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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Dear Diary And Shit...

Donnie Pizza Sauce and The Surge are cooking up a veritable storm. It's raining tomato sauce. Snowing Parmesan. The boys are in the kitchen, which is as it should be. I'm laying across my bed with Maxer, luxuriating in the air conditioned bedroom. Tomato sauce, garlic and Olive Oil permeate the air with tangy flavor and Frankie Lymon's falsetto is doing it's part to season my apartment with coziness. If Donnie has any say, Dean Martin is certain to follow.

We are having a dinner party and the boys are chopping, slicing, dicing, grilling, baking and every other culinary term you can think of. At the last moment I'll head in and "chop up a salad" as Grandma calls it, and then I'll slice some tomatos and mozzeralla over small hunks of french bread, sprinkle with fresh basil, bake and present my contribution; the appetizer.

Despite the festive dinner party atmosphere I am feeling the same. Shit. Am counting the minutes until I can anesthetize with wine. I am medicating with wine under the guise of "hey, it's a dinner party, I'm not a sad, depressed wino, I'm a cheery party thrower!" But that's exactly what I am - a gloomy alcohol abuser half-heartedly attempting a cheerful countenance.

I will begin taking Zoloft soon in the hope that it will take the edge off. This morning when I woke up I cried. Because I was awake. That can't be good. I hate to even type this shit here. But if I start censoring myself or my depression because of who's reading then what good is this blog? It's chemical, this thing. I WANT to be happy. I try to be. But every day, as I do what needs to be done I wonder what I'm even doing. Why am I even making this fucking bed, I think. It's just going to get unmade. Why sweep up the dog hair? The black bastard just sheds another pound within the next half hour. The fan blows Arizona sized tumbleweeds of the stuff across the hard wood floor.

Sometimes, for kicks, I try to imagine the greatest thing in the world happening to me. A book deal maybe, The Surge's band selling a million records, ANYTHING. It still doesn't cheer me up. I talk to myself while walking Max. Yesterday I realized I'd been saying "somebody help me" over and over again. It's bad. I'm hopeful about the Zoloft.

Are You Coming!? You Really Should!


New York Doll

It was a luxurious meeting of day and night. The sky was clear and blue. Slowly the horizon swallowed the sun. Tangled shadows waltzed in the diminishing light. The temperature; not too hot, not too cold. The Surge and I - armed with my camera - were navigating the streets of downtown Manhattan, headed to the South Street Seaport to see (and more importantly hear!) the New York Dolls (view photos here). On our way, we encountered a New York Doll of our own who treated us to a delicious display.

Just another day in the city, folks.


Musical Medication

I can't sing. At all. I also can't play an instrument. After quitting gymnastics I took piano lessons for, like, three whole weeks before deciding I was going to learn to play the guitar instead. Never did learn to play the guitar. I think a brief stint snowboarding caught my attention shortly thereafter. Perhaps that's why musicians fascinate me. I am in awe of anyone that can create a tune that dances in my head long after the music stops. Not only the tune, but someone who can link words together. Like threading popcorn onto a string destined for Christmas tree stardom. Word after word... link 'em all together, hang that string on the tune and you've got yourself a song.

The Surge has arrived home from Nashville with a whole slew of songs. I heard the musical skeletons of some of them a while ago.. The skeletons have done gone and grown tendons, ligaments, flesh and blood. They are living, breathing songs! It's so exciting to hear the progression. Words on lined notebook paper, chords plucked on a guitar.. then he goes away, sometimes ironically to a studio called "The Magic Shop" and ABRACADABRA! He returns with these songs. Stories from his life. From my life, your life, from everyone's life.

There is nothing better than hearing a new song you love. It's a best friend that understands you. The song gets it. It knows how you're feeling. I'm the kind of girl who plays the same song over and over and over again. Musical medication. Not only does music medicate, it inspires, causes introspection, reflection.. A song can take you back to your youth like no picture can. It can bring a person from the past, gone fuzzy 'round the edges with the passage of time, into sharp focus. Suddenly you remember. Ever been drunk in a bar when a particular song leaps out of the jukebox and slaps you in the face? Suddenly, you're standing out in the frigid winter night, finger jammed in one ear, cell phone in the other as you drunk dial the person with whom you shared that song? Yes. You have.

I'm continually amazed by these two brothers from a working class Pennsylvania town. The boys who dressed like the guys from Kiss, substituting ketchup for blood, boys who taught themselves to play the guitar, boys who played in a garage band with their high school buddies for years before starting their own band. The brothers who, despite fights, distance, crazy girlfriends and poverty managed to stick with each other for a decade - through circumstances that would have driven anybody else insane. And here they are... still playing. Still touring. For one reason... because they love it. The music.

During the long distance portion of our courtship, The Surge asked me what album he could buy that would best reflect me, my personality. He wanted to listen to the album and learn more about me through the songs he knew I loved. Under my instruction he promptly bought Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. That album was me. It was my summer of 2004. I listened to it so much, so hard that I had to go buy another copy.

I asked The Surge which album I should buy that best reflects him. (if you, gentle reader, fell in love tomorrow, which album would you tell someone to buy that best reflects you?) And so, one hot Sunday in August Max and I drove into the Utah mountains listening to Springsteen's Darkness On The Edge of Town. I listened hard. And I understood. Fell deeper in love. We had conversations through the music we loved, my husband and I. Had he told me to go buy Nickelback or Matchbox 20 and said "this is me" I don't know that I'd have married him.

The Surge grew up listening to Springsteen. Probably dreamed of being Springsteen. I think Springsteen has a lot to do with why The Surge is such a great songwriter. Someone posted this video on the Marah message board. Although I've heard stories, I've never seen the video. Imagine growing up to play on stage with your idol. S'like Mark Twain getting a kick outta me and inviting me to read one of my chapters at a book signing of his at Barnes & Noble... which would never happen for a million and one reasons, not the least of which is the fact he's dead and Twain probably wouldn't be a Barnes & Noble kinda guy. Regardless, I love this video.


Summer Song

Every summer I develop a routine. Like every summer there is a song.. The song you know all the words to whether you want to or not. The ditty you hear on every radio staion when you're desperately spinning the dial in search of something else, the tune you hear floating from car windows, carried aloft by imperceptible breezes, the melody that flutters inside your head long after the car disappeared around the corner. The words you find yourself singing despite yourself. My routine is like that. It's a mood, a vibe, the way I'll look back and remember that particular summer.

When I think of the summer of 2005 sweltering subway platforms come to mind. Toe tapping, sweat sliding, slyly observing fellow commuters from under lowered lids, iced coffee anticipation and the icy gust of air that would joyfully molest me when I took my turn whirling through the revolving door at WABC.

My routine this summer is a much quieter, more solitary affair. With The Surge away in Nashville recording his next album, Max and I have solidified our routine, slipping into step, skipping down littered Brooklyn sidewalks to the beat of our own drum and the jackhammer that always seems to be assaulting cement somewhere nearby.

Every morning when I wake up, I feel him radiating warmth into some part of my body. Sometimes it's just my foot, other times he's curled into my side. One time I awoke holding his paw. I'll open my eyes with a smile because I know he senses I am awake, is just waiting, waiting, waiting. The moment he sees me see him he squiggles and squirms his way to me.. It's his signal, he's reading for morning rubs.

After "rubs" I perform my daily ablutions, which I'm sorry to say are sorely lacking.. A splash of water, a quick but vigorous teeth brushing all under the watchful eyes of Max. And then. When I slide my feet into my flip-flops he knows: Game On.

The joy is first evident in his tail. It trembles with excitement and soon, his back end is waving to and fro in the simple glory of it all. Morning walk! His claws tap out a staccato rhythm on the kitchen tiles as he dances his We're-Going-For-A-Walk jig. When I reach for the leash, like a typically horny guy failing at prolonging his orgasm, Max can contain himself no longer. Oh the joy! The rapture! He jumps up and places his paws on my shoulders, licking madly, jubilantly acknowledging his love for me and his ecstasy over the walk we are about to take.

We leash up and he walks me to the East River. The greenish gray mass flows a mere three blocks from the front door of my apartment and we are there in no time. We hopscotch across earth, moss and rubble until together we are standing on the last rock before stone gives way to water.

We stand, letting the waves splash over our respective toes and paws, observing the goings on.. the tourist ferries rumbling by, solitary planes droning far above, birds dive bombing the water in the distance. New York is waking up.

Our eyes trace the Manhattan skyline.. There, way down to the left is the Brooklyn Bridge and the cluster of skyscrapers in which ridiculously large sums of the world's money is traded by the second. There is the red Williamsburg Bridge and then the riot of city stalls a bit until Midtown. We think of Times Square in all it's frenzied fuss, stark contrast to our peaceful existence here on the edge of the world's most famous burrough. We take in the Chrysler building which signals the beginning of Uptown, buildings looming protectively around Central Park. Finally, we observe one of the city's main arteries, the Queensboro bridge, nearly pulsating with it's lifeblood of traffic way off to our right. It is time.

Max looks at me for the signal and I give him the nod.
"Okay buddy.. Go on."

Without hesitation he leaps into the river and begins his laps. They consist of swimming around the rock on which I stand. I'm told the current is swift and so I keep him leashed. He splashes and flaps, giant tail churning like a propeller. He tries for ducks out in the middle of the river, but because of the leash ends up dog paddling in place. But he doesn't mind. He's swimming! Oh, the glory of being a dog.

And then he tires, lumbers out and gives a mighty shake, spraying me with water, river debris and slobber.

We bid farewell to the skyline, turn our backs to the river and begin the walk home. That is our morning. That is this summer's song, routine, vibe. When I'm old and dear Max is but a whisper in my head I'll remember these days and all their perfect imperfections. The sky, the egotistical Manhattan skyline, the confident East River.. even the jackhammer.. It's the bass to this summer's song.