Sunday, August 24, 2008

An Underrated Artist


Allie Moss.

Who is she? Well, if you're a fan, like I am, of Ingrid Michaelson, you'd know that Allie does backup vocals and plays guitar for her. I was fortunate enough to catch them, front row, at this summer's 80/35 festival in Des Moines, Iowa. I spent just as much time watching Allie as I did Ingrid. I took just as many photos, too. The photo I have posted is from Dan Cordle's Flickr album. (Nice guy! Go visit!) I'd have to say that this is probably one of the best shots I've seen of her!

What I love most about Allie is that she blends meaningful lyrics and a catchy chord progression with her hauntingly beautiful voice. Add all of these fantastic qualities to a great personality (and she's pretty, too) and you have yourself an amazing musician. Sadly, she is still not very well-known. I suspect this is due partly to the fact that Ingrid and her entourage choose not to use a record label to promote themselves (what they do, they do on their own, or so Ingrid said at 80/35). But, do not despair. Once listeners like you discover her, as I have, you'll see how easy it is to fall in love with her music. If you're reading this, and you have a MySpace account, do yourself a tremendous favor and plug in 'Allie Moss' into the music search. Take a minute to maneuver around the site, and then take a listen to her music. I highly recommend listening to the song, 'You.' (The others are great, too, but that one is my personal favorite.) Now that you know who she is and what she's about, go check her out, NOW! I promise you will not be sorry.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

P.S. I Love You


Be prepared to have a box of tissues on hand for this film. It is, without a doubt, one of the most heartwrenching films I've ever seen. I don't think I spent more than 5 minutes without fat teardrops spilling over my lower lids. I had to keep flipping my soggy pillow and rewinding the DVD countless times, because I couldn't hear the dialogue over my own nose-blowing.

Once the bawling fits passed, I was able to reflect on the message of the film. I believe it speaks to all of us by stressing the importance of allowing ourselves to love deeply, while also understanding that life doesn't pause to let us savor our happiness. Nothing lasts forever, and we must be able to let go in order to keep on living. We hang onto the hurt, because sometimes it's all we have that reminds us that we can still feel. Before long, it consumes us, and we begin to forget what it feels like to love and be loved in return. When that outlook starts to form, it's easy to begin convincing yourself that love will never happen again. But, it does and it can. You just need to stay open.

The Dave Matthews Band song, The Best of What's Around, says, "If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you're missing all the rest." While the translation of "your thing" might not necessarily mean "pain," there is certainly truth to the rest of that statement.
When you focus too much on one thing, whether it be pain or anger, you shut yourself off from the rest of the world. In that sense, you miss out on all of the rest. Don't be so self-absorbed to think that you're the only one hurting, and don't assume you're so perfect that you're above forgiveness. There is comfort to be found, once you recognize this. So, keep that in mind as you're nursing your wounded soul. If you dwell too long, you could be missing the best of what's around.

It's taken me a long time to come to this conclusion. If I can make it here, so can you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bitter Banshee


Disclaimer: The lady in the photo is not the actual subject of this post. I'm sure she's a very nice old lady when she's not grumpy; however, I need her for visual purposes.

I meant to blog about this when it happened, but it slipped my mind until I began having a conversation with my friend, Steve. We were discussing how all of the good boys/girls tend to be taken by the bad boys/girls, and when those relationships end, neither gender wants anything to do with the dating scene for a very long time afterward (if ever). Anyway, the conversation reminded me of when R and I were wandering around Target in Des Moines one evening in July. We came across a disturbing scene between an old couple. Now, from my experience, elderly couples tend to be submissive and attentive to each others' needs. Not this couple. The woman flat out berated her husband for daring to step away from the cart. She started yelling (and I'm not exaggerating) at him for disobeying her. She continued spitting venom at him for wandering away, and what really floored me was - HE TOOK IT! Every word that came out of her mouth was like a razor ripping him to shreds. I stopped dead in my tracks - mouth agape - and stared at her. I know it was incredibly rude to gawk, but I couldn't believe what I was witnessing! He took every bit of her verbal abuse, and hung his head like a whipped puppy! I can't imagine ever talking to someone I loved in that way. How degrading and embarrassing for that poor old man! But, I can't have too much sympathy for someone who chooses to stay with someone as vicious and controlling as that woman. I realize it's the fear of being alone that keeps many couples together, but I'd rather be on my own than constantly be made to feel inferior! (I'll hold my tongue about what I'd like to add to that....If you can't say anything nice...well, you know the rest.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Missing Mr. Midas


At around 2pm this afternoon, I was downstairs eating a salad and checking my email, when I heard my cell phone ring. Thinking it must be R, I went upstairs to call him back. The caller id didn't say "R new," though. It said "Sean cell."

For those of you who don't know Sean, he was my best male friend during college. I met him for the first time in the spring of 2003, when he and I were casted in an adaptation of Trifles. He reminded me so much of an old friend/boyfriend of mine, Derek, that I found myself slipping and accidentally calling him that for about the first two weeks.

Over the years, we went on many adventures: the Renaissance Faire in the Amanas, fishing at Keomah, Chicago, Des Moines, Taco Bell/Target trips to Ottumwa - everywhere. After Katie moved in, our house became the central location, and we grilled out or I cooked dinner (I like to cook, but only for large groups). We were all as tight as could be, and those boys were what made living here tolerable. As with everything, the golden age had to end. We all knew that Sean had greater things to do outside of Oskaloosa with his Midas touch (everything works out for him!), and he moved right after our graduation party. (I walked early, so we could have our party together.) It was very sad for all of us, but we were very happy for him. He thrived down in Branson, and even had employers competing for him! While he has been down there, he met his wife, Emily, and they were just married a year ago in July. I was very upset that I couldn't make it down to the wedding, but R and I already had plans that we couldn't break, and every plane ticket option we looked into with that short of a notice was not at all affordable. Since we couldn't afford to fly (which was the only way we'd make it in time), Katie and I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond and put our gas and hotel money into buying them gifts for their new home.

So, now that you have a little background, I'll continue today's story.

Sean was wondering if I had our mutual friend Scott's cell phone number. I didn't have that on hand, but I did have their house number, so I gave him that. He said that he and Emily were in town this weekend for a wedding, and wanted to get together. I figured I had about an hour to get ready and clean up the house, so I called R while I was putting dishes in the dishwasher, and not one minute after hanging up with him, the doorbell rang. I turned to Sugar and exclaimed, "You're not serious!" and she wagged her tail and grinned at me. I was still in my pajamas, so I ran to my bedroom and tossed on a tank top, before scambling to the door. I came out all flustered and told him that when he said he was 'in town,' I didn't know he was a block away! I was briefly introduced to Emily, and then begged Sean to give me about 10-15 minutes to get cleaned up, so I could meet up with them properly. He laughed and then took Emily out on the town to show her around (that would only take 10 minutes, tops, since nothing is left!) and told me to call when I was ready. I raced through the house and literally threw things into the laundry room to get them out of the way. Then, I headed to the basement, where I spread out a blanket and tossed everything onto it, wrapped it up, and then threw it in to the guest bedroom. I prayed that no one wanted to use the upstairs bathroom, because the ceiling still needs to be fixed, and there were plaster hunks everywhere. After my shower, I called Katie, and asked her how quickly she could make it to Oskaloosa. She thought someone had died. (I was kind of frantic on the phone.) She said she was heading down, and then I met Sean and Emily at Smokey Row. We chatted there for about 30 minutes, and then came back to the house. I showed them around a little bit (to the safe rooms where changes were made) and Sean remarked about how much light was in the basement - he didn't remember it being so bright. I took him out to the patio and showed him the open area and told him that my friend Steve helped take it down a couple of years ago. We sat out there and talked for a good, long while, before Katie came, and we talked some more. Just sitting there and having him here again really helped brighten up my sad soul. He is so full of light, happiness and faith, and he inspires that in you, too. He was talking about how God has blessed him and Emily with a house and gifts that they prayed for, but didn't ask others for. Listening to him makes you want to believe there is a being that wants you to be happy, and also reaffirms that there are genuinely good people in this world. I can't really explain it - those who know him know what I mean. With just the sound of his voice, he can brighten up the foulest mood.

Sugar was pretty amusing, too, because she couldn't stop grinning from the moment he stepped through the door. Sean is her absolute favorite person in this world, even over me! If anything should ever happen to me, she's taking a road trip down to him, if he'll have her, because I know she'd live out the rest of her days in happiness.

Long story short, the world would be a better place if there were more Seans. I hope he and Emily get started making babies, soon, so they can start populating the world, because we need them!

I'm so happy that Katie and I decided against going to the fair, today. We would have missed them!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Paranormal Parents


I have officially decided that my parents have some kind of sixth sense. Over the past few years, they have developed a habit of calling me on the exact same day. I will not hear from my mother for months, but for some odd reason, instead of choosing one of the many other days of the week, she calls me 2-3 hours after my dad does. They've been divorced for over 10 years, now, and have absolutely no way of knowing the phone habits of the other, which is really the interesting aspect of all of this. Every time they call in tandem, I always tell myself that I should write it down, but I never do. I might make an off-handed mention of it, but I'm not very disciplined in keeping track of when it happens. I suppose I could order phone records and highlight each occurrence to document this phenomenon more accurately, but I think that might be considered a little excessive. Instead, I'll post this to chronicle the event. With my luck, now that I've proclaimed that the pattern exists, it will cease to occur. I guess we'll see!