Monday, September 26, 2011

Music: A Simple List

I have been to a lot of concerts. My parents started bringing me to shows when I was very little. Roy Orbison was my first. I was five or six. I slept the whole way to the show and my parents started wondering if they should have left me at home. When the show started though, I climbed on my seat and pumped my chubby little arms until it was time to go. My memory of it is vague. I remember he had a pony tail and that the stage rotated. But mostly I remember how much I loved being there.

My father's list of concerts attended could put me to shame. He has seen a million shows and his list is still growing. The funny thing about my inherited love for music is that when I was in high school my Dad would tell me I was spending too much time/ money/ interest on shows and that I should spend more time studying/ doing homework. Today as I was working on the list, I called my parents to ask if they could help me remember some of the oldies shows and my Dad was so excited that I was putting this together.

Note the variety of acts. Oldies to HipHop to Alternative to Pop. There is a funny balance of one hit wonders and music legends. I listed them by performer and not neccesarily individual concerts. I know I am forgetting some names and I will be attending a few more this fall so the list will grow but here goes....

1. Roy Orbison
2. Belinda Carlisle
3. New Kids on the Block
4. Beach Boys (x3)
5. Dion (x2)
6. Lou Christie
7. Chubby Checker
8. Backstreet Boys (x3)
9. Nsync
10. Britney Spears
11. Christina Aguilera
12. Justin Timberlake
13. John Mayer (x2)
14. Third Eye Blind (x7)
15. Counting Crows (x2)
16. GooGoo Dolls (x3)
17. Nine Days
18. Tonic
19. Maroon5
20. Wyclef Jean
21. Lifehouse
22. Matchbox20
23. Five for Fighting
24. David Gray
25. JaRule
26. Ashanti
27. Aerosmith
28. Lillix
29. Jason Mraz
30. Bowling for Soup
31. Frankie J
32. Lisa Marie Presley
33. Stacie Oricco
34. Jewel
35. Jennifer Love Hewitt
36. Uncle Kracker
37. Simple Plan
38. Amanda Perez
39. Dream
40. Michelle Branch (x2)
41. Wayne Wonder
42. TLC
43. Daniel Bedingfield
44. Celine Dion
45. Joey McIntyre
46. Jordan Knight
47. Mary J. Blige
48. Alicia Keys
49. Avril Lavigne (x2)
50. Pink
51. No Doubt
52. Shakira
53. Alanis Morisette
54. Marc Anthony
55. The Fray
56. Vanessa Carlton
57. Ben Folds (x3)
58. Aaron Carter
59. Barenaked Ladies
60. Edwin McCain
61. Jason Mraz (x2)
62. Dido
63. DuranDuran
64. Vertical Horizon (x2)
65. Def Leppard
66. Guster
67. MXPX
68. Cyprus Hill
69. Offspring
70. Ben Harper
71. Jack Black
72. Beastie Boys
73. The Corrs
74. Savage Garden
75. Tristan Prettyman
76. Billy Joel
77. Jimmy Eat World
78. Blink182
79. The Cat Empire
80. Three Doors Down
81. Dave Matthews (x4)
82. Incubus
83. John Butler Trio
84. Mike Doughty
85.Jessica Simpson
86. No Authority
87. 98 Degrees
88. LFO
89. Boyz N Girlz United
90. Rilo Kiley
91. Coldplay
92. Howie Day 
93. Holdsteady
94. Cloud Cult
95. Mars Volta
96. Semisonic
97. Gene Pitney
98. Johnny Rivers
99. DeeDee Sharp
100. Shaggy
101. Spoon
102. Rural Albert Advantage
103. The Head and the Heart (x2)
104. Imagine Dragons

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Home: Potholes?

A conversation with a friend has got me thinking about the idea of home.

Boston is where I am from and Minneapolis is where I live. Boston is my true home and always will be, but in order to find happiness in a new place you need to carve out a space and make it yours. You need to find people who can appreciate where you come from, even if they do not quite understand it. 

At some point, in order for the relationship to continue to build, it has to go beyond appreciation. You need to unravel the layers- meet those who are important to them, visit the places that mean something to them, listen to the stories that have made them, and listen again when they want to retell you the same story, and again.

All people want to be understood and can you really without knowing where they are from?

It is easy enough to ask somebody where they are from- Boston, Paris, Timbuktu. But unless you have been there, unless you have traveled to their city, their home, you are missing a big piece. Looking at pictures of Chiacgo will never tell you what they have been through or how far they have come.

My friend Sam, who I see nearly every day in Minneapolis, told me she had a realization when she was at my wedding in Boston. "It's like you have this whole other life" she explained. I tell her endless stories of friends and family but it was not until nearly 200 of them were in one room, that the layered pieces of my life began to fall in place.

I am not saying that my life is more layered or complicated than anybody else, it's not. But I do think that Boston helped some people in Minnesota understand me a little better. And I think I needed that because nothing will give you more pride for your home than not living there anymore. It bothers me when people tell me they cannot hear my accent and I always have to interject and tell them how strong it used to be. I feel most alone in Minnesota when I am somewhere public and Sweet Caroline comes on because I know nobody else there really gets it.

It works the opposite way too. I know most people from home have no idea what Minneapolis is like and that bothers me more than I wish it would. The look of surprise when I insist that Minneapolis is a city is shocking. The waiter at Legal Seafood this last time said. "Like with tall buildings and everything?" Yes sir!

I live in a city and despite my frustrations over bitter winters and a lack of ocean, it is a pretty city. More than a few times, people in Boston have asked Nick what it was like to grow up in the country. He has done his best to tell them it was a suburb, not a farm but that doesn't always work.

My parents come to visit every year and a handful of friends have ventured out, but sometimes I get really sad that people who are very important to me may never know Minnesota. Sometimes the divide between the Midwest and the East Coast feels endless.

Nick's sweet, lovely grandmother met my parents for the first time in July and when I saw her afterwards she kept telling me how surprised she was that she really liked them. She kept referring to them as Eastern and was pleasantly surprised to find that they were regular people.

With all of this I wonder how Nick and I make it work. Seven years ago we sat next to eachother on a bus on the other side of the world and in our first conversation, talked about home. Early on, we struggled to understand one another. On one occassion I looked out the window and pointed,

"Theah ah a lot of pahks heah huh?" (*Translation*: There are a lot of parks here huh?"
"I'm soorry. PahtOles???" (*Translation*: I'm sorry. Potholes????)
"Oh, um, paRks?"
"OOH Parks! Yes lahts of parks."

Maybe being in Australia, on neutral ground, made it easier until we figured things out.

I will never forget how terrified I was when I first came to visit. I got in a few days before New Years Eve in 2004. Nick picked me up at the airport. He was wearing a winter jacket, his hair was different, and he had new glasses. My stomach turned as I realized how far away we were from the beaches where we fell in love. I was in Minnesota. It was cold and flat and nobody understood me.

Now I live here. We are married. And although I still struggle with belonging, I know a big piece to understanding is understanding home.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Updates: Changing with the Times

I read the"About Me" today and realized how outdated it was. Major life changes have occurred this summer and therefore a blog makeover seems appropriate...

I spent my lunch hour messing with the layout. I have a tendency to over think the details. I love messing with fonts and colors until it fits me, until it settles onto the page as though it was meant to be there. At home, I shift vases and picture frames around on a regular basis. The details are easy to play with and can make a big difference. Let me know what you think. Do you miss the old look? Did you even notice? Stay with me as I figure this thing out. Blog design care of me and Cutest Blog on the Block.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Simple Inspiration: Eye Candy

Who is this girl with three posts in one week??? I guess that's what happens post-wedding when your friends leave town and your husband goes back to school. I just have some fun images to store. A little bit of eye candy and inspiration.

Am I a hypocrite if I follow that beautiful quote up with a page out of Anthropologie's fall catalog? I say not as we spend a third of our lives sleeping (probably more for me) so what better place to start finding elegance and refinement than in your own bedroom!

Oh Anthropologie, you have my heart and sometimes my wallet.

Speaking of bedroom the new husband and I are waiting on this to finish off our bedroom. We used our Macy's gift cards to purchase. Thanks friends and family. Also today I caved and bought this to wear to Nick's Dad's wedding in two weeks! I was debating what to wear and pulled up this dress for the umpteenth time to find it on sale. I took it as a sign and acted quickly. The thing that makes me nervous it is says that the model is wearing the same size dress that I ordered. That doesn't seem right. Online shopping always makes me a little nervous but that's what a good return policy is for. 

Nick, someday you and I must waste days together in this tropical paradise. Please??

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not Gone Yet: Two More Weeks of Summer

I. am. not. ready. for. fall. It is only the first week of September but the mornings are crisp and it smells like a new season. Nick started back to class on Tuesday and has been saying things like "Oh football is almost here!" and "We should have friends over for a bonfire." But I try to push away his comments. I love lazy football Sundays and nothing smells better than snapping pines over open flame but I am not ready for summer to be over. What about going to the beach and baseball games and being able to walk outside without it hurting?

Sorry to those offended by feet.

Football, bonfires, pumpkin lattes, cute sweaters, and yummy smelling air are all tricks!! It's like the stranger offering you candy. I love snickers as much as the next guy but that peanut chocolate goodness comes with consequences and those consequences last for nine months in this part of the country!

"To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring"

I found this quote the other day while looking for something else and while I know it is true, it is not easy. I am trying though. Yesterday I was so thrown by the brisk morning air that I layered myself unnecessarily while walking to the train and was stripping down by the time I got to work. Today I was a little smarter in the clothing choices and I actually enjoyed my walk into work. It was one of those mornings that the air smelled so good. It was fresh and clean and was lulling me into a haze of memories.

  • It made me think about the first days of school and how I always started the year so organized. I would have a new backpack and sharpened pencils and fresh notebooks and somehow the Trapperkeeper or the giant Crayola box or the Lisa Frank folders translated into excitement for a new year. I loved buying school supplies and poured over options for what to wear on the first day. I always planned out my outfits for the first week and coincidentally, or maybe not so much, the first week is about as long as I ever maintained my organization. The moment I found comfort in friends, a clean backpack mattered much less

  • It reminded me of Australia. When we first got there it was July and the middle of winter. The air smelled like wood chips and grass and I was in a constant state of awe. I was alone in a foreign country and had no idea what my life would look like the next day or week or month. I was very tense when I went somewhere as I was only ever half sure of where I was going. I remember taking cabs a lot in the first few weeks and coincidentally, or maybe not so much, I started walking everywhere once I figured out how I would be spending my time. The moment I found comfort in friends, getting places quickly mattered much less.
Winter on a beach in Jervis Bay, Australia.

Nick and I very early on at his Minnesota themed party. That scarf is the first gift he ever gave me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Part 1: August 20, 2011

To take any pressure off of myself, I will start by saying this is not my official wedding post. But I have been trying for a few weeks now to embrace my thoughts, whatever they may be. This special time in our relationship is fleeting and I have tried very hard to live in the moment, to not stress too much about the details, and to try to remember as much as I can. The best way to remember for me is to write.

Everybody offers advice whether or not it is solicited and some of the questions have surprised me. Post wedding, the number one question: what went wrong? any big mishaps?

The answer: no.

The extended answer: anything that "went wrong" was more than made up for. The way things played out was not always what we planned but always ended up being better than what we could have thought up. For example, our officiator announced us as husband and wife, everybody cheered, and the music quickly started up. In all of the excitement the officiator did not get a chance to tell us to kiss and as he is blind, may not have known that we did not. So I leaned in and said "Tommy you forgot to have us kiss."

To which Tommy threw his hands up and shouted, "Stop the music!" The music abruptly went quiet and Tommy got his chance to tell us to kiss, at which the crowd broke out into even louder cheering and the music resumed. I loved it! It was fun. It was perfect.

I have spent so much time since the wedding thinking about moments. Asking myself questions about favorite parts, things I want to hold onto, what would I change? What unsolicited advice will I offer to the bride after me?

Something that bothered me wedding week, and it probably seems silly, is that I never got emotional. I never cried. If you know me, you know that I cry easily. If you don't, let me say that I will cry anytime I see somebody else crying. This includes reality TV stars.

Nick told me a number of times that he was putting effort into "keeping it together" and a part of me longed to just fall apart with the feeling of love and happiness and an understanding of what it all means. Instead I just stood around and smiled like a dope (see below).

Maybe as the wedding gets further away, I will have better perspective. For now my reason is that leading up to the wedding Nick spent a lot of time by himself. He was in his hotel room the morning of the wedding writing me a letter when it "finally hit" for him.

I spent that morning surrounded by my girls. My Mom, sisters, niece, cousin, sister-in-law, friends, hair and makeup artist, and a frenzy of random visitors were by my side attempting to attend to my every need. (It's okay, I can lift my arm to drink my oj. But thanks.)

In all honesty, I would not have had that morning play out any other way. What kept me so calm was the happiness of seeing these people that I love so much, supporting me and getting to know each other better. (The people in that room came from six different states to be there. If you are reading this and most of your close friends and family live close to each other, please take a moment to recognize how lucky you are!! If you and your significant other have family in similar areas, please acknowledge, you are also very lucky!!!) Okay now that I have stepped off of my soap box - what I'm trying to say is when I really think about everything that happened, from the time we landed in Boston until the day we flew back to Minneapolis, I would not have changed a thing.

Like most girls, I have had thoughts about what my wedding would be like since I was little. Every time I went somewhere beautiful, I was secretly storing it in my mind as a possible location. Where I wanted to get married shifted drastically. I have thought everything from a wedding on the beach in Hawaii to the top of a mountain in New Hampshire to a park in Australia and ended up in a ballroom in downtown Boston.

The one thing that never shifted was a dream to have my wedding be an event. I did not want it to be one day. I wanted to do a destination purely because it would force everyone to hang out for an extended period of time. It is funny to think of having a destination wedding in your hometown but that is what ended up happening. When I think back on my wedding, I do not think of just August 20th. I think about everything in between. From connolis in the North End and dancing at the oldest bar in America to taking my nine-year-old brother-in-law on his first train ride to playing in the fountains with my niece from lunch on Newbury Street to napping in the hammock at my parents house.

So much more I want to share but I will hold out hopefully for some professional photos. Have a good Labor day weekend!