Day Eight: A Song For Pop

My grandpa definitely embodied the “Don’t Fence Me In” spirit. His cayuse was a lawnmower, but the sentiment was the same.

Thanks to all who’ve posted such kind words about my grandpa’s passing. It’s very comforting to share a little bit of him with you in this space. I know you all would have loved him.

The funeral is Friday, so I expect to be back to regular postings this weekend. In the meantime, I hope you straddle your own saddle underneath whatever sky you’re under and take a minute to think of my Pop and your own.

Day Seven: A Song for Karaoke (Solo)

Before I begin, let me assert the fact that I’m not a karaoke person. I sing constantly in my home and car, but I would never get on stage and sing karaoke in front of friends or strangers. I’d rather get an internet colonoscopy.

That said, I love to sing to those who love me and can’t escape. My whole life is essentially karaoke.

“Santeria” is not an obvious karaoke choice, but consider this:

• Voice quality is not important. It’s all about style and attitude.

• It’s not serious or depressing.

• Vocal range is minimal.

• Any song with “punk-ass” in the lyrics is bound to be a crowd pleaser.

It’s a perfect fit for karaoke. Of course, this is just my solo pick. I’ll post my favorite group karaoke song tomorrow. As soon as I think of it.

In the meantime, consider this.

Top Five Karaoke Mistakes

• Going serious. The sad alcoholics who emotionally belt out “Cat’s in the Cradle” make everyone uncomfortable.

• Being too talented. Treating the back room of a Chinese restaurant at 1 a.m. like a legitimate audition makes everyone uncomfortable.

• Going skanky. The messy alcoholics who rub themselves as they belt out “I Touch Myself” make everyone uncomfortable.

• Not knowing the words. It’s painful to see someone get up there, full of confidence, only to realize they have no idea how the song goes. Then, they spend the rest of the song mumbling and reading the screen. It makes everyone uncomfortable.

• Hogging the mic. There are needy people who insist on singing a song every 10 minutes. They also make everyone uncomfortable.

What’s your favorite solo karaoke song?

Look ahead…Day Eight: A Song for Karaoke (Group)


Day Six: A Song For Today

Today is Monday. I smelled it creeping in at about 7 last night and went into a panic. How is it Mondays always show up at the worst times? Just when Sunday evening gets relaxed and snuggly…Monday pops in and makes my colon seize up. Damn that stinking Monday.

But, Monday songs are okay, right? My favorite is this one, “Long Monday” by John Prine. This live version kicks mega-ass, and eases the pain of another Monday that came way too soon.

Best line: “It’s gonna be a long Monday, sittin’ all alone on a mountain by a river that has no end. It’s gonna be a long Monday, stuck like the tick of a clock that’s come unwound – again and again.”

To be honest, sitting alone on a mountain by a river that has no end sounds like a pretty great Monday. But, okay, John.

If John Prine isn’t your Monday bag, here are some links to other Monday songs. I consider it my public service for the week. Which is your favorite? Are there any I missed?

• Monday, Monday, The Mamas & The Papas

• Rainy Days and Mondays, The Carpenters

• Come Monday, Jimmy Buffet

• Manic Monday, The Bangles

• Blue Monday, Fats Domino

• I Don’t Like Mondays, Boomtown Rats

My Almost-Number-One Monday Song is “Come Monday” by Jimmy Buffet. Isn’t old Jimmy Buffet adorable? I can see why people follow him all over. I want to wear Hush Puppies and a parrot shirt, and rid my life of pants.

On this particular Monday…

• I’m panicking about a work project I put off far too long. I have to read a section of a terrible book and, with a partner, lead a discussion of it with my leadership group Friday. The book is terrible. A rich guy is sharing his secrets to success, which all seem possible only because he’s so damn rich. I’m not inspired. I want to get all French Revolution-y on his spoiled ass. Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite! Take this book and shove it!

• I’m looking forward to my food today. Breakfast was a fruit smoothie and, waiting for me throughout the day, is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on gluten-free bread, a lovely salad with delicious homemade dressing, and a bowl of veggie sticks with olives. It’s a Vegan Monday!

Look ahead…Day Seven: A Song For Karaoke

Day Five: It Reminds Me Of…

Last night, when I was rewatching Tommy for probably the 25th time, I glanced to my left at a sleeping Otis and saw only Roger Daltry.

Otis looking fancy

Otis looking fancy

Sure, Otis may not have the famous Daltry physique (or the tan), but he certainly has the attitude and floofy blond curls. And, if you’ve ever seen Otis run, he has the same awkward Daltry gait.

Roger Daltry may be Otis’ spirit animal. Or something like that.

Of course, if Otis is Roger Daltry, that means Dougal is Keith Moon.

What else is happening…

• It’s quite possible that sometime during the night, a sleeping pill replaced my brain with mashed potatoes. I re-read the package and there’s no indication of mashed potato brain on the warning label. I’m considering a call to the FDA. Right after I finish this cold cup of coffee.

• In light of the mashed potato brain, my goal for today is to do absolutely nothing. After the day I had yesterday, I need a break. Monday will be here soon enough. And, that brings me to tomorrow…

Look ahead…Day Six: A Song Just For Today


Day Four: A Happy Song

There is no song happier than “Groove is in the Heart.” If you need proof, consider this.

I spent the bulk of the day with my grandfather, a lovely 88-year-old man now virtually unrecognizable due to dementia. It was a hard day and the thought of putting together this “happy song” blog post seemed impossible. Until I started the song.

All sadness can be set aside for the five minutes of “Groove is in the Heart.” It must be the slide whistle.

Look ahead…Day Five: A Song for Someone Else

Day Three: A Sad Song

The day Barley died last June, one of my dear Twitter friends sent me this song. I probably listened to it a hundred times that first week. It still sets me off when I hear it. That was such a hard time, but the outpouring of love that came from it was overwhelming. So many people loved Barley.

So, while this song makes me sad, it connects me to that very emotional time and, in an odd way, it connects me to Barley when I’m missing him more than usual. (And I miss him all the time.)



Day Two: Most Hated Song

To say that I hate Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock n Roll” is a gross understatement and fails to recognize the intense, blinding rage I feel whenever I hear those horrifying opening sounds. I evacuate any place where this song is played. If it comes on the radio, I lunge toward the dial with ferocity, hoping to avoid as much of it as possible. I develop the sort of superhuman speed and strength mothers develop when their children are run over by cars.

AGGGGGHHHHHH! is how I feel about this musical turd.

For the record, I actually like Bob Seger. “Turn the Page” and “Against the Wind” are among my favorite songs. I know all the words to both and sing them loudly whenever I get the chance. But, “Old Time Rock n Roll” gives me mega-rage. I hate it with a fire that can never be appeased.

In fact, I hate it so much that I didn’t even preview the accompanying video.

This song has ruined shopping trips, parties, assorted outings, a few weddings, and a date. It’s a nonnegotiable for romance. In fact, I never even asked Ben if he liked this song. I don’t want to hear the answer! We’d have to get divorced if he claimed to be a fan, and I’m just not prepared for that. This song has ruined enough lives; I can’t let it ruin mine. This song can never be mentioned between us.

So, what else is happening…

• My regular mascara is awesome. It’s fantastic. But, every three or four tubes, I go rogue and buy a completely regrettable mascara. I did that this weekend. I bought the world’s worst mascara and there’s no salvaging it. I look like a televangelist’s wife. For the record, the best mascara is Cover Girl Last Blast; the worst is Maybelline Falsies. I should have known from the title. There is actually truth in that advertising. I look like I’m wearing plastic spiders on my eyes.

• I made the most delicious soup. It’s a carrot-pumpkin-coconut soup that is probably one of the best things I’ve ever made. The best part? It’s my own recipe! I just threw together stuff that sounded good delicious. Feeling pretty awesome about that.

Tomorrow…Day Three: A Song That Makes Me Sad

Day One: Favorite Song

Since my blogging mojo has been missing lately, I’m embarking on a new challenge. It’s a song-themed challenge that should add some spice (if not just noise) to my blog for 30 straight days.

Day one is an obvious way to start. My favorite song. This is a tough question for anyone, I’m sure. Who has one all-time favorite song? That’s outrageous! But, I’m a rule-follower, so here’s my pick. Stagefright by The Band.

• Why? It never gets old for me. I’ve listened to it millions of times, sometimes dozens of times in a row, and it always sounds new. It’s unique and interesting, and it’s a perfect example of the general awesomeness of The Band (which is my favorite band of all time, incidentally).

• What’s it about? Stagefright, right? Of course! I’ve read it was written about Bob Dylan after he stopped touring in the 1960s, but that might be rumor and speculation. I don’t know much about Bob Dylan, anyway.

• Best line? “You can make it in your disguise, just never show the fear that’s in your eyes.” That’s true for everyone in every situation.

In other news…

• I saw a license plate cover yesterday that said “I’d Rather be Tanning.” Not surprisingly, the driver of the car looked like an old catcher’s mitt. Yikes. Why do leather people always have fried-out, fluffy blond hair? Is that a prerequisite or is it simply the natural consequence of hours spent in a tanning bed? These are the things that keep me up at night. Not really.

• There’s a sandwich board outside a cafe near my gym that reads “Biscuits and Gravey.” I’m betting the gravy puts people in the gravey. That’s the hidden meaning in their unfortunate misspelling. Deadly stuff that gravey gravy.

• I’m feeling a bit gravey myself.  I think I need a vacation.

Look ahead to Day Two…My Least Favorite Song.



Day 27: Five Good Things About My Worst Teacher

BR was one of my high school teachers. He was an awful teacher. There’s no denying it. He taught PE and driver’s ed.

I had him for PE every year I was required to take it. He never made us dress down because all we did was sit around the weight room and watch other people play ping pong. It was a complete waste of time, but, for a chunky, moody teenager with body issues, it worked for me.

I was also BR’s assistant for a driver’s ed class. I didn’t take driver’s ed myself, but I needed an extra elective and I was quiet, so BR agreed to let me help out. He didn’t ask much of me. In fact, I don’t remember actually doing anything, but it allowed me to see the more endearing side of BR. Here’s what I know.

1. He had nail fungus. His fingernails were short, thick, and yellow. They were awful. At the time, I lived in constant fear he would touch me or that I would catch whatever he had by sitting at his desk and using his pens. His nails were the worst, but I remember them fondly because they gave me such a fright in my formative years.

2. He wore knee-high, striped tube socks and shorts. With his goofy comb-over and scraggly mustache, he looked more like a cartoon character than a real person. He was an old football coach and he dressed the part.

3. He was hilarious. Constantly, under his breath, he cracked jokes about his students. I never heard it until I was his TA. It was vindicating when he made fun of the jerks who made fun of me and everyone else. He always picked on the bullies and that made him a hero in my eyes.

4. He was a real guy. A lot of teachers seemed like they might sleep in the classroom closet at night; it was impossible to imagine they had lives and homes outside the classroom. With BR, it was different. He was lazy and flawed and about five years past the point he should have retired, but that’s what made him interesting.

5. He was memorable. I don’t remember most of my high school teachers, but I will never forget BR.  He passed away quite a few years ago and I was genuinely sad to hear it. He was such an interesting character even if he was a horrible teacher.

(In case you’re wondering, BR is what everyone called him. It’s weird to call him anything else.)

Day 26: Five Sexiest Fellas Ever (Dead or Alive)

1. Paul Newman – He was always handsome, young and old, inside and out, and his light lime salad dressing and chocolate chip cookies are fantastic.

2. Marlon Brando – Not so handsome in his later years, unfortunately.

3. Tom Berenger – Another one who hasn’t aged so well, but there was enough handsome to last for decades in “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Betrayed.”

4. George Strait – Obviously, he’s handsome, classy, and aging very well, but he also ran away to Mexico at age 19 to get married, and he’s still married to the same woman. I love that.

5. Edward Burns – Good looks are obvious, but he’s also a talented writer and hilarious in interviews. Definitely worth a swoon.