Category Archives: love

Wow, this quickly went where I didn’t expect it…

Ok, so, writing this went completely in a different direction than what I intended…

When I was younger I used to be afraid of of being forgotten. I worried that I would flow in and out of the lives of people without leaving a mark or imprint on their memory. Which is sort of ironic because my parents’ named me Sunshine and I have been told that’s a hard name to forget, mainly because there are so many damn songs with my name in it and that weather forecasters are even fond of reminding those that would rather not remember.

Now that I’m older I find worrying about being forgotten is silly and that the people who flow in and out of your lives do so for a reason and those moments and that time and space are the more crucial part, the parts of the story to pay attention to. This led me to worrying about being misunderstood in those crucial bits. The first time around that Paul and I were together he used to joke that I was too afraid of being misunderstood. He was right. He even mentioned it in a Downers song way after we had broken up the first time.

The Downers- Staring at you

(or listen to the song at Last fm if you would rather)

“Words are never enough to explain anything and even if they were I would still feel the same.”

I knew when I first heard it that song was about me and my stupid need to explain and understand everything.

This flowed into my next relationship with the man described simply as “J” in my recent zines.  After several years in that relationship I would come to understand that “J” was emotionally abusive. I was thinking the other day about this intersection of me coming into a relationship wanting to explain everything, wanting to understand everything and being met with “J” telling me that I didn’t make sense, that my ideas were flawed, that I was crazy and insecure because of wanting to explain everything. It took me years to realize that the reason”J” thought I was broken was because I didn’t see things like him. I guess that was one of the most important lessons I learned.

Actually, it is a lesson I have had to work through a few times: Sometimes my sanity is more important that making someone else happy and that I can’t please every one. I can’t fit into their boxes and sometimes it is ok to walk away from things and give up trying to explain myself or trying understand another person. All you can do is either accept someone as they are in relation to your boundaries.

Ah, boundaries, something else I have struggled with. I have struggled with this mainly because I can be ridiculously flexible. The gray area between what I absolutely do want and what I absolutely don’t want can be monstrous and, in the past, easily manipulated and abused. In recent years I have firmed these up a bit and made them a bit more visible to the people around me which has been helpful for the most part and sometimes frustrating at others.

that wasn’t really where I wanted to go with this…

I wanted to post Paul’s song Staring at you because it is one of my favorites that he has written… and not just because I know it was about me. I also wanted to write about the soundtrack to my latest zine and how Paul has coaxed me into writing songs with him. Which is pushing a different sort of boundary but in a good way. It pushes the boundary of my insecurities. I have always been intimidated by Paul’s perfect pitch and great rhythm,  curious about music but not wanting to actually learn to play an instrument as past attempts have ended in failure. Music is really important to Paul and he suggested I write words and he writes music and then we both sing… which I also find intimidating.

Paul wrote a song called There’s A Lot In Life You Can’t Explain and had me sing back up vocals after drinking a few beers (you can fit There’s a lot in life you can’t explain here as the last song) then before my big autumn trip we sat down to work on lyrics for another song. The concept was our first date. See, this gets me back to the not wanting to be misunderstood bit. I fear that the song would sound disjointed if you didn’t really know what our first date was. It also makes me realize that I left a few details out of the zine.

Alex Wrekk and Paul Burke-Phoenix lights on the piano sounds so sad…

Ok, so on our first date we watched the Opera Carmen, went back to Paul’s house and listened to Frank Sinatra and then fell asleep listening to Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell on the night of the Pheonix Lights. There were these damn loud birds with a nest in the bush by his window that were really loud but his housemate’s skate ramp was louder so we made jokes about feeling sorry for the birds having to live with a skate ramp in their back yard. That’s me explaing things too much, sorry about that.

Paul played all the instruments and just had to wait for me to get home and drink enough liquid courage to get me into the basement studio to hit the Tascam 4-track.  Paul was really stoked on the lo-fi-ness of the air organ recording: right into his computer mic in our dining room with people walking around.

Paul has been working on re-recording some songs and finding an order for them for the soundtrack. Most of it will be the stuff that was on the preview CD but there will be a few more songs added. We were thinking of pressing CDs but seems that most people just want the digital files so we are going to set it up as a setlist you can download instead.

In the end, I had a lot of fun working with Paul. It wasn’t as intimidating as I thought and I think we are going to continue to write more songs together.

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atumnal rain and musings about crushes that belonged in my zine in 1997

While I’m waiting for my seitan and wild rice took cook and before I put them in the oven with a harvest of veggies I thought I’d make a post while listening to Cub.

I got my new phone the other day and I’m still figuring out how to use it. Apparently the backup assist is not available on this model so I have to go into a store and have them retrieve the numbers off my old old phone. Just more annoyance for my stolen phone thing. This means I don’t have your phone number. If you text you should say who you are. I’d like that.

Tuesday night Paul and I rode downtown and met with Dan Hack to go see the Happy Monday and the Psychedelic Furs. Dan is rad.  I wish we could hang out more. Too bad life gets too busy. The show was good and sort of surreal. It is just one of the ornaments of autumn decorating my memory tree these days but I’ll get to that later. I never thought I would see either of those bands live. Somehow they really didn’t seem to fit together but there they were delivering songs from my jr. high and high school years straight to my ears from instruments. Speaking of, I hear Morrissey is playing in Portland when I get back. The Pixies and Morrissey both in November? rad!

Yesterday we had our first rain that felt like fall. My friend Blue helps put on this event called Movie-a-roke. It’s like Karaoke but with films. She had captured a scene from my favorite movie Heathers so I sort of had to brave the rain. I seemed to have forgotten how to dress to ride in the rain over the summer. I put on my rain jacket that got soaked by the time I got there and switched to a jean jacket in my bag. Anyway, I rocked my best Heather Chandler channeling my inner bitch and yelling at a stranger how she was a girl scout cookie and no one at Westerburg will play her reindeer games. Good times.

The I walked a mile or two in the rain listening to my new autumn mix with plenty of Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain, Jawbreaker, Despitado, Sarge, Sleater-Kinney and Cub to keep me company. It was nice to walk in the rain for a bit. I thought about how this is my 10th autumn in Portland. I thought about my first autumn and, against my better judgment, who I was with and how we were were waiting for the rain so we could kiss in it. When the rain came we abandoned the couch we had been sleeping on to spend hours walking the bridges at night and reading zines to each other in dry doorways. I drank shitty coffee with free refills as he drank iced tea at late night places. Strange what you find yourself doing when someone tells you they like you, eh?

Which got me thinking about a conversation I had (on the internets) with my friend Zack about crushes and how rad they are and why they are rad.  So, as I was walking in the rain last night I was thinking about crushes past present and future. When you have a crush on someone, whether they know or not is makes them shine a little brighter. Once the secret of a crush is out you can’t really put it back. Believe me, I’ve had my share of awkward reveals on both sides full of acceptances and denials.

The other part of a crush that Zach and I were talking about is pure ego when it comes down to it. When your crush is returned or when you know someone has a crush on you it means that someone else thinks you are as cool as you secretly wish you were so it makes you shine a little brighter no matter how fleeting it is.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I use the word crush but it isn’t always a romantic thing. I’m really susceptible to brain crushes when I meet someone new and to be honest, I have a lot of them. It’s like I just want to hang around hearing what falls out of their brain/mouth next. It’s like the person is a really great puzzle that keeps you going just enough not to stump you.

I think crushes are perfectly acceptable in monogamous relationships too. It’s like anything else, what you do with it that matters. I mean, how can you blame someone for having a crush? It just means they see good stuff in other people. Hopefully you have a partner who has crushes too and doesn’t feel weird and guilty about them and you can talk about them.

Wow, this is so something  I would have written for my zine circa 1997… wait, I think I did write something like this for my zine in 1997!

Ok, my food is just about done. Time to go make some mushroom gravy. I was going to post some photos but I’m going to finish this beer and eat some food. Can you believe that Jubelale is out already? It’s not even really autumn yet and the winter ale is already out?

A day in the life…

I can’t believe I’m leaving the country on Wednesday! I feel like there is a bunch of stuff I still need to but I also feel like I have already done a lot. Right now though I’m doing menial things: Roasting coffee to take on my trip, replacing the toner in my laser printer, ordering stamps on line, and trying to figure out how to get rid of my postage meter that I have decided I don’t like.

Paul and I have had “take your boyfriend to work days” for the past few weeks. I make him get up at 8 or 9 with me on his days off by making him coffee and then sit there in the office answering e-mails while he packs my orders to learn my process… and also all the strange places that I keep things in my office. he’s really good a thorough but so slow. I’m happy that he is willing to do this for me. I have already taken roasted coffee out of my online shops and some of the smaller button orders that can be time consuming and usually have time constraints. I may take a few button designs out of my catalogs too but for the most part I think he has the hang of it.

I have this problem that I never really think about how much I’m going to miss Paul until right before I leave. I think of the excitement and the travel and the next experiences.  It’s days like Friday that I’ll think of. We had a really nice day. The weather was perfect. Paul and I worked in the office packing orders and stuff then we worked in the yard and pulled weeds and then we walked down to Por Que No? I got a fresh  pineapple margarita and we split one of their rice and beans bowls. We usually get one each and then stuff ourselves but sharing one worked out well.

Then we stopped and had a pitcher of the Copacetic IPA at Amnesia Brewery and finished both crossword puzzles on their patio in the sun. We stopped by Pistils and got a sunflower plant and two tomato starts. I’m happy cause I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get tomatoes in the ground before I left.

here’s what’s in the garden so far: lettuce, beets, chard, spinach, carrots, brussel sprouts, purple cabbage, broccoli, tomatos, onions, celery, peas, beans, and peppers. I also have a pumpkin plant growing from seed and I want to get a zucchini, cucumber and squash. Those are the veggie plants but I have lots of things growing from seeds too but they are too many to list. I hope they are alright when I’m gone.

We continued our stroll home down Mississippi and stopped by the new Buy Olympia shop that isn’t open yet but they wanted some copies of SSR so I was dropping them off. Pat gave me a tour of what will be their shop and their warehouse section.

Then we stopped by the Bridgetown beerhaus and Paul got two 22 oz bottles of limited edition Stone beers. Strangely I had the idea to open a shop just like that back when I was trying to sell my house. The house didn’t sell and I didn’t open the shop. But, Bridgetown Beerhouse is one of three similar shops in our neighborhood…. and we like it best. Paul is there more often that I since one of his bands’ practices around the corder. This trip Mike  remarked that he loves that we always come in with Plants so I had to show him what I had this time.

We headed home and I planted our new plant friends and then went to a new pub by our house called Duckets to check it out. They have vegan options which is pretty cool but their jukebox system sucks. At the least the bar tender was playing some familiar punk music.

Then we came home and hung out and listened to records and drank out 22 oz beers from the beerhause. I got Jesus and Mary Chain-Psycho Candy on vinyl and it sounds really good! Paul and I are scheming to cover one of the songs but it is going to have to wait until I get back.

Then we were hungry so I took the grape tomatoes that were a little too squishy to eat, cut them in half, poured some olive oil on them and roasted them. When they were nice and cooked I tossed in the pasta and bean salad we have been eating for the past week and baked it all some more. It was tasty.

Beer, Crossword puzzles and good conversation. It’s days like that that really make me love my life. I can get all the work done I need and still have time to play.

Starting Wednesday my life is go go go!

I bed past noon? me? really? and some stuff about love.

It is 1:30pm and i’m still in bed. My brain is decompressing after all the work I have done to get the book ready for the past 4 days. I caught the stupid typo on the cover before SSR really went into production and got that fixed. I can’t believe I made such a stupid mistake. 3 eyes looked over the insides and only mine looked at the cover. I know this about myself: When I’m doing design work my brain is so caught up in the all over aesthetic of it and I totally miss the details that other people catch.  for example, The repeated paragraph near the end of Brainscan 21. No one has mentioned it, but it’s there and I know it’s there.

I’m really really proud of myself actually. I have never taken a book to press alone. I feel like I only had minimal questions for the printer and I know how to get the project done! The back of my head had someone I used to know telling me I would never be able to do it myself. I was having these weird flashbacks to last time I put Stolen Sharpie Revolution together and my co-worker/husband yelling at me for the most ridiculous things like not liking the photo of myself I wanted to use, that I was taking too long, arguing about how the project is really his project and how I wouldn’t be able to do it without him. Ugh.

All of the badness was easily washed away from the process this time by now having a partner who is totally supportive of me. There were a couple shining moments when he would bring me coffee and breakfast while I was working in bed with my laptop and also making me meals when I forgot to eat. One late night I was yelling at my computer about something Paul shut my laptop and handed me a much needed beer. He knows me so well.

Now that the pre-press is done I have to work on promotion and then in a month I’m leaving for the UK and France for zine related trips for a month. I love that I am in a relationship where I don’t have to ask permission to leave. He just understands that it is part of my “job”. I’d feel the same for him if he was touring with his band. It is just what we do. By the time I’m back from that trip I’ll be slipping in Portland Zine Symposium mode.  And it an attempt to not totally make Paul into a “zine widow” I’m hoping to take him on part of my East coast trip next year. he has friends in NYC and family in upstate New York he hasn’t seen since he was a kid so we could work that into the program.

My parents were in town last week and Paul and I spent a night with them up at the Riverhouse. We sat around the fire and talked late into the night. I told my parents that we had adopted their Full Moon Dance night but that we don’t have a song so we just take turns playing records for each other. They seemed to approve. We talked a bit about them being together for 35 years and how that works. The first response was to look at eachother and say “tolerance” . I remember them at one time saying that it is also good to do things together but also do things apart. I think Paul and i have that down pretty well.

My mom also made this comment that my aunt made about my parents. it sort of has to do with the tolerance thing but something about them both jsut saying “Okay!”  when the other asks them to do something and doing the things they need to get done. In a way it about picking your battles because not everything has to be a fight. i guess my aunt identified “Okay!” as the secret to a happy marriage. I guess the new family joke that isn’t “brainscan! brainscan!’ is “Okay!” go along with it. Paul and I have been joking about that now too.

I think I’m actually going to get up now and shower. Paul should be home soon and we are headed to the post office and grocery shopping because our cubbards are bare.

Girl of my Zines…

I found this at ZAPP and thought it was neat.

I found this at ZAPP and thought it was neat.

Full moon dance night and the neon cross that looms over our house in North Portland

I started working on this post yesterday… but I got distracted by a boy with crossword puzzles and a trip to Pause for a black bean burger and Green Flash Ale.

But, here I am…. up super early because I slacked around to play with a word puzzle and listen to records with Paul and worked on writing a song about our first night together. We had our Full Moon Night the other night where we listened to records and danced and we sort of had a second one last night. But the night before we took some photos of the moon because it looked so rad.

Outside my front door and across the street is a soundwall. On the other side of the soundwall is the freeway onramp to I-5 south. On the other side of the onramp is the Freeway… which sounds a lot like the ocean. It has sort of become white noice after so many years of living here. On the other side of the freeway is a huge church with a giant neon cross. it wasn’t here when I moved in. I have no idea when they turned it on or how much it costs to illuminate the neighborhood. If you sit on our porch you don’t even see the church it is attached to. There is just this floating neon cross above the soundwall.

By day it looks like this:

ugly soundwall.

ugly soundwall.

by night it looks like this:

not as ugly by night

not as ugly by night

It is just amusing that we were celebrating love and the moon and there is this giant cross staring across the free way at us.

It is just amusing that we were celebrating love and the moon and there is this giant cross staring across the free way at us.

here's so photos from our dining room when we were listening to records

here's so photos from our dining room when we were listening to records

Ok, I have coffee to drink and roast and  few orders to pack and I have to search for my camera battery charger or else buy a new one before I leave. I need to pack the piles of stuff sitting around me including snacks, zines, buttons, and the usual clothes and such. I hope it all fits in my panniers I need to swing by the post office and puck up a burrito. I wonder if I should bring my tent? I wonder how different the weather in Seattle is? I guess I’ll find out. Marc andI should get some great interviews for our podcast.

Musings About Multiple March Anniversaries

January, 25th 1997 was he first time I ever really remember meeting paul was when his band Homesick with our friend Ban played at the ComLam… behind the AutoZone in Roy, Utah. It was  really just someone’s practice space with carpeted walls. On the carpet behind where the band played someone had spray painted “MINOR TREAT” and had <ed in the letter “H” between the the “T’ and the “R”. I never knew if it was a joke ir a mistake, either way it always amused me.

I recognized Paul in the band with my friend Ban from a Down By Law show years ago when I was on the edge of the Pit with my sister and my friend Kate and this kid with a jacket that said “Pub” on the back of it kept running into just us girls. We thought he must be a total dick and punched him every time he came around. For year we just referred to him as pub boy. It turned out that he was just really drunk and didn’t know why all these girls kept punching him. When I saw him at the Comlab show I wondered how “Pub Boy” knew Ben. I traded Ben for a copy of the zine “Lunchroom” that he and “Pub Boy” did. After the show Ben invited us over to “Pub Boy Paul’s” house.

Webly, Andy and I rode back down to Salt Lake and  got to paul’s house…. where we waited for Ben to show. Paul offered to make me coffee from my favorite coffee roaster in SLC. Who was this guy? Then we all hung out in his room where my eyes explored the walls that were plastered with flyers of almost all the same shows I had been to over the years. What was this kid? He had even seen the supposed last Fifteen show at Gilman! How did I now know him?  Then it clicked, I did know him. I had met him when I was 14 at a Dance Club with my friend. I had a tape of his very first band, The Vomited Cockroaches! I blurted that out and didn’t seem to believe me and said he didn’t want to talk about my friend. Ben never showed up so we left.

Paul and I sat down the other day and tried to figure out when our Anniversary is. Does that sound weird? I know that show was January 25, 1997 because I have a flyer. I know the first day we really hung out was a a Friday. I was skipping college to hang out with my sister, Andy, Ben and our puppy Stormy. I know it was in the first week of March and it was a holiday for high school so my sister wasn’t in school. It looks like the first Friday in march 1997 was March 7th.

Webly, Andy, Ben, Story and I loaded into our tiny blue 1980 Mazda Rx-7. The car didn’t so much have a back seat as it has a luggage shelf. We went downtown and the day felt like the first day of spring where the you can actually wear shirt sleeves for the first sime since the year before and the sun warms one side of your face and the chill of winter clings to the other.

I have a photo that someone took on this day, I can’t find it right now or I would post it. It is seared in my mind. it is shot from the back as we are walking down the streets of SLC. I’m wearing and over sized 90’s Queers shirts and holding Stormy’s leash, Webly is in an Aquabats shirt and Ben has a leather jacket. That image represents what would come, one of the best years of my life.

We spent hours wandering around downtown exploring alleys and streets with our puppy… who everyone thought was adorable. We were getting hungry and spare changed a bit of money to buy a bunch of Ramen. Ben had mentioned that Paul had asked about me so I was a bit curious about Paul. We had gotten the Ramen at a grocery store that could have been seen as suspiciously close to Paul’s house. So when I coyly asked “where are we going to eat this” Ben offered up Paul’s hosue 3 blocks away.

So, we sat with a huge tub of Ramen and a puppy on Paul’s kitchen floor. Later Paul and Ben sat on the pool table with an acoustic guitar and had somehow turned Nine Inch Nails- Something I can never have into a jaunty ska song. It was hilarious! We hung around and listened to music. I took Webly, Ben, Andy and Stormy home and Paul and I met some other SLPX kids at Denny’s and discussed Star Wars triva because they were about the re release the first movies. it was good times.

The next day Paul and I went to a show in the basement of DV8 where we sat on an old couch backwards and sang each other Dead Milkmen songs ignoring the bands that were actually on the stage and our friends. I had been trying to figure out if “pub boy” was the jerk I had made him out to be but he was actually pretty cool.

Our first real “Date” if you wanna call it that was about a week later. Paul asked me to come and watch the opera Carmen (classy, eh?) After he got off work we went up to the University Library and watched Carmen in our own little viewing room. I remember we sat on top of a table and made fun of the band “punkadellic” while I rested my head on his leg.

That night we went back to his place. We talked about flyers on his walls and all the shows we had been to. We talked about his band Homesick and listened to their demo tape. He put on a Frank Sinatra album. We talked about my jr. high friend that he didn’t want to talk about, it turns out they had dated the year before and it has ended badly.

At two in the morning he turned on the radio and I was treated to the voice of Art Bell, the late night talk radio guy who has guest talk about UFOs and the paranormal…. I listened to the very same show every night. All of the doubts I had about this kid being a jerk were sort of dispelled. He went from playing Frank Sinatra to a radio show about Aliens!

We had our first kiss that night.

When Paul and I sat down to figure out when our anniversary was were trying to think of this date. I’m pretty sure it was a Thursday night which would make it March 13, 1997. We were trying to figure out exactly what day it was so that we could listen to that Art Bell Broadcast…. cause we are just that geeky. It turns it was the same night as the famous Phoenix Lights… but we were too wrapped up in eachother to remember.

Strangely, looking at the calendar for 1999 it turns out that Paul broke up with me the night of March 12! Almost exactly 2 years later. That is 10 years from this month. Those two years were great though. We shared a post box and made zines. I was the merch girl for this band and went on tour with them. We traveled to the bay area to see Morrissey and to Portland for my 21st birthday. I learned to drink and appreciate good beer. We were a good match but we were young and stupid. Paul, in some sort of pre-life crisis broke my heart for fear of holding me back.

I moved to Portland and we spent 5 years barely speaking. Paul would send me my mail from our shared post box, I saw his new band play in Portland twice but at the end of March in 2004 I took a trip to Utah for research and found Paul again. This part will have to wait for the zine.

Anyway, messiness and stuff ensued. I moved out and then back in with my emotionally abusive husband at the time and finally left him for good at the end of 2005. Paul moved to Portland at the end of February 2006… which is close enough for March for me!  We have been living together for 3 years now. So we sort of celebrate all of March as our anniversary month.

Too bad I’m leaving to Seattle on the 13th for the Zine Librarian Un-Conference, but we do have the rest of the month and the full moon on the 10th.

One of the 3 days around every full moon we try to make a night to spend with eachother. We sort of got this idea from my parents who dance together to a particular song on the full moon. Well, Paul and I make a meal, drink some good beer and take turns playing records for each other and dance together. It is just a nice way of making time to appreciate each other in our hectic schedules… It is also pretty romantic.