The Beauty of Dreams…

There’s a Devin Townsend song called “Grace.”  For those of you unfamiliar with Devin Townsend or “The Devin Townsend Project” or “DTP”, please do yourself a favor and get acquainted!  You will thank me later.  Don’t be put off by the label “metal” or “progressive metal.”  What you will find is a beautifully (heavy) and melodic mix of songs, ranging from introspective quiet/experimental, to whack your steering wheel with your thumbs awesome.

I happen to be wearing a Devin Townsend Project tee in this picture that I’m including.  But what does they have to do with what’s coming next?  Well, my youngest stepson is named after Devin Townsend.  And we’ve had the blessing to meet him twice, both of which times he was so gracious to our family, and totally made our boys happy.

Dreams do come true.  Can you imagine just doing the art you’re born with, and then find out that someone in another country named their son after you?  Pretty amazing, right?  Well, when I met my husband, he had not planned on anymore reproduction.  But he knew that I’ve had a dream since I was a little girl to have a little girl of my own.  So we went to the Penn U hospital fertility clinic about IVF.  We got all the expensive documents.  We chose not to do it.  Even with a vasectomy and my inadequately-sized uterus, they could offer us a surrogate.  But after much thought, I veered toward adoption, only to be horribly dissapointed.

“Why don’t you look into foster care?” I did, on several occasions, only to find out that the ultimate goal of this was to reunite the child with their birth families, no matter how shitty they were.  I could not risk having my heart broken again, and again.  Sadly, I chose to give up this (otherwise seeming) great option.

A time later, I created a gofundme account, and in two weeks, I got about $600.  I still have that, and I am putting away $10-20 of my own meager funding each pay check and as I can.  I realized I need to promote harder.  It will be expensive to adopt otherwise.  After those two weeks, nothing.  I kept going to meetings, researching options, etc.  Friends gave helpful advice.  No one wanted to let me borrow their uterus, alas.  (you can laugh, I’m only half-serious.)

Spending a year helping to raise an infant girl to toddlerhood made my yearning stronger.  I went to an adoption meeting in September that made me horribly jaded and disinfranchised with that system.  It seems that this has become a capitalist venture, indeed.  Some private adoption companies even have claim on “stork” babies–ones that are dropped in the baby bin at hospitals, and would have been, otherwise, free.

But my never-failing optimism sprouted up after a long bout of depression.  She’s out there.  Maybe she hasn’t been born yet.  Maybe she’s waiting for me already.  With 0ver $70K in student loan debt and a house to build, I still forge on in my hope.  What do we have, if not hope?

My husband had the opportunity to name both of his sons.  One got the family name, one got named after Devin Townsend.  He wanted to name her “Gretchen Nebraska” after a King’s X song/album.  “Um, no,” I said.  “You had the opportunity to name your children, one after music.  You can have Gretchen as the middle name.”

It only made sense that my whole life mom would call me “Princess Grace” or just “Grace” because as a clumsy, left-handed daydreamer, I can be anything but graceful at times.  I liken myself to a beautiful giraffe…so elegant, so awkward, so graceful, yet jarringly so.  When I met my in-laws, whom I love as though they were a wonderful, adoptive family (they are, indeed that), I discovered that my mother-in-law, Susan Pennington had multiple pseudonyms:  Sue, Susan, Penny, Grace.  Her husband starting calling her Grace because his favorite hymn was “Amazing Grace.”

So Grace makes sense, if we indeed get a choice in her name at all.  So, after much thought, I updated my gofundme account, and decided that I would start again.  For someone who has battled clinical depression and infertility issues more than half her life, I have never been able to crush the unfailing optimism that was born into my soul.

Thank you for sharing this moment with me, just by reading this.  Please feel free to share it abundantly.  I can even mail or email or fax you flyers.  Thank you for reading my blog and sharing my thoughts on writing, music, and cats.

Below, see the link and share!  Also, note the lyrics and check out Devin Townsend…

Be well and rock on,

Rachael

Graced by Adoption

We know that it’s only  human.  We know that it’s only love.  Enjoy these appropos lyrics, if you will:

We know that it’s only human
We know that it’s only love
We know that its far too close to home
To see it now

Love all we can before
We learn all we came for
Learn all we can before
The road leads to home

Grace, grace, grace, grace

High road warning
High road warning

Grace, grace, grace, grace (Say no more)

High road warning
High road warning

Laugh, love, live, learn
Laugh, love, live, learn

Eternal I, eternal I, eternal I, I, I

My child tells me
We are the fallen men
My child tells me
We are the fallen men

Laugh, love, live, learn
Laugh, love, live, learn

Oh my god

Grace, grace, grace, grace

Never fear love
(High)
Never fear love
(Road)
Never fear love
(Warning)

Never fear love
(High)
Never fear love
(Road)
Never fear love
(Warning)

We know that it’s only human
We know that it’s only love
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love
Love all we can

I know the way, and you know the way
We all fall down if we fear love

Never fear love
Never fear love
Never fear love
(Warning)

Never fear love
Never fear love
Never fear love
(Warning)

(Devin Townsend Project)

Advertisements

Bated Breath

So it happens.  You max out a credit card to go to a once-in-a-lifetime show.  Your ten-year-old self once vowed that “if this ever happened, I’d sell my soul to go see it,” and now it’s happening.  But it’s bittersweet, because you just found out there is a possibility it won’t be everything you hoped it would be.

When I was ten and fell in love with Pearl Jam, I, of course, discovered Temple of the Dog and Mother Love Bone.  For a 25th anniversary (yes, now I do feel old, thank you) the group, comprised of members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, are hosting a ten-date U.S. tour.  Only I heard, after spending an OBTUSE amount of money for a pair of tickets from a ticket scalper (see my thoughts on that in the previous blog), that Eddie might not be there.

(Record scratches.)  How?  Why?  What the hell?  Eddie was invited into this tribute band to honor the life of former Mother Love Bone frontman, Andrew Wood, who passed from a heroin overdose, after remaining “clean” for sometime.  The members of Mother Love Bone disbanded, and Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament met Mike McCready and discovered Eddie Vedder and wham!  Pearl Jam.  At the time, Matt Cameron was Soundgarden’s drummer, but now makes a perfect puzzle piece place in the group.

I bought said tickets (that I’m now paying interest on) with the full intention of bringing my ukulele to get signed, should that happen.  (Please God and Universe, align just right.)  Now, I hear that he may or may not be at certain shows.  Listen, Eddie, I have never spoken an ill word against you, nor will I ever, but I have to know…please, will you be at the Tower Theatre show on Saturday, November 5th? Please will you sign my ukulele, my arm, my soul?  May I get a picture of you, as chubby as I’ve become, to commemorate my life’s BIGGEST dream coming true?

Did you know that when I was ten I had a stained glass music note inscribed with Andy’s name on it, and another one, a heart with roses, that read: Eddie and Rachael Forever?  Come on, I was ten, cut me a break.  But please be there.  I don’t see how you could NOT be.  You sing on three of the songs, at least!  You are an integral part of that project!  And now there’s talk of a second release?!  Why would you not take part, 25 years later?  Plus, it’s only ten shows.  Ten shows upon which millons of fans were disappointed, because, once again, Ticketmaster sucks, and we waited, with breath bated, only to find out that no, we never had a chance.  Before the page could even open, all tickets were sold out.  We wasted a sick day from work to be horribly dissappointed.  Down-trodden, we turned to eBay and, instead of paying our student loans, we racked up “cashback bonuses” on our credit cards because of the ticket scalpers.

So, please.  Please be there.  Everyone who waited, breath bated, counted on this.  We can’t find a better man.

Respectfully in debt,

Rachael

Dear Ticket Scalpers…

FUCK YOU ALL.  I’m kind…I try not to be profane on my sites, especially since I want to write professionally about music.  I had a college professor once tell my class, “Profanity is not bad, it is the excessive use of it that makes the word meaningless.”  So, I vow to only leave my opener profane.  My living room heard enough of the profane, hilarious sentiments just moments ago…

I’d attach a screen shot of eBay to explain what I’m talking about, but why?  Tickets that have NOT even gone ON SALE yet are being sold for upwards of $1.199…some as much as $3,447/pair.  I have an idea, why don’t I open my chest up with a butter knife and FedEx my still-beating heart to you, you modern-day, human-sized, soul-sucking parasites.

Have you ever loved a band so much that your heart ached?  So much that hearing them gave you wrinkles on your eyes and nose from hearing the sounds?  Has it ever been so visceral to you that your whole body responds to the living energy in your speakers?  That is magnified at a concert, nosebleed seats or otherwise.

Well, there won’t be any nosebleeds for me.  Unfortunately, this was a once in a lifetime concert event.  I never thought it could happen.  I never thought I’d see the day.  It was highly unlikely, in all circumstances.  My twelve-year-old self said, “Man, I’d sell my soul to see that happen.”  Well, it’s happening without me, in select cities around the world.

The achingly beautiful tribute to Andy Wood, frontman to Mother Love Bone, womb to Pearl Jam…gorgeous melding of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden…Temple of the Dog is touring in select cities around the U.S.  Some lucky fan club members (of which the fan club I am a part, not so much the former adjective) were drawn in a ticket lottery.  The rest of us waited eagerly to realize that even before we had the chance, credit card poised in hand, day taken off from work–desperately praying and counting down to that moment…the chance was never there to be discussed.  Tickets were not on sale, no.  There wasn’t even an opportunity for them.

Nor is there now, unless we bow to your disgusting fees, preying on our life savings, our student loan money, the very essence of our souls…as a Unitarian Universalist, I believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all human (and animal) life.  You are a challenge to that, my foes.  How can I respect someone who preys of the hopes and dreams of the music-obsessed?  Would you sell cancer medicine on the black market, too?

That same professor continued, “You see, the beauty in using profanity is that when you use it passionately and sparingly, that’s when it really means something.”  I really mean it.

Blessings to all the ones who have been let down.  Keep on rockin’ even in a corporate greedy whore society,

Rachael

 

Cigarettes, Lipstick, and Cobain

My wonderful friend and writing colleague Amye Archer captures life and music and style…you would enjoy reading her…

The Fat Girl Blog

I fell in love with you on a kitchen floor after my junior prom. You wore a loose tie with your red chucks. I wore a size 12 black and white dress that hour-glassed my expanding body into something more desirable. You couldn’t keep your hands off of me. That night became the night against which my beauty would always be measured. Remember how beautiful you looked in that dress on that night? You would ask me when you remembered it. It was as if that version of me-young, beautiful, thin, and sexy-was an island I could never again reach, not by swim, by boat, by rocketship.

We went with another couple, rented a limousine, sat at a table, ate a meal, and danced, just like we were supposed to. We had been dating only three months at that point, and if you were panicked or anxious, you didn’t show…

View original post 419 more words

The Core of Things in the Countdown

Stone Temple Pilot’s Core

STP’s debut album Core is an incredible-dance-in-your-living-room-fest album filled with contemplative lyrics, oddities and a lot of incredible music.  It is a must have.  I cannot speak for “new” STP from whence Scott Weiland was ousted from his own band (and maybe rightly so, but again, we don’t know the real story).  Either way, do yourself a favor and revisit this gem.

The opener, “Dead and Bloated” starts with a raspy lyric that explodes into crawling full-blown rock with definitive drum taps and driving bass.  This is perhaps one of their most dynamic tracks, going into a lilting chorus with “whooooa yeah-eh-yeahs.”  What exactly does Weiland mean?  Well, this is one time where I let the music take over.  This particular track has incited a dialogue with my husband and me.  We always speak to one another in lyrics anyway, and I always get these particular lyrics wrong.

Some of my favorites:

“Plush”

and

“Wicked Garden”

In a little under one hour, this album drives a consistent beat throughout.  I recommend it for a road trip album more than definitely so.

Opening the lid on Jar of Flies

Alice in Chains Jar of Flies

Weighing in at only 30 m 52 s, this cup of instrumental genius is filled to the brim with…no, not with flies…but with dark and melodic nuances, and Staley’s unique voice.  The lyrics at times are melancholy but never lack the authenticity with which you will always find in this band.  “We chase misprinted lies…we face the path of time…”  “if I can’t be my own, I’d be better dead.”  A haunting sentiment from a singer who battled with addiction until it overtook him–into a different beyond.

As usual, Cantrell’s pointed and clean guitar playing and harmonic background vocals give this four-piece set a mellow and haunting feel.  It’s not a minor thing, though…when the band explodes into this uplifting, hopeful chords, it can bring tears to a listener’s eyes.  After two solemn openers, we are greeted with a lilting, uplifting howl from Staley that emits hope from the deep recesses of depression in which we have retreated to to be with this album.

My particular favorites from this album are “Whale & Wasp” and “No Excuses.”  “Whale…” is an instrumental piece with strings that might make you feel like Vivaldi married an acoustic electric guitar.  “No Excuses” is a power-packed, snare drum heavy celebration of music.

All in all, Jar of Flies is a must-have for those of us, especially those, who are authentic Alternative rock fans.  Open the lid.

Be well and rock on,

Rachael