Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Good Day, Part Two

A good day... waking up on time, kissing your husband goodbye, and getting your child to school 30 minutes sooner than usual. the same child not fussing at you about what she's wearing to school, listening, and not being (overly) dramatic or sassy. getting out the door 30 minutes sooner, even having gotten a load in the wash and a load folded and (mostly) put away. getting Torts done in 2 1/2 hours whilst sitting at a coffee shop, under desperately needed sunlight. coming home, realizing you've got at least 4 hours before you have to pick up said child, but knowing your Target run resulted in the needed ingredients for dinner, and the kitchen can be cleaned in a matter of about 20 minutes. hearing John Hiatt on the radio, remembering how much you love that song, realizing how long it's been since you heard it, and just enjoying the moment rather than worrying about why you care so much. concentrating on the things you've gotten done, not on the things you've left undone. feeling a huge burden lifted, and the pain in my spine and neck tendons virtually gone. knowing I am in repair...I'm not together (but I'm getting there).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Something always brings me back to never takes too long.
No matter what I say or do I'll still feel you here 'til the moment I'm gone.

You hold me without keep me without chains.
I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your rain.

Set me free, leave me be...
I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity.
Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I'm supposed to be.
But you're onto me and all over me.

You loved me 'cause I'm fragile, when I thought that I was strong.
But you touch me for a little while and all my fragile strength is gone.

I live here on my knees as I try to make you see that you're everything I think I need here on the ground.
But you're neither friend nor foe, though I can't seem to let you go.
The one thing that I still know is that you're keeping me down...

Something always brings me back to never takes too long...

-Gravity, Sara Bareilles

When I first heard this song, I thought it would relate to an ex-boyfriend of mine. He knows who he is; I don't know if he knows about this blog or not. (And if you're out there, and can read this...shoot me a line, okay?)

After a more careful listen, and some introspection, I realize this song, for me, is about my family of origin.

My friends used to call me "lucky" growing up, because my parents were still married. It seemed to be an anomaly; I was one of the few who grew up with both biological parents, still married, living under one roof. One friend even called my family the "Donna Reed" family. I knew that wasn't the case - we had our share of drama. I used to think I was lucky too.

At our wedding, the priest counted the boy and I lucky, because both of our parents' marriages had lasted over 25 years, and I still had a set of grandparents married close to 55 years at that point. The fact that my parents are getting a divorce rocks me to my very core, and I can't help but wonder how much of my idealization of marriage, and family, and love, will suffer because of it.

I know it doesn't have to be that way for the boy and I. He (fortunately) seems to come from a much healthier nuclear family. I have the world's greatest in-laws, though I know they are probably just as flawed and imperfect as my own parents. I just haven't seen it yet, and call me idealistic, but I don't think I want to see their ugly side just now - but the main difference is that they've never conditioned their approval of me. I was the girl their son brought home, he loved me, and that was enough for them. If it wasn't, they've never let on otherwise.

I get so caught up much as I want to shun the drama of my parents' divorce, and choosing sides, and their history, and the impact their relationship has on my psyche, I feel so damaged and broken, and betrayed, at this moment, sitting in my own house, a seemingly grown woman with a life and talents and family of my own.

It's scary to come to the realization that I've lived my entire life in the shadow of their's horrible to think I could possibly have that kind of power and effect on my own child.

I am at sea when it comes to my parents.

My mother and sister are so close, both in emotional bond and personality, that I feel like a complete outsider when all three of us are in the same room. In a way, I relate totally to them, and with them; we share so many idiosyncracies that it's impossible to deny the genetics. After about three days, it gets annoying for all of us. On the other hand, the two of them are bonded in a way I will never share with either of them. This makes me both jealous and relieved - I would love a closer relationship with my mother but I can't get past some of her passive-aggressive tendencies, and I don't know that she's ever been truly happy for me.

I want to believe she is proud of me, I want to think that she just had her own way of showing it. The only times I can recall when her gut reaction has been unadulterated happiness for me has been when my life follows her mental timeline for me. In a way, I don't have the burden of keeping Mom happy; because I've never felt that I could get her that way in the first place. At the same time, I see how my sister relates to her, and I wish it could be that uncomplicated for me.

My dad...well...a more complicated and damaged man you will never meet. My main fear in life is that I'll end up like him - and I have so many of his proclivities, it's unreal. My mother often compares me to him, and in my mind, that's a bad comparison. By telling me I've "pulled a Dad" in a word or action means I've fucked up. I had a hero complex for my father, for a very, very long time. It wasn't until around five years ago that I truly began to see him for the person he is...and as hard as this is to admit, I'll do it. He's not a person I like very much. I doubt I'd want much to do with him if he weren't my father.

What's worse, is that I've been compared to him so much that I tend not to like myself very much - I try so hard to identify the parts of me that are like him, and supress them or change course when I find myself "pulling a Dad."

I think one of the sad realizations of my adulthood is this: the family I once thought I had...the one my friends were patently envious of growing up, the one I always thought would be there, is gone. Not just because of the divorce, though that's certainly fuel for the fire, but also because I find both my parents to be equally flawed. I can't take sides in their divorce because I...I don't want what either of them have to offer. Neither of them is better or worse than the other. I "pull a Mom" as much as I "pull a Dad" and as tough as it might be to think about, I am finding myself without a close parent.

And that's a tough thing to think about.

I can't ever live up to their expectations - I have to live up to my own.

I can't worry about what they think or want for me - I have my own worries.

I really, really wish I could want what they can give me. I hate the fact that I feel like I'm putting up with them instead of embracing them.

My own little family, well...I have a trusty boat for the voyage - it's been shored up a few times and certainly overhauled more than once. I couldn't ask for a better anchor than the girl, and the boy is my safe harbor.

But how do you stay on course when your compass is broken?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Guitar Heroes

Concerts I Must See Live Before I Die:

1. Clapton
2. Springsteen
3. Santana The Ex, April 21, 2008
4. John Mayer (at a small club)
5. John Mayer Trio
6. Derek Trucks Band The Ex, April 21, 2008
7. Buddy Guy Legends, January 12, 2008
8. Bon Jovi
9. BB King
10. U2

I should probably just break down and go to the next Crossroads festival - wherever it might be, because it would knock off about 3/4 of this list, plus a whole bunch more. However, I'm liking the pick-and-choose of the individual gigs. I saw JM last summer at an amphitheatre (with a-may-zing seats) but I have yet to see the Trio, and I would love to see JM someplace like First Ave in Minneapolis, or even better, Eddie's Attic in the ATL. I doubt there will ever be shows at Eddie's like he did in December 2005, but I would seriously buy a plane ticket for a show like that.

Which leads me to my birthday wish for this year...

Saturday, June 28, 2008. Hyde Park, London.

Clapton headlines, Crow and Mayer support, plus I'm sure a ton of other support acts during the day.

Would I fly to London to check Clapton off my list? Maybe.

Would I fly to London to check Clapton off my list if JM is also playing? Youbetchersweetbippy I would!!!

Especially since something like this would not likely pass without some sort of encore or collab or on-stage appearance involving JM and EC together...and since Steve Jordan often plays with Clapton...let's just say that little gig is RIFE with possibility.

The downside to this is that JM will be in London during prime touring season this summer - not to say that there won't be a full-scale tour again, but perhaps it's going to start later than most of us anticipated. Hoping this means there's a record coming this fall...and a fall/winter tour to support it.

And that will be worth the wait.

Last note: #3 and #6 on the list - check as of this morning. 12th row at the Ex in St. Paul. DTB is opening for Senor Carlos.
Oye como va!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Contracts Class Was Totally Worth It Today

People Magazine, I heart you.

Behold, gentle readers and friends, the origin of my fangirl tendencies.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dashing and Dapper

Clean shirt, new shoes, and I don't know where I am goin' to.
Silk suit, black tie, I don't need a reason why.
They come runnin' just as fast as they can
'Cause every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

Gold watch, diamond ring, I ain't missin' a single thing.
And cufflinks, stick pin, when I step out I'm gonna do you in.
They come runnin' just as fast as they can
'Cause every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

-Sharp-Dressed Man, ZZ Top

Mock interviews were held at school over the lunch break today.

I chose not to partake; I have enough to worry about right now without thinking about interviews. From the feedback I heard, they were mostly beneficial for the kids who haven't ever gone through a professional interview. (Not me.)

Anyway, for those who participated, business dress was required. It was quite interesting to see the boys in class show up in ties and suit coats; it made quite a difference from the usual sweatshirts and jeans we are all prone to wearing. We have quite a few non-traditional students in my section, and thus, we had a few gentlemen who are quite experienced at suit-wearing.

I don't know the exact evolution of male businesswear; though I am a Delta Nu at heart, I did not major in fashion merchandising and could not tell you when exactly the current uniform of jacket and pants, coupled with a long tie and dress shirt, came to become a standard. There are many permutations of style in a man's suit - everything from the width and hem of the pants, to the number of buttons on the jacket, the type of cuffs on the shirt sleeve. Indeed, the suit seems a relatively easy thing to wear - the most common and complicated element is likely the tie. Add a pocket square and French cuffs (complete with cufflinks) and you have just taken the suit up a notch - ready for an evening out after a day at the office.

I will be honest and say that one of my major turn-ons is a well-dressed man. I love the easy jeans-and-sweater days, but when a man is wearing a well-cut pair of trousers and a crisp shirt, I definitely sit up and take notice. Add a perfectly tailored jacket, a coordinating tie and a good pair of shoes (seriously, polished and hard soled, Allen-Edmonds, Johnston & Murphy, Kenneth Cole) and I am in heaven. There is nothing quite like slipping your arms around the waist of a man, underneath a suit jacket - to me, it's intoxicating to feel how his body moves, just a little warmer than discovering a secret.

This is, of course, to say nothing of a man in a tux...

So today, sitting in class, I had the rather pleasurable experience of seeing a gaggle of my male classmates dressed to the nines. I imagined a few years down the line, when a suit and tie might become a daily uniform for some of them. A few of them looked uncomfortable (notably the younger ones, likely to have worn a suit about six times in their lives thus far). I've never seen a few of them in anything but casual clothing; it almost seems incongruous to see them dressed up. I wonder if it took effort to shine their shoes, or if they needed a girlfriend's (or mother's, or roommate's) help to get the proper knot in their ties. Rather like seeing someone who usually looks like this:

turn himself out like this:

or possibly this:

for the first time.

I think a suit separates the men from the boys, and today's distinction clearly belonged to the true gentlemen in the crowd, those who knew what they were doing and made it look easy from head to toe. A well turned-out man is a thing of beauty.

Trust me when I say that today was a very good day in law school, and it passed entirely too quickly.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Message In a Myspace Bottle

Rarely do I post twice in one day. But I found this on

If you know, you know.
If I gotta explain, you wouldn't understand.
No doubt in my mind that this is real.
Expect great things this summer...

New Music: The Ladies Are In The House!

I'm not generally one to brag about my Christmas gifts. However, the one thing I will say is that 2007 was a musical re-awakening, and Santa was good to me in terms of music. Not only did I get some great new albums, I got a new stereo, something that had been sorely lacking in Casa K8 for a few years. This one is awesome on another level - it's got an iPod connection so I no longer have to suffer my earbuds for hours on end whilst studying at home.

There is some amazingly great music coming out these days - I think the pop scene is starting to swing back toward the "singer/songwriter" scene, which I absolutely favor over the formulaic, "pretty girl/boy, sing about love and love lost" thing that gets sent out over the airwaves every few years. Pop music is a pendulum and it seems to me that, whilst there are plenty of ways to enjoy it all, I will go for a couple years where I buy a new CD every week or two because there is so much good music coming out. Then after awhile, I'll go a few months, up to a year, really, without buying anything because there's nothing worthwhile. I tend to download the tracks I like on the radio, if for no other reason than I end up with a really cool mix of music that makes me remember where I was when I first heard it.

I'm in a CD buying period right now, so I want to write down a few of my recent musical procurements. I tend to look upon a CD as a piece of artwork - often, there are a couple songs that draw me in, but I appreciate it as much for the photography and the liner notes as I do the music inside. And my first listen is ALWAYS uninterrupted, all the way through - no repeats. I like to get my first taste of the work as I'd hope the artist intended.

Seems as if the boys are out to pasture at the moment - I love me a boy with a guitar, don't get me wrong...and I'm thisclose to breaking down and springing for the new Lifehouse and/or the new Maroon 5 (though not really new on either count - I think I just like the music more now that I've had a chance to let it marinate for awhile via the radio). Today's theme is the girls - I've gotten three amazing CDs from three amazing female artists. Two of them are girls with pianos, one is a girl with a guitar. Two are relatively new, one is a Grammy winning veteran. All of them hit me in a different place, and they all suit my moods beautifully.

Alicia Keys, As I Am

I was so excited for this album to come out, I actually went to Borders a week early because I had the release date wrong! I'll admit, Lesson Learned, the collaboration with JM, was what originally drew me to this record. I knew and loved Miss Keys before this, but never bothered with her albums, and I now know what I was missing. I adore her radio work, but As I Am is a career-defining album. She's got a fierce piano style and her vocals have matured beautifully - she goes from sweet church singer straight to throaty full-on dark soprano in a matter of a key change and a piano run. It's clear she's stretching her style, but her artistry and interpretation are second to none. My favorite tracks are probably "No One, "Go Ahead" and "Lesson Learned." I also dig the sentiment in "Teenage Love Affair" - I remember being the girl who rushed home to wait for the boy to rush home to call the ONE family phone line, so we could talk for an hour before dinnertime (and if you remember this feeling, you are at least as old as I am, because none of us had cell phones and text messaging back then. I think that might have been a good thing.)

Colbie Caillat, Coco

If forced to define "California" in musical terms, three things automatically pop into my mind: the Beach Boys, Dick Deltone (the surfer song dude who performed "Miserlou" - otherwise known as the theme from Pulp Fiction), and Colbie Caillat. I pop this lovely little CD into the stereo and it doesn't matter what I'm doing - making dinner, studying, cleaning the house, I'm automatically transported to a beach in Southern California. You know her as the girl who sings that "Bubbly" song on the radio, but her album is just a lovely collection of sand dollars and beach glass, and if I had to describe the music in non-musical terms, it's how you'd feel, sitting on a beach, wind in your hair and sun on your shoulders, the waves tickling your bare toes. It's just that effervescent and upbeat. It's a lovely escape from the oppresively cold Minnesota winter - even if my feet are cold, Colbie warms my spirit.

The music isn't terribly challenging or complex, with a couple exceptions, but it's clear that Colbie has a career ahead of her - her vocals are clear and tonally beautiful, and though she has some help in the guitar department, I think her songwriting will evolve as well. She's very young - only 23 - and she's got a lot to learn. However, this is a strong debut album and I can't wait to see what she'll do next. She's doing what a lot of young artists do - defining their sound and writing what she knows. My personal picks: "Midnight Bottle," "Tailor Made," and "Magic."

"Midnight" seems like a torch-bearing love story, but as a mom, I pick up another meaning. Perhaps Colbie didn't mean it this way, but I hear the lyrics and I picture a new mom and baby, up for a midnight feeding, and the mom is thinking back to life before motherhood, possibly dealing with some baby blues. Maybe I'm projecting my own situation...but that's what it brings to my mind. Take a look:

Midnight bottle take me come with me my memories and everything come back to me
Midnight bottle make it real what feels like make believe so I can see a little more clearly
Like every single move you make kissing me so carefully on the corners of my dreaming eyes

I've got a midnight bottle gonna drink it down
A one way ticket takes me to the times we had before, when everything felt so right
If only for tonight...A midnight bottle gonna ease my pain
From all these feelings driving me insane, I think of you and everything's all right If only for tonight

Got a midnight bottle drifting off into the candlelight where I can find you in your time
A midnight bottle I forgot how good it felt to be in a dream just like you had me
'Cause lately I've been stumbling feels like I'm recovering
But I think it's only for tonight

Sara Bareilles, Little Voice

Sara B. is my most recent acquisition, as I picked it up a couple days ago on a Target run (eggs, milk, new closet storage, laundry soap, new music - gotta love Le Tarjhay). A big bonus (beyond the music, which is both beautiful and soulful), is the fact that "Love Song" - the current radio single which is burning up the airwaves - is one of the Girl's favorite songs. She's really been getting into music lately, and I recently showed her the Youtube of the video for "Love Song." She played "piano" on the dining room table as she watched on my laptop, and attempted to learn the lyrics and sing along. Any music that moves my kid works for me.

However, Sara's album is, without a doubt, a contender for a Grammy next year - if it isn't Album of the Year, she should be up for Best Female Pop Vocal, or possibly Song of the Year for "Love Song." This album is a tour de force - Sara pulls no punches in her vocal style. She's got a strong, throaty alto with incredible range. She does a great service to her own songs, bringing passion to each note. Her piano and guitar skills also show up nicely, though she has help in the studio from a few recognizable names, including Jamie Muhoberac (who did studio keyboards for JM). Especially notable for a harder texture than you might expect: "Morningside" and "Vegas."

Top picks on this album: "One Sweet Love," which I pick for the next radio song, and should be a Top Ten hit without batting an eyelash, and "Many The Miles." MTM is a gospel-soaked song of healing, and it hit me in the gut the first time I heard it. I've been immersed in the song and the lyrics for the last couple days - I think they speak for themselves. As someone who tends to read ecclesiastical sentiment into anything, I can't help but think the gospel-style arrangment was purposeful. The opening piano sounds like you'd hear in a Baptist church on a Sunday morning, and echoes the start of "Seasons of Love" from Rent. I don't know if Sara is praying or pleading, or healing or begging...but I know that the best gospel stirs the soul, and that's exactly what happens when I listen to "Many The Miles." In a way, it's what I want to be, and in a way, it's exactly where I am.

There's too many things that I haven't done yet
Too many sunsets I haven't seen
You can't waste the day wishing it'd slow down
You would've thought by now, I'd have learned something

I made up my mind when I was a young girl, I've been given this one world
I won't worry it away
But now and again I lose sight of the good life, I get stuck in a low light
But then love comes in

How far do i have to go to get to you?
Many the miles
Send me the miles and I'll be happy to follow you Love

I do what I can wherever I end up, to keep giving my good love
And spreading it around
'Cause I've had my fair share of take care and goodbyes
I've learned how to cry and I'm better for that

How far do I have to go to get to you?
Many the miles
Send me the miles and I'll be happy to follow you Love

Red letter day and I'm in a blue mood, wishing that blue would just carry me away
I've been talking to God, don't know if it's helping or not
But surely something has got to got to got to give,
'Cause I can't keep waiting to live

How far do I have to go to get to you?
Many the miles

There's too many things I haven't done yet
Too many sunsets I haven't seen

Indeed. Thanks, ladies, for your gorgeous music.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


So we ate.

And we drank.

And we shopped.

And I got $30 boots at Nine West on Michigan Avenue (woo!!!), which made my feet hurt but that was okay because they are totally cute and now they are broken in and I have new bootcut jeans that look a-freakin-dorable atop said boots.

And we didn't kill each other.

And went to the top of what used to be the tallest building in the world, and is now the third tallest, but still the tallest in North America.

And we saw a 72 year-old blues legend in action, and a dirty, dirty old man he is, indeed.

And we got our ears blown out.

And I probably snored, but Kate thrashed around so I call it even.

And we saw lots of cool stuff. And met a really cool new person named Robin, who was a friend of Sooz's who just moved to Chicago from the T.C. a couple months ago, and is going do to the tri with me and Sooz this July.

And we stopped at a cheese castle.

And we drove. A lot. Kate drove faster than I did.

And we had a blast in an amazing city, and saw the Lake in all of its January glory.

And then we came home. And went back to school. And remembered how much fun we had that weekend in Chicago.

And promised we'd go back again, because the City of Big Shoulders always has more to offer.

...I turn once more to those who sneer at this my city, and I give them back the sneer and say to them:
Come and show me another city with lifted head singing, so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning...

- Chicago
Carl Sandburg

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Movie Review: The Bucket List

On our recent trip to Chicago, Kate, Sooz and I stopped off in the hometown to spend a (free!) Friday night at my mom's house. Since there's not a ton to do in the hometown, and I recently discovered an unused gift card for the cinema there (which we do not have here in the T.C.), we availed ourselves. Worth noting: the movie cost the three of us a total of $1.75 after the gift card. This followed a theme throughout the weekend (which I will blog more about in about....20 minutes.)

I've been looking forward to this movie since I heard a certain favorite singer of mine

was adding a song to the soundtrack.

I forewarned the girls that my butt would be in the seat until the end of "Say" and I would not rise until a moment sooner. I had a feeling it would be a closing credit song, and I was right. The song itself couldn't have been more perfect for the movie - a good buddy movie with two formidable actors in the lead roles (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman).

The movie was sad in a way, but probably about as uplifting as a movie about death can be. The point of the movie wasn't necessarily to exploit death, so much as it was to celebrate life, and really - shouldn't we all grab what we've got while we've got it to grab?

It's harder advice to put into practice than you might imagine...but good advice nonetheless.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Movie Review : Juno

Oh, what a cute movie!

Kate and I decided to take advantage of our last unplanned weekend and see a movie, and Juno was one we'd seen the preview for when we saw Dan In Real Life.

The first thing I can say about this movie is that it definitely lives up to its hype. The movie is brilliantly simple, and the cast is masterful. I must give definite props to Ellen Page in the title role of Juno, a pregnant teenager named after a Greek goddess. She owns the role with disaffected teenage bravado, frank dialog and a general air of like, whatever, pervading her attitude. The beauty of Page's perfomance comes in her eyes. This actress manages to give Juno's character a deep seated fear, and it comes across in her face and her eyes - it's honestly one of the few times I've actually seen a character's soul come out from such an internal place in an actor.

Her eyes say it all: I'm pregnant, and a teenager, and damnit, I'm scared. With all the recent talk of Jamie Lynn Spears and teenage pregnancy, and whatnot, Juno makes the toughest choice possible. After opting not to go through an abortion (portrayed in what might possibly the most moving and funny, yes funny, scene ever set in an abortion clinic), she finds adoptive parents in the PennySaver ads.

I loved this movie, bottom line. Matter of fact, I'm waiting for it to hit the cheap cinema so I can see it again. The soundtrack was charming and perfect, and the film played like an independent, irreverent take on a serious issue. If 2008's movie year starts off like this, it'll be a tough call to decide my favorite, but I don't doubt Juno will be in my personal top ten.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Ordinary Extraordinary Boy

Just a day, just an ordinary day, just trying to get by.
Just a boy, just an ordinary boy,
But he was looking to the sky.
And as he asked if I would come along
I started to realize that everyday he finds just what he's looking for,
Like a shooting star he shines.

He said take my hand, live while you can
Don't you see your dreams lie right in the palm of your hand

And as he spoke, he spoke ordinary words although they did not feel
For I felt what I had not felt before, and you'd swear those words could heal.
And as I looked up into those eyes his vision borrows mine.
And I know he's no stranger,
For I feel I've held him for all of time.

And he said take my hand, live while you can
Don't you see your dreams lie right in the palm of your hand
In the palm of your hand.

Please come with me, see what I see.
Touch the stars for time will not flee.
Time will not flee. Can you see?

Just a dream, just an ordinary dream, as I wake in bed
And the boy, that ordinary boy...or was it all in my head?
Did he asked if I would come along? It all seemed so real.
But as I looked to the door, I saw that boy standing there with a deal.

And he said take my hand, live while you can,
Don't you see all your dreams lie right in the palm of your hand
In the palm of your hand, in the palm of your hand.

Just a day, just an ordinary day just trying to get by.
Just a boy, just an ordinary boy.
But he was looking to the sky.

-Ordinary Day, Vanessa Carlton

I awoke in his arms this morning, as I do most mornings, as I have most mornings for the last nine years or so. We don't generally sleep that way; we spoon at night, then separate, finding our individual comfort spots. Somehow, in our combined morning haze, we rejoin, me finding a spot for my head in the crook of his shoulder, possibly throwing my top leg over his bottom one. Sometimes we spoon, my back to his chest, our legs aligned top to bottom, his arms wrapped around mine. No matter what position we're in, our feet always touch.

I've said before, it was his encouragement to follow my dream of law school, it is his financial support of our family that's making it possible for me to be here. The wonderful thing is that I feel a certain obligation to do well and make this experience worthwhile, but I don't feel beholden. He's never once said "you owe me" something for this. Our family's life isn't an "if/then" statement - it does feel lopsided on occasion because I've asked more of him than he has of me. However, he knows that I would support him and follow him if he asked.

Our marriage, from day one, has been based on partnership and teamwork. This is quite possibly one of the hardest concepts for me to wrap my head around; one of the most difficult things for me to remember on a daily basis. See, I'm a very selfish person- I want to do my own thing, and so does he. It's a constant struggle.

We have gone through hell and back, the boy and I, and there have been times when I didn't know whether I'd wake up next to him ever again. The hard part of marriage is deciding on a daily basis that you love the person you're married to enough to do whatever it takes to make sure you wake up in each other's arms the next morning, and get through another ordinary day.

For me, the ordinary days, the every day in-and-out, is what makes the extraordinary possible. I don't know how other people love, I don't know what love feels like to anyone else.

When I wake in his arms, when we reach for each other in the morning silence of our bedroom, when the first thing I do after opening my eyes is look at his face and reach over to kiss him, when the first thoughts in my head are thanks to God for giving me this man, when my first words are "Morning, boo..."

That's love.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Many Loves of John Clayton Mayer

It's been a while since we had a quality John Mayer Fest around these parts, and damn if I'm about to let my fangirl responsibilities slide!

It's been all quiet on the Mayer front since after Christmas- no scary New Year's blogs or tales of drunken Mayers hanging with Perez. It looks like we're avoiding Stop This Trainwreck 2008, as JM is currently courting the lovely, talented, seemingly normal and seemingly un-psycho Minka Kelly. JM has long said his taste in women runs to the brunette, and in every picture I've ever seen of the two of them, they look happy, relaxed and unbothered.

I also have to give Minka big props. I shall explain. Bear with me.

As is my wont, I grabbed the tabloid rags as diversion whilst combing the aisles of the grocery store this evening. I do this so I don't actually buy them. Today's selection: US Weekly, Star, InTouch and People.

USWeekly had a lovely article on one Miss Pop Tart (see above re: Stop This Trainwreck Tour 2007) regarding her desperation in the love arena. Apparently the girl has designs on the current starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, has rented a house in Dallas to be close to him, has shown up at his games with decidedly negative results, and has contemplated moving to Dallas permanently to "work on her country album." Her father, manager, and ruiner of her life, Joe Tart, apparently approves of this latest beau, as he initially approved of JM. Joe has allegedly offered Mr. QB a small roll in Pop's next movie. (If you've been off the radar screen, the last two were ridiculous, low budgeted, self financed and complete failures.)

The point of the article was this: Miss Tart has a tendency to mold herself to fit the image of the woman she thinks her man wants. The sidebar had a case in point: Miss Tart with JM. When they started seeing each other, Pop had blonde tresses and dressed in her normal fashion. Toward the middle of her tryst with JM, she started dressing in black and dyed her hair a lovely auburn-brown. She adopted his trademark aviator sunglasses. She followed him around without remorse- as if she had nothing better to do than be with him.

Correct me if I'm wrong but this is a woman who is supposed to be a star in her own right. She's a singer, yes? A former reality star? A fashion and shoe designer? So...doesn't that beg the question...why isn't she working?

I do feel a tish bit of pity for the girl- she's obviously got a hero complex where her father is concerned, and he's obviously mis-managing her. She doesn't know he's a Svengali, and that's pretty sad. If I were her, I would ditch the dad and concentrate on the one thing that is actually working in her career: the fashion line. The boys, the music? Back burner, honey. Get your act together and give dear ol'dad the big Texas stomp.

As for any of JM's other former flames, let's do a quick rundown, shall we?

Miss Jennifer Love Hewitt recently announced her engagement to a Scottish actor whose name I have forgotten. They were on vacation when the whole "she's a size 2 and she has FLAB" flap came up. Props to JLH for standing up for the girls on that one. Common lore has it that JM wrote "Wonderland" about JLH, but as any serious fan knows...JLH was his muse for an unreleased fan favorite song called "In Your Atmosphere (L.A. song)". The charity review concert happened a couple weeks after JLH's announcement, and JM blogged that he was going to attempt IYA at the concert. He did, in fact play it.

Draw your own conclusions, but methinks the Mayer might have been pining a bit. Miss Kelly was in the audience that night, and it's my humble opinion that he's either over JLH completely, and was wishing her a final farewell, or he has balls of steel to play a song about an old girlfriend in front of a current one. Either that or Minka doesn't know the story, or he's written a song for her that's better.

Cameron Diaz: no photos, no proof. No relationship as far as I'm concerned.

Mandy Moore: another brunette. Good friends. I believe this- I'm certain she's got her qualities but she doesn't seem like the type to put up with some of his bullshit.

And...we circle back to my original point: as I was pacing the aisles of the local supermarket, I came across another article in Star Magazine, regarding Miss Minka Kelly. Apparently, Minka is taking Japanese lessons, both in a class and by private tutor. Minka continues to work on her series, and she and JM seem to be doing the bicoastal relationship thing, with some Austin thrown in whilst she's on-set for Friday Night Lights. This is a healthy thing. I think she's far more confident with herself, by the simple fact that he's come to her, rather than her following him around all the time. Likewise, she's giving one of his passions a try: JM loves all things Japanese, and he speaks the language (as Ryan Seacrest found out on live TV last year at the Grammys. Pwned, Seacrest!)

To me, this is the sign of a good relationship. She's exploring something that he likes. She's not changing herself or hanging on him- and learning a little Japanese is certainly an endearment, not an obsession. I'm thinking he'll try some of her things too- and I hope they are safe with each other til long past St. Patrick's Day.

So big props to Minka for expanding her horizons...big props to JM for dating a good woman, and even bigger props to them both for having the grace to let it play out in good humor in the press. I hope they are both currently holed up together, cuddling under a quilt and watching bad movies. That's where I'd be if I was young, famous and in love.

Hell, it's where I'll be later tonight after the girl goes to bed. Bring on the popcorn!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Le iPod Est Mort, Vive Le iPod

So...about that karmic payback.

After a couple days of dethaw, an intense charging and a lot of prayer, my iPod is now able to turn on and play songs. The screen is beyond fubared, so I can't tell what's playing or how much charge I have...but it plays!

So...the verdict is that I will be getting a new iPod, and will keep this one for working out and toting places that I might need some tunes but might otherwise hesitate to bring my "good" iPod. Now...what to get??

I'm thinking I'm going to go for the 2nd generation, 8GB version of the Nano. I'm used to the 1st gen and I'm not sure if I want to go for the new 3d gen, because I'd have to get a new holder and stuff...and that's just too damn much work.

Maybe next time around.

My First Wrap Up Evaaaaar!!!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? Went to law school. Sold a house. Moved long-distance. Managed to stick with a blog longer than three entries.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t remember what they were. I always make resolutions and forget them. This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to make resolutions and hope I’ll remember.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes- E&B had beautiful baby Rylee, my sister’s sister-in-law just gave birth a few days ago to sweet peanut baby Andrew, and one of my classmates gave birth to a lovely baby girl a few weeks ago.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No. My best friend’s grandmother died, but we weren’t particularly close. My heart goes out to her though, they were, and I know how horrible it is to lose a person who is close to you.
5. What places did you visit? Austin! And…that was about it. But it was fun and I got to do a triathlon.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? Patience and better grades.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 11: I got my first acceptance letter to law school
May 14: I turned 30
July 3: JM concert
July 31-August 2: The Big Move
August 11: first day of law school
September 8: Jordana’s wedding
December 17: last day of finals
Christmas Eve: the girl’s birthday. Apparently 2007 was a big year!

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year? Getting into law school and getting the family transitioned to our new environs without too much pain and hassle.

9. What was your biggest failure? Letting my own personal demons get hold of my outside relationships. The boy and I had a very rough time with the transition and we had to fight like hell to survive. We did…so maybe that’s more a success than a failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? My neck (ow…), and a hacking cough that made my head dizzy. Oh…and I dropped our king bed frame on my left foot and I think I broke a bone in there because it hurt like crazy for about two months, and I’ve just now been able to wear trainers without feeling excruciating pain on the top of my foot.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Local 83 membership, JM concert tickets, law school books, my girl’s Barbie scooter.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? The boy, who managed not to kill me during the last quarter of the year. My sister…who drove up to St. Paul and stayed for a week to help me clean and unpack. My mom, who did the same. The girl, who made the transition with minimal issues. My friends, who helped me through it all.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The Bush Administration.

14. Where did most of your money go? Uh…moving expenses, tuition, gas and preschool.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Going to law school (notice a theme here?) Moving to a new place. And as corny as it might sound, going to see JM in concert for the first time. It was honestly and truly the best concert experience I’ve ever had. I got to travel to Austin and do a triathlon there, which was amazing, and I made a really cool gaggle of law school friends.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? I can’t say, really…this year was a musical reawakening for me- I will never forget JM playing “Neon” live…actually- yes. If I have to pick one, “Neon” it is. Older song, but two reasons: it’s hands-down my favorite JM song from R4S and he rotates it through the setlist…and I was fortunate enough to catch it. Also, it’s Jordana’s personalized ringtone on my phone, and in the months leading up to the wedding, it rung off my phone about ten times a day. After the wedding I noticed it more for its absence than its presence.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Hard-fought happier.
b) thinner or fatter? About the same.
c) richer or poorer? Richer mentally, financially about the same-which is remarkable considering the amount of stuff we actually did this year.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Focusing on the boy, maybe studying (pending grades) and being more mindful of those around me during my first semester.

19. How did you spend Christmas last year?
We went to Nashville to visit the boy’s parents…it was great and I think we’re going back next year. This year in the TC was hard- it was cold and very snowy.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Yes. I can honestly say I did.

22. How many one-night stands?
I don’t know…that all-nighter with my civ pro casebook was awfully hot…

23. What was your favorite TV program? Corny but true: Dancing With The Stars

24. What did you do for your birthday in 2007? I took the day off. I never do that, but it was my 30th, so I figured hey-whatever. I got a massage in the morning, got some quality self time, then had dinner with my family. Low key but perfect for me- the best gift I got was having time to myself.

25. What was the best book you read?
Hmmmm…. Dressler on Criminal Law was pretty scintillating…

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Roster McCabe. Hands down.

27. What did you want and get?
To go to law school in the Twin Cities.

28. What did you want and not get?
To not have to work.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Probably August Rush.

30. Did you make some new friends this year? YES!! And they are lovely and wonderful.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Selling our hometown house before we moved.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Uh…is it clean?

33. What kept you sane?
The boy, the girl, the friends.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The war. It’s getting bad.

36. Who did you miss?
My dad. There’s family turmoil afoot and I wish he could get his act together enough for me to let him more into my life.

37. Who was the best new person you met? My sister. Honestly, this was the year I really met her as an adult, and she’s a cool girl with whom I can definitely hang.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. 2007 reinforced in me the idea that life really is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans…so you must do your best to enjoy your journey. Also? I am learning that sometimes in life, you must simply not question grace-just accept, and be grateful.