Saturday, July 13, 2013

Week the Twenty-seventh: Songs that Make Me Think of You

This week's topic over at Introvert Social Hour is songs that remind us of specific people. What a fun topic! I only spent a little while thinking about this and I came up with way too many examples. I'll keep it as brief as possible, I promise, and I'll do it by using categories.

Artists that remind me of specific people no matter what they're singing:
  • Weird Al Yankovic, as well certain '80s pop/new wave bands like Human League, Tears for Fears, and the Pet Shop Boys remind me of my middle brother. We listened to a TON of Weird Al together when he first got famous, and we're still big fans to this day. On the other hand, he listened to the other bands more than I did so I associate them with him because it was stuff I listened to mostly when he was around.
  • Jethro Tull, Tori Amos, and Rock Sugar make me think of my friend Patrick because they're his all time favorites. He likes lots of different music, but time pretty much stops for  him when those three artists come on.
  • Anything by Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer, and anywhere else he pops up) or anything by Jack White (The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, and his solo work) makes me think of my friend Shawn because he introduced me to both artists and they're now two of my very favorites (as I may possibly have mentioned before in this blog!).
  • Anything from the Grease soundtrack or by the Bee Gees remind me of a particular group of people I knew in high school who listened to that stuff pretty much 24/7. Not that I minded; I like it too. But seriously. They never listened to anything else.
  • By far the saddest one: Every time I hear anything by Judas Priest I think of a friend who was murdered while Judas Priest was blasting out of his truck. (Now there's a little known fact about me...) I don't actually listen to them at all, myself, because I can't hear them without re-living that. I only hear them when someone else is playing something.
Do you KNOW how hard it was to not put another picture of Jack White here?!

Stupid boys:
  • Rosanna by Toto always reminds me of my first boyfriend because he always sang it to me. Which... turned out to be pretty ironic when I wasn't the one who went away. Hmph.
  • When I Need You by Leo Sayer makes me think of the #@*%$! who "didn't think it was important" to tell me that he was married until I accidentally found out after dating him for several weeks. He sang it to me all the time AND he was a disc jockey and he played it for me on the radio all the time (just because he wanted to, not at my request).
  • Be in Want by Meghan Tonjes makes me think of a friend who has on several occasions had to deal with stupid game-playing boys.
  • Bali Ha'i makes me think of my parents. Really any film adaptation of a Rodgers & Hammerstein or Rodgers & Hart musical does because they loved that stuff and I grew up watching it (and lots of other musicals too, like Fiddler on the Roof, to name just one), but South Pacific was their favorite, and Bali Ha'i was their favorite from that.
  • We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, and Another One Bites the Dust by Queen, and YMCA and Macho Man by the Village People will always make me think of my younger brothers because we spent a lot of time singing those songs together. That's a happy memory.
  • Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon always reminds me of my husband because it's one of his favorite songs and he sang it and talked about it all the time when we first met.
  • Duet with Myself by Charlie McDonnell is SO my song with my niece, Emily, because she is the absolute image of me in more ways than I can even explain, both physically and otherwise. We even joke all the time (just like in the song) about how much we hate each other when in fact we're the best of friends and love each other completely. I realize it's actually about a person's relationship with him/herself, but it works perfectly for us, too, because we may as well be the same person.
  • Two songs make me think of my nephew, Andrew. First is That's Amore by Dean Martin because one time when he was tiny he got dressed in a tiny tuxedo and sang it (the whole thing, all by himself, with a soundtrack that didn't have vocals!) for a Valentine's Day dinner. It was adorable! And the other one is Serpent-In-Claw by Gary Jules because the chorus says exactly how I feel about him.

Other nice people:
  • Several songs from the '80s make me think of the kids that I nannied because I listened to that stuff all the time at their house, but for some reason the songs that do it most strongly are Safety Dance by Men without Hats, Lawyers in Love by Jackson Browne, and True by Spandau Ballet.
  • Blonde over Blue by Billy Joel makes me think of my friend Peggy. I've always had a lot of throat and breathing issues, and when we lived together she loved to get me to sing the chorus of that song when I was hoarse. I can't hit high notes when I'm hoarse and we would both laugh when I sang "Blonde over -----..." because no sound came out on the world "blue". Hey, it's hard to explain in text, but trust me: It was hilarious. You just had to be there!
  • Bad Romance, and specifically Searchlight's cover of it, makes me think of my friend's little girl, who loves it. I think it's adorable that a tiny kid likes that type of song.
  • You Make Me Feel So Good by DJ Thoka always reminds me of my superhero. It may seem an odd song to be sentimental about, but he gave it to me at a particular time that made it super special to me.
  • Cannonball by Damien Rice and Breakeven by The Script both make me think of my friend Tony because he used to sing them all the time and I miss both him and his beautiful voice (which is better than either of the original vocalists, if you ask me).
  • And finally, Farewell by Doctor Noise (Bill Martin) always reminds me of Esther Earl, which is kind of odd, I guess, because Bill wrote a song specifically for Esther but I always associate Farewell with her. I guess it's mostly because I have Farewell on my mp3 player and hard drive so I hear it a lot, whereas I only hear the other song when I look it up on YouTube. In any case, they're both great songs.

There are many more, but I'll stop there. I've had a lot of fun thinking about this topic. I'd love to hear about any songs that make YOU think of people in your life. Be sure to leave any questions or comments below! And if you're interested, you can also find me on Twitter.

Thanks again for reading! If you haven't seen the videos that go along with this post, they are:

Jill, Kristina & Frieda

And that's it from me on this Saturday. Best wishes! <3

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Week the Ninth: Five Facts

It's Wednesday, the day I write on a vintage topic for Introvert Social Hour! Today's topic is five facts about me. I could tell facts all day but most of them would be boring, so I've tried to choose five things that most people don't know about me. Enjoy.

1. I'm fluent in sign language. I've never taken a class; I just had some deaf friends when I was a teenager and I picked it up from them. I'm not a certified interpreter just because I've never bothered, but I've interpreted tons of events and meetings and stuff, and I've taught classes, so I'm very confident about my mad signing skilz.

I don't have a picture of me signing but you can use your imagination, right?

2. I've broken bones three times in my life. First my right arm when I was 11 (fainted because of going out of a hot, stuffy classroom into chilly outside air and fell on it), then my left hand and fingers when I was 16 (fell out of a swing because the chain was broken; chain wrapped around my fingers and crushed them then I fell ~12 feet to the ground, landing on the same hand), and finally one toe when I was in my 30s (sandal made me trip and the toe hit a concrete step at high speed). This "fact" is only interesting, I think, because of the horrific hand incident.

No picture of my broken hand either, but this is basically how I looked for two months.
3. I've fainted two other times, in addition to the one above. Once was about 20 years ago while I was driving to work after taking painkillers. Genius, I know. Fortunately, I was in the country and I just drove into a cotton field. Also fortunately, I was maybe 300 meters/yards or so from my work so I just walked over there. Had to call a tow truck to get my car out, but I was ok. The other time was also a bad reaction to medicine, just fell over while I was walking through my house maybe 5 years ago. I was ok that time too. Again, only really interesting because of the idiotic driving thing.

This, on the other hand, is TOTALLY me. OBVIOUSLY.

4. I've never smoked (a cigarette or anything else) even once in my life. Furthermore, not only have I never smoked weed, I'd never even seen it anywhere but tv and movies until a few months ago when I saw a small amount that was confiscated from a student. I've never seen any other kind of illegal drugs either, and I've never been given or offered drugs in my life. I guess either people have always thought I'm not the type (I'm not) and/or they haven't liked me enough to offer it (they probably haven't).

5. The one time I got drunk it was a total accident and I didn't even know I was drunk. I went to a wedding in... maybe around 1993 or something like that?... and at the reception the only things they had to drink were beer (ewww) and wine coolers (sweet and tolerable). No water, no punch, nothing else. Extremely irresponsible of them, but what's done is done, I guess. Anyway, I don't drink at all, never have, but it was hot and I was thirsty so I started drinking wine coolers. I wasn't wild about them, but they were small (and did I mention it was really hot?) so I drank a lot of them.

I knew they contained alcohol, of course; hence the word "wine". But they're only, like, 5% wine and 95% sweet fruity stuff so I didn't worry too much. I guess it added up after I drank like a dozen of them. I'd never really experienced alcohol before and it didn't occur to me that it was the culprit even then, so when I started feeling dizzy and weak, I honestly thought I was getting the flu. That was confirmed in my mind when I woke up even sicker the next morning. My (future) husband had to explain to me that I was hung over, and I didn't believe him at first. I learned my lesson though. I've never done anything like that again and don't plan to in the future. Do not like.

There you go, five fun facts. That was simple enough. Remember to leave your questions and comments below 'cause I'd love to hear from you! And if you're interested, you can also find me on Twitter.

Thanks again for reading! If you haven't seen the videos that go along with this post, they are:
Jill, Kristina, Frieda, and Amy

And that's it from me on this Wednesday. Best wishes! <3

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Week the Twenty-Sixth: Positive Words that Stick in the Brain

It's Saturday, time for a current topic from the Introvert Social Hour. Before I get started, I want to apologize for missing my Wednesday post. Not only have I been super busy recently, but I'm away from home at the moment and I completely lost track of what day it was. Dry your tears, though, because I'll catch up with it in time, I promise!

This week's topic is positive things people have said that have stuck with us. (Sorry there aren't any pictures this time but I'm away from home. I'll do better next time!) I've honestly had a hard time thinking of specific statements because I've been fortunate enough to be told lots of kind things in my life. I've been told many, many times that I'm nice, or smart, or organized, or whatever, and those things are important to me. Every single time someone takes the time to say something positive to me, it makes my day, and sometimes my week or year. But instances that are special enough to stay with me for many years are rare and I can only think of a few.

The earliest one that I can remember started when I was about 16 or 17 and a friend who was a couple years younger asked me to help her run away from home because she was mad at her parents for disciplining her. I refused to do it because in my opinion her parents were only being strict, not unfair, and I felt that she was better off with them than trying to make her own way at that age. She was shocked that I refused her and was mad at me for a few months. Eventually we started getting along again but nothing more was said about that situation for several years. Then one day when we were both in our early 20s, she said, "I want to thank you for not helping me run away that time. Looking back on it now, I can see that it would have been a stupid thing to do and it was courageous of you to love me enough to protect me even though I was mad at you." That meant a lot because it really did upset me to hurt her feelings like that, but I was glad she confirmed that it was the right thing to do. By telling me that, she helped me feel more confident in my decisions about life and braver about standing my ground when I believe something truly important is at stake.

The second thing that comes to mind happened when I was training to become a teacher. I didn't go the traditional education degree route. I had a degree in biology and chemistry and had been to medical school and done other science related jobs when I decided to go into education. I got my teaching certificate through an alternative training program that was basically a ton of education courses crammed into one summer of training -- 8 hours/day, 6 days/week. At the end of the program, everyone had to present a lesson to the whole group (about 100 people, both participants and trainers) in our field of expertise. I felt like I did ok on mine, but the next day when I had to go before a panel of trainers and hear my evaluation, the head trainer said, "You were amazing! Your presentation was easily the best one we saw all week. You may not realize it, but you are a natural teacher."

Maybe he said the same thing to every person that went in the room; I have no way of knowing. But that doesn't matter and, actually, the idea that my presentation was the best doesn't matter. What has stuck with me the most is him saying "You are a natural teacher". To be honest, I think now that he was right, but at that time I didn't feel that way at all and the confidence that evaluation gave me made a huge difference to my first year of teaching. I didn't do everything right, and I knew it, but I kept thinking about what he'd said and somehow it made me believe that I could do better. And eventually, I did. I still don't think I'm the best teacher ever, and if the truth be told I don't think teaching is the very best career for me. But I do have a way of explaining things that helps me connect with kids and guide them along the often unfamiliar pathway of scientific thinking. I don't think I ever would have had the perseverance to discover that without those words of encouragement to lean on.

My third example is a little more lighthearted and a lot more recent but it means a lot to me and I really believe it's going to stay with me. I've never thought of myself as a very funny person. A few people have told me that I'm funny, but they've generally been friends and family, people who like me a lot to begin with so I've seen their opinions as biased. But recently someone who actually is very funny, and who I don't know very well at all, told me that I'm "hilarious" and that I should have the confidence to joke around more often because I "have a knack for subtle humor, which is the hardest kind". I can't tell you how good that made me feel. I love making people laugh (I mean, really, who doesn't?!) and that bit of affirmation has made me feel great for weeks now.

It's amazing how much one little statement can mean to a person for very long time. Thinking about this topic has reminded me of the huge impact our words have on each other, even when they're thrown out in a thoughtless, offhand way. I hope to be the kind of person who says things that remind others how awesome they are. That would be the greatest legacy I could leave behind, in my opinion.

And I hope the words in this post have meant something to you. Remember to leave your questions and comments below 'cause I'd love to hear from you! And if you're interested, you can also find me on Twitter.

Thanks again for reading! If you haven't seen the videos that go along with this post, they are:

Jill, Kristina & Amy

And that's it from me on this Saturday. Best wishes! <3