"I've discovered that my own little postage stamp of native soil was worth writing about and that I would never live long enough to exhaust it."
- William Faulkner

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

t minus 7 days...

It's countdown time! Our country is staring down the most important choice of our generation, perhaps even of our lifetime. Elections in nature are polarizing, becoming more and more so as time marches towards the first Tuesday in November. Mud has been slung from all directions, some warranted, more unwarranted. Things have been said, speeches have been made and commercials run. Hours and hours of news-watching has left cobwebs in certain quadrants of my brain while others are in overdrive. I don’t claim to be a political pundit, and I don’t think any one person on Earth has all the answers. But I am certain of one thing: Americans are born into a privilege many in the world will never experience or even be aware of. And with this great privilege brings about great responsibility.

I don’t necessarily believe that one vote can always make a difference, but I know there are men and women fighting all over the world so that the millions in our country can cast our one vote (and those casting multiple ballots are stealing from me the importance of my vote while making a mockery of the fight of the soldiers of today and yesteryear). In one week, we will have a new President-elect, and I’ll be the first to say that it’s time for one.

After years of complacency and an “it won’t happen to us” mentality, we have finally reached a fork in the road. One in which will dictate the course of our lives and maybe even the lives of our children and grandchildren. I emplore each of you to take your vote seriously. It’s the only one you get (legally). Vote for the candidate you honestly trust, not the one that just asks you to. Vote for the man who loves his country more than himself. Vote for the man you’d most like in charge of our brave men and women guarding our nation at home and overseas. Vote for the man who believes freedom is bought with hard work and valor and not handed out. Vote for the man that surrounds himself with people of character, transparent if even to a fault. And remember that supporting “Main Street America” not only means the small business workers, but the small business owners, too.

Red, blue, left, right, we’re all Americans, so cast your vote in 7 days! Godspeed to our leaders and God bless the USA!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

in the words of Martha...

..."It’s a good thing."

I’ve loved Martha for years. One of my most favorite Christmas gifts as a teen was my Martha Stewart cake decorating set. Of course I made myself melt down because I couldn’t get mine to look like the pristine one in the picture, but nonetheless, it inspired in me a love for cake d├ęcor, mainly the cupcake.

Who doesn’t love a cupcake? Every once in a while Kell will inform me that we are past due for cupcakes at our house, and I’ll make a batch. I rarely eat them (unless you count an occasional finger swipe of icing), but I love how they look, how great they smell and all the fun things you can do with them. Harris sent me a link this morning of a year of different cupcakes – and from Martha, too! I think I have to make these. They’re a good thing.

More time and space than necessary on this blog has been devoted to makeup. I’ve confessed that in the past I was strictly a Wal-Mart makeup wearer, but I have since seen the err of my ways and left the dark side. That said, I am always on the lookout for a great new product, and I’ve found 2! First, if you have oily skin, you know how sad it is when at 5:00 p.m. your friends look fresh as a daisy and your face is gleaming. Not that healthy gleam that all the starlets have, but the one where you can see every pore on your face. Greasy girls, fear no more! I’ve discovered Welcome Matte, a makeup primer that cuts oil significantly. And with the Bare Minerals Mineral Veil On-the-Go, you can be totally unstoppable. Both good things.

I love a bargain. LOVE one. And if it’s a super-cute bargain, I’m completely sold. Enter Libby Story and Company. I’ve been patronizing this store since the flagship location opened in Greenville, and it was a match made in heaven from the start. Then, the Starkville location came along (score!). She does a bang-up job of getting great, unique clothes and accessories that are really affordable. Not to mention that she is so creative that you just want to swim around in her brain for a while. So, it goes without saying that I practically stalked the Ridgeland storefront until I saw the doors open. I finally got to go in there yesterday for just a few minutes, and it was everything I dreamed and more (just wait until you see my yellow feather earrings). If you’re ever in Greenville, Starkville or Ridgeland, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not going. Yet again, a very good thing.

Friday, October 10, 2008

here they are...

Ok, the moment you’ve all been waiting for...My top ten. Dave Letterman, eat your heart out.

10. “What Is Life” – by George Harrison
Tell me, what is my life without your love/Tell me, who am I without you, by my side
You know a group is good when its individual members are successful on their own. My mom has said that Beatles music is so timeless mainly because so many songs are love songs. Clearly, George stuck to this winning strategy when branching off.

9. “Maybe I’m Amazed” – by Paul McCartney
Maybe I’m amazed by the way you love me all the time/Maybe I’m afraid of the way I really love you
Paul McCartney is endearing to me for many reasons, but one of the greatest is his love for Linda, his wife who died of cancer long ago. In fact, he loved her so much, he insisted she sing with his band, Wings, even though she couldn’t carry a tune. In my mind I make the distinction that he is singing this song to her and not Heather Mills.

8. “I’m Glad There Is You” – by Jamie Cullum (not sure who wrote it, but his version is my fave)
In this world of overrated pleasures/and underrated treasures/I’m glad there is you
The first time I heard this song was on The Cosby Show. Claire Huxtable took Cliff out to dinner for his birthday and had a singer perform this song for him (please don’t ask me why/how I remember these things). I’m not sure of the original singer/songwriter, but this Jamie Cullum version is my absolute favorite. I love it so much, I put it and others on a cd I gave to all my bridesmaids in their welcome basket.

7. “The Scientist” – by Coldplay
Questions of science/Science and progress/Do not speak as loud as my heart.
Sadly, I do not know Chris Martin personally, but I like to believe he is a truly sensitive artist. The lyrics of this song are mournful enough, but the music really makes it. I mean, how could Gwyneth Paltrow pick a dud? And if you’ve never seen the video, grab a Kleenex first.

6. “Something” – by The Beatles
Something in the way she knows/And all I have to do is think of her
Another great Beatles love song. The first line of this song actually inspired the James Taylor song, “Something in the Way She Moves.” What’s good enough for James Taylor is more than good enough for me.

5. “Danny’s Song” – by Kenny Loggins
Love the girl who holds the world in a paper cup, drink it up/Love her and she'll bring you luck.
I’ve taken it upon myself to make up the backstory for this song. Kenny Loggins wrote this for his wife when she found out she was going to have a baby boy, which they consequently named Daniel. In true Kenny Loggins form, the music is simple enough to let the words shine. I love this song so much that I specially requested it at my wedding reception.

4. “Christmas Song” – by Dave Matthews
The people He knew were/Less than golden-hearted/Gamblers and robbers/Drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers/Like you and me
We all know Dave Matthews puts out great music, but this song exposed a different side of him to me. I first heard it on the cd he made with Tim Reynolds (which I bought at midnight when it was released in 1999 – you know, the blue one). Come to find out, it actually first appeared on the Remember Two Things album, but I like the live version best.

3. “Moon River” – by Peter Mayer
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker/Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' your way
If I’m not mistaken, Henry Mancini wrote this song for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, performed by Audrey Hepburn’s famous Holly Golightly character. Sex and the City fans might remember Carrie and Mr. Big dancing to the Andy Williams version of this song in a season finale episode (Carrie’s a little like Holly, don’t ya think?). Though recorded by many, this Peter Mayer version is my favorite.

2. “Sweet Baby James” – by James Taylor
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep/But singing works just fine for me
I love lullabies. I can remember listening to some of them on an old yellow cassette as a little one – no doubt I would be brought to tears if I heard it again. I don’t necessarily think this is one of JT’s most famous songs, but the cowboy lullaby is definitely one of his best and one of my favorites. I remember going to a James Taylor concert with Alexa in junior high and waiting on him to play this one. Fortunately, he did as the encore.

1. “Hey Jude” – by The Beatles

Take a sad song and make it better./Remember to let her into your heart,/Then you can start to make it better.
Very few of you are probably surprised that a Beatles song perches atop my favorite song list. As with many great songs, myth and mystery surrounds the real meaning of “Hey Jude” and for whom Paul wrote it. My personal favorite anecdote is that Paul wrote this song for John Lennon’s son Julian during his parents’ divorce; he originally intended “Hey Jules,” but changed it to “Hey Jude” because it was easier to sing. Each verse is different, beginning with simple vocals and ending with a grand refrain. 7 minutes of music perfection. Cheers, Paul.

Well, there they are – my favorite songs of all time. Not sure what, if anything, you learned about me by reading this list, but hopefully it challenged you to come up with your own favorite songs or books or movies. Music isn’t something we can escape, so you might as well embrace the best.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

ask the candidates...

Look what I found on my new favorite website How About Orange!

Get your own fold-a-candidate for your home or office. Then you can talk to Sarah Palin all day about hunting, tell Cindy McCain to tone down the blonde, and ask Barack if 95% of American households really will receive a tax break and who will pay for all the programs he wants to start. Let me know what he says.

Monday, October 6, 2008

music...makes the people...come together...yeah...

Forgive me for what has no doubt been a noticeable absence from blogging. When I travel, I seem to get out of the swing of it, which is arguably the main time my fingers should be forever typing. Anyway, I’m back now, and that’s all that matters.

This post has been a long time coming in many ways. For years I’ve wanted to come up with this list but felt the task was too daunting to tackle.

Music has strange power. It can affect your mood for better or worse. It can teach you a hard lesson or make you feel dumber just for listening. And it’s no surprise that some music strikes us more than others. These songs can connect you to someone, something or somewhere or can allow you to escape – often both at the same time. It’s my belief that the love we have for music is the reason Apple scored with the iPod – people love to be surrounded by their favorite words, phrases, melodies and choruses at all times. And I mean all times – the subway, the airplane, while exercising (not that I know anything about that) and even while shopping.

So, for that reason, I’ve compiled a Favorite Songs of All Time list. I think you can learn a lot from someone by observing the songs he/she listens to again and again. Kind of like clothes – you’ll always get new things that you wear till they go out of style, but you always go back to the things you feel best in. Let me also say that I took this arrangement very seriously – I tried to weigh songs I “like” against those that speak to my soul. The closer to the bottom, the more unstable the position on the list; some will be there forever and some will come and go just to return again. Many I searched out, many just sort of appeared. Sometimes it’s the melody and other times it’s the words, but either way, here they are...

20. “Love Song for a Savior” by Third Day
I never swam the deepest ocean/But I walked upon the raging sea.
I couldn’t tell you the first time I heard this one, but I’m pretty sure it was in youth group at church at some point. The lyrics are written from Jesus’s perspective, essentially pleading to be with us. The finished product is a poignant monologue and mournful music that complement each other perfectly.

19. “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin
I got no reason to doubt you baby/It’s all a terrible mess.
The music in this song first attracted me, and it’s about as light-hearted as Led Zeppelin gets. As with other Led Zeppelin songs, I didn’t understand the words until years later. Trust me, they make this one even more endearing.

18. “Let Him Fly” by Patty Griffin
There’s no mercy in a live wire/No rest at all in freedom/Of the choices we are given, it’s no choice at all.
I first heard this on a Dixie Chicks cd, and I really liked it then. But it wasn’t until I heard Patty Griffin sing it that I was really hooked – and why shouldn’t I be? The words are her own, right? Jessica Simpson also has a version, sadly.

17. “Desire” by Ryan Adams
That you’ll find me, and that you’ll see me/That you’ll run and never tire.
I love when a TV show not only has great music but tells you what the music is. House is great about this, and it brought me this song. Maybe that’s a reason I love it so much – because I can see Hugh’s brooding eyes whenever I hear it.

16. “The Weight” – by The Band
My bag is sinkin’ low, and I do believe it’s time/To get back to Miss Fanny, you know she’s the only one
Kell introduced me to this song, as he did with much of the music on my iPod. The lyrics are really sad and lonely, and I don’t really understand much of their meaning. But who cares?

15. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – by The Proclaimers
And when I come home yes I know I'm gonna be/I'm going to be the man who comes back home to you
This is the very first song I purchased on iTunes. Random, perhaps, but I really love it. The music is really fun, and the words are really sweet without being too sappy. The singers themselves aren’t much to look at, but that kind of makes me feel like they really felt the words they wrote.

14. “The Wind Cries Mary” – by Jimi Hendrix
Will the wind ever remember/The names it has blown in the past/And with his crutch, it’s old age, and it's wisdom/It whispers no, this will be the last
It’s probably no secret why I like this song. There are lots of songs that feature my name, but this one is truly the best. Jimi Hendrix is an insane talent, and when the wind cries for you, what more could you want? John Mayer also has a good version of this one

13. “Say You Love Me” – by Fleetwood Mac
Then woo me until the sun comes up,/And you say that you love me.
How can you not love Fleetwood Mac? Sure Stevie Nicks dresses like a witch, but these guys have put out some great ditties. Seriously, have they ever put out a bad song? The lyrics of this song are totally desperate, but the music is upbeat enough to not seem so pathetic. I think we can all relate.

12. “When I’m Sixty-Four” – by The Beatles
Give me your answer fill in a form/mine forever more/Will you still need me/Will you still feed me/When I'm sixty-four
The first appearance of The Beatles on my countdown is certainly not the last. I absolutely love this happy song detailing out all the funny things about what it will be like growing old with your significant other. I read somewhere that Paul wrote this for his dad’s 64th birthday. How great to have your own personal Beatles song as a birthday gift?

11. “Elenore” – by The Turtles
Your looks intoxicate me/Even though your folks hate me
This is one of those songs that you may recognize the moment you hear it but just never knew what it was. The words are simple, and it’s the music that really makes it. It’s a secret why I adore this song.

There you have it - the first half of my favorite songs of all time. Stay tuned for the next group, including my number 1!!!!
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