Friday, January 25, 2008

Music Makes the People Come Together

I always see these celebrity playlists on I-Tunes, and so being the celebrity that I am (to my mom), I decided to create my own list. I am a huge music fan; it is probably one of my most favorite things (next to rain drops on roses). Lately, I have been listening to a playlist I created a couple of weeks ago entitled "Current Addictions". These are songs off this playlist. I've also included brief explanations as to why you should immediately download all of them.

1. "The Winner Is" by Devotchka (Little Miss Sunshine Soundtrack)-- I love this movie, I love this soundtrack. This song, in particular, is beautiful. I love the string arrangement.

2. "Beach Chair" by Jay-Z--I'm not really a fan of rap (minus the Lil' Kim poster hanging in my bedroom), but I am a fan of Jay-Z. I mean you can't go wrong with lyrics like, "Ladies is pimps too." He's a modern day Shakespeare. This song features Chris Martin from Coldplay. Fun to play when life is feeling like anything but a beach chair.

3. "Holy, Holy, Holy" sung by Sufjan Stevens--I heart Sufjan, I heart this hymn. The combination is perfection. I can't help but smile throughout the whole song. (Thanks, Rachel!)

4. "Into Dust" & "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star--her voice is haunting. I love the acoustic on "Into Dust" and the Felicity-like sound in "Fade Into You". Added Bonus: "Into Dust" featured in Tijuana OC episode.

5. "Rain" by Priscilla Ahn--New take on old "Rain, rain go away" rhyme. It makes me smile and dream of spring.

6. "I Feel It All" by Feist--I first heard this song in The Gap. I started dancing. By myself. Nothing of the Flashdance variety, but there was some shaking of the booty going on. I heart Feist.

7. "Reasons to Love You" by Meiko--I think one of the best songs I've heard in a while. Sweet melody, sweet lyrics. I want to learn how to play the guitar just so I can play this song in a coffee house (preferably Central Perk) or Radio City Music Hall.

8. "To Build a Home" by Cinematic Orchestra--The song elicits a sort of peaceful melancholy. The piano part in this song is amazing. Perfect song for a drive down a long, hilly road (in Hillsdale County).

9. "My Moon My Man" by Feist--Can't help but dance when I hear this song. I heart Feist.

10. "Breathe Me" by Sia--If you go to download this song, you might encounter the interesting art for her new cd. The album cover has a picture of her coloring her face a la Miss Lippey from Billy Madison. Her songs are not as weird as she is. This song has yet another moving piano melody. Good driving song.

11. "Falling Awake" by Gary Jules--I love Gary Jules (who doesn't love "Mad World"). This song has a moving acoustic accompaniment. His voice is completely mellifluous.

12. "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles--Think Fiona Apple meets Natasha Bedingfield. It's the song I have currently been singing at the top of my lungs (several times in a row) as I drive home from work. Good chick song.

13. "Reckoner" by Radiohead--The song is from recent Rainbows album. It's hypnotic. I love the whole album, and this song is my favorite.

14. "Happy Everafter in Your Eyes" by Ben Harper--I fell in love with Ben Harper when I heard his song "Forever" when I was in college. "Forever" is probably a song every girl wants to have sung to her....followed by this song. It makes me starry-eyed.

15. "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding--This is the song I play when I dance around the apartment. It never gets old.

16. "Breakable" by Ingrid Michaelson--I imagine this song was recorded on a's a playful, sweet song.

Happy listening.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I wish free time was really free...

As I've driven home this week, I've tried to keep myself from veering into a tree due to falling asleep at the wheel by thinking of things I would like to learn how to do or start doing again with any free time that may grace my June. These are things I've come up with so far.

1. Learn how to knit

2. Learn how to crochet

3. Take more photographs (oh...and buy a camera)

4. Read Moby Dick and Crime and Punishment (b/c I feel it's my duty as an English teacher)

5. Run 4 miles without going into cardiac arrest

6. Learn to love cooking

7. Learn how to play piano (for realsies)

8. Write more

9. Have an Audrey Hepburn marathon

10. Have a Molly Ringwald marathon

11. sleep

Sounds like fun.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

"Mrs. Parker, Nathan wants to know if you're pregnant."

Me: "Why?"

Student: "He says you look pregnant."

Me (seriously reconsidering pizza as a diet): "What?!"

Student: "Yeah, he says you've been wearing shirts lately that make your stomach look like it's getting bigger."

Me (seriously reconsidering wearing tube tops to work): "Ummmm....I'm not."

Student: "Oh, okay."

Me: silently weeping over my Dr. Pepper and Dortios

Sit-up regime begins tomorrow...after I finish my 11oz bag of Raisinets.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Claire Daines, You've Stolen My Heart Again.

Remember when Claire Daines had red hair, Doc Martens, and Jordan Catalano? Those were the days. Once again, she has made me a believer in the fanciful. I just finished watching the movie Stardust (at the suggestion of several people whose opinions I don't take lightly), and I LOVED it. It was all that a movie ought to be.

If you are someone who has an imagination and you like to watch movies that aren't political commentaries posing as George Clooney films, then you should consider watching this movie. I plan to buy it when it isn't $20 (or ask for it for my birthday, whichever happens first).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm Not Dead Yet

Ladies and Gentlemen...I did it. I survived my first semester of teaching. There were a few times when I felt as if my brain were going to explode or leak out of my ear due to overuse. I actually thought it was once, but it turned out to be earwax. Today marked the end of first semester. I gave my exams, graded a countless number of essays, did more math that I usually allow myself to do, and recorded my grades. I celebrated by filling in my attendance book for next semester (ever the diligent worker).

I remember being given my course documents and feeling like I was the most incompetent person to handle this job. I remember coming home, sitting on the floor in our apartment with these intricate course documents and crying...a lot (I handle stress well). I had no clue how I was going to make it through the first two weeks, let alone the semester. I am completely aware I did not make it to this point on my own (cue Oscar music).

Ben has been wonderful. I haven't been the best wife these last few months and he has yet to serve me with divorce papers (score). He has let me whine and cry and throw tantrums (without the usual fee he has me pay for participating in these activities).

My beloved friends that I've made at WCA (I know that's not a sentence...but it deserves to stand on its own). They are wonderful and I am immensely thankful for them. (This post is becoming sappier by the moment...and by sappy, I mean annoyingly corny.)

Fellow English teachers (aka..Rachel). It has been so helpful to have a friend who understands the complexities and trip-ups of English and high school students.

My family. Thanks for letting me be a negligent daughter for the last several months. I promise I'll call soon (and by soon, I mean June).

I also know that the only possible explanation for my brain not exploding is Jesus.

I was driving home today just thinking about how blessed my life really is, and it made me smile all the way to Spring Arbor (that and the smell of delicious chicken nuggets that I was bringing home...mmmmmmm chicken nuggets.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Things I Loathe and Abhor

I think it's healthy to update a pet peeves list every now and again. Some things that used to bother me just don't anymore--for example, talk's off my list. Additionally some things have etched their tedious existence onto the list and deserve mentioning so that others may be encouraged to loathe them as well--for example, wind.

In the spirit of frigid temperatures, I thought it time to share some pet peeves lest you feel the need to start talking in a song in front of me...which brings me to my first item:

1. talking in songs: not to be confused with rapping. The most guilty artist: Shania Twain (not that I listen to Shania Twain). I just don't like it. If I wanted to hear a song with talking in it, I would listen to rap. I find myself getting embarrassed for the artist. I think it's because I picture them getting all into it while recording their talk song.

2. People who use the word "seen" inappropriately. I feel like I'm in a bad Andy Griffith episode around these people.

3. Wal-Mart

4. People who say "that's hilarious" without laughing. Hilarious warrants laughter...If you're not going to laugh just say, "that makes me smile" or "that is mildly amusing".

5. People who drive negative 10 when a snowflake drops to the ground.

6. The incessant gloom that is winter in Michigan.

In other news...I think a FedEx driver flipped me off today whilst I was driving home. I will say it was delivered with the utmost speed. Touche, FedEx, touche.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Just call me Posh Spice

I got my haircut this past week. So here, Internet, start loving my hair.

(Picture in which I look like I have gas)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Oh, Journey.

My sister and I created a masterpiece compilation c.d. last night. It has the RADDEST (that's right I said raddest) songs from the 80s on it. As I was listening to the c.d. today in the car (and doing my best sitting down 80s dance) I came to Journey's "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight". Now, I'm not here to put down Journey...nor should anyone ever defame Journey. However, what does the song mean? Here is the chorus:

"Oh, I I just died in your arms tonight. It must have been something you said."

I'm no lyricist, but is this romantic? What could she have said? So, I started to come up with things "she" could have said that lead to his tragic death (in her arms no less).

1. I'm sorry you were shot.

2. I told you this choke hold works.

3. I'm going to stab you.

4. Are you having a heart attack?

5. Journey sucks.

I love my rides home...they're so productive.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

This post is for Rachel

I have been a Radiohead fan since high school. Their music sort of became my teen angst soundtrack. Thom Yorke's voice is hauting and trance-inducing. I sort of fell away from them since high school. They're music is mostly reserved for my rainy-day listening.

That being said, I am somewhat excited about their latest album, In Rainbows. My high school love is once again rekindled.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Adventures of Jan

I love that I have a husband who likes to travel, as I am a fan of it myself. Throughout our marriage we have had the opportunity to travel to some great places, and despite the one breakdown over a cheeseburger in a spanish speaking area (sounds like a great blog entry), I've enjoyed my time in each different place.

Here's a list (b/c I love them) of places we've been since declaring to love each other for better or for worse (cheeseburger was probably my worst--thanks, Ben).

1. Destin, FL
2. Northern Michigan (a lot)
3. Pretty much all over Michigan
4. Chicago
5. New York
6. Cleveland
7. Detroit (a lot) (it's an experience in of itself)
8. Puerto Rico (location of cheeseburger incident)
9. Wheaton (which is really Chicago -- but for this list, they were separate trips)
10. Lexington, KY
11. Canada

And most recently...

12. Atlanta

Okay so number 12 is the point of this post. Over the New Year's Holiday, Ben and I traveled down to Atlanta, GA. Ben is taking a group of students down there for Spring Break and we wanted to check it out beforehand. While we were driving down there, I read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, a book I'm teaching in my American Lit. class. What an appropriate book to have read on this excursion. No, we weren't traveling on a raft, and no we were weren't helping prisoners escape, and no we didn't fake our deaths to go down to Atlanta. However, we did ride the subway a lot and we slept in our car. Sounds like an adventure to me.

So Ben found a great deal on a room in a hotel in Buckhead, GA, which is just outside of Atlanta. And by great room, I mean bigger than our current apartment. It was amazing. We drove up to the hotel and there were cars parked out front that I've only seen on episodes of Cribs. I half expected to see P. Diddy when we walked in, but alas, we did not. We had a corner room on the fourth floor. I walked into the room and just kept exclaiming "no way!" ((Note: must purchase a travel thesaurus))

I should mention that I've never met a bigger fan of public transportation than my husband. It's the little things with him. If a city has public transportation we are taking advantage of it. I'm sure if Spring Arbor had a bussing system (not including the Ganton-mobiles), we would not own cars. So, we bought a two day pass for the subway (called Marta). There was a station conveniently located a block from our hotel. We road the subway all over Atlanta, and oh the people we saw. There was one lady who must have been trying to make it as a cover act for Aretha Franklin...she was fun. There were lots of people who talked to themselves, thousands of Clemson/Auburn fans (the Chick-Fil-A bowl was held in downtown Atlanta on New Year's Eve--I love drunk sports fans), and some people of questionable gender.

We went to one of the most amazing malls I've ever been to (new favorite store: Anthropologie). We visited the CNN building (okay we ate there, but we saw it just the same). We walked through Centennial Park. On New Year's Eve, we went downtown where they were holding the "peach drop" (similar to the ball drop in NY) for a couple hours, but decided not to stay because it was boring...drunk people are only entertaining for so long. We had a great time.

Then we drove home...

The trip is a 12 hour drive (we broke it up on our way down) and we decided we were going to attempt it one day. Little did we know that it was going to be the windiest day in the history of mankind, which wouldn't have been so bad except we drive a box, not the most aerodynamic car out there. Then the weather went from 60 degrees and windy to -45 degrees, windy, and snowy...the perfect storm (or what I'm sure weather is like in Hell). We hit one stretch of highway that bore a striking resemblance to an ice arena (minus the Zamboni). We seriously were driving 15 - 20 miles an hour for about an hour. The roads changed from ice to snow as we drove further north. I've never seen so many cars in the ditch before. We were stuck outside Lexington for 2 hours....2 HOURS!!! We probably drove 5 miles in 2 HOURS!!! This is why I could not live in a big city unless I owned my own helicopter. The rest of the way was slow going as the roads were treacherous. We drove probably 35-40 miles an hour the whole way home. So it was around 11:00 p.m. (when we were still 4 or 5 hours away from home) that we decided to take a break and get a couple hours of sleep. Ben had been driving in this weather since 11:30 a.m. and was a little frazzled, and I was looking for any chance to unclench my fists and have the knot in my stomach disappear. We didn't want to stay in a hotel, b/c we only wanted to rest for a couple hours and just didn't feel like going through the hassle. So we found a Wal-Mart, purchased inexpensive sleeping bags (and by inexpensive I mean similar to sleeping in a plastic grocery bag), found a rest area and slept in our car. Surprisingly, I slept very well (I guess I missed my true calling of being a big-rig trucker). We slept for about two hours. Well, I slept, Ben wrestled with his grocery bag...I mean sleeping bag the entire time. :(

We finally made it home by 7:00 a.m. and were greeted by all the snow ever made EVER. What the...?

Fun times had by the Parkers. I'm sorry I don't have a camera so I could share the memories with you, but I know a tedious blog entry is just as good.