Memories


Fifteen years.

So much has happened since our lives began together. I have collected boxes of our own historical ephemera: concert stubs, movie tickets, fortune cookie aphorisms, and several scrapbooks. There are thousands of photographs on my hard drive and countless mentions on various social media platforms. We’ve attended funerals and had the honour of witnessing the little folk in our lives mature. We’ve changed so much and yet remained the same.

Throughout it all, you’ve been there for me. We have been there for each other.  You know when to give me space and when to smother me with hugs. You have made me laugh more than you have made me cry. You have fabricated worlds for me to frolic and spun stories that left me (and our friends) rapt. You can make me feel better even when I desperately want to simmer in my sulk and you posses this (irritatingly) uncanny way to see through my bullshit, even when I think I’m being slick.

Our conversations have seen sunrises and sunsets, sometimes in the same day. We have lost track of time on road trips to nowhere particular and everywhere special. You are my DJ, my navi, my companion, my love, and above all, my best friend. Not a day passes when I don’t pause to give thanks for all the privileges we enjoy.

I love you, Andy, and I’m looking forward to fifteen more years of conversation and more.

(I hope these words illuminate a fraction of my feels because I loves you, like a LOT.)

Image credits: Wow, Robin Hood, and mix tape.

so I decided to call this blog by this title because as we were driving home, I saw a pair of the RHPS lips on the back of someone’s car … as I go on, you’ll get the ha-ha there.

GC and I have been less than kind on our bodies since leaving AZ – moving boxes here and there, lifting heavy-as-fuck IKEA shelving, futzing here and there around the home – all in our attempt to prettify our house. Add some stress of an ailing grandfather moving in with my mum back in Texas, the fact that I’m looking down the barrel of a REALLY big-ass IRS payment from my soon-to-be-fired accountant snafu, and the lovely mva vs. fencing (to be written about in the next blog, which will be chock full o’ picturesque goodness) … and you have one grouchy GCG which in turn makes for a less than slap-happy GC.

I decided to book us massages today. I did loads of research into different spas and such around the area before settling on this place. I can fully appreciate full service spas and the decadent fun of being steamed and exfoliated and buffed and shined to a high pro glow, but I was just looking for a reputable place to get tweaked and realigned and thankfully so, I found it!

We splurged on the longest sessions available and after completing a health questionnaire, were ushered quietly into different rooms with our respective masseurs and tally-ho! Let the relaxation and rubbins* begin 🙂

Chris was to be mine and GC got George. I could have specified female but considering it was last minute, it was easiest to say we had no preference. And I really don’t have one as long as the RMT is capable and strong-handed. And with a scene change, I was there on the table, sheeted and blanketed as I lay on my belly. I was comfortable under my covers in my one article of clothing away from being au naturel. I focused on listening to the sounds of the room – the cello music playing softly in the corner, the trickle of water from a tabletop fountain, the muffled sounds of urban street activity, and the soothing voice of my masseur as he bade me to breathe deeply before he began.

A few deep breaths as my face rested in the terry-clothed doughnut of the table. I just let it go – thoughts of unpacking, the IRS, the anything and everything and I let the moment take over and I inhaled deeply through my nose, exhaling slowly through my mouth to get those goodly oxygenated ones going and also trying not to hear Kate Bush in my head singing. By the time I had exhaled my last deep breath, he began.

First the covers were gently drawn down, blanket first and then the sheet – not fast nor rough, preserving the modesty afforded to clients in this vulnerable position. My eyes were closed so I was allowing my tactile sense take over, enjoying the cotton of the sheet pull across my shoulders and small of my back. I heard his hands rub together with the oil and soon I knew that my muscles would be kneaded for the next ninety minutes. I smiled into my white doughnut and he began.

Thumbs into flesh, palms kneading, forearms running the length of my spine, shiatsu technique blending into deep tissue work … fingertips finding knots of tension and working them through into that fine line of pain that slips effortlessly into pleasure once you allow the pain to leave. The increasing heat of hands mixing with the blood rising to the upper most of my skin, the largest and soon-to-be-happiest organ in the human body. I found myself listening to the music more as he kneaded and manipulated me into a happy ball of relaxed dough. I imagined the bow drawing across the strings, the rhythm of movement making such heart-aching music and how the tones make me feel relaxed when I stop to listen. I’ve always been a sucker for strings, especially the soundtrack for a breathtakingly beautiful film.

I fell asleep for a few moments on the table, before I was awakened softly to flip over. I felt like I had fallen asleep in the sun – warm and languorous, not capable of quick movement. My eyes closed as my right foot experienced the joy of squeezing and human touch. As the catnap drifted away from my consciousness, it dawned on me that this was the first time in nearly seven years that another man touched my feet, much less the small of my back, a thigh or hell, even the rest of me!

It gave me a comfort to know that I’d been with someone for that long, longer than anyone I’ve ever relationshipped with and I smiled. Chris saw my smile and asked, “How I was doing?” Knowing it would take far too long to try to explain something whose relevance was important only to me, I nodded and gave the international thumbs up signal.

My time was soon up. I got dressed and met GC out in the lobby where a cool glass of water and a nice square of organic mint dark chocolate was waiting for me. I was light-headed but calm, and it felt like walking through water … warm, enveloping water. Sounds felt muffled and ambulating to the car felt heavenly. We waited for a while before heading out into traffic and the grocery store. I don’t know what I wanted to say in this blog. I seemed to have gone all over the page here. I know that I feel like a freshly baked and glazed pastry and the moment I feel the tension creeping back, away we go to get another massage!

Oh yeah, and this sign is at our local coffeehouse. It made me chuckle when I saw it.

Seeya on the flip side 😉
– RelaxedGermanCityGirl

*rubbins – chiefly slang in the GermanCity household, used to mean massage or rubbing. Example – I am sore and would love some rubbins. Or, Nubbin loves da rubbins. The latter being a popular one in the house to say aloud.

Currently listening to: Tous Les Matins Du Monde (Bande Originale du Film) Soundtrack Import.

Meal: Late lunch at Duke’s on Green Lake. We split a blackened salmon Caesar salad followed by a lovely macadamia crusted halibut served with rice + grilled vegetables. Yum

I’m sitting here finishing the mix on a pair of discs for a new friend we’re meeting tomorrow for lunch at a new place that we’ll prolly love. Naturally it makes the most sense we’d find places we love as we’re readying ourselves to leave! It strikes me how much I miss making mix tapes for people, way back in the day before there were CD burners.

The ritual of the mix tape. Sitting in front of my music shelves, I began to select songs that I thought the intended recipient might enjoy or had requested. I’d take a few requests but if someone asked me for more than 5 songs, I usually told them to come over and make it themselves because it wasn’t an OpusMix – I was kinda particular about my mixes. When I was done with the initial selection process, there sat a pile of teetering discs stacked beside me on the carpet or the armful of vinyl propped against a leg of the piano bench that served as my makeshift table.

I’d light an American Spirit and donned on my headphones, trying to decide which song sounded better melding into the next. Once I had selected more songs than I needed, it was time for more organisation. I needed to be sure track times all fit together and there would be no awkward pauses or abrupt endings to a song. My notebook scrawled with song title, artist, and track length … and many many scratch outs and arrows indicating track 4 should go here instead of here.

Once I had it – the mix, I’d file away all the discs that I did not need, and get to recording. After ensuring all the songs had made it, I’d break off those two plastic tabs on top to make it my creation that no one could record over unless they stuck some Scotch tape over the holes. There was the creation of the liner notes: some more detailed than others for friends that wanted the release date or chronology of the album in the specific artist’s oeuvre. After handwriting them all painstakingly down with a fine-tipped Pilot rollerball, I’d make the artwork from torn pages of magazine ads and cutout lettering. Each cover specific to the mix and person involved, never the same cover twice.

A friend of mine told me once she brought two of my mix tapes to a party she attended and by the end of the night, someone had absconded with them. I remade those tapes for her but the covers were different. This was the only time I ever duplicated a tape’s music list. GC and I made tapes for each other during our courtship. It made me so happy to get that padded mailer in the postbox that I simply knew held something he made just for me.

My whole convoluted soup of memories brings me to this moment, making mix CDs (née tapes) for new friends so I can expose them to new music and get them hooked on this band or that singer. And as I go through the process of choosing what song makes the cut or not, I’m listening to the final track on the live CDs sold after the DCD 2005 tour. One song in particular, “Hymn for the Fallen” is playing in my headphones sweetly in my ears …

I heard this song for the first time with GC and 17,000 other people at the sold-out Hollywood Bowl performance in September of 2005. The crowd was moving slowly to exit the Bowl when Lisa returned to the stage alone to sang that song.

The song I hear now.

The white noise of the exiting crowd was halted nearly immediately and it was eerily silent for that many people. Ears straining to hear every word of this beautiful song. An entire venue brought to reverence by her voice.

It’s a memory that will be etched forever in the pantheon of concert memories that I keep tucked away with the Buffy quotes and the prick of my first tattoo and the Latin prayers from school and how to drive Houston side streets and the birthdays of friends long gone. A memory like the one I have coursing through my consciousness now so strong I feel like I nearly cannot breathe. The memory of the way that a father hugs his daughter when it feels like no one can harm you, like no one can break that bond.

It’s been over two years and he’s still with me. I keep him close, never far. I miss you, dad and as schmaltzy as it sounds, I love you.

Thank you DCD for that memory.

Thank you GC for holding me while she sang as tears flowed freely, wrapped in an embrace where I feel the safest since your death.

And thank you Lisa for this song.


“Hymn for the Fallen” by Lisa Gerrard

My attends to you as a mother fears while her children sleep
Now look, see how they’re dreaming
The black reciteries, while the children dream
Don’t go so deep in slumber
Where you’ll shy
Know you’ll wander in sleep
Don’t you fly too far away
Some men die without crying
Suffering so long and alone
Softly, children, dry your eyes
Gently, children, be wise
My attends to you as a mother hears all her children’s fears
So don’t cry, all will wash away when we pray
Soon, soon, soon, soon, soon
So if it’s okay, i’ll wait with you while the sun began to shine
Oh look, your wings are broken
But never a lie was spoken
The murdered thing is love, you see
Drifting on a lake of memory
Now sleep, close your eyes and have no fear
A wide blue sky is very near
Soon, soon, soon, soon, soon
Now sleep, close your eyes and have no fear
A wide blue sky is very near


See you on the flip side, with a decidedly more ebullient entry …
– GermanCityGirl

Listening to: Hymn For The Fallen by DCD, recorded live in Chicago (12 October 2005).

Meal: Probably yakisoba when GC gets back from his bike ride, so undecided as of yet.

We’re back.

I could sit here and enumerate all of the shiny and dull things that happened tonight at the premiere of “Serenity” …

instead as I sit here resting my tired yet smartly elevated feet, I will list random things that I come into focus as I slowly come down from my natural high of being invited to the ball at all … and iffin they are run-on sentences, shoot me later – I’m tired.

– GC thanking Jane Espenson for hours of good telly.

– Getting to hug Ron Glass and thanking him for his work on “Firefly” and “Barney Miller” … hopefully not making as big of a goof as I thought I did ;).

– Seeing how flawlessly pretty Morena Baccarin is in person and hats off to her for walking on those killer stilettos!

– Marveling at Christina Hendrick’s assets, and yes I am secure enough in my sexuality to give her a round of applause for representing for the naturally ample-bosomed women!

– Wishing the autograph hounding Browncoats would just really freaking stop and let the BDHs have their night – side note that I did try to get Adam Baldwin’s autograph in the heat (and I do mean heat) of the moment but he was excusing himself so I never got a chance to ask him for one and had to give Jackie back her Sharpie. In hindsight, I was glad that I did NOT get the chance to ask him because every single BDH was being besieged by people holding DVDs to sign, the companion book, and whatnot … what else?

– Oh yeah! Hanging out with fellow Browncoats and questioning a chocolate fountain with Clay.

– Bending the Whedon’s ear for a few appropriate moments to congratulate him on the film and confessing how many times I had seen the film, prompting Joss to say that he did not even think he had seen it THAT many times and being thanked BY him for Browncoat support.

– The glee on Jen’s face after she had a lengthy talk over ice cream with Jane Espenson about Jane Austen.

– My dear sweet GermanCity pausing on the red carpet to offer his arm to me and walking the red carpet together. And for the record, just how gorram good we both looked – him in his mossy green mod suit and me in my red silk jacket, black satin blouse and palazzo pants … not to mention my matching red and black Chinese take-away carton evening bag that was too kawaii for words.

– Hats off to Jackie, Clay, Stephanie, Jen, Lynn, and Kit for how good they looked – very stylie and proved that Browncoats DO have the wherewithal to dress up for something groovy!

– Kit making it to the BDMP at ALL in L.A. rush hour traffic, props to Ian for maneuvering through it and for wearing a truly stylie jacket to the premiere.

– Seeing Neil Patrick Harris and Amy Acker with their respective partners talking outside and nonchalantly dancing to the DJ’s spun tunes.

– Hard work of Denise, Lynn, Tamara and James to get us into the party at all … thanks guys, you are both in my pantheon of BDHs as well!

– Recognising Badger before the movie started and seeing Liam geek out when meeting him – too cute 🙂

– Having security politely usher us partygoers outside because it was getting late and the party was regrettably over 😦 but then cruising around with GC in the Thunderbird with the top down enjoying the revelry of the night!

– I am going to stop now because it’s nearly 04:00 and well, bed is beckoning me to get all supine and comfy. I will prolly muse more tomorrow, er later today and add anything that comes to me over brunch.

See you on the flip side 😉
– GermanCityGirl

Currently listening: Antics in the Forbidden Zone by Adam & The Ants.

Meal: Random foods at the premiere’s after party, I swiped a menu for a keepsake but I can’t be arsed to get up and transcribe what it listed.

Second row.

Tucked in my leathered aisle seat.

GC to my left, flipping aimlessly through the new SkyMall when it hits me.

Today was two years since his death.

The plane had leveled out and we were flying over darkness, that familiar incline gradually creeping higher and higher into the firmament. Pinpricks of light growing smaller, glittering far below like diamonds on velvet and I started crying.

I was thankful everyone was in their seats and that the cabin lights had been dimmed for take-off.

I could cry in the duskiness and not feel self-conscious with each passing person.

I don’t think about it as much anymore but there are times when the void is so great that it’s overwhelming.

I always think about it, sometimes longer than others but a lot when we travel. I grew up flying with my parents – perks of an airline-employeed mum. There were times when we’d sit two and one or all separately or there were times when we lucked out and got seats together. My mum was the champion of schmoozing the flight crew into bumping us into first class if it was empty – she had, how you say, the mad skills?

To anyone who loves their father as much as I did, it is hard to imagine that it has been two years since I heard his voice – or hugged him. It strikes me when we are in some random city and I am doing postcards for friends and family. I get in the groove of writing them and I catch myself nearly writing his name down on a card that I know he’d like and it hits me all over again.

He was and is my hero. I am so thankful for what he did for me and what he continues to do for me. If these words can transcend the frivolity and fun that fills my day-to-day life …

I miss him and just wanted to let someone know.

See you on the flip side (with a decidedly cheerier posting),
– GermanCityGirl

Currently listening: ( ) by Sigur Rós.

In-flight nosh: Dried apricots, snack mix with sesame sticks, and ginger ale + cranberry over ice.