Natalya is gone…again.*

N flew** in from her 11 day trip to Oregon where she had spent her third year at camp followed by a camping trip with a group of families (who are our family) on the coast for the weekend into the 4th. I picked her up at the airport, stayed the night at the in-laws (who stayed up to wash her two sets of camp clothes), and then took to the road southerly for a 5-hour** road trip for her last trip this summer: 2 1/2 weeks with the others. After dropping the daughter off, I turned round and headed back for a long lonely wearisome drive.

The road trip would have been a lovely time to exercise my new found habit of listening to audio-books, but it is a new enough thing for me that I forgot to check one or three out. Instead, I had the company of the same discs that have lived in the car for the last year or more. (I broke our iPod connector early on.)

Sean and I dated long distance. I would get 4 day weekends at work (thank you ladies) and drive 12 hours to ABQ when it wasn’t winter. Oh the books I would have read if I’d used audio-books. Instead Sean wooed me through the mixed-cds he made me. (yes, they were that good.)

When we were married a year and I was stuck (for a brief time) in ABQ and Sean moved up to Bozeman for work, I would make the endless drive north for long weekends, again. By then I knew what to play at 5 in the morning (Green Day American Idiot) and what worked best for city driving (Juno Reactor or Prodigy) and that mid-afternoon slump (Slobberbone, Old 97s, Cake, Pete Yorn, or those good ol’ mixed cds).

Driving home the other day, I found I didn’t regret the necessity of listening through complete albums and singing maniacally at the top of my lungs, just letting the tears fall during the emotional parts, harmonizing at will… The cds Sean made will have to return to the car, I missed them. But I did have my Perfect Circle, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol, Belly…and N’s mix we made for her when she turned 8. Will have to burn her 10th year compilation, too, now I think about it, now that I am listening to it, the ‘b-side’ was good.*** And maybe some Guster, I could sing the Keep It Together album quite energetically while winding through the passes (at a respectable speed and pitch)—“Careful” anyone?! Hmm, and maybe Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” for the straightaways with my Lover in the car with me this time…

May need to forget the audio-book on the return trip to get my baby girl again—the day before she turns 11! Maybe another compilation to celebrate– and wile away those long hours? again.


*Recalling, too, her 12 day trip to Berlin, Germany for an exchange program early June.

**I really should sit down and catalog the number of flights she’s taken in her young life so far.

***part 1 were female singers, part 2 male (mostly). Part 2: Stare at the Sun by Thrice; Closer by Kings of Leon; Bullet with Butterfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins; Call to Arms by Angels & Airwaves; Basket Case by Green Day; The Middle by Jimmy Eat World; The Love Cats by The Cure (one of her faves); Make you Smile by +44; Staring at the Sun by TV on the Radio; Obstacle 1 by Interpol; Where is My Mind by The Pixies (still trying to win her over to this band <sniffle>); and Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley.

above photograph by friend Ryan Shelburne. I call it “oregon” and it makes me homesick.

7 thoughts on “again

  1. Ah, mix cd’s. Of course when I was young they were mix-tapes. You see, they had these things called cassettes…..

    *comes back from an age-induced nostalgia trip* Anyway, I remember making these for my then fiance and her making them for me. We were going through stuff and found them the other day and were both sad that we didn’t have a working cassette player in the house so that we could take a trip back in time.

    I do love audio books for long drives although I don’t always remember them either. When we take planned trips we try to find something on audio that is either short enough that we know we can finish it on the trip without having to forgo all conversation to do so, or we get a short story collection. Most trips lately involve short story audio versions of Poirot or some other Agatha Christie characters. Always a good time.

    Your daughter is quite the jet-setter this summer! Wow! Hope she continues to have a wonderful and adventurous summer.

  2. yes, I do recall cassette tapes…and finding easily accessible working players for those things is becoming more and more difficult..which is too bad because they do make for some wonderful trips down memory lane. There is a part in Ramona and Beezus (the film) where Hobart and Bea are in his old truck and a mixed-tape he’d made her drops from where it was tucked in the sun visor and she pops in the tape and (I think it was) a cyndi lauper song came on… it was a fantastic moment in the film that only the 30+ crowd could understand and there were the sounds of deep sighs and belly laughter around the theater.

    I like the discussion in High Fidelity on the creation of mixed tapes (playlists, I guess is the contemporary term) and the characters creation of lists in general.

    we like to do compilations for N to share sentiments some of the time, but also to expose her to different musicians and sounds; both sean and I lobbying for her to like our favorites.

    short stories do seem like a wise choice for audio, less concern about getting through them. I will have to remember this, thanks!

    1. That was a great moment in a very sweet film. All three of us liked that film a great deal for many reasons. I was particularly drawn to it because


      of the dad being forced by circumstances to embrace his talents


      My street cred is about to take a dive here, where I admit that despite loving John Cusak, I have not seen High Fidelity nor have I read the book. I know, I know.

      It is great that you do mixes for your daughter. Very cool. Throughout my daughters formative years (and even now) I have been active in exposing her to all kinds of music. It is the one area where I have maintained the ‘cool dad’ image. I often discover music before she does that she ends up really loving.

      I haven’t made a mix cd for my wife in forever but lately I have been making her YouTube mixes because she does step aerobics in the mornings and likes to watch something that keeps her mind occupied on something besides how non-fun exercise can be. 🙂
      I generally name them something goofy and find an entertaining mix of music videos to build into the list. Its been fun!

      1. i have yet to read High Fidelity (Sean loves Hornby’s books) but have seen the film a likely embarrassing number of times. i do recommend at least one viewing…

        we were better about finding new things when we listened to the radio (though not even, all that much then with the habits of radio play) but Pandora has helped some, and we try to keep up with the friends who mind their local music scene or prove eclectic and well connected…

        I do like the YouTube mix idea.

        1. I keep forgetting about Pandora. My daughter pulls it up on occasion on my computer but I never remember to do so myself.

          Hornby’s 3 collections of his essays from Believer Magazine are must reads, in my opinion.

          I really enjoyed his YA book, Slam (although it also gave me chills, having a teenage daughter). Thought Juliet, Naked was brilliant right up to the end and then felt he messed it up with too ‘meh’ of an ending.

          I’ve read part of his book Fever Pitch and liked it despite not being a big soccer fan myself.

  3. N is off again; wow! I wish I had her traveling life. Very fantastic. I am most impressed with you taking that drive all by yourself, but then again, you are seasoned with driving distances. Me, I would inevitably get lost. Thank God for GPS. whew!

    Mixed cds; how cool that Sean would do that for you. It is a lost art, I do believe. Making someone a playlist just does not seem quite as romantic; know what I mean.

    Audiobooks are great for when driving, but they cannot replace the feeling that music gives! I don’t know about short stories on audio, but then again, I am not a big fan of SS. You are though, so it may work well.

    High Fidelity; read the book and really liked it. I liked the feeling of it all, and the music obsession was intriguing. That is the only Hornby book that I have read. I like John Cusack so I watch his films; High Fidelity movie was good, but the book is far better.

    Oops, gotta run. work is wanting me to punch in on time. 😉
    Before I go, I like Snow Patrol and Chasing Cars is a good song.

  4. the only Hornby I’ve yet read was his Polysyllabic Spree and Shakespeare Wrote for Money (from the Believer)…I need to own these just for the pick-me-up factor, he made me laugh and love to read…

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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