2011 Faves: Music

December 30th, 2011

My eleven favorite 2011 releases

Turning Tables, Adele
Next time I’ll be braver / I’ll be my own savior / When the thunder calls for me

Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes
Yeah, I’m tongue-tied and dizzy and I can’t keep it to myself  / What good is it to sing helplessness blues; why should I wait for anyone else?

Don’t Turn Out the Lights (D.T.O.T.L.), NKOTBSB
I still got this fire for you, we can get it back again / If you don’t say that it’s the end (the end)

Shake it Out, Florence and the Machine
And I am done with my graceless heart / So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart

Sorry 4 the Wait, Lil Wayne
Hello, goodbye, where are you Wayne? / I’m somewhere in between joy and pain

‘Til the World EndsBritney Spears
If you feel it, let it happen / Keep on dancing ’til the world ends

Modern LoveMatt Nathanson
So we stumble, we disconnect / Over and over again

OtisKanye West and Jay-Z, featuring Otis Redding
They say I’m crazy, but I’m about to go dumb again / They ain’t seen me cause I pulled up in my other Benz / Last week I was in my other other Benz

Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)Lady Gaga
And she’s got rainbow syrup in her heart that she bleeds

Shock to My SystemGemma Hayes
I felt safe walking straight lines / You were a shock to my system / Lighting up a fire so bright

Make a New Dance UpHey Ocean
You make me wanna dance / You make me wanna move / You make me wanna

My eleven most-played in 2011

The Shape I Found You InGirlyman (2003)
But my heart tried to cheat / Building safety nets under my feet / So if I fell I would fall right in / That’s the shape you found me in

ChangesTupac (1998)
I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere / Unless we share with each other / We gotta start makin’ changes / Learn to see me as a brother ‘stead of two distant strangers.

Touches YouMIKA (2009)
When you’ve had enough and you need somebody to know / Well, you’re looking tough, but you need a way to let it go

Come Out of the ShadeThe Perishers (2007)
Take a step and come out here in the sun / I can tell it’s already begun / I’m helpless without you, helpless without you / Helpless without your warming smile

Digital LoveDaft Punk (2001)
Don’t stop come a little closer / As we jam the rhythm gets stronger / There’s nothing wrong with just a little little fun

In A Big CountryBig Country (1983)
I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert / But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime

Sour CherryThe Kills (2008)
I’m a penny in a diamond mine / We could be movers / We could be shakers / If we could just shake somethin’ out of the blue / And get off the ride

I Tried to Rock You But You Only Can RollLeona Naess (2001)
I’ve got a smile that’ll knock you down / I’ve got friends who will follow me / And I don’t own responsibility / And I know what I am / And I know that I’m right / Yeah, yeah, yeah

Hell Yeah, Ani DiFranco (1994)
But in the ‘he said, she said’ / Sometimes there’s some poetry / If you turn your back long enough / And let it happen naturally / Oh, yeah / Hell, yeah

Well-AlrightSpoon (2009)
Don’t mean nothing, just some common sense / Not so much is just the fact we met / Everything’s well-alright / Gonna be well-alright

Young BloodThe Naked and Famous (2010)
The bitter sweet between my teeth / Trying to find the in-betweens / Fall back in love eventually

Little Miss Transient

July 18th, 2010

On Friday morning, I put on my sunglasses, some old flip flops, and a bra and walked down the block for a coffee and a stack of amNYs left over after the morning commute.

I wonder what patrons finishing their breakfasts outside the diner thought when I pulled ten copies of the free tabloid daily out of the box on the corner. “Look at that hobo. Is she going to make a bed out of those newspapers? She’s hurtin’ for a new pair of shoes. Oh, but she’s had a pedicure! And a manicure! And is she drinking a large non-fat iced latte with a shot of cinnamon?”

She was, indeed.

I deserved that latte, too; I had to spend the rest of the day lining boxes with those newspapers and wrapping my more fragile belongings in them.  Packing is hard.  I chipped a nail!

2009 Faves: Songs

December 31st, 2009

My nine favorite 2009 releases:

Photo credit NYTimes.com

Just Dance by Lady Gaga
I love this record, baby, but I can’t see straight anymore.

Dance Anthem of the 80s by Regina Spektor
They want to be touched, to touch each other, / They want to sleep, they want to be slept, / They want to watch, to watch each other . . .

Knocks You Down by Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo
Every mornin’ I look at you and smile, / ‘Cause boy you came around and you knocked me down, / Knocked me down.

Young and Restless by Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Between the stacks in the library / Not like anyone stopped to see / We came they went our bodies spent / Among the dust and the microfiche.

Don’t Upset the Rhythm by Noisettes
So let me show you / Something super beautiful.

Under the Milky Way by Sia
And it’s something quite peculiar, / Something shimmering and white, / Leads you here despite your destination

This Tornado Loves You by Neko Case
Your rails have always outrun mine, / So I pick them up and crash them down / In a moment close to now.

Evacuate the Dancefloor by Cascada
I’m infected by the sound.

Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars
We stole our new lives, / Through blood and pain, / In defense of our dreams.

My nine most-played of the year:

Black or White by Michael Jackson
Now I believe in miracles, / And a miracle has happened tonight.

Desire by Ryan Adams
This time I’m speeding with no direction. / Without a reason. What is this fire? / Burning slowly. My one and only.

I’m Burning for You by Blue Oyster Cult
Burn out the day, / Burn out the night, / I can’t see no reason to put up a fight. / I’m living for giving the devil his due

Any Day Now by Missy Higgins
Say you’ve kept some fire away / To set light to me some surprising day.

Battlefield by Jordin Sparks
I guess you better go and get your armor.

I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
Listen to the music of the moment, maybe sing with me / A la peaceful melodies / It’s your God-forsaken right to be love, love, loved.

Gardener by Rebecca Riots
I have got to be more conscious / Of the things I do and don’t do . . . / It’s about perceiving what’s happening / In this very moment / And deliberately choosing to extend love.

Friends and Family by Trik Turner
‘Cause alls I need / Is the air that I breathe / And my friends and family / To believe in me.

Divorce Song by Liz Phair
I would have stayed in your bed / For the rest of my life / Just to prove I was right.

What I’m wearing to . . .

September 21st, 2009

I’m going to a wedding in October, the first in my adult life for which I’ll have full creative control over my wardrobe.  So, even though everyone will be looking at the bride, as well they should, I’m putting a lot of thought into my ensemble.  This is what I’ve come up with.


I bought this dress on the whimsiest of whims last winter. I found it on the wrong rack—a petite size far from the petite section—and it was marked down so far that I knew it was the last one of its kind.  But, it was a size up from what I normally wear and the petite size conversion rule turned out to be true!  At the three-way mirror in the fitting room, I had to use a clothes hanger to fend off a few admirers who would have stripped the garment from my body for themselves.  I escaped with the dress and I’m so excited to finally wear it!  Maggy London’s Fall 2009 collection is online here.

Can a girl go wrong with Tiffany?  Of course not.  I don’t think the silver beads get enough play.  They’re darling; the fine metal equivalent of pearls.  The bracelet was a gift in high school; the earrings were a little gift to myself after I got my second job.

I detest heels.  Really.  Partly on principle, but mostly because they hurt me.  But my Maid of Honor dress at Jill’s wedding in July was tea length, and I couldn’t get away with silver Birkenstocks in the church anyway, so I picked out this pair of sandals from Naturalizer’s N5 Comfort Elements collection.  These heels are amaaaaazing.  I made it down the aisle and back and through a night of dancing with the under-10 crowd at the wedding in these shoes, and in the morning, when I went back to the hotel to pick up Jill’s dress, I put them back on, just for kicks.  I think it was clear, when I walked into the hotel dining room that morning in a commemorative t-shirt from the 1984 Olympic games, madras shorts and silver heels, that my principles were out the window.

Thank you, Grandmom, for outfitting me with such an extensive dress-up collection when I was a little girl.  Thank you, too, for including items that could translate from pink plastic dress-up suitcase to special occasions in my adult life!  I’ve always loved the snap that this faux leather clutch makes when it’s snapped shut.  I’ll have to resist opening and closing it throughout the wedding ceremony.

I found this lovely violet silk flower among many effortlessly enchanting floral accessories in an Etsy shop called East End Home Arts.  I browsed the heck out of Etsy on a quest for silk flowers, and the selection in Suzy’s shop is unique, feminine, and affordable.  Her customer service is fantastic, too.  I my first order with her (for one of these peach cosmos) on the night before she gave birth to her first baby, and the new mom still managed to deliver within a week.  She told me that custom orders are her favorites to work on, so if you’re in the “flowers in your hair” mood, get in touch with her.  And if you’re not in the “flowers in your hair” mood, please take a good hard look at yourself and get back to me when you’ve sorted yourself out.

I’m ready to get dressed for this wedding now.  Where is my pink plastic dress-up suitcase?

How to Clean Your Stainless Steel Flask

September 16th, 2009

. . . That You Really Love Because You Got it in New Zealand

1. Text your friend, Lil’ Jay, with whom you have been discussing flasks: My flask smells revolting. How do you clean a flask?

2. Wait for her reply: [My fiance] says, “What do you mean ‘how do you clean a flask?’ You Google ‘how to clean a flask!”

3. Wait for the addendum: He Googled it for you.  Salt water or a little bleach in water.

4. Leave putrid flask out on the kitchen counter for one week, or until your roommate asks if there is any particular reason that your putrid flask is out on the kitchen counter.

5. Poke around in the cabinets, trying to remember what Lil’ Jay’s fiance’s Google search results suggested, until you find some white vinegar and baking soda and think, “Oh, yeah, that might have been it.”

7. Dribble some vinegar and a little bit of warm water into the flask.

8. Use the heart-shaped teaspoon your grandmother gave you for Valentine’s Day to scoop 1 tsp. baking soda into the flask.

9. Screw the cap closed and shake vigorously.

10. Listen to the fizzing.

11. Shake vigorouslier.

12. Listen to more fizzing.

13. Empty the flask. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

14. Check old text messages and see that Lil’ Jay’s fiance actually suggested salt water and bleach, not vinegar or baking soda.

15. Google it yourself and find these great instructions for cleaning a stainless steel travel coffee mug (almost the same thing, yes?) with baking soda, boiling water, and white or cider vinegar on Good Housekeeping‘s website.

I bet Lil’ Jay’s fiance hasn’t even heard of Heloise and her hints, hmpfh!


16. Take a picture to show how well your sparkling and squeaky clean flask fits in the pocket of your pajama pants!

17. Feel silly.

18. Post it on the internet anyway.

“We stop existing and start living.”

June 26th, 2009

So, Michael Jackson died.

Say what?

I know, right?

That was my reaction, too, when I got home from work last night and flipped on NY1 to see crowds of people gathering not in Azadi Square in Tehran, but outside Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. I descended on to the futon and sat there staring at the TV and wearing my doubleyoo-tee-eff face—the one I use to bait instant assistance in hardware stores and auto service stations.  One eyebrow up, one eyebrow down, nose wrinkled a little bit, mouth quirked up on one side and mouth dropped open (the degree of openness depends on the extent of my confusion).

Like Michael himself, my grieving process was unconventional.  In lieu of anger, bargaining, and depression, my emotions hopped from yeah right to uhhh, for serious? to this is super freaking weird and then I had to call my dad and ask him why so many bad things are happening in the world.

My Cool Aunt gave me Dangerous on cassette tape for Christmas when I was eight years old and I lllllloved it. I just listened to iTunes’ 30 second preview of each song and I recognize only five: Heal The World, Black or White, Who Is It, Give In To Me (sort of?), and Will You Be There. Those are tracks 7-11, and from that I deduce that Black or White and Will You Be There were my favorite songs, and I learned to like the ones in between them (and the one right before Black or White because I had to hear some of it every time I rewound my tape to play through again—and again and again, for weeks straight).

It was the first mainstream album that ever captured me (previous fixations included the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid and the greatest hits of Sharon, Lois, and Bram). It’s hard to understand retrospectively exactly what it was, but there was something about the music—and to a lesser extent, the lyrics—that I really felt. It sounded beautiful and interesting and emphatic in a way that I hadn’t yet realized music could sound. Read the rest of this entry »

What my mama gave me (besides the straight eyelashes)

May 30th, 2009

Earlier this month, my mom and I went to a bridal shower together. We were one of several pairs of Mother & Daughter, but it was the first time I’ve ever attended an event with my mother and not felt like she was only present because I was or the other way around. She wasn’t there to be my chaperone. I wasn’t there because she didn’t have time to drop me off at home first. We received two separate invitations at our two separate homes and brought two separate gifts accompanied by two separate poems (the poems were Mom’s idea).

I’ve heard my mother called by her own name by other adults my whole life, but it totally threw me off to hear us introduced as “Emily” and “Elizabeth” and not “Emily and Elizabeth” or “Elizabeth and Emily.” The other guests kept talking to us like we were two separate entities, two separate people. Was it not clear that we were together? Maybe I should have pointed out that we arrived in the same car.

It was a bridal shower game that outed us as “Emily and Elizabeth,” unmistakably Mother and Daughter. Each guest dumped out her purse and tallied up its contents according to a list that gave a score for each item. Stamps, pens, mints, pain killers, lipstick, sunglasses, the keys to someone else’s house, and the like were all worth 5-25 points to the person hauling them around.

After taking inventory, we started scoring with a show of hands: “Who has 10 points? Who has 20? 30?” Hands started to drop as the total climbed past 70 points. Only four or five women had 100 points-worth of stuff in their bags. The last three standing were the bride’s grandmother, my mom, and me.

“Who has 130?” Grandmother-of-the-Bride lowered her fingers. A knowing groan rolled through the room as my mom and I stared each other down.

“Anybody have more than 140 points?” Mom couldn’t hack it. She dropped her arm as I raised my other one in victory, waving my winning item like a trophy.

My eyelash curler was worth 50 points and it was the only one at the party.

“You carry that with you everywhere?” Not even my own mother could believe it.

When we got in the car to go home—together!—my mom said, “I don’t know why I bothered to dump out my whole purse. I knew exactly what was in there.” I think I could have guessed the contents of my mother’s bag, myself. That’s where I get all my stamps.