How Martie Learned To Sing

Recently Woney, Nurse Bananahammock, Squash and I acquired the new Adele CD and since then have spent copious amounts of time learning all lyrics and melodies which we belt out in our respective vehicles. I felt pretty good about my pipes – we all did – because when you listen to the master sing at top volume, you can’t hear your own self warble and screech.  It wasn’t until we heard ourselves sing happy birthday in a recording that we realized that simply being very emotional about lyrics and melodies does not equal actual singing talent.

Squash messaged us about this right after we all spent a birthday weekend together at Martie’s house. Martie entertained us with her guitar and her pipes, neither of which can be classified as a warble or screech, and Squash wanted to know how to get there herself.

“Does Martie give singing lessons?” she queried.

“Oh, no,” I said, “but I can tell you how Martie learned. Here, I’ll write it up for you,” and then the following was born.

How Martie Learned To Sing, An Essay By Jimmie

Step one: Get assigned a singing role with 25 other kids in kindergarten.  Learn “Leo the Lion” in one afternoon. For the next six months, sing “Leo the Lion” every single moment you are awake.  That sounds like this:

Martie: Leo the lion was the king of the jungle and his jaws were big and wide, rawr!  Leo the lion, when he roared it’s a warning that you better run and hide, rawr!  (Ask Jimmie why she remembers the words to this day, 37 years later.)

All adults (and siblings) in Martie’s life: Martie!  Stop!  That’s enough.

Two minutes pass . . .

Martie:   Leo the lion was the king of the jungle and his jaws were big and wide, rawr!  Leo the lion, when he roared it’s a warning that you better run and hide, rawr! 

 

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Step two: When your mother remarries and you are blessed with two brand new brothers, annoy the shit out of them by making up songs about them and sing them in their presence.  Or out of their presence.  Do this for five plus years until brothers move out of the house. That sounds like this:

Martie: Boo. Boo-ooo.  Boo-hooo.  Boo!Boo!Boo!Boo! 

Brother Boo: *shoves Martie into wall*

Martie: I’m telling!

Two minutes pass . . . .

Martie: Boo. Boo-ooo.  Boo-hooo.  Boo!Boo!Boo!Boo!

 

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Step three, now in high school: Purchase large number of blank cassette tapes.  Make a list of favorite top forty songs.  When any of the songs on said list come on the radio, make a mad dash to your sister’s purple boom box and hit record.  Once recorded, spend hours playing it and rewinding it so you can get all the lyrics down.  This is particularly fun when your sister is trying to read a book in the room you share. That sounds like this:

Martie: You put the boom-boom into my heart <rewind, pause and scribble>, you send my soul sky high <rewind, pause and scribble> when your lovin’ starts <pause and scribble>, jitterbug into my brain <pause and scribble>, goes a bang-bang-bang till my feet do the same <rewind, pause and scribble>

Jimmie, flapping her book: <huff>

Martie: What?  You love that song.

Jimmie, dramatically while flapping her book: You are ruining it! George Michael is MY boyfriend, not yours!

Two minutes pass . . . .

Jimmie, setting aside her book: Play it again.

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Step four: Get a keyboard for Christmas. Begin tinking on it and never let anyone else get a turn.  Once you have mastered Axel F, the theme song for Beverly Hills Cop, you are ready to perform for your (unwilling) audience (the same audience who has listened to you pick this song out for months and also the reading sister).  Begin to sound out other hit songs such as “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” and every Michael Jackson song.  Sing along, stop, get the right note, begin again, stop, sing, ad nauseum.  Four years.  That sounds like this:

Martie, tapping on the keys: dunh, dunh, dunhdunhdunhdunh, dunh, dunh, durn “Dangit!  Now I have to start over!”  dunh, dunh, dunhdunhdunhdunh, dunh, dunh, duhn, blang, “Huff!  One more time!”

Jimmie: Learn a new song, for the love of all that is holy!

Two minutes pass . . . .

Martie, tapping on the keys: dunh, dunh, dunhdunhdunhdunh, dunh, dunh, durn “Dangit!  Now I have to start over!”  dunh, dunh, dunhdunhdunhdunh, dunh, dunh, duhn, blang, “Huff!  One more time!”

 

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Step five: Get a guitar. Pester above mentioned brothers, both of whom are pursuing a rock star type career complete with leather pants, to teach you how to play. Begin practicing in earnest.  Learn every word to every Pearl Jam song, every Soundgarden sound, all Stone Temple Pilots lyrics, and don’t forget Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alanis Morrisette, Heart and the reading sister’s personal favorite (no), Patsy Cline.  Do this for eternity because you and Jimmie no longer live together so she can’t stop you, plus you sound pretty good, plus Jimmie (and all her friends) is (are) now a willing audience. That sounds like this:

Martie:  Cray-zeee.  I’m crazy for feeling so lone-leeee

Jimmie:  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!  You know a million songs!  Sing one I like, you know I can’t abide Patsy Cline!

Two minutes pass . . . .

Martie:  Cray-zeeeee

Laugh

Five easy steps, Squash. You are well on your way.

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You, Too, Can Look As Good As All This

Katniss and I were having lunch the other day and she said, “I went to lunch with a girl in my office last week and Jimmie, I missed you. We went to Blaze and we ordered our pizzas and she ate three pieces and claimed she was stuffed.  Just crammed to the gills.  Couldn’t eat another bite or she’d be sick.  I was on piece four, heading for piece five and I felt so guilty for eating it all that I quit.  Please don’t make me do that again.”

Katniss does not have to worry. I will eat a whole Blaze pizza* and not feel one bit bad about it.  Besides, Iman, you know her, she’s the gorgeous angular, exotic toothpick widow of David Bowie, said that older women should maintain an extra five or ten pounds to keep our faces looking young.  That extra bit of fat plumps out the wrinkles, see, and keeps us from drooping into our later years.  I feel like if five or ten pounds is enough for Iman with her gorgeous cheekbones, then I need to go a step further with my lesser cheekbones.  Maybe more like twenty-five or thirty pounds, yeah?  I’m just doing my part to look young, to inspire all these kids to embrace aging with relish.

*For the record, Blaze pizzas are created for single individuals and are as thin as a Kleenex. They are meant to be eaten in one sitting because they are small and taste terrible when they get cold.

Speaking of looking young and beauty routines, I thought I’d share some of my tips and secrets with you today. I turned 44 a month or so ago and when I tell people, they’ve often said, “Well, you barely look over 43 and a half, what’s your secret?”  I’ll tell you.

Firstly, I maintain a youthful exuberance with the wavy, loose curls I like to iron into my hair. Ideally you’ll use a 1.5 – 2 inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron because it can heat up to 400 degrees in a matter of moments. This really puts a good scald on your hair which is necessary for getting a good curl.  If you can smell the heat, it’s hot enough.  In reality, I used to use the ideal 1.5 – 2 inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron but it slipped off my hair one day and onto my shoulder.  The 400-degree barrel gave me a nice oblong blistered burn that looked like a bubbled up hickey, and that really ticked me off because not only am I celibate for what seems like FOREVER, but I got a hickey from a curling iron and not a hot man. In retaliation I whacked the 1.5 – 2 inch barrel over and over against the counter whilst cursing like Andrew Dice Clay and the end result was this:

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Now I use the 1-inch barrel Hot Tools curling iron that also heats up to 400 degrees that had been lounging in the bathroom cabinet for a year or two because the curls it makes are too tight for my liking. You can still reach the youthful exuberant look with this wand, though, as evidenced here:

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Once I get my coif fluffed to an appropriate fullness, I begin work on my eyes. The eyes really tell the story of your aging, so you want to take very good care of them.  Ideally you will have a regimen than includes delicately patting ludicrously expensive eye cream under your eyes morning and night, and you will use a gentle cleanser, equally ludicrously expensive, to remove any makeup you have caked on in an effort to make your eyelashes look like caterpillars. I’m on board with that except for the part where I cannot afford ludicrously expensive anything.  I can afford Avon makeup remover which is actually very good, so that is what I use until I run out and realize that I forgot to reorder and then I rummage in my cabinets until I find something else that will work.  Behold:

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And this is how well it works. Behold:

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Ain’t that awesome? I’m down to the bottom of the jar now so I have to stick my longest finger down in it and scrape some out which I then smear on my eyes, squishing it all around until the mascara finally releases its spidery death grip on my lashes and gets washed off with a very thin washcloth which has permanent mascara stains.  Works great! I think the fat from the coconut oil and the potential allergy issues I could have from the amount of cat fur in my house (behold below) keep my eyes nice and puffy which as we read earlier, keeps the wrinkles from wrinkling which makes me look youthful!

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Once I have performed all beauty ablutions, I head to the closet to pick my clothing for the day. I told you once that I like to wear wafty, gauzy, floaty things because they make me look like a calm and serene type person. This remains true. I also believe that they make me appear younger.  No “good looking” severely cut blazers for me. No skin tight pencil skirts with fitted shirts that emphasize my (not) tiny waist and (not) bubbly bum.  I like stuff that doesn’t really touch me.  Ideally.  In reality, it turns out that wafty, gauzy, floaty things make me look pregnant as proven by the eight-year-old girl who caught me talking to her eight-year-old boyfriend at church.

“Hi, Lee,” she said as she pulled his arm into hers. “Hi,” she said to me with a squinched up mouth.  “We need to go, Lee,” she said as she dragged him off, and as she sashayed away she flung over her shoulder, “That dress makes you look pregnant.”

Well, at least I look young enough to be pregnant.

Speaking of stuff I like and use, my go to brands are below. These are the things I will spend ludicrous amounts of money on, no matter how little money I actually have:

  • Lancome Eyelash Primer – Oh my crackers, this stuff is expensive but it WORKS!
  • Benefit Mascara, Black – Talk about tar but this mascara will give you the best spidery lashes in the world!
  • Clinique Chubby Stick, Mightiest Maraschino – I wore this lipstick the other day and a girl at work said, “Wow, you look edgy. Kind of bitchy. I wouldn’t mess with you at all!” Thank you, my work here is done.
  • A Hair in My Biscuit’s Hot/Cold Eye Mask – Martie makes these and I keep one in the freezer at all times. When you have slept in cat fur all night (Thank you, Murphy) or eaten too much salt (Thank you, anything more than one grain) or stayed up too late watching Downton Abbey (Thank you, Amazon Prime), you’ll want one.
  • Flax clothing – Generously sized so that when I purchase a medium and it floats around me, I feel dainty and small. This I love because the only other way I’d ever feel dainty and small was if I had lunch next to Shaquille O’Neal.

I think this whole list screams youthful, don’t you? I mean, isn’t that what youthful really means?  Very poor decisions regarding things that really do matter and very expensive decisions on things that do not? Don’t care.  I love my caterpillar eyelashes.

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Don’t look a minute over 43, do I? Puffy eyes and all.