Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - Cover It Up!

I've been listening to a lot of cover songs lately.  No particular reason, except for the damn playlist on Spotify that has hijacked my ears.  Such a good problem to have!  I'm sharing some of my recent favorites, and some all time bests too.  Covers are a nice reminder of how things that we thought we knew can surprise us in wonderful ways.  Sometimes we forget that what we thought was overplayed, old, or maybe a bit tired can be refreshed and brought back to life when looked at with a new perspective. Enjoy!

Romeo & Juliet - Dire Straits/Indigo Girls

One of my all time favorite songs.  The first time I heard it was the cover by the Indigo Girls though, and for years I thought that they had written it.  Then I bought a little soundtrack to the movie 200 Cigarettes and suddenly heard Mark Knopfler's familiar voice singing about the tragic couple.  I fully admit to mocking people who didn't realize that a cover was a cover, until it happened to me.  Lesson learned.  Amy Ray's version is so powerful, so full of conviction it's hard to believe that the song isn't hers.  She owns every note, every word of it.

XO - Beyonce/John Mayer
Do I have to explain?  As if XO wasn't already a super sweet, sappy, fun, love song, then freaking John Mayer waltzes in with his broody guitar, a harmonica and pouting big lips and kills it a second time, in a totally different way.  

Cry Me A River - Justin Timberlake/Chvrches
I am fully and admittedly obsessed with Chvrches.  They are an incredible talent, they're Scottish (yay!), and I love them.  

Where Is My Mind? - Pixies/Trampled by Turtles
Pixies.  No explanation needed. It's the mother effing Pixies!  But what's exceptional about this song, is the cover.  Trampled by Turtles have somehow managed to merge their distinct folk/country/bluegrass sound with the punk rock of the Pixies, making the song both recognizable and unique at the same time.  

Fade Into You - Mazzy Star/Ben Harper
In the late nineties this song was likely played on repeat in the bedroom of every teenage girl post break-up.  Every time I hear it I am instantly transported to my teenage years, and my brief stint in college.  There's something ethereal and unnerving about this song.  It's a combination of the words and melody here, they both pull at something just below the surface.  It's as if you're watching a sad goodbye take place in front of you on a rainy street, but then it shifts somewhere and you find it becomes your story, your song.  Ben Harper makes this song grow up.  It's no longer a whiny teenager, it's a grown man grieving his loss, and it breaks your heart.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thirty Things My Kids Should Know About Me (and you can too)

In my attempt to find a great writing prompt this morning I stumbled across this post from Jennifer Borget on her blog, Baby Making Machine.  It totally pulled me in and brought up an issue that's been rolling around in my mind a lot lately, "Who I Am! Who Am I?" 

With all three kids in school now I have time for myself on a regular basis for the first time in almost twelve years. That's a big deal.  It's also a tremendous opportunity.  It's a welcome chance to get back to doing things that I really enjoy, things that bring me happiness and also remind me of who I was before I had kids, and who I'd like to be.  Of course being a mother is a large piece of my identity, and I feel very, very blessed to be the mom to my three kiddos.  But, I'm also my own person and it's important to me that the kids know that, and they are able to see me as more than just the lady that takes care of them, but also as a complete person. Being a complete person includes all of the good and bad, the pitfalls of life, the elation of successes and everything in between.  After all, I want them to grow up to be happy, well-adjusted, adults and as their parent, I'm their primary example of what an adult is.  

Then along comes this writing exercise, perfectly timed to get me reacquainted with myself and share my interests, my humor, my embarrassments, my whole person with my kids.  And I'm letting readers in on the fun in the hopes that it'll prompt you to do the same sharing with your family.  You can share anything that you think is relevant.  You could make the entire list about your experiences in school, as a kid, thirty things you did/do well, thirty things that were hard for you, thirty things you want to do...the possibilities are pretty endless.

1. When I was a teenager I wanted to live in California when I was an adult.
2. I'm scared of porcelain dolls.
3. I had an imaginary friend until I was eight.
4. I really like White Pizza.
5. I used to have long hair.
6. I played Tennis in high school.
7. When I was nine I slammed my thumb in a sliding cooler door at a store and screamed so loud the whole store heard me.  It was embarrassing, and painful.
8. I'm good at catching frogs.
9. I wanted to be a marine biologist until I was 15.
10. I wanted to become a creative writer.
11. I wanted a younger brother or sister for a long time.
12. I like physical comedy.
13. I have trouble whistling.
14. I've never knit anything for myself.
15. I could not understand high school chemistry (or any chemistry).
16. My first dog was named Reddy.
17. I've been deep sea fishing.
18. I love my name.
19. I'd like to go to a Yoga retreat.
20. Burritos are my favorite food.
21. I'd like to go camping in Acadia National Park (with my family)
22. I wish that every day, everyone had to stop what they were doing and read for an hour.  
23. I used to smoke (YUCK!)
24. I never thought I'd own my own house.
25. I used to do a lot of work with my hometown theater, including stage managing and directing.
26. I stink at acting.
27. I would like to learn how to play an instrument.
28. I'd like to spend a whole day at the Boston Public Library.
29. I think being a Librarian would be my dream job.
30. My favorite number is 12. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Get Your 'Read' On!

It's January in Maine, and it's proving to be a VERY cold one.  Temperatures have been below zero more often than above it lately.  Needless to say, we're not outside unless we have to be right now. Which is a little sad, since I know the kids would really love to go sledding.  Trick with that is we need snow that's more than a few inches deep and without the ice skating rink underneath it in case we go flying off of our sleds.  Which some of us in this family are known to do. So, we're keeping ourselves amused with indoor activities, and one of my favorites is reading.  I've been to the library twice this week already, and it's only Thursday.  I'm also thoroughly in love with my Kindle Fire and the ability to get eBooks from the Maine Download Library in an instant.  Anyone with a public library card from your local library can access this site.  NH has one too, so there's really no excuse to go without a book.  Even when the temperature makes the prospect of leaving your house seem like crossing the Alaskan tundra.

So here's what I'm reading right now.  I'll do my best to come back with yays or nays when I'm done, but I will say that I'm at least a third of the way through each of these and I'm enjoying them all so far.  Get a cup of tea or cocoa or coffee, grab a book, sit in front of the fire and enjoy the forced hibernation we're experiencing.  

“Suburbia is about to get a lot more scandalous.”  —Closer Weekly  

 “A novel that will turn you into a compulsive book-finisher…Moriarty has produced another gripping, satirical hit.”
Huffington Post

Big Little Lies tolls a warning bell about the big little lies we tell in order to survive. It takes a powerful stand against domestic violence even as it makes us laugh at the adults whose silly costume party seems more reminiscent of a middle-school dance.”—The Washington Post

"Bradbury, all charged up, drunk on life, joyous with writing, puts together nine past essays on writing and creativity and discharges every ounce of zest and gusto in him." -Kirkus Reviews

"In order to practice Buddhism, you have to first know about the mind," begins this labyrinthine journey that is ostensibly aimed at all people, not just Buddhist practitioners.  -Publishers Weekly

"A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr’s magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed." -Booklist

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tuesday Tunes - The Blog Is Not Dead

So, since the blog has been inactive for a while (cough *months* cough) I've decided to bring it back on a Tuesday Tunes edition with some NEW music.  Hoping to get things restarted here and maybe some new tunes will help encourage that, of course new material on the blog might help encourage me to keep writing too.  Here's hoping and trying!

Avenger - The Bamboos 

One Of The Guys - Jenny Lewis

Drive In Movies - Ray LaMontagne


Wild Animals - Trampled By Turtles

I Don't Know You Anymore - Bob Mould

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Tunes

For all the Frozen fans out there!  (It's out today on DVD by the way)  This is a brilliant way to cover a song.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Funnies

Happy Weekend!!!

Ice T Meets Dungeons & Dragons
HuffPo Covers

Best Mother-Son Dance Ever - Ben & Nate, we will be doing this at your weddings.  Don't even think about eloping!

Don't worry, I didn't forget about Syda.

Our own Mae, taking Legos.  This girl loves wheels.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Few Hours

I'm all alone.  It's ten in the morning, and my house is silent.  So silent in fact, that I put on ambient music while composing this post because the hum of the refrigerator wasn't enough to keep me company.
All of the kids are at school.  Sydney started preschool on Tuesday.  I'm thoroughly excited for her, and relieved, hopeful, and a whole mess of good emotions.  I'm very thankful that the preschool had an opening and that she's able to go.  She's been asking to go to school since the boys started in September.  It's a great program, with wonderful teachers and specialist to help with her speech delay.  It's also nearby and will have a lot of the same kids that she will end up going through grade school with, so it's really a win-win in every way.

The catch to the kids being in school is this - I'm alone now, with myself, for half the day every day.  It's not a negative thing, but it is a change.  It's a challenge to be by myself, because for the last eleven years I have been with my kids and/or working every day.  I'm not complaining at all, I'm looking forward to having this time to myself.  But the "To Do" list in my head is overwhelming me a bit.  It's not a traditional "To Do" list, in wash dishes, do laundry and all - the kids may be at school but the evidence of them is easy to see all over the house.  That stuff will get done, and honestly a lot of it may get done after school too.  The "To Do" list in my head is the one that I've been writing for years entitled:  "What I Would DO with A Few Hours Alone!"
(The exclamation point is mandatory on that, I'm sure all moms can understand.) Do I workout? Yes! What workout do I do?  Should I knit?  Should I write? (YES!) but what do I do first?  Where do I start?  I don't want to waste my time, and yet I do by spinning my wheels and not knowing where to begin.

When I first had kids, it was easy to push the things I loved doing, or wanted to do to the background.  After all, there was a baby to change, a toddler to feed etc.  Kids regulate your priorities pretty easily, without much input from you.  But now, I've got to revisit those interest and prioritize them.  I have a fear of catching myself saying, "Oh, there wasn't time for Yoga/Running/Writing today," because that would be a lie.  The true statement would be, "I didn't MAKE time for what I wanted to do today."

The other piece of this, is that it's a little scary to face myself alone.  I had my kids young, and therefore I didn't spend a lot of time on my own getting to know myself before they came along.  So a big part of my identity is wrapped up in them. That's normal, to an extent, but I want to remember who I am as an individual.  I want to be a good example to them, to show them how to be who they are, how to enjoy and cultivate their interests.  I want to remember who I was, what I was passionate about, and give myself permission to delve into that, now that I've been given the gift of a few hours.  Each day, my children leave our home and go out into the world to explore, learn, laugh, play, and be who they are in a safe environment. I want to embrace my mornings with the same enthusiasm and see what I can learn about myself.