Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why Don't You Write Me?

I'm way behind in both blogging and general daily duties, so I'm going to brazenly rip off Elizabeth (who I think may have subliminally ripped off Craig Ferguson, which is always cool by me) and catch up through the power of the open letter.

Dear Shelby County Business Tax Office Employees,
Look, I know you have a pretty miserable job, what with irate taxpayers in your faces all day. But isn't there a better way to conduct business than to have everyone stand at the same counter, shouting their personal financial issues through the office?

Dear Andy Wise,
You may want to investigate the HVAC system at the Shelby County Business Tax office, because they seem to be pumping in some sort of airborne depressant that makes otherwise stoic taxpayers burst into tears within five minutes of entry.

Dear TN Department of Revenue Tax Enforcement Officers W***** and N*******,
Y'all are very sweet and efficient and professional. You make releasing a payroll garnishment a pleasure.

Dear Rain,
Enough. Seriously.

Dear Sickness,
Would it be too much to ask that you make a decision? We could live with stomach flu, or sudden, brief bursts of fever, or the loitering weeks-long sinus issues, but all of the above is a bit much to handle. Let's focus here.

Dear Dad,
I'm sorry I suck and never call. Thankfully, it looks like your 10-months-pregnant daughter picked up the slack during your week in the hospital and ongoing post-surgical recovery. It's cool, I understand about the will.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby

I don’t know what it is about six years old, but it seems so much more grown-up than five. Five is kindergarten, learning the alphabet in the correct order and counting to 100. Six is first grade, spelling tests and math flash cards. It’s the leap from child to kid.

Miss M turns six years old tomorrow, and although it’s expected to say that I’m startled by that fact, it seems just exactly right to me. In many ways, she’s always seemed that age – precocious and overly aware of the world occupied by bigger girls. She grew so naturally into the fully verbal version of herself that it’s sometimes hard for me to grasp that the pre-verbal baby was really the same being. Her first years were hard, it has to be said. She was not an easy, laid-back baby, and I eagerly anticipated the movement through the frustrating periods when all she wanted was to walk and talk and couldn’t get her body to cooperate. I don’t miss her as a baby. I am so happy she is in this place now.

And, for the most part, she is, too. She loves school and the independence it offers her. She is gaining confidence every day, in academic as well as social arenas. When we visited Minnesota over the summer, my mother marveled at the formerly-withdrawn little girl who nonchalantly joined in a game with children she’d never seen before. She’s curious about the world around her and enthusiastic about her place in it. It’s a joy to watch her grow into such a smart, strong kid.

She relishes the things she can do and understand now, and I’m grateful for the freedom it gives us both. But sometimes, out of nowhere, she’ll wrap her arms around my waist and rest her head against my stomach, tears starting to well in her eyes. When I ask her if something’s wrong, she says, “I just love you so much.” In these moments, we both remember that she is still my baby girl.

Happy birthday, Miss M. I love you so much.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Girl, Put Your Records On

I started out with the plan to make a Top Five Favorite Songs Ever, but then I thought of a 6th ... and then a 7th ... and then I started listing them chronologically. So what we now end up with is:

My Personal Top Five Songs From Each Of The Past Five Decades:

"Don't Think Twice (It's Alright)," Bob Dylan
"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
"In My Life," The Beatles
"God Only Knows," The Beach Boys
"Try a Little Tenderness," Otis Redding

"Oh Girl," The Chi-Lites
"Something So Right," Paul Simon
"Thunder Road," Bruce Springsteen
"American Girl," Tom Petty
"Tom Traubert's Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)," Tom Waits

"Jessie's Girl," Rick Springfield
"I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man," Prince
"With or Without You," U2
"(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding," Elvis Costello
"You Are The Everything," R.E.M

"One," U2
"Hallelujah," Jeff Buckley
"Forever Blue," Chris Isaak
"Road to Ensenada," Lyle Lovett
"The Way," Fastball


"When The Deal Goes Down," Bob Dylan
"Million Faces"/"Loving You," (tie) Paolo Nutini
"Put Your Records On," Corrine Bailey Rae
"Dance With Me," Old 97s

I know there are glaring errors and omissions (where's the Bowie?), but unless I make this a Top 100, or 1000, I'm going to miss some of the songs I really love. But I keep coming back to the fact that these are the songs that define me, for better or worse. Although, obviously, the decades I discovered them don't necessarily correspond with the dates of their releases.

Deride if you must (yes, yes, I said Fastball), but I'd much rather see your own lists. Try it, it's fun!