Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Favorite 74 Minutes

Seventy-four of my all time favorite minutes of music. My go-to songs. As follows.

1.  You Are My Sunshine by Nat King Cole
2.  My Girl by The Temptations
3.  Come Away With Me by Norah Jones
4.  Clair de Lune by The APM Orchestra
5.  (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
6.  Blurred Lines (feat. TI and Pharrell) by Robin Thicke
7.  Defying Gravity by Idina Menzel & Kristin Chenowith
8.  Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
9.  Theme from New York, New York by Frank Sinatra
10.  Breathe (2 AM) by Anna Nalick
11.  Livin' On A Prayer by Bon Jovi
12.  Knee Deep (feat. Jimmy Buffett) by Zac Brown Band
13.  Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles
14.  America The Beautiful by Ray Charles
15.  I'm Yours by Jason Mraz
16.  Only Fools Rush In by Elvis Presley
17.  Orange Colored Sky by Natalie Cole
18.  What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
19.  Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Rosemary Clooney
20.  Old Blue Chair by Kenny Chesney

And in case you were wondering, there are no links because my favorite versions aren't always playable online, and finding my favorite versions that melded into exactly 74 minutes was HARD!! In case you were wondering part II: The last three songs to be painfully removed from the list were:

1. Stay by Rihana
2.  Anything But Mine by Kenny Chesney
3.  Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses

And then there was Loved You Tonight by Jon West, and Still Still Still by John Schmidt, and Ed Sheeran, and Saving Jane, and Etta James, and The Fray, and Whitesnake... I could go on. It's been a rough couple days!

Monday, September 23, 2013

What's in a Song

I've become obsessed with this idea. I was driving with a friend in the car last week and we were listening to a mixed CD she had in. I commented on what a great mix it was and she informed me that it was given to her by a girl she was in a wedding party for. It was all of the bride's favorite songs.  What a fantastic idea!  I immediately decided I'd need to convince all my family members and close friends to make a CD of their favorite songs. All time. And they'd have to fit on a single CD. Then you could share them all and have a CD of all your loved ones favorites to remind you of them at any time. Then I started to get palpitations at the prospect of having to narrow down my favorites all into one small CD.  I'm still in the process. I started with a list of 42 songs that had to be on there. Paring the list down is SO hard. SO hard. I'm currently at somewhere around 23... See, I had 23 at one point, then I'd think of a reason I could cut one off the list, but I'd need to add one or two more on.  So I'm at 23 ish.

The thing you realize is that when you have to choose so few songs to represent your all time favorites is that every song on the list has a deep back story. Tells a story about who you are, where you've been, and about what's important to you. It's unbelievably personal in a vulnerable and intimate way. 23 songs that are at the core of the person that I am. Music has always played a large role in my life. I've danced in the middle of my living room while no one was watching, I've danced in celebration with friends, and I've danced in professional sports arenas. I've sang in the shower and in my car, I've sang in church, and I've sang with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. I've played my parent's hand-me-down organ while teaching myself one finger at a time. I've taken piano lessons from a classically trained Italian pianist.  I've been in love with Broadway for years. I love all genres, I have weeks worth of music on my ipod and I truly believe that where words fail, music speaks. This process of choosing 74 minutes of my favorite songs is turning into quite the painful process, and it's really looking like the finished product will be pretty awesome :)  And I can't wait to have a collection of my friends and family!!!  Stay tuned for my final playlist!!  What would you put on yours?!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On Dreams

(Today's thoughts brought to you by a timely text from my sister followed by the above. You're welcome.)

The thing about dreams is, when it takes you more than ten years to reach one, you can't expect it to look and feel like you thought it would when you began the journey. You're a different person. You change. Things change. Life happens. Growth.

And that doesn't mean that the dream was flawed or that you screwed up the process. It just means that reaching for the stars and accomplishing things changed you. It's supposed to. I saw these beautiful words on the delightful and beautifully honest Meg's blog today:

When you can’t bear something but it goes on anyway, the person who survives isn’t you anymore; you’ve changed and become someone else, a new person, the one who did bear it after all. | Austin Grossman

I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her. | Kaci Diane

I do not understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. | Ann Lamott

Think of all the challenges you've faced in your life. The big ones. The ones that leave a hole in the center of your being that you're quite sure can never be filled. You got through it. And in retrospect, that first thing that felt as if it was shaking your world upside down was nothing compared to each subsequent one.  You've changed and become someone else, a new person, the one who did bear it after all. And maybe some of the struggles were personal. Maybe some of the struggles were more of a process --surviving nursing school when you constantly feel like you're drowning for at least the first 18 months. Maybe some of the struggles were watching dear ones go through their struggles. Everyone has their list. Their process, blueprint for making them who they are.

Whatever it is that got you here, embrace it. And embrace the here. If you can't do that, at least accept it. Breathe it in and just sit with it for a little bit. Accept it for what it is now as seen by the beautiful person you've become. Believe that the person you are is beautiful. It's most likely true. Give yourself time. Without a time frame for final acceptance or rejection. Give yourself credit. You're pretty great after all --and you can do hard things!!

Also --don't underestimate the power of a good nap and a good laugh. (Those Irish and their proverbs --smart!)

(Now back to the Vampire Diaries...)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Musings on a Toaster

My parents have had the same toaster their entire married life. Longer than I've been alive. It's been a constant. And it's still there. The timer might be broken and you might have to manually eject your carb-food source of choice, but I swear it still makes toast taste better than any other toaster. As I waited for my cinnamon bagel to be sufficiently browned this morning I had a sudden yearning for that toaster in my own life. Something that's a part of a home, part of a family, something with staying power. Something that in 30 years my children will come home and realize they've never seen my kitchen without. Something that while there are newer sleeker models out there isn't worth replacing because its just that sturdy. Well-built. Constant.

And two smaller thoughts...

At some point you realize that through all the perceived short-comings and failures in your life, all the time spent pondering where you thought your life would lead, the path you thought you'd take, you realize that you've built a life. Your own. And it's spectacular. And you can't have the life you were so sure you were destined for and the one you made. And you realize given the choice between the two, you'd pick the life you've made every time. And maybe that's a bit scary, but its also right. And maybe not knowing what's next is perfectly ok.

So now the question is, what do you do when you wake up one morning, consecutive mornings, and realize that everything you've aimed for and accomplished has led you to your dream job. You've made it, you have it, and you hate it. You wouldn't take any of it back, and each step was right at the time. But what now? It feels like a heroin addict perpetually chasing that initial high. You change all the pieces, the variables and you just can't get the same feeling as those first days walking out of the hospital on cloud nine, the perma-grin high. What do you do when you realize you hate the job the past thirteen years -longer really- of your life has been aimed at? For now, you smile, you fake it, and you buy new running shoes. #runhappy What's around the next corner?

Sigh. Dear Ethiopia, please get more consistent Internet... The current state of access to my dear friend is impeding my ability to whine and hash out my first world problems. So, ya know, when you get past the whole clean water, and basic health, safety and sustainability, if you could do wifi after that -that'd be great. I miss you Mercy!!