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Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Babies On The Brain

Lookit the tiny toes and the little fingers, that teensy bony backside and the rosebud lippy lips.. oh dear God.

I've just received an email from a friend of mine. A great girl. The kind of gal you fall in love with immediately. A fantastic, sassy woman who regularly (I think) reads this blog. She has a newborn baby boy... well, he's a couple months old now. Apparently my friend was shopping at the mall with her husband and baby this past weekend when the little guy had a severe seizure.

"His eyes rolled into the back of his head, he stiffened, turned blue and stopped breathing entirely. By the grace of God an anesthesiologist was close by. He performed CPR and brought him back. When the paramedics arrived he started convulsions and we've been in the hospital since."

While reading this I felt as if I was going to upchuck. My heart took an express elevator up my throat and I feared my morning oatmeal was not far behind. I can imagine no worse nightmare than the moments my girlfriend spent when her baby stopped breathing and turned blue. I can conceive of nothing more horrifying than standing by helplessly while my child stopped breathing.

Except one thing; a childhood friend - well, he was more a friend of a friend, really - but a few years back he and his wife bought a new house. They spent the day moving their belongings from the old home to the new. My friend, we'll call him Jason, was backing down the driveway with the last load of furnishings and accidentally ran over his toddler who was instantly killed.

I would suppose that Jason's life, for all intents and purposes, ended that day with his child's. I've heard no updates on how he's doing and although it was a devastating accident I can't imagine him not feeling responsible. I'm sure he thinks about it every minute of his life. The sorrow is unbearable to contemplate let alone carry through life. Incidents like this reinforce my terror at actually being responsible for another human life.

The older I become the more I have the inclination to actually assess the immense responsibility having children entails and my resulting calculations fuh-REAK me out. I can imagine nothing greater than shaping a young person into an amazing human being but sweet Jesus the responsibility seems overwhelming.. what if I fall into a depression when my child is old enough to wonder why Mom is sleeping or crying all the time? My depression guilt staggers me when just The Surge is around. Jesus, I feel bad for even Max when I'm in a slump. Guilty that the walk wasn't long enough, that I didn't play tug-of-war for the required twenty minutes, that my fetch skills lacked flair. I often imagine Max's disappointment that I'm such a shitty owner. Can you imagine the guilt complex with a child? And the constant worrying.. Is he breathing? Is she okay? Does she seem sick? Do you think he's deaf? Is she acting strange? Maybe he's blind? And that's just the first few years. What about when they're off driving around town, indulging in all the illegal activity that I committed at that age. Good God! I'll never get a moment's peace again. I must say though, to be able to focus on something, someone other than myself and my endless self analyzations will be a blessed relief.

The Surge is nearly 35 and I'll be 30 next March so of course I have babies on the brain. Especially with my Mormon heritage shadowing me down the sidewalk, tapping me on the shoulder and pointing out every adorable youngster within sight. Holy Joseph Smith! We're nearly grandparent age by Brother Joe's standards.

The good news is that my girlfriend's son is doing well. He had a repeat episode Sunday morning and the doctors have diagnosed him as an epileptic. While his prognosis is good and while being assured that seizures are both treatable and often non-detectable with the help of medicine and time, my friend says that, of course, the incident has shaken her family to the core and left them reeling with shock. About her son she says "he of course is in great spirits when he's awake which has helped us get through this with our sanity. He teaches us a lesson with each passing day and he has changed our lives and made us better people."

And that, I suppose, is what will make all the heartache worthwhile

How Do You Afford Your Rock'n'Roll Lifestyle?

You don't. That's how. You give it your heart and The Rock eats it, spits it out and laughs in your face. Unless you're in the lucky top one percent who "make it". Me? I've missed the boat. The rock'n'roll boat. It left the dock about ten years ago methinks. I shoulda been a rock chick. GodDAMN but I shoulda been a rock chick! I shoulda learned to really LISTEN to music before it was too late. I shoulda channeled my anger/frustration/passion into music. Because music moves me. More than most anything else besides books, music moves me. Not shit music. Not music that makes me tap my toe - because the fucking television jingle to order a mattress makes me tap my toe and wag my head stupidly. I'm talking about the kind of music that gloms onto you like a leech. It traps you in it's melodic web, rips your chest open, holds your heart aloft and howls like a banshee as you shed tears of pain, of joy.

What is it about the rock that makes us roll? It's the soundtrack to our lives, that's what. Take a shite romantic comedy, add a killer soundtrack and you just might have a hit on your hands.. It ain't about the picture.. it's about the way the music makes us feel about life and ourselves while viewing the picture. Music is mood, ambience, adrenaline, personality... LIFE.

There was a time when I'd stand before the mirror, hair shellacked into a glorious poof of bang and beautiful wings around my ears, blue eye shadow blazing in the afternoon sunlight, hair brush in lieu of microphone clutched in my hand as I belted out "We built this city.... We built this city on ROCK AND ROLL!" Which incidentally was voted the the WORST single ever recorded placing before Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby even. Regardless, I rocked the shit outta Starship in my yellow and white checked bedroom while Sasha the dog cringed in fear. If M-TV could only see me, I'd think.

I was too young for Pat Benatar and Joan Jett. I started to care about music while wearing plaid flannel shirts to school so you can imagine my favorite bands. Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Chick rockers? Didn't know any. And then there was Gwen. No Doubt exploded and I wanted to be Gwen Stefani. I wanted to walk in the spiderwebs dammit! But I sighed, applied for colleges like all the other good girls and satisfied myself with bleaching my hair platinum. Then promptly forgot about my rock'n'roll aspirations. Besides, I can't sing for shit. That doesn't stop a lot of folks I know, but still.. my rock dreams died along with my good taste and I began to listen to Coldplay, Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews. Until a good friend of mine gave me a talking to. What? There is cool music out there that's not on the radio? Wilco? Who? Is there a sexy lead singer? Do they have a video on M-TV, I wanted to know.

After he slapped me my friend sat me down and made me listen to Wilco, Son Volt, The Replacements and so forth. The only reason he agreed to continue communicating with me was my immense love for the oldies and the sorta oldies... The Temptations, The Supremes, Elvis, Lou Reed, The Ramones. He nearly ended the friendship when he found a Missy Elliot album in my collection. But this musical revelation occurred in my mid-twenties. I'd already blown all my chances at rock chick stardom, was deeply entrenched in my journalism career.

I've come to terms with my fringe rock'n'roll status. Whenever someone can play a tune on a guitar that I can recognize, I am thrilled to the gills. "You can play Stairway To Heaven!" I grin. Doesn't matter what song they play. Zeppelin or Britney Spears... I'm just ecstatic they can bring a familiar ditty to life with their very own magical hands.

The Surge tried to teach me how to play the guitar once. I was super dedicated! "I'm going to be playing shit before you know it!" I boldly announced. Five minutes later I declared the lesson over. Who knew those tiny fucking strings were so hard to manipulate? Strong bastards.

So I'm resigned to audience participation when it comes to rock'n'roll. The Surge... he lives to play music. Most of the world - well, they laud lawyers, doctors, bankers. I say that's a safe bet. A safe career choice. Sure, it ain't easy. But it's a safe choice, THE thing to say when you wanna impress Grandma. "I'm in Med School." You know what takes watermelon sized balls? To throw everything into being a musician when you know your shit ain't got a chance in hell at mainstream success. To eschew all the safe bet careers and doggedly tour the world playing music to medium-sized crowds because you Must. Play. Music.

Sometimes The Surge bitches, says he can't take another tour, wants to kill his brother. But really he loves it - the touring, his brother. He wouldn't be who he is without one or the other. He was born to stand on a stage and play music in front of a crowd. I was born to stand in the audience. And I'm cool with that. We wouldn't work as well as we do if it were any other way.


City Of Dreams

Editing has always been a major part of the news industry. I've known how to edit for quite some time. What with editing video featuring fires, traffic accidents and dead people, I never really took a shine to the task.

Recently I've been exploring editing software and man, I am in love. I'll start editing some video I've taken, I look up what seems like minutes later and four hours have flown by. So you'll have to excuse me for posting this latest barrage of videos. I won't do it all the time. Maybe every Saturday. Yeah.. Something like that. And hopefully they'll get better.

Yesterday I worked on this video I made with one of The Surge's songs off his recent album. The song City of Dreams has always felt personal to me. I heard it right after I moved to NYC and I remember exploring the storied streets of Manhattan singing City of Dreams to myself. Check it out..


I'm A Million Different People From One Day To The Next...

Inexplicably, today I found myself walking down the sidewalk with a bounce in my step. And smiling! FOR NO OBVIOUS REASON. I know, what an asshole.

I've been on The Zoloft for nearly three weeks now. I've noticed a difference. With no side effects. Imagine that! NO side effects. Except one. And you aren't going to fucking believe it. You will hate me. I hate me. The only noticeable side effect is no appetite. Seriously! I have no appetite. Like, even nachos don't sound good. What the fuck! I've hit depression jackpot! The Zoloft makes me not feel like eating! Which is huuuuge!

My whole life I've eaten waaaay too much at every meal. Grandpa used to ask if I had "hollow legs" in an effort to understand where my 5'4 body fit all the shit I packed into it. As it turns out, right around the age of 26 I discovered two things; my legs aren't hollow and my ass was fat.

So. In summary. I'm walking down the sidewalk with a bounce in my step, smiling for no apparent reason, and The Zoloft makes me skinny. Sweet! Aside from the glorious side effect, I've noticed a big difference in my outlook. I no longer feel like hanging onto the floor for dear life about five times a day as I sob and snot into the hardwoods. Nope. None of that. And I don't cry when I wake up. If I had an appetite I'd eat nachos for breakfast in triumphant celebration.

Polka Dots And Moonbeams

In which I send my bedmate a love video: