Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

Top Five Christmas Songs. Maybe.

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

I have had multiple conversations the last few days about favorite Christmas songs. I generally am not a fan of Christmas music. I think it would be okay if we stuck to a week or so of holiday music, but the fact that we start having it shoved down our throat in public at Thanksgiving just ruins it. It makes me crazy.

And no Christmas song makes me see red more than Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas is You” is a very close second. I have a moment every. single. year. when I get “The Little Drummer Boy” stuck in my head all day, and that is usually the point that I’m officially ready for January 1st. I would say January 2nd, just to miss the hangover, but then I’d miss the beans and greens and God knows I will not tempt the fates in such a manner. (And yes, I admit that the Bowie/Crosby version is good, but in general, anything with that many Pa Rum Pum Pum Pums is automatically on the naughty list.)


That being said, I do like some Christmas music. I am okay with traditional versions of many songs, and even have sweet memories of singing “Silent Night” at candlelight church service growing up, elbowing my sister and cousins to sit as far away from my dad as possible. (Let’s just say that my, ahem, melodious voice is genetic.) Truly, though, I attribute most of my fondness for Silent Night to the fact that I was so damn excited to get home and go to bed and wake up to find out what Santa brought. The dark and the singing and candles were all just part of that magical eve experience.

I concede to Scott Shankman that anything Sinatra for Christmas is okay. Anything Mannheim Steamroller is most definitely not.

I will admit that seeing Patti Smith doing “Oh Holy Night” just this morning was pretty great. (Thanks, Annie, I hadn’t seen that one.)

But which ones do I like? Well, yes, I’ve given it a good amount of thought, and I came up with a top five of sorts. Everyone I know who likes the same kind of music I like tends to pick The Pogue’s “Fairytale of New York” as a favorite. (One even used part of the lyrics in his Christmas Eve proposal to his wife – a very cool story that I had not heard before, and which I admit made me get a little weepy – way to go, Doug.)

And yes, it is in my top five. Depending on my mood, it might be number one. So, when a number of my friends posted the song on Facebook today, I commented that it was in my top five. One friend (The Negative Split) questioned what could possibly top it?

It turns out that the best Christmas songs for me are secular in nature, are not that common (in that you are not as likely to hear them continuously in Target), and they either have a sense of humor (a la The Pogues) or they are wistful, sad, or melancholy. This is not surprising, as I value those qualities in much of my music year round.

So, without further ado, Nat, here is my top five, in no particular order:

No need to explain this one. It’s fucking brilliant. Absolutely funny, witty, fucking brilliance.

Elvis Presley: “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is probably the most traditional on my list. I love Elvis, grew up listening to him with my Mom, and it keys into my homesick, yearning for childhood magic kind of feelings. As an adult, you know you can never go back again. Half the people you’d go home to are not even alive anymore, and the homeplace is gone. It makes me sad as hell, but with a silver lining; Let’s be honest. Elvis is hot. It’s hard to stay too sad when you think about smokin’ hot Elvis Presley.

The Pretenders: “2000 Miles”

I’m a Pretenders lover anyway (high five to John Sabol for helping me kill hours in homeroom talking about them in high school.) And this song has Chrissie’s beautiful voice, a gorgeous melody, and it seems to vacillate between melancholy beauty and an almost accepting happiness over the Christmas season. Completely in my wheelhouse. It is just gorgeous.


Low: “Just Like Christmas”

This song. It’s beautiful. Melodic. Not really about Christmas at all. And yet, all about the feeling of Christmas. I love it. I want to be in Oslo.


Joni Mitchell: “River”

So NOT a Christmas song. But probably my favorite. All of Blue kills me. This song kills me. And to me, it’s about Christmas, and longing, and it is probably my favorite.

Update: I am terrible at this. I totally forgot about this one:

So, top six. Maybe bump the Low song. Or maybe Elvis. GAH.

Update #2: I should not write while in the wine. I forgot to ask – What did I get wrong?

All in All Okay

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Day 2 of Todd Johnson’s two week absence:

# of hours slept last night: maybe 6?
#book reports completed: 0
# cat poops cleaned off carpet: 2
# cats still living: 2
# pissed off neighbors: 1
# of favors owed Lauren Sullivan Shankman and Scott Shankman: 4
# times i cried about 9/11: 3
# of nights i’ve gone without doing dishes: 2
# miles run: 0
# old friends I got to hug: 1
# episodes of Buffy watched: 2
# points over for day in Weight Watchers: Five million
# vodka tonics: 1 (large)
# children still living: 2

But it’s okay. We have our health. . .

Favorite Albums of 2010?

Monday, November 29th, 2010

What are yours? I am starting to think about mine, and since i don’t have as much time as I once did to sit around and read about music, I started wondering what great albums I am missing out on.. . .

What are your favorites?

Canonical List of Evil Baby Names

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

I don’t know why, but this just cracked me up: the imagery of some expectant parent/mad scientist wanting to bestow upon their baby a name that will ensure intrinsic darkness, world domination, or evil genius.

The Canonical List of Evil Baby Names

Restaurant Suggestions

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

So, Todd wants to take me out for my birthday dinner. Suggestions? What are your favorite restaurants?

Yeah, i don’t get out much, i guess. Help a loser out.

Uneek Vampire Name Game

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

BabyNameWizard picked their annual Name of the Year for 2009: Renesmee.

HATE it. (It’s a Twilight thing, in case you are completely dead.)

Renesmee is the (spoiler alert, in case you are dead) child of the two main characters in Twilight and is named after her two grandmothers, Renee and Esme. Her middle name is Carlie after her two Grandfathers, Carlisle and Charlie. Their sister site, Name Candy, discusses it here. And poses the question, how would you combine your grandparents’ names, or parents’ names, to come up with a baby name?

My grandmothers: Evelyn and Vivian. Vivelyn. Evelian. (NOT Evian!)
My grandfathers: Walter and Charles. Warles. Wharles. Charlter. Chalter. Wharlie. Warlie. Chalt.
Todd’s grandmothers: Nell and Ruth. Nuth. Rell. (Rad!)
Todd’s grandfathers: Roland and Allen. Rollen. Alland. Rolallen. Allenand.

Moms: Peggy and Virginia. Pirginia. Pegginia. Virgy. Virginy.
Our fathers: Lavaughn and Cecil. (Oh, god!) Lacil. Lavacil. (Obviously, a remedy for “down there” problems.) Cevaughn. Cecaughn.

I give up. What’d you come up with?

I really want to know! I want to know your grandparents’ names and your parents’ names and what you come up with. Except Lisa. I am doing this. You can come up with a competing list if you so choose.

Dead Men I Crush On

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Lord Byron. (I think this is pretty normal for literature lovers, male AND female,) and so I really enjoyed this short NPR piece on his letters to a friend in the clergy.

Who wouldn’t be drawn like moth to a flame to a man whom a lover referred to as “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know?” And a man who called his contemporary poet, William Wordsworth, “Turdsworth.”

Love him. I also kind of crush on Thomas Jefferson and Abe Lincoln. Yep, i said it. Abe Lincoln. Hot. Clark Gable.

Do you have any dead crushes? And James Dean is boring and so done.

What’s Up with Me

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Not sure how I always end up so overwhelmed in the Fall. For one thing, school starts at the beginning of August, which, in my head, is still summer. So it catches me off guard.

  • Rollie is in school, and he has his first cold of the school year. It is the second week of school. I also have his first cold of the school year.
  • Tiller doesn’t start for another couple weeks. (I think. Guess I should check on that.)
  • I am volunteering at Rollie’s school, writing the monthly newsletter for the entire school (with a co-chair, thank god.) I also help with Literary Guild once a week.
  • The kids are gearing up for Fall extracurriculars – Both kids did well in soccer last year, so they are both playing again this fall. That means a weekly practice for Rollie, Rollie’s game on Saturdays, and Tiller’s on Sundays. (Tiller’s consists of running around, dancing on the field, drawing in the dirt, and lots and lots of crying.)
  • I am trying to up my mileage a bit to train for the Half at Thanksgiving. So far, ankle is holding up well, and it is just me being out of shape from over a month off my feet after the ankle sprain. I am also doing weight watcher’s at the same time, which makes for a ravenous Annie. Oh, and I am still growing out the dyed hair, hoping to go gray. It is getting more and more noticeable. I know. I still need to post some pics. Will do that one of these days.
  • Tiller started ballet and tap last week. Anyone who knows Tiller can probably imagine how humorous this event is. So, we are running around looking for tap shoes and leotards and ballet slippers. I am mostly wondering how I got myself into the whole mess in the first place.
  • And Rollie is playing baseball (well, t-ball) for the first time. It scares me to death, watching him walk around with a baseball bat. So many heads to crack, so little time. Should be interesting to watch, though. He seems to like to play and is very coordinated.
  • Todd is working his rear off, which is good in this economy, but makes for a stressed-out Todd and a single Mama Anne. I honestly don’t know how you single moms do it. Hats off to you. Todd will get the weekend off and then starts yet another job next week.
  • I am still crafting a complaint to file with Dekalb County schools concerning their botched Magnet lottery system, and especially, the beeyotches that run the program.
  • The car needs to be serviced, the basement is gearing up for renovations, which we are doing ourselves. I am taking a floor-laying class this Saturday. And in the midst of it all, my parents are cleaning out Pop’s house, having a garage sale this weekend, and trying to find a house in Atlanta.
  • Busy Fall.

    Going Gray

    Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

    So, in the course of any given day, I have about five to ten main things I want to get done. I am terrible at completing tasks. TERRIBLE. I get very overwhelmed by a pile of tasks at hand, and if I don’t just concentrate on only my top priority, I will make myself crazy. Things that I stress about include:

    Making doctor’s appointments for me, the kids.
    I need to start taking a multivitamin.
    I did not write a word today.
    I have not been keeping up with my blog.
    I feel like posting about anything on my blog other than the things I am REALLY preoccupied with is “false.”
    I have not worked out today.
    I have not called the doctor about my ankle, and if my ankle is going to get better, I need to do that.
    If my ankle isn’t better, how will I run?
    I am fat.
    I need to eat better.
    I need a new composting solution.
    I need to check work email.
    I need to do work.
    Facebook is the devil.
    I need to stop drinking so much during the week.
    I need to clean litter box.
    I need to trim shrubbery.
    I need to work more in yard.
    We never finished renovations on house.
    There is cat puke on the bedspread and i haven’t cleaned it up yet.
    I need to help my mom and dad.
    I need to help my sister.
    I haven’t worked on my family history files in ages. What if I die? They will never get done.
    What if I die?
    Do i have anxiety?
    I have anxiety.
    I have never had anxiety before.
    I need to get the oil changed.
    I wish I was more like Todd when it comes to laundry.
    I hate laundry.
    I hate putting away laundry.
    I hate feeling guilty about doing laundry.
    Do you think today is the day todd will divorce me over the laundry?
    I need more large pots for my patio.
    I should go to yard sales to find them for cheap.
    Don’t forget to pick up a cushion for the lounge chair at the lake.
    On clearance.
    The kids need to turn off the tv and get more exercise.
    I haven’t finished the dates for the damn school newsletter schedule yet, or i’d take them to the pool. No, I wouldn’t because I need to start dinner.
    I am going to let down 500 elementary school kids who won’t have a newsletter.
    I am going to let down my family
    I am going to let down myself.

    You get the idea. So, any time that I can take one thing off my plate, i am for it.

    Which is why I have decided that I am going to stop dyeing my hair.

    I have been going gray since college. I guess it is God’s way of punishing me for all the dyeing and crazy hair colors of my youth that now i am doomed to the albatross of dyeing my hair twice a month. As it is, I dye it at home. When I say, “I,” I mean Todd. Yes, Todd dons the plastic gloves, which are way too small for his manly hands, and he dyes my hair like a pro. Sort of. Having the salon dye my hair is not an option: It is too expensive and time-consuming to have it done, and at the rate that my hair grows out, and with the amount of gray that I have, it needs to be done about every two weeks.

    Whatever. I am over it. I am chucking the outdated, Loving Care Loreal ideal of beauty in a box. I am embracing my gray. Now, you probably have some questions about this process. Hopefully, the following will help answer those:

      Yes, Todd has been notified. And by “notified,” I mean that I stared at him without a trace of a smile, and told him what I was going to do and he was too scared to laugh, show disbelief, or protest in any manner.
      Yes, when it all grows out, my head will probably look like I am wearing a hat made solely of gray pubic hair.
      Yes, I will probably be wearing a lot of hats and scarves this fall.
      Yes, I will probably break down and dye it again by this time next year. It’s nice to keep options open.
      Yes, I’m going to document this in photos and post them on my blog; Just think of the self-embarrassment potential! It’s, like, photojournalism. I’m pretty sure that Oprah will pick it up, or I will get book offers in the coming months.

    Okay! Who’s with me? Hello? Hellooo! Whatever. Screw you fancy dye-job, black-rooted, broke-ass, slave-to-fashion bitches!

    I already feel better about having one less damn thing to worry about. FTW!

    On Mom: By Rollie and Tiller

    Sunday, April 19th, 2009

    I think that this was supposed to make my kids look awesomely creative and fun. It made them look boring.

    Ask your child(ren) these questions and enter their answers…Quite amusing!

    Tiller (3)

    1. What is something Mom always says to you?
    I don’t know.

    2. What makes Mom happy?
    Being nice.

    3. What makes Mom sad?

    I don’t remember.

    4. How does your Mom make you laugh?
    Tickling me.

    5. What was your Mom like as a child?
    I don’t know.

    6. How old is your Mom?

    I don’t know some of the answers.

    7. How tall is your Mom?
    I don’t know.

    8. What is her favorite thing to do?
    I don’t know.

    9. What does your Mom do when you’re not around?
    WAtch tv.

    10. If your Mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
    I don’t know.

    11. What is your Mom really good at?
    She’s good at games.

    12. What is your Mom not very good at?
    I don’t know.

    13. What does your Mom do for a job?

    14.What is your Mom’s favorite food?
    I don’t know.

    15.What makes you proud of your Mom?
    I don’t know.

    16. If your Mom were a TV character, who would she be?

    I don’t think i know.

    17. What do you and your Mom do together?
    Go somewhere together.

    18. How are you and your Mom the same?
    I don’t know. Do you know.

    19. How are you and your Mom different?
    Because sometimes you don’t wear the same shirts.

    20. How do you know your Mom loves you?

    21. What does your Mom like most about you?
    I don’t know.

    22. Where is your Mom’s favorite place to go?

    Ask your child(ren) these questions and enter their answers…Quite amusing!

    Rollie (5)

    1. What is something mom always says to you?
    I love you.

    2. What makes mom happy?
    Being nice.

    3. What makes Mom sad?
    Being Bad

    4. How does your Mom make you laugh?
    Being funny.

    5. What was your Mom like as a child?
    A kid.

    6. How old is your Mom?

    7. How tall is your Mom?
    36 inches

    8. What is her favorite thing to do?
    WAtching birds.

    9. What does your Mom do when you’re not around?
    sleep with daddy in his bed.

    10. If your Mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
    I don’t know what that means.

    11. What is your Mom really good at?
    Playing Tetris.

    12. What is your Mom not very good at?
    Playing scrabble.

    13. What does your Mom do for a job?
    Work on the roof.

    14.What is your Mom’s favorite food?

    15.What makes you proud of your Mom?
    I love you.

    16. If your Mom were a TV character, who would she be?
    I don;t know.

    17. What do you and your Mom do together?
    Pick up me from school.

    18. How are you and your Mom the same?
    Because we look the same.

    19. How are you and your Mom different?
    Because we look different.

    20. How do you know your Mom loves you?
    Because I’m your son.

    21. What does your Mom like most about you?
    Cause I’m nice.

    22. Where is your Mom’s favorite place to go?