Quotage: The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, delirious of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..." - from On the Road by Jack Kerouac
I saw Josh Ritter in concert last night and Oh. My. Word. His music is all I can think about now. His concert was one of the best live shows I've seen. I'll swoon all about the show next week. But if Josh Ritter is touring near you - please go. You'll leave inspired and happy and aching to get a pen in your hand so you can write something beautiful. Joe Pug opened and he was also brilliant. The lyrics to their songs are perfection. I'm about to do jumpy claps just thinking about it. (For a story/song that will break your heart in the most wonderful way ... scoot over to iTunes and download Josh Ritter's "The Curse." "The Curse" is a twisted and wonderful kind of love story. Like a great novel crammed into a 3 minute song. It made me shiver.)
So that I can collect my thoughts on Josh Ritter and Joe Pug and not come off like some hopeless fangirl (though, admittedly, I am exactly that), I'll limit today's post to the following topics:
1. Hallmark. My brother and I couldn't get together to pick a Mother's Day card until last Saturday. At that point, the place was crazy-go-nuts. Chase, of course, planted himself a safe distance from the wild herd of card seekers, nodded toward them, and said, "Just pick something from both of us." And as I used my shoulders and elbows to shove my way to the front, where I could actually pick up a card, I heard him yell, "But don't pick something corny."
Have you ever been to Hallmark the weekend of some sort of nationally recognized holiday/event? It is chaos. It is madness. My bffSarah, who is not so OCD she can't function, but just OCD enough for me to take wicked delight in messing with her mind*, would have been flailing about wildly. Because people were putting cards back in the wrong slots. Now, I'll admit ... I'm an envelope swapper. Like, if the card comes with a white envelope? Please. I'm so picking a different color. But shuffling the cards is not something I do. (Typically.) That day? There were no rules. People were reaching for cards like they had golden tickets to Wonka Tower tucked inside. You had one chance for a swipe, then you were shoved aside until you elbowed your way back to the front again. Card picking was further complicated by the fact that pickings were so slim. Lots of the Hallmark cards read like bad country music songs. If it's too cheesy for even me ... then it's pretty much Velveeta in word form.
I finally found a card with a little girl feeding a monkey a banana. It seemed like a good idea at the time. (My mom prefers humorous to sentimental.) (Although sometimes I get her one of each because I'm sappy like that.)
Then Chase and I went halfers on a giftcard to Lowe's (mom ♥'s trees) and then we joined the fam for dinner at Outback. As we boxed up our food to leave, Mom said, "You should write our names on these boxes so we don't have to open them and look when we get back home." She's a smartie. So we wrote our names. But my brother wrote the following:
In case you can't see the fine print, the box says: "Caution! ... Human Organ." The day wasn't exactly sentimental, but it was quite fun :)
2. Birthday Parties. Specifically: the Sweet 16 party my neighbor that would make the MTV execs do choreographed high-kicks of delight. I kid you not: I thought people only had parties like this on the WB. Picture this: I was shutting down my computer, getting ready for bed (at 10:00! Insane! Insert your jokes about Matlock and Ovaltine here:_______). And then the sky erupted in a series of shattery booms. I was already aware my neighbors were partying, because I had been bopping my head, and dancing through the house, to various kinds of hip-hop they were blasting from car-sized speakers in their backyard. (Am I the only girl who likes bluegrass at her parties?) But around 10:00 ... the fireworks came.
Necessary backstory: I grew up way out in the country, where cow fields are a plenty, and stars shine so bright you wanna lay out in the grass and stare at them for hours. Sometimes, on the 4th of July, my dad would set off fireworks. This consisted of dad placing around ten rockets in Coke bottles and then firing them up into the atmosphere (which means some of them made it above the treeline before they exploded). I've also seen my brother and his band of manly guy friends climb rooftops and run through fields trying to find new ways to shoot off fireworks.* (What is it with boys and fire?) Anyway! The point is ... I thought I'd seen some good homespun fireworks displays.
And then I moved here. My neighbors let off fireworks to rival any small town 4th of July Festival. They had a fireworks cannon! ... an actual machine that poof-poof-poof-poofed them out one right after another! They were so pretty and loud and the whole show lasted a really long time.
So I was standing on the back porch, watching the fireworks when Biscuit, poor Biscuit, came to the door. She stepped outside, looked up in the sky, squealed, and backed up into the house.
I found her standing under a table in the living room, tail tucked. When the second round of fireworks went off, she ran under the bed, where she stayed for a long time (until she was finally pulled out). After that, she stayed snuggled close beside me, trembling all night long. It was so sad. Those fireworks scared her silly. I don't know what we'll do on the 4th of July.
3. Gaga vs. Ace of Base. This will only make sense if you were alive and thriving in the early 90's. You know the new Gaga song she sang on American Idol a few weeks ago? Alessandro (or something)? I think it sounds just like an Ace of Base song. Does anyone remember this band? I got my first CD player when I was in middle school. The first CD's I ever received were: Garth Brooks, Hootie and the Blowfish, and a compilation CD of country music singers covering Eagles songs. I took my Christmas money and bought Ace of Base and Alanis Morisette. Oh, the memories! :) Speaking of Idol, I'm mostly bored with it this year. Bowersox has been my girl from day 1. I think she'll take it. Her duet with Lee was great last week. Still ... something's off this season. I think American Idol as a show, and as a social hub, is starting its slow descent into oblivion. Glee is pulling me closer though. That Puck is such a doll. (Is it creepy that I'm saying that? Saying he's a doll doesn't sound too cougary does it? Is he really a teenager?)
4. I so love Tennessee. I'm always proud to be a Tennessee girl, but over the past few weeks, as new hero stories emerged from Nashville, my pride is nearing epic levels. I don't think Nashville is getting the media coverage it deserves. Maybe the rest of the nation is aware of the severity of the flooding. But they also need to be aware of all the good rising out of that city right now. Way to show the world what it means to be neighborly, Middle Tennessee. :) If you want to read a more personal perspective on the whole ordeal, check out Annie's blog (Annie is one of my favorite bloggers -- you'll love her dearly). I'm also partial to this YouTube clip.
Endnotes! Loved reading your notes about your mamas :) I also noticed some comments on the last post regarding the Bible Study method mom taught me in High School. I'm happy to share! I'll make that a topic of one of next week's post. Also, I'm hoping to have the Q&A post up sometime soon. Thanks for sending such fun questions. If you have a question you'd like answered (that doesn't have to do with politics, raw meat, or math) (neuroscience isn't a speciality either, but I can always make stuff up ...), let me know in the comments or shoot me an email sometime this week. I'll keep all questions anon for that post.
Hope you're having a great weekend! : )
* Like, I might have reverse a couple of pictures on her mantle once. Or, if I know she's coming over, I'll mix up the order of series books I have. Narnia and Harry Potter will still be shelved within their appropriate series ... but I'll switch around the numbers. The BEST was when I knew I would be going by her house, so I only painted my nails on one hand. It's really a miracle we're still friends.
** And yes, I was always the overprotective dork constantly yammering about how dangerous fireworks were. I even emailed them YouTube clips one year about how to be safe with fireworks. (The clips were intense! The mannequins that held onto the fireworks too long actually lost limbs!) I'm sure they watched the videos intently and took copious notes.