Thursday, December 31, 2009

there's a change in the air...

Anyone got any amazing plans for New Year's Eve? I always go one of two ways: either I'm in a super low-key mood (i.e. be in pj's by 9 am and have a Die Hard marathon) or I'm up for some serious partying. And I never know which one I'm gonna feel like until the week of. Sometimes it's fun being a Gemini.

So this year I was all about the high-maintenance, way-too-many-people-in-my-comfort-zone kind of New Year's... so Benni and I are joining two of my closest friends for, are you ready for this much awesome?

A Flogging Molly concert. Tonight. To ring in the new year.

I KNOW, right?

We'll be partying at The Wiltern as they "Flog in the New Year" and we've got pit tickets so I'm bringing my A-game and my combat boots. And leaving my really expensive camera at home.

And did I mention the opening act for Flogging Molly is a Johnny Cash cover band? Excuse me while I die and go to music heaven.

So I hope that each and every one of you has a safe and wonderful New Year's celebration and I'll meet y'all back here when it's 2010.

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas by the pictures

As promised... all the pictures fit to print :)

This is what we stared at for an hour and a half as we taxied at the airport. ::Sigh::

Alice's Tea Cup - where even the Mad Hatter can hang up his hat.

Picture of the four of us - me, Benni, Mike, and Kat (Benni's awesome sister)

FAO Schwarz in NYC - build your very own legless Muppet!

The entirely way too horrifying tutu aisle at FAO Schwarz. Was not ready for this.

Lifesize Batman made out of Legos = nerdgasm.

The famous FAO Schwarz keyboard you can play with your feet.

Star light, star bright...

Horse drawn carriage, anyone?

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree...

Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in all its glory...

Empire State Building under the lights of Macy's

South Jersey: two things you couldn't get away from - cats and snow.


So them's my pictures. Hope you all had wonderful holidays and have some exciting plans for New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas by the numbers

Today you'll get the math; tomorrow you'll get the pictures, I promise :)

Number of inches it had snowed when our plane arrived in Newark, NJ: 18 inches

Number of hours it took us to get off the plane after we landed in Newark because the doors were frozen shut on the airport terminal: 1 1/2 hours

Number of trains we had to take to get to a station where Benni's sister could pick us up because the roads weren't paved through to the airport: 2 trains

Number of hours total that it took us, after landing in Newark, to get to Benni's sister's house which was a thirty minute drive: 5 hours. Our plane landed at 9:50 pm. We arrived at her place at approximately 3 am.

Number of pictures I took when we went into New York City later that week: approximately 4 million (or so it felt like) pictures

Cups of tea consumed at Alice's Tea Cup, an Alice in Wonderland themed tea house that we went to for dinner in NYC: 4 1/2 cups (I had the decaf Irish blend...SO yummy)

Cups of hot chocolate consumed on the trip, in total: (including Starbucks and WaWa): 4 cups

Number of pictures I took of just the TREE in Rockefeller Center: 15 pictures

Number of trains we took to meet Benni's parents in Philadelphia: 4 trains (yes, we are aware that we re-enacted Planes, Trains, and Automobiles this Christmas)

Number of times Benni tried to convince me that Cheez Whiz is the ONLY acceptable cheese to get on my Philly Cheese Steak at Pat's: 8 times

Number of times I actually ordered Cheez Whiz on my cheese steak at Pat's: 0 times.

Number of times the guy behind the counter made fun of me for NOT ordering Cheez Whiz on my sandwich: 1 (PS Benni got Cheez Whiz on his...and yes, it was better. Don't ask me HOW or WHY, it just WAS.)

Amount of time it took to drive from Philadelphia to South Jersey, where Benni's parents live: 1 hour

Number of times I almost slipped and landed on my ass because of all the snow and ice at Benni's parents' place: 23 times

Number of cats currently living at Benni's parents' house: 7 (8 if you count the stray that they feed but it refuses to come inside their home)

Number of cat scratches I have from staying at Benni's parents' house with 7 cats: 1 scratch, just above my right eyebrow as a kitten aimed for my hair wispies and instead sliced open my forehead.

Number of times Benni told me that he was getting me a Snuggie for Christmas after I made fun of it on The Big Bang Theory: 5 times

Number of Snuggie's I now currently own thanks to a smart-ass boyfriend: 1

Number of days I plan on listening to nothing but Benni's Remastered Beatles albums, all of which he got for Christmas: approximately 82 days

Number of Dunkin Donuts munchkins I can fit into my mouth at one time: approximately 3 1/2

Number of hours we spent in security at the airport heading back to LA because of course we had to travel two days after some idiot terrorist sews explosives into his underwear and takes a flight to Detroit (seriously: who does that??): 1 hour

Number of hours our flight was delayed heading back to LA: 2 hours

One beautiful, adventurous Christmas: priceless.

I hope all of you had some lovely holidays - I'm gonna spend this week catching up on your blogs and I can't wait to hear all your stories :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

I believe...

...that Tay over at Totally Tay asked me to guest post over at her blog about what I believe...and that it's been an insane last couple days (I haven't gone to bed before 3 am since landing at the snow-covered Newark airport Saturday night) so I didn't get a chance to post about it until right about now.

Got lots to cover, lots to talk about, lots of pictures to share, and lots of blogs I can't wait to catch up on. But that'll have to wait until it's not 1 am EST and I have to catch a train in seven hours to head down to South Jersey. Also, did everyone else know the East Coast is really cold during the wintertime? And that when it snows, it SNOWS? And that trying to make a snowman while wearing fingerless gloves isn't actually the best idea? And that Avatar is actually what would happen if they combined FernGully with Dances with Wolves and threw in a little Braveheart?

Anyways...go check out Tay's wonderful blog, feel free to leave some love on my guest post as well as everyone else's, say hi to Tay for me, and have yourself a merry little four days before Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

lights and buzz

So what is everyone doing for the holidays? You guys going out of town anywhere, or staying in? (My friend Joe used the phrase stay-cation and I had to restrain myself from smacking him. I have a firm belief that words like stay-cation and convo and 'rents [short for the word parents] firmly belong to the 14 and younger crowd.)

I am so incredibly excited - I am heading out to the East Coast and I get to finally see New York at Christmastime! It's been on my to-do list forever, so Benni and I are flying into New Jersey, spending a couple days commuting into New York to see how much the city lights up during the holidays, and then spending Christmas with his family in South New Jersey. Squeee!

Posting next week will be light (however, I am guest-posting over at Tay's early next week...hey, all the cool kids are doing it) but I'll make sure to take tons of photographs of the city (my New York girl Kris says that's allowed as long as I'm not obnoxious about it) and I'll post them when I get back.

Benni was asking me the other day what I was the most excited about for our trip - was it seeing New York during Christmas, the possibility of snow on Christmas day, scarfing down Dunkin' Donuts, all of the above?

And I had to really think about it, because I grew up on the East Coast but never saw New York at Christmastime so there's a bit of nostalgia blended with a really big fat sense of adventure, but I also think that what can really define the holidays is the people you spend them with.

I've met most of Benni's family before, albeit under less-than ideal circumstances, when, waaaaay back in July for Benni's birthday, I was making my first trip out to meet everyone...and Benni's father fell 20 feet through a roof two days before I showed up, ending up in the hospital for 12 days. (You can read my posts about it here and here; Benni's take on it is also a very worthy read.) So by the time I arrived, everyone was in full Chaos Mode and somewhat less concerned with bonding with me over our mutual love of Battlestar Galactica.

On day five of me being in New Jersey, the last full day I was there, I was finally allowed to meet Benni's father, after having spent the last four days reading Margaret Atwood in the hospital lobby, alone for hours while various family members attended to him. Benni's father was heavily medicated, weak, exhausted, bruised and battered when I walked into the room, so I wasn't quite sure what I should do or say.

And then of course there's my smart-ass factor. Keep in mind that when someone is raised in a household of violence, as I was, I find the sick and twisted incredibly hilarious. Hi, coping mechanism, party of one. So yes, I have a very strong sardonic edge to me, which trumps my edit button quite frequently.

And that smart-ass factor, the one that I rely on so often to just get me through life without crying, made me say, instead of something NORMAL and polite, like, "Hi, lovely to meet you, I'm so sorry for your accident," something so completely inappropriate that I still can't believe it.

I waved hi and said, quite literally, the first thing that popped into my head:

"So I hear you do your own stunts."

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

But Benni's dad just grinned while the nurse glared at me. Benni just shook his head, like, Yep, that's my little social retard, isn't she adorable, and to this day Benni's dad remembers meeting me in the hospital when he doesn't remember much else, so I like to think I make an impression. Or that maybe the drugs had been wearing off.

When it finally hit me what I was the most excited about for our trip, I called Benni.

"I got it," I said. "I know what I'm the most excited about."

"Yeah?" Benni said. "Is it the big tree in Rockefeller Center?"

"Nope." I said. "I'm excited that I get to meet your father when his brain isn't on drugs."

Happy Holidays, everyone! :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You made my best friend cry!

...and I cried a little too.

You guys really are way too good to me. Thank you so much, everyone, for your kind words and support regarding yesterday's post, and for those of you who donated, Alyssa is making you a mix CD and I'm making you something special as well, so please email me your mailing addresses to cliftontracy(at) gmail(dot)com. (Apparently when you use the actual words "at" and "dot" it throws spammers. Who knew?)

I'll keep this post short (for once) and catch up with you guys tomorrow or Thursday. In the's Alyssa's blog post with her take on it. She's a much better writer than I am and she quotes Shakespeare a lot more. :)

Hugs to each of you and thank you, every single one of you, again, for all the ways in which you make me really damn happy to have started this blog in the first place. I'm telling Santa to put you all on the Nice list (unless you WANT to be on the naughty list...sometimes you get better presents that way).


Monday, December 14, 2009

dear best friend,

Alyssa and I met my sophomore year of college during summer theater. Back in those days nobody in the theater department at my college would cast for me for anything and I frequently got pulled into the offices of well-meaning professors telling me to choose another profession. I came across as shy and uncertain, they were looking for "star quality" and were fairly confident I'd never make it as an actor. But that's a blog for some other time.

Alyssa's father was my professor and and the only one who ever believed in me, for which I'm still utterly grateful, and his daughter was dutifully volunteering for ushering or concessions or whatever odd job he'd talked her into. I saw her out the window, this girl, and I sort of fell in love right there on the spot. I don't know any other way to say it, but sometimes when you meet someone you know almost immediately that you want that person in your life for the rest of it and you want to get started as soon as possible, and I saw Alyssa outside that window and I knew her. I can't explain, but when we finally said hi to each other it wasn't a "nice to meet you" greeting, it was a "I know you! I've known you before and I'll know you again and thank god we found each other this time around because we've got twenty-plus years to catch up on!" kind of greeting. Luckily, Alyssa felt the exact same way.

So we became best friends, right there on the spot. And we have remained so ever since; we have never stopped laughing and talking and emailing and phoning and texting and being bluntly honest and having life-changing conversations at 2 am and crying in each other's arms when life sucks and having each others' backs when the shit hits the fan. There aren't too many days that go by where I am not completely and wholly thankful to the universe for bringing us together for yet another life to share.

And right now, my best friend is hurting, and there is not much I can do about it. First and foremost, Alyssa works for one of the most renowned Shakespeare companies in the United States for the pure love of it - finances are tight and she is paid a very small stipend on a weekly basis while working up to 18 hour days through the week and weekend to help get shows off the ground. A lot of the time, Alyssa is going out into schools in Massachusetts and directing kids in Shakespeare productions. It's a huge emotional reward with not a lot of monetary payoff, as theaters are hurting right now financially.

Here's the other thing: Alyssa is in love. With a wonderful, adorable elf-like girl named Liz who might even be able to quote Buffy better than I do, and unfortunately Liz lives in Canada. And all Alyssa wants, as Alyssa's family is spending the holiday in London without her, is to be able to spend Christmas in Canada with the girl she loves.

So she asked her friends who were going to get her Christmas gifts to instead contribute to a "Christmas in Canada" fund so she can afford to buy a plane ticket, and I convinced her to set up a paypal account. And I've been trying desperately to get my friends and family and everyone I've ever met to contribute as well, even if it's just $5, because it might not seem like $5 goes a long way, but when ten people decide to contribute $5, trust me. It goes a long way.

And on top of everything else, I just found out that Alyssa had to put the family dog, Lady, to sleep last week (you can read Alyssa's incredibly heartfelt posts about it here and here). Lady, the family dog of fifteen years, was recently diagnosed with lymph node cancer, and her body had been showing signs of slowing down and functioning less and less.

So here's my letter to my best friend.

dear best friend,

I love you. I hate feeling powerless when I see you hurting, when I see you missing the ones you love and grieving, knowing that there is not much that I can say or do to fix any of it. I'm not always really good at not wanting to fix it and I feel bad that I don't live closer so that I can't come and pick you up and take you out for a bacon cheeseburger and a strong hot chocolate. I wish I could promise that you'll get to see your girl on Christmas Day, or that I know that things are going to be alright, or that I know that one day you'll see Lady again, but we both know I can't promise those things.

What I can tell you, and promise you, is that you are loved, so incredibly fiercely, by your best friend up in LA, and I'm never going to stop trying to show you how much I adore you or trying to help you have the best life possible, because yes, it is what you deserve. You deserve so much happiness after everything you do and give to others. And I am so proud to be your friend, to know you and have your back and know that you adore me and have my back. It means the world to me.


your best friend Tracy.

UPDATE: See Alyssa's comment below (she's Radical Bradical). Whether you donated money or simply offered your amazing kindness and support of this post, I thank each and every one of you - you helped send my best friend to Canada with your love. It's all about you, guys :) And I am humbled and grateful beyond words to know each of you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

spreading the love, aka Did You Just Call My Hot Chocolate a Bastard?

Do you guys know how much I love you?

I really, really do.

You all say the kindest, coolest things on my blog, so much so that while I was hanging out with my friend Kristy last night on our Hot Chocolate Crawl (more on that later) she said, "Your followers always say the nicest things on your blog. Sometimes it makes me want to leave a comment that just says 'You Lying Bitch.'"

Which I believe she has before, isn't that charming? So if you see a totally sarcastic comment here or there on my blog, believe it or not, it's usually one of my real life friends. Feel free to return the favor and visit their blogs and call them lying bitches as well. (Just a friendly suggestion!)

Anyways, I'm in the mood to spread the love because over the last couple weeks I've been getting a lot of love. I'll start with one of my favorite bloggers, Nichole, over at littlebrownpen. She takes incredible photographs of her adorable family, she finds the cutest stuff on Etsy (my addiction) and is one of the most genuinely kind and funny people I've had the pleasure of following. And a few weeks ago she blogged about being in Vermont and picking up gifts for family and friends and like a total jerk I left a comment that was all, "That's awesome, wish I could be on your gift list!" or something to that effect.

Next thing I know I've got an email from her that's asking for my mailing address and a short explanation that says she's engaging in some random acts of kindness.

And last week, a small package from Little Brown Pen arrived. When I opened it up, I saw this:

And what Nichole did was take photos while she was in Paris of individual numbers and letters, then print out photos of each and make an adjustable calendar out of it. Like this:

And I'd seen this on her website (you can check out the direct Etsy link here) and I'd been yearning and pining to find a way to make room in my budget for this...

And instead she sent it to me for free. For being a smartass.

Nichole, je t'aime.

So if you like what you see and want to own one of your most very own, last I saw, she had three left on her Etsy site....

And next up is my darling Clarity, who is my British counterpart. We have way too many things in common and I think if we ever actually sat down to tea together we probably wouldn't leave until they elected a new Queen. Also, Clarity can make the bed and blog at the same time, a feat which I liken alongside dodging bullets and having x-ray vision.

So Clarity gave me the Kreative Blogger award,

(it looks like this)

...and I'm supposed to pass it along, for whatever that means to y'all. And I'd like to pass it along to my aforementioned You Lying Bitch friend Kristy, because she is another one of those incredible writers who needs to blog more ("I only write when I'm inspired," she said. "Then be inspired MORE," I said) and takes words and turns them into poetry in a way that I fear I will never be able to - her words fly off the page and burn little paper hearts into your skin and the back of your neck. It's incredible, her writing, so please, go check her out, and maybe if she has more followers she'll feel pressured to write more.

I am also giving this award to my blogger friend (whom I will get to meet in person in January) Dionne, who not only writes incredible posts but also does all her own illustrations to match each of her posts, and she takes amazing photos, AND she makes the most amazing food ever. So she already has globs of followers, for good reason, but if you haven't checked out her blog, please do so, because she's a wonderful human being, amazing and kind, and when I asked her for her recipes she friended me on Facebook so I could find them.

You don't get any cuter than that.

As for our Hot Chocolate Crawl: when you don't drink alcohol you have to come up with creative ways to hang out with people (no, designated driving does NOT count) so I came up with a Hot Chocolate Crawl for Kristy, myself, and Benni, because Kristy had not met Benni yet and since I'd known her since college her approval was crucial.

So we hopped from one place to the next practically making ourselves sick on all the chocolate and getting into loud political and social discussions until almost 1 in the morning, because that's the kind of friends I keep around. Rest assured that the other patrons of this place know how I feel now about Michael Vick and health care and whether it's possible to have true democracy if you have more than nine people in a room. And it was around 9 pm at our first stop here that Benni had a White Hot Chocolate and called Kristy's Vanilla Hot Chocolate a bastardization between regular Hot Chocolate and White Hot Chocolate and Kristy said, "Did you just call my hot chocolate a bastard?"

And then I turned to her and said, "I am SO naming my next blog that." And then she called me a lying bitch.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I had a slightly rough weekend of not feeling so well, which made me miss not one but two parties that I'd been looking forward to for quite a while, so I'm a little bummed. And I've really got no real reason to be bummed, as I've got good and great things happening in my life that I will be sure to post on this blog later, but I won't today- today is a day for a little perspective. Let me tell you a true story from a couple years ago, okay?


It's my first year of being out of college, living on my own in LA for Christmas, and it's hard. I have three jobs that I work at seven days a week, one of which is holiday retail, and I'm barely making my bills and surviving off of ramen and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and lots of macaroni and cheese for dinner. One of the jobs I'm working is at an accounting firm as a file clerk/girl Friday, and I've been sent off, along with my best friend Stacey and her then-fiancee-now-husband Ben, to find authentic Mexican decorations for our company's Christmas party. And even though at the time I've been in LA for less than a year, I already know where to go: Olvera Street.

So off we go, the three of us, and Stacey wants us to take the Metro instead of driving. Okay, fine, whatever, we take the underground train, we get there, have dinner, shop for some party favors and leave fairly late at night. The train ride home is quiet, each of us resting and exhausted from the day, and the train stops, people board, and there's one girl in particular that grabs my attention: she is fairly intimidating in size, she is aggressive as hell, and she is obviously hopped up on something. Her friends provide her with an audience as she loudly berates and makes fun of every single passenger that makes eye contact with her. Nothing is off limits - their race, their clothes, they way they stand or sit - she aims to humiliate everyone who dares to cross her path. I ignore her and close my eyes, daydreaming of a sun-washed beach on a warm spring day.

An older man boards the train at the next stop and finds nowhere to sit, so he plants himself almost directly in front of me as he hangs on to the handle bars. In this tired, worn out man, the girl finds an easy target - his clothes are torn and faded, his hands grimy from a hard day of labor, his eyes cast down at the floor.

One stop goes by, and another, and then another as she continues to focus her taunts on this particular man. It's making the rest of us slightly uncomfortable now, as the man just stares up at her (she is almost twice his size) with confused and tired eyes. He shifts where he is standing, looks around the rest of the train at all the rest of the tired people who have spent the day holiday shopping in the cold and just want to get home. And as I have a perfect view of his backside, I am the only one who sees him pull out a knife from his back pocket.

It's one of those moments that you tell yourself, if that ever happened to me, if someone ever pulled out a knife and I happened to see it, I'd be totally cool, I'd be able to pretend like I never even saw it. Yeah, I could totally do that.

That's what I used to tell myself. Now I know better, because he turned ever so slightly towards me, to see if I'd seen it, and here I am, this barely out of college IDIOT, staring at the knife. I can't look away. I look at him. He looks at me. He looks at the knife. I look at the knife. We finally look back at each other.

His voice is quiet and tired and if I could put a voice to all of the exhaustion that I feel sometimes, it would sound like his.

"I work hard." he says, flicking the knife nervously. "I work hard and long hours and all I want to do is get home to my family and this is what I get?" He nods towards the girl, who has moved on to another unlucky subject and has yet to notice the knife. In fact, no one has noticed it except me, and I feel like I'm in a completely different universe from the rest of the oblivious passengers.

Think think think think think. Say something. Think. God, help me do this better. Think and THEN say something. Don't do it the other way around like you do all the freakin' time-

"I know," is what I end up saying. "I know you're tired. But you don't want to do this. It's not worth it. Your family needs you to come home tonight." I have no idea where I got those words, but I managed to choke them out.

He looks at me, and I look at him, and it has not even occurred to me for a second to be afraid of him. There simply isn't enough time. Years pass before he answers.

"Okay," he says, and that's it. He puts away the knife, the girl and her groupies get off at the next stop, and he gets off on the one after that. About three stops after that, I remember to start breathing again.

When someone asks me what I love most about the holiday season I have to admit that I don't say it's giving and getting the perfect present, which is what I used to say. The reason I love the holiday season so much is that for approximately one month, we remember that each and everyone of us is innocent. And as we see that innocence in each other, it is reflected back as our own innocence. We are all good people at heart, I really do believe that, just trying to get from one place to another, just trying to get home to our families at night, and even if we forget it the other 11 months out of the year, at this time of celebration we always remember how similar we all are, and how easy it is to love one another.

Friday, December 4, 2009

guest blogging bookends

Let's all flash back to Monday, shall we? When I wrote about how my blogger-friend Jonas had emailed me and asked me to guest post something on his blog, no one had ever asked me that before, wasn't that wonderful?

And a ton of you (very awesome people) left super kind comments and encouragement. And then I get to my friend Krista's comment:

"tracy...did you get my email?"

So what happened is that I was asked on the exact same day to do two separate guest blogs, by two different people, on two separate email accounts, both of which I rarely ever check because, let's face it, I'm slightly technophobic. In fact, I've been known to yell, to no one in particular when my email server is down, "Why can't we just go back to using carrier pigeons?!" And then my friends point out that if we did that not only would it take 4 to 6 weeks to deliver a single letter but there'd probably be avian flu all over it as well.

Anyways, my friend Krista had emailed a group of her blogger friends asking them to write about what inspired them, and of course, my first thought was to simply write back an email to Krista that said, "You."

Krista is one of those people who can take a noun, a verb, and an adjective (and sometimes an adverb when she's feeling all crazy) and out of those simple bricks build a literary cathedral. I read her blog and and I relearn how to use the English language because she crafts sentences that are pure poetry. I leave her comment after comment telling her exactly this, too, and she very graciously never calls me a stalker and I have yet to see a restraining order appear on my doorstep.

I'll leave it up to Krista to explain how and where we met (she introduces me on my guest blog) and I can tell you, without a doubt, that Krista is that friend we've all been waiting for; she's The One who probably answers the phone at 2 am and never judges you for acting stupid and probably doesn't have to be that person that just talks to fill in the silences. And even though, after finding each other again after spending a few years apart, we still have yet to be able to hang out and see each other due to our busy lives, I refuse to let Krista go a second time as my friend. I'm just sort of greedy that way.

So please, if you have the time to go check out my guest blog over at My Life as I See It, (it's titled Radical Moments of Love) I'd love that, and feel free to then poke around and read some of Krista's beautiful prose and note that yes, she is the mother of the cutest little girl on the entire planet.

Krista, I adore you. Thanks for asking me to guest post. It means the world to me, it really does.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday songs that don't suck.

Once upon a time, when I was younger and therefore slightly smaller I worked at a calendar store for the holiday season. It was one of those Show Up in the Middle of the Night stores that open up shop right after Halloween and disappear again around mid-January, and if I was a nerd I'd tell you that those stores totally remind me of Something Wicked This Way Comes.

But, uh...I'm not a nerd. No really, I'm not. That literary reference didn't even occur to me, I don't know why I typed that.

So we were allowed to play approximately one Christmas CD while we worked there, continuously looping on our five hour shifts, and I am not kidding when I tell you that this one CD was Christmas with the Chipmunks. To this day, if I hear that line "Me I want/A huuuula-hooop" I turn all Manchurian Candidate, black out for a few hours, and wake up with blood on my hands.

So in the spirit of giving you guys some winter and holiday music that doesn't want to make you kill people and that you might not have heard before, here's thirty-seven songs, some completely original and new, some awesome covers of those classics that you might not necessarily hate. Yes, my music taste is varied enough that not everybody is going to like everything on this list, but pick and choose and stop being a Grinch.

And please, please, please - if you have a favorite holiday song and I didn't put it on here, or if you know of other places to get kick ass holiday music, leave me a comment and let me know. :) Me? I'm a sucker for the entire soundtrack to A Muppet Christmas Carol. There, you caught me.

1) Carol of the Bells by Celtic Woman

2) Blue Christmas by Bright Eyes

3) 2000 Miles by Coldplay

4) Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Jack Johnson

5) Old Borego by Switchfoot

6) Give the Jew Girl Toys - by Sarah Silverman

7) A New York Christmas by Patrick Green

8) Love Like Winter - AFI

9) O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Enya

10) Star of Bethlehem by Angels & Airwaves

11) O Holy Night by Eric Cartman (Southpark version)

12) Stop the Cavalry by Cory Band

13) Lights and Buzz by Jack's Mannequin

14) Winter's Carol by Tori Amos

15) A Jagged Gorgeous Winter by The Main Drag

16) 12/23/95 by Jimmy Eat World

17) Twelve Days of Christmas by John Denver and the Muppets

18) Happy Xmas (War is Over) by Sensefield

19) Horchata by Vampire Weekend

20) Christmas Song by Dave Matthews Band

21) A Great Big Sled by The Killers

22) Soul Cake by Sting

23) Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson

24) Star of Wonder by Tori Amos

25) Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Coldplay

26) God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Barenaked Ladies, ft. Sarah McLachlan

27) This Time of Year by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

28) Snow by Loreena McKennitt

29) Winter Wonderland by Phantom Planet

30) White Christmas by Aimee Mann

31) Morning has Broken by Neil Diamond

32) Carol of the Bells by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

33) Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

34) Blue Christmas by Elvis

35) Baby, it's Cold Outside by Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel

36) It Feels Like Christmas by The Muppets ( A Muppet Christmas Carol)

37) My December by Linkin Park

You're welcome. Oh, and if you're always on the lookout for new holiday music like I am, is giving you 25 days of free holiday mp3s here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving conversation

So we're all sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and we have this tradition where after everyone has dished their food but before we're allowed to eat any of it we all go around the table and say what we're grateful for, so this way we can all listen to each other ramble and stare longingly as the food on our plates get cold. I like to think my mom came up with this idea as a way to teach us willpower, or patience, the former of which I have tons of, the latter, um, not so much. In reality, though, especially after she reads this, she'll probably come back with something like, "It teaches you GRATITUDE for your food."

Which is true, I am much more grateful for my mashed potatoes when they are room temperature.

So as usual I make some smart-ass comment at the table so everyone elects me to talk first and I say how I'm grateful for the food that we have on the table and that I'm able to be with the ones I love on Thanksgiving, and we go around the table and we finally get to my mom, who mentions a few things she appreciates about all of her children and when she gets to me she notes that she really enjoys reading my blog (Mom, I keep forgetting you read this damn thing) and really likes my writing style, even when I call her weird.

Six more pairs of eyes at the table swivel towards me as the following conversation happens at the dinner table during Thanksgiving.

Brother: You called mom weird on your blog?

Me: Wait, what? Can we start over?

Mom: You called me weird.

Me: I did not.

Mom: You did too. There's a picture of me with Bobby (the kitten we got her for Christmas last year) and underneath it says "Weird."

Me: No, no, no. You've got it all wrong. The blog TITLE is called "Weird" and I put that picture up to make me happy. It's your mother's day blog, remember?

Mom: Well, then, why do I keep seeing that picture with the word "weird" underneath it?

Me: I didn't put the word "weird" underneath! The picture isn't weird, I wouldn't do that!

Cousin: God, Tracy, why do you have to be such a dick?

Me: Okay, we're going to get to the bottom of this RIGHT NOW.

(By this time everyone else is eating).

So I head over to the computer in the living room and sign into my blog, and pull it up on the screen.

Then I call everyone over from eating their dinner, because sometimes I really am a dick.

Me: (pointing) Look. LOOK. It does NOT say "weird" underneath the picture. The "Weird" is the BLOG TITLE.

Mom: Well, then it shows up somewhere else in your blog, a lot smaller, where it calls me weird.

Me: (starting to get a bad feeling) Wait, do you mean...this?

And sure enough, when it comes to the smaller little links at the bottom of my posts that show related posts with the same labels, there it is. A picture of my mom with the kitten and it says "weird" underneath.


Me: Okay, fine, would you like me to change the title of the blog?

Mom: YES.


So I did.

I changed the blog title to this. And the punchline is? When I look at that blog in the "You Might Also Like" section, it STILL says "weird." Even though I've changed the title.

God hates me.

PS If you want to read my mom's response to the questions I asked her in the "Weird" post, they're here, and they're adorable.
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