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In addition to the songs mentioned in part 1, there a few that have made the favorites list in the last couple of years.  And here they are, in no particular order:

Jungleland – Bruce Springsteen.  Well, might as well start it off with the Boss.  Born To Run will always and forever be my favorite Bruce album (Thunder Road, Born To Run, Jungleland… perfection).  I used to listen to it on my way to the airport when I was taking the red-eye on Monday mornings to get to DC.  Perfect album for cold, dark morning drives when you’re still half asleep and depressed about starting another long work week.  Jungleland would come on right as I was closing in on the airport and it would get me pumped up.  It’s an incredible song… it’s got beauty, guts, and glory all wrapped in one.  And when I’m listening to it on the treadmill, no matter how tired or unmotivated I am to be running, I hit the 4:30 mark of this song and I’m magically transported to a runner’s high.  In that minute I feel like I could run forever.

Graceland – Paul Simon.  No, I did not pick this song for the mere title, although I know when I’m sad or heartbroken, a trip to Graceland would make me feel better, too.  “Losing love is like a window in your heart, everybody sees you’re blown apart, everybody sees the wind blow.”  Such truthful, yet beautiful lyrics.  Another good one for running.

Caravan – Van Morrison.  This song always hits the spot.  I love to sing the ” La La La-La La La La’s”  and the “Turn it up’s”.  And when he sings, “I long just to hooooooold you tight”, I’m not sure I’ve heard emotions as raw through a song before.

Try Me – James Brown.  This is Exhibit A of my love affair with old school soul music.  Simple, honest and romantic.  And definitely a different side of James.  I feel transported back in time when listening to this song.  And since I feel like I was born a few decades too late for my music taste, maybe this makes me feel a little more at home.

Our House – Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  When I was in elementary school, we had to pick a song in music class and write about it.  I don’t recall why I didn’t choose an Elvis one, but I chose this song instead.  Hearing it takes me back to Bryker Woods, my favorite house, and simpler times.  It just makes me feel good.

Scenes From An Italian Restaurant – Billy Joel.  Tough to choose just one Billy song, but this one is so complex and all over the map, that it sounds like a new song every time.  A new song that I already know all the words to and could rock your socks off at karaoke with.  When on a long drive, I normally belt this one out once or twice.  I love the story telling of Brenda and Eddie.  And how it sounds like 3 songs in one.  “Things are ok with me these days…”.

Call Me – Blondie.  When I hear this song I just want to pretend to be Deborah Harry and parade around onstage in high heels and a miniskirt.  Yes, I know that sounds very unlike myself.  I guess this song just brings out my inner scandalous rocker.  “Roll me in designer sheets, I’ll never get enough”.  It’s about being pampered, perhaps taken advantage of, but not caring because you’re that much of a Bad A.

#41 – Dave Matthews Band.  Aside from Elvis and Bruce, I owe a huge chunk of my music appreciating ability to DMB and this song.  I listened to this album A TON in high school.  And this is my favorite song of theirs.  I can just listen and listen and get so lost tapping my fingers and toes to the beats and sounds. I can’t think of a greater feeling of release.

I’ll Be Seeing You – Billie Holiday.  Listen to this song and you feel like you are sitting out on a porch swing, on a beautiful night a very long time ago.  Her voice is gorgeous and so is this song.  It’s so peaceful to me that I could fall asleep on said porch listening to it.

Walk Of Life – Dire Straits.  I’m a product of the 80’s and I’m damn proud of it.  From the sounds of the first notes on the keyboard, I’m put in a good mood.  This song makes the enjoy the walk that is life.

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Elvis Presley.  Granted, this is a Simon & Garfunkel song, however I don’t think anyone ever will be able to match Elvis’ voice and passion when singing this tune.  On a day when you feel like you don’t have a friend in the world, you can turn this on and you’re comforted.  Elvis is your friend.

Central Park West – John Coltrane.  This song ended up on a mixed jazz CD Amanda made for me in college.  From the first time I heard it I was in love with it.  It relaxes me like no other song.  A glass of Rosemont Shiraz, a warm bath and this song.  All my cares and worries go bye-bye.

Fool Hearted Memory – George Strait.  If I’m gonna do any country, it’s gonna be George.  Or Willie.  Or Johnny.  And if it’s gonna be George, it’s gonna be old school, first greatest hits album George.  Not sure why, but I’ve always loved this song.  “Nickels and dimes, memories and wine”.  It doesn’t get any more country than that.

Taking The Long Way – Dixie Chicks.  This song is about breaking off from the rest of the pack, finding your own way through life and being damn proud of it.  The rhythm is especially perfect for an open road.

Tears Dry On Their Own – Amy Winehouse.  I love this crackhead.  And her music.  The sound of this song has a tiny twinge of girl Motown in it, and that’s probably why I love it.  When I hear the “He walks away, the sun goes down” part I feel like I’m standing on a busy street corner on a sunny Fall day in the 60’s.  Can’t explain it, but I absolutely love the feeling.

The Rising – Bruce Springsteen.  Surprise, Bruce again.  My Mom and I saw Bruce for the first time on The Rising tour.  This was the opening song, and I will never forget the feeling I felt seeing him appear on stage, standing in the dark, both hands raised into the air, eyes closed, singing:

“Can’t see nothing in front of me,
Can’t see nothing coming up behind,
Make my way through this darkness,
I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me,
Lost track of how far I’ve gone,
How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed,
On my back’s a 60 pound stone,
On my shoulder a half mile of line,
Come on up for the rising”

It brought me to tears.  In a matter of 20 seconds, I was crying at the beginning of a rock concert.  Leave it to Bruce to write the most incredible album of hope, faith and love after the tragedy of 9/11.  In the midst of the darkness after that day, he was able to provide encouragement to rise up and keep going.  This song is about having gone so far, yet still having so far to go, being tired, but finding the inner strength to see things through.  Bruce is all about bringing out your inner strength, and that’s why I love him.

In My Room – Beach Boys.  When I listen to this song, it reminds me of being a kid.  Your room was your safe haven, you could always go there to escape the world and that’s what this song is all about.  I just envision laying down on my “bonk beds”, looking up at the glow-in-the-dark galaxy on my ceiling, looking at life through my 10-year-old eyes.

There you have it.  Bon appetit.

Yes, I know I am like 2 weeks overdue for an update on my birthday celebration(s).  Please excuse me… I’ve been actually having to work at work.  I agree, it stinks.

For the record, I just want to say how incredibly blessed I am.  My family and friends pulled out all the stops to make my birthday fantastic.  Even if it was just a run-of-the-mill 28th birthday (gasp!).  The fact that they let the celebrating drag on for 3 weeks shows just how awesome they are.

Birthday celebration 1: Dad, ESM, Bruce and Mary surprised me with a dinner in DC at a seafood joint called Blacksalt’s while I was visiting Reston.  Um, any place that has fresh seafood on ice, where you can pick which fish you want and how it’s done… yes please!

Birthday celebration 2: Dinner at Cremona with 15 fantastic friends followed by jello shots in the parking lot followed by family karaoke.  Perfection.  Minus our buzz kill of a waiter who had to calculate the bill by hand, delaying us an hour.  Private room karaoke is really where it’s at.  Especially when you have friends that pull out all the stops with props (ah, I rhymed) and will sing with/listen to you sing for 2+ hours.  Thanks to Baby and Daddy for the Elvis wig, glasses and balloon (may ye rest in peace on the side of Royal Lane).

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Birthday celebration 3: Bible Study with my girls followed by $3 dollar glasses of wine at Cibus.  A lovely, relaxed evening.

Birthday celebration 4: Dinner at my tied-for-first-place favorite restaurant, Hudson’s on the Bend.  Goat cheese salad, venison, chocolate and caramel dipped pecan pie.  Oh Lawdy, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven.  Thank you, family, thank you.

I just hope everyone has enough gas in the tank for 2 years from now when we go to Europe to celebrate my 30th birthday.  And yes, I’m not that self centered… we can celebrate yours, too.  Or whatever birthday it will be for you that year.  Tell ‘em to come on!

hallehome

Remember back in May when I told you this story

Well, yesterday morning my co-worker’s wife called at about 10am saying she was going into labor, so he grabbed his things and rushed out the door.  I’d been begging another co-worker of mine (who is due next week) to hurry up and have her baby on my day, so I was elated that there was a chance this other baby would be born on October 7th.  I waited all day in anticipation of news and by the time 5:30 rolled around I left work without any updates.

Guess what?  They had the baby last night!  For one thing, I’m super happy this girl is going to grow up with the coolest birthday, but for another… the stars in my universe aligned again! 

I can’t tell you how neat it is to me that this baby was due on Peg’s birthday and ended up being born on my birthday.  Call me crazy, but I think it was her way of wishing me a happy birthday.  And all I can do is smile!

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