“I didn’t even guess that I was happy”

17 06 2009

There is this wiggle-shimmy-dance-thing that I do whenever I am enjoying what I’m eating. It’s subconscious. I never knew I did it until I caught Ruthie doing it one day across the dinner table from me. We were positively inhaling sugared strawberries from a bowl between us. She started wiggling her little booty on the seat and shimmying her shoulders, her mouth closed in the shape of mmmmmmm. Even now, I can remember the way those strawberries felt so cold and so new on my tongue; the way they bled that sweet, pink syrup; the way they melted into the insides of my cheeks.

Today, as I sit down to write, I catch myself doing that dance of satiation. Why? Because I have three glorious hours of quiet writing time spread out before me like an empty glass lake. Because ever since I woke up this morning, my mouth won’t stop smiling and my toes won’t stop bouncing in time with the music I’ve been listening to. Because my coffee is the perfect temperature. Because today, I am my friend.

Mornings like this make me wish I were a poet, which I am not. So I’ll share a few lines from the poem that captured my attention this morning. Linda Pastan, in her poem “The Happiest Day,” writes

I didn’t even guess that I was happy.
The small irritations that are like salt
on melon were what I dwelt on,
though in truth they simply
made the fruit taste sweeter.

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And now for something completely different…

15 04 2008

On this, my second day of Spring Break, I found myself in a situation that made me remember the very best version of myself in college. I was driving down Dean Ave with the windows down––it’s in the 50’s today in Auburn–and Jack Johnson blaring on my stereo (tracks 8 and 13 on his new album). I called one of my dearies from college who used to copilot with me on such outings that generally led to country drives way out Moore’s Mill Rd. and at least a half a pack of cigarettes on my end. Jack Johnson will always be the musical score to my Springtime.

As a result of my finally springing into Spring, I have begun my Spring shopping. For you, my friends, I have developed the Spring Enjoyment List––it might be better than the O List, but sadly, as I am an educator with a two year old, I cannot afford to give any freebies away. Instead, I will direct you to the websites where you might purchase them for yourself if you so choose.

10. Gardening gear

9. Timeless tumblers for a toddy or a sweet tea on the front porch

8. Pajama pants that you can be seen wearing in public

7. New place mats to brighten up our kitchen/dining room

6. A Corona with lime

5. A Springy wallet that doubles as a purse in Wasabi.

4. Jack Johnson: Sleep Through the Static

3. Nanette Lepore sling backs (These are still on my wish list, but they are oh-so beautiful!)

2. Votivo candle in Honeysuckle

1. New nail polish (and a pedicure to boot!)

Add to this list a brilliant novel that you’ve been putting off until you have “more time” (mine: The Amber Spyglass and The Year of Magical Thinking), a new handbag (preferably the one by Marc Jacobs that I was eyeing last weekend), and some fresh fruit, and you’re set to go.





as large as alone

28 02 2008

I have been really excited about the new Jack Johnson album: Sleep Through The Static. It contains his signature truth-telling lyrics with that whimsical, plucky guitar. It’s a gorgeous composition of soft and loud, and it reminds me of spring time in college. It’s the kind of music that makes it almost glamorous to be alone––the music itself is intimate, deeply personal, yet universally true. Or so I thought.This week, we’ve been writing for our portfolios, so I’ve been playing a lot of music during class. Usually I play it safe with wordless jazz and I stick to the basics: Miles and Coltrain. But the other day I decided to introduce some of my own music. Class, meet Jack Johnson. I was thinking, How could anyone not love this? I mean, I know it’s not Fergie or Van Halen or Lil Wayne, but c’mon. This is real. good. stuff. (But not as real or as good as Miles and Coltrain obviously.)Before the first song was 15 seconds in, I was greeted with the following critique from my astute musical connoisseurs. “Ugggh. This is lover’s music.” or “Awww man. What is this?” Some of the students tried to build my ego back up by offering comments like “If I were sitting in a restaurant, and this played, I would be like, hmmm. What’s that?” Of course, this kind soul’s final words were cut off by another commentator’s insistence that such music would make her “Get up and leave that joint!” Then yet another sympathetic student said, “Naw… It sounds like elevator music to me.”And so it is decided. I am lame. According to 8th graders anyway. I have to admit, Jack Johnson sounds different post 8th grade bashing, but they can’t take away my history with Jack. And so I will continue to listen and enjoy that melancholy “lover’s music.”





Neitzsche and NPR on Music

9 11 2007

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The man who proclaimed that “God is dead” also made the claim that “Without music, life would be a mistake.” For me, music has marked some of the most significant times in my life.

My childhood is marked by music and most of my earliest memories about music come from my dad’s 1982 280Z. Other musical markers include: Steve Winwood, Earth, Wind, and Fire–these are the sounds of my parents entertaining their friends at dinner after we kids had “gone to bed.” George Winston is the sound of my dad reading the paper and preparing his lesson on Sunday morning. Hootie and the Blowfish was the first concert I went to when I was in the 8th grade–my dad took me. Dave Matthews is the artist that carried me through adolescence. Ani Difranco is the voice of my rebellion against my parents. Van Morrison reminds me of sweet times spent with my aunt and uncle in North Carolina. The soundtrack of my courtship with my husband is comprised of selections by Doc Watson, Ben Harper, Greg Brown. The Dixie Chicks will mark my first years with my daughter, who could listen to “Easy Silence” 100 times if I could bear it.

Thankfully, NPR has developed a website which help us to broaden the soundtracks of our lives. I highly recommend that you check out NPR Music. They have interviews, sound clips, and live performances of many diverse musical talents. (I suggest you look up the group Grizzly Bear… they just had a new album released and, in my humble opinion, it’s breath-taking .) Happy listening.





Listen Up

19 10 2007

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Check out the Del McCoury Band’s live performance in Studio 4A for NPR.





All Songs Considered

21 09 2007

For those of you who, like me, do not have time to discover new sounds, this website is TEH awesome. NPR’s All Songs Considered gives you eclectic lists of musicians new and old that may not be frequenting your air waves. It even lets you listen to a song or two from each group. Check it out this weekend if you have some time. Or, if you’re slacking at work this Friday morning, check it out now!