Welcome to my Vinyl Haven Blog

Vinyl Haven

Vinyl is making a comeback. It’s not at all surprising, but is certainly fascinating to witness this analog revolution and to be able to again enjoy audio just as many of us did in our younger years.

Please visit often, as I will be posting stories, reviews, tips, and even some great vinyl and audio gear finds that I happen upon.

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12

One Two One Two One Two One Two One Two Over and Over

Keep it together. Don’t freak out. You’re an adult, right? You’re a strong woman who knows that her independence is her greatest strength. So, don’t freak out. Stop trying to change people. Stop trying to control situations that you will never actually have a good hold on.

Stop attempting to depend on someone who does not want to take care of you. You don’t need to depend on anyone, so why do you try to? That’s not how your brain was built, baby. It’s not wrong to want people around. It’s not wrong to care for someone. It’s not wrong for you to want them around. However, when you start making your emotions their responsibility, when you begin let their emotions control your world…that’s a problem. You know that already. I’m just here to remind you.

I’ve missed you a little. I mean, you’ve made some really positive changes, but I miss you. I miss your creativity. I miss your spark. I miss your anxiety, and your fear. Seems strange, I know. But you got lost. You’re still lost. You’ve gotten lost in a person. You’ve gotten lost in your work. You’ve gotten lost. But I’m calling you back now. It’s time to come home. It may take you a little while, but it’s time to find your path again, find your path and come home now, Love.

3+8

You’re trying to distract yourself, aren’t you? You’re not focusing on something you probably should be, am I correct? Well, I’ll allow it for a few moments because I am in the same boat, so let’s row together for a few minutes and then let’s please agree to jump out and start swimming towards our goal. Deal? Deal.

The human brain is a complex and terrifying thing. It can think up the most murderous schemes. It can be the most manipulative, pain causing, disastrous organ. Humans in general are scary little beings. Thankfully we were equipped with a conscience. Most of us were anyway. That conscience doesn’t always kick in quite when it should though. I’ve hurt many humans in the past. Intentionally and unintentionally. If you have had any sort of relationship with any human, there will eventually be pain. Sometimes the pain is slight and quite manageable, other times though, that pain can be soul-ripping, scream wrenching horror. There is no blood that bursts forth, no bruises, no broken bones. No one else can see the evidence physically, but so many times that emotional pain is much worse than a broken bone. It stays with you long after a bone would have healed. It will lay with you in your bed for years, you may forget about it for a time, but it will eventually give you a sickly hug and remind you that it’s still there. That good ole faithful Pain.

I’ve hurt many humans. I’ve been hurt by many humans. Forgiveness comes, but there will be remnants of Pain. The most important thing that I’ve discovered about this inevitable Pain is that we cannot let it bring Bitterness. Bitterness is Pain’s ferocious friend. They  are close traveling companions, but let me tell you: Pain will barge in, but Bitterness must be invited in. Bitterness is a sneaky devil, Bitterness will bake you a cake. You’ll invite Bitterness in because she’s one hell of a baker and that cake looks amazing, the first bite will be sickeningly sweet and satisfying. The thing about Bitterness though is that she won’t let you stop at one slice of cake. Once you’ve started to eat, she will force feed you the entire thing, holding your face in it and shoving fork-full after fork-full into your unwilling mouth until you vomit. Do not let Bitterness in. I’ve eaten the cake, a long time ago. It made me feel good and so horrible. It made me feel horrible for so much longer than it made me feel good. I have been having to remind myself this week to keep Bitterness on the other side of the door. She’s been knocking so loudly and that cake smells so good, but last time she came, she stayed for years and she was the worst house guest I’ve ever had. I don’t want her around ever again.

There’s the truth of it all. Pain will eventually leave you, but if you make Pain and Bitterness your friends, you will forever be miserable. Even though I probably don’t know you, I do not want that for anyone. Pain and Bitterness will change you. Don’t let them change you for the worse. While the brain can be murderous and tricksy, it is also a beautiful creation that can be used for great things. You’ve got so much more control than you realize. So, let’s face the reality that Pain will always be visiting, but you don’t have to encourage it to stay – it will go to find its’ lover, Bitterness and they will travel on.

Goodnight. Let’s get back to the task at hand now. We’ll jump, in 3-2-1!

 

10

It’s Monday morning and you’re sitting on your couch drinking coffee because you didn’t feel well enough to go in to work this morning.

You’ll go in at noon. You won’t let yourself feel like this for longer than a few hours. You just needed to remove yourself from all people and take a break.

You just lost a best friend. No, that person didn’t die. You lost them in the way that people lose time. It was inevitable that it would go away, but still surprising when you looked up and realized it was gone. There are many reasons people lose friends. You think that those reasons often boil down to trust. You realize, suddenly, that just as people who claim to hate drama are the ones that surround themselves with it; people who claim to value honesty and despise lying are the ones who tend to lie the most.

Some friendships can survive without trust. They are the surface friendships, the ones you don’t invest much in. However, the friendships that will not survive without trust are the ones that required a bond. The ones that took your time, your emotions – you shared tears and genuine laughter. You know that you’ve always felt the need to bond with people. You find it almost easy to fall into close friendships because you enjoy sharing people’s lives.

You know that you’re going to have to stop that eventually. You’re going to have to be more picky about who you let in.

You’ve only lost a very close friend once before. It hurt like this. That friend attempted to repair the friendship, but you rejected it because you’d been hurt so badly. The trust was broken. The heart was hurt. But you moved on. It’s been years, and while you don’t enjoy that person’s company anymore, it doesn’t pain you to be around them. You’ve forgiven them. You don’t know when you did that, but it happened sometime when you weren’t paying attention. That’s how this time will go. You’ll be able to interact with this person. You’ll be able to forgive them. You really have to remember though, that this person cannot be trusted. They broke your trust every time you built it back up. Stop letting them do that. This is on you at this point, not on them. This person hasn’t changed. So, remember the wonderful times you had. Remember the times that person listened, encouraged and laughed with you. Forget the bad times. Think of them fondly, but please, don’t trust them again. Not as a close friend. You may trust them in other ways. You may trust them as colleague. You may trust them as you trust a passerby to help you open a nearby door if your hands are full.

Now, finish your coffee. Go take a shower. Go to work. You are only allowed a little time to mourn this lost friendship, and I think you’ve very nearly used it all up.

 

9

I am going to try something a bit different tonight. I’ve had a lack of motivation to read, write, or do much of anything creative for an embarrassingly long amount of time. I don’t know where my creativity ran off to, but I’d like to chase it down again and make sure it knows it’s loved and needs to come home.

I normally (every few months) post something whimsical or philosophical (not really, but we’ll call it that for now). I rarely post about my day-to-day because frankly, it’s pretty boring. That’s where I’m going to try and mix it up. I’m going to attempt to bring you my boring life in a somewhat entertaining manner. Somewhat. You can let me know how it works out. Here goes:

One thing that I have not lost motivation to do, pretty much ever, has been to bake and cook. It was my biggest stress reliever in college (oh, you’ve got an exam in History and Systems of Psychology at 8AM? Better bake 3 pies – that’ll help (it didn’t)). Sometimes I’m curious as to how many batches of biscuits I baked at 3 in the morning (too many, the answer is too many). There were plenty of times that I’ve had very failed recipes, like the time I thought that beer would be a fine substitute for butter and milk in biscuits (there is no substitute for butter, please do not waste time trying to find one). Or the time I tried to make brussels sprouts mac and cheese a thing. I’m not sure what I was thinking, or if I was thinking at all.

Having said all that though, I’ve had a couple of somewhat successful goes at tasty food. People have been very kind and even asked for my recipes of some dishes. That’s where I run into some problems though. See, I have issues following rules. I tend to follow the rules in my daily life because I prefer to keep my job, my driver’s license and my dignity. However, when it comes to something that I have total control over, I don’t stick to recipes or measuring or timing or weighing very well. This means that I have more failed baking and cooking attempts than most, but I am OK with that. So, while I’d love to give you my recipes, I’m afraid that they wouldn’t be very organized.

Tonight, I made some soup. It’s Broccoli Cheddar. I had the broccoli already, and the cheddar, so it made sense to make it. I did look up a recipe, but it told me to use processed cheese product and I got offended. So this is what I came up with:

You’ll need:

1 large onion (chop that baby up)

2 cloves of garlic (chopped, duh)

1 bag of frozen broccoli (I had that microwave steam bag, and I steamed it…in the microwave)

Butter (I started out with 3 tablespoons, but added more, but I’m not sure how much more – I just added till it felt right)

Flour (2-3 tablespoons – or, as I did with the butter, add it till it feels right)

2 cups of whole milk

Salt, pepper, and garlic salt – to taste

Cheddar cheese (till it feels right – I think it took about 2 cups for me to feel right about it (don’t worry, you’re adding broccoli, it’ll feel healthier)

2 cups of chicken stock

Process: Heat the butter in a large pot on medium heat. Throw the chopped onion and garlic in there and let ’em soften up. Add some more butter. Add the flour. Stir that mixture around really well until the flour looks clumpy and brown (you may need to add MORE BUTTER if the flour is especially floury even after you’ve mixed the heck out of it). Then you’ll add your milk, and start whisking like a mad woman (or man – men can make this soup too). The mixture should thicken to a pudding like substance (you’ve made an onion roux, basically). Here’s where I added my seasonings – and I literally just added till I got the flavor I wanted (“to taste”, I know you know what that means and yet I still felt the need to explain, my apologies). Now, start adding the cheese. Now, add some more cheese. More cheese. Now, take that broccoli out of the microwave, cut the bag open and empty it into your onion cheese pot of heavenly goodness. Stir. Add the chicken stock. Stir some more. Let it simmer on a medium low heat for about 10 minutes. While it’s simmering you should go ahead and put some crusty bread in the oven, but drizzle the bread with olive oil first. Let it get very nice and crunchy.

Ok, you’re done. There it is. Embarrassingly easy, yet very tasty.

BrocChedSoup1

 

See why I don’t give out recipes? I’ll just stick to taking pictures of my food and telling you stories about it, sound good?

G’night.

 

 

 

 

 

Eight

There is wind. There is thunder. There is rain.

There are loud and peaceful noises that join to sing a song. Some people listen and are soothed. Others listen and are gripped with fear.

What does nature say to you? Does it scare you? Why do you hear the song of a thunderstorm play such terrifying chords? Tell me your fears. Let me live them. In return, I will tell you the song that I hear. I will tell what is whispered to me in the silence and the noise.

So many stories are told, with no words audibly spoken. Nights of vivid noisy silence are the nights in which you can find peace, or total misery.

Clear your mind. Focus on the song that is being sung, and then tell me what you hear.

Some people thrive in the morning sun, and others work best in the moonlight. My time is the night. My brain was built for stars and moon and windy evenings. Most days I envy the morning people; until night falls, that is. Then I am reminded of the magnificence of those hours.

I want you to tell me a story. I want you to tell me what you think about morning and night. What do you think about thunderstorms? Tornadoes,  hurricanes, earthquakes. Tell me what goes through your head when you are in the midst of one of these. I am obviously in the mood to listen. I want to understand the way other people feel things.

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. If you don’t feel like leaving a comment on this post, facebook, or instagram…then you should email me at mj_duncan1@yahoo.com    I’ve got a story rolling around in my head, but I desperately need your feelings on these things before I can start to write it. I cannot go forward with only my thoughts and emotions to go off of, not this time anyway.

Seven

I like messy silence.

I like writing and coffee. I enjoy most music. Cooking and baking relax me like little else. One of my favorite feelings is to be lost deep inside some really good story. I have an affinity for napping on couches.

Most anyone who knows me, also knows these simple statements to be true. One thing I have been discovering about myself lately, is that I have a problem of always being busy. Most anyone who knows me, also knows this to be a true statement.

It’s been months since I’ve written anything. I’ve started 3 books and haven’t gotten past the 5th chapter in any of them. I listen to music when I cook and bake and drive, all of which I have been doing simply from necessity, and not for pure enjoyment. (I have, however, caught one or two naps on the couch in the past couple of months)

People tell me that I should learn to say, “no” and my life would be simpler. There’s a problem with that though. “No” disappoints people. “No” is inconvenient for the receiver. “No” carries a lot of weight. So, not only must I learn to say, “no”, but I must also learn to deal with the guilt that I feel after having said that tiny word. That is where my issue lies. I am not saying that I do not need to learn these things though. I’m tired. Exhausted, actually. The things that I’ve wanted to do with my life have yet to present themselves as attainable, and part of the problem is that I’ve been living solely for other people’s agendas. I do not actually want to stop being in people’s lives though. I have an unhealthy need to be needed. Balance and boundaries. Those are the words I crave to have prevalent in my life.

People often say that life is like a book, and each chapter holds something new, perhaps dangerous…life is indeed like a book, I sometimes feel as though whomever is reading my book is having trouble focusing and keeps having to read the same bit over and over again. I am about ready for the pages to start turning again.

I am forever grateful for mornings like these. God provides me with amazing weather and much needed messy silence in which I can focus best.

Hopefully this mental effort on my part will tempt the reader into turning the page in my book. Hopefully I’ll be back here writing things that are less focused on myself, soon. This is not to say that I have not enjoyed the past months because I very much have. Only hopefully I can learn to spread myself a little less thin. Hopefully I can start putting more of myself into fewer things. Hope is important. Good Day.

6th

There are strings of words that, when put together in just the right formation can encourage the spirit and uplift the soul. 

Of course there are words that, when put together in a certain way can absolutely crush a person.

They can be written or spoken. Words have so much power. Words can calm, or they can rile. You get the picture. I could go on because there are so many words that can be used, but I am sure you are clever enough to have already caught on to what I’m saying.

 

Life is all about choices. The words we choose are so important. At times I don’t realize what they’ll do to who I’m directing them at until it’s too late. I suppose the saying, “Think before you speak” is a rather wise string of words.

Life is all about choices, and reactions. Someone made a choice you don’t agree with. Someone used words you didn’t like. What’s your reaction? Should you have one? Should you use your words to let them know? Is it any of your business? Will they care and listen, or are you just being incredibly irritating and trying to make someone mad? I don’t personally like arguing. I like discussions. I do not like arguing. This is not to say that I don’t argue, I do. I try to avoid arguments, but I’ve noticed that many of the people I am acquainted with quite enjoy arguing. Here’s my problem with it: What’s it doing? You think you have a holy cause, don’t you? You’re defending your religion/atheism/agnosticism or you’re telling someone else why his religion/atheism/agnosticism/ is simply wrong or how much it has hurt people or how outdated some persons’ way of thinking is. But what is your argument doing? Seriously. Have you convinced anyone or have you just pissed people off? I’m here to let you know that making people mad does not prove you correct, and it does not make you seem smarter than whomever you’ve tried to make feel like an idiot. You haven’t won anyone to your side…if you have I am sure that person is a weak thinker. One who cannot think for themselves. So good job, that was challenging wasn’t it? 

There go my words. They aren’t sounding too kind. I just get extremely frustrated when people try and corner me into arguments for their own amusement or holy cause. I hate arguing for the simple fact that it does nothing but make people angry.

Please be careful with your words. 

My words fall out of my mouth so quickly that I sometimes have a very hard time picking them back up again. I’m not careful with my words. I want to be. There’s always room for change and growth. Help me, please.

This all made sense in my head, and now that I’ve let the words become friends with the computer screen they’re a bit more confusing. Ah well, you knew it would be like this when you came here.

 

 

 

5th

Openness. Full disclosure. No mystery. Everything just right there, in your face; flaws and all.

I over share. I know I do. Most of the time I don’t mean to, I’ll sense an awkward silence coming and the way that I avoid it is to share some snippet of my life – it could be to the person I’m standing in line with while waiting for the restroom, or it could be at a dinner party. Location doesn’t seem to change what will inevitably fall out of my mouth. The problem here is that it seems to just make things slightly more awkward, which prompts me to talk even more. It’s a filthy cycle.

There are plenty of things that I dislike, but people feeling like they cannot talk to me is a big one. I’ve found that if I disclose some little fact about myself or embarrassing story, people start to feel more comfortable with talking to me.

It seems that imperfections are indeed what makes us human. They make us relatable. They bind us together, whether we like it or not.

There is a problem with revealing your imperfections to others though, and that is: some people will use them against you. They won’t always mean to be malicious in the way they do it, but I’ll warn you…if you are not prepared for it to happen, it will hurt. When you are prepared, it’ll probably still hurt, but the sting will be less potent. Whose fault is that though? You disclosed that information. You trusted someone you didn’t know. I’d say it’s probably your fault.

Here’s my question: Is it good to wear your flaws out in the open? Not being proud of them, but showing people they are there and they can be changed when recognized. Or should we remain mysterious? Only revealing ourselves slowly, trading little bits about each other only with the people we truly want to be intimate friends with.

Those are my Saturday morning thoughts. Again, typed on my phone…so there are probably typos I’m not planning on fixing…it’ll be ok.

Fourth

There once was a very dark night. Darker than all the rest of the nights that have been before.

Nothing significant happened that night, to my knowledge. There were the normal births and deaths, with no great historical figure making an appearance.

You know how dark nights go though, I’m sure. They have a certain feel to them, they feel as if there is more depth and silence than there should be. It’s eerie, and odd. It is welcome by some and feared by others.

Why am I talking about this very dark night?

While no great historical figure was birthed or died…there was a very average birth (there were plenty of those, I said that not too long ago). This one though, this one was the birth of Ghastly. Ghastly was a bear. A black bear. Black as the night he was born, but beyond his color nothing else resembled that night. He was not silent or particularly deep. Poor Ghastly was bit clumsy and quite loud when the occasion called for it.

Ghastly grew, as most animals do. He grew tall and rather portly, in the most adorable of ways. He was a bear of simple needs, he loved fish and nice patch of berries. He bothered no one, and no one bothered him. One day though, his mother came to visit. She only ever and always wanted the best for her son. She worried about him, as mothers are so commonly caught doing, and she worried in particular that Ghastly was missing out on life. She felt that he should go out and make his fortune far from his comfortable little forest. Ghastly was in total disagreement, but being a good and obedient son his entire life, he didn’t really relish the thought of breaking that trend. So, he went off one day, to seek his life’s adventure.

Now I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but in my very limited experience, when one seeks an adventure one usually finds utter boredom and solace in the worst of ways. This is just what happened to Ghastly for what seemed like months of his journey. It turns out that it was only a couple of hours, but Ghastly was never good at time estimations or patience. As he was ambling along, thinking about his cozy bed and hot tea he happened upon a long rail. It stretched as far as he could see in either direction. It was cold to touch and vibrated just a little. No, that’s not right…it wasn’t just a small vibration…no, it began shake rather violently. So Ghastly stepped back and plopped himself down to see what would happen to this odd bit of rail. Would it shake to pieces? It was acting rather ridiculous for next to no reason. It didn’t shake to pieces (I’m sure you’re far ahead of me on this one, but Ghastly wasn’t, he was a bear of very little adventure and rarely made it past his fishing hole…). Up rumbles a boxy, rectangular thing on some wheels.

“Well that seems like it could carry adventure”, thought Ghastly – he was correct, it would. The train (that, Ghastly found out is the name of the boxy, rectangular thing on wheels) came around a bend and started screeching to a halt almost as soon as Ghastly had spotted it. “Why?”, he thought. “That’s terrifying, why would anyone be interested in  such very loud modes of transportation?”.

As the train found it’s full stop, a man in a red coat jumped from one of the train cars and marched right up to Ghastly. He stopped about 3 feet from Ghastly’s face (still much to close for ol’ Ghastly’s sake, but he allowed it). “HELLO, BEAR. HELLO, CHAP. HELLO”, shouted the newcomer. “I hope that you find this morning glorious, and yesterdays sunset beautiful. I hope that you are capturing the loveliness of every experience and I do hope your allergies are not acting up due to all of this pollen.” Ghastly of course had very little idea of what the man was saying because Ghastly (as I mentioned before) was a bear. He understood bits and pieces, including the fact that it must be a common rumor going around about how bears are deaf, and he most definitely was tempted to swat the silly voice box right out of his throat…

TO BE CONTINUED (maybe, I don’t know if that is even worth finishing, or if it’s too cliche or if it’s interesting at all….feedback would be nice)

Forgive the errors, I’m too sleepy all of a sudden to proof it.