Hey, 2008, the door is over there—>

December 30, 2008 :: 8:18 PM


london eye ::  london :: sept. 1, 2008

A wise man once told me, “You can only move forward, never back.”

That was a little over ten years ago, but that line (or the general gist of it - memory like a sieve over here) has remained front and center since that comment was left on my blog.  That guy, some random weirdo from London, who I’d never meet (NEVER!), happened to be responsible for the second best night of our entire 2008 London vacation.  While we had managed to lose touch for a few years, we’re back to being bloggy friends… who have taken the friendship offline.  (Eating dinner, hanging out in a pub with the SCA geeks and exchanging English lessons (“Dog’s bollocks!” vs “It’s pronounced Peebiddy.”) was both fascinating and amazing. I can’t wait for the next trip out there!)

Anyhoo, I digress. 

When I look back at the past, I almost always end up digging through my blog archives because so much of my life is recorded there.  Sometimes, it’s the pictures that matter, sometimes it’s the words… but mostly, it’s the people that matter. It doesn’t matter if it’s good things or bad things that catch my attention - everything that happens, happens for a reason.  Sometimes, the reason is crystal clear and sometimes, I can spend years waiting for the reason to make itself apparent

In a nutshell, 2008 was a good year - reconnecting with old friends, bringing new ones into my world, celebrating milestones with my family - all these people ended up playing a bigger role in my life than anyone could have imagined.  I’m looking forward to beginning 2009 knowing that these people are in my life. 

I made a resolution in 2004 that, once we were in New England, I would make the effort to spend more time with my friends.  It’s taken me a while to get to that point - and it required a bulldozer *ahem* - but I’m thrilled beyond belief that I can hang out with them again.  Aside from the bulldozer, this wouldn’t have been possible without social networking apps like FB.  I’m hoping to spend more time with my friends and less with their FB profiles in 2009.

It’s been a heck of a year, 2008, but I’m excited to move on.

I’ve made mistakes.  I’ve had my ups and downs, ins and outs, my share of bad breaks, but when it’s all been said and done, I raise my


Vanilla Coke and swear, “God, it’s been fun!” (The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - ‘Dogs and Chaplains’)

Miss you…

December 25, 2008 :: 8:36 PM


with dad :: manchester, ct ::  most likely 1979

Merry Christmas, Dad.

Christmas Eve

December 25, 2008 :: 12:31 AM


us, stonehenge :: salisbury plain, uk ::  september 4, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas and Tam was home and lonely.
She really missed her man.  Oh yes, the one and only.
His mom is sick with cancer, so off he went like Dancer.
Without Rudolph whose nose does glow, my man got stranded in the snow.
From Buffalo to Ohio he tried to go,  but Mother Nature kept saying “no.”
His fender, it got bendered and useless his car was rendered.
His car was taken on a flatbed and visions of tires danced in his head.
From miles away, there’s not much I can say…
except F*CK YOU, OHIO!  Have a happy holiday!

Hey, I never said I was a poet.



Rock on!

December 23, 2008 :: 10:39 PM


hundred acre wood :: da ‘brook :: 2008

This is, without a doubt, my second most favorite place in the entire world. 

Creating this room - even with the handy idea card from Home Depot - was one of the biggest home improvement challenges I’ve ever faced.  (And I’ve built walls before - framed AND drywalled!)  There was a lot of time spent on this room - sourcing the fabrics, accessories, furniture. I did everything I possibly could to make this room a reality.  I knew that when it was done, I didn’t want to look at it and know I half-assed it.

J went to Ohio to spend Christmas with his mom.  I should have gone, but life being what it is, I opted to stay home, alone, with the dogs.  He barely made it to Ohio - he got stranded in Buffalo on Sunday night.  Then he got into a car accident on Monday just as he crossed the border.  The accident was nothing.  A little fender bender.  Everyone walked away.  Minor damage to the car - not enough for it to be totaled, but enough for a visit to a body shop.  The worst part, for him, was the waiting.  It took the cops over 3 hours to get to the accident to write up the report.  Then it took forever for the tow truck to get there.  He’s not good with waiting.

He’s also not good with the whole talking thing… when he called me again and again and again while waiting for the cops, I knew something was wrong.  By the time I got home on Monday, I was a frazzled mess.  After I had dinner, I headed up to the Hundred Acre Wood.  I even slept there last night.  I spent some time up there tonight while on the phone with a good friend. I will probably sleep in there again tonight.  (Cue the Police’s “The Bed’s Too Big WIthout You”.)

After my seven year exile in Toledo, I knew that Ohio was the most evil place on earth.  A lot of the really bad things that have occurred in my life occurred during my stint as an Ohio resident.  My last trip there sucked, too.  I decided I was NEVER EVER EVER going back. I figured that since my husband was from there (A souvenir, if you will…), he’d be safe.

Nope.  Not so much.

You can be in an excellent relationship, but you never know just how strong it is until something completely f’ed up makes you take a good, hard look at it.  Our first test was when my father died.  I don’t think I would have made it without him.  No, I know I wouldn’t have made it without him.  He’s definitely a huge part of what keeps me sane.  This week, he got to test me.  I think the sweetest words ever uttered by him in our ten years together are “You’re my rock.”  Not “I love you.”  Not “I do.”

I wish he had a place in Ohio like the Hundred Acre Wood where he could hunker down for the rest of his stay and feel safe and snuggly and warm.

As it is, Hundred Acre Wood or not, I won’t be happy until I’m in my most favorite place in the world - his arms.

Top 8 for 2008

December 19, 2008 :: 6:55 PM

the best part of the ucmb bassline: viz, derek & i :: university of ct (frat rock, i think) :: winter 1997

I've noticed in the past few months that I've gotten completely OCD when it comes to the music in my car. If there's a CD in the changer or an iPod plugged in, the odds are good it's set to repeat either an entire album or a song. I've gone days listening to the same song or album over and over and over and over and over...

Without getting tired of it.

So, I figured I'd list the top 8 songs / albums on constant play in my car. This way, when my sanity starts to get questioned more than it usually is, I can pinpoint this moment in time as when I realized that there might be something a little more off about me than most people think.

Here we go ---

When possible I've included the mp3s for you to download. Don't be a dick - right click!

10) Knocked Out - All Crazy
This song just makes me happy. I'd never heard of the band until V & I saw them at Tommy Doyle's in Cambridge... and then I got addicted to their sound. Rap and an electric violin! How could you not love it? -- Find them on iTunes: All Crazy - Sex, Drugs and Hip Rock

9) Busy F'ing in the Bushes - DJ Schmoli
I have a thing for mashups. I can't help it... I'm fascinated at the time and effort it takes to mix up all these songs and come out with something really good. -- DOWNLOAD IT (More by DJ Schmoli here.)

8) We Didn't Go To Harvard - The Cornell Hangovers
"No, we're not that cocky and they can't play hockey!" A little a capella tune by some Cornell kids... a take off of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire", but c'mon you have to love anything that puts the Crimson in their proper place. -- DOWNLOAD IT

7) MTA - The Kingston Trio
Maybe it seems lame - after all, Boston has adopted the song & named their subway passes "Charlie Cards" - but it was my dad, CHARLIE'S, favorite song. It's one of mine too, if only because of the fact that when I hear it I think of us in his car, heading to Maine for our vacation every year. -- Find it on iTunes: The Kingston Trio - Greatest Hits

6) Lola - The Kinks
Ah, a song about a cross dresser. Seems kinda fitting. -- Find it on iTunes: The Kinks - One for the Road

5) Rock 'n' Roll N****r - Patti Smith
So, I'm probably being totally un-PC here, but I love this song. Maybe it's the line: "Outside of society, that's where I want to be." I did spend almost a year trying so desperately to conform at that evil CPA firm. -- Find it on iTunes: Patti Smith - Land (1975-2002)

4) Accelerate (album) - R.E.M.
Although I don't like how the press kept saying this was the album that made R.E.M. relevant again, it is them at their post-Bill Berry finest. While the entire album is excellent, "Hollow Man" speaks to me like "Find the River" did over a decade ago. It does sound a little "Fables of the Reconstruction-y" towards the end, which is interesting. "Hollow Man" is definitely my favorite track on the entire album because of lines like these::"I've been lost inside my head...I took the prize last night for complicated mess..." -- DOWNLOAD "Hollow Man" (R.E.M. @ Great Woods, 6/13/08) -- Find it on iTunes: R.E.M. - Accelerate

3) Hallelujah - Kate Voegele
This chick's voice was made for Leonard Cohen's song (most famously covered by Jeff Buckley). Although I can listen to Buckley's version a thousand times and never get sick of it, this version gives me chills. -- Find it on iTunes: Kate Voegele - Don't Look Away

2) Let Love In (album) - Goo Goo Dolls
I do not know what it is about this album but I cannot get enough of it. It was literally ALL I listened to during November (in the car and at home) when I was working on my NaNo. To be honest, it hasn't been on repeat lately because I'm actually, finally, ready to take a break from it. I didn't think that would happen. -- Find it on iTunes: Goo Goo Dolls - Let Love In

1) Feed the Animals - Girl Talk
Holy crap, where do I start? Putting DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat" over Dexy's Midnight Runner's "Come On Eileen" ("Set It Off")? What about "In Step" -with its inspired layering of Salt n Pepa's "Push It", Nirvana's "Lithium" and Deee-Lite's "Groove is in the Heart"? Or "Here's the Thing" with Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" vocal over NIN's "Wish"? I swear, it is never the same album twice. -- DOWNLOAD IT (For the cheaters, Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive listing of all the samples in the order they appear.)

It wouldn't be a best of without a runner up or two...
Los Angeles - Counting Crows
"Honey, I'm just trying to make some sense out of me." This was a very difficult year for me... I struggled with the culture at the CPA firm and that struggle quickly became an intense battle for my sanity as the bipolar quickly spiraled out of control. (Even heavily medicated, I was a complete disaster.) -- Find it on iTunes: Counting Crows - Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings

Ignoreland - R.E.M.
Hearing this live - a song Michael Stipe once said he hated - blew my mind this summer. I've been a big fan of the song since day one. My most favorite line EVER (and I've used it a gazillion times) comes from this song: "I know that this is vitriol. No solution, spleen venting, but I feel better having screamed. Don't you?" (Plus, it's one of a very few songs where Stipe lets loose my favorite word.) -- DOWNLOAD "Ignoreland" (R.E.M. @ Great Woods, 6/13/08) [Find the original on iTunes: R.E.M. - Automatic for the People]

I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
I've tried very hard not to like him - it seems trendy to like him and his weird phrasing, but this song... I don't know. If I had to pin down one reason, it's the line "I reckon it's again my turn to win some or learn some." (Or that bit about ear nibbling...MMMM...) -- Find it on iTunes: Jason Mraz - We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things

And finally, last but most certainly not least, the album I will most likely ring in the new year with:
Self-titled, 2 song demo - Instrument (the Band)
You TOTALLY had to see this coming. They sound much better since they brought Jonah on board... he's an amazing bass player... but the original (remaining) three are freaking awesome as well. I don't know Aaron that well, but I've managed to bond with Jonah (who is the most unique, fascinating person I've ever met) and Ben, the lead singer (as if that wasn't totally obvious lately).

I've known Derek (the drummer) since my freshman year of college. When I lived off campus that first semester, D helped me out by letting me stay at his place. (I don't know if I can ever thank him enough for that. I should also apologize... going back through my journals, I think I treated him pretty badly around that time. I am so sorry, D! I am teh suck... ) We marched together in the drumline. Once I joined the basses, I was sandwiched between V & D. Every time we'd stop short, he'd run into me with his drum. ( I actually have a patch on the back of my head that I think is permanently bruised. It doesn't help that I rub it all the time when I'm nervous. I'm not sure what that's about.) D is also the only person other than my father who ever got away with calling me Tammy. (Only one other person came close, but he settled for calling me Mat (Tam backwards) and taking that to Matty. I'm cool with that.) D is one of those people that I just couldn't let go of when I left for Ohio... I know, D, I'm a shit friend for never getting in contact with you during my seven year exile, but I did think about you a lot. There were a lot of people I didn't stay in contact with because the homesickness was so bad... all. seven. years. It NEVER went away.

So, anyway... the songs... I don't really know how to describe them. Ben's got this voice that is angelic ("Invincible") and also sounds like Kurt Cobain's at the end of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ("Letter"). Derek's drumming is so understated, it reminds me of Bill Berry. He plays just what is necessary and it's sooo perfect. Aaron and Jonah fill in the gaps and take what was just good and make it incredible. (It's a shame you can't hear Jonah on the demo, as he joined after it was recorded, but you'll get to hear him when they drop their new disc.) If you ever get a chance to see them live, make sure you stay for the closer. "I Still Love You" showcases the foursome at their finest. (And it better be on the new disc!!!!)

DOWNLOAD "Invincible" <-My personal fave
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