Thursday, December 29, 2011

At Sea Soundtrack Session #25

I was rifling through the medical records room at work and a home-mixed CD appeared out of nowhere. In blue Sharpie it's labeled "Blueglass" in handwriting I don't recognize. It must've been jammed between charts and old office supplies. I consider myself a fair fan of bluegrass music, but even if I wasn't, I would deem this semi-magical (I was going to say "miraculous," but that seems more appropriate to describe raising someone from the dead than finding a piece of plastic buried in a shelf of dusty junk). The CD looked scratched up, but I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop for the last several days.

This song in particular has been on repeat:
NOW THAT I'VE FOUND YOU -Alison Krauss


This song isn't on the CD, but I just like it, so...
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME -Zooey Deschanel (Though I do love the Louis Armstrong version. Classic.)


And how cute/lovely/charming is this?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR'S EVE? -Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt

Monday, December 26, 2011

Soundtrack #24

WINTER IS ALL OVER YOU - First Aid Kit



and

POISON AND WINE - The Civil Wars


SAFE AND SOUND -Taylor Swift, featuring The Civil Wars

(I am supa excited to see this movie.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Soundtrack #23 "You're my sweetheart"

I heard this the other day and it just makes me smile. Can't help it.

Ho HEY - Lumineers

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Portrait of a Lady

Remember back on October 15th when I said I was going to read The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James? I finished it tonight. I know, six weeks seems a little... slow. But I was reading other things at the same time! And Henry James can wax a little verbose. And while I was always interested while reading, it's not exactly action-packed. There doesn't seem to be a lot that actually happens as much as you get to know people's motives and thoughts and complications. That may sound lame, but it's not. (Okay, enough with the excuses.)

I loved this book. The characters came to seem like old friends to me. At first I was annoyed with all of them (except Ralph), but as I got to know them better and knew them longer, they became dear to me. Their mistakes and lapses in judgment felt genuine. I saw myself in them—all of them—at one time or another. When Isabel returns to Gardencourt, I felt like I was returning too.

Anyway. It was good. It's considered a "classic." Read it.

“To live only to suffer—only to feel the injury of life repeated and enlarged—it seemed to her she was too valuable, too capable for that.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

Soundtrack #22, C-c-coldplay

I heard this the other day while driving home and now I'm convinced that it needs to follow me around like theme music. Or something.

PARADISE - Coldplay


Thank you, itunes, for letting this be a free download last week. I've been waiting for this song to come out since Coldplay did that interview with 60 Minutes or whatever it was like a year and a half ago:

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS - Coldplay

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Birdy, At Sea Soundtrack #21

I am in love with this album by Birdy. I cannot get enough of it.

I am most especially enamored with this song:
YOUNG BLOOD


And this one too:
PEOPLE HELP THE PEOPLE

Send it post, Soundtrack #20

I love getting mail. Real mail, not junk mail. Today some imported music came that I had ordered a while ago. I love that it came to me from Britain. I love things that come to me from far away.

Just to liven things up:
TIGHTROPE -Janelle Monáe
*YouTube wouldn't let me embed it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Appendix

I wonder what it's like to have appendicitis, and then get your appendix out. Maybe if it happened to me, I would ask if I could keep my appendix, and then have a memorial service for it, like when our hamsters died when we were children. Too much?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Soundtrack #19

Sometimes a cover is better than the original.

I love love love this. Thank you, Justin Vernon.

I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME - Bon Iver

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Soundrack #18

Simply can't get enough.

Skinny Love -cover by Birdy


Loving You Tonight -Andrew Allen


Call Your Girlfriend

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why is that baby wearing that salad? (and Sountrack #17)

You know what was creepy? Those Anne Geddes pictures. I love babies, and I love cabbage, but who puts a baby in a cabbage? Probably the only picture I can really appreciate is this one (which frankly, doesn't need much of an explanation, does it?):

You can bet that this is how my future children will look (the one on the left).

This song is happy.
MUSHABOOM - Feist

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chillax

I have been super stressed lately. SUPER. And today it culminated with my brain feeling like a jackhammer was pounding into it and me simultaneously crying and laughing at a country song on my drive home. Have I snapped? Maybe. Does this mean I'll stop shaving my legs and start eating wheat grass at every meal and dressing solely in Charlie Chaplin-esque attire? Maybe, maybe, and yes.

There are a number of things that can calm my fritzed out state and I would like to share them with you:

1. This website. (Looking at the "10 Best Dressed" is almost as good as getting a massage.)

2. This junk food.









3. This song, and this one, and this one. And this one. Thanks, Ingrid, for making me smile. Thanks, Norah, for mellowing me out. Thanks, Frankie, for letting out all the steam. And Phil? Thanks for seeing my true colors.

4. This movie. Or this one.

5. This radio program.

6. Running. (Which is especially important after #2)

7. Taking showers so long that the wrinkles on my toes have wrinkles.

8. Dancing around like a fool.

9. Visiting this blog, and this one.

10. This video.

11. Taking myself a little less seriously*



* = a really good thing

Monday, October 31, 2011

Soundtrack #16 and stuff

Sometimes you have a miniature break down. And then you work a little harder, walk to the store, do some laundry, throw away things you don't want anymore—and somehow things are a little better. Whatever was clogging your heart-airway comes loose and the act of breathing hasn’t changed at all, but it did get just a bit easier.

I think this song is kind of sweet:

Kiss Me Slowly – Parachute

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Love Affair with Fibrous Baked Goods



A while ago one of my co-workers wanted to bring everyone breakfast. She asked me what I wanted. I told her, "Well, you know I love a good bran muffin." She said, "Yeah, I know. That's kind of weird. What are you—like 95?"

I also seem to wear a lot of purple and some of my favorite movies star Cary Grant.

But whatever.

I love bran muffins. Youthful bran muffins. One of these days they'll discover that bran muffins are the cure to crow's feet and cellulite, and then we'll see who's mocking who.

I've decided that I'm going to find the most delectable healthy bran muffin recipe and then make industrial-sized quantities. Like enough to feed an entire summercamp of overly emotional thirteen-year-old girls. These days I'm in the habit of buying these massive bran muffins from a local grocery bakery. When I say "massive," please envision a baked good the size of a softball. They're very sweet, these muffins. In fact, they're probably more like bran cake (mind-light-bulb: I want bran cake for my birthday!). So while I love them, I think my girlish figure would appreciate it if the "bran" weren't stampeded by "sugar."

These are the first recipes I will be trying:

Bran Muffins III
Bran Muffins
Low-Fat Blueberry Bran Muffins

I'm most excited about the middle recipe (shredded carrot! I just got chills!). And I really mean it when I say "excited."

I don't get out much.

Speaking of birthdays, please get me this:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

First place goes to Henry James

Tonight I decided that I needed to read something that would improve my mind. I don't think my brain is getting as much exercise as it needs. I spend the majority of my day at work where I do rather mindless things and then I come home and try to recover from the drowsy-allergy-medicine feeling that my job induces by doing other (different) mindless things: watching hair tutorials on youtube, doing laundry, thinking about how much I should be doing useful things.

Bip.

Blip.

Bzzzzzp.

That's the sound of my IQ dropping a few points.

So I sat in front of the book shelf, determined to choose something "classic" and "of literary merit." After a while it came down to the books' nationality. It was a toss up between Russia, France, and America.

The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Les Misérables/ The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
The Portrait of a Lady - Henry James

I went with Portrait. I recently read Anna Karenina, so I'm already replete with the delights of Russian novels (long, dark, depressing, dense, but good!) for now. And frankly, I didn't feel like trying to pronounce the French names in my mind (heaven knows I'll say them wrong. Remember how everybody butchered Hermione's name? It's kind of like that). I haven't read anything by Henry James and the text was bigger on the page than the other books. Yep, text size was a consideration. (Baaashlep. There goes another IQ point.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Independent wealth

I would like to be independently wealthy and have at least ten close friends that live within one block of my house who are always hungry at the right times. The house would be my own with a gorgeous fireplace, multiple stories, lots of windows, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases in odd places. I would like to have a large yard with fruit trees, berry patches, a creek, a field, a massive garden, a creaky deck, non-fruit trees, a fire pit, and a pasture for my Jersey cow, Professor WiggleToes (who is a girl). I would like to have five floppy-eared rabbits and a TV station that plays Julia Child episodes every Thursday at 11:00AM (and I would have FoodNetwork too, of course). I also want a breakfast nook, one of those big screened in/ glass window porches, and a fire pole that runs from the top of the house to the bottom for when I'm late for church or I forgot about the rhubarb crisp and I can smell it burning. And then I want to hang around my house in bunchy, slouchy wool socks and sequined sweatpants and Mr. Rogers sweaters and cook and bake everything and anything I want. Then my perfectly hungry friends will come over and we will have boisterous, long, happy meals and everyone will tell about their family vacations and do impressions of their crazy uncles.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Like the rest of us

I keep reading Anne Lamott's books. I started with Traveling Mercies and then moved on to Bird by Bird and then Imperfect Birds. Right now I'm reading her first novel, Hard Laughter. I mostly recommend them all, but with a couple in-bold asterisks. Her books are a high-def jumble of both the reverent and irreverent. If you were to meet one of her characters, you'd probably be able to see their pores and where they missed a spot or two while shaving. If you could smell them, you'd probably pick up a mix of sweat, whatever they ate for lunch, and some kind of bought-in-bulk laundry detergent. If you were to hug one of her characters, their arms would probably tangle awkwardly with yours and they might have a slight paunch. They'd be like real, live people. Only more.

Today as I was reading, a few things stuck out to me:

"My younger brother, who is seventeen, and, like the rest of us, ravenously insecure, feels he must be kind and attentive to the Burn Outs or risk having his dog attacked with a pool cue."

When she says, "the rest of us," I think the narrator's referring to her family, but for a moment, I thought she meant "the rest of US," as in humankind, life, people, whatever.

And next:

"And these are the thoughts I was left with: that romance is stupid and sometimes worth it; that fellowship is risky and always worth it; that I am ridiculous, and that I am not."

Monday, September 26, 2011

At Sea Soundtrack, Session #15

This is what perfection sounds like. My mind is liquidy with the pulse of this song. I'm pretty sure I was humming constantly all day. And then blaring my blown-out speakers before work, during lunch, and on the drive home.

LEAVING SO SOON -Keane

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Freckles

My niece, Jessica, has lots of freckles on her nose and along her cheeks. More of them speckle up in the summer sun. A few weeks ago, I told her, "Jessie, I love your freckles." She put her hands up to her face, smiled, and said, "Thanks." She also has red hair and a quick temper. I love her without the freckles too.

I've always wanted freckles. Lots of them, all over. Instead I have a few random ones and then a whole lot on my shoulders. If I ever got a tattoo, I think I'd just like to have thousands of freckles tattooed on.


You can't really see her freckles, but Jess is in the middle. Maren is on the left and Mark is on the right.

Questions I want answers to after I'm dead

1. Okay seriously, what happened to the Grand Duchess Anastasia?

2. Why do blackheads have to exist?

3. Who really killed JFK?

4. If I stare at the sun for a whole day, will I go blind?

5. What did Moses look like?

6. Why did you do that?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baffled King Composing, Sountrack #14

"Hallelujah" is one of my favorite songs. So beautiful, so sad. It seems simultaneously hollow and overflowing. Once, for a presentation in a Spanish lit class, I made the whole class sing along (don't worry, I had the lyrics on a PowerPoint).

Here are a few covers of it that do its lyrics some justice:

This is a four-part beauty. Youtube wouldn't let me embed it, so listen to it here.

Kate Voegele


Jeff Buckley


Imogen Heap -this cover is very spare; haunting


Regina Spektor


Rufus Wainwright (this is the one you've heard from "Shrek")

Casimir, Soundtrack #13

I was listening to "Casimir Pulaski Day" as I was driving home. I hadn't listened to much Sufjan Stevens lately. I was wearing my sunglasses even though the sun was falling and everything I saw seemed to be covered in a sheer kind of darkness. To me, this song is autumn. When I hear this song, I think of wearing long-sleeved flannel and waking up in the dark and the smell of pumpkin and cold leaves. I think of cheeks made pink with the start of frost. I think of slightly chapped lips and hall lights.

If last Christmastime had a soundtrack, it would be Sufjan Stevens' Christmas collection, "Songs for Christmas." I listened to those CDs over and over: in the car, at home, playing in my mind while sitting on a metal bench, waiting for the bus in the ice and night. When Christmas had passed, I stopped listening, and I missed it. To me, Christmas is now wrapped and seamed together with those songs. I have a hard time separating the holiday season from that music. And whenever I think of the past December, Sufjan is there, playing quietly, peaceably, on repeat.



Dear Sufjan, what do you say to an autumn wedding? I'll wear a cream-colored dress and we can serve everybody hot cider and apple donuts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I Got Soul

This commercial always make me wish I were some hardcore athlete.

I'm not.

But I still have this song on my ipod. And I still feel pretty dope when it comes on when I'm running.

You know what else is rad? Pre.

Don't need no ticket, Soundtrack #12

These are today's songs:

People Get Ready -Eva Cassidy


Dream -Priscilla Ahn


Skinny Love -Bon Iver


Hamburg Song -Keane


To Be Alone With You -Sufjan Stevens


Forever and Always -Taylor Swift

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th: Ten Years

Ten years have passed. When I remember September 11th, 2001, I am horrified and heart-broken again. That day: the events, the people, the pain, the loss, the confusion, the shattering of everything familiar and safe--it is all still with me.

I can feel pretty cynical. I'm sick of people's overloud and in-your-face political diatribes (whatever the side, whatever the position). I'm tired of the greed and irreverence and lack of integrity. I've seen too much of people with their hands clapped over their ears, but their mouths wide open: listening to no one, but shouting themselves hoarse. It is easy to be apathetic and skeptical.

But I am reminded often, and especially today, that there is so much good in the world. There are good people who are holding up good causes. And there are people whose hearts are torn, but they keep moving on, trying to find light in the darkness that the events of September 11th left behind. There is unmeasured kindness. There is healing. I hope I never forget that day. I hope I never forget what it taught me, what I'm still learning. And I hope I can teach those things to my children: compassion, hope, belief, and the honor and importance of grief.

So today I bring you this video. It has brought me peace many times. Because I believe that true wholeness, true healing comes through Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fortress

Several years ago I went to Spanish mass at Salt Lake's Cathedral of the Madeleine. At the time, I thought the cathedral was huge and kind of gaudy. Several months later I headed off to Europe for a study-abroad program and I found myself wandering through cathedral after cathedral, and suddenly the one in SLC seemed meager, almost cheap (though it is not). There were so many cathedrals, in so many countries. Some were so ornate that I just stood there, mouth open, stomach clamping down. Some were smaller, more humble. But they were all beautiful. Old and strong and tall. Inside were huge, heavy columns rising up like trunks of ancient trees. Those columns seemed to be simultaneously reaching to God and pushing him away, keeping him so far above and out of reach. I loved the heavy, unforgiving marble and the bleeding, suffering statues of Jesus; the agonized, heart-broken sculptures of the Virgin Mary. I loved the thick, dark pews. The loved the side chapels with their saints and the displays with the garb of past archbishops.

I wish I could go back. I want to run my hands over the cold stone and stand before the paintings of the Madonna. I want to sit and listen to mass read out in Latin. I want to watch men and women rise from their seats and step forward for the Eucharist. I want to wonder about that bread--is it literally turning into the body of Christ? I want to sing those unfamiliar hymns. I want to close my eyes and breathe in all those hundreds of years of tradition, of worship, of piety, of missteps, of seeking.

I never got tired of going to cathedrals: those grey, glacial fortresses of God.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

At Sea Soundtrack, Session #11

I've been hearing this song on the radio a lot lately, but I love this recording of it the best.

SOMEONE LIKE YOU -Adele


Why are sad songs so irresistible? Especially the honest-feeling ones?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Soundtrack #10

If I could create a photo montage of my life the past several years and set it to music, this might be the song I'd put it to.

HUMBLE ME -Norah Jones

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eating Disorder Recovery

I know there was a time when I didn’t care about my weight or what size I wore—but I just can’t remember back that far. I have five nieces, ages ten to less than two months, and they are each completely beautiful to me. I hate to think that any of them would ever look in the mirror and feel disgusted or ashamed of what they see—but that’s a pretty common experience for women and girls (and it’s becoming less than rare among men and boys too).

The facility I work at is called Center for Change and they specialize in treating eating disorders. Maybe you have an eating disorder, maybe you don’t, but I’m pretty sure you know someone who does. Bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive overeating (or binge eating) are words we hear all the time and they are serious illnesses. But they can be treated. You can get better. You could eat without hating yourself or wanting to purge afterwards. You could be at peace with your body.

I wanted to share some resources for eating disorder treatment in case you or someone you know could use some help.

If you want to know about the Center for Change specifically, take a look at our website. There are numerous resources, tips about how to help someone close to you, and a virtual tour of our facility.

If you think you may have an eating disorder, but you’re not sure, taking this survey can help you get a better idea whether you do or not. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)

At the Center for Change we teach intuitive eating, which focuses on listening to your body and learning to feel and respond to hunger and fullness cues. You can purchase the book we use here.

If you’d like to set up an appointment for outpatient therapy or are interested in one of our more intensive programs, call (801) 224-8255

We offer group therapy Monday-Wednesday. To learn about the different groups, go here.

If you don’t live in Utah, but would like information about eating disorder treatment closer to where you live, take a look at this website.

I am not a clinician. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section and I’ll get back to you. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, send me an email at iraandgeorge@gmail.com

The ED programs at CFC are for females only, but males are welcome to come to group and individual therapy. If you would like referrals for facilities that offer higher levels of care for males, just ask.

**I’m not an official spokesperson for CFC and the decision to share this information was my own.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

All the pretty people

I'd like to borrow some of their stylin':

Zooey Deschanel (a fav)


MIA (just gorg)


Leigh Lezark (I like this pic because she's actually smiling)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Good things {August 16, 2011}

1. Running in shorts that I pulled out of the DI bin at my dorm... seven years ago

2. Fruit snacks

3. Sweet, chubby baby nieces

4. No tendinitis in my knees!

5. The crack on my windshield not getting any bigger

6. Cinnamon toothpaste

7. Green grapes

8. Lucky freckles

9. Spanish

10. Remembering to take my multi-vitamin

11. Driving behind someone whose license plate said "YES WAY." I laughed out loud.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I know this one...

So I posted this video on my old blog, but it is so awesome that I'm posting it again here.



And then tonight I found this, Choreo Cookie's performance this year at Urban Paradise:


So awesome. So good.

*I suggest enlarging the videos because you'll want to see this stuff up close.

Sountrack Session #7: Baby's mojo

The summer of 2008 found me partially unemployed and my sister completely pregnant with my nephew, Sam. I was living at her house and every evening we would commiserate:

Me: Still haven’t had the baby yet, huh?
Sister: Nope. Still haven’t found another job yet, huh?
Me: Nope.

One afternoon, several weeks after Sam had indeed been born, I snatched him and took him to my room for a photo shoot. I am that aunt. I consider it a small miracle that my eldest nephew, Mark (now twelve) didn’t suffer semi-blindness from all the photos I took of him as a baby. I could probably dedicate an entire album to just photos of him in his car seat.

Anyway. With Sam being very cooperative (read: not crying or needing a diaper change) for his paparazzi (me), I decided to put on some music. I alternated multiple times between these two pieces:

MONTAGUES AND CAPULETS -Prokofiev


CLAIR DE LUNE -Debussy


The first made Sam cry; the second calmed him down. Isn’t there some study about how babies are sensitive to dissonance in music? Little kids pick up on tension between people, so it makes sense that they would pick up on tension in music too.

See this picture of little Samuel? Cute, no?

Friday, July 29, 2011

I'm Missing You Like Candy

Not really. But any excuse to reference a Mandy Moore song is good enough for me.

I was realllly tired at work on Thursday. I was yawning every three minutes. My hair was scroungy. Didn't get enough protein at breakfast. My defenses were down. Whatever. I could not stop looking at Candy Blog.

I wasn't even really craving candy, but reading about it seemed to be the absolute best time of my life and use of my day (waaaay better than actually doing my job).

I love candy. Truly. I want to do a blog just like that... mainly so I have an excuse to try every new candy I can get my hands on.

My current love is Reese's Whipps. They're too sugary and the chocolate is fake and too sparse, but I can't get over the "peanut butter flavored" nougat. Clearly, I'm no purist.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Me + J.Lo = Twinners


When I walked into my sister's house with my new haircut, our conversation went like this:

Sister: Your hair! You look like a movie star! I almost didn't recognize you.
Me: (Bowing) Thank you, thank you!
Sister: What movie star am I thinking of? Who do you look like?
Me: J. Lo.
Sister: Really?
Me: Yes. I look just like J.Lo.
Sister: Alright.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On bad days

I want to sit in a dark, large, warm auditorium and listen to poetry. On a particularly bad day, a few years ago, I got to do just that. Billy Collins came to BYU and I found a seat. It was the best place for me and all my cement feelings. And it seems like the best place for me now, today. Not that today is particularly bad, but mostly just particularly taxing. A day when it seems like my veins are frayed and everything seems off—every action and thought is a dress that doesn't fit.

So I’ll invite you into small, quiet auditorium that I built myself. Let’s sit together and listen and not say a word.





At the reading I went to, Billy introduced a poem by saying, "If you are majoring in English, you are basically majoring in death. Death is our thing; it's what gets us up in the morning." I remember laughing out loud—because it’s true.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Soundtrack #6

Today we have music featuring John Mayer.

I used to know him mostly for the song "Daughters," which is lovely and nice and most girls and women like it. But a few years ago I lived with a roommate that introduced me to a lot of his other stuff, stuff that didn't get quite as much radio play, but was better than some of the stuff that got a lot. I was rarely home during the semesters that we lived together. I was spending most of my waking moments at the apartment of a boyfriend, and by the time I got home she was often already in bed. But some nights I'd walk into our shared room and the lights would be off but candles and incense would be burning and she'd be working on an art project. Sometimes her speakers would be billowing acid-trip-inspired-sounding indie music. And other times it was John.

So today I bring you some of my favorites.

COMFORTABLE
This song used to kind of break my heart. The "why'd I have to practice on your heart" addition isn't in the regular version, but it makes it even more poignant, don't you think?

Disclaimer: Watching John Mayer sing may make you uncomfortable... I usually look away and go for the straight-up audio experience.


IN YOUR ATMOSPHERE
Just love.


COME BACK TO BED


FREE FALLIN'
This the best kind of cover: it takes the original and changes the sound, mood, impression.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Having hair cut = wearing a smock

I love to talk about hair. My hair in particular, but anyone else’s too. (Just ask any of my friends, they get to hear about my earthy tresses all the time. Forbearance? Yes.) In fact, I’m pretty interested in your hair routine (dry shampoo? Heat protectant? Perm? Coloring? Big-toothed comb?). I think this fascination might be partially hereditary, because my sister, Julie, likes to talk hair too. And my eldest niece, Maren, is AMAZING when it comes to doing hair—just like her namesake, my other sister. Every time I visit my niece, she gets out her brushes, hairspray, clips, and spray bottle, and I go home looking like I’m ready for the junior prom. She’s ten. Jessica Simpson’s stylist/bff got nothing on her.

I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow. I’ve been toying with the idea of bangs for a while. Big, dramatic bangs. Bangs that will hang over my eyebrows and allow me to do the head swoop to swing them out of my eyes. Bangs that I can use as a curtain to disguise my face during criminal acts. Bangs to make young Anna Wintour jealous. Bangs that will change America.

But bangs probably would not look good on my face. (I told my friend, Courtlin, “But the lower part of my face isn’t very attractive!” She said, “And your forehead is going to help that?”).

So I think I’m going to go for it. It’s probably a mistake, but a mistake with my hair is a mistake I can afford.

There’s this YA book by Louise Plummer called The Romantic Obsessions and Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier. The main character, Annie, humiliates herself in a way that isn’t cute or endearing, but makes you cringe and want to look away. After she does this humiliating thing, months later, she gets her hair cut—lopped off actually. She tells the hairdresser, “I feel like a new person!” And the hairdresser says, “Sometimes that’s necessary.” And sometimes it is.

From the lovely blog, CUP OF JO.


From A Beautiful Mess. Just scroll through and breathe in the aroma of really, really glorious hair.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summa Time and Soundtrack #5

Today I bought this nail polish. NYC's take on this orangey-coraly color is called Spring Street. Please. It should be called Summer Street. If there was a way to dip my whole body in this color, I think I'd do it. And then I'd eat a snow cone.

In honor of this hot July day, I bring you this song. I have yet to hear it done better than Corinne Bailey (in fact, most of the covers I've heard are braces-and-head-gear ugly). This song makes we want to put on some-cut offs, grab a glass of lemonade, and ride in the passenger seat with the windows down, cruising through the canyon and thinking about how good life is. Mm hm.

PUT YOUR RECORDS ON

Sunday, June 26, 2011

At Sea Soundtrack, Session #4

Ray Lamontagne. He worked in a shoe factory or something before pursuing music. I'm so glad he quit the shoe thing and did this instead.

JOLENE

At Sea Soundtrack, Session #3

First Aid Kit is band I love love love.

Do yourself a kindness and listen to

Ghost Town

I Met Up With the King

Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

When I Grow Up

You're Not Coming Home Tonight

TANGERINE

But the last few days I've had this song weaving around in my mind. The lyrics are pathetic and painful and tangy.

Dreams I've had lately:

1. That Jerry and I drove up a steep hill (read: perpendicular to the ground) to pick organic blueberries at a farm. In our pajamas.

2. Elijah Wood was my boyfriend. All I remember is sitting next to him at a restaurant and that he was charming.

3. Getting in trouble at the office because my friend from Ohio jogged by and we talked for twenty minutes—when I was supposed to be working. I woke up stressed about losing my job.

Tonight I drank a diet cherry Dr. Pepper. I am very awake.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mail Order





I’ve been a Vogue subscriber for the past two years. I pore over the editorials. I read the articles. I breathe in the perfume ads. I give a little nod of respect to the names “Anna Wintour” and “Grace Coddington” on the inside pages of the cover.

But I’m kind of over the articles about the movie-star covergirls. They are uninspiring. Every celebrity they interview seems to “have it together” and seems to really “open up” and “be themselves” with the interviewer. Uh huh. Right. (And the hottest trend these days seems to be how “transforming” motherhood is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for motherhood. It just seems kind of uncouth when it’s placed at the same level as having the newest pair of Jimmy Choos.) This month was Emma Watson. I loved her in the Burberry campaign and she has some good points to her story. But I was just… uninspired.

So. Do I renew my subscription?

Oh geez. I probably will.

Anti-Aging


One time, when I was seventeen, I was at Jo-Ann’s fabric store with my mom. The cashier thought I was fourteen. One time, when I was at the Creamery getting kids’ meals with Jordan and Courtlin, some guy in line thought I was a freshman. I was twenty-four. People tell me that I’ll really appreciate that kind of thing when I’m forty. Now I’m twenty-five, but I still throw people off because I’ve been lucky enough to sport acne that usually only fifteen-year-olds get to have. Pity I don’t still have braces, or I’d have EVERYBODY fooled.

Now I am seguing into an unrelated experience. I went to the dermatologist recently (SEGUE) and as I was lying down on the examining table and getting light shined onto my extremely youthful face, the doctor asked me, “Where do you work?” and then “What do you do there?” I responded, “Oh, I just do secretarial work.” He was prodding my forehead with something metal and when I said that he patted my cheek and eyebrow with the palm of his hand and said, “You poor thing. Probably every time someone asks you that question you say ‘just a secretary.’” He then went on to talk about a lot of the “just” jobs he’d had and how you could turn it into something noble through your attitude and work ethic and he made several comments about my self-worth and potential and the important work I’m doing and about having dreams and— I could not think of a thing to say. I wanted to sound gracious and hopeful but instead I responded with, “Mm hm” and “Yeah.” Throughout the whole spiel he kept patting my cheek and poking at my face. The nurse who was in the room with us didn’t say a thing. I wanted to ask her if he did this all the time. I bet he does: writes prescriptions for zits and throws a little therapy in there too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Girl, put your records on... Soundtrack Session #2

Today I stopped into Gray Whale. It is a wonderful, wonderful place. I was just browsing around in the pop/rock section (with frequent jaunts over to the indie section when a band came to mind) when I heard a delicious guitar solo over the in-store speakers. I wanted to ask one of the three employees who it was, but I was nervous. They all seemed nice enough: asking me if I was looking for anything, re-shelving CDs, scratching their beards and pulling at their grunge-perfect skinny jeans. One of them was leaving and called out in a sincere voice, “I love you, man,” to which his co-worker replied, just as sincerely, “Hey, I love you too.” By the time I’d gotten enough nerve, a few songs had passed, but I asked anyway. The employee was popsicle-stick thin, with scraggly un-washed-looking blonde hair, blonde stubble all over his face, wearing a faded plaid shirt and a look of genuine concern.

Me: Um, do you know who that song was? Not this song, or the last one, but the one before that?
Him: Was it totally shredded? Forehead accordionned together, eyes half-closed in concentration.
Me: Ah. Mm. Ehh…
Him: Like, was it shred-tastic?
Me: Well… I can’t really remember it very well now... *This was mumbled because I do not know what “shred” means.
Him: Well, let’s check it out.
He walks over to his co-worker, who has a phone pressed to his ear and has a very orthodox-Jew looking beard (totally awesome) and asks him about it. The other guys turns to me:
Other Guy: Was it shreddy?
Me: Ah. Mm. Ehh… There weren’t any vocals, just a guitar solo.
Other Guy: Ah! It was probably Dead Meadow.
Me: Ah! Thanks.

Other Guy then gives me a run down on the “birth” of music like Dead Meadow. And how it was post-this, and pre-that and if I was interested in them, I should also check out Dear Hunter and Crocodiles (it’s the one with the midget on the cover). And did I know how Black Sabbath sounds? (I do, thanks to my brother, Daniel.) It’s kind of got the sound of Black Sabbath. He tried to offer me more suggestions, but whoever he was supposed to be on the phone with must’ve actually started talking back. At about this time, I wanted to ask them both to be my friends and if they had any job openings. I didn’t.

I fully intend to check out those three bands, and I’ll let you know what I think. But for now I leave you with something that isn’t exactly shred-tastic, but is definitely fantastic.

This song shoots right to my fif-six-seven-eight-nine-teen-year-old heart. In it is the boy I had a crush on in high school and then the boy I was half in love with my freshman year at college. We’d run into each other on campus, both nervous, and me not quite managing to breathe correctly. To me, everywhere was the park because of him.

THE PARK -cover by Bon Iver


There is one minor swearing incident during the interview, before the song begins. To avoid that, start listening at 0:51.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Come

My mom is reading a book called Delta Belles by Penelope Stokes. I have no idea what it's about or if it's any good, but there is a poem in the front, presumably by Ms. Stokes. My mom showed it to me when she started reading.

Invitation

The sweetest word
upon the tongue
is
"Come."

Come back to where
you once belonged,
back to those who
knew you,
loved you,
believed the best of you.

Row, if your ship has sailed;
Swim, if all your bridges have been burned;
Fly, if the chasm seems too wide or deep—
But come.


There are times in our lives when we have to return. Sometimes what seems like the next step turns into a detour and we find ourselves miles upon miles upon miles away. And when we finally realize it, we must pack our bags, put on our most comfortable shoes, and hope that our legs are stronger than they seem. Sometimes it's time to come home.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Take a leotard and add a skirt


I’m not Betsey Johnson’s biggest fan, or even much of a fan at all. But I do have some respect for the woman because hey—even though she’s almost seventy she does a cartwheel at the end of every show, sports the most obvious weave and mowed blonde bangs I’ve ever seen, and her line is always unmistakably hers. Maybe I wouldn’t wear it, but I’d never confuse it for anything else either. If you could fill a blender with psychedelic colors, Americana, 40’s pin-up girl style, biker chick chic, and add a heavy dash of everything outrageous—you’d have yourself a Betsey Johnson concoction.

So why even write this post? Because the hair at her fall 2011 show was AME. SOME. She used spray paint and lace to create a silhouette on her models’ hair. Totally beautiful, totally original, and totally Betsey.

At Sea Soundtrack, Session #1

Sometimes I wish my life could have a soundtrack. Just making a mixed CD to be played at my brother’s wedding reception provided (literally) hours of joy. I’d like to put my life playlist together myself.

Be the DJ of your own life!

(Motivational speakers everywhere are undoubtedly going to pay some serious lettuce for the rights to that phrase.)

Or else maybe it would be better if someone else made your soundtrack—some demi-god of music who could add in an unknown, yet perfect folk song for the day you drove towards college and away from childhood. Perhaps some obscure classic-rock ballad for your stint on an intramural soccer team. Maybe a ten-minute guitar solo for the sweaty-palm moments leading up to your first kiss. Things like that.

For this first session of At Sea Soundtrack, I bring you a song from Zee Avi. I have loved this song for several years; it resonates.

Disfrute!

One-Minute Dance

My freshman year at college was a tumultuous one. I wasn’t having torrid love affairs or losing big money on risky investments (who knew inflatable furniture would be a bust?). I was just an emotional wreck. But there were a few things that helped me survive: baked potatoes, good friends, strawberry milk, multiple dates with a boy who was always looking for my never-home roommate—just to name a very few. And then there was the one-minute dance.



You probably don’t yet grasp the radness that is the OMD, and you won’t until you try it. The name is deceiving; it’s a dance all right, but it’s not just one minute in length, it can go for as long as you want. OMD can be done alone, with a partner, or (provided you have enough room and padded walls) with a group. While you may be dancing in the same room with someone, you’re not dancing with them.

It has a few seemingly ordinary components that come together to create unadulterated magic:

First: Find a room that has a lot of open space, or at least is a room that you know well enough to have a good sense of where everything is.

Second: Find some sweet tunes with a phat beat, like this, and put them on the stereo. Turn up said tunes.

Third: Turn off all of the lights.

Fourth: Dance like nobody’s watching—because they aren’t; you turned off the lights in step 3.

The third step is really the most crucial. It’s so powerful because with one flip of a switch, any self-doubt about your ability to break it down is gone. This is an ideal time to try out your c-walk or whip out your Shakira -inspired moves, circa 2006.

I have very fond memories of OMDing. One time my friend, Kate, and I danced for 30 minutes straight. We were stressed out and just trying to stay afloat. There is a camaraderie that comes with doing the one-minute dance: you can’t see the other person, but you know they’re there, probably doing some funkified verison of the Macarena, which makes you feel pretty good about your attempted crunking.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Prologue

I had another blog before this one. But I'm starting over at so many things right now, so a new blog seems logical and necessary.

My name is Amanda, but on here I'll being going as Sylvia Louise, which is a combination of my two middle names—one given at birth, and the other given later by my older sisters.

Right now I'm working at a job I don't love and eating a lot of peanut butter—which I do love.

It's so good to meet you. Let's do lunch sometime.