Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This is how the children see me...





A couple of cold November days. A couple of crazy classes. A digital camera. A kooky teacher...

I'm quite impressed at my children's mad photography skillz!

I thought these unique pictures might make you smile...


Hope they raise a smile! Enjoy your week!
Cxx
PS 26 days to go!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Singalong Sunday, November 26th.

Mmmmm. I am just blissfully relaxed. It is amazing what a regular weekend, rather than the snatched one-to-one-and-a-half days we usually get around here, can do for the soul. I feel refreshed, back on form, chilled and ready for the very busy month ahead – my favourite month of the whole year (I can actually find something great about every month, but December is just awesome. Having a festival in it which plays so gorgeously to my strengths and favourite things – giving presents, church, music, sending cards and letters, meeting up with favourite people and spangles – is just the coolest bonus ever).

I have just enjoyed the pongiest lunch ever – really good stilton and white grape on oatcakes with a huge cup of coffee. I’m pretty confident I smell pretty awful right now (but fear not, gentle reader, the Colgate and floss beckons after this post!). I was just thinking a lot about all the antisocial things I get to do at the current time, due to my single and living alone status. These habits include, but are not limited to:

* Eating stinky foods – in the past day I have had garlic, wine, chillies, stilton and coffee. Note to self, make sure any future partners like similarly toxic foodstuffs! I once dated a guy who liked Marmite (my bete noire)… that was interesting. I also do that girly thing of when I’m alone forgoing meals altogether in favour of grazing!
* Reading books in the bathroom. I know, I know, it’s hardly very Debrett’s, but I always have some reading material in there. My ladies group at church would no doubt be horrified.
* My singing sessions. Now, as much as I love my Fratellis and Tilly and the Wall and Muse, sometimes a girl just needs to crank up the Whitney Houston and have a sing into a hairbrush (or an inflatable microphone, ahem ;-)). Now, I convince myself that it’s not quite as bad as I can hit all the notes Whit does, but deep down I am all too aware of the innate geekiness.
* Putting my Christmas tree up on November 25th. I restrain myself till then, but as soon as 25/11 rocks up I am so there. As I type I can see my gorgeous tree, all red and gold and spangly, hung with chocolates and candy canes. Underneath are about three dozen gifts, all ready to be dispatched to lovely people very soon.
* My workout / housecleaning ensembles. At work I tend to look pretty well put together (well, my colleagues and kids tell me that, at least), cute skirts, pretty tops, wide legged trousers, groovy accessories, minimal makeup, tamed hair. My casual clothes are all OK too….but on my ‘me’ days, or when I work out in the mornings? Ahahahaha. Old joggers, teeshirts from shows that have long since past, enormous sweatshirts, outsize PJ bottoms. Glamour, thy name is Claire. Today, for example, I am wearing my ex-fat-jeans (these didn’t do up while I studied at Durham, but are now a little loose and have a comedy habit of falling down completely, thus rendering them useless for wear anywhere other than home), a bright red ‘Anything Goes’ teeshirt (that show was five years ago? Wow. Seems like weeks ago I was breaking out the sequins and wig. At other times it feels like a different life entirely), and a huuuuuge Old Navy hoody. I am the sexy, y’all.
* Some of my TV choices would surely strike fear into the hearts of many men….’Make Me a Supermodel’? ‘Smallville?’ ‘Songs of Praise’? Man, I really love ‘Songs of Praise’. Whenever I remember to watch it it’s always brilliant.

Hmmm. Perhaps I’ve said too much.

On with the tracks.

1. Green Christmas – Barenaked Ladies.

Yeah, I’ve added my Christmas tracks to the playlist. What of it? I get as irate as the next person at the TV ads starting for Christmas in, oh, September, but once we enter the one month to go phase, it’s on. You’re talking to a girl who owns (and loves) the Muppet Christmas Carol Soundtrack Album…I’m a lost cause….

2. Call Me When You Get This – Corinne Bailey Rae.

Man. I haven’t listened to this girl in a while. But I’m still loving the voice.

This song makes me smile. Earlier this year I had a stupid! unrequited! crush! ™ on a friend of mine. Anyway, in a sad and cheesey Claire way I made him a mix CD (shut up, I was being fifteen at the time). This song was on the mix. I spent the summer working on getting over the crush (because, after all, I’m not fifteen) and ding-dong, the witch has gone, but this song really reminds me of that time. Now I spend time with him and I just think maaaan. That would have been a disaster! As friends this guy and I have a great rapport, but as a couple? Hilariously bad – I would have given and given and given, and he wouldn’t have been able to give anything back. I’m afraid the whole scenario was a clear case of NAMS (nearest available man syndrome). There are no guys here (as I’ve pointed out before) so a handsome, fragile, bookish, frankly unsuitable guy was going to sway me for better or ill.

I’m loving the hindsight.

3. Firecracker – Ryan Adams.

I love this song, from one of my favourite albums of all time. Break out that harmonica.

We’ve been bracing ourselves for gales all this weekend. Yesterday was stormy, in that odd, end of November way – hail, then thunder, then shine then rain. The elements couldn’t make up their mind! Today is a clear and crisp winter day, damp and breezy with an Yves Klein blue sky. Hee. The sky is always Yves Klein blue in chicklit, do you notice?

4. As Ugly As I Seem – The White Stripes.

I hope not.

We were having a big chat about ugliness earlier this week. It’s a subject close to my inner core – I think I’ve mentioned before how I really struggled with this growing up. Yep, right up until a few years ago I was thoroughly convinced that I was ugly. Not funny looking, not fat, not ‘an acquired taste’, no. I genuinely thought I was ugly. I fished for compliments that I would then destroy or dissect. I saw beauty, prettiness, grace…everywhere but here. It was a dark and horrid way to look at myself.

5. Tomorrow Tomorrow – Elliott Smith.

And now? I think I’m safely in the OK band. I’m not going to launch a thousand ships, but nor am I going to break mirrors or scare babies. I’ve learnt to see the good things about myself, as well as those of others. Ok, I’m never going to be a size 4 blonde with a face that stops traffic, but I have grown accustomed to my looks, grown more comfortable with them, more aware of the good bits as well as the flaws.

For example, I have a wide smile, a smile which children find infectious…it draws people in and makes them want to smile too. I have friendly, kind eyes. I have clear skin and rosey cheeks which make me look all kinds of healthy and bucolic. I have a figure that is certainly never going to win any prizes, but it has its advantages – it’s curvy and proportioned and strong – muscles earnt from dancing and lifting children and climbing mountains…the best kind. Children and friends describe me as pretty or beautiful now and while I know they’re biased, I take the compliment for what it is now, an extension of their esteem and love.

So I say thank you.

6. I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie

Is it Deathcab, or Death Cab? I’m never sure.

I love this song. It’s amazing how powerful one man and a guitar can be. I love the lyrics as well, so visceral and emotive (haha, how many ten point words am I racking up today?).

7. Love Is A Sweet Thing – Faith Hill.

Haha, the country rears it’s head! Did you guys see that video on YouTube of Faith’s reaction to Carrie Underwood beating her to a CMA? Absolutely classic.

I really have no opinion on Faith Hill. She can sing, and her music doesn’t offend me, but she’s a bit too glossy and packaged and watered down and marketed for me to take seriously. I bought the album this is from for one song alone – a simply gorgeous ballad called ‘If I’m Not In Love With You’, which is currently on my ‘to learn’ pile (yes, I have a ‘to learn’ pile. Got to get ready for the next reality TV audition J). It’s an amazing song, very pared down, lots of jammy notes…I love it.

8. The Man With The Child In His Eyes – Kate Bush.

From a singer that leaves me cold to one I adore. Aptness abounds.

This time in three weeks I’ll be on break. The time before that stretches out, full of business and action – visits and plays and reports and concerts and parties and birthdays. Then three weeks of chilling. Mmmm. I’m having a Christmas drinks thing here which should prove comedic – 20-odd people in my wee flat?

9. Put It Off Until Tomorrow – Dolly Parton & Loretta Lynn.

The harmonies in this kind of remind me of the MacDonald brothers on the X-Factor….I can’t believe they are still in this season! Maybe that’s what I need to do for next time I try out for something – grab a comedy partner to do some harmonies….

And the final song is:

10.What Good Is Love For You? – Dusty Springfield.

Hehe. Breaking out the Dusty to close.

And now I have to go brush my teeth.

Have a great week, all!

Cxx

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's Exeat Friday! Yay!

Hurrah, hurrah! It's exeat Friday! Instead of the usual Friday afternoon of duties and readers and drama and rehearsals and all that jazz, I've just finished work :-)! Yay!
I'm off to the shops to buy some good things, then it's bath and nap time, before a weekend of relaxing, good movies, and Christmas prep.!
Have an awesome weekend all - the mood is positively festive here :-).

Cxx

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankfulness

So, it’s thanksgiving for our friends in the States. Happy Turkey Day, y’all! Here in England it doesn’t mean much (although the kitchen are doing a special thanksgiving menu – high five!), but I have to say it’s a festival I can get behind – I think all too often in our Western world we get caught up in feeling deprived, hard-done-by and less-than, and it’s nice to have a chance to give thanks and share.

My tutor group and I had a game of “What are we thankful for…” in tutor time earlier and it was really sweet – they really are a great bunch of kids and I love that they get how lucky they are. Life’s so simple (but hard) when you’re seven – I was grateful that they were so thankful for the right things – family, friends, health, faith…and food, naturally! I told them I was thankful for them, they really are such an amazing asset in my little world :-).

What else am I thankful for? My family – crackers though they may be, they are my people and I love them to bits. I’m thankful for my friends, and for the web of emails, letters, cards, phone calls, texts, visits and blog comments that keep us all in touch. I’m thankful for my health – humans are all too fragile. I’m thankful for my job – yes, it’s tough sometimes, but this is a vocation for me, and I love getting to help little ones figure out what they want to be, and who they are. I’m thankful for a thousand little pleasures – good books, hot chocolate, cold crisp mornings, snugly handmade comforters, the simple joy of planning and preparing for Christmas, the rare chance of a break on a Thursday morning (my class are busily writing timed stories and I’m not allowed to help (imagine those last three words in block letters and you get an idea of school policy!)), and an upcoming exeat. I’m thankful for little victories, for escaping the past, for looking forward to the future.

Be happy and thankful, and I hope you all have an amazing day!

Cxx

Monday, November 20, 2006

Singalong Sunday, 19th November

Perhaps this blog entry should have a subtitle.

I’ll go with ‘layers’.

I’ve felt like crap all week, like something’s been bothering me and I don’t know what. I’ve been weepy, agitated, down on myself, headachey, tired, blue, feeling sick, under the weather. But yesterday my mood started to lift somewhat, and I had a good lusty sing yesterday (and today, woo!), which always lifts the cobwebs.

And now I sit here, feeling rejuvenated, ready to write a proper entry. Yes! I’m feeling more like me than I have in a while, but I’ve been facing down a few demons in the past couple of weeks, so forgive me the conspicuous absence. I had to get out of my own head, sort some stuff out, then get back in my head and get back onto stuff….

Mmmm, tangent tastic this evening.

I just found an old mix CD someone made for me a couple of years back, and it’s put me in such a decent mood – singing (and drumming) along to ‘Laid’ by James and singing and pouting along with ‘They Don’t Know’ is a surefire mood lifter around here!

1. I Do, I Do, I Do – ABBA

Oh man, what a great cheesey moment to begin with…this song is just awesomely connected with ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ in my mind. I kind of empathise with Muriel (Mariel!) Heslop – not so much now, but definitely when I was younger I felt very disconnected to the normality of life.

Now I still feel a little disconnected, but I know it’s OK. The places I’ve been, experiences I’ve had, choices I’ve made, the places I’ve been…I was never going to end up Mrs Normal of Normaltown, 2 kids, 2 cars, 1 holiday to Majorca a year. Sometimes I feel bereft, never having the chance of taking the normal route, but at most times I feel fairly lucky and privileged to be able to walk this lesser trod road.

2. Forrest Gump – Suite – Alan Silvestri

From a song in a film to part of the score of another film. I love the music of ‘Forrest Gump’, and the score is just beautiful (but then, I am a sucker for both strings and piano, so they more or less had me at hello). I actually like ‘Forrest Gump’ – a fact some of my fellow film students could not fathom when we were undergrads. But I do – it’s sweet and clever and it sweeps you up. It has a kickass OST (as I mentioned), great performances, and it never ever fails to make me cry (and y’all know how I enjoy a good cry!). With the birds and the tears and the “He’s so smart, Jenny.” Egads, I’m welling up just describing it.

This weekend has been cathartic and hectic, a break and a change, which I both wanted and needed. Sometimes I get so swept up in the mania of the termtime I lose myself a little – I push myself too hard and forget that I have wants and needs and desires and hopes and dreams and fears which need my attention. It’s always good to gain some me time!

3. Trading Air – Athlete.

I really don’t have much of an opinion on Athlete. I don’t dislike them, by any stretch, they’re just a bit there and wallpapery. Not really something to get particularly worked up about, in my opinion.

Yesterday evening I did something I haven’t done in a long, long while.

No, not that! Minds out of the gutter, please!

Hee.

No, I wrote a song. Nothing much, just a few lines and a melody, and not a groundbreaking one at that, but I wrote a song! Perhaps I should explain why this causes such delight…

4. She Wants To Move – N*E*R*D*

My treatise on Pharrell will have to wait, as I’m mid story.

…I used to write songs a lot when I was younger. My lyrics were always vastly better than my tunes, but I could churn out songs like a pro. Then at about twenty, just when life sort of slid from a little grey to deep, dark, fetid black, I stopped. I couldn’t write songs anymore. It’s like that part of me just shut down. I could still break out the poems, but the songs? Were no more.

Then yesterday, I was just running a bath, thinking some thoughts, all that jazz, and a melody pops in my head, then some words, and in five minutes I have a two verse, two chorus, bridge and finale song. It’s nice to have the skill back, I must admit, even if my first effort was a little cheesy!

5. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright – Simon and Garfunkel.

Mmmm, harmonies. I’m going to go watch NMTB now, but shall return to the singalong after the fun and games…

6. Pray – Take That

And I’m back! To cheese, cheese, cheese. Never Mind The Buzzcocks was hilarious, and Amy Winehouse is certainly fond of a drink or nine (awesome voice though – talent, tragedy and excess all seem to walk hand in hand, ce n’est pas?).

So, onywyes (to use the Doric vernacular), I wrote a song, and I got to thinking (always a dangerous pastime, but I do so love to live on the edge). I’m going to try and write enough songs to pick the best to make an album, rope in anyone who can sing / play / engineer for brain-picking, and try and get it recorded. Sure, it’ll just be for me and my mates, but it would still be pretty cool. So far I’ve got one lyric and melody, a lyric, a title and a dream….I’ll keep you all posted :-).

[I’d like to get it done by my thirtieth…this gives me four years and three weeks…]

7. Supermassive Black Hole – Muse

Full body T for tune. I just love this song, and it never fails to make me want to boogy. It also has the filthiest bass line I have heard in a good long time, and that is always a good thing. A little filthy bass line goes a long way in my world.

So, the country life continues apace. And tomorrow it’s 5 weeks till Christmas! I have written 20 of my international cards so far and am trying frantically to work out what gifts I have and haven’t got, which ones need mailing when, what I’m doing for my Christmas drinks (theme? Snacks? Soundtrack?)…it’s the most wonderful time of the year…

8. Get This Party Started – Pink

The new M&S advert has Shirley Bassey performing this. It is utterly bizarre, and kind of awesome.

Over the next week I’ll also be getting the names of my two secret sisters – I do one through the OTZ, and this year I’m doing one through FCN also. I love secret sistering, it’s lovely to plan such a nice surprise for someone. My regular gifts are coming along well also, but there seem to be so many of them to sort out! I guess I shouldn’t complain, I only have to worry about my friends and family – it must be even harder work if you’re in a couple!

9. Dirrty Girl (Mashup) – Jet and Christina Aguilera

Man, the player is breaking out the tunes now. If only I wasn’t in my PJs at 10.20 on a Monday, in a bijou annex flat in the middle of nowhere. I wanna go dancing! [/toddler tantrum].

And now, it’s bedtime…or rather, faff about for ten minutes, shove hair into some weird coily thing, cleanse-tone-moiturise (oh, hang on, I don’t need to, I did it after my shower. High five to self!), brush teeth, fold out bed, read chapter of book for tomorrow’s book/women’s group and then sleeeeeeeeeeeep.

10. Disenchanted Lullaby – Foo Fighters.

A lullaby! How apt! Goodnight all!

Have a great week,

Cxx

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Funky funky funk-funk

Ah. It's just been one of those weeks. Roll on Sunday afternoon, when I intend to stop (if not colloborate and listen), chill, clean my house and watch some awful TV. Tired is my theme, baby!

Hope you are all well...more soon!

Cxx

Monday, November 13, 2006

Singalong Sunday, 12th November

It’s Sunday night. I am beat. Let’s get our singalong on…

Action Satisfaction – Jurassic 5

This track is exactly what the doctor ordered – it’s been both a fun weekend and a looooooooong hardworking weekend, in almost equal measure, and it’s so good to be here, in my PJs, cup of tea to hand, just chillaxing. So good.

For most of the weekend I was graced with the awesome presence of she who we call Banana. While we’re on that, I do think it’s quite cute that my buddy Bee’s wee sister s’appelle Banane in blog-land, and one of my best buds is Banana on this blog. C’est bizaree, non? Or maybe y’all just think this s#%^ is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S….

Bellissima – DJ Quicksilver

Yes, I just typed that! This song is one of the ones I chucked onto my laptop for the aerobics / dance classes I was teaching the older girls a couple of terms back. Really good fun and a great way to fit a workout into the day. I miss having time to work out – when I was a lazy-ass student (not that all students are, but I really could be sometimes. Well, when I wasn’t studying, working, or on stage, but you get the picture.) I never took advantage of the opportunities available.

Gah.

Hence the junk in the trunk.

Dance Commander – Electric Six

And it’s another appearance for the ‘Six…

I love this genre of music sometimes – crazed lead vocals, thrashy guitars, heavy drums, thumping bass. What’s not to love? Then again, I type as a woman who appreciates Meatloaf. Now, let me qualify that – the latter day ballads I can leave – the man can still sing, but did we need another version of ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’? However, the classics… ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’, ‘Paradise (By The Dashboard Light)’? You guys, I am so there.

War – Edwin Star

What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, sing it again y’all.

I do love this song, but I acquired it totally by accident….my baby brother (fast approaching twenty, but I think I’m in denial) was loading some music on for me, and decided to leave me some random gifts…this I can forgive, but the Mark Morrison and Vengaboys had to go.

Funny sense of humour that boy.

The rain has just started pelting down here. Because my flat has a flat roof, you really get that drumming effect – couple it with some wind for good effect and it’s pretty atmospheric. The countryside around here does create some major sights actually, I was walking home through the Park last week at about 8 at night and in the grove there was a silvery mist just hanging, for a few feet, between the canopy and the ground. A film crew would have killed for the visuals.

Make It Mine – Styrofoam.

I’m not sure where I stand on Styrofoam. Hee, that sentence sounds funny! But no, this is the only song of theirs I’ve heard, and I do like it…I’m just reserving judgement till I get hold of an LP.

An LP? How old school am I this evening?

So, shall I tell you a little about my wee flat? I love it here. It’s not a place I would have ever imagine I’d be living, and it’s certainly quirky enough. It’s the kind of bijou granny flat that a writer or an English eccentric would adore…there’s a little of both of those to me, so maybe that’s why it appeals!

I Need You – Rebecca St. James

I like the song. But her voice bugs me a little…I think it’s the urgent! Breathiness! Hh!

So, anyway (I just got distracted by some texts on my cell….my brain hurts today, which often equals mind-wanderings. Is that normal?).

Sex On The Beach – Vengaboys

What was I telling you? Blimming brothers and their contributions of musical gifts. Grrrr.

This song is so very, very wrong. That said, it’s actually a lot more charming than, say, the Pussycat Dolls, who are less Sex On The Beach, more like Orgy Anywhere.

Anyhoo, back to the flat (or, as Timbaland would no doubt intone, “Take it to the flat”). You can only reach my pad via a drive, which confuses many people. Then once you’ve navigated the orchard and the electric gate, you get to our garden. I say our because my lovely flat is an annex.

And what am I annexed to?

A pink house.

Strangers In The Night – Frank Sinatra

I flove this song. Gorgeous.

Our house is salmony pink…a colour which looks heaps better in reality than it sounds when you read it. Then you come in, through the house, no doubt saying hello to Janet, Bob and Emma-dog and Freddie-dog (my awesome neighbour-landlords), and then you reach a cream door. Behind is a little corridor and then you reach my sanctuary.

Come As You Are – Nirvana

From Frank to Cobain…I love the random function.

I’m in my flat right now, sitting on my comfy blue sofa which pulls out to a bed, looking around at the old and familiar furniture, the lemon walls, the photos on the dresser, the knickknacks spread everywhere – gifts and presents and toys and bills to pay….it’s a busy wee space, but I love it. This room is my home and hearth – this is where I sing and sleep and dance and plan and read. It’s home. I love having somewhere to call home.

Mysteries of the Unexplained – Tanya Donnelly

If you were here, I would make a T with my arms and cry ‘tune’. I love this song.

Well, this has been a post, hasn’t it….part perfunctory, part random, part dull, part (I hope!) entertaining…I’m just glad it got written – I am determined not to disappear for a month or more again – I enjoy this too much!

Have an amazing week,

Cxx

Monday, November 06, 2006

Singalong Saturday, November 4th.

Well…almost. In actuality it’s early evening on Sunday, but you’ll have to forgive me…I spent most of yesterday zooming down from the dark and dank dreich-ness of Scotland to the wee hamlet I call home….no time to blog!

But as I’m back to uploading on a Monday morning, it’s a bit of a here-nor-there thing, right?

1. # 1 Crush – Garbage.

Oh yeah…I wanted to be Shirley Manson when I was younger, she’s such an icon. She’s like a classic 90s rock chick, complete with deep voice, screw the world attitude, moody videos and hard-to-pin-down lyrics. Love it!

This song is also on the OST for William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, a film I was thinking about yesterday. I haven’t seen it in ages, but there are scenes from it that are just seared into my consciousness. The church filled with candles, the shots from the helicopter, the cute little asides and allusions. I also wish Baz Luhrmann would hurry up and make another movie already!

2. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

So, I finally got round to purchasing a Kate Bush album…and I really like it. ‘Wuthering Heights’ is fast becoming one of my favourite female vocals ever…I love the way Bush has such control of her vocal line, no matter how frenzied the notes are getting. Wow, a Bush maintaining control with grace. There’s a sentence you don’t get to type too often.

Back to school tomorrow…I’m not dreading it, but it’s going to take a wee while to interrupt the flow of reading, blogging, chilling, cooking, lazing comfortably….it’ll be a rather abrupt shock to the system to be back to rising at 6, in work before 8, on-on-ON! All day, snatching some social or study time, then dropping to bed…

3. Sports & Wine – Ben Folds Five

This track is taken from the BFF album I don’t listen to as much…I just love ‘Whatever and Ever, Amen’ and his solo stuff…but this one kinds of gets lost in the collection. It’s OK I guess…nice enough, but it’s not grabbing me as much as the other stuff….

Aren’t winter evenings odd? I’m looking out of the window and it’s dark and dusky…and it’s not yet 5. Egads. Saying goodbye to my class in the dark is always interesting….*peering into the gloom* “Is that your mummy?”

4. Sexy Boy – Air

Ah, French dancepop. Tres bien.

I wish I was better at French, or any language for that matter. My own natural ineptitude was no doubt compounded by the awful French tutelage I got at my first senior school. The French master, Mons. H, was simply incroyable et formidable…je ne connais pas! He was the antithesis of what I now consider to be an excellent teacher…ill-prepared, rude, unfair, repetitive, dull, violent, lazy….he taught us (a class of able teens) the same lesson (on the perfect tense using ‘etre’) at least twenty times…and never taught the future! Or holiday terms! Or formal telephone skills! I walked from his class, along with several of my peers, three months before our GCSEs and opted to self-instruct.

Net result? All of the breakaway group got As or Bs. All those who stayed with him failed.

Hmmmm.

5. End of the Road – Boyz II Men

Oh, is there a more fetid slice of early-to-midnineties RnB cheddar than this. It’s lucky these men can sing, cos otherwise it would just be a sin. As it is, it’s grat, but still retains some of it’s inherent yet unintentional comedy… I think it’s the cheesey spoken vocal two-thirds of the way through…

This reminds me of early high school discos, and by about that spoken vocal you we realise how incredibly loooong this song is. And sway, sway, turn.

6. Lesson 6 (Reprise) – Jurassic 5

I think psychic media player realised I was tiring and needed to chill a little, so it’s sent me this little groovy soupcon of a track. Yay J5!

7. Lithium – Nirvana

Did you read that Kurt Cobain was the richest (well, highest netting) dead celebrity last year? Who decided to keep that chart? C’est bizarre, don’t you agree?

The first music video I remember seeing and thinking ‘wow!’ was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – we were living in Germany and we had MTV and this video came on with the creepy janitor, and the lacklustre mosh pit cheerleaders and the murkiness and Nirvana playing up a storm, Kris and Kurt and Dave, long before we knew just how flawed Kurt was, how hurt and messed up, or how talented and savvy Dave would turn out to be.

I was reading NME on the plane back yesterday and one of their retro things was on ‘Smells Like…’. It was released in 1991. 1991! I was ten, but the video made that heavy an impression.

8. In My Life – Bette Midler

Oh man, Bette. One of my guilty pleasures. What can I say, she can belt a number out, as can I, and from time to time I like to break out ‘The Rose’ or ‘From A Distance’ or, heaven help me, ‘ The Wind Beneath My Wings’.

Don’t judge me. Don’t you judge me! [/TM Joy’s mom]

9. Spanish Harlem – Aretha Franklin

Arrrrreeeetha!

You see, Aretha is a different kettle of fish entirely. I can sing Bette Midler, Dusty Springfield, Aimee Mann, Celine Dion, Tori Amos, Faith Hill…but I would just not mess with Aretha. She is the Queen of Soul, and I love to listen to her, enjoy dancing to her…just can’t sing to her!

10. Viveme – Laura Pausini.

Mmmmm. Her voice is sublime. Like melted chocolate. And I’m off to have some chocolate. The circle, it is unbroken :-).

Have a simply marvellous week – where did that half term go?

Cxx

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Regrets, I've had a few

But then again, too few to mention.

I used to be so good at the ‘what ifs’. The ‘maybes’. The ‘if onlys’. I spent years and years of my life worrying about the past, going over things that have happened, backtracking, obsessing, and listening to angsty chick music.

I still listen to angsty chick music, but the dragging myself down phase, I’m pleased to say, is more or less a thing of the past. Now I know we can never really escape the past. The past makes us who we are, and how we are, and I firmly believe that even if “We are done with the past, the past is not done with us.”

We don’t get to fully run away or hide or bolt. But we can move on.

Thank God.

My turning point came in my early twenties (ah, I type with all the wisdom of someone in her mid-twenties ;-)). I hadn’t always had the nicest childhood and youth up to that point, and I was pretty messed up. I don’t like going in depth about things, because I’ve worked through them / am working through them, but now let’s just say I’m very happy with where I am (and hey, who hasn’t got some issues?). I don’t need to write about them here at the current time.

Anyways, early twenties. I really didn’t like myself. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I felt lost, unloved, disconnected. It was a pretty dark time and I pulled some of the usual stunts of a mildly depressed youth – I drank a little too much, kissed some unsuitable guys, almost flunked a few classes, pulled far too many all-nighters, ate far too much, the whole, delightful, woe-is-me routine. Luckily, thanks to some awesome friends and something (I now am pretty sure it was God, but at the time I wasn’t sure what was motivating me) I received a bit of a smack upside the head. I got a grip. I decided I wanted to sort myself out and move on. And while I was educating myself and arming myself for this turnaround, I read the passage that would define my whole journey:

“We don’t get to decide who we are. We don’t get to decide what happens to us. But we do get to choose which label we’d prefer. Are you going to be a victim or a survivor?”

I chose survivor. My past is not as bad as many survivors, but it still required me to work and work and actually choose to survive it and move beyond it. And, thank heavens, I have.

I still have occasional blue days. Days where I’d rather stay in bed. Days where I’d really like to go and have a bundle of drinks, to get out of my head. Days where I have to resist the urge to make my self so super-hyper-busy that I don't need to think or feel. Days where I’d rather get really down and indulge my talent for self-loathing.

But I resist now. A little dip I can take and allow myself (for example, after yesterday’s driving test debacle, you betcha I had a fair few cookies and watched a chickflick), but I then pick myself up, dust myself down and get on with it. Key to this has been learning to count my blessings, and also that bad things happen to all of us. Yes, all of us.

Every single one of us had been through awful things – illness, bereavement, abandonment, abuse, divorce, abortion, betrayal, heartbreak, bad times. Every single person. And when I learned to take myself out of the picture and look at the bigger things, I realised that we all have bad times, and that’s OK.

We are all precious and amazing creatures, and we are all part of a truly miraculous plan.

Man, what a ramble it has been today!

Cxx

PS Thank you all so much for the sweet messages yesterday – all your kind comments were lovely to read at the end of a trying day!

PPS And in the grand tradition of finishing on an upbeat, my next post will no doubt be some ‘Scrubs’!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One shunt forward, and two shunts back

Cher: So, how did I do?
DMV Tester: How'd you do? Well, let's just see shall we? You can't park, you can't change lanes, you can't make right hand turns, you damaged private property and you almost killed someone. Off hand, I'd say you failed.

So today was the driving test.

And I failed again.

And sobbed my heart out like a little kid...

Boo.

I had literally worked my butt off, paid attention, worked on my manoevers, practised, practised, practised...and I did even worse this time around.

Oh my.

Cher: You can't be the absolute and final word on drivers' licenses?
Driving Instructor: Girlie, as far as you're concerned, I am the messiah of the DMV.

I think I've found the problem though. I freak out in driving tests. My legs go to jelly, my brain goes to mush, I panic like you wouldn't believe.

I've never worked so hard at something in my life and still failed so utterly at the end.

Cher: I felt impudent and out of control. Which I really, really hate. I had to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts and regain my strength...

I am so mad at my stupidity right now.

Hope your days are going much, much better!

Cxx

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