A Clockwork Heart, Burned Out, and Possibly Quite Nuts

clockwork heart

I’ve always admired the art of clockwork.

I was a holdout on analog watches (watches with actual moving pieces inside them- and imagine it- hands!) for a long time.  I wore an old windy-type analog watch (and that old Timex from 1970-whatever still works) for many years even when digital watches were easy to get.  I still have a nice Fossil analog watch I wear on occasion, although it has a quartz battery movement which has fewer moving pieces and is more accurate than traditional clockwork, and doesn’t need winding.

There’s something to be said for the representation of time as movement, because time does move.  A metronome moves (at least the traditional ones do) back and forth keeping time as it moves, and as the rhythm of music moves it keeps time.  There’s something about that tick-tick-tick of a conventional metronome that is comforting and maddening at the same time.

Metronome

Even with my bad coordination I could play music.  As a bass player – and this has been a very long time ago- it was infinitely important to feel the rhythm and play along with the drummer.  Drummers are generally sort of weird people- but perhaps that’s because they are in tune with natural rhythm more than most.  I don’t claim to understand it, but regardless of the instrument, the rhythm has to be there first, a skeleton to clothe with the melodies and harmonies and chords.

Although I did enjoy playing bass, it got to be too painful for my hands and wrists and shoulders with the joint damage I have.  I am a singer- the voice is still there- though I don’t use it much anymore.  I learned a long time ago that it doesn’t matter if a woman has a good voice if she doesn’t have the body or the stage presence to go along with it.  I might enjoy singing, but there’s no way in hell I could ever make a living doing it.  There’s no visual to go along with the auditory.  I gave up on that a long time ago too.  I can sing in church.  That’s good enough, and it keeps me out of trouble.

metallica

Dudes do metal better than chicks anyway.

The coolness of Metallica aside, right now I’m fried.  Fried in so very many ways that I can’t see daylight.

burnout1

I don’t like admitting weakness, but it’s harder and harder to keep up that “iron guts” faςade these days.

I’ve been reading a book (The Joshua Code by O. S. Hawkins) that gives some commentary and encourages one to memorize a Bible verse per week in each of its 52 chapters.  This week’s verse is John 11:35, which is the shortest verse in the Bible-  “Jesus wept.”

There are times that for the love of God I wish I could weep.  Sometimes I think the reason why I find it so incredibly difficult to cry is that I’m afraid once I get started that the tears won’t stop.  I may be an emotional desert, but when it does rain it pours.  Worse yet for me, the tears come largely unbidden, without any kind of reason, and  are virtually impossible to control.

As if control were everything?  As if I have control over anything?

It’s curious that in my own personal economy, showing emotion=weakness.  I don’t like to be seen as fragile, human or vulnerable even though I know good and damned well I am all of the above.

Maybe that’s why I’d rather sing.  It’s sort of a stealthy way of showing emotion, after all- unless I’m singing something that for some reason sets off the tears- and that happens too.

corolla

Oh, and my new ride just came in.  2014 Corolla S Plus.  Black metallic, black interior…

I wasn’t going to do it.  Until I discovered just how feasible it is.  It helps not having a credit rating that’s in the toilet. I’m going tonight to drive it and hopefully get paperwork, etc. done.  There’s nothing wrong with my Yaris (and getting a new car wasn’t entirely my idea) but having pretty much the same drivetrain I had in my Celica (which was a 1.8L 5 speed manual) in a sedan is going to be fun.  Especially because this is a VVTi 1.8L 6 speed manual, which to the non-techie means I gain about 40 HP over what I have in the Yaris (Cliff’s notes- more power!).  With every possible toy known to man, except for the automatic, which I absolutely don’t want anyway.  From what I see on the build sheet this car was custom built for the 13%.

* 13% of American drivers prefer manual transmissions, which means we generally don’t get many options when compared with the 87% who for some whacked out reason don’t like to shift when they drive.

I’m only going to live once, and it’s not like it’s a Porsche.  It’s a Corolla…as in mom sedan, but with a bit of a twist.  If I’d really wanted to go over the edge I’d have gone for the Scion FR-S.  But I need the 4 doors, have a hard time seeing out of something that sits that low to the ground, and I don’t want to be cop bait.

fr-s

Tempting, but not very practical.

More on the new ride later- the Corolla- after I get to drive it.

Genealogy is Addicting, So Far So Bad, the February Funk

I don’t know why I find long-dead relatives intriguing, but investigating my own personal history becomes a lot more interesting on the rare occasions in which I find pictures.  I stumbled upon this pic when I was actually looking for pics of my relatives’ grave markers of all things.  This picture is of my great-grandfather, Wert, his first wife, Ethel (who died at the age of 31, in 1910, several years before he married my great-grandmother) and their daughter, Nellie (I would assume she would have been considered by great-aunt?), who died just a few days before her sixteenth birthday in 1913.  They also had a son, Harold, (born in 1907) who died at four years old in 1911.  They were married when he was 22 and she was 16.  I’ve not been able to figure out what they all died of.  I’d always thought there’d been some sort of epidemic or something- but not when the deaths are a year or more apart- unless they had TB or some other condition that doesn’t kill you right away.  In the early 20th century you could die from stuff that is generally curable today, and I know there were several cholera and diphtheria epidemics in Marion County back then- along with all the common stuff like strep or pneumonia that people get all the time but can get a script for and get rid of today.  I know full well I would have been dead many years ago (probably in infancy, considering I was born with pneumonia) had it not been for antibiotics and modern surgical technology.  I guess I could figure it out if I were willing to pay the state of Ohio $16 for each death certificate, but I don’t have that kind of money just floating about.  If I had to take a guess though, I would probably bet on the contagious disease du jour.

My great-grandfather died in 1942 at the age of 69.  He and my great-grandmother had four kids including my grandfather.  Anna, my great-grandmother, had five kids already from her first husband, who died young- so there was a house full of kids.  Anna died in 1970 at the age of 88.  Grandpa outlived all of his brothers and sisters and half-siblings by many years.  I think he had one brother- Maurice- who made to 1997.  Maurice was younger than him too, but Grandpa was 91 when he died.

I don’t know how bad it would screw with your head to lose your spouse and two kids in the span of three years, but I would have to believe it would be a serious blow to one’s sanity. 

Pictures of long-dead people are fascinating even when you don’t have any background information on them.  The pics become even more interesting when you can put a name with the face and even a bit of history to go along with it.  I would estimate that the above pic was probably taken in or around 1898.  Nellie looks as if she is about a year old or so.  It’s kind of sad, really, to look at that pic knowing she never made it to her sixteenth birthday.  What is even more sobering is realizing that her mother was only 17 when that pic was taken.  They had been married over a year before Nellie was born.  I was too young to get married when I was 21 and for that matter, too young the second time I got married at 26.  Hindsight being 20/20 I’d  have been better off to remain an old maid living quite happily in the company of dogs.

I am glad that Nellie was very much alive when the pic was taken.  In that time period photography was extremely expensive, so they must have been somewhat affluent.  From the clothing I gather they weren’t exactly poor.  In that era, pics were often only taken of children when they died.  There is an entire category on E-Bay: postmortem photography dedicated to (primarily) Victorian-era dead people pics.  They go for big money, too, even if the seller has no clue who the dead person is, which is sort of macabre when you think about it.  Some of the postmortem pics are pretty graphic, especially when you can tell they painted on the eyes or that the body has started to rot in places.  In high summer, without benefit of embalming, I would assume dead bodies wouldn’t stay terribly fresh for long.

Being that it is February, and the weather is a major contributor to the February funk right now, death and dead relatives are appropriate topics.    Oddly enough, none of the relatives for whom I know their date of death died in February, even though there are more deaths on average in February than in every other month. 

It bothers me sometimes the lack of information I have on my relatives.  Some of what I do have is rather frightening, some of it enlightening, and some of it downright sad. 

So much gets forgotten over time.  Then again, if some descendant of mine happens upon my name and statistics a hundred years from now, I wonder how they would see me?  Would they see my pictures and then realize why they’re coyote ugly?  Would I be regarded as one of those shithouse rat crazy skeletons in the closet? 

Then again, I don’t think I’ll be here to care.