The Escobar Music Project

So Pandora may have the Music Genome Project, but around my house we’ve got a subscription to Rhapsody and some wicked free association.*  Every now and then my husband and I will be listening to a song that reminds one of us of  another song, that then leads us to another, and so on and so on until we’ve built a large and beautifully random playlist.

This is never a planned activity.  We don’t ever finish up dinner and say to one another, “Let’s pick a song and then listen to whatever it makes us think of next. . . that would be fun, right?”  We don’t pencil in Music Night on our calendar.  It just happens, on a random Tuesday over a nice post-dinner beer.  Two people who love music with thousands and thousands of songs at their finger tips.  Just a little modern-day music magic.

Here’s our most recent creation:

Battle of Who Could Care Less – Ben Folds Five

Got My Own Thing Now – Squirrel Nut Zippers

Hell – Squirrel Nut Zippers

Jet City Woman – Queensryche

Silent Lucidity – Queensryche

Against All Odds – Phil Collins

Separate Lives – Phil Collins

The Next Time I Fall – Peter Cetera & Amy Grant

Does Anybody Really Know What Time it Is – Chicago

Saturday in the Park – Chicago

25 Or 6 to 4 – Chicago

Fire – Jimi Hendrix

Hey Joe – Jimi Hendrix

The Bear – Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

4th of July – Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

Gravity – Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

Defying Gravity – Indina Menzel/Kristin Chenoweth (from Wicked)

Happy random listening and loving, folks!

*Make no mistake, I am in no way disparaging Pandora.  I’m a huge fan and those genomes have led me to some fabulous artists.

Just a Squirrel Trying to Get a . . .

Piece of cake?!  At least in my neighborhood they are.  I’ll explain.

On Saturday this appeared:

When it was slightly closer to its original form than it is now, it was clearly a graduation cake that met an untimely, probably uncoordinated demise.  Needless to say this is a big score for the city wildlife.  I keep imagining that I will come home to find a slew of cake-drunk birds and squirrels hanging out on my patio until they can sober up enough to crawl (or fly wobbly) home.  While this has yet to happen, I did witness a squirrel attempt to scurry up a utility pole and jump onto the roof of a building while carrying a piece of cake nearly the size of his body.  It was a noble effort, but he lost most of  it on the jump:

He (or she, of course) then proceeded to eat the bit that still remained in his paws and plan his strategy for the remaining chunk:

The next time  I went outside the giant chunk had disappeared.  While I realize that any number of things could have happened to it, I like to think that the little squirrel figured it out:  sometimes those big rewards involve a lot of little steps along the way.  Little bites, my squirrel friend, little bites.

Stumbling

Transitions; from high school to college, college to first job, single to married, married to single, small town to big city and vice versa.  They’re everywhere.  Often quite desirable.  Sometimes not so much.  But always inevitable.  Whether fully embraced or fought kicking and screaming, change happens.

I recently experienced the really good kind of transition as I moved into a new job.  It was the right step for my career at exactly the right moment in the environment I most wanted.  I could not be happier.  And yet it was still a transition.  There was still stress.  I still wanted to finish it all at my old job as my inner perfectionist continued to try to cajole me into a full-blown ball of stress.  And while I wish I could say I took a deep breath and talked her down, I can’t.

At least not for the better part of my two weeks.  I tried to be the picture of calm, cool, collected and do what I can by 3:00pm on Friday, but instead I stumbled through it with unrealistic expectations and ill-though out timelines.  All the while, trying as hard as I could to talk myself back to normal.

It was an e-mail from a wise sage (aka, my mom) that finally helped me round that corner.  Here’s what she said:

“You are conscientious and kind and you want to leave things so that others will not be left with more to do, which is going to be the case anyway.”

And there it was.  There was nothing I could do.  Leaving always creates a hole.  There is no way to fill that hole until someone new is hired.  No amount of work I could do would ever fill it.  Walking away does not change who I fundamentally am.  It does not make me less kind.

Just as stumbling through this transition didn’t make me any less excited about the new opportunities on the horizon.  It just simply made me grateful that I am able to recognize the things that make me lose my solid footing and that I’ve got those sages standing by to steady me.

Things I Forget Sometimes

I am not perfect.

It is okay not to be perfect.

I cannot do everything (also known as, I do not have superpowers).

It is okay to ask for help.

Change (even really, really positive change) carries with it a certain amount of stress.

It is okay to ask for support.

In real life I can’t smooth out transitions from one chapter to the next and make them pretty the way I can in a novel.

Those messy little unfinished moments are part of life. It is okay to embrace them as part of my journey.

 

Dashing

I have a problem with the dash.  Not the 50 yard kind you run on a track, though I’d probably struggle with that too.  No, the dash I am referring to is this little piece of punctuation:  –

My problem started with over-dashing.  It was as if I forgot all about the comma, semicolon and period.  If I paused, I dashed.  I would catch my right middle finger headed for that sneaky little dash nearly every sentence.  Once I was aware of my bad habit I was eventually able to catch myself and make better choices.  My problems with the dash were over!

Or so I thought . . .until my arch-nemesis of punctuation reared its ugly head from the  top of the synopsis I submitted for critique at the James River Writer’s Writing Show.  It was right there laughing mockingly at me from the most grammatically incorrect of places, as if to say: You used to be my biggest fan.  We hung out all the time.  And now you avoid me, shun me, turn your back on me.  Well I’ll show you . . .

To which I say: bring it on dash, bring it on.   I’m not embarrassed by you.  I’m glad the error was brought to my attention.  And no, it isn’t even particularly bothersome that a whole audience full of people saw you because maybe you helped them too.  So if you’ll kindly excuse me, I have some editing to do . . .