Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Singing the Blues...and Folk...and Country...

Eric and I had a little debate the other day about music. He claimed that there hasn't been any really good pop music since the 90's. I told him he was becoming one of those old people who gets stuck in the trends that were popular during their youth - like those women who are still curling their bangs in two different directions and sporting banana clips.

That conversation got me thinking about how my musical tastes have evolved over the years. In high school my favorite musicians were along the lines of The Smiths, The Cure, The Stone Roses, Depeche Mode, Oasis, Nirvana, and Tori Amos. I went through a brief period of listening to country music - I really liked Suzy Bogguss and Alison Krauss and Union Station, but got so sick of the poppy stuff ("Achy Breaky Heart" anyone?) that I gave up on the genre pretty quickly. I have never really gotten into rap or hip-hop, with a few exceptions (like the classic, "Hot in Herre". (Just kidding. It does remind me of when we got married though, because that song was on the radio at least once every 5 minutes in May 2002. And actually, the cover by Jenny Owen Youngs* is super awesome, and includes dancing people dressed as penguins.)) *warning: contains adult language and references to "asses bodacious"

So, my favorite singer/band now? Well, it's a hard choice, but if you were to put a gun to my head and make me decide, I'd probably say Ryan Adams. Chances are even if you don't recognize him by name, you've heard his stuff in the background of a movie or TV show. Soundtracks love him. It's hard to describe what his music is like because it's so eclectic - his songs range from rock to blues to country to bluegrass to folk. Here are a few (OK, several) of my favorites to give you a taste.

New York, New York

One of his most mainstream sounding songs, and probably his most famous song, since it was released shortly after 9/11, although it was written much earlier. He says the song is actually about an ex-girlfriend, not about New York - he often uses place names instead of names for girls in his songs, hence titles like "Dear Chicago," "Oh My Sweet Carolina," "La Cienega Just Smiled", and "My Blue Manhattan."

Oh My Sweet Carolina
This is one of my favorite songs of all time. It shows his country background, and his ability to write a song that is both simple and expressive. The album version features the incomparable Emmylou Harris on backing vocals. This song has been covered all over the place, including a great version by Elton John (the things you learn on YouTube.) There's an interview at the beginning, the song starts around 2:30.

Pearls on a String
A bit of bluegrass. This is such a pretty little song, I just love it. I would love to be described this way: "Glorious kind, always on time." (But a more accurate line would be "Pretty nice, perpetually late.") This clip is two songs - the first one is great too, but feel free to skip to 3:40.

You Will Always Be The Same

This was filmed in the middle of an open market in Jamaica. I was listening to this album pretty much nonstop during our first year of marriage, so it still reminds me of our basement apartment, walking to class, and driving to campus to pick Eric up from work in the middle of a snowy night. A sad song for one of the happiest times of my life.

Touch, Feel, & Lose
The boy knows how to sing the blues. Cry, cry, cry.


Ryan Adams + Oasis? Yes please!

Another dream team - Ryan + Beth Orton, one of my favorite female singer/songwriters. They dated for a while and he wrote a song for her album "Daybreaker" as well as singing backing vocals on a couple of her songs. His song "English Girls Approximately" is about her - he even calls her by name in it. I couldn't find a clip, but I'm sure if you've read this far you've had more than enough Ryan Adams for the day.

So now it's your turn - who is your favorite musician right now?

Friday, May 23, 2008

How Many Lives do Macs Have?

My MacBook is on its third life - or at least, its third hard drive. Last Saturday morning I was reading blogs when it suddenly froze. I had to force quit and manually shut down, and when I started it back up again, guess what? A gray screen with a flashing, question-marked folder. No hard drive. Just like last time. I couldn't believe it. So Sawyer and I spent the afternoon driving to Tyson's Corner for another visit to the Genius Bar (Eric was studying.). I had to leave it overnight, and again they were unable to save anything from the hard drive. It's a good thing I learned my lesson last time and had backed everything up a couple of weeks ago. But I did lose the Enrichment invitations I had designed for Relief Society and my passwords list, which for some reason didn't make it onto the data disk I burned during the last backup. It's going to be a HUGE pain to remember and/or request replacements for all those passwords. But hey, at least my ginormous iTunes library is safe! My next purchase: an external hard drive so I can back up more frequently. I hope if it's going to die again it happens soon, because the warranty expires in July.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

He Talks to Trees

Sawyer and I have been sick with a cold this week, so we've stayed at home for the past few days. Now that he's feeling a little better, he's started going stir crazy. So after lunch today, we took a long walk. He was so excited about it that you'd think I'd been keeping him in a closet for months. "Flowers! Birds! Clouds up high in the sky!" (It reminded me of that line from Knocked Up about how kids are so enthusiastic about life that they remind you of your utter inability as an adult to enjoy anything.) We walked for a long time enjoying the sunshine and breeze. When it was time to go back home, he started saying his goodbyes. "Bye trees. Bye. See you soon!" Then he wanted to touch the leaves on a low branch over the sidewalk and said "Bye trees. Wuv you." We have a tree hugger on our hands.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Six Years With My Mr. Darcy

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

When Eric and I were dating I remember my mom saying that she couldn't get over how much we were like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. We have a sort of antagonistic relationship on the surface, but underneath we have complete understanding and respect for each other. We celebrated our sixth anniversary yesterday. I love you Eric. It just gets better and better.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No Complaints

I got my Complaint Free World bracelet from Tiburon a few days ago. Thank you, Tib! The idea is to wear it on your wrist, and every time you complain about something you have to switch it to the other wrist so you take note of every complaint you make. You also have to switch it if you point out someone else's complaining. I am proud to say that I have done really well. The first day I had to change it twice, and for the past two days it's only been once. If I can keep this up, it may be time to retire the purple bracelet to Eric, since I think he could benefit from it a lot more than I can. Oops, was that a complaint?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Don't Read This...

...if you haven't watched the new episode of LOST yet!

Sweet sassy molassey, how crazy was last night's episode?! MOVE the Island?! Wha-ha-ha-haaaat?! Locke met both Alpert and Abaddon pre-Island - and they tried to recruit him?! Claire is chilling with Christian in Jacob's cabin, apparently high out of her mind?! Locke drew a picture of the black smoke as a child?!

Something I had forgotten from previous episodes is that Locke's mother is named Emily. Remember who else was named Emily? Yep, Benjamin Linus' mother. Are they the same person, or is it a coincidence? Could Locke and Ben be brothers? That would be dramatic for sure, and it would explain why they are both "special" enough to be chosen by the Island. The problem with this theory is that Ben's mom died giving birth to him and in the season one episode "Deus Ex Machina" Locke met his mother - and DNA tests confirmed with 99% certainty that she was who she claimed to be. I think we'll find out that there is a prophecy à la Harry Potter about who the next leader will be which involves being born to a woman named Emily L---- (Locke and Linus have the same number of letters.) Richard Alpert is watching after Locke is born - maybe Horace Goodspeed shows up right as Ben is born because he is being watched in the same way, hoping that he will be the Island's next chosen leader.

Another weird connection is the test that Richard Alpert gave to young John Locke, apparently to find out if he was ready to be recruited to a "gifted school" (which we all know means the Island.) I remembered learning in a World Religions class that a similar test is given to children who are thought to be the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama. Here's part of an article about it:

Officials can decide where to look for the reincarnation [of the Dalai Lama] in several ways: by way of a dream; by watching the direction the smoke drifts after the cremation of the previous Lama and then searching accordingly; or from some sign or vision from a holy lake in central Tibet.

Once found, the officials present the boy with possessions of the previous Dalai Lama to determine whether the boy is familiar with them. If the child chooses the artifacts that belonged to he previous Lama, than that, along with the other signs, is believed to prove he is a reincarnation.

So did those objects belong to Jacob? Or another leader on the Island? Why did choosing the knife cause him to fail the test? It's interesting that the knife was the wrong choice - since that's the object that grownup Locke is always wielding. Maybe it's a sign that he's not being true to his real destiny?

And how about that "Mystery Tales" comic book? The guy with the dark brows looks a lot like the ageless Alpert to me. And notice the floating city.

Thanks to Google, I found out that this comic was published in April 1956 by Atlas Comics (which later became Marvel.) The stories inside include "The Hidden Land!", "A Warning Voice", "The Travelers", and "Crossroads of Destiny". Anyone want to buy a copy on eBay and tell me what the stories say?

I loved the cabin scene, and I'm not embarrassed to admit that I got REALLY scared. As soon as they cue those peeper frogs, I start getting goosebumps. Last night Eric had gone to bed early and there was a huge thunderstorm, so things were set up perfectly for me to get all kinds of freaked out. Then at the exact moment Locke first sees someone sitting in the corner of the cabin, the crappy blinds on our sliding glass door behind me fell off their tracks with a huge crash. I just about peed my pants! I had to do some deep breathing to recover - and then watch The Office to get de-creepified before going to bed.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Coming Out

I've come out about some pretty big things on my blog: infertility, priesthood envy, liking They Might be Giants. Here's another one: I am kind of a hippie.

There is a lot of evidence to the contrary. I'm Mormon, and we tend to be pretty preppy in general. I usually vote republican. I don't wear peasant skirts or Birkenstocks. I live in a yuppie paradise, where we have 50+ chain restaurants within a five mile radius and everyone has perfectly manicured lawns, 2.5 kids and twin Golden Retrievers. Despite all this, here are some of the things that make me a closet hippie (or "clippie.")

-I make soap. (In some circles, that is the only criteria you need.)
-I play acoustic guitar.
-I believe in extended breastfeeding, and have no qualms about whipping out a boob in public to do it.
-I use reusable grocery bags (although this is becoming more and more common, even in yuppie circles, thanks to Oprah).
-I use a Diva cup.
-I think it's sexist that women have to shave their legs. (I still do it though.)
-I know how to compost.
-I'm named after a Joni Mitchell song. Although this says more about my parents than about me, since they're the ones who picked it.
-I grow organic vegetables and herbs.
-I practice yoga and meditation.

So there it is. Thanks to the blogosphere, I have very few secrets left.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

200th Post

This is my 200th post! Which isn't as impressive as it sounds since I've had this blog since 2004. I have gotten better at posting more regularly though.

Arianne tagged me with the 5 Things Meme a while back and I figured today was a good day to tackle it. Sorry it took me so long!

5 Things Meme

What I was doing ten years ago...
1) Taking a semester off from BYU. I had recently broken off an engagement and needed some time to myself and some space. I ended up not going back to BYU the next semester either, I went to Southern Virginia College (now University) instead. Then after my mission I went back to BYU.
2) Living with my parents in Virginia. Along with needing space, I needed to get out of Utah.
3) Working 3 jobs. I worked in a music store, an LDS bookstore, and as a tutor for high school kids.
4) Learning to play the guitar. I practiced constantly - whenever I wasn't at work, my guitar was in my hands. That's something I want to bring back into my life, I don't play nearly as much as I would like to now.
5) Writing to Eric on his mission in Italy. He was awful about writing back, so I only wrote a few times.

Five things on my to-do list today...
1) Fold laundry (that's pretty much always on my to-do list.)
2) Go to the grocery store.
3) Take pictures of new soaps to list on Etsy.
4) Wash my car. The pollen count has been so high the past few days that it's covered in yellow dust. It doesn't help that my car is black.
5) Get some more plastic storage bins for Sawyer's new toys he got for his birthday. I'm learning that the older kids get, the more pieces their toys come with.

Five snacks I enjoy...
1) Cold cereal. I practically lived off it in college. It's what I have for breakfast every single day.
2) Baguette with goat cheese. In fact this can be a whole meal for me. Sawyer loves it too, although he prefers to lick the cheese off and just use the bread as a delivery device.
3) Ice cream. Anytime, anywhere! I just discovered a new favorite flavor - Häagen-Dazs Sticky Toffee Pudding.
4) Special K Cereal Bars. The Chocolatey Drizzle ones are my favorite - and they're just 90 calories a bar.
5) Fruit. Almost any kind. I'm on a mango kick lately.

Five things I would do if I was a billionaire...
1) Hire a housekeeper. I have so many things I want to do and housework just gets in the way. I love having a clean house (and I can't function if I let things go) but I resent the time it takes from other things that seem more important and interesting.
2) Open my own boutique, and hire someone else to run it. Like the housework, it's something that would be really fun to have, but not so much fun to actually do.
3) Travel travel travel. I want to go everywhere.
4) Buy a simple house with a lot of land. I have no desire to have a huge house, but I would love to have the acreage for gardening, raising chickens, keeping horses, and having as many dogs as I want. There are some really nice things about suburbia, but I don't feel at home there.
5) Give a lot of money away. It would be the best feeling to be able to give huge amounts of money to people who could really benefit from it.

Five of my bad habits....
1) When I wash my hair in the shower and loose strands of hair come out, I put them on the shower wall so I can clean them up later - but at least 50% of the time I forget they're there until the next time I get in. Pretty gross. Luckily I have my own bathroom so Eric doesn't have to see it.
2) Picking up lunch at the drive through. It's a waste of money and the food usually isn't healthy, but it seems so much easier when I'm running errands all morning and Sawyer is suddenly starving. He recognizes the Chick-Fil-A sign from a mile away ("Chicken? Fries?") Pretty bad.
3) I do loads of laundry and then leave the clean clothes sitting in the basket forever. See above about folding laundry always being on my to-do list.
4) Using Dora the Explorer as a babysitter while I make soap. He would watch it all day every day if I let him.
5) Forgetting to call people back. When I get a voice mail from someone if I don't call them back RIGHT THEN, chances are that I won't ever remember to. This is why email works so much better for me, there's a constant visual reminder of the message even after I've read it.

Five places I have lived....
1) Northern Virginia (ages 3 to 5, 11 to 22, and 25 to now. So most of my life.)
2) Utah
3) France
4) North Carolina
5) Ohio

Five jobs I've had....
1) Stable hand. I fed, watered and cleaned the stalls of about a dozen horses after school. I made $30 a week for an hour a day, 4 days a week - pretty good for a high school student back then. I loved the physical labor and being around the horses.
2) Music store employee. This was such a fun job, I got to talk to people about music all day. The people I worked with were so much fun, and very different after being at BYU, which was a welcome change. I was the only one there without facial piercings.
3) Summer intern at a DC law firm. I assisted lawyers with clerical stuff like typing, filing, and research. I hated almost every minute of it - the only part I liked was taking the train downtown and using the free gym. I was 100% sure after this summer that I didn't want to be a lawyer - not that I needed much convincing.
4) Secretary/receptionist for the Political Science Department at BYU. I loved this job. The professors and students were so fun to work with and I learned a lot about the field.
5) Teaching assistant. My dad taught religion classes for freshman honors students and I was his TA. I kept attendance, graded papers, and helped students write papers. Plus I got to hear all my dad's lectures and learn from him. Pretty posh job.

I know that's already five - but I just have to add that the best job I've had so far is being a stay at home mom. I didn't expect to love it nearly as much as I do. I love having the freedom to plan my days however I want to, and I can honestly say I've never been bored.

If you feel so inclined to do this - consider yourself tagged!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Birthday Sawyer

My little boy turned three today. I can't believe how big he is, or how fast the past three years have gone by. Happy birthday Sawyer!

Turn up your speakers to watch the slideshow - it has music!

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