Mixtape Monday: Amelia’s Mixtape

Mixtape Monday: Amelia’s Mixtape

*Note: This week’s post is brought to you by my 14-year-old daughter. She really wanted to get in on the mixtape action, and there was no possible way I could refuse. (It also had the added benefit of giving me a week off). So, here’s her first, hopefully not last, mixtape. I think she did pretty well! Enjoy!

Hello and welcome to the first mixtape by me, Amelia. I’d first like to apologize for the lame title but I couldn’t think of anything good as I was too busy putting good songs in my mixtape.

So this week’s theme is movies. This topic was supposed to be pretty broad but I realized I was sticking mostly to the same decade. So every song on this list is what I’d call the ‘title song’ of its movie. Last week was screen-free week in our household so we couldn’t watch any television, which was fine except for that every time I put a song on this list I was tempted to go watch the entire movie. Luckily I got through the week but maybe I should’ve saved this one for a different Monday. Anyways, I hope you like it. (By the way, I put the movies in chronological order. You’re welcome.)


Summer Nights, You’re The One That I Want – Grease (1978)
I know it’s a musical so I just picked two songs. Both songs are a bit sexist but that’s okay because they’re fun to sing (just ask my mom).

Footloose – Footloose (1984)

If You Were Here – Sixteen Candles (1984)
Unfortunately this is one of those movies with a disappointing ending. I mean seriously? I’m supposed to be happy that she ended up with the blandest love interest ever (except for Blane, of course)??? As if.

Ghostbusters – Ghostbusters (1984)
The video for this song is pretty dang odd. For one thing, is Ray Parker Jr. the ghost or is he just trying to provide some helpful advice? What are Chevy Chase, John Candy and Danny DeVito doing there? Is her house really made of neon lights or is that an effect of paranormal disturbance?

Let’s Go Crazy – Purple Rain (1984)
Once again, this movie is basically just an entire album so I picked one song. Sorry mom, not “Purple Rain.” Although not literally,”Let’s Go Crazy” is clearly the ‘title song’ in my opinion. Also it’s right there in the theatrical trailer.

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – The Breakfast Club (1985)
Sorry for the cliche.

The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough – The Goonies (1985)
This video has quite a few questions to answer. Anyways, this song is excellent (especially the drum breakdown at the end of the bridge).

Bonus: “Taffy Butt” from the Goonies-themed season 2 premiere of “Bob’s Burgers.” During the credits Jimmy Jr. ‘footlooses it’ to the parody of this song performed by none other than Cyndi Lauper.

The Power Of Love – Back to the Future (1985)

If You Leave – Pretty In Pink (1986)
Poor Duckie.

Oh Yeah – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Is it weird that we always sing along to this during the credits?

Twist And Shout – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Not forgetting “Danke Schoen,” but “Twist and Shout” gets the whole city into a synchronized dance sequence, which everyone knows is the definitive element of a great movie scene.

Magic Dance – Labyrinth (1986)
Anyone who’s not completely entertained watching a bunch of goblin puppets leap around and David Bowie throwing a baby is missing something in their life.

Then He Kissed Me – Adventures in Babysitting (1987)

(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life – Dirty Dancing (1987)
If I didn’t talk about “Dirty Dancing” at least once in a blog post, I wouldn’t be my mother’s daughter.

In Your Eyes – Say Anything (1989)
Honestly this scene is kinda lame and cheesy but whatever.

Okay that’s all. You can check out the Youtube playlist here for the movie scenes and weird Ghostbusters music video. I hope nobody was disappointed this week. If anybody has additions, disputes, or better idea for a title, please leave a comment. Thank you.

Mixtape Monday: Back In Time

Mixtape Monday: Back In Time

We’ve all read books we’ve haven’t liked, right? There are a lot of books out there. Not every one will be your cup of tea. But have you ever looked forward to a book – a book that sounded so perfect it was almost like it was written just for you – only to hate it so much you couldn’t bring yourself to finish it?

That’s how it was when I tried to read Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau. (Stay with me, here. I promise this post is not a book review.) The book is about a bartender named Karl who discovers a time-traveling portal that allows people to travel back in time to see their favorite bands. Along the way, he sends his best friend to the year 980 instead of 1980 and falls in love with an astrophysicist named Lena who tries to help him get his friend back.

I could not wait for this book to come out. It sounded so perfect I was mad I didn’t come up with idea myself. I was afraid to read it because I thought it would be so good it would destroy my will to ever write my own book. I had to wait months for my local library to get a copy and when I finally got my hands on it…I hated it. Like truly, madly, deeply hated it. I just couldn’t connect with the characters. They were a bunch of music snobs. To the point where Karl, who “owns” the portal, wouldn’t let people use it unless he liked the bands they wanted to see. So, unless you were a Sebadoh or Elliot Smith fan, you were out of luck.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Sebadoh and Elliot Smith. But if I was going to throw myself into a portal in the back of stranger’s closet, I would, without a moment’s hesitation, chose to travel back to 1989 to see New Kids On The Block.


And why shouldn’t I? After all, is it possible to feel more intensely about a live show than an adolescent girl seeing her favorite boy band for the first time? Watch some clips of girls crying hysterically when they finally see Joey McIntyre up on stage, and then try to tell those girls they can’t possibly be enjoying themselves as much as you would be if you were at a Yo La Tengo show. She will dig a nail file out of her fanny pack and cut you. Then go right back to singing “Please Don’t Go Girl” while you bleed to death in a sea of tight-rolled denim clad ankles.

I know because I was one of those girls. I had a fierce, one-sided love with Joey Mac. Ask my sister who had to share a room with me. I plastered nearly every inch of our shared walls with posters and Tiger Beat photos of Joey without her permission. Then, when she wasn’t in the room, I would stare into Joey’s clear blue eyes and try to think of ways to make him fall in love with me.

And I almost got my chance when the New Kids planned a tour stop in Iowa back in 1989. The possibility of sharing the same breathing space with Joey was finally in my grasp, but that dream was not to become reality. No, my shot at Joey was ripped away in a cruel twist of fate when my sister – the very one who slept peacefully every night in MY shrine to Joseph Mulrey McIntyre  – got invited to go to the show with a friend.

Oh the injustice! She didn’t like New Kids on the Block! I knew it, she knew it, everyone knew it! The noble thing to do would have been to give me the ticket, but noooo. Older sisters are not known for their nobility. Maybe it was just payback for the unauthorized NKOTB decor. Some wouldn’t blame her. But I did, and still do.

So, yes, I would go back to 1989 and see the New Kids on the Block. Abso-friggin-lutely! And then I would hunt my sister down at the show and dump an extra-large Mountain Dew on her huge permed head.

But, not everyone is out for revenge. And not everyone wants a mixtape of just live NKOTB songs. So I reached out to my readers to see how they would answer the question. Here’s what they had to say

“I would go back in time to see NKOTB live. I didn’t have the money for a ticket back in middle school, but I would have loved it!!”
– Jenny (yes, Jenny is a real person and not someone I paid to say that. She was my best friend growing up, and if I remember correctly, her favorite New Kid was Danny)

“2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show or Cash at Folsom”

“November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. The Band’s farewell performance which was filmed for “The Last Waltz”.”

“1959 …the Winter Dance Party concert at the Surf Ballroom. The final concert for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper.”
-Deb (who is perhaps the very same sister who thwarted my chances with Joey)

“I think I’m going to have to go with Elvis. He was my first true musical love. But young Elvis, not old Vegas Elvis. But then again if I could relive the Social Distortion concert where I was up front all night and got to meet Mike Ness after, I might do that too.”
-Heather L.

“R.E.M. in 1984. Seeing Sleater-Kinney with you a couple of years ago was pretty great, too.”
-Shawn (my husband, an no, I didn’t pay him to say that, either)

“Well I’m gonna say something that no one would ever suspect. Frank Sinatra’s last concert and retirement show.”

“I would have loved to see a Van Halen concert! The original band would have been fun to see because of David Lee Roth’s shenanigans. However, I would have also loved to see VH with Sammy Hager because he was a much better singer. Eddie and the boys were also playing playing much tighter with Sammy. Also would have loved to see R.E.M. before they disbanded.”
– Tony

Thanks everyone who contributed this week! Here are your requests along with a few of my favorite live performances mixed in! I made a playlist on YouTube this week to make it a little easier for everyone to listen! Hope you enjoy it!

You Got It (The Right Stuff) – New Kids on the Block, live in Providence
Dance the Night Away – Van Halen, live 1979
South Central Rain – R.E.M., live 1984
The Lady is a Tramp – Frank Sinatra, live “The Retirement Concert”
Blue Suede Shoes – Elvis Presley, live 1956
Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash, live at Folsom
This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) – Talking Heads, live “Stop Making Sense” tour film
The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down – The Band, live “The Last Waltz”
I Want You To Want Me  – Cheap Trick, live 1979
What Goes Around Comes Around – Justin Timberlake, live “20/20 Experience” tour film
That’ll Be the Day – Buddy Holly and The Crickets, live 1957
Buddy Holly – Weezer, live 1996
Skinny Love – Bon Iver, live 2009
California Stars – Wilco, live Farm Aid 1998
Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin, live 1968
Crazy – Patsy Cline, live at the Grand Ole Oprey
Do You Realize – The Flaming Lips, live at the Jodrell Bank Observatory
Where Did You Sleep Last Night – Nirvana, “MTV Unplugged”
Purple Rain – Prince, live 1985

Let’s Go Back In Time on Monday

Let’s Go Back In Time on Monday

I’m gearing up for another Mixtape Monday. This time I want to know…

beatles fan

If there was a portal that would take you back in time to see any concert you wanted, who would you see? It can be a show you want to relive or one you always wished you could see.

You can play along on the Mixtapes and Cupcakes Facebook page or drop me a line in the comments below.

As always, thanks for playing along! Can’t wait to see what you have to say!

Mixtape Monday: Up Yours, Monday

Mixtape Monday: Up Yours, Monday

Rockstar (1)
Not having an office job really changes your perspective on Mondays.

For instance, I no longer wake up with a pit in my stomach dreading the day ahead of me. I don’t worry about wolfing down a bowl of granola (or, let’s be honest here, waiting until I drop my daughter off at school and then buying and Egg McMuffin) or packing a lunch that will end up sitting in the fridge at work because I decided I wanted broccoli cheese soup from the sandwich place

I don’t worry about my hair or makeup any more. I do end up looking like the witch from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, but its a trade-off I’m willing to live with.


It’s pretty great. I won’t lie. You should all consider early retirement

There are still things I need to do, though. Things like putting together a blog post and corresponding playlist because I thought “Mixtape Mondays” sounded cute and didn’t think about the fact I was actually committing to writing a blog post EVERY SINGLE MONDAY.

Then there are the domestic chores – mopping floors, making bread, washing the laundry and hanging it out to dry. It’s a regular goddamn Little House on the Prairie around here.

And just like my office days, I rely on music to get me through. Because mopping the floors to “Welcome to the Jungle” is a lot more fun than mopping the floors in silence, and we can all use a little more Dolly Parton in our lives.

So, roll up your sleeves, pop in your ear buds, and let’s get to work!

  1. 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

  2. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N Roses

  3. Stronger – Kanye West and Daft Punk

  4. Mutha’uckers – Flight of the Conchords

  5. You Make My Dreams – Daryl Hall and John Oates

  6. Power of Love – Huey Lewis and the News

  7. Manic Monday – The Bangles

  8. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

  9. Story of My Life – Social Distortion

  10. Dig Me Out – Sleater-Kinney

  11. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

  12. You’re the Best – Joe “Bean” Esposito

  13. Groove is the Heart – Deee-Lite

  14. Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake

  15. Mo Money Mo Problems – Notorious B.I.G.

  16. Let’s Go Crazy – Prince

Listen here on SpotifyAnd don’t forget to check the Mixtapes & Cupcakes Facebook Page on Wednesdays for the next week’s topic!

*Special thanks to readers (and long-time friends) Heather and Sarah for playing along this week!

Mixtape Monday: Prom Night

Mixtape Monday: Prom Night

After going back over some old posts, I realized I wasn’t really living up to the “mixtape” part of “Mixtapes and Cupcakes.” I haven’t really met the “cupcake” requirement, either now that I think of it. In fact, I really only have one cupcake recipe I use on a regular basis. Maybe I should have put more thought into the name of my blog.

Anywho … in an effort to start living up to my name, I’m introducing a regular feature called “Mixtape Mondays” because Mondays stink and music makes it better. Also, it’s the only day of the week that fits well with the word “mixtape.”

Every week I will pick a new topic and ask my faithful readers to help me out. This is primarily to keep me from only picking songs from the 90s where it appears my mixtape making abilities got left behind…along with actual mixtapes.

If you want to play along you can follow me on Facebook.

This week’s topic is prom. I don’t really have a good reason for picking it. I just heard an ad on the radio for a “Prom Rewind Party” at our local casino and thought, “Hey, people really like prom.”

I’m not sure why this is. My own proms weren’t that magical. We didn’t have to fight city hall to hold the dance. I didn’t make my own dress. I wasn’t the victim of a cruel bet to make me into prom queen.

My proms were pretty average. We had both the dinner and dance in our high school gymnasium and after it was over we all went to the commons for “After Prom” where we got pizza and karaoke. I think that’s how it was for a lot of people.

So, why do we love prom so much? I guess it’s the Pretty In Pink effect. We all want to live in a John Hughes movie. Or maybe that’s just me.

I thought I should get to the bottom of it and see if anyone else out there had a prom song or memory that wasn’t directly tied to the movie version of prom. I asked the question “What songs make you think of prom?”

Here’s some of the answers:

Our song was “I will remember you” by Sarah McLachlan. I hated it so much. We were way too young to be that nostalgic. At the time, I worked at Sam Goody with the guy who DJ’d our prom, so I’m pretty sure I got some Afghan Whigs played, though I don’t remember what song. I thought I was so cool with my indie rock and my connex with the DJ.
– Nicole

When I think proms for some reason I always think of the movie and soundtrack of Pretty in Pink…I think I watched it way too many times when I was younger. Prom Story – Junior Prom I got the flu at the prom and had to leave shortly after the dance started. Made it home and was able to change out my dress before I started throwing up.
– Sarah

The Romantics “What I Like About You” and Van Halen’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”. For some reason I remember my junior prom in 1982 better than my senior prom. And no, alcohol was not the reason! Just better songs!
– Tony

Stevie B “Because I love you.” Incidentally, it is also the one-song soundtrack to my lonely solo shuffling at Skatetown. Those were some brutal, friend-zone, times.
– Jenn

Kenny G “Forever in Love” was our theme for senior prom at RS. My first official date with Jeff (now husband).
­- Jenny

The theme for my junior prom in 1984 was “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” The version that was played at prom was by Taco, a 1980s one hit wonder. I just learned by visiting Wikipedia that it was actually a cover of a song written in the 1920s by none other than Irving Berlin. The more you know!
– Mary

Pour Some Sugar on Me, Hurts So Good. I don’t really remember slow songs due to the fact that I was dateless, lol.

Of course “Shout” (little bit softer now), with the whole Blues Brothers dance. And any song from Romy and Michelle. (Which works well for prom and reunion mixed tapes). No stories, but I did hit a cat on the way to my junior prom. I still feel bad about that one.

“This Is The Time” by Billy Joel. Other prom themes during my high school years when I didn’t actually go to the prom include “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton and “With or Without You” by U2 (that last one is a still a headscratcher).

Thanks to everyone who submitted songs and stories! And now … let’s dance!

Rockstar (1)

Footloose – Kenny Loggins
I Melt With You – Modern English
If You Leave – Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark
The Rockafeller Skank – Fatboy Slim
Teenage Dirtbag – Wheetus
I Will Remember You – Sarah McLachlan
What I Like About You – The Romantics
With or Without You – U2
Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
Because I Love You – Stevie B.
Puttin’ On The Ritz– Taco
Cruel To Be Kind – Letters to Cleo
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
I Remember You – Skid Row
Forever In Love – Kenny G
Shout! – This Isley Brothers

Here’s the link to my Spotify playlist if you’d like to listen along.

(I’m crossing my fingers that the link works. I’ve been messing with it all morning. If it doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll try to get it fixed for next week.)

Mixtape Mondays Coming Soon (Like Monday)

Mixtape Mondays Coming Soon (Like Monday)

Starting Monday, I’m going to start a regular feature called Mixtape Mondays and I need your help! My first topic is prom….so readers….

What songs make you think of prom? It can just be a song from a movie, but it’s even better if it’s your own! Please include any stories (school appropriate of course). Your answers will help me compile my first “mixtape.”

Head over to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mixtapesandcupcakes/ to submit your answers. And while you’re there, please click “Like” and “Follow.” I’m going to use this site to get more feedback and conversations going, although you can still use the comment section below if you like.

Can’t wait to read your stories and suggestions! Let’s have some fun!


My So-Called Mid-Life Crisis

My So-Called Mid-Life Crisis

A while back I wrote about trying to figure out whether or not I was having a mid-life crisis. I was going through the usual growing pains of turning 40 – saggy cheeks (of both varieties), confusion over the terms “woke” and “bae,” finding myself leaving the radio on the classic and soft rock stations more and more. But I didn’t feel I was quite there yet. How could I be sure?

Well, one way is to quit your job of 13 years with no backup plan other than a blog that hasn’t been used in almost a year and lofty goals of baking bread every day to save on groceries.

Will this plan work for you? Not sure. But I can tell you that for me, it worked like a charm. I am now sure I’m deep in the middle of mid-life crisis. Like saggy-cheeks-deep.

My daughter said this graphic is evidence that I am having a mid-life crisis.
How does one get to this point in their lives? Well, again, I’m not sure about you, but I for me, it started with “Days of Our Lives.”

Way back in 1994, I picked journalism as a career because I wanted to be like Jennifer Horton on “Days of Our Lives.” Not because I had a passion for journalism or ambitions of winning a Pulitzer Prize. No, I wanted my life to be like a soap opera. Seriously. That’s it.

jack and jen
Ahhh…life at The Spectator
And it sort of worked. For nearly 20 years, I fooled people into believing I was a journalist. I even fooled myself for a bit. And while my life in the newspaper business certainly was no soap opera, it was a job I was fairly good at. I even won a few awards.

As time wore on, though, it began to feel less and less like a world I belonged in and more like an less sexy version of Ernesto’s Cruise of Deception. I was apathetic and bored. I would spend an afternoon stewing over the fact that someone decided to bake a goddamn potato in the microwave for lunch, tying up the microwave for a whole six minutes! The highlight of my day was usually the Egg McMuffin I talked myself into buying. And that was before I even got to work.

Quitting was always in the back of my mind, but didn’t have the courage (or money) to actually do it. I convinced myself I needed the job. I’m not sure what changed exactly. Maybe it was the goddamn potato in the microwave. But it became clear that my job wasn’t working any more. My husband and I agreed we needed to find a way for me to make a change. We started budgeting a little better, started to pay down some lingering bills, and tried to change our relationship with money. I started to ask myself “Is having money for this dumb Egg McMuffin worth being unhappy?” Sometimes the answer was yes, because, honestly, Egg McMuffins are delicious. But more and more, the answer became no.

Then, four weeks ago, after yet another Monday when I came home practically in tears because I was so unhappy, my husband and I decided it was time to just do it. It didn’t matter that I had no job lined up or no real plan in place. It was worth it to both of us to take the risk.

The most surprising part of all of this was that telling my boss I was quitting wasn’t nearly as gratifying as I thought it would be. I spent years dreaming about marching into my office, quitting in a “Voshell out!” mic drop sort of way, and then marching right back out while Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” played me out.

It didn’t really happen that way. In fact, I felt like I was going to throw up. It was my career for almost two decades, after all. And the question “What do I do now?” still lingered.

I’m two weeks into my “early retirement” and I’m still not sure I have that all figured out. But I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be … for now. And I’m hoping returning to my first real love – the dashing and witty Jack Deveraux –  um, I mean, writing will help me find my way.

jack and jen wedding
Here’s to hoping I’m as happy as Jack and Jennifer!



Encyclopedia of Random Thoughts, Volume II

Encyclopedia of Random Thoughts, Volume II

Batman Begins: Over the weekend, there was quite a bit of smoke in the air due to wildfires in Minnesota and Canada. My 13-year-old thought that was a boring explanation and offered an alternative theory: What if a madman had released a hallucinogenic substance into the water supply so when the water vaporized the substance would cover the city in a fog that would drive people crazy. Unbeknownst to me, she was just describing the plot of Batman Begins.

Beastie Boys: I like listening to the album Check Your Head while I’m taking my walks. It makes me feel like I’m in a movie; a really boring movie about a woman walking.

Boo Radley: We have a four-year-old neighbor named Evie who has struck up a friendship with our nine-year-old daughter. Now, every so often when we get home, we find little gifts by our back door; a picture Evie colored in preschool, a ball, a plastic St. Patrick’s Day bowler hat. She’s like our own little Boo Radley.

Crayons: My daughter brought home this activity sheet the other day. Is it just me or do these crayons look an awful lot like condoms?


Library Books: I currently have eight books checked out from the library. I don’t want to read any of them. I just keep checking out new ones hoping one will stick.

Mr. Cola: I recently saw a car with the license plate “MR COLA.” I wondered who this Mr. Cola was. Was he the heir to a cola empire? Or was he just a man who really liked cola, and if so, would he drink other types of soda or only cola? Would he turn down a lemon-lime? The I wondered if maybe there was a “MR PIBB” out there. Or a “DR PEPPER.” And why are there no feminine sodas? Why couldn’t it be “Ms. Fresca?” Then I had to wonder if it was sexist of me to think Dr. Pepper was a man. Then I realized I should focus less on sodas and license plates and more on driving. See also,  Sexy Bitch Edition.

Nine: My youngest daughter is nine. The great thing about have a nine-year-old is she will happily make my bed if I pay her a quarter.

Sexy Bitch Edition: On my way into work a couple of weeks ago, I followed a car into the parking garage with an emblem that said “Sexy Bitch Edition.” At first, I thought this was a real thing. The car looked pretty ordinary from the outside so I wondered what made it “sexy” and “bitchy.” Maybe the it had leopard print upholstery? When I sat down at my desk I researched it and was disappointed to find out that it was just a magnet you could order online. The rest of the day, however, when I walked through the skywalk to get lunch or run an errand I would eye the other women walking and wonder “Is she the sexy bitch?” See also, Mr. Cola.

Spring Pictures: I love the spring photos at my kids’ school. We usually forget about them until the day of, so they go to school wearing whatever they want. Also, my kids know I won’t order them, so they don’t take them very seriously. This makes for more natural photos. This year is a great example. Never has a school photo summed up my 13-year-old the way this one does.


Swedish Chef: My husband and I have an agreement; I do the cooking and he does the clean-up. I clearly come out ahead in this arrangement. I like to cook and usually leave the kitchen looking like the Swedish Chef has been there. The fact that my husband knows both of these things and still does the clean-up either means he really loves me or really hates to cook.


Thought Process as I’m About to Order Fast Food: Maybe I’ll just order a soda. I shouldn’t be eating this junk anyway. I am a little hungry. Maybe I could add a salad. That’s healthy. But French fries sound so good right now. What about a small fry? Yep, that’s what I’ll do. A Diet Coke and a small fry.

Pulling up to the drive-thru: ” I will have the Whopper with cheese, hold the onion. And let’s make that a large with a Diet Coke, thanks.”

Two Years: I will try almost anything for two years then give it up. This includes being a vegan, giving up caffeine, watching Glee, doing yoga, couponing, making my own laundry detergent, going to a Unitarian church, and living in Texas.

S Through Z #AtoZ Challenge

S Through Z #AtoZ Challenge

I don’t think I’m going to make it, folks. I had every intention of finishing this challenge, but, you know, life.

First, Prince died and for a few days I didn’t feel like writing about music. I just wanted to listen to my Prince records.

Then, my husband’s brother announced he was getting married this weekend and we offered to hold the wedding in our backyard. Looks like my week is now pulling weeds and scrubbing bathrooms instead of writing.

I hate leaving loose ends, though. So, I’m going to attempt to wrap up this last leg of the alphabet with one-paragraph blurbs.

Ready? Let’s begin.


“So Much To Say” The Dave Matthews Band

When I was in college, I worked in a sub shop. I’m pretty sure “Only DMB Fans Need Apply” was on the help wanted sign. I got the job.


“Together Forever” Rick Astley

I love Rick Astley. Always have. Always will. Rick-roll me all you want. He’s adorable.


“Undone – The Sweater Song”

My 13-year-old daughter has few bands she truly likes – Weezer being one of them. One thing she does not like? Going to see Weezer for the first time at an outdoor festival for her 13th birthday, anticipating it all summer long, only to have frat boys bump into her and spill beer all over her throughout  the entire show ruining the entire experience. Not cool, guys. Not cool.


“Vogue” Madonna

In the beginning, my mom was cool with Madonna. She didn’t have a problem her – not with “Like A Virgin” or even during the whole “Like A Prayer” scandal. No. She drew the line at this performance of “Vogue.”  I think my mom’s face went purple the minute that guy puts his head under Madonna’s skirt. After the performance was over she banned Madonna from our house. For life. It’s still in effect. If I was at my parent’s house today, I wouldn’t be allowed to watch this.


“We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off” Jermaine Stewart

I don’t know what my deal is with this song. I just really like it. I’m such a nerd for this song, I know that David Fincher – the guy who directed Seven, Fight Club, The Social Network and Gone Girl – directed this music video. It’s true. Look it up.


“Xanadu” Olivia Newton-John and ELO

Olivia Newton-John was my girl crush. After seeing Grease, I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. But then put Olivia Newton-John on roller skates and you have the makings of a major obsession. Sure, the movie Xanadu is majorly weird. But…Olivia Newton-John…and roller skates.


“You Oughta Know” Alanis Morissette

Even though this is a break-up song, it only ever makes me think of my two best friends – Amy and Chassidy. If a friendship can have a theme song, then this was ours. Back when we were 19, we would sit on the floor in Amy’s apartment and listen to Jagged Little Pill over and over while we painted our fingernails blue and drank a god-awful mix of vodka and Kool-Aid. Who needs stupid boys when you’re 19 and have two amazing best friends and Alanis Morissette?


“Zoot Suit Riot” Cherry Poppin’ Daddies

When I first started hanging out with my husband, I thought he liked to dance. This might be because we went to Jokers together almost every weekend. (For those of you not familiar with the University of Northern Iowa’s active night club scene – Jokers was one of the three dance clubs in the “Barmuda Triangle”). My husband – who was just my friend then – would get out on the floor and shake his booty like the rest of us. And he seemed to be having a good time, too. We even came up with a swing routine to this song. (And, no, it looked nothing like those Gap ads.) Then we started dating and trips to Joker’s got less and less frequent. Turns out Jokers was the old bait-and-switch. He only went there because he had a crush on me. So, we don’t go out dancing as much as we used to. But if we do, and this song ever comes on, you can be sure we’re out on the floor doing our clumsy swing routine. And having a great time.


All right, folks, I’m out. You other bloggers have fun with the rest of the challenge. I’m back to scrubbing bathrooms. See you all in a week or two!

“Purple Rain” As I Should Have Written It

“Purple Rain” As I Should Have Written It

I wrote a post about Prince and the other day. It wasn’t the post I should have written. I’m not sure why. My best explanation is that this A to Z Challenge has had me in my head quite a bit, and I think I needed a little distance from  all the memories swirling around in my brain .

Prince and Purple Rain have special meaning to me and my husband, but it wasn’t something I  put a lot of thought into. It’s just something that was. I was too tired a couple of days ago to find the words to describe it, so I just didn’t try. But I’m going to now.

“Before there was an us, there was you, me and Prince.”

That’s what my husband said to me tonight when I came home from work, put my head on his shoulder and said, “I feel so silly. I didn’t even know the man. Why am I so sad?”

Prince is part of our story. He has been since day one.

Shawn and I worked together in a sub shop in the town where we went to college. All I really knew about Shawn was that he was the guy who liked Nirvana and Pavement. I was the girl who like Mariah Carey and Alanis Morissette. Those seemed like two very different worlds to us.

Then, one night, I brought in my Prince CDs, and we just sat and talked about dancing to his songs in junior high: how they made us think of different crushes we had and who we were with when we first heard the Purple Rain soundtrack. A couple of nights later, we watched the movie together. It became the basis of our friendship. It was our thing before there was even an us.

I don’t know how many times we’ve watched the movie together since then.  Or how many times we quoted lyrics or lines to each other. Or slow danced to “Purple Rain” in our living room. Rarely a week goes by that I don’t listen to his music.

So tonight we sat and ate dinner and talked about Prince long after the kids got bored and left the table, Prince’s music in the background.

Now we’re going to open a bottle of wine and watch Purple Rain. And I will cry when it’s over. Because Prince is part of our story, and to have a piece of that gone is heartbreaking.