Soundtrack.

Lately, I’ve been trying to expose Little Miss G to some different music as an alternative to having the t.v. constantly. Every year, something about the transition from summer to fall makes me especially nostalgic about music from days-gone-by, and my ipod has been extra busy lately. So I thought I’d just list a few of the songs that have been getting the most playtime lately… for whatever reason.

“Bodyrock” by Moby – This is my “go to” song on my workout playlist. When I feel like walking when I should be running, I skip to this song, and I’m good to go for at least another couple of laps. I know, you’re probably thinking “Moby has a good workout song? Really?” I don’t think it is him on the vocals, but in terms of mixing and layering music, the guy is talented and versatile.

“Life on a Chain” – I’ve been sitting here trying to explain why, and I can’t. Besides the fact that I think Pete Yorn has an uber-sexy voice, it was just one of those songs that I loved from the first time I heard it.

“September” – Earth, Wind & Fire. John put this song on a mix CD for me not long after Little Miss G was born. September 2002 was rough on me because I was a brand new mommy, struggling to adjust, exhausted beyond belief, and entirely too cooped up inside my house. John was very ill at the time and it was just a really really hard time for us. I can remember one spendid September morning when LMG was about three weeks old, I decided I to just pack her diaper bag, put her in the car, and get out of the house. The minute I pulled out of my driveway, this song came on, and my spirits were immediately lifted. It felt wonderful to just decide to do something and then do it. I remember thinking, things will be okay again. Someday, I’ll be free again. I won’t always be trapped. I didn’t feel trapped by my kid… I felt trapped by everything, and this song helped break some light into that brief but significant sleep-deprived, body-recovering, hormone-surging darkness.

“Mystery” – Indigo Girls. Poetry set to music at it’s best. Beautiful imagery that evokes emotion. It asks a lot of good questions. To me, it captures the mood and feel of nights like tonight perfectly.

“Send Me on My Way” – by Rusted Root. This song makes me happy when I hear it no matter what. This song was also on that mix CD that I relied upon to lift my spirits when LMG was a newborn. Again, this song just feeds my “hit the road for an adventure” fantasy.

“Home Again in My Heart” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Now, I am no fan of country music. Sorry, I’m just not. But you know how there are days where you just need to go back and remember? This song puts me in a particular time and place that I still cherish.

“Sailin'” by Bobby Darrin. This used to my mine and LMG’s song… back when she was two and Finding Nemo was her favorite movie. We used to dance together to this song during the closing credits every time we watched it. I still love the song, but now when I hear it my arms ache a little for that curly-haired, delightfully chubby, warm bundle of love that I used to be able to dance and cuddle with effortlessly.

“Peace of Mind” – Boston. I personally think this song should be required listening, but that’s just me. It’s a kick-butt song with an excellent message sung only the way Brad Delp could sing it.

“Working My Way Back to You” Franki Valli and the Four Seasons. Super L does an excellent rendition of this song. It is her favorite. We listen to it *a lot* in the car.

“All I Want” Toad the Wet Sprocket, in my opinion, song for song, has some of the most intelligent, thought-provoking lyrics. My favorites by them have been in my top 10 favorites for over 10 years. This particular song, again, evokes a mood and a feel that I associate with autumn.

“City of Blinding Lights” by U2. What can I say? I like to pretend they’re singing about me. Don’t even pretend like you don’t do the same thing.

“Short Skirt and a Long Jacket” by Cake. Ditto above.

Well… that’s just a sampling. Like I said, my ipod has been doing overtime. I’m sure if I were to turn on itunes right now and look at my “most frequent” playlist, I’d have about two dozen others to write about, but seriously, you’ve read enough, right?

So, c’mon faithful readers… what’s your soundtrack been lately? I’m hunting for some new (or old) tunes for me to shuffle into my playlists.

Time bender.

Yesterday John and I got on a Get Things Done Today mode. We told the girls that they needed to find something to do to stay out of the way and to get along. The tattling and bickering has been at an all-time high. They played outside together for about 45 minutes, but then came inside. Sitting on the same couch cushion (you’d think they’d give each other some space), they alternately giggled, screamed, hit, laughed, kicked, and stole books from one another. After about the 30th time of hearing them shriek at the top of their lungs (and I had my ipod on, so the shrieking was very shrill), I stomped into the living room to Lay Down the Law.

“You sit here [directing Little Miss G to the other couch]. You stay there [telling Super L to stay put]. Don’t either of you move! You sit there and look at your books, and I don’t want to hear a peep out of either one of you for at least 5 minutes.”

Then I went back to decluttering my bedroom and my ipod. Peace. At last. More peace. Nothing like sweet productivity that I can actually see, something with tangible results.

Some time later I needed to go into the living room, and there were my two girls. I had totally forgot to let them out of their time out. I had said five minutes (which isn’t too long for a 6 year old like LMG, but is very long for a 2 year old like SL), but it had been more like a half hour. Libby had very quietly gotten up out of her seat, so I corrected her by making her sit back down, leaving the room for about 45 seconds, and then letting them both out of time out.

It’s a great, great thing when kids don’t have a concept of a length of time. Did I tell them they did overtime? No way! I’m just trying to figure out how to stretch five minutes into a half hour for myself.

In remembrance.

Last week one of my best friends lost her step-father. Paul is the first of my friends’ parents’ generation, step or biological, to die… And I’ve been thinking a lot about this man who was a small, but constant, steady presence in my junior high and high school days. It’s funny how we tend to forget or ignore those small kindnesses that someone offers us until we realize that those kindnesses can no longer be given. Or that it doesn’t dawn on us just how much someone was watching over us, watching out for us until it’s clear that they can no longer do so.

I can’t tell you how many hours I sat at Sheri’s kitchen table, eating their food, filling their small home with my often-too-loud-and-rather-pointless chatter. Or the countless evenings I spent at the same table, studying algebra, chemistry, trigonometry, physics–because their house was quieter (Sheri didn’t have any younger siblings)–again, eating all their food in the process. I can’t tell you how many times Paul got out of his recliner during a good game to give me a ride home because I had stayed just a little to long after dark to walk home. Never once did he sigh in aggravation at the inturruption to his relaxation and missing a big inning or a key possession. Every time I hear Paul Harvey’s voice on the radio, I’m transported back to winter morning rides to school, climbing into Paul’s black pick-up truck with the vinyl seats still freezing cold, Harvey on the radio, and the volume always a little too loud.

Paul was more than just kind and patient, I think he enjoyed having us around. Eventually, most of us moved away and moved on. We rarely hung out at our parents’ houses anymore because we had homes of our own. And those people who were once a constant slowly become less instrumental in our daily existence. Paul was everything a good best-friend’s dad was supposed to be… His was another set of eyes and ears that were watching out for us, concerned for us, ready to give us a helping hand, or a ride to wherever, whenever we needed it. He was a part of that network of adults, a member of that collective unit of parents that all of kids knew cared about us.

And as we kids built our own lives and drifted and landed in different places, I suspect that his feelings of fondness for us remained. I know my fondness for him did. And for all those days and nights of small kindnesses, of meeting small parental obligations, of just doing those things that parents do–I am thankful.

Geek Squad Rules. I, however, don’t know how to operate my own dang computer.

This is the post where I very contritely eat my words (or post) and admit that Geek Squad has done their job more than adequately, and admit with much chagrin that all I needed to do was flip a little toggle button thingy on the front of my computer and voila! everything is all right. I would like to send my deepest, heartfelt, and sincere apologies to the Geek Squad for my hasty judgement of lack of service. And this is where reasonable people everywhere (well, at least the 30 or so of you reading–it may be down to 10 after all of this whining) shake their heads and realize what a total ass I can be.

This is what happens when people like me want to use technology, but don’t want to take the time to learn how it works.

As I sit here at my kitchen table, blogging wirelessly, I fully admit that Geek Squad rules, and I suck.

Suck it, Geek Squad

If I bought a brand-spankin’ new wireless router and then paid The Geek Squad to come out and install the thing and network my computers (for a total cost of nearly $245 for equipment and labor), is it expecting too much to be able to sit down and have all systems working without my having to troubleshoot or (horror of horrors) call customer service hotlines? Seriously, if you were asked to set up a wireless router (among other things), wouldn’t you have taken the client’s laptop upstairs and got online just to make sure the wireless connection was actually working? GAH!

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Geez, Denise, you could have done it yourself. It’s not that hard. All you have to do is plug in some wires and follow some directions. Yes, I know how to plug in wires, put in a CD Rom, and follow directions. However, I need the computers to be networked (something I don’t know much about) and I need to know that everything is done correctly, because if I did it myself, and thought I did it correctly, and then everything came crashing down in mid-November when my masters thesis research has been done and I am thisclose to having the required 80 pages written… If that were to happen I would completely looooose iiiiit. The men in white coats would have to come and get me. So, it was worth the money to me to make sure that everything was set up properly and good to go. Just like most people would get their car tuned up before driving it across the country, right?

I do not have more money than time. I really don’t have either. But spending money that I (really don’t) have to save myself the stress of having to deal with technology that I only vaguely understand is money well spent. Unless, of course, the money is spent and IT DOESN’T WORK the way it is supposed to. I am trying to accomplish a ton of research this semester. I fricking *need* my stuff to work right now.

So John made the calls and registered the complaints because 1. I really am too busy, and 2. He loves me, and 3. he’s tired of hearing me cuss out The Geek Squad under my breath. It’s only a matter of time before Super L picks up some seriously colorful language. The problem is John really doesn’t have the technical lingo for computers (this would be a great segue into an joke about his age, which I hardly ever pass up, but I’m too mad to go there).  So he calls The Geeks and their recommended solution is for me to call them so *we* can do some diagnostic tests over the phone to determine if they need to send out another technician. Hello? This is precisely what I did not want to do and why I was willing to pay money to avoid doing it.

I’m sure John did not fully explain the extent of my ire, otherwise they would never have recommended that solution. That, or some hotline helper-guy enjoys throwing his coworkers under the bus. If I am going to have to spend my precious few evening hours (which are usually spent cooking, helping kids with homework, and my own school work–i.e. not leisure time) on the phone with someone trying to diagnose my computer from afar, it won’t be fun. Bottom line, I won’t be a satisfied customer until another Geek comes out and fixes the problem and does the diagnostic testing him or herself, here in my office, FREE OF CHARGE because, well, I think if you’re charging $166 for 45 minutes of work, diagnostic testing ought to just be part of the package. I’m just sayin…

Okay, I’m sorry that my first post in three weeks had to be a rant.

[Personal note to Mark R: Please don’t laugh at me for paying an obscene amount of money for what would have taken you, like, 20 minutes to do. But you moved away to Springfield (taking one of my best friends with you, BTW) and left me no choice but to rely on the (in)competence of strangers.]