Roadtrippin’

So I woke up this morning and decided to take a job driving to Minneapolis. It was impulsive and risky.  These are two behaviors that unfortunately go hand in hand with living with Bipolar, Especially when your running out of your medication. It is a sad day that benefits in New Jersey are so hard to get when you need them. I worked my whole life working very hard and paying my own way. It is very frustrating that when you actually need help from your state and government because you lose a job that it is almost impossible to get the help you need. I don’t foresee it getting any better under the Trump Regime. 

Anyway I took the job having no idea how I would get back home. I didn’t plan it well but it worked out. Thanks to a really nice customer who worked for Heineken  I ended up getting a driving job back home. He was a true angel. My Trip could have been a great short film because there was lots of stuff happening and I will explain some of it. Some of it I will leave for the book. I love to drive so I thought driving might be a good job for short-term but it isn’t worth it because you have to pay for your own hotels and that makes it less than desirable and not enough money to risk your life severely increasing your driving time on the road. The more you drive; the higher chance you can die. Obvious fact.

My trip was filled with a lot of music on the radio, a stop off in Chicago to meet a true blues legend and some blues disciples, met a bunch of friends along the way, a couple of really nice state troopers, thank you! Some definite drama, cold and snowy weather and some really bizarre tollbooth messengers. I wrote some song/lyrics called Tollbooth Preacher one day and I wish I could find it. It’s in a box somewhere and I can’t remember the lyrics. I’ll find it or an i’ll re-write it. I remember the premise. Here are some pictures from my trip. I stopped off in Chicago and met one of my blues heroes Buddy Guy. I also met some other friends as well.  All the employees that worked at Buddy Guy’s Legends was so friendly; From the awesome bartender to the cool lady bathroom attendant in the bathroom. Thanks for the deodorant. 🙂 Also met some really fun fellow blues fans and of course more guitar players. Here are some pictures of my trip. I will follow-up with a Night at Legends post with all my photos.

New Day. New moments. New Adventures. New Hope. Some Moments from my crazy trip.

 

 1.. Selfie In the car. Fake makeup app. Bored, more waiting.

2. Killing time at Manna Hamburgers Hackensack New Jersey waiting on my car getting detailed. Always wanted to go inside because of my obsession with Vintage Buildings, diners, signs and Businesses. 

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manna3. Taco Truck In Drums, Pennsylvania . Stopping off to get my money from the trucking center. They pay 80 percent up front. Trucking centers always fascinated me; a whole culture going on there; if you ever need a shower on the go that’s the place to do it. 

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4. Me meeting my Blue’s Hero. Good timing. Good Luck. Thanks for the music and the inspiration Buddy. 

buddy guy

5. The Buddy Guy Legends sign…so happy to see it. http://www.buddyguy.com I haven’t been back to legends since the 1990’s. It was in a different building back then. I met buddy back then as well, I was 26 years old. I even went to Maxwell Street on the south side back then but it was before camera phones and I didn’t have a camera with me so no pictures, sadly. Rough street but a blues history Gem. I wish I had pictures to share of Maxwell Street but they are only in my mind. Lots of Garbage Can fires burnin’ it was cold. The Hawk was out. 

legends sign

6.  So I’m sitting in a McDonald’s in Winnebago County, Illinois drinking coffee watching Fonzi, Captain Kirk, George foreman , Terry Bradshaw trying on lederhosen. I am not sure if it’s a new low or a new high!

jeanne at mcdonalds

 7. Traffic. That’s why I sat still for so long. 

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I stopped taking pictures after a while because stress took over but I finished driving to Minneapolis, then I turned around and drove back home. Had to get the new car detailed and fixed up so stopped in Rockford Illinois. Saw some messy ice and snow, met a chatty meth head at Starbucks… god bless him and while checking into a ahem..budget motel, I call them shake & bakes,  I got propositioned by a creepy hotel owner tweaking on something ..yuk. So 2500 miles later I am back home.  Shout out to the folks that helped me along the way and kept me safe. You know who you are. Peace! 

Love and Happiness,

Jloz

Deflated

I was thinking a lot about my dad recently. I go thru periods where I think of him constantly and then I can go weeks without thinking about him at all. If you told me that ten years ago I would have told you that you were crazy. I guess I get caught up in the day to day business of living. I am  always so surprised that I don’t dream about him more. I always thought he would show up in my dreams more. It’s funny how our dreams work. I don’t understand them. They are so random and bizarre. I never dream about the people I love , why is that?  Anyway I was thinking about the blog I wrote called Monsoon in Chinatown; a letter to my father. I wrote that years ago after he died. It was an exercise to help me get over his death.  I posted it below in a previous post. I was told by a therapist it might help to write him a goodbye letter. So I did. It was a long private letter but I posted part of it. I never spoke about the day he died but It was the worst day of my 38  years of living. I felt like writing about it today. I remember being depressed, vacant, sick, scared and well not very present. I was there but I wasn’t there. I think somehow my brain couldn’t handle all the emotion so it shut off. I wasn’t myself and I was somewhere inside myself. I felt like a turtle who went back into it’s shell. I know this seemed distant and selfish to others but I couldn’t be any different at that time.. My brain was in charge. I was who I was then. My life was in shambles and this was the Main Event.

I  went to my parents house on New Years Day, my dad was still with us. I was living by myself and had slept at my apartment the night before. I would have been there already but my biological relatives invited me to go out for New Years Eve. I didn’t want to go but my mom told me to go. I had just found my biological Aunt and she asked me to spend New Years Eve with her and the family. I went. I had been spending a lot of time at my parents house when I wasn’t working watching my father wither away. It was the holidays and I think my mom thought I needed a break so she told me to go out and have fun so I went.

Have fun, what a strange thought.

I was so happy to find my biological  relatives but it was such a bad time for it to happen. I wasn’t in a good place. For many different reasons.

I had spent Christmas Eve sitting with my dad thinking he would pass…but he didn’t. The Christmas Eve I will never forget. It was me and my mom and two of her friends there in the house that night. I was sitting with my dad in his room and we watched the Christmas Story together. That was the last thing we did before he slipped into a coma. In fact the last thing he said to me was a line out of that movie. He was repeating  one of the lines out of the movie over and over.  I can’t watch Christmas story anymore without reliving that night.

I would doze off and wake to his thin frail bony frame staring at me over the railing of the bed. I don’t know if he knew I was there but I think he did. As I was sitting there with him I heard something down the street like singing. I figured it was Christmas Carol Singers so I looked out the window behind my father’s death bed to find about fifty or so people walking up the street. They were holding lit candles and singing. Next thing I knew they were in the house. The minister of my fathers and mothers church came in between Christmas service with half the church behind him. They were all holding candles. It was like one of those sappy  hallmark movies. They loved my dad, the minister loved my dad, the congregation loved my dad, everyone loved my dad. if dad couldn’t be at church the church would come to dad.

I left my dad’s side and went downstairs to be with my mom and all these people who so kindly came to pay their last respects. The minster and his flock.  My mom let them in and as they filed into our small house singing they formed a crescent in the living room and held hands.  My mom stood there with the poise and strength that her generation seems to have mastered. She was the perfect host; kept her game face on for those divine people while I melted. I couldn’t hold it together and it took every molecule of my being not cry out loud. I could feel eyes on me with their kind sympathy.  My mom on the other hand was a strong upright force that was there for them as not to make them feel uncomfortable. I will never forget the look on her face when we all prayed. Her strength was at its glorious best. She was in the hands of her god.

After the prayers had been said and the songs had been sung they left, the candles burned down and there was one more Christmas Eve sermon to be given and they had to get back. I went back upstairs to sit with my dad, my daddy, my best friend.  He made it to Christmas day. In fact he made it all the way to New Years Day. I spent the New years Eve with my new Aunt and her family and then went back to my apartment.  I came back New Years Day morning to be with my mom and my dad, I was depleted emotionally, tired and totally spent as we all were. I went up to see him and then I went back downstairs.  I remember I was watching the twilight zone so as not to think, trying to distract myself from the pain that was all around me. The craziest thing happened. My favorite twilight zone show came on the TV. The reason it is so crazy is because it’s the one with young Robert Redford when he plays the Grim Reaper. That was such a rare show that they never played. It was one of those 24 hour twilight zone marathons that they do on New Years Day .  As I was watching the Charming Redford as the grim reaper conning that poor old lady, my mom came down the stairs crying and told me he was gone. I ran back up to him and watched my mom finally break down. Her life partner for fifty years or so is gone.  I called the funeral home and whomever else I was supposed to call. I watched Mark, the flustered and devastated minister knock on our neighbor’s door before he realized he was at the wrong house.  He was there minutes after my dad passed to help console us. After a while my sisters started to show up with their husbands.

He finally left us on New Years Day and he waited till I got there. I was so glad I was there. Mom thinks he waited to New Years day so that she would get an extra year of his work benefits. I knew he wasn’t ready to die. He was 73, he wanted to enjoy his grandchildren, he wasn’t ready. I saw the looks on his face as he was dying. He knew the cancer had spread all over his body and even though he NEVER complained in the six months he got the cancer and died from it; he couldn’t hide his disappointment from me.

Everything happened quickly, the Hearst showed up from the funeral home and took him away. My sisters were consoling my mom and I was back in my turtle shell. I was in shock I think. After  a while reality sunk in and I had to go back home, My mom wanted to be alone and I had to get ready for the funeral.

I went outside to drive home and as I walked outside I realized my tires were completely deflated. Someone cut my tires on the day that my dad died. Are you kidding me? I just stood there looking at my tires in a state of shock.

Was I really going to have to get my tires fixed on the day I lost my father. I guess so. No one was offering to help so here it is. It is already starting. The one person that would have helped me with my car was gone. After staring at my car for what seemed like an hour.. I had my god damn deflated car towed down to the tire place and got my car fixed.

At that moment I never felt so alone.

I was in the waiting room waiting while they put new tires onto my car. They were not fixable.

There was a woman and child waiting with me in the waiting room and the child kept crying. I felt like I was in a nightmare. My nerves were shot, the child’s screams were killing me.

Then the guy at the desk decided to make a pass at me. WTF…like some kind of sleazy offer with a wink. I remember thinking  if there is a hell I am in it right now. yes..This is definitely hell.

My tires were fixed and I went back to my apartment alone and there I sat ….still.

Thinking about my mom, my dad, what was to become of all of this.

Yes, that was the worst day of my life.

Knowing then that it was also the first day of the rest of my life, a life that would never be the same without him.

 

 

 

…..But it’s Tradition

Have you ever heard someone say But it’s Tradition?

 Or why can’t young people just celebrate traditionally or act in a traditional manner?  There are even some people that associate traditions and family values as a synonymous parallel.

You will hear certain politicians talk about American tradition or Family values.

Traditions can be many things. It can be Holidays, Sporting events, Music, Clothing, Food and Drink, Language, Religion. Because America is a huge ” Melting Pot” the lines are more blurred than ever and people can get frustrated , confused and down right ornery about it.

Over a very traditional Easter dinner on Easter day  we were celebrating in a traditional manner. There was family, prayer and Easter egg hunts with colorful Easter eggs and candy.

Someone mentioned my new car and I was telling my family that I named him. My brother-in-law said him? Its supposed to be a girl’s name, cars aren’t named after a male’s name, it is always a female name.

 I said yeah I know that, but I’m a girl so I named it after a guy. He said but traditionally its always a girl’s name.  I  said yes, because Traditionally everything was seen from male’s point of view, a man’s perspective. I mean think about it, who were making all the car ads in the 50’s 60’s 70’s 80’s , men were so of course they are going to name all the cars after women. The whole advertising world taught us that cars were a masculine thing, an extension of the male ego and sexual libido. He didn’t disagree.

Everything was to please the man, the white man if you want to clarify. Just look at all the magazine ads from back in the day, it was all to please men, not women. Even products  that were meant for female consumption, for the wife and the home maker; products like perfume, Tupperware and even Jello still  had advertisements directed to woo over the men first. Woman were secondary. They were not considered the decision makers or the money spenders and ads were usually made to appeal to king of the castle. Men were the kings. That’s how it was.

So who cares about car names anyway but it made a very simple point. Just because something is a tradition doesn’t mean it is good for us or good at all for that matter. It made me think about how easy it is for us to stay in our same thinking patterns even though it may be slanted, bent and we’ll just wrong. These are the same thinking patterns that get us into trouble time and time again.

The inability to think in a inclusive manner and stop falling back into what is comfortable to us. We need to be more aware and re-teach ourselves for out own good, LOVE THY NEIGHBOR, all kinds.

Some American traditions have been steeped in anger, fear, sexist, racist and maniacal tendencies. Burning woman at the stake, Lynching, Hazing, Male Only and all White Only establishments are all American Traditions.

Most of us were NOT brought up on  inclusive ideology. For our own good we need to unlearn sometimes and that’s ok. Unlearning and re-training our minds  is what we all need to do at times to keep America strong. To keep our hearts strong.

It scares me to see the front running Republican Presidential Candidate is running on the back of non-inclusive thought. To be riding the FEAR train and picking up more and more passengers along the way. The fact that he is running on all those traditions I just mentioned, anger, fear, sexist, racist and maniacal tendencies and people are responding. People are responding to their fear and they don’t even know it.  

 I’m am scared.  I’m very scared.

Next time you say BUT IT’S TRADITION  think again. Think Twice.

For our own good.

Love and Happiness

Jloz

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