Confessions Of A Sort Of Songwriter

So it’s been a few months (has it really?) since I attempted to teach myself the ukulele, I have progressed to learning about 15 chords, which means there are more songs (I’ve almost got enough for an album, actually)! Normally, I would not be sharing them on here, because I’m probably more critical of myself than anyone else will be, and they’re nowhere near finished. However, I have decided to share one or two, because despite the very rough recordings, I’m extremely proud of them.

After speaking with a dear friend of mine, who is also a musician, I kept thinking of how I got from being just a singer to a (sort of) songwriter. I know I already mentioned that I could never play an instrument to save my life before the uke, so I won’t repeat that part, but the process I have found with my writing has been an interesting one to be sure. I didn’t actually realize I had a process until my friend and I spoke, and then it just occurred to me.

Being someone who opposes routine anything I was surprised at how quickly I came to accept the pseudo routine I’d created for my music making. When one has a routine or process, one is much more likely to continue moving forward and progressing. I think I’m mostly OK with it because it’s not like a normal person’s morning routine. The one where you get up, brush your teeth, shower, get dressed (or get back in PJs), drink your morning beverage, and then look at other people’s social media accounts and think about how little you’ve accomplished in life. Oh wait, sorry, none of that applies to me except the last part and sometimes the PJs… I digress. Don’t worry, I’m getting there!

This routine is more organic and subtle; almost a natural instinct that leads my process. At the same time I find it amusing how the least opportune moments offer the most insightful and inspiring ideas to us. In the past, if I had a tune or melody in my head and some lyrics, I would get the words down but rarely the music. Yes, I know that things like tape recorders and such are easy to use and I could have used them. In fact, I did own one, and by “own one,” I mean I took it from my Mom’s desk drawer to record fake radio shows with my friend. Did I mention how cool I was back then???

Either way, I’ve come a long way from my fake radio fame, and leveled up to the world of Smartphones. Despite that, for some reason, I just never got it in my head to download a mic or voice recording app. (you can feel free to mock me for this, it is completely warranted) Seriously, of all the useful tools I’d downloaded in the past, it never registered that voice recorders existed. It’s comical how this was probably even on my radar, but I just didn’t notice.

Downloading that voice recorder app was the first step to my new songwriting process, and from there I found it much simpler:

  1. While I’m in the shower, on the road (driving specifically), swimming, or at the gym, a melody or lyrics pop into my head. Thus begins the period of creativity.
  2. I have no paper or pen, and I’m not near my uke, so as soon as I have a moment I get my phone and open the voice recorder app. (Disclaimer: if you are driving, pull over before looking for the app on your phone, or use Google assistant to open it with your voice while driving. Do not Smartphone and drive, people!)
  3. I hum or sing the song with lyrics to get the basic sound down so I can come back to it later and keep the melody if I really like it. If I only have lyrics I’ll recite them without music if I can’t come up with a tune to go with them.
  4. Next step for lyrics only: upon returning home and getting on my computer, I’ll take some time to expand on what I have down and see if I can put together verses and a chorus before adding music.
  5. Next step for melody only: I break out the uke, warm up, and then play the recording and try to match the melody to the notes in chords I know (since I have a decent selection of basic chords down, this is easier now).
  6. After I’ve written out full lyrics and have a melody to go with them (sometimes both happen at the same time), I start messing with the song and the feel I’m trying to emulate with the pacing and time signature.
  7. When the mood and tempo are set, sometimes I can’t figure out all the appropriate chords that sound right with my melody. In this case, I’ll go to my chord chart and try to test out some new ones that might work better.
  8. Once I have all the chords down, I practice the progressions and speed up as much as I can to make the transitions as smooth as possible before trying to sing at the same time. (this is the most difficult part for me).
  9. As the song gets clearer and easier to play, I sing softly along through the whole song a few times and focus on my strumming technique. (it varies from harsh and loud, to soft and barely a whisper).
  10. Mastering that part means I am now ready to record. I always start by opening GarageBand, laying down the uke track first, and hearing the melody in my head while I play to keep the same pacing.
  11. Last is the voice track, where I plug my headphones in and listen to the acoustic track as I sing along over it to get the full song.
  12. The completed song then gets saved or tweaked a bit if necessary and I prepare to cringe when listening through it over and over until I accept that others probably won’t notice I was behind with my voice in that one part, or that I sang so loud the MacBook mic got confused and just couldn’t even with the volume.

That being said… I hope you enjoy the examples, and if you don’t, then no worries. Music is a very personal thing for each of us, but if mine speaks to you then I’ve done what I set out to do. If it doesn’t, speak to you then you don’t have to listen. 🙂

 

Advertisements

Games I’ve Taught My Parents: Puerto Rico Cont.

Now that I had finally gotten both parents on board, we had enough to play the game (side note: you can play this game with two people, but it isn’t as fun, and the rules get a bit more complex, so 3 is usually my favorite number for games especially when learning new ones.).

As I began my normal “objective of the game” speech (I do this when I teach others), I noticed my father perusing the rulebook, which I had explained would be a bit different than what I’m teaching them. Dad had even printed out a second copy of the rules to review on his own, because he didn’t trust me to teach him correctly. Even though I’d played the game plenty of times before online with my friend and in person, I apparently couldn’t be trusted. I guess I now know where my trust issues come from, but that’s a story for another day…

Every time I would mention a rule or try to explain the order of play and a round vs. a turn, Dad would challenge me and get frustrated thinking he was right and I was wrong. When I was finally able to explain the order of play, he just grunted and shut up so I could continue. It was the best I could have gotten, really. The fact that he listened after realizing I knew what I was talking about greatly helped move things along and got us started.

One flaw I have when I explain games to others is that I sometimes get caught up with the current game play and the rules during the game, that I forget all the pieces of wrapping up and ending the game. I have friends and family who can attest to this; it’s something that I will probably need a 12-step program for if I ever hope to fully explain a game start to finish, without confusing my pupils. It won’t surprise you to hear that the same thing happened with this game. There are basically three ways the game ends, and I left out 2 when explaining the end. We realized this later but the trust points I got from Dad earlier were taken back because now I had missed a very important part that determines how one should strategize to win.

After we got a couple of rounds in, things got easier for my parents. However, my mother tends to make you feel guilty for not giving her suggestions, even though the whole point is to not give your personal strategies to others. She basically said she had no idea what to do and wanted help figuring out different actions she should take. Because I have my own strategies I find it hard suggesting others that I don’t even know yet. One, giving away my plans makes me have to figure out another way to achieve my goals in the game, because she’ll use the same tactics, and two, I can’t suggest a strategy that I haven’t tried because I don’t know the ins and outs of it and if it fails I’ll get blamed for the failure.

All in all, my father decided to start profiting way too late in the game, and mom and I ended up tying with the winning score. So my original expectations of Mom not enjoying the game and Dad enjoying it were reversed. Sadly, padre may never try to colonize his home island in a tabletop game again, but who knows? He may want to play so he can win now. Us Aries’ usually have to win eventually!

Games I’ve Taught My Parents: Puerto Rico

To start off this series of posts, anyone who knows me knows I am a board game fanatic. This lifestyle is one that was born from lots of family game nights as a kid. We may not have had many sit down dinners, but we did have plenty of sit down games. Due to my competitive Aries fire, I’m told that I was a sore loser as a child. Apparently I would wipe the board clean if I didn’t win and proceed to throw a tantrum. While I do not have personal memories of this, I highly doubt my parents made it up. Now that I am older and a tad bit wiser, I’ve been able to calm down when playing board games. The occasional mood will arise if I feel like I’m being ganged up on in a game where it’s every man for himself, or if my husband wants to screw me over (which is his usual goal whenever we play games together). I can proudly say that I have not wiped a board clean out of anger or started crying about losing since I was learning to read. Go me.

There is some debate on this, but from when I started gaming, the 4 pillars of tabletop games were: Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Puerto Rico (I own all four of these). However, recently I’ve heard that Alhambra or Dominion replaced Puerto Rico. Either way, I own a lot of the classic strategy based tabletop games, and I still consider Puerto Rico one of them. My parents actually bought it for me when they saw it at a store a few years ago (having no idea what it was) and I’ll be honest, it sat in my pile of games with the shrink-wrap secured on it for a long time. The first attempt we made at playing was during a night at my parent’s house when they were still living in CT. Like all games, we unwrapped it, took out the pieces and organized them, looked at the rulebook for how to set it up and play, etc. Only difference with this game is that we were completely confused.

The translation of the rules for Puerto Rico in the English version are extremely contradictory, make no sense and don’t add up. Thus began the search on YouTube for videos that would teach us how to play. No dice. That night we gave up the quest for knowledge to enjoy the game and which got put away for about another year and a half. It wasn’t until last Summer that I actually learned how to play, thanks to a friend of my friend who was only in town temporarily. He showed us the right way to set the game up, and then taught us all we needed to know. He then kicked our asses and left us feeling insecure about our abilities to strategize. Despite losing horribly, with his guidance the game made so much more sense, and quickly became a favorite of mine.

By this point, my parents were living in Florida, so it was going to be awhile until they were able to play the game, but I knew that I’d teach them eventually… Cut to last week where I finally convinced my father to try the game. The thing you have to know about Dad is that he, like me, is also very competitive when it comes to games. If he doesn’t know a game already, it’s near impossible for him to actually try learning it because he doesn’t like losing. I mean, who does? Losing sucks, but lose enough times and you get over it, which makes winning all the more satisfying. My father is not of this mindset, and therefore can be difficult to play games with due to his short temper.

However, I had faith that my parents would love the game just as much as I did. Maybe Mom wouldn’t be as excited, because she prefers games where you don’t have to think as much and it isn’t as complex, but she still offers to play games when I suggest them so she gets points for that! The story continues in my next post…

 

Steps For Making Friends When You’re Approaching 30

Since I’ve been here, I’ve made very weak attempts at meeting other people my age. So far, I’ve got two. I went to St. Augustine with one that I met at a job event, and the other is in my pottery class, but I haven’t really connected with either of them yet or done anything else outside of those two instances. I’ve joined meet up groups, but being broke makes it hard to go out and socialize, as most people here want to go to the bars or do an activity that costs money. I’m also gun shy about showing up somewhere not knowing anyone. While I may come off as super cool and fun, I’m really just a weird, awkward, klutz who brings up random topics in conversations because I’m nervous.

Making friends at this age is more difficult than I used to think it was. We’re pushed into friendships starting as infants (whether we want to make friends or not), and all the way through school we interact with so many people. Some stick, others are brief, but regardless, it’s this never-ending social opportunity. After college, you’re kicked out of your nest, plummeting down to the real world before you really have a chance to discover your wings. You know you need to flap them to fly, but you’re just not sure you’re ready to. That’s my approach to making friends as an adult. It’s very similar to dating if you think about it…

  1. See a sort of interesting person out somewhere. This could be a karaoke bar, a local park, the beach, job fair, etc.
  2. Have brief but meaningful connection with them.
  3. If you are talking, discover things you have in common.
  4. Use an excuse to get their contact information. (networking for business and being new to the area are my go to choices)
  5. When you leave, make a point to “definitely be in touch” but also walk out with an 80% chance they were simply being polite and probably have no interest in following up.
  6. Wait a few days so you don’t seem too eager or desperate for people to like you and want to hang out with you.
  7. After a week if they don’t reach out, send a text just saying hello and include some random comment that relates to one of the few topics you covered in your initial introduction. (bonus points if you can suggest an activity to do that involves said topic and casually invite them to participate)
  8. Wait for a response anxiously and feel self-conscious hoping you were cool enough for them to consider accepting your offer. At this point the relationship can go three ways:
    • a. They will respond with a yes, and set up a date/time to do the activity with you. You meet up and it’s still awkward but you say you’ll make plans again anyway. You’ve made a new friend-ish, congrats!
    • b. They say no and make up an excuse like having to work, or going on vacation but say they’d like to take a rain check.
    • c. No response: you slowly realize this person will most likely not become a new friend and has saved you time and anxiety.
  9. Start all over again with someone else.
  10. Eventually get enough friends to have a party or game night

So there it is, go forth and use this wisdom to become the social butterfly you always knew you wanted to be. Break free from your cocoon!

One Is The Loneliest Number

On every journey, there are obstacles, and sometimes it feels as if you’ve taken three steps forward and one step back. Then you realize it’s actually only one step forward, and three steps back. Not to fear, because that is only expected when you go through a lot of life changes and transitions in a short period of time.

While it makes perfect sense that there would be setbacks, I still find myself frustrated or surprised when I come across them. It is sort of like knowing sunburn is a thing, then taking a chance going outside without sunscreen just one day, only to end up getting burned and partially wondering why but also understanding why at the same time.

I can sit behind my MacBook Pro and my glasses all day and write out what I think about random topics and try to give unintended inspiration, but at the end of the day, I’m very lonely here. I know that contradicts my comment about never feeling lonely because I have my family, but it’s a kind of loneliness I can’t quite define. Sure, my family is present; it’s not lonely in the sense that I feel physically alone, but more of a lonely mental state.

As someone who relies heavily on her support network, being away from all my friends, James, and our cat has been much more difficult than I imagined. One of the biggest things I’m trying to do is keep myself busy here, and while I’m still job searching, it is not easy. When I’m distracted, my mind is preoccupied and I don’t dwell on the fact that I can’t just text a friend and see if they want to come by and chill, set up a game night with a bunch of people, or just watch a show on the couch with James and Zeus and order pizza. Then there are moments when I’m out back on the lanai, in my room writing music, or just sitting at the beach, and I think of who I want to hang out with and if they could be there with me, how happy I would be.

Sometimes I’ll get so depressed that I just escape into my TV shows because I can then pretend I’m a part of the world I’m watching and that the characters are my friends. It’s extremely pathetic, I know, but it keeps me from getting worked up over not being able to be with my real friends. Every now and then I’ll set up a video call with people from home or others who live around the country, which helps me maintain my sanity. It’s amazing how useful technology is these days, allowing us to still connect and get face time with those we care about from a distance.

I’m planning a return visit at the end of July, and can’t wait to see everyone again. I miss them all so much that I’m willing to stick it out in CT for almost a week this time.

A lot of you are probably thinking, “Why don’t you expand your horizons and meet new people?” In my next post I’ll explain exactly why that isn’t as easy as pie.

A Closer Look At My Career Options

In case you were wondering, the current job hunt is getting more interesting. I’ve had a few calls about positions and there are more people interested in my resume. Now I’m waiting for them to finalize interviews with me, and then it’s off to the races and brushing up on my interview skills.

For my other long-term goal, my career, I’ve started to make some progress with figuring out potential fields I’d like to research. I’ve started a list of my current options… The list goes from most interested, to least interested or least knowledgeable.

Psychologist

  • What I know so far: I would need to get my masters, and most likely my doctorate if I go clinical, but I wouldn’t necessarily need a whole new undergrad degree first to get my grad degree. There are online programs, and I would need to devote the next 6-8 years of my life to this path. This means that by the time I’m out (ideally if I can go full time) I’ll be 37/38.

*Kaching factor: From what I know, psychologists can make good money; it all depends on whether you are with a private practice, or you work in a hospital etc. (further research will be needed before I make any hasty decisions)

MRI Technician

  • What I know so far: A bachelor of science in radiology is the norm, but there are also techs that get an associate’s degree in radiology. It also depends on the specific focus I choose if I decide to go that route.

*Kaching factor: I’ve heard the range is anywhere from 50k to 70k which is mostly determined by region.

X-Ray Technician

  • What I know so far: Similar to the MRI Tech, this has various options in terms the direction I choose to go, depending on whether I worked at an imaging center, or a hospital, and I believe a bachelor’s degree in Radiology is required.

*Kaching factor: Same range as the MRI Tech, possibly a bit more if you work with a private company compared to a hospital etc.

Dolphin Trainer

  • What I know so far: Not sure how to get into this, but this would be my dream job if I was a decent swimmer and knew more about marine bio. Getting a second degree in marine bio might not be the most intelligent move at this point in time though.

*Kaching factor: About average in terms of the salary scale. Not insanely low where the cost of living would be a problem, but not insanely high either.

Life Coach

  • What I know so far: This one I literally heard about today and discovered that you can actually get certified through a course online, and you don’t need a degree. It might be a great step in the psychology direction, so I’m going to check out more info before I consider this a serious option.

*Kaching factor: varies greatly depending on the life coach, and whether you work for a company or go solo.

Stranger Things At Home

Over time, I tried to ignore the uncomfortable feelings I had in our place, or I would make it a point to be out of the apartment as much as possible by hanging out with friends. Even on certain days off I’d have a whole day away with my D&D Pathfinder Campaign, which at the time was a godsend for me. Then when I began looking for work again, I was at the apartment more often trying not to spend, and applying for jobs. Feeling stuck there was suffocating me.

It was so intense that I even experienced one of the worst panic attacks of my life one night while watching TV alone waiting for James to get off work. I was paranoid, anxious, and couldn’t sit for more than a few minutes. The sensation was very similar to when you were in school trying to pass a note to a friend and you were being watched like a hawk so it was always nerve-wracking to find the right moment to pass it. I honestly felt like someone was watching me, and that was a first. Yes, I’m a natural scaredy-cat, but this was 100x worse.

I did get another job, but by then it was too late; I was miserable and terrified in this place and it felt like it had a hold on me; like I would never be free. Some of you are probably thinking that is crazy, because I could just wait for the lease to be up and then we’d move again. However, we had moved so much in the past 2 years alone, that it was scary to imagine doing it again so soon for one, and two, we would need to save up and come up with a plan to move somewhere else which wasn’t going to happen while James was working, I was working, and neither of us had time to go and explore possible new homes in other states.

In terms of the weird happenings… There were a few times that I had sworn I’d closed a cabinet, and then I would return to the kitchen later to get something and it would be open again. I have an awful memory, so at first I just thought I was that forgetful, but after it happened a few times I was sure my memory wasn’t that bad.

Another unexplainable incident involved the shower curtain. I like to keep it open (it’s a weird thing I have about open doors etc. being less scary than closed curtains and doors) and I generally only close it if we are expecting guests. I was home on my day off, and had just taken a shower. Opened the curtain to get out and go change. A few hours after running errands and watching a bit of TV, I go to the bathroom and the curtain is closed. James was at work; he hadn’t been home since I showered, so it was odd and pretty unsettling to say the least. At the time I thought maybe I closed it earlier and forgot to reopen it for some reason, but part of me was sure I hadn’t closed it. For anyone who thinks it was Zeus, it certainly wasn’t. He’s not the brightest, and he’s way too lazy to close a shower curtain.

So maybe I’ve made myself sound insane, and that’s fine. What I know is my truth, and if you are focusing on the logic or facts, you have missed the point. It didn’t matter what was actually real; it mattered how I felt about these events. To any friends or family reading, I apologize for not sharing this as I was trying to prevent any possible judgment or mockery about it, and I was also partially in denial to try to alleviate the pressure I felt there, hoping it might just dissipate. As you might guess, it did not help. Denial is never the answer, kids. The heavy darkness I felt on my back only got heavier and darker as time passed, and it was one of the larger factors that led to my current status.

I do miss my boys dearly, but being back in the state, even for just a couple of days was torturous and though I had a slight hope that I wouldn’t feel the same about that apartment as I did before I left, I knew deep down that I would always feel that way. I did enjoy my little family reunion in the time we did have, and snuggles on the couch with Zeus and James were a brief respite from the overall experience of being in that place again.

But You Can’t Take Connecticut Out Of The Girl

After what seemed like a nice long nap (it was only two hours unfortunately), I woke up and James and I spent the rest of the day/evening watching TV and ordering pizza.

If there’s one thing I miss the most about CT, it’s quality pizza delivered to your doorstep. My parent’s house is conveniently located JUST out of reach for almost all the delivery places here, so take out is pretty much your only option aside from dining out. In terms of pizza choices, we have the ever-reliable Pizza Hut (which is decent if you aren’t being picky about freshness and authenticity). If you are like me and grew up across the street from a Pizza Hut, you know that just the smell will take you down memory lane, reminding you of the salad bar in all its glory. Then there’s apparently an OK place called Anthony’s that I have yet to try for myself. My parents seem to like it when they get it though. It still doesn’t hold a candle to the North East in terms of deliciousness, but it’s something I think with time I’ll be able to get over. Or we’ll eventually get a really good pizza place down here. Hoping I’m right about the second statement. (I’m sitting in bed, it’s 4:25am and my stomach is growling and now I want pizza…)

While the pizza was delicious, and it was nice to have a night to relax with my boys, I was still overwhelmed with emotion and thoughts about being back in CT. There was something so natural, yet unnatural about being there that was irksome to say the least.

When we first moved into this apartment in February of 2016, it was out of necessity. Our situation up in Mystic was not working out due to a lack of jobs in that area, and though we both loved it there, we could not sustain ourselves for long with me looking for work, and the department in James’ company on the verge of being shut down. The reasons for moving back to Fairfield County were not positive, and to be honest, I believe that was where the negative energy originated. The loss of our first real home together was a huge blow to both of us and we were extremely sad to leave. Take that feeling of loss, and add to it the area where our new place was. We had gone from a safe, quaint and comfortable town, living right on Main St., to a not so safe area, not in the least bit quaint, with obnoxious neighbors and the thinnest walls imaginable. Oh, and the occasional gun shots kept you on your toes, too. Something never sat right with me there. Whether there was some kind of violent act, or other trauma that happened in that place years ago, something was off. I always felt a sort of oppression just being in the apartment. When I was alone with the cat in there it was even more apparent, and though my husband never felt it, it was definitely there.

Now, while I am open minded when it comes to spirits and energy, James is not in the least bit concerned with those things. He is the kind of person who will hear about some dark spirit on a tour and walk over to where that entity was said to be seen last just to see if it’s real (I don’t mess with spirits or haunted places). He’s also the kind of person who can sit through the most gruesome videos on Reddit, or watch violent horror movies without having nightmares after. It won’t surprise you to hear that he felt nothing that I was feeling in terms of the heaviness of the apartment. He humored me and listened, and it seemed he understood at the time, but deep down there was no way he could really empathize with me, or have any idea just how powerful this feeling was and how it was affecting me. I’ll try to explain it better and tell you about the various strange experiences I had, in my next post.

You Can Take The Girl Out Of Connecticut

There is a little secret I wanted to share only now because I’m back in Florida, but I went back up to CT for a couple of days recently. I only told three people about it really, and didn’t plan on seeing anyone, except James and Zeus (my cat). Long story short, the week prior my husband made the 17-hour trek down here by car on his vacation from work to visit me. He only stopped for gas and coffee, drove on barely any sleep with a temperamental back driver’s side window, and dealt with non-stop rain the whole way. I thought, to thank him and to get some extra time with him, it would be nice to drive back up to CT after so he didn’t have to do it alone again. That way I could also see my fur baby, even if it were only briefly. So we did; we left in the afternoon on a Wednesday, and then I was to fly back here that Saturday. I barely had two full days seeing as we didn’t get in until Thursday late morning.

As we got closer and closer to CT, I became more and more tense and stressed. It almost felt like because of how close together and polluted everything is, that the walls were caving in. It’s only been a little over a month since I’ve been away, but it felt like longer as we finally pulled into the parking lot of our complex. Aside from the exhaustion from driving since 10pm the night before, I was immediately brought back to all the feelings from my past (most recent, and further back to childhood), and it was almost too much for me to handle. I couldn’t even get out of the car at first.

I’ve touched on this subject briefly before, but one of the major reasons I left CT was due to the emotional build-up and experiences I’ve had there over the years. In my very limited personal studies of the supernatural and the power behind what we consider to be “hauntings”, one thing I’ve discovered, and held true to this belief myself since, is that places hold energy that is left over from substantial events or trauma. I wouldn’t even necessarily call them spirits, but more like an imprint of the energy that was there at one time. Some consider these haunts to be ghosts or full spirits of the departed, and perhaps they are. I’m not an expert, but I do know the basic principles of energy. It cannot be created or destroyed, so in that sense, when there is a huge build up of energy and spirit, where does it go? It gets left as a shell of what it was.

To me, CT is one, big, ghostly shell; it is a thin veil over the imprint of what my life was, and it sits there with that built up energy, just reminding me of all my most painful, meaningful, and joyous moments at once. However, the pain takes over in most cases, and it makes it difficult to bear being around to the point where I feel haunted and uneasy. The apartment is no exception to this either. Upon entering, I was tired so it didn’t hit me as badly at first, but I felt like time had stopped for a moment. Not in a good way, either. The thing that distracted me enough to push that thought to the back of my mind was seeing Zeus come walking up to greet me. It wasn’t exactly the most enthusiastic greeting I’d experienced from him; I’m lucky if I get so much as a look most days, so I was grateful for him just acknowledging my presence to begin with. Once we chatted with and bid farewell to our two friends who had been watching the place and taking care of our fuzzball, I promptly went to bed to get some much needed shut eye after the long journey…

Father’s Day Revisited

This past weekend was Father’s Day, and I was glad I was able to spend it with mine. I know a lot of people do not have that luxury and sometimes I can take it for granted. However, Father’s Day has always been sort of tough to figure out to me, mainly because I was never sure what my Father preferred to do to celebrate. Everyone likes food, so we usually go out to eat, but other than that, as my father is not a very vocal man most of the time, there was no way of knowing whether Dad wanted alone time or quality time, and if the latter, what that meant.

Mother’s Day is easy; my mom loves to do just about anything with us, and she always shows interest in things so you can get a pretty good idea on what to give her as a gift, or treat her to for the day.

This year for my Dad, we went to a local brewpub in St. Augustine that he likes, and then saw that new movie Rough Night. Both were great; my brother even graced us with his presence for late lunch and a stop for ice cream before the movie. It’s rare that all four of us get to do things together, so although we had an interesting morning with some arguing about what we were going to do, it ended up being a nice time in the end. In terms of dysfunction, holidays and stressful times are standard for bringing it out in us.

I think what made me realize just how difficult planning Father’s Day is, was the fact that it’s only been 4 years since my Grandfather (Poppi) passed. Normally, we would all go out to eat or go over to my Aunt and Uncle’s with Poppi and my father and the rest of the family, and it was simple and easy. Sometimes we’d go home and play board games or cards after but because my mother usually organized it, and we just included my Dad, we were never at a loss for what to do that day. I kept wondering what we did the Father’s Days before this most recent one. Last year I was actually in Florida visiting, along with my Dad’s friend. (it turns out we went to the same exact brewpub last year too. Funny right?!) The year before that, my husband and I (still just dating at that time) had moved to Mystic, CT and I believe I was working a wedding. For 2013 I’m drawing a complete blank. It’s funny how 4 years doesn’t seem like such a long time, but it definitely is.

I almost feel like I should start planning next year’s Father’s Day now, so that when it comes around I’ll be prepared and not have to fret over it. Then again, who knows how Dad will feel next year. Apparently when I did ask him what he wanted this year, he stated, “Some damn peace and quiet.” (he did not get this, but it seemed like he enjoyed the day despite that little detail…)