Sunday, November 27, 2011


Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way 
                                   -- Native American saying

Advent Calendar, Take II

I had such a great time last year putting together special daily blog treats for the thisisish Advent Calendar. I am living a childhood dream right here (this is a direct example of the curse of a large family - having only a few days of the advent calendar allotted to your opening).

Anywho, I couldn't wait to get it going again this year. In fact, I planned to correctly start it on the day it should begin, the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Now let's be honest here: this countdown isn't really about Christianity or JC (it's more about looking forward to a daily surprise) but I do feel obliged to loosely respect the religion that was spoon fed to me for so many years. In that vein, I am a leetle late getting going but still will be here everyday with a treat for you, should you choose to check the page. Also new this year, I am trying to provide more things to meditate on, between the chewy rich goodness of a cheesy Christmas clip or a Glee cover (it still blows my mind). BUT again, who am I kidding, I default to elementary humor most of the time.

Enjoy the sentiment this time of year inspires!

Friday, November 25, 2011


We had two Thanksgiving feasts planned this year. One up in a lovely donated home in Breckenridge with the Harris clan. It was truly a delicious escape all around. By the time the second one (on the real Thanksgiving day) rolled around, miss M was knee deep in Rotavirus territory and on her 4th outfit of the day when I left for my mom's house. I was upset that I was spending Thanksgiving without D and M since all day I had been thinking about how thankful I was to have them in my life. At my mom's house, we went around the table saying at least one thing we were thankful for this year. Many of us had more than one thing to share. The littlest JC said she was thankful for her new computer, her phone and cell phone minutes. Me? I am thankful for my Andy, my M, my Gingy, and the rest of the family I have to share this existence with; I'm glad we can find ways to laugh and support each other through it all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Have You Heard

NPR is doing a recurring series where their young interns review classic albums they've never listened to before. I found it when I read this article, where Clare Flynn reviews Joni Mitchell's Blue album. I love the concept. As I grow older, I despise thinking my music range is getting more archaic. In fact, I feel the music I love has barely aged at all. Yet there have been numerous occurrences when speaking to someone younger than me, where I realize my company has never listened to Led Zeppelin or thinks Pearl Jam is "classic rock" (ouch. Are they like the Stones now? and did I just make someone else's stomach churn?)

It makes me feel more camaraderie with D as we age, since we mostly grew up with and like the same music (though he doesn't get Indie and I never really belonged at an 80s White Snake concert). I'm a classic lover at heart; and by "classic" I mean the concept of something being older; having carved out a spot in the musical landscape over the years. I am drawn to the way tunes tack down moments in our social history.

That is why I want to hear what a young person thinks about an older artist and a great piece of work and how they relate to it from their perspective current day (in the muck of the influx of music nowadays). I really dig it when a friend recommends an artist or a song that they love; even more so when they tell me why it gets to their marrow or where they were in their life when it touched them. Having that background information seems to intrigue me more than if I would have found the work on my own and fallen in love with it. I guess it's an empathetic connection, a relationship to another being as I listen and make a connection to the music myself. It makes me feel not so alone in this lonely existence. I guess that's why music is so powerful in general - it speaks to us on a more primal level.

A few months ago my niece and nephews sent me some of their favorite songs and I sent them some things to check out as well. It was an exercise in bringing the generations together after a conversation at JL's birthday party about what they were listening to. I lamented that they didn't really know who Eddie Vedder was, had yet to fall in to the high school experience of Led Zep on repeat, or that they knew an artist, like Maroon 5, but didn't recognize/understand their cover of Highway to Hell.

I dug back in to my musical archives to introduce them to tunes such as: Sabotage, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, At Dawn, Tangerine, Back in Black, Hotel California (Live), Glycerine, Every Rose Has It's Thorn, Baby's Got Sauce, Groove Is In The Heart, Badfish, Undone, Do You Right, Faithfully, Silver Springs, Just A Girl, Dancing Nancies, Crazy, Top of the World, Dancing In The Dark, Mr. Jones...the list goes on and on. It was tempered mostly by things I thought they would love at this stage in life. I was reconnecting with memories of singing loudly in cars with friends, getting fired up for volleyball games, falling in love and heartbreak, having best friend anthems, etc...It was kind of like reading Twilight: I felt like a teenager again and I secretly LOVED the exercise.

In return, I got some recommendations from them that make me feel more in touch (rather than their old aunt in elastic waistband pants): Can't Tell Me Nothing - Kanye West, Don't Hold Your Breathe - Nicole Scherzinger, Grenade - Bruno Mars, Headstrong - Trapt, I Wanna Go - Britney Spears, Helena Beat - Foster the People, Like a G6 - Far East Movement, Magic - B.o.B, Raise your Weapon - Deadmou5, Stereo Hearts (feat. Adam Levine), Whats my name - Rihanna and Drake, Written in the Stars - Tinie Tempah and Eric Turner, Crazy For This Girl - Evan And Jaron (shout out to Dawson's Creek and more pointedly, Pacey), Here (In Your Arms) - Hellogoodbye, Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Hilson, Into Your Arms - Maine, Misery and Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5, She is Love - Parachute (though K suggested other songs), F**ckin' Perfect - Pink (which lead to Raise Your Glass), In Love with the 80s - Relient K (cover of Manic Monday is fun too), Enough To Let Me Go - Switchfoot... their lists go on and on (and to be honest, I still haven't checked out the country recs for the most part). Then there are songs I smile knowingly at: It Girl - Jason Derulo, Laffy Taffy - D4L, Cowboy's Back In Town - Trace Adkins, a dios le pido - Juanes, Better With The Lights Off - Chris Brown, as well as all the gangsta tunes that seem to be popular with white surburban youth (enter car scene from Office Space).

We already have songs and artists in common. You can imagine how happy I was to see Queen's Under Pressure (which was a favorite of mine in High School) on KS's list and to know JL likes Foster the People.

I range from 50s pop to Johnny and June Carter Cash to Fatboy Slim to Beyonce on my running playlist (it's mostly old reliables and doesn't feel all that edgy or hip). I do feel open to the possibilities and the conversation of new music. Though my musical taste aligns mostly with RL (and he never sent me any songs/artists to check out ;), I think we've started a new dynamic to our relationship. I hope they will keep me cool long after I am not and someday I will introduce them to an oldie but goody album, like Siamese Dream. sigh.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Duggin' It

Did you know the world population is at 7 BILLION people? You probably did. BUT did you know that 200 years ago the world population was at 1 Billion people? And that 50 years ago it was at ~3.5 Billion people? You thinking what I'm thinking? What will our numbers look like 50 years from now?

- btw check out these population photos from The Atlantic -

I'm a leeettle freaked out that we're "overdoing" it, so to speak. Though this is just another reminder that we are animals, the real piece that kills me is that we are educated animals but we're acting like friggin' rabbits. I mean, we are not cavemen anymore struggling for the survival of our species. And the last time I checked, most of us are not working in the fields anymore so we don't need the "manpower." Don't get me started on the Duggar's big announcement this past week. 20 kids? Really. 20. 20 kids is palpable? It kills me even though they subsist on their own and don't ask for government help.

Now, I'm not trying to tell anybody else how many kids to have or if they even should have kids in the first place. I come from a large family and I relish having five sisters. What I am saying is that it's our responsibility not only as parents but also citizens of the world to analyze the physical, emotional, financial, and ecological pressures of having a child. We are responsible for looking at the bigger picture rather than just thinking to ourselves, "let's do it and worry later" or "God will provide as many children as he thinks we can handle." Last time I checked, God wasn't living here on, uh, he's not going to mind so much if there's not enough food or water to go around. He gave us brains, let's use them.

Rant over.

P.S. This is a more upbeat article on the subject.

Friday, November 11, 2011


It's my mom's birthday today. I wanted to find an old photo of her but I really don't have one of just her alone. I have a bunch of old photos from my dad's album and this one is a favorite. I like how happy she looks.

Seeing this reminds me that, whatever age we are, we all need to stop and enjoy the flavor of youth right now (in this photo - AUG 68 - I'm not sure how old my Aunt Ginger is, but my mom is 28 and my dad is 36).

Happy Birthday Mom!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Love Bug

I fell in love with M's Halloween costume long before she even knew about it. Weeks ago I hung it in her closet on display so I could look at it because I thought it was so dang cute. You can imagine my dismay when I finally took her for a test drive in it and she acted more like Francis, the ladybug from A Bug's Life (Denis Leary's voice and a bad temper due to often being mistaken for a female).

Slowly though she warmed up to it. D and I both thought it was brilliant.

By Halloween, she was kind of in to it. Though on the flip side, I don't think she understood other people dressing up. She refused her Aunt T when she tried many times to pass along a lime but took it the second I handed it to her. Hence why she seems a little sallow in these photos...

Tricia on the other hand was getting a little Captain in her. Bravo Trish-RRRRRR (shout out to mom and pirates) for hosting the best - and our only - trick or treating stop by making it "parent-friendly."

It was "old-fashioned" kid friendly too.

Back at home we carved what D and I agree is one of the best pumpkins we have ever had. It was a great size with a super cute curled stem on top and plenty of room for a friendly face.

I love Ginger peaking through his arm in this photo.
I love that you can see so many different things in this photo.  
I'm always a sucker for a good Gingy angle
though I wish I could get her in to a lion mane one of these years. 
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I would be remiss if I didn't mention the new little nugget Nancy and Ed welcomed in to the world last week (it was a big week in our house). The second act following the almost incomparable HRR; weighing in at 7 lbs. 2 ozs and 20 3/4" long: miss MGR. 

When Nancy initially told me she was pregnant, I hoped it was a girl (I'd like to believe I knew the sex from the get-go b/c everything seems so definitive in retrospect). Don't get me wrong: I have some awesome nephews; but there was something about the promise of another little girl... I envisioned tea cups and tutus and slumber parties. I wanted the notion of that for my daughter and her little cousin. Who knows how they will actually turn out, perhaps they will be tomboys preferring motorcycles to Mystery Date but for the time being I am going to envision them as fast girly friends.

I explained to miss M that she was handing off the baton. She is not the littlest gal on the block anymore. My gosh, she's a toddler already. She can show MGR how it's all done. Just as M watches HRR with curious eyes and awe, I hope she in turn shows MGR the things she has discovered along the way.

I think she's excited (who doesn't love spending time with a cousin).

MGR: we welcome you! You are beautiful! Learn to be funny and use the brains in your head. Remember, you will always be loved by many.