Soundtracks to life

When I write, I get caught up in certain songs. It might seem obsessive or weird to an outsider, but I will listen to the same songs over and over while I’m hashing out a scene in order to stay in that same frame of mind. Re-live the scene. See it like I’m watching it in a movie. Even living it. You know, if life came with a soundtrack that spoke so well about what was going on emotionally? I’d be skipping a track here and there. Forget that cliche about the hard times making you stronger. That statement may very well be true, but the hard times…for lack of motivation to think up something less vulgar…well, they really suck.

Okay, got off-track. So for writing, I’ll get hooked onto a soundtrack. Same thing for life. I find certain music in different times of life really speaks to me. As a result, particular songs and artists tend to only fit for me in those times of my life. Either that or I attach the memory of that time and that person so intricately that I can’t listen to that music without a lump building in my throat, my heart quickening, or some other physical reaction.

Garth Brooks, Jimmy Buffett, Gloria Estefan and Hall & Oates are my childhood.

Stevie Nicks and the Beach Boys are my dad. Oh and certain Elvis songs. Something I was told about him in limited detail was that he would spontaneously sing, particularly when he got home from work.

Little details like that make me ache for my dad. To know him. To have the memories of him. To have him hug me and feel small in his arms. To have his support now. Decades have passed with him gone and I need him more than ever. Before it was a void and I accepted it because I didn’t have a choice to be upset. Now I have a choice, I know I’m entitled to my feelings so I’m finally saying it after all these years that it really hurts that I have grown up without a dad around. I know people have it much worse, but it has just really hit me lately (right between the eyes, followed by a closed fist punch to the gut) that I will never get that father/daughter bond. Bum deal on other circumstances aside, that just really gets me.

Forgive me. I’ve been repressing feelings for 29 years.

Music. Yes, I was talking about music.

Killing Me Softly will always be the sweet innocence that could have been something more had I not been afraid (see: spaz), like a deer in the headlights. Had all worked out, I might have married a pastor.

“Sometimes I give myself the creeps…” (Green Day) is my sister. As is Adam Sandler “Piece of $&%# car,” though hers wasn’t. Both blaring through the speakers of her green Tracker. Not simultaneously.

Third Eye Blind. Sublime. High school. Hiding out in my room. Privacy invaded.

Goo Goo Dolls “Broadway”. First day of senior year.

Wallflowers will always remind me of my first job, working with all guys. Delbert in particular.

Train (the old stuff) is the exhilaration of the unexpected. The hope. The sadness and uncertainty. The unrequited.

TOFOG. (Russell Crowe fronts the band. Yes, that Russell Crowe.) Flagstaff. 9/11.

SHeDAISY: Jerry. Part 1.

Phil Collins, strangely enough. Serenade. An awkward, wonderful, bizarre serenade. With the exception of the revitalized In the Air Tonight (thanks to the popularity of The Hangover), that distinct voice pulled me into believing the unrequited wasn’t unrequited after all. Then I got dropped on my head. So even his contribution to the Tarzan soundtrack stings a little.

Avril Lavigne. Transfer to ASU and the summer before. Loner. Rejected. That odd combination of hopeless romantic hoping for the romantic comedy ending…and the slap in the face reality of an indy film. Oh yes, and Matchbox Twenty. (Incidently, the albums with the number spelled out represent more difficult times than the earlier efforts with the number 20.)

Dishwalla, James Blunt: Florida. Overwhelmed. Uncertain about everything. Lost.

Barenaked Ladies. Quirkiness to try to pull me from the slump.

Anna Nalick, Michelle Branch: Jerry. Part 2.

“Beautiful Day” and “A New Day”: the build-up to meeting Brady. The drive from Florida.

The Day Before You, Rascal Flatts: Brady. This said it all for me for how I felt after I met him.

Pat Monahan. (His solo efforts.) The book.

There are more. It’s amazing and startling how much emotion seems to be contained in a song. Things I had long pushed from my mind. What does Trisha say about the song remembering?

So what songs speak to me now? I don’t know what will stick and I don’t know what the future holds, but if I had to choose:

“For the First Time” by the Script: This song has spoken to me for awhile. Things fall apart and it’s unclear how to put it all back together or if you can. Good times are easy. It’s the hard times when you really get to know someone.

“Tied Together With a Smile” by Taylor Swift: This reminds me of me when I was a teenager and then after high school. I had to be okay, or seem okay. I wanted to be loved more than anything. I wanted to belong with someone.

“Ships in the Night” by Mat Kearney: Again, finding a way through the hard times.

I’m trying to otherwise focus on positive and/or motivational music. Love songs I gushed over a few years ago make me feel dizzy and out of touch of what they’re about. I don’t have the enthusiasm or ear drums for rocking out to alternative tunes right now either. I’m floating out in lyrical space, which is appropriate, given how I feel these days.

Life is only certain in its uncertainty.

It’s exhausting.

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You know, sometimes Taylor knows just what to say.

I guess you really did it this time
Left yourself in your warpath
Lost your balance on a tightrope
Lost your mind tryin’ to get it back

Wasn’t it easier in your lunchbox days?
Always a bigger bed to crawl into
Wasn’t it beautiful when you believed in everything
And everybody believed in you?

It’s alright, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you’ve been.
You’re still an innocent,
You’re still an innocent.

Did some things you can’t speak of
But at night you live it all again
You wouldn’t be shattered on the floor now
If only you would seen what you know now then

Wasn’t it easier in your firefly-catchin’ days?
When everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you
Wasn’t it beautiful runnin’ wild ’til you fell asleep
Before the monsters caught up to you?

It’s alright, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you’ve been
You’re still an innocent
It’s okay, life is a tough crowd
32, and still growin’ up now
Who you are is not what you did.
You’re still an innocent.

Time turns flames to embers
You’ll have new Septembers
Every one of us has messed up too
Lives change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never too late to be brand new

It’s alright, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you’ve been
You’re still an innocent.
It’s okay, life is a tough crowd
32, and still growin’ up now
Who you are is not what you did
You’re still an innocent.
You’re still an innocent.

Lost your balance on a tightrope.
It’s never too late to get it back.

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40 days

It’s appropriate that Lent fall now, in the midst of me wanting to make changes in myself, including strengthening my relationship with God. I’ve never participated in giving something up, but I think it’s the perfect timing, the perfect extra nudge. For Lent:

1. No Pinterest. It’s fantastic for brainstorming ideas and saving ideas, recipes, projects all in one place. It’s also fantastic for being a distraction–I can lose myself in Pinterest for endless amounts of time–and I have better things to do with my time and other things to focus my attention. I also want to teach myself to relax and enjoy life and do things that make me happy.

2. Complete the Love Dare. 40 days in the Love Dare. 40 days (debatably) in Lent. Why not now?

3. No swearing. I’ve gotten in the bad habit of cursing when something unexpected happens: I stub my toe (I do this a LOT), I drop the s-bomb. That one seems to be my curse word of choice. Now to come up with some creative, possibly amusing alternatives.

There are more things I want to accomplish, but I think the above 3 items will promote those as well.

Now. One day at a time.

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This falls under the category “Things I never thought I’d say”

So I was sitting at work today, habitually resting my forehead in my hand as I sorted out a plan of attack for the day. Owwww. My fingers touched a very tender area, otherwise known as the right half of my forehead. This made me notice that my skull felt tight. Like my head got stuck in the throbbing motion of a headache. Obviously I had to touch it again and harder. You know, to make sure it really hurt as much as I thought it did. Daaaamn. Did I fight a ninja? Did I walk into a door? Did I slam my head on the fridge/washer/dryer door? Again?

I sat. I pondered. I forgot for awhile until I touched my forehead again. Owwww. What the heck did I do?!

Then I remembered.

Now, given the above choices of a) ninja fight b) head-to-door collision, or c) angry appliance retaliation, most people who know me would say b or c are most likely. Actually, I think for anyone, b or c would be most likely. Unless you’re Jackie Chan. Or Jack Bauer. Or Chuck Norris.

Nope, it’s closer to a. Except she’s not a ninja, per say. She’s about 3 feet tall, sports a beanie and/or pigtails at all times, and loves the color of sunshine almost as much as she loves being in it. She’s also now learned that a wooden clothing rod makes a pretty effective weapon.

Allow me to elaborate: Our former guest room is being transformed into Little’s big girl room. This past weekend, we finished clearing it out almost entirely. (Also pertinent to the story is that one of her latest toddler “things” is to grab my finger, say “Mine!” and lead me somewhere or to something.) She pulled me into the walk-in closet (future coolest playhouse-in-a-closet-ever.) to hide in the rolls of lauhala. (Just nod and pretend you know what I’m talking about here. It’s a Hawaii thing–it’s like basketweaved rolls to use as wall covering, smaller pieces are used for baskets, bags, etc. They’re leftover from our wedding and they’re going in her room in some way, shape or form.) One of the shorter clothing rods kept getting in the way so I removed it and set it on the floor. Well, she decided she wanted to try putting it back up herself. So she grabbed it and proceeded to swing it around and wallop me on the forehead. Now, this is a closet bar circa 1986. It’s not some hollow piece of wood or plastic they probably use now. This thing is heavy and solid and now that I have a personal anecdote for support, should Little ever have a fear of the boogie man hiding in her closet, I can reassure her that she has the ultimate weapon for beating him to a pulp.

Had this all been on video and had my forehead been a man’s crotch, it would be excellent, if not cliched, footage for America’s Funniest Home Videos. But it wasn’t on video and sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln, that really hurt.

Alas, I do not have a goose egg to show you, but since a blog post without a photo is a lonely thing (and visually boring at that), here is an ultra-blurry action shot of the ninja herself.

This is the frame that follows one of the photos used on her 2nd birthday party invites, which obviously I cannot reveal yet. Not only would that spoil the surprise prior to postal service distribution, but I’m too busy irrationally worried that the cardstock will be cheap, the corners won’t be rounded, as ordered, and I’ll never be able to pull together the really kick butt toddler party that floats through my head before I go to sleep. Posting the digital file might jinx the real-life 15pt, matte finish product, yes?

I’m exaggerating for dramatic effect.

Okay, so maybe it’s not that much of an exaggeration.

Then again, it’s looking like she’s likely to have about 50 people at her birthday party.  

We had about 75 or so people at our wedding (and that included out-of-towners).

Damn, I hope it doesn’t rain.

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Music speaks.

I usually have a pattern with what music I listen to. I have my alternative/rock phase for a while and then I switch to country, but mainly it’s the first. Right now, I don’t really like much music. Most is like nails on the chalkboard.

What can I tolerate at the moment? Well, Little’s upbeat mix of Disney, Wayne Brady, and others is fine because it’s for Little. I’ll rock out with her and dance around the room, twirling and looking downright ridiculous (but I love it, to be honest). Otherwise, some oldies. Dean Martin, my favorite of the Rat Pack.

I think I might be driving dear Deanna crazy with my Pandora indecisiveness.

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A new year.

Rather than attaching certain measurable goals to the stigma of New Year’s resolutions, the three things I’d most like to see in the coming year takes a spin of a popular book turned movie title. So, if 2012 were a book (or sort of disappointing cinematic translation, which lurred moviegoers with an A-lister actress and a catchy trailer), I would call it:

Pray. Run. Do.

Not that eating and loving aren’t priorities.

More to come.

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One-word Wednesday


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