Uncool.

I am terminally uncool. I know this. Consider the evidence.

Exhibit A: My kids’ initials spell G.E.E.K.  That was totally unintentionally done, but now that it is so, I have a necklace that proclaims it. I’ll post a pic and a link someday when I’ve showered and don’t look like what I am–a summer SAHM mom who doesn’t give a rat’s patootie what I look like when I’m blogging in my basement.

Exhibit B: Little Miss G is ever so slowly giving up her Nickelodeon crap for this: <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/uvwCLGCozIk“>The best science-fiction-fantasy series going right now. And it’s British! YAY! I really have to thank my brother for this. If he didn’t come and commandeer our television at least once a week, none of us would have taken the time to watch. I’m ashamed of this, because staying up late with my dad on Sunday nights to watch this Doctor <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/PwkYhLiY_fM“> is one of my fondest childhood rituals.

Exhibit C: I went to this guy’s concert last Friday, and loved every single minute. Every time I hear a Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, or Katy Perry song, I want to stab myself in the ear, but this? This is good stuff. I’ve been humming this song all weekend.

Guilty as charged.

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New tunes.

If you were to take a peek at my “recently purchased” playlist on my iPod, you would find:

“Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order – good for work-outs and running.

“Something So Strong” by Crowded House – a nice, light pop-song that is easy to relate to.

“Don’t Dream It’s Over” also by Crowded House – captures the nostalgic feeling of a lost or faded romance better than most songs, I think. It reminds me of listening to music in the dark in my bedroom when I was a kid.

“Alive and Kicking” by Simple Minds – this might be one of the best songs I’ve never heard on the radio. Maybe it wouldn’t appeal to everybody, but I love it.

“Damn I Wish I Wish I Was Your Lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins – Don’t read too much into this selection, please. 🙂 I hadn’t heard it for years and caught it on the radio and decided to buy it.

“Summertime” by The Sundays – Just for a little winter warm-up.

“Ordinary World” by Duran Duran – How I haven’t had this song until now is beyond me. It is one of my absolute favorites.

Soundtrack to With Honors which includes a cover of Led Zepplin’s “Thank You” by Duran Duran that I love, “Forever Young” by the Pretenders and “Blue Skies” by Lyle Lovett.

So, what have you been listening to?

December Views-Day 12: Oh, Christmas tree!

I have found a new church home, and, boy, has it ever done my heart good. During the regular morning service, they played a video of a Random Act of Culture… a group of people who blended into a crowded food court at a mall and took the patrons by surprise with a powerful performance of the Halleluia Chorus. And because music just gets to me, because seeing people do something brave and share their God-given talent makes me all goosebumpy inside, yours truly here wept like a baby. It was so powerful and beautiful. That was the first crack in my stress-induced shell. It was a much needed and very welcome break.

Then last night I went to an evening Advent service.  The sanctuary was candle lit, the music was wonderful, and the Spirit was there with peace and a quiet kind of joy that can only be described as, well, divine. The stress just melted away, and now I can finally feel the Christmas spirit creeping in despite a rather terrifying pile of papers to grade, tests to write and administer, and a daunting to-do list. I’m going to try very hard not to let the stress creep back in. None of it matters half so much as the happiness and health of my family and my heart’s peace.

So, as we head into this final gauntlet of Holiday preparations, I wish your heart the very thing mine has most sorely needed–peace.

 

Sprint to summer.

Last summer was about getting some much needed rest and peace after having a really difficult winter and spring. Last summer was the beginning of getting better. I’ve managed to let go of a great deal of negativity in my thinking and in my life this past year. And when I reflect upon it, so many good things have happened since then. And even though I am rather stressed about the end of the school year, that’s nothing new. This summer I feel ready.

Just—ready.

ready for long mornings in my backyard with my girls (yes, including her)

ready to take Karen‘s advice and shoot every day

ready to take long walks and enjoy nature

ready to be barefoot in the grass

ready to expand my itunes library with some old CDs

ready to see lotus blossoms

ready for impromptu cocktails with good friends, who also happen to be neighbors, in the front yard

ready to devour grilled cheeseburgers and pasta salad

ready to read things that make me laugh

ready to take weekend trips to museums and sight-see with John and the girls

ready to write

ready

Just ready.

All in All

For the past year song called “All in All” has been getting a lot of playtime on my ipod because it makes me feel okay to just stand still. Even though it’s a song about time moving too slowly, and for me time is going much too quickly, the whole song feels like my inner dialogue for 2009. About ten months ago, I pretty much just emotionally crashed. I intensely doubted myself, my direction, my abilities, my worth. I had become a jumble of raw nerves, and soul-crushing fear, and constant constant worry. I was certain that I was going to fail, that I was failing. I felt inadquate to do anything at all. I thought about running away. I would never run away, but in my darkest moments, all I wanted was to escape. Not from my family, not from my children, but from that It All that I had created for myself.

And this song… this song was the only catalyst I could find. I still have a hard time articulating the depths I felt then, and I still have a hard time explaining what it was about this song at that time. All I can say is as soon as the strains of that music and  slightly haunting, echoing voice filled my ears, I could physically feel a small, tiny release. It was like someone took a single thread of that huge knot I had become, and just slowly and gently began to pull until eventually the knot began to loosen.

The line that most resonates with me is “I am only just as much as I can make myself.”  I didn’t realize until this year just how profoundly I fear failure. Just how much I worry about not living up to others’ expectations. But this line reminds me that I don’t have to be anything more than who I am. I can stand still and let the “water turn the mill.” I don’t have to make anything happen. I can’t even begin to express what a relief it was, and continues to be, to hear that beautifully expressed.

I am only just as much as I can make myself.

My life has been so full of ought to’s, need to’s, should haves, could haves; do do do, be be be, move move move.

I am only just as much as I can make myself.

I’ve spent so much time running around trying to be everything and nothing ever really moves at all. I am beginning to see that when I stand still and let the wind or the water or the fire rush over me, what remains is what I’ve been chasing all along. But I have to be willing to stand still, and hold on. I can wait.

All Over You

Okay, not exactly sure what a meme stands for, but I got this from my friend Dana over at Looseyfur. I thought it was fun, so here I go:

1. Put your iPod or whatever music player you have on shuffle. (We own iPods… go figure).
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
4. Tag 5 friends who might enjoy doing this as well as the person you got this from. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?  EZ by Pete Yorn

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?  So Cruel by U2

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? Afer Ventus by Enya

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? Lovetown by Peter Gabriel

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?  Nightingale by Norah Jones

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?  You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?  How You’ve Grown by 10,000 Maniacs

WHAT IS 2+2?  Help Me, Rhonda by The Beach Boys

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?  Count On Me by Jefferson Starship

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?  Fill Her Up by Sting

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?  5150 by Van Halen

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?  Life Support from RENT the Broadway Musical

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?  Not My Friend by Norah Jones

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?  You Left it Up to Me by Indigo Girls

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING? Wait by Sarah McLachlan

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?  Don’t Be Cruel by Bobby Brown

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?  Ronnie by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?  Vox by Sarah McLachlan

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?  I Feel for You by Chaka Kahn

WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?  Hit Peter Gabriel

HOW WILL YOU DIE?  Fear by Toad the Wet Sproket

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?  Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? Home Again in My Heart by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?  Too Young by Phoenix

WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?  Dark Night of the Soul by Loreena McKennitt

WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?  Charm by Wild Colonials

DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?  I’m Free by Jon Secada

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?  Kansas by Jennifer Knapp

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW? Star 69 by R.E.M.

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?  All Over You by Live

I’m supposed to send this to 5 people… but, I’m not sure who reads this who has a blog, so I’ll just leave it to anyone who wants to continue it in their blogs or e-mail. If you do decide to try this, be sure to leave me a link to your blog or send it to me via e-mail. I thought this was fun.

Little Heaven

Change what I can and pray
The hope will not disappear
When we are not denying anything
Nothing is an enemy

from “Little Heaven” by Toad the Wet Sprocket

I know, I said less posts, but I’ve been listening to a lot of music today while working and this one just has really resonated today with everything that is swirling around in this crazy life. Give it a listen if you’re so inclined.

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.

Farewell kindergarten

This week Little Miss G wrapped up her kindergarten experience with a “kindergarten celebration” at her school. It was nice little ceremony in which each kindergarten was called forward and given a cute kindergarten-type certificate. I liked that Little Miss G’s school called it a celebration. It seemed to strike the perfect note for kids of this age. Though I disagree with having a “graduation” every step of the way, I do feel it is important to allow this age to create and experience a feeling of great accomplishment for all the hard work they’ve done this year. It lets them leave the school year feeling confident and successful.

LMG’s last day of school was also my last day of school for the year. In my district, the teachers only have to show up to help pass out report cards to our homerooms and then we’re all outta there by 9 a.m. I was happy to bring this year to an end. It has been a great year, but I’m looking forward to this summer for a number of reasons. So as John, Super L and I sat in the gym waiting for the celebration to begin, I wasn’t feeling anything but happiness and eagerness to get the summer started. Sentimentality, or an Aw, my baby’s growing up feeling hadn’t occurred to me. Until… Until they marched the kids out to Rod Stewart’s song “Forever Young.” You know it? It’s one of those songs that if you’re driving in the car, it’s nice and mellow, yet you might change the station because it’s just too sappy sweet. But just put an ounce of childhood context to it, and voila! instant tearjerker.

Which was what happened to me. I went from misty-eyed vapors to tears in record time. It just came over me so fast. I quickly looked around to see if other parents were similarly touched, and nobody, not one, seemed to be the least bit moved. They were all looking at the kids marching in, finding their own children and waving. I was beginning to think this emotional response was proof that I was either 1. way too sappy; 2. a little nutty; or 3. pregnant. Then I look over at my husband to crack a self-deprecating joke about myself and what a puddle I had become, and I’ll be doggone–his eyes were just as watery as mine. We both laughed and he said, “I’m just gonna say it’s allergies.” I just chucked and said, “okay.” He is not a crying type of guy, but he is sensitive. Sitting there with our 2 year old between us, shedding some happy tears, and laughing at ourselves for those tears, it became clear to me again how lucky I am to have married this man. [Oh, and just to leave no loose ends, I’m not pregnant. Neither is John, thank goodness.]

When the children went forward to receive their certificates, the teacher gave three interesting bits of information about them: their favorite part of kindergarten, their plans for the summer, and what they wanted to be. I was so proud of Little Miss G’s responses… Her favorite part of kindergarten was free choice time. Her plans for summer was to go to our local swim park. And when she grows up she wants to be a scientist that studies the human body. Veerrrry cool if you ask me.

So, in order to play up this very big accomplishment we told LMG at the end of the ceremony that she’s a 1st grader now. Technically, this is not exactly true, but I plan to get a lot of mileage out of it. For example, “First graders eat bigger portions of vegetables so they grow bigger.” “First graders don’t pout when they don’t get their way” You get the picture. I haven’t had to use it yet, but I was planning on having to utilize it when the time was right. Well, it didn’t take her long to own this new 1st grader status. Directly after the celebration, we decided to hit DQ for a celebratory ice cream cone. While we were sitting in the drive thru John was teasing LMG that she had something on her butt. She immediately tried to unstrap herself and he quickly said, “No, I was just teasing!” She slumped back, sighed and said, “Da-aad, you can’t tease first graders.”

I guess it works both ways, doesn’t it?