Monday, November 23, 2009

Music of the Day:

Oh, Ella.
My impulse purchase of the day was a cd of Ella Fitzgerald's ballads. You know those moments when you walk into the cd store and you hear something that makes you want to close your eyes and listen, and you get completely distracted from your original purpose? That was me today. I made the guy take the cd out of the player so I could buy it (used. I recycle.) Because she was singing my song of the day.
It was written high above, that I have to have your love,
or I'll never be free.
And cloudy though the day be, crazy though I may be,
what the stars foretold shall be.
Here as in a daydream, by my side you stand,
here with my tomorrows in your hands.
photos: Ella Fitzgerald, Stars from


It's coming..

I've always been a person who's enjoyed anticipation just as much as apotheosis. I have an inkling that this may have something to do with being Catholic. There's the pervading idea that you have to work hard to follow the Truth in the here and now because what's coming in the hereafter is truly divine (in all senses of the word) but there's little you can know or do about it. So, having faith that whatever is going to happen is going to happen, we focus on what we can get our hands on right now. Reaching out, serving others, opening our hearts, appreciating the human reality in the context of the Divine.
That idea is echoed in the Liturgical seasons; simply put: Advent is longer than Christmas.

And while I, too, can't wait to come skittering out to the den on Christmas morning with my brothers, all three of us well and truly grown but willingly and exuberantly channelling the joys of childhood while dad grins and mom smiles with that look that says, 'O, it's so good to have them home again,' right now, I really just can't wait for Advent.

Is that strange?

There's something about the season of candles, of the chill in the air that makes us bundle up. Our thoughts turn to our hearts, willing them to circulate the blood more efficiently to our fingers and toes, and to our Hearts, examining what lies within them, and what needs to be changed (and quick! for St. Nick!). I'm powerless when the haunting melodies of "Wait for the Lord," or "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" begin to play. When you sing in harmony on a minor chord, you feel the anticipation, physically. While you tiptoe on the suspension, drawing out the depth of the music, everything strains for the resolution chord, for the finish. And when you arrive, it's always softer than you expected, but resonates deeper than you could have imagined. What is it about music that can sweep you away to places you never know you held within you?

While our commodified tendencies scramble for gifts and decorations, whatever it is in us that recognizes a greater, overarching human-and-divine connection sees in the scramble the finer notes of preparation. We purchase gifts for those we love, not to prove our love, but to show our love. When you select the perfect cookbook for your friend back east, you smile and send happy thoughts her way. When you begin binding the leftover fir bows to make the front door wreath, you think of all the guests who will visit with smiles and laughter and joy.

It's a time when we begin to remember what it's like to open our hearts, when we remember what it is to love and be loved, when, overcome with great expectation, we recognize the similarities in the human condition. No matter what we believe in, we all strive to be better, we all strive to find happiness, we all find it more easily when we open our hearts. We all love.

Monday, November 16, 2009


One of the things I miss most of all: making music that didn't involve a cringe factor.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Because You Can't Be Audrey...

I've come to a conclusion.
You can't be Audrey.
She was simply too lovely, too charming, too kind, too extraordinary.
You can't emulate her. It can't be done.
(it's not a bad idea to try, though, and maybe succeed in a few small ways.)

So, despite an admitted fascination with Ms. Hepburn, I try to be like Kay.
She, too, was tall, blonde, and skinny. She could crow or croon and she could be loud. She was chic and witty and always into something, like her little girl creation, Eloise.
And she, too, knew how to be lovely:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Inside All Of Us Is...

I took a solo-trip to the movies last night, for a little one-on-one with myself. I'll be the first to admit that it's a bad idea to go alone to certain movies. Romantic comedies, horror films, action see these alone, you have to be a glutton for punishment (romantic comedies can be insipidly cloying or emotional black holes, depending on your mood), a connoisseur of the strange, or an adrenaline junkie. On the other hand, thrillers (Hitchcockian) and indie-films (also foreign films, non-conventional story lines, and/or think-pieces) can border on meditative, self-exploratory processes. I'm not denying the extreme edification of post-viewing film analysis with well-versed, trope-identifying, plato-and-popcorn friends. But when those friends are 1,000 miles away, a girl's gotta fly without her wingmen.

So off I went, Coca-Cola and Sour Patch Kids in hand, to take in Where the Wild Things Are. (note: still mildly disconcerting to be the only solo-flyer in the theatre. On the upside, there were no kids at the 7:35, which labeled me more as "depressed" than "creeper." Phew.)
I think it was easier to embrace the film alone. The irony is that such common themes as loneliness, love, misunderstanding, creation, destruction, and primal expression are compounded when they're re-wound to the fragile, uncertain context of childhood. Eschewing the comfort of grown-up analysis (read: giving everything definition and structure so we feel better about it) and opening oneself to the onslaught of base, uninhibited emotion, the kind that rarely comes along after we clear the threshold of adolescence, is difficult to do in the company of others.
After you peel away the network of knowledge and context we spend our whole lives creating, you get down to the heart of it:

So let's be serious: occasionally, you need to leave the trappings of erudition and maturity behind and scream at the top of your lungs, engage in a dirt clod war, and sleep in a big pile of fuzzy friends. There's something enchanting about the liberation of being wild.
images: Where the Wild Things Are promos, last image from

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fashion Mission

I watched the 2007 re-make of St. Trinian's yesterday. What a riot. It's a fantastically bad guilty pleasure of a feature film (I really must take time to track down the original...).
Every time I see this film, I come away channelling a different character's look. This time, I've got the insatiable urge to re-construct Kelly the Head Girl's heist uniform. I'm on the prowl for some fantastic motorcycle/riding boots, somewhat like these by b.o.c.:
plus some black skinny jeans (urban, here I come... these can be styled in a million different ways for fall: with boots, with flats, with tees, with chunky sweaters, military look, emo look, hipster look, white button-down and diamonds, the options are endless)
plus chunky jewelry (transforming the I'm-pilfering-a-classic-Vermeer-painting-a-la-Mission-Impossible-utility-gear into moto-chic-ready-to-wear)
and voila: Kelly's sporty look, re-imagined for wear. I've got that hat, and I'm pretty sure Target is selling those gloves...
In the absence of results in the job-searching arena, one must glory in the smaller sartorial successes. All this creative energy is tired of flopping around in my apartment. It must hit the streets somehow...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Music of the Day:

Race You, by Elizabeth & the Catapult
I'm gonna race you race you race you race you back home.
The sun's going down now,
And I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go.

'Cause there's dirt on my skirt and pebbles stuck in my toes.
Oh which way should we go down?
Nobody knows, nobody knows.

'Cause there's a shortcut down the beaten path,
One step to the right, three to the left.
The moon's so high,
The wind's so fast;
Makes us feel like goddesses.
1 2 3 set ready set go.
May heaven help you if you're slow.
We're gonna run like bandits,
While the flames are chasin',
Racin' racin' racin' racin' back home.

Roll, roll, roll.
Run, run, run.
Meet me at the bottom
After I have won...
I love this song. It's one of those songs that transports you someplace entirely different. You close your eyes and you're 12 again, running barefoot and carefree through field or forest, fording streams or crawling fallen logs across creeks. Running just to run; just because it's fun and it feels good. My mom sent me an e-mail today describing the farm and fence and stream in West Virginia that she went to in her mind when she hears this song. Not that she's ever frolicked in West Virginia. But a song like this expands reality. It charges the imagination.
Where do you go when you close your eyes and race like a bandit, down the hills?

photos: Taller Children Album Art, Kerstin Zu Pan from, SeaLegsLexi from Flikr, Monica Fadul from Flikr, Cowgirlblues from, Nikki De Carlo.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Balcony Photography

There's rarely a moment to look at the sky out here and not be amazed. Sunday evening, I looked outside and saw the backdrop for a Maxfield Parrish painting.
She may have been perched up there on the Flatirons somewhere...
Ecstasy by Maxfield Parrish.

Photos: LCTBoulder2009