The Soundtrack to My Life: The Early Years

For as much as music is a part of my life (any given time, I’m probably listening to music, thinking of a song, or humming an earworm), I don’t remember it being a vital part of my childhood. It was there, but it doesn’t stand out. We didn’t have nightly dance parties or stand around the piano and have sing-a-longs (thank god). We DID have a piano, and there’s always been one of those whether it was my mom’s or my grandfather’s. And I remember them playing and ‘playing’ with them.

(Insert adorable picture of me and my grandfather sitting side by side on the piano bench that I know exists I just don’t have possession of).

I remember a lot of Disney – I grew up in the golden age of Disney with wonderful Alan Menkin compositions like Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, plus Lion King. And a LOT of this song. (I don’t even have a brother. I don’t even recall wanting to do this to my sisters…)

And after my parents went to see Phantom of the Opera, my dad used to play the Prologue/Overture for us. Mainly to attempt to scare the shit out of his young, impressionable children. (I finally saw the show live when I was 20 or so. I tensed up in my seat after the auctioneer said “illumination”… [Good parenting Father.])

I remember my mom listening to Kenny G. A lot of Kenny G. And that’s all we have to say about that. (It turns out her music taste is pretty good but nothing sticks other than the Kenny G. And the Partridge Family)

I also disliked a lot of my dad’s music. (Then I realized that George Strait is a god among men and Garth Brooks is incredibly talented.) (Strangely, the thing that comes to mind the most when I think of driving in my dad’s truck and what was on the radio is Paul Harvey. And the crop futures. Never mind, not strange when you know my dad…) But some of the things he introduced me to (probably way too young) are some of my favorite guilty pleasures: Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” in particular. (Seriously. I was in like 3rd grade. This was also the time my parents introduced me to Grease. Listening to the lyrics now, I wonder what they were thinking…)

Not long after, we got our first PC (now THAT is a monumental day that I can recall with stunning clarity). As PCs did (and still do), it came with a bunch o’ bloatware. Including an interactive CD that was going to be the wave of the future – you put it in the computer and it played the videos and had facts about the musician, or it played like a regular CD. All I can recall from this interactive CD is it had Celine Dion on it. And I was OBSESSED with this song. I performed this song and it rivaled the performance of Ms. Dion. (My first CDs were from Santa – he left me the *NSYNC debut and a Celine CD. I always wondered why the Celine. I think I’m getting it now…) (So you can visualize how much I love this song: I’m writing this in a Peets. And listening to this song. And I’m having to bite my lip to not start performing…)

And from there, it took off. I discovered MTV and started finding my own way in the music world.

But bits from my childhood pop up still: I love show tunes. I love genuine country. Amazing songs from the 80s are horrible guilty pleasures. And my music tastes span the gambit. So maybe my formative years have had more effect on my tastes than I thought…

Inspired by the prompt: What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?



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This is one night I wish I could rewind.

Went by so fast oh so sweet/Make me wanna remake a memory/Wish I had me a time machine

(side note – what the hell Gary LeVox? You’re like…old now [nope, just looked him up on Wiki. He’s 43. He IS old. I’m old. I saw them for the first time in 2001. He would have been 30.])

Guys. I’ve become that girl. So ridiculously THAT girl.

During my blogging hiatus, I resorted to online dating. It was bad. SO BAD. So bad it could only be funny. (And I did get HOURS of entertainment out of the horribly bad messages. In fact, I was a little sad the day I disabled my account because now I don’t get that free entertainment). I can count on one hand the number of guys I even went out with. (I could even accidentally chop off a few fingers and still be able to count.)

Last August though – I got a message from a guy. He seemed to 1. have actually read my profile and 2. had a decent profile that made me want to know a little more about him (no trigger words talking about his excessive love of hiking/rock climbing/camping or working out; no mention of how he was there to hook up only; how enjoys chilling; or any other horrible things I’ve read that I can no longer recall…) So I messaged him back – and from there we’ve ‘talked’ almost every single day. Seven whole months of messaging, texting, face-to-face conversations (no phone – probably because of my massive aversion to the telephone. Seriously. I hate that thing. I’d rather FaceTime. And that says a lot because for one I have to do my hair and the other I don’t. And my hair can be a beast.)

After a few months, we actually got to meet up. Yes – it did take us an abnormally long time. Maybe I was scared. (I was) Maybe I was nervous. (I was) Maybe I was busy. (I was) Maybe I was making excuses because of the first two reasons (I did)

But then we did meet. And now it’s been four months of seeing each other almost every week. And I got told recently how happy I’ve been the last few months and maybe that’s true (it is) and maybe I’m having a lot of fun (I am) and maybe I play this song every weekend on my way home (I do) because I wish we could go back to the beginning of it because time flies by so fast when we’re together. (As Ted Mosby famously [recently {kinda creepily}] said I’m “remembering this”. Every stupid moment of puppy love.)

I can’t tell where this is going to go, but I know right now it’s fun and exciting and new and makes me happy. So far, they’ve all been nights I wish I could rewind…

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Do what you want …

…say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss

Isn’t this the hardest thing to do? Adult, teen, kid – doesn’t matter. There is some awakening we have when we’re young that we aren’t the same as everyone around us. There are differences – and different is bad. Skin color, hair color, familial background, ‘intelligence’, body type, likes, dislikes – and different is bad. There’s a group of cool kids – and we all want nothing more than to be in that group. If we’re not, we change our hair color, clothing style, attitude – anything to get them to like us.

Those that are smart, realize that different is GOOD.

It took me a long time to realize that. I tried to fit into this pre-designed mold of what a girl my age was supposed to be like.

Luckily that didn’t stick long. (It was a dark Fall 2006/Spring 2007. Turns out I HATE drinking like college students do 99.9% of the time and crowded dark bars and random strangers houses are miserable places)

At some point I realized the following things ARE cool. And I’m proud to admit.

I’m a knitter. No, lady at the yarn store, I’m NOT picking up things for my grandma. No, I don’t want to start with a simple scarf (I did that a long time ago. If want to make a simple scarf, I can.) I would like to challenge myself with this insane lace pattern. (I’m a masochist sometimes when it comes to lace/shawls. [See: the adventures of the shipwreck shawl])

Broadway musicals > crappy top 40 music. Even if the show is a crappy jukebox musical. You can’t autotune live.

I am a bit of a nerd. (I said as much on my online dating profile. A guy told me I shouldn’t admit to that. I told him that he shouldn’t be such an asshole and kept it on. It turned out okay for me. [More on that next week]) Also, all of you judgey nerd boys saying I’m in it for the good looking guys – well, I can’t fault you there. Like you didn’t have a picture (or poster) of Slave Leia…I’m also into what I am because of the incredible story telling and characters.

I LOVE auto racing – especially NASCAR. Again, not because of the good looking guys (but Kasey Kahne IS dreamy…). I’m in it because its a chess match at 200 miles an hour and pushing cars and people to their limits. I love the sound of the engines and that race track smell – the smell of gas and burning rubber, and drinking shitty beer because that’s what you do to cool yourself down when it’s 90* outside and it’s August in Michigan.

I’ve never dyed my hair – not even highlights when EVERYONE else had them. (Remember the striped hair of the early 90’s?). I refuse to watch a tv show or movie because it’s the ‘cool’ thing to do – which has saved me from many awful episodes of Big Bang Theory. I only watch things I genuinely enjoy – even if that thing is One Tree Hill or Teen Wolf. And if you think I’m running a marathon. HA. Yes, I find myself enjoying an occasional run. A brief jog. 5k max.

The hardest advice I’ve ever received  is to “be yourself.” It took me 20 years to really get it. Thank god I have.

Now, if you excuse me, I have a dance party to attend (the playlist includes the entire NSYNC catalogue, plus random acts you haven’t thought about in years like O-Town, B*Witched and Dream. And this gets fed to my facebook. CLEARLY I don’t care what people think about me…)

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A long time ago…

we used to be friends. But I haven’t heard from you lately at all – “We Used to Be Friends”, Dandy Warhols

Or I used to write in this thing. I think. My last post was probably around the time the last Veronica Mars episode aired.

(Okay, obviously that’s not true. Because if it was that means there was an episode in December and that didn’t happen and I’m sad about that.)

BUTTT, in just a few short days, Marshmallows around the world will be rejoicing. As we have new, official, canon-approved stories. And unlike the Heroes fandom, we asked for it.

Veronica Mars was the bad ass that High-School Jessica wishes she could have been (without all of the drama of best friends dying and other story lines I won’t ruin for the ALL of you who haven’t yet been charmed by Ms. Mars and/or Mr. Echolls. I would normally put a summary here. But in this case – just watch it. I dare you to not like it.). Snarky, clever, quippy, got over the caring what people Unlike a lot of things I love, I don’t remember the first time I met Ms. Mars. I know that I was intreaqued by the smart, non-typical teen drama (even High School Jessica liked to at least pretend to be above those – little did she know that One Tree Hill is the best junk food ever) and couldn’t get enough. And for three short years, we had it all. Mystery, handsome, troubled bad-boys, quips and one liners, and a show that made you think. Year 3 the network thought Veronica was TOO smart and changed the format. Young, naive Jessica, who did not yet know how the industry worked and the pain it was to bring her did not realize that this was the death notice for the show. In one quick fell, my weekly dose of quirk and snark (Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls) were done.

And that was that – we were bound to live in fandom to figure out what happened to our beloved Neptune. (Especially because they left on a cliffhanger believing that maybe year 4 was possible. It wasn’t to be.)

For years, there were rumors, whispers – maybe, just maybe, WB would make a movie. Not a feature, just a movie-of-the-week. No, it was certainly going to be a feature. Nope, never going to happen, stop being delusional idiots. No, we can make it happen. And that was just in MY brain.

And then, last March, there were some mysterious tweets from the creator and star. And then – if we, the fans, could find $2,000,000 in our ash trays and in the couch cushions and our piggy banks and gather it in 30 days, we could get a movie.

It took us four. We used the rest to double that.

When all was said and done, Veronica Mars fans around the world collected $5.7 million to get a thing we dreamed we would never get.

And this week, on Pi day (Hahaha. get it? Veronica is a P.I.)

(I never claimed to be a comedienne), we get that dream. It’s like Christmas and my birthday wrapped into one.

I’ve never been this excited about a movie. The last thing I was this excited about was a book. But that was the end, this is the beginning.

Beginning of more Veronica Mars. Beginning of the set-in-their-ways entertainment industry to realize that the old models are getting to be beyond outdated.

We’ll pay for our movie tickets before the movie is even WRITTEN as long as we love the idea enough.

We’ll contribute our hard-earned money to you so we can be part of the process.We just expect

We may be a small fan base, but don’t underestimate our strength. Make our thing, we’ll pay for it.

I’ve been following this process not only as a fan, but as a person interested in the evolution of the industry (and how the internet shapes it). I can’t wait to see the outcome.

High-School Jessica can’t believe that she lives in a world where SHE’S the snarky one. And Veronica Mars made a triumphant return thanks to the internet.

What a magical world we live in.

(Back to regular scheduled posting: Wednesday/Thursday general posts, and Music  Monday posts(or this probably started as a Music Monday post. See the song up there. I swear I had good intentions. I don’t know how it turned into this discussion of a movie or current event or whatever else my brain managed to tie together. I’ve missed this. I’ve missed you.)

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O Christmas Tree…

Christmas trees are funny things. Some people like real, some like fake, some don’t like them at all. Colored lights, white lights, tinsel or popcorn. Some only put on ornaments that fit a certain color scheme, others a mismatch of ornaments collected along the years. Some top with Santa, an angel or a star. I’m partial to the fake (can keep them up longer) tree, with colored lights, and minimal garland. (But they have to be Old World Ornaments, something my grandparents used to sell. They’re heirlooms – or could easily become one). And most of all, I love looking at a tree and it telling a story – my story.


And I love my star. I always hated when I was little that we didn’t have one, because in all of the books I read, the family had a star topper. We clearly weren’t doing Christmas right.


I have a Kirsten American Girl doll. And as anyone who read the books, you would know that her family celeberated St. Lucia Day.

The rural custom involved the eldest daughter arising early and wearing her Lucy garb of white robe, red sash, and a wire crown covered with whortleberry-twigs with nine lighted candles fastened in it awakens the family, serving them coffee and St. Lucia Buns, thus ushering in the Christmas season.

My very first ornament I got from my grandparent’s store was a St. Lucia – a reminder of a toy I so beloved as a child.


I’ve been crafting as long as I can remember (well, 1st grade)  – and whether it’s cross-stitch, crochet or knitting, it always seems to involve a thread of some sort!

photo 3-2

When I was four or five, we got our very first Golden Retriever – Tori. And I’ve been in love ever since. Our current dog, Holly Berry (she was born 2 days after Christmas), is my tv-watching buddy.


In 2001, the unexpected happened – I became a fan of auto-racing. NASCAR and Indy Car races occupy 40-some weekends out of the year.


I love to bake – but the simple chocolate chip cookie is the bane of my existence. I am unable to make a good one.



When I was little, on Thanksgiving weekend  we would help my grandparent’s put up their tree. My grandpa would put on the lights (always in his undershirt) and then we would “help” put on the ornaments. I always loved these reflector-style versions…



This year, I conquered my fear and flew for the first time. It’s stupid and silly – but it was a monumental moment. So when I saw this on display, I knew it had to be added to my story.

I love putting up the tree with these ornaments – it gives me a chance to reflect on the past, while preparing for the upcoming New Year. How do you decorate your tree – are there ornaments with meaningful back stories, or are they picked just because they’re pretty (don’t worry, I have many of those!!!)

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