Friday, August 12, 2011

Labor Day

There's nothing more my lover wants in life than for me to have his baby. He has a son, I have a daughter. They've developed into wonderful teenagers, but he yearns for us to have one that's half him, half me. A baby we can raise together. I have to admit that there are moments when I get carried away with the romantic notion of giving him the greatest gift possible, but I just can't bring myself to do it. The reality of it keeps slapping me in the face.

  • I look at my age - almost 45. Unlike guys, who can produce tens of thousands of new sperm every day, we women are born with all the eggs we're ever going to have. So by the time we're 40, they're starting to deteriorate a little, increasing the chances of having a child with severe disabilities. 
  • Then factor in my physical condition - I've had back problems my whole life and have been overweight from the age of 22. It's who I am, it doesn't stop me from riding a bike or shaking my plentiful booty on the dance floor. But carrying around another 30 pounds? Ugh.
  • And let's not forget about my life - I'm already a single mom raising a high schooler and an emotionally needy dog. I've got a demanding career that often requires weird hours. Can you imagine my water breaking while I'm on stage at the Cascade introducing Lily Tomlin or Bruce Cockburn? Yeah, okay, let's not imagine that. 

During the past year two close friends have had babies. They are both in their 40's. It was a first for Stephanie, and when her sweet cherub Avalia was born, my boyfriend's reaction was, "If Stephanie can have a beautiful, perfect, healthy baby girl, so can you!" Caroline was 42 when she made a conscious decision to have another child, this time without a partner and without giving up her incredibly demanding career as a corporate jet pilot. I thought my hours were wacky? Caroline flies to Africa one week, Alaska the next. When she gave birth to Carly Q, my boyfriend said, "See, she didn't give up her career to have a baby...come on, please?"
But when it comes down to it, the thought of dedicating so much of my life to raising another little human being is just so...sigh....exhausting. I loved being pregnant (after the first few months), and I loved giving birth. And I loved watching my sweet daughter grow into an amazing human being. But I really dedicated my entire life to the effort, and my job's not done yet. It's been a lot of work.
So honey, please forgive me.  Make those chicken bock-bock-bock sounds at me all you want, but I just don't think I can do it.
However, another one of my good friends is up to the task. Cheryl is exactly my age, and getting ready to go into labor any day now to bring her first baby girl into the world (after a pair of boys, who are now teenagers). This is the kind of bravery I wish I could muster up!
I've been following her pregnancy from the beginning, because of course, my boyfriend has been looking from her belly to me, her belly, to me, with that sad little puppydog look on his face that says, "See what we're missing out on? Please please please please PLEASE?"
When Cheryl told me she was due in September, I immediately started planning this column, for her Labor Day. And I'm culling many of the songs from a radio show I did back in 1997, when I was pregnant, as a tribute to pregnancy, childbirth, and all the hard labor I knew was ahead of me once I became the mother of my baby girl. But that labor has turned into a labor of love, from the very beginning. I don't know if I want to do it all over again, but I celebrate the mommies (and the daddies) who are happily welcoming new life into their families around the time most of us are starting to plan our retirement.

Stream this playlist on Grooveshark  (or just click on the imbedded playlist included above)
or Download all or part of the mix on iTunes

  1. Bobby McFerrin - Baby
  2. Stevie Wonder - Isn't She Lovely
  3. Yael Naim - New Soul
  4. Talking Heads - Stay Up Late
  5. Eric Church - Two Pink Lines
  6. Alison Krauss - Baby Mine
  7. Everything But The Girl - Apron Strings
  8. Kate Bush - This Woman's Work
  9. Paul Anka - You're Having My Baby
  10. Jim Gaffigan - Having My Baby
  11. Desi Arnaz - We're Having A Baby
  12. Creed - With Arms Wide Open
  13. Kenny Chesney - There Goes My Life
  14. Bobby McFerrin & Yo-Yo Ma - Hush Little Baby
  15. Kenny Loggins - Danny's Song
  16. Colbie Caillat - Capri
  17. XTC - Then She Appeared
  18. Elton John - Blessed
  19. Sister Hazel - Green
  20. Elton John (or Celine Dion) - Beautiful Boy
  21. John Mayer - Daughters
  22. Maurice Chevalier - Thank Heaven For Little Girls

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Favorite Song Of Every Other Week

Current Favorite-Song-of-the-Week being performed by Chris Isaak at the Cascade Theatre

A few weeks ago I picked my teenage daughter up from summer camp, and on the long drive home, I asked her if she wanted to hear all the new favorite songs I'd discovered while she was gone. It was one of the greatest road trips ever because we listened to songs and sang and talked the whole way home. Every day I'm thankful that she and I have a love of music in common and can connect through that. I'm sure all of us can appreciate how rare that is, because even if we're not all parents, we've all been kids. Who doesn't remember a moment, no matter which side of the generation gap you were on, when a parent yells at their kid to TURN THAT CRAP OFF!!!
That just doesn't really happen in our house. Music is like another family member. Music is in the eye of the beholder, and that is something that is truly respected in my house. Music of all genres, all beats per minute, from every decade since the first Gregorian Chant was invented - it's all welcome in our house. From the twangiest country whimper to the gutteral growl of Heavy Metal to the delicate strains of Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata, all 3341 songs on my iPod are fair game.
But you know how those 3341 songs got there? Almost every one of them was at one time my favorite song of the week. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but not very much. OK, I'm exaggerating a lot, but not a lot a lot. Just a little a lot. It does seem though that I have a new favorite song almost every week.
And they're not always new songs, but they're usually new to me. Sometimes I find a gem that's been out there waiting to be discovered for years before it finally comes across my ears. And sometimes I remember a song from my childhood that's been lurking in the recesses of my brain, and then I suddenly have a flashback from when I was 10, driving across the New Mexico desert at night with my dad in our 1970 Volkswagon bus, listening to Dreamweaver on the radio and looking at the stars in the sky, and whattaya new favorite song of the week is something that hit the top of the charts in 1976.
I play it non-stop for about 2 weeks til I get sick of it, but usually before that happens I've got another new favorite song anyway.

This column is dedicated to my most recent favorite songs. There's so many of them (3341, right?) that I had to come up with ground rules. So here they are: Every song on this playlist was added to my iPod within the past year. It might be old, might be new, and it's possible that I already owned the song on cd at some point in my past, but it hadn't made it onto my iPod. That's kind of the exception that makes the rule, and there's only one song that fits that category. So there you have it....21 songs, each of them my 'Favorite Song of the Week' during the past year. With 21 of them, I suppose it's my Favorite Song of Every Other Week.  But who's counting?
This is probably the best opportunity for you to psychoanalyze what's going on inside my musical brain. You'll see clearly that I've got a thing for Jack White (to be honest, I've also got a thing for Jack Black). I like me a little reggae, and every once in a while the music my daughter and her friends are listening to actually becomes my new favorite song of every other week.

Stream the playlist on Grooveshark
Download the entire mix or purchase individual songs on iTunes

  1. Chris Isaak - Big Wide Wonderful World Truly the most incredible concert experience of the year so far. I'm still swooning over this singer's amazing voice. Maybe it was the 30 pound disco ball mirrored suit he was wearing, and then again maybe this is just an incredible song to end an incredible evening.
  2. Battles - Ice Cream Every time I see JPR's Music Director Craig Shank (who's moving back to Indiana - major sad face) I ask him what his favorite song of the week is. This was his not all that long ago, and it quickly became mine! The singer is from Chile, and wow, does he have a thick accent. I'm not even sure he's really singing in English. 
  3. Alcyon Massive - Ain't It Fresh (The Oregon Song) Not only do the mention the State of Jefferson in this tune, they're from the State of Jefferson. This song is always going to have a special place in my heart. And if you're an Oregon Country Fair lovin'-Sierra Nevada World Music Festival goin' guy or gal, you'll love these guys too, even if you're not a fan of the state's favorite crop. I am very disappointed that this song wasn't available on Grooveshark for the streaming playlist, but please check it out on YouTube
  4. Trevor Hall - Om Shakti Om He's not even 25 yet, but has opened for one of my all time favs, Michael Franti, Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, and your kids will probably recognize his voice from the soundtrack to Shrek 3.
  5. The Rescues - Can't Stand The Rain I was driving to an eye doctor appointment, listening to Open Air on JPR. This song came on. I sat in the parking lot until it was over. I didn't care if I was late. In the radio bidness, that's called A Driveway Moment. And that's how new favorite songs of the week are born.
  6. The Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes There's just something about Jack White. Every incarnation of him has resulted in a favorite song of the week. I think this song was several years old when I discovered it. 
  7. The White Stripes - Hello Operator Please refer to the previous favorite song for explanation.
  8. Band of Skulls - I Know What I Am If you liked The Pretenders back in the day, you should dig this band.
  9. Gregg Street & Nappy Dread - Good Day I discovered this tune while writing It's A Beautiful Day - the most recent installment of Mistress of the Mix - and so far, I'm still charmed by it. 
  10. Family Force 5 - Wobble I have to give credit to my daughter's friend Amanda (aka Bob the Poptart) for bringing this song into my home during a recent sleepover. It's ridiculous, and hilarious, and I luuurv it!
  11. Butthole Surfers - Dracula From Houston Props to the best durned chick jet pilot on the west coast for bringing the soundtrack to Scrubs into my house, plopping it onto the counter, and saying, "You got this yet? You'll want it."
  12. Rock Mafia - Big Big Bang It was a Sunday morning. VH1 must've been on, but I wasn't really awake.  A few hours later I was singing to a song I guess I'd thought I'd written while I was asleep. But my boyfriend recognized it, and that was when I realized that I hadn't been dreaming. 
  13. Andy Grammer - Keep Your Head Up Another hit from a recent playlist, this one was from Let's Give Cancer The Finger back in June.
  14. Sergio Mendes - Waters of March Another playlist inspiration, this was on the first Mistress of the Mix column, Take 'Em To The Bridge
  15. Gabriel Mann - Artichoke This is truly the most adorable ballad of the year. Especially if you like eggs for breakfast. Unfortunately, this song also isn't available yet through Grooveshark. Instead, I put on a runner up Gabriel Mann song, Free At Last.  There is a live version on YouTube, but it's a tad more raucous. Still amazing, just not quite as sweet. By the way, if Mann's loving voice sounds familiar, he's the heartbroken guy singing song #5 (Can't Stand The Rain) with The Rescues as well.
  16. k.d. lang - I Confess Truly the most incredible concert experience of the year so far. I'm still swooning over this singer's amazing voice. Wait, didn't I already say that?
  17. Cyndi Lauper - Mother Earth I dressed like her in high school, now I wish I could sing like her.
  18. Plan B - She Said This is an obscure British song I heard a snippet of once on some television program, and just had to know who it was. 
  19. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home There's a really funny story to go along with how I came to know this band involving a pair of goofy glasses I bought for my boyfriend at the Dollar Tree for Valentine's Day that went viral.
  20. Asteroid Galaxy Tour - Golden Spot Recognize this little ditty? A little embarrassed to say that you know this catchy tune from a Heineken commercial? Me too. But there you have it.
  21. Wagon Christ - Harmoney This was a random cd that I picked up off of the "Not quite right for airplay" giveaway shelf at JPR. This British band is weird, weird, weird, so we kinda get along.
  22. Yolanda Be Cool & DCup - We No Speak Americano Sometimes you hear a song and you think, "It's got a good beat, but you can't really dance to it." Then you go to the 501 and realize you were wrong. Not only can you dance to it, someone can even dance to it on the top of a pool table!
  23. Crazy Frog - Crazy Frog In The House Hip Hop Remix I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I loved this song for about a week this last Spring, but I finally overcame my shame and admitted it right here, in public, in print. Please don't think less of me. Just find me a new favorite song.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kick Him To The Curb!

kick him to the curb
1. To quit seeing him, especially if it's a relationship or commitment involved.

2. To waive/fire him, especially in business matters.
If you catch a man cheating on you, kick him to the curb right then. 

Today, we're gonna kick that bad boyfriend to the curb.

Friends, we need to gather together to help a girl in need. A girl who needs a little support with a difficult boyfriend removal. And I'm counting on you to help me help her extract this guy like a bad tooth.

Maybe you've been there... involved in a relationship that's not making you happy, isn't fulfilling, and you're just avoiding the drama of breaking up. Maybe the thought of putting yourself back out on the market is so depressing that instead you're allowing yourself to continue in an unfulfilling relationship with a partner who's selfish, flaky or catting around. Whatever your situation, if you've been there, then you've probably had one of those moments where you're driving home from work and a song comes on the car stereo that lets you know the radio gods are paying attention. There's a songwriter out there who completely understands your situation, and has already come up with the perfect song just for you. And suddenly every single song you hear relates somehow to your unhealthy situation. (It's the same way when you're falling in love too, but we'll save that for a future column.)

I know there's plenty of we-broke-up-and-I'm-feeling-oh-so-sorry-for-myself songs, but let's not go there right now. Because I don't want my friend to feel sorry for herself. She's better off without him. I really want her to be thankful that she had the breasticles to know she was finally really totally completely absolutely no doubt about it done with this guy. I want her to breathe a sigh of relief that she finally ended it. I want her to feel empowered that she had the strength to let it go and I want her to look forward to a new future. That future may not have another man in it for awhile, and want her to be okay with that. Then again, that future might plop a good man right into her life next week. If it does, I want her to have moved on past this relationship so that she's ready to accept someone new without holding all of the transgressions of the former guy against a new one. Sometimes broken trust with one mate can ruin trust with potential future mates, and while it's understandable, it's an obstacle. I hope she's able to overcome it. In fact, for all of you who have experienced a wounded heart from a relationship that soured, I hope you find the strength to leave it in the dust as you move on as quickly as possible. But if you  need a little reminder that you're better off with him (or her), I offer you this playlist.

Normally when a friend complains about their horrible relationship and how they really need to end it, I try to keep mum. I'm smart enough to know that chances are they're just venting, and things are going to calm down. If I open my mouth and agree vehemently, when things get better between the fighting love birds, suddenly things are awkward between us and I risk being the one who gets kicked to the curb.  But in this case, my friend asked for help. Asked for some strength during weak lonely moments. Asked me to keep reminding her why she kicked him to the curb in the first place. In this case, I'm willing to risk my friend feeling awkward if she eventually decides to take him back. I love her enough that I'm going to support her in the best way I know how: with an empowering playlist dedicated to shedding an unhealthy relationship.

If you've got a song that fits the theme, feel free to add it.

Stream the playlist on Grooveshark
Purchase the entire mix or individual songs on iTunes

  1. Paul Simon - 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
  2. Destiny's Child - Survivor
  3. Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
  4. Katy Perry - Hot N Cold
  5. Lily Allen - Smile
  6. They Might Be Giants - Take Out The Trash
  7. Nancy Sinatra - These Boots Are Made For Walking
  8. Ray Charles - Hit The Road Jack
  9. Beyonce - Single Ladies
  10. Jo Dee Messina - Bye Bye
  11. The Dixie Chicks - Goodbye Earl
  12. Jo Jo - Leave Get Out
  13. Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
  14. Garbage - Special
  15. Ben Folds Five - Song For The Dumped
  16. Eva Simons - Silly Boy
  17. Katharine McPhee - Over It
  18. Brandy - Almost Doesn't Count
  19. Christina Perri - Jar Of Hearts
  20. Taylor Swift - You're Not Sorry
  21. Tom Petty - Don't Come Around Here No More