Music Monday: The Country I Don't Hate

Monday, August 25, 2014

This week's playlist is rather short, because I decided to share with you the Country songs that I like the best.  I'm not a fan of country music.  I don't care for the twang nor most of the subject matter.  These days most songs seem to be about the glorification of trashiness or getting wasted at a party on the beach.  Of course, I've never cared for most of the music.  I tolerate it mostly because Bart loves it.  I have been to more country concerts than I care to think about with him.  When I am with him though, we do have some ground rules.
  1. I don't want to hear anything with Jennifer Nettles' voice.  Edward Scissorhands scratching a chalkboard is more appealing to me.
  2. I don't care for Miranda Lambert's music.  She sounds like an angry, white trash munchkin.
  3. Taylor Swift isn't allowed to be played in my presence.  The girl cannot carry a tune!  I actually love it that Dory Gale goes ballistic when TS songs start to play.
  4. I haven't liked Tim McGraw since I saw him in Friday Night Lights.
  5. I don't get why people like George Strait, or Alan Jackson, or Luke Bryan.  You get the picture.
  6. Country Rap shouldn't be a thing.  It just shouldn't.  It's like breeding a chihuahua and a great dane.  Just don't.
I adore Trisha Yearwood and Alison Krauss.  I love Carrie Underwood.  Hey, we attended the same university.  I like Garth Brooks, but not nearly as much as Bart does.  He's a huge Garth fanboy.  My favorite Garth song is actually his only real Rock song, "Hard Luck Woman."  That's just how I roll.

Again, Country isn't my thing.  I think part of the reason is because having grown up in a small, rural town I was expected to like it.  I didn't.  I also didn't like it in Junior High School when some girls would sit around and sing every song on the Country Top 40.  It got old very fast.  That was probably the extent of how I rebelled against my surroundings.  

This isn't the longest post, but I do like what I actually like.

Weekly Randomosity

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I haven't completed one of these in a while, but my mind is just full of all sorts of I don't know, word vomit?  So of course I thought I would share.

  • I discussed this on Twitter this morning with some friends - many of whom will remain nameless, but we seem to think the whole Plexus Pink Drink thing is a cult of some sort.  It reminds me of a mixture of when Robert joined a cult on Everybody Loves Raymond, and when Charlene sold Lady June Bell on Designing Women, but with social media.  I sort of feel like some day we'll not be saying "drinking the Kool Aid," but "drinking the pink drink."  I don't want to offend anyone, but the words "cult" and "pyramid scheme" just keep flashing before my eyes like the neon sign of a trashy triple-X store.
  • We have officially entered into another time of the year when Bart is going to be at work and working out of town probably more than he is home.  I think he's home until the week and weekend after Labor Day, though often working horrible hours.  Yes, this is why I don't commit to weekends away from home and such.   
  • I started DVR'ing The Musketeers on BBC America.  I swear it seems more like the Old West than Reformation Era France.  The only difference is instead of fighting indians, they're fighting Protestants and the English, who of course at that time are also Protestant.
  • When Bart has been home, he has been having fun researching my family tree.  He has also learned that I am actually a veritable wealth of information regarding just about any point in British history from pretty much Roman times.
  • L and I are going to start going to Tuesday Morning Bible Study at church.  I'm really excited to start, just not excited about the traffic getting there.
  • The Tomato Bandits keep striking our garden.  I think it's so late in the season that they can have the tomatoes, they're starting to get that bitter, late-season taste to them.
  • We have started asking L what she wants to be for Halloween.  Bart isn't too impressed, but she wants to be Merida from Brave.  Brave is her current obsession, and I'm thrilled.  It should be easier to find a Merida costume than an Elsa one.
  • *Sigh* If I was even half as fertile as Duggar.  No wait, maybe not even that much, but still...
  • I stumbled upon a series of Regency Era book by Julia Quinn about a family of eight siblings and their pursuit of love.  Okay, it's historical romance.  To those who have called me a literary snob before, I'll admit I'm reading this.  There's a bit of smut in the books, and well they're all rather formulaic, but I truly enjoy the dialogue.  I'm a sucker for good dialogue and fun characters.  So, I'm hooked.  I've read six out of eight books in the past week.
  • I took L in today for a hair trim.  Every time Bart or I mention it to people, they're like, "No!  Her hair is too pretty!"  Relax, y'all!  We just had her bangs and dead ends trimmed.  She was getting very shaggy and was getting horrible tangles.  Trust me, we're not cutting her beautiful hair short - just keeping it neat.
  • I read a spoiler for the first episode of Downton Abbey Season 5, which begins airing in the UK soon.  All I'm going to say is, "Edith, Edith, Edith!"  Oh, and I think the boys playing little George are adorable and look like Dan Stevens (The Late Matthew Crawley)!
  • L and I were on our grocery run Monday morning and happened upon the toy dept. at Walmart starting to stock all the new stuff for Christmas.  I scored these plush Elsa and Anna dolls, that are now my daughter's best friends.  I sort of hate giving them to her now, but whenever she doesn't want to mind me, I threaten to take them away.  It works.
  • I may have opened the door to L's room just as she was trying to open it from the other side and smacked her in the head with it.  After some initial tears, she happily accepted an ice pack.  Then she decided Elsa needed the ice pack, as well as all her other dolls and animals.  Couldn't Elsa just stick her own hand to her forehead? 

Music Monday: Late 90's, Early 00's

Monday, August 18, 2014

As I sit writing this, "Call Me Al" by Paul Simon is stuck in my head (thank you, Bart), and the sounds of Disney's Brave surround me.  One could say that such conditions make it difficult to write anything, much less a blog post about music.  That is probably true.  Of course, it can't be worse than trying to write one after hearing that Robin William's died, as I did last week.  By the way, I apologize if that post seemed flat.

I wasn't entirely sure what the next Music Monday should be about until Bart and I watched I Love The 00's or something like that on TV.  I was then reminded of all of the music I listened to in college and when Bart and I were first married.  I graduated high school back in the olden days of the late nineties, so my tastes in music were maturing just as the boy band craze was really taking off.  In other words, I started to hate a lot of pop music.

I didn't go crazy for N'Sync, The Backstreet Boys, or even choose between Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera.  I didn't care.  That was the time that I started listening to a lot of The Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty, and such.  I remember listening to Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me" in the truck of a friend I wanted to be more than a friend (and hopefully never became so), and singing with the Armageddon soundtrack on late-night runs to Denny's with my friends.  I have vivid memories of a guy in my Educational Psychology class singing a Lifehouse song.  I can't remember much from that class, and only remember that the guy looked a bit like Glenn Babble from Gilmore Girls, but I digress.   I remember planning an entire series of books based on Matchbox Twenty's "If You're Gone."  The horns in that song still stir something within me.  I'll never forget driving around with my oldest niece when she was about Ladybug's age, singing "Drops Of Jupiter" with her.  When Bart and I married, I learned that despite his mostly appalling taste in music, he liked Green Day.  I like them too, though not quite as much as Bart,  I think.

Anyway, I still enjoy listening to all of this at times.  They're a nice reminder of a time before I was Ladybug's  or even Lucy and Dory's mom, some of it before I was Bart's wife.  I drove a lot back then, in my cute little purple Cavalier, and the radio was always playing loudly.  I actually busted out the speakers in it.  Yeah, I like music, and I like it loud.  Do you have any memories of these songs?

What Do I Want Out Of This?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I think about quitting blogging at least ten times a day lately, I think.  I've certainly taken a significant break from it, and to be honest I didn't miss is as much as I thought that I would.  I did miss it, and I imagine that after ten years of blogging, I'm always going to have some post or another rolling around in my head.  That said, I still think about quitting... often.

Why?  I'm not particularly in love with talking about myself all the time anymore.  As she grows older, I'm not comfortable sharing as much of Ladybug's life.  I respect her too much to invade her privacy so much, even if she is only two and a half years old.  Also, I just don't want to follow the cattle drive of evolving my blog into something that I don't necessarily want it to be to please faceless people who have made themselves experts on what a blog should or should not be.  My twitter feed is cluttered daily with posts by "experts" who tell you what they think a blog should be.  I'm kind of sick of those posts and wonder if those who do that have anything of actual substance to write about.

Yet, I still blog.  I still read blogs that actually have something to say.  I still belong to some blogging communities, even though I can tell you now that I don't want to make this blog my business.  It's just my blog.  It's where I talk about my thoughts, my life, my experiences, and most importantly my faith.

I think there's still a place for blogs where honest people talk honestly about their lives, their faith, and their struggles in life.   I'm a fan of little anecdotes about people who aren't really all that different from me.  Sometimes we lose that in contests, fame, and analytics.  Don't even get me started on SEO, lol.

Am I looking to grow my blog?  Eh, it's appealing at times, but that kind of goes along the line of the whole "With great power comes great responsibility" thing.  There's more pressure to post perfect posts and portray my life as perfect, which it is anything but.

I'm not trying to dog anyone else's blog, but I'm being honest about what I want for mine.  It can be a real time-suck, you know?  Lately I would rather read a good book or write fiction.  I have stories in my head, friends I've known since I was in high school, who still long for me to share them with the rest of the world.  Most of the time, I would rather write about them than me.

Yet, I will still blog.  The posts may be few and far between.  I may never market my blog or grow my audience beyond the few people who have always read it, but I'll still do it.  It has always been a tool for sharing my faith and myself.  It's my blog, and I'll darn well write about what I want to!

Music Monday: Joyful Noises

Monday, August 11, 2014

Last Monday I share with you the soundtracks to my life and my joy of movie scores.  This week, I want to share with you another type of music that uplifts me, Contemporary Christian Music, or CCM.  I have been listening to CCM off and on since at least the early nineties, though I've listened to hymns all of my life.  There are times when I need to hear this music, just as much as I need to open my Bible and read God's Word to lift me.  There are times when I just want to listen to it, because I'm so filled with joy.  Like being thankful in all circumstances, I've found that listening to Christian music is also something for all circumstances.

My favorite artists are Steven Curtis Chapman, Mercy Me, Laura Story, Casting Crowns, Third Day, Chris Tomlin, and anything Christy Nockels.  I have been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman almost as long as I can remember.  I have loved Mercy since before  "I Can Only Imagine" and saw them the first time in college at a Fall Retreat a weekend or two before 9-11.  I have been a huge fan of Christy Nockels since the days when she and her husband were Watermark, and I saw them also perform at a retreat at Falls Creek in college.  At that time, I never knew how their song "Glory Baby" would mean so much in my life, but it has been a comfort to me these past four years.

I love this music.  It's something that is uplifting and I also don't have to worry about the message it is sending Ladybug.  Quite the contrary, it warms my heart to hear her little voice sing "God Of Every Story,"  "The Glorious Unfolding," or "Greater."  I want these songs to be a part of her life and just like the Word of God, a comfort to her in times of trial and sorrow.  I know Bart has especially been listening to Laura Story since his grandfather passed.  They certainly are a part of mine. So, we listen to these songs probably more than just than anything else.  I hope you give them a listen.

Music Monday: The Soundtracks Of My Life

Monday, August 4, 2014

Music is a huge part of my life.  Certain songs often have a way of triggering memories and also inspiring me when I write.  I have a very eclectic taste in music.  I listen to a little bit of everything from Pop to movie scores.  The things I don't listen to much are Rap and Country.  I get my fill of Country whenever I'm with Bart.  Don't even get me started on Country Rap (Seriously, it should be illegal to mashup two of the most annoying things on the planet).  I've decided to share some of my favorites on Mondays.

As I said I like to listen to the original scores from movies.  If I need to just relax and chill, I'll listen to my movie score playlists.  It seems in the six months since Ladybug turned two, I've been listening to my those playlists more than any others.  I don't think it's a coincidence.  I usually love to listen to them when I'm writing also, because lyrics tend to get in the way when I'm writing.  I blame my English teacher three out of four years of high school and fried, Belinda Westfall, for always playing movie soundtracks in class.  Now, they tend set my mood, and since I'm a very methodical writer who has to step into the shoes of my characters somewhat, mood matters.

Over the past twenty years, I have found that I have favorite composers.  Believe it or not, I don't normally flock to probably the most well-known movie composer, John Williams.   I much more prefer the works of Thomas Newman, Patrick Doyle, Rachel Portman, and Dario Marianelli.  Also, I love good old, Elmer Bernstein.  The below albums are just a few from my collection that I've listened to the most lately.

In the last piece I wrote, I spend a great deal of time listening to the soundtracks from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, "That Next Place" from Meet Joe Black, and The Young Victoria on repeat while occasionally allowing these others to creep in from time to time also.  Near the last few chapters, I listened to the song, "Victoria and Albert" from The Young Victoria over and over again, as it sort of became the coda to my piece.

I also like to listen to this music with Ladybug.  I want her to enjoy instrumental music that is deeper than almost all of what she'll hear on the radio.  I want her to appreciate the beauty of cellos, pianos, violins, and more.   So, sometimes we'll listen to her soundtracks, a playlist of just the instrumental music from Frozen, Tangled, Brave, and The Little Mermaid.  Do you know that she can hear the instrumental pieces from the scores and tell you exactly what part of the movie they play?  Seriously. the song "Whiteout" will come on, and she's yelling for Elsa and Anna to be careful in the blizzard near the end of the movie.

I've told Bart that when I die, I want the funeral home to just play my soundtracks and CCM playlists instead of that dreadful music they normally play.  If I had my way, my life would have this stuff playing in the background all the time.

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