Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Soundtrack: A new segment.

I've decided to start a weekly segment here on this little blog o'mine. I make no guarantees that it will actually happen on a weekly basis, but it's fun to dream. If there are responsibilities that I need to shirk, this "standing blog obligation" provides me with the perfect outlet. Last week I kept thinking of songs that I should have added to my Soundtrack post because as in most things hindsight is 20/20. In my quest to make the world a better place (read: imposing my musical preferences and opinions on my three readers) I've decided to highlight 10 songs each week. My favorites or the ones that are just stuck in my head and won't leave, if you will. Perhaps in return, you all will share your current "favorites" and viola, it's a musical potluck of sorts. Everyone wins. [Only one hyperlink this week embedded in the text. If your curiosity is piqued that much, you should be able to find the songs independently through Google. Unless you're in China.]

9 Crimes by Damien Rice. It's haunting. It's beautiful. I love the combo of his voice with Lisa Hannigan's. In the realm of Irishmen, he's much cooler than the Frosted Lucky Charms leprechaun.

Long Road Home by Patty Griffin. I've loved this song as long as I've loved the movie Elizabethtown. I guess that's been about 5 years now.

Something Beautiful by NeedToBreathe. Love the lyrics. It speaks for itself, IMHO.

Kandi by One Eskimo. Will I remember this song in 6 months? Probably not, but I'll enjoy our time together while it lasts. The one eskimo will never even know I'm gone.

As Long As We've Got Each Other. Yes, you are correct...that is the theme song from Growing Pains. A co-worker was singing it on Monday morning which means that it has now been lodged in my head for about 48 hours. And counting. Of course a discussion ensued with the girls in the office about how dreamy Mike Seaver was back in the day. I totally had a poster of him wearing a brown leather bomber jacket over a white t-shirt hanging on my bedroom wall when I was just a tween. In aforementioned discussion on Monday, I might have confessed my crush on Jason Seaver too. Look. I never guaranteed that I would be discussing good music or omitting the things from my past that I probably shouldn't be proud of, alright?

Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong by Martina McBride. She's right. There's nothing wrong with moving on.

Use Somebody by Kings of Leon. Why is this song still getting so much air play, I wonder? It's alright though because I love his voice. It seems that people either love it or hate it and I am on Team Love. And just when you think this song couldn't possibly be made any better than it already is, I remembered that it was. In our discussion of my ridiculous crushes on Monday, naturally Justin Timberlake (be still, my beating heart) became the primary subject. Which led me to remember that JT himself did a musical mash-up with this song and Cry Me a River back at his show in October. I wish that the YouTube clip did it justice. I know that following me on this train of thought is as exhausting as watching Alice chase the white rabbit into Wonderland so I'll stop now. Just trust me when I saw that It. Was. Awesome.

She Said by Collective Soul. It's alright that I'm still listening to the music that I listened to in college as long as I'm no longer wearing the same jeans that I wore in college, ok? In other words, it's fine to get stuck in music trends, just not fashion trends. Sometimes. Do you remember hidden tracks on CDs? you remember CDs? Ok, that's better. This song was a hidden track on their Dosage CD. I basically bought the entire CD for the hidden track after we discovered it on Mag's copy. Thank heavens and Steve Jobs for iTunes.

Airplanes by B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams from Paramore w/ Eminem (on the radio version). Really? The energy that I expended while typing the names of everyone involved in this little collaboration has almost left me too tired to even discuss it. This song has its own little piece of real estate in my head because it's on the radio every 5 minutes and the TV every 17 minutes thanks to the Charlie St. Cloud trailer. I do confess that I never change it though. Yet. Noteworthy: Eminem has been referenced twice now in just as many weeks. Please, if I ever mention that I'm job hunting in Detroit, stage an intervention.

Grace Flows Down by Passion band (but really it's Christy Nockels' voice and I love her voice). Grace covers me. Every single day. I never want to forget the source.

Now accepting suggestions for new tunes.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pet Peeve:

(n) a frequent subject of complaint. [Thank you Merriam-Webster online for the specific definition]

We all have them. Here are mine:

Ringback tones on cell phones. Nothing gets under my skin more quickly then when that lady on the other end of the line says "please enjoy the music while we try to reach your party". In my job, I hear that voice frequently. Although, the tones can be indicative of a person's personality so it's sometimes nice to have a sneak peek before actually speaking with them. Except I'm still a little confused by the Nickelback ringback tone of the mom that I had to call back the other day. I would have never pegged her as a Nickelback fan. But then again, who are Nickelback fans anyway?

"Atlanta." response to the question "Where are you from?" when asked inside the state of Georgia. Odds are, that person is not from Atlanta. He or she probably doesn't even live NTP (near the perimeter), forget ITP. Example: The person who just proclaimed that he is from Atlanta when in fact he is from Ball Ground. That's at least a day's drive by horse and carriage. And horse and carriage is still the primary mode of transportation for people living in Ball Ground. Oh, I tease. I love Ball Ground and the folks who live there. Seriously.

What are some of your pet peeves? I'm in the market for a few more so if you've got good ones to offer up, let me know.

Friday, July 23, 2010

That time I shook hands with James Taylor.

I told someone the other day that when I'm old and gray I will write a book about the last year of my life. I think that I'm putting it mildly when I say that it has been one heck of a trip around the sun. Who knows if the book will ever come to fruition because let's be honest, in my writing I include far too many ellipses; I begin far too many sentences with conjunctions; and I write as if I'm carrying on a conversation. I would be an editor's worst nightmare. And I would probably cry when I showed up to my big book signing at Books-a-Million (I'm a realist...I would never make the Barnes & Noble circuit.) and only my grandma, mama, and 3 best friends were there to have me sign their free copies of my masterpiece. So, before I'm old and gray and actually forget some of the details of the trip, I will chronicle them here in Cliffs Notes format. In reading this post, you have just saved yourselves $4.95 and hours of boredom. You're welcome.

One doesn't have to have the same credentials as Dr. Phil to figure out that the tone of my posts has been a bit glum as of late. It's not that I intended to have Debbie Downer as a guest blogger, it's just that this particular season has been filled with more rain than sunshine and butterflies. Even though if there was too much sunshine, it would surely cause skin cancer (insert Debbie Downer sound effect here!). The thing about seasons of life though is that they change, and I am optimistic that spring is just around the corner. [Gotta' go, my future of writing greeting cards featuring Thomas Kinkade lighthouses is calling.]

Now if I went through every single "once in a lifetime experience" that has occurred during the last year, it would probably stir a myriad of emotions. You would potentially cringe, turn green with envy, curse, laugh, cry, and ultimately say "bless her little small-town heart" before it's all said and done. Or maybe you would be overcome with boredom and simply click the "x" in the top right-hand corner of your screen as you concern yourself with important matters like Nancy Grace's latest cold case.

I am dedicating today's post to the good things that have happened in the last year. I refuse to highlight the bad because here's the deal, life is made up of both. If you focus on the bad, you will only remember the bad. If you focus on the good, then the bad isn't really that bad after all. [You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and then you have...]

I don't even know where to begin. There's no way that I'm going to be able to include everything because there really has been THAT much good in my life. Should I start with going on a first date in Vegas? How many people do that and remember the details well enough to recount them all to their mama and grandmother the next day...without having to censor said details, no less. I'm willing to wager not that many. Speaking of wagering, I learned how to play Blackjack in a casino. I totally smoked the dealer with my $1.50 in winnings that one time back in March.

I qualified as a Delta Skymiles Medallion member. Do you know what you have to do in order to do that? Fly at least 25K miles in a calendar year. I don't see that that will ever happen again but at least now I can relate to George Clooney's character in Up in the Air. Speaking of Up in the Air, I saw that movie on New Year's Day this year. I've never been to the movies on New Year's Day. Did I mention that the theater was in Bloomington, Indiana? Had you told me on January 1, 2009 that I would be ringing in 2010 singing karaoke at some local place that I cannot remember its name for the life of me in Bloomington, Indiana I would have had your head examined. Nonetheless it was a great time with great people.

Regarding those great people, I am so glad that I know them. I have formed friendships with some truly incredible folks during this past year. Many of my once in a lifetime experiences would not have been the same if they had not been there to shape those memories.

I have had fun adventures with old friends too. Like that time in November when Valerie and I traveled to San Antonio for a half-marathon. Where's the logic in traveling 1750 miles to run 13.1? There is none. But that's what made it fun and memorable and worth it. I would do it all over again for the pint of chocolate milk that was waiting for me at the finish line. Oh, the opportunity to drive a green VW Bug and tour the Alamo was pretty cool too.

I became a Cubs fan that time I went to Wrigley and a Red Sox fan that time I went to Fenway, but I suppose my true loyalty will always lie with the Braves since I celebrated opening day of this season at The Ted. That's a whole lot of baseball in a year for even a sports girl like myself.

Let's discuss food. My palate has gotten quite the education. I had one of the best cheeseburgers I've ever eaten in my life at The Lodge at Pebble Beach over Labor Day weekend. While trying to pretend like I was a dainty and fair maiden with manners (read: choking down my cheeseburger at break neck speed) it just so happened that our table overlooked the 18th hole and Tom Watson was finishing out his round for the day. Some might argue that was the highlight. I'm sticking with the burger as being the highlight for me. I've had caviar, octopus, steak tartare (that means raw for you well-done steak eaters out there), and Waygu beef at a restaurant that even provided a chair for my purse. Don't even get me started on the wine and champagne. It was like Ellie Mae goes to the city I'm sure, but thank goodness for those etiquette classes when I was Brownie Girl Scout. They totally carried me through the entire formal affair. Except for that moment when I choked on the octopus, but that was a result of the conversation. It's a good thing that I work out or else when I was in Maine last month, I might not have been able to eat my lobster. Too bad cookies and french fries do not require that much work because I'm sure I would eat fewer of them if they did.

I have been to concerts that I would have never imagined: DMB and Jason Mraz, Sugarland, Justin Timberlake AND friends (one of which was Snoop Dogg!), and James Taylor and Carole King. Yes, I did actually shake hands with James Taylor. And yes, I'm easily amused. It's not everyday that I shake hands with former heroin addicts who have made their living playing sweet music for the masses. I'm super excited about the continued concert streak throughout the summer with David Gray (my favorite), Ray LaMontagne, AND The Avett Brothers to look forward to.

Speaking of being easily amused...I saw the Dancing with the Stars mirrorball trophy with my own two eyes. Where, you ask? At Donny & Marie's show, that's where! And while I'm on the subject of shows, let's not forget the time that there was the celebrity sighting of John Krasinski and Emily Blunt at Love, the Beatles Cirque show. Or that time that I had my picture taken with Frank Caliendo after his show. Or the time that I saw The Lion King. Or Jersey Boys. Or La Reve. Or the show at The Comedy Barn. You laugh at that one, but it was like watching HeeHaw. When I was 4, HeeHaw was in a fierce competition with The Love Boat for the title of my favorite show. What can I say? Even though I'm easily entertained, I definitely enjoy being entertained.

One thing that I've learned about "once in a lifetime experiences" is that sometimes we do get to experience them again. For example, I went to Muir Woods just north of San Francisco 4 years ago. It is one of my favorite places in the entire world and I always hoped that I would go back, but I never imagined that I would and if I did, there was no way it would be as good as my first trip. Guess what, last September I did go back. And it was an even better trip than the first one. Thanks to the miracle of modern styling products and awesomely trained stylists, I had my hair straightened for the very first time ever in March. For a girl that was made fun of constantly throughout elementary and middle school because of my big hair, this discovery pretty much changed my life. At the time though I thought that the only way that I would ever be able to have it straight again was to go back to the salon and have Christie, my new heroine, do it and that just wasn't going to be a habit that I could keep regularly. Two months later I got the play at home edition of the flat iron and now I can straighten my hair anytime I've got an extra two hours to spare.

Just because we do sometimes get to experience things again and they may be even better the second time doesn't mean that they should be taken for granted during the initial go around. Does that make sense? I think that if we looked at even the smallest and seemingly most mundane things and considered that it's only going to happen just like this once in our lifetime then we would begin to look at life differently. I know that I would anyway. No, I'm not saying act as if a trip to the grocery store is like taking a cruise on The Queen Mary II , but what if it just so happens that the sunset happens to be particularly remarkable on that day when you're on the way to the store? Or if you have a kiddo in the backseat who happens to string together his first sentence when he asks you to turn on Cars in the DVD player. Sometimes the champagne and caviar moments in life are hidden. We all have them. We just have to look for them.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I love music. It has always been a major part of my life. As I think back to different periods in my life it seems that there were always songs to accompany it. A soundtrack, if you will. For example, Swingin' by John Anderson was the very first song that I memorized all the words to when I was a little bitty girl. I had the 45. Anytime I hear Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks, I go back to the 6th grade and our boy/girl parties. Smoke and Ashes by Tracy Chapman? College. Late night studying with Mag at Huddle House. Iris by the GooGoo Dolls was the very first song played at our RC formal during my freshman year of college. Not only do specific songs bring back memories, but so do specific artists. I am reminded of people or events or stages in life. I will never hear a Bob Segar song again without thinking of my daddy. Allison Krauss and Union Station...fall in Dahlonega. These days whenever I hear the Zac Brown Band on the radio, I feel as if I have had one too many shots of tequila [hypothetically speaking]. As in I'm ready to fight and then I'm immediately nauseous. I'm optimistic that this is just a temporary condition though.

So, because this post requires less thought than the others that I've started but haven't finished over the last few days, I'm going to share with you all my current soundtrack. Enjoy. Oh, and did I mention that there would be commentary to accompany the soundtrack? Given my natural propensity towards verbosity that should come as no surprise. One more thing: I'm going to try to hyperlink each title to a place on the web where you can hear the song for yourself. What a great way to spend part of your work day! You're welcome.

Healing is in Your Hands by Christy Nockels. I heard this song for the first time at church on Sunday. God is in the little things, even the timing of songs, because he knows all about the big things.

Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. Since we became friends in college, my pal Maggie has always introduced me to the greatest songs. She also introduced me to way fancy and stylish jeans and mini-cigars but we'll talk about that another day. She heard this one the other night on SYTYCD and immediately thought of me. She's thoughtful like that. And I'm thankful for her thoughtfulness.

Alejandro by Lady GaGa. Warning: DO NOT watch this video at work. Or ever unless you want permanent scarring to your eyes. I'll be honest, when I saw this video on the VH1 Top 20 Countdown last Saturday during the time of day when most 6 year olds are watching The Smurfs, I was more than a little uncomfortable. I just can't help but love the song though. [Please. Check the plank in your eye before you point out the sawdust in mine.] Even though I don't understand it at all. Who is Roberto? And Fernando? Why do I keep expecting her to bust out with "All that she wants is another baby" at some point in the song? Does it not sound a teensy bit Ace of Base-ish? Why is her name Lady GaGa? It should come as no surprise that I'm a little bit intrigued with her given the special place on my iPod that I had reserved for Britney a few years back. What can I say? I like train wrecks set to music.

Love the Way you Lie by Eminem featuring Rihanna. [Speaking of train wrecks set to music.] Ok, so Eminem lost me at the turn of the century with The Real Slim Shady. However he might have me back with this song. I'm sure it helps that I would listen to Rihanna sing the phonebook though because I love her voice. I can't help it. This song is so new that I couldn't find it on YouTube yet. It makes me sad that what this song depicts is so common in everyday life. I pray that I never, ever know firsthand what an abusive relationship is like. I pray that the people who do eventually find the strength to get out of them.

King of Anything by Sara Bareilles. It's catchy. And SO much better than that first single of hers about not writing a love song because they asked for it. Talk about overkill on the radio. I fear that this one will be worn like a pair of faded Levi's soon enough, but I'll enjoy it until that day comes.

Glitter in the Air by P!nk. I mean, did you see her performance of this on the Grammy's a couple of months ago? It was like Cirque de Soleil a la punk girl. Loved it. I do wish that she did not go by the name Pink though because I find it hard to take her music seriously. Well, as seriously as music played on Top 40 radio should be taken. But her real name is Alecia Moore. Sounds like someone I went to elementary school with. Maybe her marketing people knew best after all.

Undo It by Carrie Underwood. Is it a little ironic that this song is topping charts as she is beginning her very own happily ever after? Typically I'm not a fan of angry girl power music but to everything there is a season. [Come on, it's not like I'm spinning Alanis 24/7 or anything.] Besides it sure is fun to dance around my living room in my gold dress and tall black boots while singing into my gold microphone.

Southern Voice by Tim McGraw. I will admit that Tim is a little red for me, but this song reminds me that while you can take the girl out of Georgia, you can't take the Georgia out of the girl. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. I love that I was raised to say "ma'm" and "sir". I love that I can make some of the best sweet tea that you'll ever drink. I love that "y'all" is a part of my vocabulary.

Half of my Heart by John Mayer. This song should have been dedicated to me on Delilah's radio show. In February.

The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti & Spearhead. How can you not dance when you hear this song? It makes me happy. And I love it when everything smells like suntan lotion.

Well, that's this week's Top 10. Some of them stick out to me because the lyrics have more meaning to me during this particular season than they would have during another. Some of them I just enjoy because they happen to have a sweet beat. What's on your soundtrack these days?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Everything happens for a reason."

Is it just me or does this phrase go down about as smoothly as a glass of Florida tap water? In fact, whenever I hear it, I'm tempted to roll my eyes [IF I were one to roll my eyes]. No worries, I understand that it's a phrase of comfort that well-intentioned people usually resort to when the natural thing is to just stand there in silent and uncomfortable bewilderment because really no words seem appropriate for the particular circumstance. And surely there must be some reason why it has earned a spot on the Top 10 List of Most Trite Phrases. However, a few years ago I got really bold and brave and declared that I no longer believed that everything happened for a reason.

Before you cast me off as a heathen please allow me to explain myself. I came to this conclusion after a series of very unfortunate tragedies that effected the lives of some of my favorite people. These events were pointless. They were unexplainable and if only they had not happened, then I would not have had to stand-by helplessly and watch as people I loved dearly suffered and grieved. It might be easier to believe that everything happens for a reason if we could wake up the next day after an event that rocks our little world and have an executive summary that outlines all of the good to come waiting for us at the breakfast table. We modern day folks love instant gratification. I blame Al Gore and his invention of the Internet.

As we all know experience is the teacher that gives the test first and the lesson last. And let's just say that I've been schooled! My first 30 years were pretty much a walk in the park. Sure, I experienced a few bumps and bruises along the way, but up until last year I had never really been broken. When a girl loses the 2 most important and beloved men in her life within a year of each other though, it will most definitely get her attention. She'll begin to examine her beliefs much more closely because never in her life has she needed to believe in those beliefs more than she does now. [Can anyone please explain to me why I just switched from first to third person? I'm confident that happened for no good reason.]

I suppose it's a little ironic that when I wasn't directly impacted by the painful event it was easy to proclaim the senselessness of it, yet when in the middle of my own storm, the only thing that allowed me to get through it is the belief and hope that it's all happening for some reason. So like Baby's daddy told Johnny Castle at the end of the summer dance at Kellerman's..."When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong." I realize that I'm not the only person who struggles with this concept of everything happening for a reason so allow me to share with you what brought me back to believing it. Other than the simple explanation of my heart feeling like it was splayed out in the middle of the connector on a Monday morning at 7:30.

Lately I've gotten really hung up on how our choices and God's will work together. As in, "what if I make the wrong choice...what does that do to God's will?" Wow. Someone is a little confident in her ability to chart the course of history. Who am I kidding? That's like throwing a minnow in a swimming pool and expecting all of the water to splash out of it as a result. And I'm pretty sure there's a whole big book written and placed in hotels all across the land that explain all of the reasons why I shouldn't take on that worry alone. You can read about who is really calling the shots here. It is confusing though because we do have our choices. I mean I don't think that God knew that Abraham would obey His call to sacrifice Isaac, the son for whom he had prayed and waited on until long after all of his pals were in assisted living facilities, until Isaac was actually bound and being placed on the alter. Abraham was that obedient to God, but what if he had said "heck no, he's mine now, I'm not giving him up!"? You know what though? It's not our job to figure out how or why...all we have to do is just believe it. This is a tough lesson for control freaks. I wouldn't know a thing about what it's like to be one of those though. So lately, I've learned [read: been forced] to let go. And do you want to know something, blogosphere? It. Is. Freeing. It sure does take a lot of pressure off of the Type A...HP. And besides, if we were the ones calling the shots, what need is there for grace? Or faith? Or redemption? Fortunately for us those little mechanisms were put into place long, long ago by the One with the authority to call the shots.

I still haven't really answered my question though of why I came to the conclusion that everything does in fact happen for a reason. Think about it like this. If I believe that there is a God who loves me so much that he would send his own son to give his life for little ol' me, then shouldn't he love me enough to prevent me from ever experiencing a single ounce of pain while living life here? Unless it was necessary. Or for a reason. Do parents allow their 4 year olds to call the shots about family matters like refinancing a home or changing jobs? Nope, because they know that they aren't mature enough to handle such decisions. Yet. When those same kiddos were even younger and learning how to walk, did their parents not have to let them fall and get bumps and bruises and scrapes along the way? Because if they didn't, then none of us would have ever learned how to walk. And could you imagine how silly we would all look crawling to the water cooler each morning at work? Sure, it hurts the parents to see their children hurt, but it's necessary pain. There's a reason behind it. Just like it hurts God to see His children hurt, but it's necessary pain. There's a reason behind it.

Of course there is always the question of what happens when we can't see the reason for our pain? And maybe we never see the reason. That's a tough reality to swallow, but do you really think Ruth knew she would be King David's great-grandmother? And then a bazillion years later be in the same family tree as Jesus himself? Or maybe if you're not up on your Bible trivia like I'm pretending that I am, let's put it into context using an example from the silver screen. Anybody out there ever seen the movie Love Actually? I can't believe that I'm using this as an example because it's one of my least favorite movies ever, which might explain a bit of my current circumstances, but I digress. We never know how our lives are being used for the greater good of the order. And with any luck, it's for something even better than Hugh Grant's happiness.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I hate to say "I told you so", but...

I just won a bet. Not that I'm one to gamble, but I did in fact win a bet so please humor me for a moment, dear blogosphere, and think back to last July. If you fill your mind with important things as opposed to the nonsensical then perhaps this post will serve as a brief reminder. In the event that the only time you hop on over to this little blog o'mine is when there are no more sheep in the field to count, then let's prolong your sweet dreams a little longer and allow the picture below to serve as a reminder:According to Chris Harrison it was the Most! Shocking! Finale! in Bachelorette history when that Reid guy got all dolled up in this best Chuck Taylor's, Levi's, and Brooks Brothers sport coat and made a last ditch effort to win back the woman of his dreams. Only to have his hopes dashed moments later when Jillian told him that he was oot and she had fallen for another Romeo, eh. (Remember, she's Canadian...that was my attempt as a Southerner to type Canadian, roll with it)

So, poor Reid stacks up more revolving consumer debt by purchasing yet another one-way plane ticket home while Jillian mentally practices pronouncing her soon-to-be new last name. By August there were rumors swirling that Ed had cheated but as any good woman (or maybe just Tammy Wynette) would do, Jillian continued to stand by her man. I predicted that they wouldn't make it a year after the big finale. Some called me jaded and cynical. How could a love like that
not stand the test of time? I called myself a realist. I lost all hope for reality tv marriages and couples when not even Nick and Jessica could share their lives with the rest of America and maintain a bond of holy matrimony. Let's not even talk about Jon and Kate. I'm just waiting for Tori and Dean to show up on Divorce Court, but maybe Farrah told Tori to stay the course the other day when she channeled her. [Because if any celeb knows about long-term marriages, it's Farrah Fawcett.] I digress.

The past couple of weeks have already been tough enough in reality romance land given the big split between Jake and Vienna so it was like a double punch to the gut when this news broke today.
Just 345 days later and she's back on the market.

I told you so.