Monday, June 30, 2008

A Tale of Two Songs

I'm terrible at keeping up with current music. I always know what movies are out and what awesome things are currently on TV, but my knowledge of music is usually hopelessly out of date. For instance, last year I decided I really liked a song I kept hearing at the gym, so I located it online and discovered it had gained popularity after having been featured on "Grey's Anatomy" the year before. Ugh! Two other recent favorite songs of mine were songs I downloaded after hearing them in commercials. It's embarrassing.

There are two songs I've had on almost constant rotation on the old iPod lately, and they could not be more different. One is the Oscar-winning "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once," which I recently watched. It's a pretty decent little indie film that I can recommend to anyone who can grasp the idea that in the movie, two people become friends and make music and that's pretty much all that happens. "Falling Slowly" is a beautiful, heartfelt song, and listening to it always reminds me of when, on Oscar night, Jon Stewart brought the two singer/songwriters back onstage so the female one could give an acceptance speech, apparently feeling it was rude for the orchestra to have rush the two of them off the stage prematurely. Any song that reminds me of how I heart Jon Stewart is a good song.

In sharp contrast to "Falling Slowly," the other song stuck in my head non-stop these days is at least brand new. I read about it in some pop-culture-themed blog where the basic idea was "no, this song will not suck me in," so I ended up watching the video and felt compelled to download the song almost immediately. The song is an incredibly asinine little dance tune sung by Vanessa Hudgens of "High School Musical" (and naked internet pictures) fame. The lyrics detail her desire to put on sneakers and go out dancing with her presumably also sneaker-clad friends, and it features the line "Basically what we're gonna do is dance" 18 times in three minutes (yeah, I counted). It's called "Sneakernight." And I admit I love it. No, I'm not kidding. I dare you to listen to it and not feel like dancing. Basically.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Grandma

It's been a bad year for us in terms of grandparents.

My paternal grandfather passed away in September. Ryan's last remaining grandparent, his maternal grandmother Grandma Wanda, passed away in April. And my maternal grandmother Marge passed away last week, having made it two weeks past her 90th birthday. Grandma Wanda was also 90 when she died.

I have been fortunate to have had a tremendous amount of time with my grandparents. I still had all four of them till just before my college graduation. The four of them are all distinct personalities in mind. My maternal grandfather, Don, who passed away in 1992, was the sweetest man I have ever known, and he always made me feel special and adored, even the time I pulled his dentures out of his pocket when I was sitting on his lap after dinner one night. My paternal grandfather, Ed, was more gruff and distant, but I have fond memories of the running joke we had about whether or not he liked peanut butter cookies when I was a little girl, and I came appreciate his terrific sense of humor as I grew up. My paternal grandmother, Shirley, or as we call her, Nanny, who is now the only grandparent I have left, has been a bundle of quilt-making, sweets-offering, bulk-cooking energy for my entire life. Last week she had a stroke and injured herself in a couple of falls, as if another bit of evidence that old age is cruel was needed.

My Grandma Marge is the grandparent I've known probably the best. I've spent the most time with her, and her decline in the last several years of her life is the one I have been closest witness to. She always thanked me for coming to see her when I went to visit her, and my parents usually did too, as though it was a favor I was doing for all of them. I never saw it that way. This was, after all, the woman who never once forgot my birthday, who not only bought me Christmas presents but wanted to make sure I had exactly what I wanted waiting under the tree for me every year, who liked to take care of me when I was a little girl and who was just as happy to see me once I was an adult. She never let me pay for lunch, even in the last year when she could barely sign the credit card slip.

Despite what must sound like a materialistic nature to our relationship, she wasn't just some old lady who bought me stuff. It wasn't the stuff so much as the fact that she wanted to give it to me. Knowing that she wanted the best for me made it even more painful to watch her decline into a state where every day was a struggle.

Rest in peace, Grandma. I love you.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Sorry that last post was weird. It wasn't finished -- I had to leave the computer in the middle of it, and when I came back later, the window wasn't up anymore, so I forgot about it, then remembered and assumed it had gotten lost and was no longer moved to post. Then in an email my mom mentioned that she'd read on my blog that we were sick, and I thought "oh, holy crap, that posted? It probably ended really abruptly and felt unfinished." And I don't even remember if I ever went and looked at it. Perhaps it just seemed like I was still a little addle-braine from the illness.

In any case, at that time it was really hot, and then that misery evolved into what has been an absolutely lovely couple of weeks. Yes, there was wind, but what does that matter when you get to sit here?

I mean seriously. Between that, riding my bike a lot, and doing yard work, I may have spent more time outside in the last couple of weeks than I had in the whole last year combined.

It turns out that nasty, horrible hot spell we had a few weeks ago pretty much stopped our spring allergy season dead in its tracks. I have had a few sneezes here and there, but for the most part, nothing. Compared to a year ago, when our house was on the market and I couldn't be outside for more than 10 minutes without suffering for hours afterward, the second half of this May has been a stroll through a very temperate, pollen-free park.