The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Funk December 7, 2013

Been in a bit of a funk all week. Partly because of an old friend’s death, I think. The idea of him being so absolutely gone, and for something that seemed so fixable. Partly that. Partly other stuff too I guess. Stupid stuff. Like a parking ticket I really can’t afford, given to me while I loaded my kid’s bass in at school. And then the way it doubled on the very day I got paid (and the day, of course, I’d planned to pay the ticket). Or like the crown wiggling its way loose again when I haven’t even paid for the last time my doc re-glued it in place. Or maybe it’s been the onslaught of new music I’ve had to learn and read for school. I’ve spent the past two decades avoiding this very sort of thing, now here I am beset with it. Good for me, I suppose. (Some of it’s been written specifically for the classes, so it’s strange, chromatic and meandering and there’s no way to ‘hear’ one’s way out of it). And then there’s the constant lack of money and the fast-coming holiday. Thankfully, Elihu will be with his father, so East coast Santa’s off the hook for an extra week. No extra income, though. Maybe the extra week will buy a solution. I’m unsure though, and worrying about it has me tired and stressed. Then there are the aging folks in my family, an alcoholic brother, a mother who doesn’t think things are all that bad, and all the mental energy it’s taking to avoid thinking about that whole scene. Ich. And there are five baskets of laundry taking up my bedroom floor that need to be folded and put away. A Christmas tree that needs to be bought and decorated, a party next week to host, evites for which must yet go out… And a piano to tune. Which will likely fall to the bottom of the list of priorities when I scrutinize more closely my month’s budget. And lastly – and most vainly – there’s my waistline. I was feeling great this past summer – I really did make my fiftieth a success – but I’ve sadly just about un-done all my progress in just a few short months of Halloween candy, home-baked bread and apple pies (oh, yeah, and after last night, you can add homemade meatballs to the list). Of all people, I should know better! All that deprivation for nothing. Crap. Lastly, there are my fingers. Betraying me with unrelenting rheumatoid arthritis almost every single day. Just last night I noticed a new growth of bone spur on one of my outer knuckles. My third fingers are now getting stuck in between the three black notes (but not the two black notes, which are just a tiny bit further apart. Til now, who knew?) and I must tug to wrest them free as I play. Very discouraging. Very.

All the way ’round, I’m just not feeling too good these days. I just can’t seem to get ahead of it. Can’t find peace. Can’t quite get myself up and out of this temporary funk. At least I hope it’s temporary….

What to do? I make a list. First, I might do well with sitting in quiet. I don’t think I even know how to do that anymore… Yes. Maybe that’s it. I should be meditating. I remember a couple of years ago when I moved here, shaken and sick with heartbreak, I meditated almost an hour a day. Sat quiet, in a dark closet, imagining my in-breaths igniting all the little energy spirals up and down my spine… An hour of chakra-balancing felt like fifteen minutes. Stepping out of the dark room I was always surprised when I looked at the clock. And it helped. I remember it did. But how on earth to get that back into my routine again? It seems so, well, hard. Boring. Ok, how to start? Keep it short. Do-able. Schedule it in every morning first thing. Ok. First on the list. Meditate. Right.

I think the answer might also be a gym membership. I know I need to move. Means I need to apply for a Y scholarship, I guess. Must be sure to use it if they give it to me… but when would I go? And what to do with the kid while I workout? I feel stopped before I start. I suppose I could walk outside instead. Tried it for a while, but petered out on it, completely bored with the same stretch of road, the long, empty silence. Music… yes, I should get music back in my life. Haven’t used ear buds in a good decade (I suppose since my kid was born). But I need help with this too. My ancient, classic IPod sits unused, filled with songs my next-door neighbor back in Illinois gave me (without the legitimate purchase and therefore legal licensing) and I am somehow unable to add songs to it from my similarly ancient and now dead Macbook. How do I retrieve the handful songs I did purchase once upon a time? And why can’t I simply add them to my pirated list, or at least input them without re-formatting the whole shebang and starting completely over? Don’t know, and I can’t seem to figure it all out. So when I do walk (which these days is actually never) I walk in silence. And somehow, I think it might be easier to move if I had a soundtrack. Man. I miss the days of cassettes. They were so much easier. It embarrasses me slightly to say so, but there it is.

You could say that I need some help in general when it comes to technology. Like the kind of help I always seemed to have around in the old days. A local college kid who can help me streamline my administrative duties – the kind of kid who would say ‘admin’ and not ‘administrative’…  I need a kid who’s still cheerful enough to think that none of my ‘admin’ needs are really that big of a deal and who can hold my hand through some much needed media upgrading in my life. There’s the IPod thing, yes, but then there’s so much more. I’ve been advised that as an aspiring writer/blogger I need to Tweet. I bought a book about it, but even after reading it I feel stopped. I can see the appeal, but I can’t seem to get past setting up an account. I’ve also been told it would be advantageous of me to use Foursquare. Really? I’m only ever in one of three places: behind the piano at school, behind the sink doing dishes at home, or driving back and forth somewhere between the two. Is that of interest to anyone, really? (Besides, can I even do all that stuff on my old-school flip phone?)

I’m not sure where to begin. The technology train left years ago and I did not get on board. Maybe all I need is to wait another couple of years and let Elihu help me. But aren’t I supposed to be helping him? Man. Last night we saw a record player in the window of a shop and he said he wished we had one. Careful what you wish for, kid….

In order that I might not sound myself too much like a record player – a broken one, that is – I shall stop my song now. Much to consider, much to do. And much I will no doubt put off til later. Only thing is, I can’t wait too long. Cuz stuff that currently smells bad tends to get even funkier the longer it’s left unattended…

 

3 Responses to “Funk”

  1. Gene Burnett Says:

    Do you have “Freecycle” where you live? It’s usually a locally set up yahoo group where people post things they’re giving away or things they want. No selling allowed. Very cool thing. Wish I could help with the tech stuff, but I’m barely functional at it myself. Maybe ask around and see if there’s a high school kid who knows his stuff and is looking for some extra income…it would cost a lot less than hiring a pro to look into your tech needs. Best of luck with all that stuff…maybe just pick the simplest thing and start with that. ;~) GB

  2. hobacaitbe Says:

    Go for the walk, go for the walk, go for the walk!!!!!! and push it, not a stroll. The wonderful nurses in my cardiac rehab want me to do 40 to 60 minutes of cardio exercise everyday. walking is my first choice. I have a 4 mile loop that takes about 50 minutes and if the weather is good I try to do it. I probably do 5 days a week. I find the exercise clears my head. I have NEVER figured out meditation. This is 4 years after I finished my cardiac rehab. Yes, some days it is hard to motivate but this is the most important and healthy thing that I have to do today. I want to see my grandkids graduate from college.
    Ed

  3. Eric Schultz Says:

    For what it’s worth, ginger root has some sort of natural anti-inlammatory properties that is reportedly good for various arthritic problems. That isn’t an absolute guarantee that it will make your fingers like new, but it’s worth a try. You can slice it and cook with it, or else boil thin slices of it in water, let sit for 15 minutes and drink it (be sure to pour it through a strainer). Just remember that it tastes hot and spicy. There was a small restaurant in Chicago’s Chinatown that we went to a few times in the late ’90s, which had a beef and ginger combination, which had so much ginger (thick slices of it cooked with the beef and vegetables in a gravy-like sauce) that the ginger totally dominated the taste. It was OK, but the next time I ordered something different.

    Anyway, I hope that you’re feeling better in general. It’s important to keep moving, even if you’re not following an organized excersise program. Just get out and walk, when you have a few extra minutes. It’s good for the mind, as well as the body, for you get to put yourself in a slightly different setting, and not just be seeing the same things. Plus, the fresh air is good for you, too. That’s one of the best things about bicycling: you get to really move and you are continully seeing things from a new point of view, even more quickly than when you get out for a walk.

    About the technology train, kids are usually quite good at figuring out how to use electronic things. I’ll be reading the instructions, and my kids already have it all figured out. It reminds me of a scene in a Marx Brothers movie, where someone asks Groucho if he understands a certain written document. He answers, “Why, a five year-old child could understand this!”, then he turns to Zeppo, and says, “Quick! Get me a five year-old child. I can’t make head nor tail of this!” Speaking of technology, I once gave my older daughter a gag gift. I took an old videotape rewinder (yes, we still have some videotapes), and put a fake label on it, which read: “Super Deluxe 8 Track Tape Player”, before giving her the real gift, which was an iPod. I thought that my gag was so funny, but then she asked me, “What’s an 8 track tape?” There’s nothing like explaining a joke to take all the humor out of it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s