The older I get, the more I realize I have no idea what I am talking about. Waiiiiiit, what?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Current State

It has been 3 years since my last post. I realize people are hungering for these posts the same way they are for, say, The Winds of Winter (6th Game of Thrones book). So here I am. And what can I say, that everyone else is not already arguing about on facebook? Yes, we are one week into President Trump's "presidency", and it feels batshit crazy. Some will argue that is because of the media coverage being biased, some will argue it is because of Trump himself, and the insane or inflammatory or baseless things he tweets out every day, followed up by interviews where he talks about himself as "the best" and giving "the best speeches" and having "the biggest crowds". It's as if we are watching a version of "Eastbound and Down" where Kenny Powers gives up his dreams of playing in the majors to instead run for president... and accidentally wins.  Now, I'm not looking to start a comment thread fight with anyone. I am pretty certain I know what everyone close to me thinks about Trump, and I'm pretty certain they know what I think about him. I am literally sitting here hoping and waiting for him to do something that makes me think differently of him, but instead, for example, he goes and institutes a ban on refugees on Holocaust Remembrance Day. I'm listening very closely to everything he says in interviews and everything he himself writes on his Twitter account. I'm hearing/reading nothing from him that backs up the claim of people who supported him in the election that most of the inflammatory stuff he said and suggested he would do was just "for show". I'm trying to find a way to step away from everything that is happening periodically, so that I can maintain perspective and not become so exhausted by all of this that I have to shut it out completely. I won't do that, it is so important that EVERYONE pay close attention to what is happening. But this is all very divisive, and I think it is by design. There is no way that the refugee ban being enacted on Holocaust Remembrance Day was a coincidence, this announcement was strategic. It has succeeded in angering people, and dividing them further, for about the 20th time this week. I think this is the strategy. Soon, we will be so distracted by how much we disagree with each other, and the act of disagreeing with each other, on Facebook etc, that we won't realize what is really happening. That scares me. I want everyone to stop arguing about Trump, and just listen to HIS OWN WORDS and pay attention to the changes that are happening and let's judge him that way. And let's protect each others rights if/when we see them being infringed. And lastly, let's just stop being outraged by each others opinions. Easier said than done maybe, but I am going to try.

I'm thinking this will be my first and only blog post about politics. I'm going to attempt to move on to music after this one. The last couple of years, I've dedicated my car time to reading more books (audio books, obviously. I mean, my Prius is awesome, but it doesn't drive itself...yet!). I managed to read 30 books in 2015 and 42 books in 2016. That meant that my drive time to and from work was almost exclusively audio books, with some podcasts mixed in. This year, I'm trying to get back to listening to albums in their entirety. Specifically, new ones, so I am going to write about them here. This will give me something to do in all of the spare time I have, lololololololol! I am going to try to write about music once per week as a needed distraction from everything else that is happening. We'll see how it goes...

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top 20 in the life and ears of Jenalawz

Because I have been listening to and reading all the Best of lists for 2014, and because whenever I listen to “All Songs Considered” and other pop culture commentary type podcasts and think I might have missed my calling…as a commenter of pop culture, what's comin' your way tonight is my Top 20 songs for 2014. 

I know, I know a) this is exciting news and b) 20 seems like a lot, usually these are top 10. BUT, not all of these songs came out this year. These are the Top 20 songs in the life of Jenny 2014, because is it really about how “good” the song is? Or is it really how “good” the song makes us feel? As a working parent in the daily grind, my hour and ten minutes in the car to and from work each day is when i get to really sit and listen, so if a song can make me forget that I have been sitting the car for 45 minutes with 30 more minutes to go in traffic, that’s a win in my book. 

That being said, ladies and gentlemen Jenalawz (look me up on spotify) Top 20 (not in any order) songs for 2014:

Rather Be feat. Jess Glynne - Clean Bandit - Won’t ever get sick of this one. Makes me think of my family and my kids.  I listened to the rest of the Clean Bandit album and nothing even close to as catchy as this song. I like Jess Glynne’s voice so much, I hope she does more than just rule on other people’s songs. 

Problem - Ariana Grande - The sax thing kills me. Couldn’t get it out of my head for at least a month, and i still crank it way up in da cah. I loved her first album, she definitely can sing, definitely went to the Mariah School of Melisma, but I love it.

Right Now - Mary J Blige - You know, ‘cause, Mary. She’s a boss. This song is great. 

Dangerous (feat. Joywave) - Some spotify playlist introduced me to this song on the way to work one day in the spring and within the first 30 seconds I was driving way too fast and bobbing my head like a doofus.

Always Alright - Alabama Shakes - I was so far behind the curve in seeing “Silver Linings Playbook”, which I loved from start to finish…actually even past the finish when this song kicks in during the credits. I love their first album and cannot wait for the second, whenever that is. 

Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars/ Mark Ronson - Have never disliked anything Mark Ronson has done, and I can’t figure out why this song isn’t on the radio every 10 minutes, because it is so awesome. My kids love it, and if toddler music taste isn’t an indicator of a hit, I don’t know what is people!

Dangerous - Jennifer Hudson - A song I listen to on the way to work when I know the day has a high likelihood of sucking/being stressful. Also makes me want to drive fast and put on the dance face…sometimes at the same time.

Sea Legs - The Shins - I am literally a decade behind on The Shins. I work in a small office, with a very open concept, which most of the time However, the one good thing that sometimes happens is that somebody is playing music that I have not heard/never gave a good listen to. One day this past spring, one of my co-workers was playing “Australia” and I got sucked into listening to “Wincing the Night Away”. “Sea Legs” became my hands down favorite, I must have listened to that million times this summer. Love it.

Love Never Felt So Good - Michael Jackson - Usually the unreleased stuff was not released for a reason. This song however, makes me think of my favorite 1980’s Michael Jackson songs. There is a version with Justin Timberlake, the full original demo, and then like a stripped down vocals + piano + finger snaps demo version. All awesome.

Ring Off - Beyonce - Bow down people. I am one of those people that was psyched about her surprise album, and the deluxe version has this gem on it. About her parent’s divorce, or really more about/tribute to her Mom and the way she dealt with it. 

White Winter Hymnal - Pentatonix - First time I listened to their new Christmas album, I got stuck on this one. Over and over, and its not a long song. I thought it was a traditional carol that I had never heard before (which would be kind of crazy, because my family is a bunch of nuts/experts about all things Christmas carol). Turns out it is a Fleet Foxes song, so that then turned me onto the Fleet Foxes.

White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes - See above. Just very different then most things I listen to, and I now love this album because of the Pentatonix version. 

Hunter - Pharrell - This entire album is awesome, but there is something about this song. Its kind of like “Hey Ya”, not everyone can pull something like this off” “Duck Dynasty’s cool and all/but they ain’t got nothin’ on the female call/I’m a hunter”. Trust me.

Callin Out Lyrics Born feat. Joyo Valerda - I think it was a spotify playlist that introduced me to this one, but the bass line alone is enough to listen to the whole thing…and then “People are you reaadyyy/let’s start the show”. (Reminds me a little of the bass line from “For the Love of Money”.)

Know Who You are - Pharrell, Alicia Keys - The bass line on this song, and its 2 artists I love. I sang really loud to this one back and forth to work each day. 

Inside Out - Spoon - I made a playlist of this album in June…then never listened to it. That’s one problem with Spotify, sometimes its an embarrassment of riches and you get hung up on which of your 500 new albums/playlists to listen to. All Songs Considered had it on their top 10, so i listened to it and loved this song especially. I listen so passively these days, just because I don’t have a lot of time to sit and listen, but today I listened to this with headphones and it was totally worth it. 

Water - The Roots - I read QuestLove’s book on a work trip this summer and came back with a list of things to listen to. All the Roots albums were on the list and this became one of my instant favorites. Live drums on hip hop should be the rule. 

Fancy - Iggy Azalea - First thing’s first, this song can turn a middle aged mother into a rap star for 2 minutes in the car each morning. What’s better than that?

You Don’t Know What to Do - Mariah featuring Wale - Of course Mariah was going to make the list! When I saw her perform it on the Today show early in the summer I thought it would catch on the radio. It definitely did not, but still a great dance song.

Sugah Daddy - D’Angelo - Ok, I’m on my third glass of champagne, so my ability to describe why i love this song is diminishing. It has horns, piano, handclaps, and D’Angelo’s cool voice. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The things I will "never forget"

Every year on 9/11, I see the following posted in lots of places "9-11, never forget". It strikes me as such an obvious statement, I mean, who can forget that day? But then I had a thought today that everybody had a different experience that day, different things burned into their minds about what happened. 

Every year on 9/11, I reflect on it, as probably everyone does, and then I wonder what is the healthiest way to do it. I always end up watching that documentary made by the french filmmakers that were following NYFD probies for a documentary about becoming a firefighter, but ended up instead making a documentary about 9/11 as it unfolded. I always look through the pics from that day, of the moment after the first plane hit, of the moment before the second plane hit, of the buildings burning, of people jumping out of the buildings, the buildings collapsing, and I never realize the trauma I am inflicting on myself until after I do that. But it feels wrong not to do that, as so many people lost their lives that day, and their loved ones have to relive this pain, it feels like a duty to also relive whatever you experienced that day so that they are not alone in it. Does that make sense? 

I also always remember, in the weeks after, seeing firefighters and rescue workers riding the subway to and from Ground Zero, they would be covered in dust and debris and I would just wonder what on earth they had seen and how they were dealing with it. I think we, as humans, just keep marching forward, but inevitably that stuff catches up to you and I wonder now how many of the first responders and people who worked at Ground Zero are suffering the effects of what they saw and experienced. 

After maybe the 3rd day after 9/11, the place I was working at re-opened and it seemed that for the most part, the city was trying to function, in spite of everything. But there was this heartbroken feeling among the $#@!-you-NYC resilience. On the news every night, they would talk to people who were missing a loved one who worked in one of the towers, they would have a picture of the person and ask if anyone had seen them to contact them. That went on for weeks, most people hoping that their loved one ended up in one of the many hospitals, injured maybe, but still alive. And then there were posters everywhere of those missing people, hundreds of them, all with the same heartbreaking hope clinging to it - that these people had not actually perished, because it was going to take a while to get actual proof from the massive recovery effort. 

I also remember seeing an American flag on absolutely anything you could attach one too. Hanging out of taxi cab windows, off of fire escapes, in windows, on peoples backpacks. That was cool. Solidarity was uplifting.

Not as uplifting were the stories of people who looked like they might be Muslim or of Middle Eastern descent, being harassed. I remember the delivery man from the Indian restaurant that used to deliver to my workplace looking terrified to be out and about in the weeks after 9/11. All he said was that "people are acting crazy", but it was such a bummer to realize what types of things people might be saying to him.

Those are the things I will never forget. Then I think “humans did this to other humans”. That’s probably the saddest thing, but nothing new under the sun. And that is the part we will never ever completely understand.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Multi-tasking: A Misnomer

Not even sure if I used the punctuation in the title correctly, oh well. It's because I was multi-tasking. And aren't we all doing that all the time. There are probably so many blog posts about multi-tasking, how to do it better, why you shouldn't do it, how smartphones are re-wiring the brain from all the multi-tasking and on and on and on.

We have started the process of trying to buy a house. This is exciting, and anxiety inducing and I have never felt more like i wanted to yell at the top of my lungs everyday (out of frustration) than I do right now. This process, of looking at houses, making offers, mortgage, etc, has been going on for just about a month now. I can't wait for it to be over (and we are working with great people BTW, its just the process in general). Working full time, having a family and going through this process is beyond my brain and self to handle. Part of me thinks "you have never handled stress well, calm down, people do this all the time" and the other thinks "%$#@!!!!...#$%!", at the same time no less.

I have been listening to "The Neuroscience of Change" by Kelly McGonigal the last couple of weeks.  This is a great book about mindfulness and what the wisdom traditions say about meditation etc along with what scientific research has proven about it. It is fascinating. I am trying to incorporate what I am learning into everyday life. There are days when I am so mad at myself for letting myself get so stressed out...and then I realize that is part of the stress.

Part of the stress is also that I am a bad multi-tasker AND I am terrible at telling people no, which puts me in situations very frequently where I am putting aside the thing I really need to be doing, to do something else for someone real quick. Its a productivity and concentration killer to operate like that, and I need to

That's all I got right now. Last time I wrote, I was about to have our second child. I guess these days, I write in this thing when major life events are developing. Here's to hoping this house thing works out.

Cheers people!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Six years ago, this post would've been at least 4 pages long (brevity is not a bad thing!)

I remember a time when I had lots of time to do things like write blogs. And think. Back in the myspace days, when I was single and pondering basically everything. I wondered what it would be like if/when life sped up and there was more living and less pondering. Well, here I am. I would say that time began like 6 years ago when I met Jamie. A different life began to evolve, one that involved someone else, and than an us, and then a three of us, and now we are on the cusp of the four of us. There isn't so much time for pondering, maybe for a few minutes in the car each day on the way to or from work. Basically, this brain has time to do, not think. And I think this is how your life flies by you. I don't want to stop it (though there are moments and things I'd like to freeze frame. Like watching Quinn and Jamie together. Or Quinn saying "Sleep tight, I lub you" before she goes to sleep. Or any conversation I have with her at this point, because every day is something new).  Enough has happened that I realize I am just so lucky to be here and to experience it. So while I am in this period of my life that I think we will look back on the most fondly, I will suppose that there will be another time in life when it slows down again and there will be time to ponder everything that has gone on. And that will be ok too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

If I had a million dollars...

If I had a million dollars, I'd stay home with Quinn, make amazing dinners for Jamie and find cool and fun things to do with my favorite neighbors on the days where it feels especially rainy. And while Quinn was napping, I'd listen to music and write about how much I love it. I always thought a great superhero power would be to instantly bestow upon people the perfect song for whatever moment they were in. Sometimes it just has a way of letting everything out for you when you are too tired, busy and sometimes afraid to do it yourself.  And while this song may or may not fit that category for you, I heard it for the first time today on the way to work and it hit me and I instantly loved it. It is a sad song about saying goodbye, even if you subtracted the lyrics, I think the same emotion comes through, which makes me extra love it.  That is all <3

Katie Herzig - Wish You Well

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In her shoes

I can't put my finger on the grief at times. It is hard to figure out how you feel, and sometimes you think "i'm ok" and then it will just hit you. I went to the Walk to Remember on Saturday with Kerry and my Mom and Kerry's mother in law Beverly I thought I was going mainly to show support to Kerry. Even though I grieve for Ellie as the rest of my family does, I know that as sad as I am about it, it doesn't compare and is different to what Kerry is going through. Because of that, I feel that I would chop off a limb (or something similarly extreme) if it somehow could support her or help her through this. So I went to the Walk thinking it was to support Kerry, but as we stood there listening to the Pastor speaking at the beginning of it (the same one who did Ellie's baptism at the hospital), I cried (not surprisingly, lots of tears at this event). And I wondered, though not surprising, why is it that I am crying? I supposed that I was crying because I miss Ellie, because it hurts to think about losing her and what Kerry and Seth go through everyday. These things I have considered and thought about often, I mean, grief is a similar process no matter who it is you lose, but there is something different about losing a baby. We got to meet Kerry's friend Laura, who she was introduced to after Ellie passed away. Laura also lost her daughter Brigit and has been unbelievably supportive to Kerry. Saturday was the first time they met face to face. She shared her experience with us and I think it was then that I started to understand something important for myself. I cannot, without actually experiencing it, completely understand what she is going through. No matter how many books/stories of loss I could read or watch, it is a fine line between trying to empathize and hurting myself trying to empathize on a level that is impossible to achieve. Not sure if I'm making total sense here, its just that you feel like you would do anything to help a loved one who is hurting, and in this case I felt like if I just read enough about other people's experiences of loss (which takes its toll emotionally), I would be able to be there for her better, but I understand now that this is not true and I should not try so hard to put myself in her shoes. I know she doesn't wish for me to be there (in her shoes that is). So anyways, that's all I got tonight, till next time...