What Do I Know?

img_4197As I pulled into the driveway this evening after finishing up a long work week, my youngest came running into the garage to greet me.  She stopped short, looked at me and asked, “Why are you so sad, Mommy?”

It seems lately she’s asked me that question a lot. I am quick to reassure her. “I’m not sad, sweetie. I’m just tired.”  That is not a lie. I am tired. Some days I think I was born tired. My mini-me follows me into the dining room and continues to ask me, “What’s wrong?”  Again I reiterate that “nothing’s wrong.”  Yet, she continues her interrogation, “Please tell me!” she pleads. I’m starting to feel exasperated with her and try my best to convince her that “I’m fine.”  I’m not sure if she bought it or not though, but she finally let it go – for now.

I look in the mirror and study my reflection. I guess I do look a bit sad. I think I might just have resting, “sad face” and I force myself to smile. If you’ve followed my blog, you know I am filled with gratitude. So much so I should be shining with happiness, but my little one is right. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I have been feeling a little down lately.  I’ve turned to comfort foods and sitting on my porch with a nice glass of wine. I go out with my brilliant friends and I laugh. Yet still somehow deep down, I still feel an aura of sadness and negative energy seems to follow me around. I’m not quite sure how to shake it off. Do I  push myself outside my comfort zone and socialize more or turn into myself and go into hibernation mode to recharge?  I haven’t decided yet.

I think it comes back to the overall feeling of discourse that we as a county are amidst. Where ever you turn there is another story of despair, conflict and meanness. I know without a doubt that absorbing myself in that world does bring me down. I like to read and know what’s going on in the world around me. I thrive on on knowledge and looking at topics from different points of view. I whole-heartedly believe that there is more than one right answer. What I find most distressful is the lack of respect we seem to have for each other. With the popularity of social media platforms, it is easier to call people names and write them off as “stupid,” than it is to really listen to what each other thinks. We’ve let the “agree to disagree” mindset die and tend to quickly cast others with differing ideas as nefarious or stupid. If I elimated name-calling, arrogance and condensation from Twitter, my feed would be very short.  It is so easy to get sucked on to that band wagon — no matter what “side” you are on. Why can’t “both/and” replace the “either/or” mentality? People would be much happier.

A few weeks ago I went to a Joe Crookston concert in a neighboring town. He commented on how music can connect and bring us together no matter our differences.  He began to playing the beginning notes of a song that  he said everyone would recognize no matter how old or young, Democrats and Republicans and anyone inbetween. He then began to sing “Amazing Grace.” Sure enough everyone in the audience knew the words and joined in. His words resonated with me. It wasn’t more than a week or two later that Ed Sheeran’s song “What Do I Know” came on the radio as I was driving my kids from one activity to the next.

The chorus of his song goes like this:

“We could change this whole world with a piano
Add a bass, some guitar, grab a beat and away we go
I’m just a boy with a one-man show
No university, no degree, but lord knows
Everybody’s talking ’bout exponential growth
And the stock market crashing and their portfolios
While I’ll be sitting here with a song that I wrote
Sing, love could change the world in a moment
But what do I know?
Love can change the world in a moment
But what do I know?
Love can change the world in a moment.”

Music tends to move me and this song really nailed what I’ve been feeling lately. Music is a common language that connects and makes that world a better place. A song or a melody or the first bars of a song can take your back in time and lift your spirit.

Maybe I am a sucker for the happy endings and the positive beat, but it feels a hell of a lot better when my daughter asks me “what are you smiling about?” This weekend I’m going to X out of the negative. I’m going to binge watch the Hallmark Channell, sit on my porch with the sun in my face, and ask Alexa to play upbeat music in the living room:)

How do you pull yourself out of the doldrums? I can always use more smiles.

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Feeling Red

Last night my BFF, her oldest daughter and my two daughters went to the Taylor Swift concert in Detroit, MI. We purchased our tickets well before Christmas and our girls literally counted the days down until our Taylor experience. She played to the sold-out Ford Field of 50,000 people, most of whom were tween girls with their mom’s and/or dad’s. She didn’t disappoint her loyal fans. Her concert was more than a concert. It was a spectacular production complete with lights, dancers, multiple wardrobe changes and fireworks.

My daughters (and me too) had a blast at the concert. The girls sang along to all of Taylor’s songs, danced in their seats, and screamed. Let me tell you, 50,000 screaming girls is LOUD!!! Taylor sang hit songs from her previous albums like “You Belong With Me” and “Mean,” but mostly sang from her “Red” album, which we’ve faithfully listened to since its release. My oldest daughter was in Taylor heaven. She smiled non-stop for the entire two and a half hour production.

For being in a stadium the sound was pretty good and our seats weren’t bad. Granted Taylor looked like a teeny, tiny ant on the stage, the huge video screens made her look larger than life. Midway through the concert she moved to a smaller stage in the middle of the stadium and we could see her really well. Our daughters swooned. She sang three or four songs from this closer stage include a duet with Ed Sheeran, whom my 6-year old deemed “hot.” Taylor moved back to the main stage and played her current hit “Trouble” and “22” and ended the night with “We Are Never Getting Back Together.” We won’t soon forget our Taylor experience.

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50,000 People!

However, while Taylor Swift was awesome, the other aspects of our concert weekend weren’t so great. We checked into our hotel at 3:00 PM to change clothes. At 3:30 PM we were ready to head for an early dinner. On our way out, the manager stopped to let us know he’d had a complaint about us. Apparently, someone was trying to sleep and the kids were being “too loud” and if we couldn’t keep it down, we’d be asked to leave. Now, I understand people sleeping at 11:00 at night, but 3:00 in the afternoon? The girls weren’t really being all that loud comparatively speaking. They weren’t even jumping on the bed or fighting with each other. Just laughing and being girls. This morning when we were chilling out at the pool, we heard from another woman that they’d been told they were too loud as well. I guess a group of senior citizens were in town for a car show. Our theory was they were trying to get a free room. Regardless, our experience at the Woodhaven Holiday Inn Express was less than stellar and we won’t stay there again.

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Putting that ugliness behind us we had a wonderful supper at good old Bob Evans. We left Bob’s at 5:45 PM for a 20 minute drive to Ford Field – plenty of time to make the opening act at 6:30 PM – NOT! The freeway was a parking lot. It took us 30 minutes to go less than a mile. Once we finally made it to Ford Field parking was a nightmare.  We ended up walking several blocks – bad decision on my part to wear heels!  I took photos along the way just in case we needed them to find our way back to the car. So, we missed the entire first act., but we weren’t there to see the openers anyway:)

On arrival we decided to make a potty stop before heading to our seats. We waited in a long, long line for another 20 plus minutes for the bathroom. After about ten minutes I noticed they’d converted the men’s room into a women’s room for the concert. I thought that was pretty smart on the organizer’s part as the number of men were few. It wasn’t until we were almost to the front of the line that I realized there was only ONE stall. I don’t think said organizers were aware that women don’t use urinals. It would have been better to have left it a men’s room. Oh well, I guess it’s the thought that counts.

Our next wonderful experience was the t-shirt line. We promised the girls Taylor Swift t-shirts. Add another twenty minutes of waiting for two workers to sell shirts to the throngs. Mom’s held up various styles and sizes to their daughters as we all waited. My inner dialogue went something like: “Come on, lady! Couldn’t you have figured that out during the 20 minutes you were in line????? We know what we want so get out of our way!” Add on to that stress the fact that I couldn’t find my credit card. Lucky for me my BFF helped me out and got the girls their shirts and I found my card back in the hotel room. Now that we’d missed most of the second act, t-shirts and glow sticks in hand, we headed to our seats and were ready to rock with Taylor.

Overall, I give our Taylor Swift weekend two thumbs up. I’d go see her again if I had a chance. I’d just leave earlier, buy our t-shirts from her website beforehand, and make sure the bathroom line was for an actual women’s room!

From Taylor’s Tweet

Xanadu

2013-01-29 09.06.59When I was ten years old, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, Xanadu was one of my favorite movies. It starred Olivia Newton-John and I saw it at the drive-in. Ever since I ‘d seen her in the  movie, Grease (another favorite)  at the young age of eight, she was my hero. I wanted to be her or at least one of her characters. She could sing, dance, act and all the boys loved her. None of those things were true about me, but it didn’t stop me from pretending.

I actually had the soundtracks to both movies. I played the 33 on my record player over and over and over (my poor Mom!). I knew all the lyrics to the all the songs (come on admit it, you did too! Oh alright then, it’s just me.) What’s even sadder is I still remember most of them. Come on sing along…“Xanadu. Now you are here. In Xanadu….” or how about “Summer lovin’, had me a blast…” or “Grease is the word that you heard…” Ha! Now you’ll have those cheesy songs stuck in your head the rest of the day! Worse, now I will too!

Thanks to Netflix and YouTube I’ve gotten to watch those old movies and hear those old songs as an adult. They aren’t quite as remarkable as I remembered them (although I do still have a soft spot for Grease, Xanadu on the other hand, not so much). The memories of how much pleasure those movies gave me back in the day, make me smile though. I wonder when my ten-year old dances and sings to the songs of Camp Rock, High School Musical and Hannah Montana if someday she’ll look back and think to herself, “I can’t believe I actually liked those movies! I knew all the lyrics to all the songs.”  And thanks to DirecTV and the Disney Channel, so do I!

What movies did you love as a kid, and cringe to think about watching now?

Passion in My Pants?

So the girls and I are on the ride home from work/school. My nine year old has commandeered the front seat. (I know she should probably sit in the back seat for safety’s sake, but I always loved riding up front with my mom and I let her. I do make her push the seat a far back as it goes. I didn’t have the air bag danger in my days in the front seat.) And the reason she wants to sit up front? To be closer to her dear ole Mom? Not likely. She wants control of the music.

When her dad’s is in the van with us, he is in charge of our listening pleasures. She has to listen to the music he likes (currently he’s in a Stray Cats retro period), which unfortunately is not what kind of music she likes. When it comes to music, I’m not a totalitarian as he is.  I don’t mind listening to the tween music she’s into. I like most kinds of music (except maybe recorder music played by the above mentioned fourth-grader, but that’s another story). While Taylor Swift, Bella Thorne, Zendaya, Carrie Underwood, Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus aren’t at the top of my play lists, I have to admit they have some catchy tunes that stick in your head for the rest of the day. If the music makes her happy and smiley, then I’m happy and smiley. So I know the lyrics to Mean, and TTYLXOX and Good Girl. We sing along and rock it out. It’s not such a bad thing.  In fact many a day, I’ve found myself humming along to her music and realize she’s not even in the car with me — I just hadn’t  remembered to change the station after dropping her off.

My preschooler also knows to the lyrics these songs as well. I never really thought much about that fact until the other day. You see we are also into the wii game, “Just Dance” we have 1, 2 and 3. Although I wouldn’t want anyone I know to actually see me playing this game, its kind of fun. And so my fourth-grader has moved up in her musical tastes to “artists” like lmfao and Katie Perry and Kei$ha. I never thought much about the words of these songs as mostly I’m concentrating on the next move in the dance and not falling on my butt.

So when my five-year old started singing about “a bottle of Jack” I started to think maybe the music was a little bit old for the girls. Nah, I wasn’t going to turn into a music censor. If I say she can’t listen to it, she’ll want to listen to it all the more.  I remember when my parents and teachers had fit when we listened to “Jack and Diane” – he put his hands between her knees you know. Or worse George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex.” I remember my mother cringing everytime that one came on. However, I admit I had to pause when she then asked me what “passion in your pants” means. I decided maybe we needed to reassess the play list. I tried to ignore the question. Act like I hadn’t heard her. But she is persistent. “Mom, what’s passion in your pants?” Then the nine-year old chimed in, “Yeah, what does that mean?”

“Ahhhhh….I’m not really sure.” I get out.

The preschooler asks, “Is it some kind of bug?”

“Umm, maybe?” I dodge the question. I’m so not ready for that talk. “I think he just likes to dance and the pants he has on.”

“OK” she’s satisfied and moves on to some other question.

Hmmmm. Maybe we should just stick with the Stray Cats…

What do you think?