baby blanket too. You may have aged 25 years but you still sleep with it every night, but so does Kari so you obviously are not that off your rocker).  I hate to say it but you are going to have to suck it up, change is inevitable. 

Don't be afraid to change. I know you like I know myself (yes that was a joke dumb ass, I know you are myself). You are the kind of girl that likes change on the outside but not one that lets go on the inside. It's going to burn you up more than a few times. Mom's favorite analogy is that you are like a bird that soars high and then free falls in a spiral because you don't know when to catch the next wind. You will be afraid to let go of relationships you are not willing to admit are bad, ideas you are sure will pan out if you just work harder, things that you think you can't live without.

If I could save you the pain, I would but you are stubborn. You would probably rush head on into something I warned you against just because authority is not your bag baby (you'll get that phrase in a couple years too). Then again, maybe I won't because it makes you who I am today. I will however tell you that several times in your life you are going to lose everything you have and at the time you will think every thing you are. You WILL come out of it on the other side, I promise. I wouldn't be here writing to you today if you didn't. What you will come to learn is that things are just things, you are stronger than you think you are and more importantly it's who goes through it with you and is there on the other side that matters.

Don't be afraid to soar because you are expecting that impending spiral. Some of your best memories are going to be of those times. The times you flew and believe it or not the times you fell.

Confidently yours,

Bigger Little B

Daddy's Little Girl/Butterfly Kisses - Faith Hill & Tim McGraw
Fancy - Reba
Dixie Chicks - Long Time Gone
Dixie Chicks - Sin Wagon
Metallica - One
Metallica - Turn The Page
Megan Trainor - All About That Bass
Bon Jovi - It's My Life
Metallica - Whiskey in the Jar
Metallica - Nothing Else Matters
Kiss - Beth
Linkin Park - I Tried So Hard
LoverBoy - Heaven in your Eyes
Lynard Skynard - Sweet Home Alabama
Mischief Brew - Watching Scotty Die
Lynard Skynard - Free Bird

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Juicy Bits...

Dear Little B,

I know you want to know about all the juicy bits you have to look forward to, so here is a little info I will throw at you as free advice from someone who knows about it and knows you. This may get a little bit Salt n Pepa up in here.

 Hopefully it won't be too much for the faint of heart or get you in trouble incase mom gets ahold of this letter like she did that film case in the top drawer that had your first condom. Not sure if that's happened yet. If not, heads up - don't kid yourself, you can't hide anything from that Sherlock. You may hate it now but DONT.  Take a tip because it will help save your own one day.

Depending on when you are at the time this letter reaches you, I may end up repeating some things you have already been through but take a listen because you often see things very differently many years removed from the situation.

You know you have been wanting to join the initiated. At your age that is totally normal and is going to happen soon enough. I'm not going to tell you not to rush it. Quite honestly it is a natural and enjoyable part of life. (maybe jaded advice coming from someone who practices a fertility religion) This is not a conversation you could have with Mom and you are not close enough to any of your sisters to have an honest talk with any of them.

Lets face it, even your friends..... count them off (even the ones you think are so cool and wise - you know who she is).... Haven't done it yet. Well, only one, and you know who she is because she doesn't really talk about it. Don't grill her because if her Mom found out she would go kamikaze on her and believe it or not after some time she will be your friend again and lead you to several unexpected "Aha moments" in your/my most recent years. I'd hate to see you lose the words of wisdom she gives me regularly without even knowing it. (we'll get into Facebook later)

I hate to burst your bubble but that first time, that magical experience that you've read about in the books you hide under your mattress is going to be shit. I don't say that because I want to let you down, I say that because you are a dreamer. You and every other person your age have built it up to be something it is not, especially not to a newbie. You think it is going to fit into one of two different categories.

CATEGORY 1 - Romantic, soft caresses, music playing in the background ended by falling asleep in each others arms in the muted glow of light and panels of silk blowing in the breeze.

CATEGORY 2 - Hot steamy passion, arms and limbs everywhere, ecstasy pulsing through every vein as you claw and paw at every inch of body you can until you are screaming with release.

Sorry kid, this is real life not a movie. The truth is it will be one Christmas night in a parking lot with your friends brother who you had been on a few dates with. It will be awkward, cramped and cold and you will feel disappointed afterwards. The cool thing is that now you got the expectation out of your head it will be much better. You will have a relationship with him for a while and years later will only remember the good times. I can't even tell you why we no longer see each other. I actually looked him up the other day, he actually joined the military and moved to Florida and probably never thinks of you.

Men will come and go in your life and you will learn all sorts of things, try all sorts of things for better or for worse.  A few things will remain constant, 1. You will never get it as much as you want it. 2. It will never be as mystical as you imagine it will. 3. You will have a few of those magical moments that make for good non-fiction fodder. 

You will eventually come to find out that while it is nice to have memories the juicy bits seem to pale in comparison to other things. I know that seems totally preposterous to you now but it happens to be a fact.  Down the road a bit, trust you (me) the things that are more worth it are not the hot and steamy moments before you fell into the deep evening slumber but the guy that brings you coffee in bed when you are waking up. The one who sits on the couch letting you lay in complete comfort on his chest with his arm around you even though it had to have been completely asleep an hour ago.

Believe me baby girl, in the long run whether you like it or not your body is going to be broken to hell. You will not always be "gumby damnit" and the things that last are not the physical. I know that sounds like old people crap.... well it is, but old people learn that in real time. I'm giving you a glimpse of the you yet to come. You will have a lot of fun and heartbreak learning this lesson but will come out the better and stronger person on the other side. I promise when you do finally find the one, you will not be disappointed (even if you do want to bop him in the nose on occasion).

Be patient with yourself, you will always know the right thing to do for you.

In fond memory of your future,

Bigger Little B

Isn't it funny how songs always seem to come to you even when you are on random play? Today's soundtrack brought to you by....

Michael Jackson - Human Nature
Fall Out Boy - My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark
The Corrs - I know My Love
BonJovi - Bed of Roses
Def Lepard - Pour Some Sugar on Me
B52's - Love Shack
Michael Jackson - Will you be there?
Flogging Molly - Cruel Mistress
Tenacious D - F#%k Her Gently
Green Day - American Idiot
Wilson Phillips - Reckless
Jimmy Buffett - If You Like Pina Coladas
Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind
Elton John - Tony Danza Tiny Dancer
Billy Joel - Vienna
JayZ / Linkin Park - Izzo/In the End
Elvis Presley - In the Ghetto

Monday, January 18, 2016

Things Mom Got Right & Wrong

Dear Little B,

It's me again, well you, well bigger you. I wanted to take some time to write to you about one of the most influential people in your life, (believe it or not you stubborn brat) Mom. So much of what she says to you goes in one ear and out the other. Don't roll your eyes as I know you are doing. It's just you and.... well you here. You know you do it.

Here are some things to remember.  Mom is your Mother, that being said there are some things I know you don't think about. She is a woman. One who had dreams and ambition and hopes of her own and put them aside to accept the title of Mother. She was you once upon a time. At one point in time she was in high school dating that guy that Grandpa didn't like. She was pretty bad ass, sneaking Dad out the back door so they wouldn't get caught. She used to ride on the back of a motorcycle. Face it you are not even that ballsy. 

She spent a lot of years learning to be the woman that yells at you to clean your room or makes you feel 2" tall because although she may not have heard the words you said, she knows by the voice you said them in you are lying about something. She knows you more than you know yourself and she's been through it all, believe me. Learn to talk to her. She will never put you down or not believe in you if you are honest with her.  It's something that I hate I didn't learn until many years older than you. Not only was this the cause of more time away from Mom than I wish, it is also the cause of every phone call with her being 3-4 hours long. For her sake and ours, open up to her. She is far smarter than you give her credit for.

There are a lot of things she got right. She found an amazing man and held onto him for dear life. Things between Mom & Dad have not always been great, but you will never believe that because it's not what you see. They have struggled a lot, but through it all they worked together. Love is worth that. I would love to say you are going to find that kind of a guy but the verdict is still out this many years later. If old me can make any sense to young me, take their lead. They don't always agree but they always work it out. You will save yourself a lot of heartbreak if you can take this seed to heart and let it bloom.

Do you want to know another thing she got right? Walk upstairs and look in the oriental basket. Go look at her book shelf. Do you see that silver bowl with the ball of yarn in it next to the chair? With all the things she has to do... work, keep 5 daughters straight, grandchildren (depending on when this reaches you), cleaning, cooking etc.... she still finds time to do the things that make her happy. Dad's no different. Go in the garage and look at the railroad or downstairs to the darkroom. Look at that harpsichord for heavens sake. I can't stress further how important something like this is to help you stay happy and balanced. Find a hobby, something you like to do (and I know you like to do a whole lot of things) and make sure you take the time to make you happy. Do all the things you are supposed to do and some of the things you want to do. Create something. Something you can look at and say "I DID THAT!".  All in all, it doesn't matter who is proud of you except you. You owe it to us to allow us that.

I'm sure there are so many more things that she got right but here's one last gem that ties into the next one. Do you ever see her wear rolled up cut off jeans and bobby socks? Are those saddle shoes still in her closet? I know you'd know because you are the only one in the house that raids her shoes because you are the only one with feet big enough. The answer is obviously no. There is a reason for that. Enjoy the fad of the day or more rightly knowing who you/I am the ANTI fad. Those Doc Martins and shaved head are fun while you have them but know they stay where they belong, in the '80s. I know you want me to tell you that you didn't turn into a long haired hippie tree hugging freak like those Earth Day band wagon jumpers, but if it is any consolation I guess that is the ANTI fad now so I've stayed true to character.

Ok, I know you snarky brat. You have been waiting for that list of some of the things that Mom got wrong. I will touch on them a bit here though I am sure there are so many things I will forget as with the brief list before.

The hair. I know I mentioned it before but it begs repeating on the what she got wrong list. You've done everything you can think of with it. Colors that only belong on a rainbow or South American parrot, lengths that society says only belong on an 18 yr old boy at boot camp.  Every time you do something new to it, you get chewed out and know you don't get to go out as much as your other sisters because of fear of others opinions. Let me tell you this baby girl, embrace it. Color it. Wear what you will. Soon enough you are going to have to set out in the grown up world. You are going to have to compromise your artistic style and become what others want to see so you can get that job or that rental. Enjoy every bit of what you are while you can. Before you know it, you will have no choice but to look presentable to the masses on the outside.

Engleburt Humperdink. Ok, this one Mom got WAY wrong. To put it plainly, you know how much you laugh because she thinks EH is the greatest? Well you are right to laugh. He's not cool, he's old his music sucks. To you.  Just remember these criticisms and commit any comments you have to memory because I can promise you in the not too distant future you will be hearing the same thing about Robert W. Smith, Motley Crue, Axel Rose and many more because they are not "Justin" or "Harry".  Just remember every thought you have on EH you are going to have to hear from the mouths of your daughters. It won't always be awful though. Its fun when your kids go through a "retro" phase (which they all do, like you did when you went through that 50s phase and played teen angle over and over) and start playing music you listened to. I guess technically I should say music that you listen to since you are actively discovering your music tastes.

Ok, here's one last thing she got wrong. Honestly, you know those geometry classes with Mrs. C you are taking? Or that Humanities class you have that you almost never show up for? Mom and Dad are going to go fight for you to graduate because of that class by the way. (Why do you have to be such a D-Bag all the time?) Well, the long and short of it is that you will NEVER need those classes. They lied. You won't ever need to know about the most common stone in North America or the gestation period of an elephant. Unfortunately they won't realize and start tailoring school around things you will need for a few decades so in the mean time, what Mom & Dad may not have said but I'm sure they are thinking is "Suck it up". You are going to have to do a lot of things in life that you really don't want to and won't need later in life, but you have to suck it up and get those things done to get what you will need. (in this instance it's a diploma but you can extrapolate this to fit many circumstances that will come up.)

The long and the short of things here to remember, Mom's been there and believe it or not she's probably done that. Give her the benefit of the doubt. Go out of your way for her because she has most definitely done that for you. She won't always be there for you, while she is let her know how much she is appreciated.

I will however leave you with one of my favorite songs today. You should appreciate it, our tastes don't change that much over the many years I am writing to you from. Its a little something to look forward to.

With Honesty,

Bigger Little B

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
REM - Man In The Moon
Meatloaf - You Took the Words Right Outta My Mouth
Tool - 10000 days
Meatloaf - Paradise by the Dashboard Light
Bette Midler - Wind Beneath My Wings
AC/DC - Big Balls
Tesla - Love Song
Megadeth - A Tout Le Monde
Motley Crue - Home Sweet Home
N'Sync - Bye Bye Bye
Les Miserables - On My Own
Les Miserables - Stars
Mark Dinning - Teen Angel
Billy Boyd - The Last Goodbye

Hello Dear Littler Me


Dear Little Me,

I am not sure what I hope to accomplish by these letters to you as I sit in my living room blaring Sister Christian.  Am I looking for a catharsis into why I am the way I am? Am I looking to warn my younger self about the pitfalls and tribulations you will experience? Steer you away from heartache? Nah, I don't think so. Because Little B, you will become the best version of yourself for having experienced these things.  You could take the safe road and be another Stepford or you can be true to who you are, in which case the things I warn you of you will barrel into with such speed it would put the Flash to shame.

There are so many things to look forward to at the same time. Do I tell you about them so that you have something to look forward to? Who knows. I would hate to have my information reach you at a time when you look at it and say "I am going to do things so much bigger" and you run screaming as fast as you can in the other direction so you don't get tripped up. Let me tell you Little Me, those things are a whole lot bigger than you may imagine. The tentacles that reach out from every decision have had such profound changes in areas that you never expected in both big and small ways. You never realize the waves you made have long lasting ripples in the pond.

I'm hoping this reaches you somewhere around 1988-89. Grown up enough to know what you want to do with your life, yet young enough to have the passion and drive to make those things happen. Full of creativity and design to enact some of the greatest things in your life.

These letters will be random and sporadic. I have lots to tell you. Not so you don't make the same mistakes, but so you know that those mistakes have all been worth the making. For every time you've tripped in this life you have found a feather bed waiting at your feet to catch you when you fall. How you ask? Because you have chosen to look at life that way. It may not seem it when you are falling but when you stand up, brush your ass off and look back you realize.... Damn you have good friends, good family, good instincts or just plain dumb luck.

Will I warn you to stay away from that boy in the band, things that were supposed to last forever to my young mind may not always mean the same things as you hope they would; however, he will give you one of the most precious gifts you could ever imagine in this lifetime. Go for it in all its heartache because the amazing wonders you will experience and the way your life will change will never be equaled. If I can offer up one piece of advice there, just don't be afraid to get up on that stage. When the time comes you will know. Sing like no one is listening. Like you are in your bedroom belting out those songs you play on your portable turntable.

You have a lot of good things to look forward to Little B. Internet is pretty much society's lifeline. While it can be a bane of your existence at times, it will also make 1,200 miles seem like the next couch.  I say this as I am putting this letter out there on my laptop computer, those big beastly computers you have are a thing of the past. Microwaves are a mandatory. I'm not just talking about ones like you already have where Kari wants a hotdog and turns the dial to Zero Twenty Five it. MP3 players are the bomb. A device that stores thousands of songs that you can pull up at whim and listen to. So much easier than LPs. A good playlist has the power to get you juiced, nostalgic, sad, happy. ("Hey You" Pink Floyd is playing right now in the background making me think of Mr. D)

Cell phones, also bane and blessing. A device in your pocket that anyone can call at any time and that you can pick up and see how friends and family are doing. Can't go wrong. They have come such a long way since the big bricks you know with the big antenna that you pull out. Captain Kirk was not too far off, yes they have even made them in a watch that you can talk and see the person calling you although they are so expensive no real person can afford one thereby making demand a hell of a lot less than I'm sure they hoped.

There are a lot of things that haven't gotten better though. You know how your home always looks cozy and comfortable? Well that's because Mom makes it look so easy. Having your own place is a heck of a lot harder. I wish I had helped out a lot more looking back across the years. I might have learned a lot more than I did. You know how things always had a place and were clean? SHE did that. Where I sit now, I am that adult and I have to do all that. Its not so bad most of the time. Put on some music and sing and dance around the place cleaning. That only works when you get the motivation so heed my words Little B, be your motivation. You of all people know that you do nothing unless YOU decide you are going to. Being lazy is going to make you your own worst enemy. I know you hate it when Mom says that to you but after decades I have learned that it is unequivocally the only truth this life has taught you.

You know how it always seems you have every thing you need and a lot of times the things you want? Well, that's all your parents. Mom & Dad make it look like it is little effort and everything is provided. Don't drink that Kool-Aid. (That happened in 78 so you should know that phrase). Mom & Dad work and balance insane amount of things to pull off providing for 5 children. Watch them a lot closer and learn. They are the biggest allies you will ever have in this life. Don't miss a second of wisdom you can garner from being in their presence. One day it will be your turn to teach those things to your children the same way. If you don't watch you will land flat on your face in that task instead of the previously mentioned feather bed.

Well, I am sure my first letter has been a bit of a (to use a phrase you use often) verbal diarrhea. I'm hoping as the letters go on I will learn to cull the thoughts that will matter and sprinkle them with the fun things. This will be a fun exercise I think as long as I stick to it. I don't know if they will make a difference in your life Little B, but maybe they will in mine. Who knows where the untraveled road goes?

In Anticipation,

Bigger Little B.

Songs Listened To While Writing

Terry Jacks - Seasons in the Sun
Salt & Peppa - Lets Talk About Sex
Guns & Roses - Sweet Child O Mine
Survivor - The Search is Over
Led Zepplin - Stairway to Heaven
Prince - SeVen
Pink Floyd - Hey You
Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall
Phil Collins - Take a Look at Me Now
Journey - Open Arms
Night Ranger - Sister Christian Follow my blog with Bloglovin