The SF Bay Area has been battered with rain the last few weeks, and while it’s needed to overcome years of drought, it’s also really cramping my style. Much like in Florida, residents here seem to know nothing of umbrella etiquette, driving precautions or general how to handle this moisture falling from the sky.
I thought back to a post from what feels like a lifetime ago, in October 2011. It’s my Playlist for a Rainy Day, and tbh, it hasn’t changed all that much. I still crave brooding tones, somber lyrics and disconnecting from the outside world.
How do you handle endless rainy days? (I’m looking at you, Seattle readers!)
My favorite four-letter word as of late is probably not the one you’re thinking. “Woof” is the only accurate expression I can think of after a very full week thus far, with no end in sight. First-world problems at their finest, I don’t get a “night off” until Tuesday. The 19th. WOOF indeed.
And in much bigger issues, we have the fallout of sexual harassment nightmares (not for all of the accused, naturally), racist remarks from Trump (cough cough), the threat of nuclear war… shall I go on? 2017, in another word, is a clusterfuck.
Sometimes the only thing to keep me sane is music. It might sound silly or counter-intuitive to facing reality, but a relaxation playlist is about all I can handle in the wake of living nightmares and a 24-hour bad news cycle.
When I get home tonight (after my dinner plans, of course), I’ll be lighting a candle and tuning into this 4-hour instrumental savior. Bonus: I only have to listen to it six times in a row to get through a whole day! Enjoy.
We’ve already made it through a month of 2017, people! Can you believe it?!
I sure can’t, because these past four weeks have been so mentally and emotionally exhausting, I thought we were at least through May. My calendar still says “February 1,” so I’ll have to take its word.
- Santa Barbara: What’s the best way to escape all of your worries and problems? Get away. For reals. I’m thankful to have a dear friend who straight up asked my boss if I could skip town for a few days, and couldn’t be happier with the result of some time outside of reality. The pier, the people, the villa, the food (not in that order) were all incredible. I have a feeling I’ll be back again soon.
- Salt Cave: The highlight of our trip — for me — was spending time at Salt. We did a 45-minute “guided meditation” (a misnomer, as it was a barely audible recording that left us with 30 minutes of silence) in a full-on salt cave. We’re talking Himalayan salt on the walls, floor, ceiling! It was breathtaking and incredibly restorative to relax in a chilly room with purifying and calming properties. They also offer massages and yoga… yet another reason I see myself back in SB!
- Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons: A former co-worker recommended this book to me months ago and I finally dove in recently. It’s a fascinating look at the tech world I thought I knew, as Lyons is a lifelong journalist who’s laid off and begins working at a Boston start-up. If you can get through all of the intentionally annoying “awesome!” usage, I think you’ll enjoy. If nothing else, the perspective of a 50-something in a sea of 20-somethings is quite entertaining.
- ‘90s Playlist: Anyone who’s been in a car for more than an hour knows the importance of a good playlist. My friend and I are luckily like-minded musical geniuses, so we blasted all of the ‘90s nostalgia we could handle. From obvious faves like Backstreet Boys and Notorious B.I.G. to sometimes forgotten legends like Steps and M2M, these tunes actually made the six-hour drive fun.
I would love to have a good reason for not writing anything besides WOs lately, but the truth is: I’ve just been a social butterfly! Between crazy work hours and crazy happy hours … I’m just too popular. The struggle is real.
- Teacher Appreciation Week: As I mentioned last year, my family is full of educators. I wouldn’t be half of who I am without so many influential teachers, and I appreciate their never-ending reminders that summer is just a few weeks away. Right.
- Nurse Appreciation Week: My other female family members are nurses (or teach nursing), so this one goes out to those gals! They’ve got just as many ridiculous work stories to share but manage to save lives every day. Color me impressed.
- Margarita Appreciation Week: I may or may not have made this one up. But with Cinco de Drinko (and a rough Seis de Mayo), I think it’s only fair we celebrate the salted siren.
- “Mood Booster” on Spotify: My fabulous friend, J. Pep, introduced me to this wonderful playlist that got me through a particularly challenging workday. The mix of oldies and goodies is sure to bring a smile to your lovely face.
Cheers, peeps! And spread the love around 🙂
Well, friends … this past week sure has been a doozy. From the relentless snow and rain in NYC to the mountain of work that never seems to get any smaller, guess who’s exhausted?
For example, I had EIGHT meetings today. In fear of losing what little sanity I have left, I present an appropriately themed WO: When you have a bad day. Enjoy — and hope to see ya on the other side.
- “The Best Day” – Atmosphere: The upbeat tune of this NSFW-ish jam helps kick off our playlist. Every day can’t be the best day, so just try to make the best of the crap you’re dealt.
- “Bad Day” – Daniel Powter: Well, obviously. It was too easy to not include it! Plus, you know you love this sickly whiny ballad … no judgment if you can’t get through the whole song.
- “If You’re Going Through Hell” – Rodney Atkins: Some folks pooh-pooh at country music, but I find it’s some of the most honest and heartfelt music out there. And who doesn’t love a little twang?
- “Crash and Burn” – Savage Garden: Any respectable fangirl had this duo headline her tween soundtrack. I would buy literally anything these two are selling. Just look at those eyes!
I opened iTunes recently and started thinking about the way songs come in and out of our lives. Some stay with us for a few fleeting moments; we enjoy the rhythm or melody and then let them fall by the wayside.
Others stay with us forever. They punctuate the past, then hearing a few notes brings us right back to that place and time.
In the spirit of this melodic monologue, I put my music on shuffle and resurfaced the memories of each song.
The Beastie Boys – “No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” Riding to school in Brother’s P.O.S. car, where the passenger seat doesn’t lock in place. Pulling to a stop, I slide forward. He makes me wait in the car until he’s far enough away for me to exit the car without us being associated with one another.
Chumbawumba – “Tubthumping.” I’m in elementary school and my mom just started allowing us to listen to Top 100 radio. This isn’t anything like The Eagles or The Beach Boys. It will be years before I understand what “pissing the night away” means.
Hall & Oates – “Private Eyes.” What can I say about Sir Hall and Sir Oates, besides the fact that I love them? I clap along every time I hear it, and although I don’t recall the first memories, I will always think of the “Psych” promo with this song as the backdrop.
Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing.” (I shit you not.) My favorite song of all time. I’m singing in the back of my mom’s van, dancing at a fraternity party, on stage at formal — always screaming the words, adding my own hand motions and dancing like nobody’s watching.
Cobra Starship – “Good Girls Go Bad.” Drinking heavily and scanning the bar for the next guy to buy a round. Shouting over the music to my girlfriends about where the night will take us and not giving two shits about having to wake up in five hours.
LFO – “West Side Story.” Back to middle school, I think rhyming “can’t seem to find a damn thing wrong with her” with “Veronica” is pure lyrical heaven. I’m still smiling from their concert with Britney Spears, my first. There’s nothing like being a Lyte Funky One.
Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire.” My grandparents’ old house. It’s coming from a record player, because the song just doesn’t make sense blaring from an iPod. Beautiful words with a painfully true message. I tap my feet to it every time.
The Dan Band – “Lady.” Aside from being my introduction to The Dan Band’s cover songs, I adore this one for a very solid reason: Vince Vaughn’s drum solo. Reliving the glory days a la “Old School” wouldn’t be complete without it.
The Fray – “Over My Head.” Freshman year of college and I’m wishing I went to a school where I knew someone, anyone. The acquaintances at USF aren’t enough to make me stay, yet. I cry alone the first night in my dorm, because my roommates don’t talk and I hate Tampa.
Michael Bolton – “When a Man Loves a Woman.” For my money, it doesn’t get any better than this. OK, OK. All cheese, no meat. Love his hair and think this song is too ridiculous to not have in my repertoire.
It’s no consolation to the 1,903 songs that weren’t chosen, but these 10 represent a small piece of my musical life. They tell their own stories without my experiences tacked on and I’m sure anyone reading has their own memories tied to each song. The harmonies and hooks may all be different, but one common thread remains: Life isn’t complete without a soundtrack.