I look around my house and feel nothing but anger at being cheated out of enjoying a rare snowstorm, and at the fact that the Texas government would prefer that people freeze rather than lose a penny. I feel like I’ve betrayed my dogs by allowing them to suffer, to be confused by being moved away and then home, and by not behaving in ways they expect. My house is no longer a haven, but a prison I can’t escape.
#Audio. #Essay My mother’s button box was a tin full of treasures and memories.
My mother’s sewing desk, when I was young, was a lovely wooden piece, with a central opening that hid her black, metal, Singer sewing machine from view when not in use. It was often in a window, sun-warmed, it’s French-inspired claw feet darkened from age, but still beautiful. When the sewing machine was stowed, it was a writing desk, but somehow the wood had absorbed the special scent of pins (really machine oil, I’m told). Being near it was like breathing in the essence of my mother’s soul.
The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app and Audacity.
Bathtub Mermaid album art was created by Rebecca Moran of Moran Media
Music used for the opening and closing is a mix of Chris Zabriskie’s “The Oceans Continue to Rise” from the Free Music Archive and Kevoy’s clip of whales off the coast of French Polynesia from Freesound.
Chris Zabriskie’s song is also used under some readings.
Sunday Brunch column for Modern Creative Life. An essay on the flames we light in winter.
And yet, these winter holidays all have something in common as well – aside from the tendency to celebrate with incredibly delicious, albeit unhealthy foods. They all bring light to the longest nights of the year.
Rather, I’m a backyard bird-watcher. I enjoy following the antics of the bully Blue Jay who drives the starlings and finches out of the trees, only for them to settle right back in. Winter comes with doves, one of whom insists that the birdfeeder is really her nest. She never stays in it for long, though. In spring and summer, we have robins and hummingbirds who buzz our windows and skim low over the puppy pool, stealing sips of water, or using it as a bath. (We don’t chlorinate the puppy pool.)
This week’s Sunday Brunch column – thoughts on Community.
As is the nature of living organisms, Communities ebb and flow. Sometimes you’ll have intense relationships with only a few members of a community and more casual ones with the rest. Sometimes you’ll feel like there are people who don’t ‘get’ you, or you don’t really understand. I’ve come to learn that this is normal. It’s not bad or wrong, it’s just life.
In which the Bathtub Mermaid talks about Star Trek‘s enduring message of hope.
And now it’s 2016, and every social, every cultural step we’ve moved forward seems, at times, to be counter-balanced by a step back. Darkness encroaches upon our lives through politics, through economics, and through civil unrest. Our media – especially our fiction – is filled with heroes and villains who seem to be locked in never-ending battles or filled with zombies, vampires and demons.
Don’t get me wrong; I love fictional horror as much as anyone, but when the darkness, both real and fictional, gets too intense, Star Trek is my safe space (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this). Sure, I’ve seen every episode at least twice at this point, but every time, I find some new nuance in a performance, some new detail in the script, that adds depth.
If macaroni and cheese is comfort food, Star Trek is comfort-viewing, as much because of the familiarity I have with it as because of that message of hope.
In which the Bathtub Mermaid compares her marriage to the relationship between a kite and string.
If there are times when his somewhat introverted, often pedantic, stoic, engineer self makes me feel like I’m actually married to the android Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, I’m certain that my tendency to bounce from topic to topic, change my accent on a whim, and wander around the house talking to myself as I work out lines of dialogue for an audio drama I’m in, or a story I’m writing, makes him feel like he’s married to Sibyl.
With the flip of a calendar page (or a swipe of finger on a smartphone) July is gone for another year, and it is August, my month. The first summer month when, even though the sun is still reluctant to set, the days are discernably shorter, and the nights incrementally longer.
I’ve always been attuned to the night. While some people are morning people, happy and chirpy at first light, the only time I typically see dawn is when I haven’t yet been to bed. I have never been afraid of darkness; rather I crave it.
I come by it naturally.
The night before I was born, there was a full moon and an eclipse. If that doesn’t lock you into a special relationship with nighttime, I don’t know what does. (Recently, I asked my mother if she remembered any of that, and she reminded me that she’d been a little preoccupied with being in labor.)
I also had childhood adventures with Merrell. He taught me how to bait a hook, one year, when he and my grandfather took my cousin and me fishing off the fisherman’s pier. He had a voice thick with fallen dreams and made for telling stories, and I’m sad that I never knew him as an adult, that he was, at the time he died, little more than a name to me. But I was named for him (he called from where he was AWOL in Canada to instruct my mother not to give me HIS name, as he felt it was cursed, so she used the first letter instead), and I suppose I’ve always felt it was a sort of bond between us. And he loved tinsel. He loved tinsel so much that when my mother and her siblings were growing up, putting the tinsel on the tree was his special job, just as in my house, it was mine.
The Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock iPad app.
Music for The Bathtub Mermaid is provided by Mevio’s Music Alley, a great resource for podsafe music. The standard opening song is “Soap in a Bathtub,” by Stoney. The standard closing song is “You Can Use My Bathtub, by Little Thom. Additional music used for the Holidailies project is “A Podcast Christmas Theme” by Tom Shad, and “Village Song” composed by David Popper and performed by Cello Journey.
But daily blogging, in many ways, was my version of skating school figures. They’re not particularly pretty to the uninformed, but they teach discipline, help you hone technique, give you stamina…and sometimes you do something when practicing a basic figure that informs or inspires a larger piece – leads you to your long program.
The Bathtub Mermaid, Tales from the Tub is written and produced by Melissa A. Bartell, and is recorded and produced using the BossJock
Music for The Bathtub Mermaid is provided by Mevio’s Music Alley, a great resource for podsafe music. The opening song is “Soap in a Bathtub,” by Stoney. The closing song is “You Can Use My Bathtub, by Little Thom.
Questions or comments? Use the comment form at the bottom of each entry. You can also follow me on twitter: @Melysse