Pissing the Night Away

Well hello and good morning!! It was a little too cold to walk this morning but will have time later in the day while the sun is still out. I have been cutting out random Coachella Valley landmarks that I have photographed in the past few months. I arranged them on another photo so you can see my madness. (Insert evil laugh here). I have said I see scenes in my crazy head this is what I mean. I am not sure if maybe I medicate too much and my higher mind and eyes see the world differently. That cross in Coachella has always intrigued me. I was excited in April when model Sarah had accepted my request. The landscape there is incredible depending on the time of day. You get unique light and shadows. The sky changes colors as the sun rises. When we shot in April it was hot and kind of humid. I had issues walking and had to use my walker a bit. There were a few shots that I really needed to get on the ground in order the right light. The pain that day was over the top. I really should be an actress as that day I struggled to hold my cameras and to focus. I didn’t want to complain and went out there when I should have been resting. Anyhow, I have not looked at the photos from her shoot in April or the one that we just did at the end of September. Today, I finally opened the folders and know that it’s time to try it again.

These are the balloons that I spied this past weekend.
This was taken April 2019.
Still trying to work this one out.
This is a version of it that I am using as the banner for Keenfern Photography.

For most of the morning I listened to a favorite of mine, Natalie Merchant. My poor kids used to get serenaded while they were in the car with me if one of her songs played. She also got me through many long, lonely nights or long lonely car rides. Sometimes at karaoke, I used to sing one of her many songs, Carnival, Wonder or Jealousy. Her songs were there during many not so good times but they were also there during fun times. A girlfriend of mine used to have me sing Merchants version of Because the Night, a song written by Bruce Springsteen. I miss those days. Just recently, through FB, an old friend from the Brass and my singin’ days messaged each other. It was so nice that he remembered me. I remember him and a friend used to hang out during karaoke (when I was a patron and not working for the place, yet)and one time I sang Don’t Know Why by Norah Jones. Liquid courage was the only way that I could muster the courage, back then, to get up there but somehow I did it. Anyhow, after I finished the song, he came up to me and said, “That was good. You stayed in key.” I had no idea what he was saying. I just knew that it was okay. For many months I would only sing Walking After Midnight as that was the only Patsy Kline song within my range. Then as I started drankin’ more and I moved on to Loretta Lynn’s Coal Miner’s Daughter. Did you know there are three key changes in that song? Me either, well that is what a friend of mine used to say after I would finish that song. He also mentioned that I hit all three. I had no idea then, nor do I have any idea about what he or that other man was saying. Singing was therapy for me. When I started working there as a banquet server (on an as needed basis, I had no idea how the place was going to grow on me. I remember the first banquet was actually a dinner show for piano player Brook Brown. The room was packed and I was not a thin girl so I had to creatively get through the tables. The sign on the wall indicated that the room was okay for up to 125 people but really 50 for dinner was actually what could be sat comfortably. Anyhow, I remember having to shimmy and sway with our tray holding arm hoisted above our heads. I remember one of the other waitresses, Sara, followed my lead and she and I danced to the beat of the music. She even danced with a few of the patrons as did I during those dinners. The piano player didn’t seem to mind. After a few months, he came up to us and said “Please keep it up. They (the customers) like it.” So, we did until Mr. Brown stopped booking there. Not sure the story behind that one, but I know there probably is one as that place held so many secrets.

That’s me in 2017. I walked through those doors so many times. So did so many people. Two movies were filmed there, the bar scene in Bad Santa and the hotel was in Johnson Family vacation. The was magical that is for sure. The Brass even had blues guitarist

I worked at that bar/restaurant/hotel off and on since 2003 till they closed because the property had been sold. I stayed on when the place was going through BK and worked as a bookkeeper, office manager, chef, bartender and insert one of the other many things that I did and others did to keep that place going. I wasn’t the only one. I spent so much time there that all that worked there were like family. When I couldn’t afford or didn’t have a sitter on the weekend, I would bring them with me to work. They still hang out with one of the kids that they met there. The things we all did. It really was a labor of love. My fondest memories are of working for Jim McEwan, another piano player. I was a bar tender and also waitress and sometimes, no all the time, used to cook the meals or desserts. In those days since we couldn’t actually get any one to work with him and back in the Mayan Room, I used cook buffet style meals so it would be easy to work that room with only me against 20-30 people. Jim used to bug me to sing. He did that for a year till I got brave and said I could sing Walking After Midnight as I knew that song by heart. Well after I broke my proverbial cherry and didn’t have a karaoke screen in front of me, it felt good. I learned more songs, mostly songs that Rosemary Clooney sang. It’s Only a Paper Moon or her version of Hey There, and even sometimes Sinatra’s version of The Lady is a Tramp. I loved all the patron’s as most of them had been in theater and would always be there every Thursday and Sunday for what many of us around the Brass named geri-oke. None of the patrons was below 60 years of age. The patrons gave me the courage to belt it out and not give an F. There was this one Sinatra impersonator who used to give me tips on breathing and pushing through. He used to say, it you can talk then you can sing. So I did whenever I could.

I cringe when I listened to the this recording as my singing was so flat.

This post was actually started on Saturday. Today is Monday, today is November 4, Monday and my middle son’s birthday. It doesn’t seem so long ago when I had went for a pre-natal visit in Comp OB, as all my pregnancies after the stroke were treated as high risk. I had taken a bus from Rosemead, my job at Dr. Miscchenko’s, to Kaiser Sunset, in Los Angeles. I was 34 weeks and counting. My blood pressure got me a one-way trip too Labor & Delivery for monitoring. My son’s father was home with our other two children. Anyhow, my blood pressure returned to normal and I felt fine but my obstetrician said even though all my tests were coming back normal, she felt I looked too tired and just not right. She would have known as she was my oldest’s sons obstetrician. I remember arguing with her and then she said just stay tonight and I will come in first thing in the morning and will release you. So, I did, and thank goodness for that. My son was born around 4 A.M. by C-section and not breathing, this was less than 24 hours after that appointment. Had my doctor not kept me to be safe, my soon may not be here today. I had an abruption around 3:30 A.M. and I remember the blood oozed down my legs and onto the cold, white floor of my hospital bathroom. I started to faint and pulled the emergency cord. Somehow I managed to sit back on the toilet and steady myself till the staff got to the bathroom door and then I think I passed out because I only remember stuff just shortly before I was put under. They had me sign consent forms and then I awoke with a boy. A very little, white almost tranluscent, little boy. He was white as a ghost. The movie Powder had just come out and his father used to jokingly call him that. I used to say he was under cooked. Thank goodness for that doctors intuition as it saved my life and the life of my son so that he could be here today.

I get knocked down but I get up again…

Well, time to get back to other stuff and things. I posted the above song by Chumbawumba because it reminds me of all the car rides with the kids going to places that I could afford on the weekends. Thank goodness my Dad took us to all the free places in and around Los Angeles so we were always exploring. Anyhow, listening to this song, I had a flash of it playing while we were all singing and the kids had there arms moving wildly in the air as we drove up and down the hills of Los Angeles like they were roller coaster hills. Our good ol’ days…

To you reader, have a fabulous day! If you share this special day with my son, then Happy Birthday and may all your roads be long.

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