Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Diamond Girls

We have talked before about the Jaycee Hut and the pitiful dances I attended there in junior high and high school. But there was another activity that took place at the Hut, or in the fenced enclosure behind it, that wasn’t pathetic or lame in the least, because the Jaycees had the swimming pool that we all used every summer.

From the time I was old enough to paddle around in the baby pool, I spent every summer there, turning brown as an old boot. I use the expression “brown as an old boot” with pride, because in those far away Farrah-days, tan and blond was de rigueur for beauty. I could never achieve the blond thing, although I tried, as you will see in any picture of me with the tell-tale copper colored coif that is the bane of dark haired girls who try to lighten their locks. But nobody could beat my tanning abilities. We did crazy things to attain those dark tans – laid out on the roof, on top of aluminum foil, coated in baby oil, for instance. Now I look anxiously in the mirror for signs of sun damage and skin cancer, but none yet, thank God. Must be thanks to that good Cajun blood Granny gave me.

But in the early days of Jaycee Hut swimming, I was stuck in the shallow end with my cousins, who apparently were trying to drown me. Well, they were trying to drown everybody. It was like a game. They would dunk you under and hold you there until you started to panic and thrash wildly, then they would stop because that might gain the attention of the aunts. Then they would let you up for a breath of air, and back down you would go.

Pool

“Today’s the day. I just know it. They’re gonna drown me for real.”

So I was pretty happy when I reached the age when I could escape the regular threats to my life and join the teenage girls on the chaise lounges down at the deep end of the pool by the diving boards. That’s where they hung out because that was the greatest vantage point for seeing and being seen by the boys lining up to dive. But I had one problem – my friends, whom you’ve met as the girl posse, refused to make the giant leap from shallow end kid to deep end fox. They were afraid. Lacked confidence and such as that. I mean, I was a little intimidated too, but my desire to join the foxes outweighed my fear, so for a while, we were stuck in limbo, hanging out in that bland, no-man’s land of mid-pool. Away from the little kids, but still not in The Fox Zone.

At regular intervals throughout the day, we would go inside the Hut and get an orange push up or a Popsicle and listen to the juke box. As you may have already surmised from the title, Seals and Crofts’ “Diamond Girl” was in regular rotation. One day, as I sat licking my pushup, listening to the music, observing my shy, chicken-shit friends, I suddenly announced that Seals and Crofts were singing about us and that we were The Diamond Girls. It was our secret club and you had to learn all the words in order to be a member. So we played the song and sang it over and over and learned all the words. Once we became The Diamond Girls, we were invincible. Afraid of those older girls? HA! We were like “precious stones” – they had nothing on us. Scared of those diving boys? NOT! Cause we were “like shining stars” and they “could never find another one like us”.

Diamond girls, you sure did shine…

You already know how this ends, right? The Diamond Girls moved into The Fox Zone and made it our own.  We ruled it. And as a corollary to this story, I got my first kiss that summer, right next to the juke box. He was one of the cutest boys at the pool and his name was Donny.  I’m still carrying a torch. Sigh…

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Now I’m All Tangled Up In Blue

If you’ve ever watched my twitter feed, you know that I, like a lot of people, get temporarily obsessed with some artist or some song for a while, and then that gradually fades into the sunset, and it’s on to something new. Last week, I had Springsteen fever.  During this protracted brain-worm illness, the Springsteen lines that spun around in my head the most were from “Prove it All Night”, particularly the phrases “Meet me in the field behind the dynamo” and “To buy you a ring and a pretty dress of blue”.  Over and over. The field, then the dynamo, followed by the ring, and ending with the pretty dress of blue. It dawned on me after a while that every time I heard those lines, I was picturing this dress…

image(12)

In case you don’t know what you are looking at, it’s a prom dress from 1980. Specifically, it’s my prom dress from 1980. After picturing it all week, I was compelled to go dig it out of the storage closet. I’m not sure what all this means, but there is a story that goes along with this dress. Naturally.

Prom 4

I grew up in a suburb of Jackson, that shall remain nameless, and we had a serious rivalry going with the kids that lived in Jackson. It got pretty ugly sometimes. It was all very Socs (short for Socials) and Greasers ( “The Outsiders”). We were the Socs, and the kids from Jackson were the Greasers, except of course we didn’t use those terms. We called them hoods; they called us preps. Which was entirely inaccurate – there were kids of both of these genres that lived in either place. But my girl posse and I used to like to sneak away from our suburb and cruise the strip in Jackson to check out the “hoods” and their hot rods. Suffice it to say that they were greatly admired. So when I broke up with my El Camino boy (and I use that term figuratively, you understand – he actually drove a smoking hot Olds 442) for some trivial infraction, I quickly rounded up one of these Jackson fellas as a short notice replacement prom date.

That was a big mistake. The guy acted like a total douche bag the whole night.  In fact, I hate to besmirch the good name of douche bags by calling him that. Let’s just say he was defensive and angry. And understandably so, really, since he was in enemy camp and my former El Camino boy was also defensive and angry and glaring in our general direction all night. It was a powder keg situation. So I spent the whole night smiling nervously and trying to smooth things over on both ends, which naturally only made things worse.

Finally I feigned illness, which was one of my specialties at the time, having become a master of gym-avoidance via that technique, and we left early. Riding home, we were both completely silent. There I sat, in my pretty dress of blue, having created yet another fiasco, and with both fellas mad at me.  He didn’t even pull up in my driveway; he just let me out on the street beside my house. I guess you could say it was a bad prom night. But now, with the power of technology, I can completely erase the guy’s face from my prom picture, as if he never existed and none of that ever happened. It’s too bad that the background is wallpaper, or the effect would have been even better, like an empty suit just standing there. Beside me and my pretty dress of blue.

This is the song that finally ended the brain worm. Note that it’s also got the blue theme going. Lord knows I’ve paid some dues getting through. Tangled up in blue.

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My Superpower Name is: “Chameleon Woman”

As you can see, I’ve made some changes to my blog. Any change at all is a really big deal because I don’t know how to do anything. Thus, any change that I make usually brews in my feeble mind for a couple months before I actually take any action. It all started this time with a mild displeasure with my profile picture or gravatar or whatever that tiny picture next to my name is called. I liked the picture I had for a really long time, because I thought I looked kind of spunky and sardonic. Then, one day, out of the blue, I looked at that picture and “spunky and sardonic” suddenly appeared “bitchy and snooty”.

Say goodbye to our old friend, “Bitchy Pic”!

bitchy pic

So I finally decided I would update my tiny picture, and I thought I would try to take one with my puppy, Penny. I’ve seen pictures that other women have taken with pets that looked really cute and sweet and feminine, and I tried to achieve the same effect, but as you can see, mine just came out weird and distorted. Penny wouldn’t cooperate and was squirming wildly and I had to tilt my head back, so the end result is that the entire world gets a fine shot of the underside of my nose. But I’m going with it anyway, because the puppy is so darn cute.

Say hello to our new friend, “Puppy Pic”!

Puppy pic

Since I didn’t think the puppy pic really looked like me, I did another picture, this time in black and white, trying to go for an artistic effect.  I didn’t even look like the same person at all.  I tried to have a completely blank expression so that it would be an accurate representation of my face, but I looked kinda like an alien. And I don’t think my eyes are that far apart. Or are they? I just don’t know. Anyway, if you want to know what I look like, I recommend piecing the various photos together in your head, creating sort of a composite pic, because apparently I am going to continue looking like a different woman in every photo ever taken of me.

It’s really bizarre how I look different in every picture. I’m not even sure how I look exactly. I’m a chameleon, I guess. A Karma Chameleon, perhaps? I mean, I am slightly worried that I have unresolved karma issues, after all.

Instant karma’s gonna get you. Gonna look you right in the face.

Who’s that lady? Another great one from the marvelous Isley Brothers and one of my faves. The extra yummy extended version…

“But seriously, lady, who are you?”

Bean Bag2

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Punkety Funkety Bluesy Blues with Big Jack in the Big Easy

Jack

I’m not sure I even know how to write my usual half-ass, mostly off-topic and pretty much irrelevant review for this concert. I felt slightly disoriented the whole time because there was some kind of floodlight on the stage that seemed to be aimed directly at my eyes, so I couldn’t see very much. Plus I’m really short and everyone around me was really tall, and everybody stood up the whole time, so all I actually saw was the blinding light from the floodlight outlining the bodies of my fellow concertees.

I could have been a little taller had I worn high heels, but the last time I went to New Orleans I took a spectacular, multi-stage fall in front of hundreds of people due to the fact that I was tottering precariously around on spike heels on the badly broken pavement of Bourbon St.  Since I’ve been reliving that embarrassment over and over in my mind for months, I thought I’d better play it safe and wear flat shoes, which meant that I spent the whole night just staring at the backsides of the fruitcakes in front of me.  I say “fruitcakes” because they were all apparently pretending to actually be Jack White, instead of merely being concert-goers there to see Jack White. I mean, they had the hair, the hat, the slightly peculiar, vaguely goth black outfit, etc. Silly fools. They should know there can only be one Jack White.

The White Stripes burst upon the scene after I had already ditched my albums and was trying to re-invent myself as a mother and an adult with a job and so on, and I was rapidly developing my current curmudgeonly attitude toward anything new, but I accidentally heard “Seven Nation Army” somewhere and was hooked.  So I trained myself to say “Jack White” instead of “Jack Black”, whom I also like, but for different reasons, and bought the CD.   But I was in good company with my admiration, because in an interview with USA Today, Jimmy Page  says that “Seven Nation Army” is the one guitar riff he wishes he’d written.  So how do ya like that?

 I liked the rawness of the White Stripes; the punkety funkety-ness of it all. The blues with a jagged, slightly insane sounding edge.  And weirdly, my Jack White concert experience kind of reflected that whole feeling. The sound, at least where I was sitting, sucked mightily. It was that kind of loud, echoey distortion that has caused Pete Townshend’s ears to ring eternally. So I was just standing in this little personal twilight zone full of faceless bodies, broken occasionally by a blinding, disconcerting light, immersed in distorted ear-splitting sound. Of course, that describes a great many of the concerts I’ve been to over the years, really.

Jack said next to nothing to the crowd, so it was all really impersonal feeling, but I can’t imagine Jack White being all buddy-buddy with anyone anyway, so that was okay. And I’m sure it’s just me, but I have to wonder if anyone else misses the whole minimalist thing the White Stripes had going? I mean, he did some White Stripes songs, but they didn’t sound the same, because there were a butt load of people on stage playing along with him. I miss the days when it was just him and his “wife/sister”.  Damn it.

Anyway, I was going to take some pictures of the concert and post them, but I got in trouble with a scary looking lady dressed in official looking black pants that was standing in the aisle and had to put my phone up, but here’s a picture of the inside of the historic Saenger theater.  It’s really beautiful.

Saenger

The curtain apparently was custom made for Jack and he carries it around with him from venue to venue. It was really pretty and blue. Blue and floodlights seem to have been the theme. And three white stripe-cube things. With floodlights in them. Here is a link to a Times-Picayune review of the concert and a bunch of pics in case you are interested in an real review by someone who could actually see something on stage.

But I still had a good trip – I ate a bunch of oysters and flirted enthusiastically with the waiter as I guzzled Mai Tais and I did some other stuff that I’ll talk about later. I think I posted this video before, but it’s pretty much the pinnacle of Jack’s punkety funkety blues ability to me.  He could have just done this song over and over with one little drummer/wife/sister and I would have been happy. No floodlights or butt load of musicians or custom made blue curtains or anything else required.  This is what I really, really want from you, Mr. Black. White, I mean. Because you are one bad ass, punkety funkety bluesy blues dude here. Mr. White.

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