Sounds

23 Jan

Lately I can’t sleep.  Again.  Between residual caffeine and my brain waking up with Cool in the early morning, I find myself tossing a lot.  I can also hear our next door neighbors coughing at night.  And they cough a lot.  Because they’re heavy smokers and they probably have COPD.  And there’s a retch on the end of the cough, which is gross.  So the coughing wakes me periodically-or precludes sleep all-together.  I was restless Thursday night for all those reasons–and the fact work sucks right now (I won’t go into that–it’s a whole other long story).

And while I was trying to go to sleep, I could hear the rustling of a creature up behind my head.  On the floor to my upper left.  Normally I would assume it was one of the cats messing around.  But I knew it wasn’t on Thursday, because I’d shut them out of the room.  Side-note:  I love nothing more then a cat sleeping on the bed with me.  It’s one of life’s greatest joys.  But Goose won’t let Choco-Luv on the bed anymore.  It’s some sort of deal only they know about that they worked out.  And no amount of coaxing will make her ignore their rules.  And Goose will nap real good during the day.  But at night he wants to play “under the covers.”  Or he meow-meow-meows for food.  Or scratches on the closed curtains trying to get on the sill to look out his window.  Generally he’s a nuisance.  And since I already haven’t been sleeping well, they’ve been getting shut out.  So I knew it wasn’t a cat.  But I also knew it was something alive.  It was rustling in the way only a live creature can.

suckers

Obviously I’m freaking out.  What could it be?!  Mice/rats?  That’s the only thing that I could think of.  And that’s super-creepy for many reasons.  1]  There was a small or possibly nest of small creatures in the house–in our room no less.  2]  The sound was coming from under my clothes rack near a corner.  So possibly said-rodents were nesting in my clothes/shoes-eww.  3]  Cool was out of state at her Mom’s funeral, so I would have to deal with the problem by myself in the middle of the night.  4]  But the biggest worry of all is that our bed is a futon mattress–that is directly on the floor.  The creatures–whatever they were–might run over me in my sleep/wake (terrible in either scenario).  Or I’d find them IN the bed at some point.  Needless to say, no sleep was going to be had–I was majorly squigged out.

mouse baby

Don’t get me wrong–I’m an animal-lover.  But not wild, pesty animals, in my house–outside of a cage.  Pet-store animals are different.  They’re bred to be pets, handled, sweet.  You pick them and prepare the place you want them to be.  They are invited guests.  Wild animals, are intruders.  They walk around as they will.  They make a mess in your stuff.  And aren’t things in groups so much more creepy/gross?!  I mouse in the wild isn’t a thing.  Wild pesty mice breed.  They have creepy little nests and make colonies and their numbers quickly get out of control.  Then they’re in you bed and in your kitchen.  These are the things I was thinking of as I laid in my bed on the floor. . .

mouse infestation

Then, I’m not sure how I came upon the realization, but I knew the sounds were my neighbor.  I could hear them rolling over in their sleep!  The sound was not on the floor of our room at all-it was through the wall.  I could hear my neighbors turn over in their bed.  Which is not as creepy as mice/rats nesting near my head–but still very creepy.  I was esentially sleeping in the same bed as my smoker-neighbors.  And if I could hear them cough and ROLL OVER in their sleep, that meant they could hear every sound I/we made too.  Very sketchy.  And I’m sure they HATED the week Cool and I tried to move our treadmill/circuits for when I got home from work.  At 1:30AM.  The treadmill is in our bedroom, and we tried that for a week-oops.

After the realization that I can hear every move my neighbors made (and vice cersa), I really couldn’t sleep.  And I didn’t really want to.  Last night when I got home from work at 1:36 AM, I wasn’t tired anymore.  I was mad–at work.  I thought I might wind down by watching a show.  But after one episode of “Private Practice” I still wasn’t tired.  I knew I would just toss and turn if I tried, so I just didn’t.  I didn’t want another horrible night of not being comfortable, counting hours I needed to get good rest, and hearing every noise in the world.  I decided to watch until I did feel tired.  Which wasn’t until 4:44AM.  And naturally, as it does every day my brain suddenly and irreversibly, work up and I popped up at 9:50AM.  My body doesn’t care what time I go to bed–I wake up and can’t go back to sleep in the mornings.

I bought a white noise machine from Amazon and luckily, it happened to arrive today.  I put it behind my head, between me and the neighbors, so hopefully it will drown out any noises from them and give me privacy.  Also, I didn’t have any caffeine today.  I really hope I’ll be able to sleep!

 

Sidewalk Runners

6 Jan

Every time I’m driving around a see someone running down the sidewalk my first thought is, “oh they’re hard-core!”

running on sidewalk 1

But they are not–not hardly.  

First, every REAL runner knows that running on concrete is one of the worst things you could do.  It’s terribly unforgiving on your feet and legs (and back and rest of your body) because it is so hard.  Out of running surfaces, concrete would probably rank LAST.  It would go (in my opinion, which I guess this whole post is, so why specify) it would go:  all-weather track, treadmill, asphalt, beach, dirt, fresh snow, grass (with it’s pot holes it’s a guaranteed flat-tire situation, hard on my ankles), mud, icy conditions = concrete.  Even mud ranks above it, because it’s so bad for you.  Only thing as bad is ice, which is self-explanatory.  Concrete is so hard of a surface that it almost immediately gives me shin-splints.  I know this because our high school’s practice pole-vault runway had concrete under the runway padding, and it was AWFUL on my legs.  I’m not sure of all the running surfaces that are out there, but I know concrete is the WORST.

2nd, running on the sidewalk puts you with traffic.  Safety becomes an issue, because you make yourself a pedestrian.  And what about the other pedestrians walking or waiting on the sidewalk?  People on actual trails are notoriously bad at sharing it (especially here in Utah) so you’d have to awkwardly squeeze past.  You have to wait at intersections, which means you frequently stop running.  It’s loud.  And it wouldn’t be super-safe to be up in the street with ear buds in, and who wants to run even a short distance without their tunes?  There’s smog.  People are looking at you–nobody actually running looks cute doing it.  REAL runners would have a favorite spot.  Trail, gym, loop at the park, whatever–road would be last.  Like, put some effort into your new habit and find a good spot to run.  I’m in a brand new state, and already I know at least 2 different places that are good to run, and a third that’s better to hike, but I could run there in a pinch.

2 of my pet-peeves: running on concrete AND spandex

2 of my pet-peeves: running on concrete AND spandex

So in my head, I’ve decided that sidewalk runners are the very newest of new-bees to running.  What are they trying to do?  Show off?  All they’re doing is a mediocre run where everyone can SEE them-lame.  Sidewalk runners, consider yourselves my newest pet-peeve.

 

http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cms/article-detail.asp?articleid=1029

http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/top-10-running-surfaces/152.html

 

2016 Goal-Plan

5 Jan

I have to be in a certain mood to really write, and though I want to be–today I’m just not.  Tuesday is my most tired day of the week, so maybe that had everything to do with it.  I’ll try though, because I do see the new year as a perfect time for new beginnings, and per the usual I want to grow as a person and be better.  I’ve catagorized my goals and plan to MAKE plans of actions to attack them.

element fairy

BODY

things I’m already doing, or kind of doing

-running.  I’ve certainly been running and it’s a good stabilizing force, and probably the most healthful thing I do.  Though I’m not going to lie–nearly every single day (and this is day 733 in a row) I want to lazy out.  At this point it would take a LOT to make me break the chain, because that many days in a row is spectacular, but it’s pretty hard to get the motivation to put on that sports bra.  I’ll continue on, for who knows how long.  [time-line:  daily]

-water.  I’ve been drinking it daily like I never used to.  I’m trying to get all 12 cups per day (to account for sweating in heat/working out/eating salt/drinking caffeine) and it’s hard.  They key is drinking as much as I can early in the day.   [time-line:  daily, and early in the day]

-flossing.  It seems a constant battle.  Obviously, I want to do it, but it’s just a matter of DOING it, which is often easier said then done.  I think I’ve been pretty successful at doing it before I brush my teeth for work.  In the afternoon, before I’m really tired.   [time-line:  daily, and before I brush my teeth for work]

-Appearance is just one of those things that isn’t SUPER important to me.  I’m a very low-maintenance gal when it comes to grooming and beauty.  But, in the interest of just feeling more motivated for work and looking mature and everything, I’d like to continue wearing makeup on work days (except Sunday, when nobody really sees me and I’m there for 10+ hours).   [time-line:  daily, before work]

things to start

-Going to the dentist!  And this is for sure happening this year.  I’ll get insurance through my work, so just as soon as it kicks in, I’m making the call.  I’ve already research dentists here, and plan on getting the full cleaning, and all x-rays, then setting up a regular 6 month schedule.  What a relief!   [time-line:  call Tuesday, the 12th of January]

-I need to pain my nails more.  It’s an easy thing to do and I have a lot of pretty colors.   [time-line:  Fridays, during the day]

-And I should wear my beautiful jewelry more.  Those are really easy things that add an extra touch of niceness.   [time-line:  Monday, Wednesday, +/- Thursday]

-I’d also like to take more care fixing my hair.  Instead of a pony-tail, maybe a braid or rows, or a nice barrette.  And, as a more expensive, and long-term thing, this year I’d like to start permanently dying my hair.  To cover all those grays cropping up.  I need to schedule a consult to see what the EASIEST color would be so I can just go as far apart as possible and get my roots touched-up after the initial appointment.  Which won’t necessarily be a color I like, but it will get the job done and be cheaper and lower maintenance.   [time-line:  Monday, Thursday to start]

Erin_Hanson_The_Path

MIND

things I’m already doing, or kind of doing

-I am such a different person than I used to be.  I have learned not to make work my life.  I’m not centering everything around it, or letting myself get stressed out over it.  I don’t even check what color tasks I will be responsible for the next week when I’m there on Sundays.   [time-line:  daily]

things to start

-reading more for pleasure.  I want to do the book challenge that specifies different types of books.  The trouble will be finding the time in the week to just sit and read.  I think on a daily basis, between work, tiredness, it’s difficult just to get my run in.  But on my days off and especially on Sundays I think I can make time.  And three days a week of reading is still more then I’m doing now.   [time-line:  Friday, Saturday, Sunday]

-read/outline my undergrad textbooks and notebooks.  This will serve 2 purposes:  1)  it will utilize some of that money I’m paying in school-loans and not make my degree seem quite so pointless.  I feel like I’m paying all this money back, yet I never USED my education for anything.  2)  I might learn the material better without the pressure of multiple classes, regurgitating info for tests, and papers and projects.  I can learn the stuff at my pace and the stuff I find interesting/important.  And a surprise 3rd advantage–I might be able to clean some of it out and get rid of it once I’ve looked at it.   [time-line:  Thursdays during the day?  Try it and see if this day works, then reevaluate]

Erin_Hanson_Crystal_Light

SPIRIT

things I’m already doing, or kind of doing

-be more consistent about adding a weekly item to my positivity jar.  I do it, but not that frequency.   [time-line:  Sunday night]

things to start

-I newed to re-start thinking of all the things I’m thankful for daily.  I really liked it, and it was an easy thing to do, which also had the benefit of re-focusing my attention from worrk to gratitude.  I just sort of fell out of the habit the less stressed and the happier I got.   [time-line:  daily, before sleeping]

-painting for enjoyment.  It’s a nice hobby that Cool and I can do together.  I want to paint light switch covers and finish my totem painting series.   [time-line:  Friday or Saturday, twice a month]

erinhanson4

CLEAN/ORGANIZE

things I’m already doing, or kind of doing

-keep up on apartment cleaning schedule.  This should be OK and easy, because I can’t live with the mess.  Also, I have calender reminders set up in a routine I like.  This will be helpful to keep on everything around home so there need not be any huge cleaning days and at move out we hopefully will not have a Riverton Terrace clean-up/fine situation.   [time-line:  follow calender]

-make a shopping list.  I always do this, but lately it’s been more of a long-term list then is really helpful.  I need to buy the items at least twice a month and start a new list.   [time-line:  as needed]

 

things to start

-scan all my photos and back them up on my external hard-drive to cut down on albums.   [time-line:  tomorrow–get it done ASAP]

-Also consolidate my scrapbooks, and make power-points or DVDs of some of the materials to save space (and future moving hassle).   [time-line:  next Wednesday, January 13th]

-set a consistent grocery shopping day!  Problem is I hate it.  But in order to cook, I need ingredients on hand, so this has to happen.  I think every other Sunday after work will be a less-busy convenient day (relatively) to go.   [time-line:  every other Sunday, starting January 17th]

erinhanson5

SOCIAL

things I’m already doing, or kind of doing

-I have also learned not to place the expectations I have for myself on people at work.  Through experience, I realized that only creates social problems and makes me stressed and resentful.  People aren’t going to have my drive or dedication, and it’s not my problem.  So a huge goal is to keep that up, because I really am bunches happier for it.   [time-line:  continuous]

-make a firm cooking date with Cool.  We love to cook together and it makes the following week a lot smoother.  Friday or Saturday depending on what else is going on will work well.   [time-line:  Saturday, January 9th]

 

things to start

-2015 was AWFUL for blogging!  I didn’t do it, when I did it felt like an obligation, and it wasn’t too technically great of writing either–much like that last sentence.  Partially, it was because 2015 was such a transitional year.  Partially, I was too tired and adjusting to a new work schedule.  And it didn’t happen a lot, because I was happy hanging out with Cool, and didn’t want to “step away” to write by myself.  This year, I aim to be better than that, though I don’t know if I will go so far as to impose deadlines or post-numbers on myself.  After all, it supposed to be fun.   [time-line:  write again Thursday or Friday this week]

Joel K tree

2016 Resolutions

2 Jan

Upkeep:

-Keep running at least 1 mile every day

-drink 12 cups of water daily

-floss daily

-keep up on apartment cleaning schedule

-read more

-blog more

Medical/Hygiene:

-wear makeup to work every day except Sun

-wear jewelry

-paint nails more

-actually fix hair

-dye hair routinely

-dentist every 6 months

-do all physicals

Projects:

-scan all photos to computer, then back-up on external hard drive

-consolidate scrap-books

-read textbooks, write/copy interesting things, get rid of them

-go through class notes, put on computer, and get rid of some

-paint light switches

-finish totem paintings

Attitude:

-don’t let work get you down or make you stressed

-keep contributing to positivity jar

-list things to be thankful for again

Cooking:

-make shopping list

-maybe make a binder of easily-made foods to flip through

-make a grocery shopping day

-get Bountiful Baskets

-cook with Cool

Logistics:

-be better about car maint.

-fill Rusty’s oil more often

-save on utilities again

Moments of 2015-Good

1 Jan

I usually like to post all my reflections by December 31st and all my aspirations on January 1st.  Because of a full-time work schedule, and a holiday visit–it didn’t happen this year.  I’m setting aside more time tomorrow to write, but I did want to get something up on the actual 1st.  Even though I really didn’t have time because I spent the day rearranging the whole living room, organizing all the books, textbooks, class notes, and scrapbook items, and cleaning.  And that was a huge project, which was worth it because it looks so much nicer in here, there is more space (somehow, even though we added a bunch), and it’s less cluttered.  Anyway, so you’ll see the most important items in the countdown are unfinished.  But the post has to be posted on this date, I’m hungry, and times a tickin.  So I’ll edit it after dinner and after Cool goes to sleep, but for now–bare with me.

15-the relief of staying at the Missoula hotel at a halfway point in our move.

We hadn’t planned on spending the money.  Plus, the cats are generally horrible in hotels, and no sleep is had anyway.  But we finished packing, and loaded the Pensky in record time–like it was noon or something equally early.  So we decided why stay in a dusty, empty apartment when we could just shave off some miles.  We made a spur-of-the-moment reservation at our lucky hotel (lucky because they had an opening WITHOUT a reservation on Independence Day and saved me from a major allergy attack.  And from camping at pow-wow in the dust (and allergens).  The cats even slept a little that night and it made it a more bearable two day trip rather than one long haul.

14-getting a full-time position with a schedule that still allowed me to see Cool

You never know when homophobia will rear it’s ugly head.  I wasn’t sure if any work or housing protections are in place for LGBT people.  Besides, this is Utah–known for Mormons more than tolerance.  Also, work has a policy against spouses working in the same department.  Even though we’re not legal or married or domestically partnered in any way, if they want to make a case against you, they can usually find a way.  In short, asking for an alternative schedule to SEE Cool was a touchy subject.  With driving time, her job keeps her away from home from 8:15AM to 3:30PM and mine was supposed to be 4:30PM to 1:30AM.  We would see each other for 1 hour each day–while getting undressed from work (Cool) ready for work (me), and eating dinner.  It just wasn’t going to be enough.  And especially with bipolar in the mix and needing to stay apprised of the situation, it was going to be a major hardship.  I got brave and negotiated a good schedule, then it was promptly reneged (see bad moments blog).  In the end, work couldn’t give that other bitch Sundays, because that left Saturdays empty.  I was still not trained enough to take that day, and the other kid who could take it (and didn’t want Saturday, of course) is a lead–so he MUST work M-F.  So because they couldn’t move the lead, I did end up getting my schedule.  But not because they were doing me any favors.  Still, I’ll take what I can get.  And now I LOVE my schedule.  It’s really ideal.

13-Temple Square at Christmas

temple square christmas

Who knew Mormon Christmas festivity would make my top-of-the-year list?!  No, I haven’t been drinking the Utah koolade, it’s just that spectacular.  Around the temple, every tree, bush, and pond is saturated with lights.  There’s music and wreaths, and a really nice atmosphere.  Both malls have decorations, and all of downtown is dressed up for Christmas.  We took pictures, Cool stood in the middle of someone else’s marriage proposal, and we saw a fountain/light show to Christmas songs.  The best part?  We live within walking distance.  We did not have to fight for parking or make our way through the heavy traffic to enjoy it.  It’s so nice, people come from all over the state to partake.

12-exploring SLC, especially walking around the city

green haze

We didn’t move into this apartment complex to be downtown.  It just so happened that the ONLY apartment in our price range that accepted pets, AND actually called us back was practilly downtown.  We can walk less than a mile and be at both malls, the planetarium, the sports/concert arena, farmer’s market, the rapid transit–all downtown has to offer.  We took full advantage on the warm days, and even some of the freezing ones, walking everywhere this year.  And we’ve explored and taken pictures, and genuinely enjoyed this new city.  I can’t wait to explore more areas while increasing our step counts.

11-getting true weekends off of work

My whole working life I worked weekends.  Kennel work, of course, requires cleaning and feeding the animals.  As an assistant, I had to medicate animals as well.  In janitorial, those are the off-hours available to deep-clean.  I’ve never had a true entire Saturday, entire Sunday off.  Every weekend.  So when I went to a corporate job it was a really nice treat being in sync with the rest of the world (and Cool).  This only lasted for 3 months, but it was MY choice to work Sundays, and I exchanged it for Friday and Saturdays off and a late-start on Wednesday, so I’m still winning.

10-having a larger, brighter, more functional kitchen

kitchen

I knew I didn’t love the galley kitchen in Spokompton.  It was dark and unventilated and there was very little storage.  But I didn’t really how much I hated it until I got a huge, bright, super-storage kitchen that was more open.  All the kitchen stuff fits in it, AND there’s counter space!

9-getting a job in another state, before we moved

Moving is horribly stressful.  And it’s expensive.  I feel like it’s 2015, you should be able to secure jobs and housing online–but we are not there yet.  You pretty much have to be IN the state you’re moving to in order to get the job and housing.  Which is a major problme when you’re not made of money.  Because where do you stay in the meantime?  And how do you pay deposit and rent if you are not working (and you don’t know when you will be)?  It’s very scary and logistically almost impossible.  But, luckily, Cool’s Spokane company had openings within different departments in Utah.  So she couldn’t tansfer, but she was pretty well guarenteed a position in the company.  So she got a job.  Then, they had another opening in her company, and since I have a medical background and a minor in chemistry (and knew Cool), I got a job.  It was one of the greatest moments of my life because I was hired over the phone!  And it was a big relief because it gave some answers to questions and a safety net.

8-the entire Christmas visit to my parents’ house–especially the owl painting.

our owls--mine, Cools, Dad, Mom

We saw my parents a third time–a record–over Christmas.  It was special, because I’ve rarely gotten time off of work to go anywhere.  Especially over a holiday.  And Cool could come again.  So it would be the biggest Christmas I’ve ever had.  When I was growing up, it was just my parents and I because extended family lives in Montana where winter weather makes travel dangerous.  And after I moved out, vet hospitals got busy because everyone else was on vacation so where either boarding pets or using that time to catch up on their appointments, or bringing them in for Christmas-related emergencies.  So I always had to work, and be by myself over the holidays.  So it was special just having the 4 of us together.  But my parents had got Cool and I a surprise.  And they were so excited about  it.  And really building up the anticipation.  We were really worked up into a frenzy about what it could be.  At the very end, I guessed it was a painting session, and I was right!  So we were excited to try it because my parents had a good time with it previously–and you get to keep what you paint.  And my dad especially was all weird when we got there, because he was actually excited to paint, and for us to paint.  It’s a big deal, because he’s usually stoic.  The painting process was fun, and seeing all of our creations was a pleasure that lasted and lasted.  We gazed upon them, commented on their different personalities and styles, and looked some more.  We rearranged them and rearranged them again.  The whole thing was really the best from start to finish!

7-running on the trail with Cool

Aquarium with parents 134

Historically Cool HATES running.  And she’s not fun to run with because she slacks off, complains, and just doesn’t want to be there.  But this summer the stars aligned, she was in generally better shape, the weather was nice, and the trail new and beautiful.  We ran almost every day together.  She (mostly) actually ran, mostly without complaint too.  It was a time we could work on our fitness, then we walked back to the car together.  It was a really good time, being out and nature and having no distractions or screens, so we just caught up and talked to each other.  It was really nice times and now that our schedules are opposite, I miss it terribly.

6-Getting to see Brandi Carlile in concert

brandi and twins onstage

Duh!  Brandi always puts on an outstanding show.  Even though I wasn’t in love with the new album, I loved the way she performed the songs live.  She makes the crowd feel like family.  She gets me jazzed up and also moves my heart.  We weren’t stressed about standing in line or getting a good seat, so I was just able to relax and enjoy myself–unheard of for me.

5-Hope:  Moving to a better, cleaner city with better job prospects and working a job that might offer future (non-veterinary) prospects for me.

Spokane only offered so much.  We had sort of burned through what few prospects it had and were reaching a dead-end.  We didn’t want to get a Spokompton mentality or get stuck and be unable to move out, and unable to move UP in life.  So coming to Utah was amazing.  It opened doors and gave us options again.  Plus it’s a really clean, safe, walkable city where Spokane is not.

4-getting a washer/dryer

11739557_10207005138825348_509593602_n

This was a long time coming!  I had been doing coin-op since I moved out of my parents house in 2003.  And it sucked pretty much the whole time.  Taking your laundry out of your house is a burdan.  No matter the sute dorm bags, you still have to haul it.  And not just out to the washer.  You then have to leave the comfort of your house to change it to the dryer.  That’s if you trusted enough to leave it unattended in the first place.  Then you have to make a third trip to collect it from the dryer.  And good luck getting it dry–it’s never dry!  That costs a boat-load of money and forget any special care instructions or color-sorting.  That’s just not practical.  Also, think about if the cat pees on something.  Or you spill something.  Or after camping when everything is all icky.  You can’t always go to the laundry facilities at 4AM or midnight, so you then have to store that ultra-dirty stuff.  And it’s ick.  So getting a washer/dryer was AMAZING!  Now we are real people, and I love it pretty much every time I throw something into the laundry basket.

3-when my parents visited over the summer-especially the aviary day

11667304_10207126634868756_7426331088971295069_n

It took my parents 5 years to visit me in Missouri.  And we hadn’t seen them since 2010.  So when they came to Salt Lake City almost immediately after we moved here, I was really excited.  Even better, I had a training schedule at work that was only 25 hours per week–so I actually had time to see them.  We visited the aquarium and went to Cheesecake Factory, and showed them a lot of the same sights we had just barely discovered.  Nobody fought the whole time, which was a record!  That hadn’t happened in forever–we had gone through such tumultuous times.  So it was all really special and really fun.  The best was when the 4 of us visited the Aviary.  We got to feed Sun Canards by hand, watch a show, and just look at all the bird exhibits.  I love going to animal places normally, and including my parents and Cool was optimal!

2-when Cool and I had the exact same schedule, and worked together

It seems like Cool and I are always ending up on opposite schedules.  In Spokompton, I worked days, weekends, went to school, and pretty much studied the rest of the time.  While she worked swing shift.  We barely saw each other.  Then, when we got here, we suddenly had the same job, in the same department, and we worked the exact same hours.  We had the same sleep schedule, got to hang out together all day, then worked in the same room.  I loved those few months!  We could do all the errands together instead of 1 person having to suffer through it alone.  We could both clean the apartment at the same time, so it was faster and equal responsibility.  Our runs could happen together.  We had time to talk and hang out. . .  Then at work, it’s independent, but we could take our breaks together.  But then, Cool got an job offer doing billing in a cubicle upstairs which is more tailored to her personality, so in July or August, she went to the day shift and a different part of the building.  But being together was sure nice while it lasted.

1-DMB/Hot air balloons

Reno Balloon Races 065

We visited Nevada and had a great time with my parents!  My mom and I went in some historic railroad cars and got lost in Tahoe.  We were both very scared (we’ve seen the helicopters searching for unprepared stupids on TV many times) and despite that, we never fought!  Which is unheard of for us.  Especially when there’s no buffer person with us.  And very especially when we’re stressed.  So that was a milestone.  We also, on that trip, got to see Dave Matthews Band in Tahoe.  Which our seats were in the perfect spot, and it was fun to have my mom along–since she hadn’t been to a real concert in forever.  And DMB is always one of the best times.  But, the very, very best time was the balloons.  My mom and I had gone in 1994.  And it was miserable.  3 AM is too early, especially when you’re 9 yaesr old.  Even though it’s September, Nevada is COLD at that time in the morning, and we hadn’t dressed for it.  Also, back then, they didn’t sell blankets or sweatshirts, or warm beverages.  We got starving, and they didn’t sell food back then either.  My mom and I didn’t have a blanket to sit on, let alone chairs.  So the whole time we were tired, cold, hungry, cold, uncomfortable, cold, dusty, and cold.  It’s difficult to enjoy even the best things when you’re so physically uncomfortable–and I did not.  So ever since then I wanted a do-over.  I’d be prepared THIS time!  But September and college in no way work together.  Every time the Great Reno Balloon Race came around I was just starting school.  Or in Missouri, and getting ready for the first round of exams.  Or working at vet hospitals and unable to take a busy weekend off.  This year, I was only working a training schedule–and they had screwed me over on that PRN deal, so I didn’t feel guilty at all taking a week off.  I wasn’t in any kind of school for the first time in TEN years.  We could stay with my parents so it didn’t cost a bunch of money to visit.  I packed winter layers knowing I would be cold.  We made our own snacks and took hot coffee in thermoses.  We didn’t have chairs or remember a blanket, but everything else fell into place.  I was ready to enjoy myself this time!  We got a good parking spot and walked to the event, then stood/sat in one of the only empty areas.  We got to see the dueling balloons in the dark, and dawn patrol as the sun was rising.  I got great pictures.  Then, the BEST part was mass ascention.  We had unknowingly sat right down in the middle of the field, so all the balloons were blown up all the way around us.  We were right in the middle of the action!  And I got more good pictures.  It was even greater because my parents and Cool were there and everyone was in good spirits having a good time.  I had anticipated the event so much, and had previously been so disappointed, that this was AMAZING!  Now, I can’t wait to do it again.

our DMB posters

 

Overall, 2015 was a time of doubt and uncertainty.  But it was a very family-focused year and that salvaged things a lot.

 

Moments of 2015-Bad

31 Dec

I see today (New Years Eve) as a day for reflection.  And I can’t say I’m sorry 2015 is over.  It wasn’t terrible, I’ve had much worse years.  But it wasn’t what I wanted either.  I like to know where I’m going, and in 2015 I never did.  I didn’t know if I would continue with school, and I didn’t know where my career would take me.  In the past, I’ve been severely disappointed when career objectives didn’t pan out, but this time I felt a calmness and grace about the situation.  Still, there is a dissatisfaction.  And now I’m left to really contemplate what I want in life.  But that’s a story for tomorrow, New Years Day, a day for goals and new beginnings.  Today I’ll post a few blogs about worst moments in 2015.  Which isn’t just picking the scabs of wounds, it’s thinking and it’s learning.  Seeing the worst times allows me to rearrange the circumstances to make next year better.

And again, I’m posting for the sake of time and forgoing a lot of re-writes.  I’ll edit later (maybe).

12TH WORST TIME OF 2015:  -Bob, at my new job, introducing himself as the janitor.  Trying to be funny, but offending me.  Insinuating of course he was much better than a crummy janitor.  He’s some client services administrator–big deal.  When he didn’t know that janitorial had been my very last job, and my father had been a custodian for 20 or 30 years.  What a D-bag.

11.  -Human drama at the YMCA.  Deb being all weird toward me because ???  and holding a grudge.  The churchy gal acting like a bitch and treating me like a lowly janitor.  Just coldness and unnecessary drama from people with nothing to keep their minds busy.  It was stupid, but even though I wasn’t invested in the drama, I noticed it, and had to DEAL with it.  Lame.

10.  -Rusty’s doors remaining half open in the winter.  Primarily because it rendered my remote start useless.  And obviously I NEED that.  I hate being cold.  So much so, that I had bought my own remote start and fought for them to put it in my manual–which is a liability for them and usually against the rules.  And I had always loved starting the car from inside the warm building.  But now it set off the alarm, because the doors were open just enough. . .

9.  -The unwelcoming, frosty environment at MSCL for my first 7 months working there.  NOBODY acknowledged me, talked to me, or anything.  I felt awkward and alone.  Those duds and douche-bags were the WORST!  Here’s an example:  I walk in as a brand new employee–and nobody (even my boss)  says hello.  Or I sneeze–and nobody says bless you or anything.  It was as if I was invisible.  I guess it’s because they have high turn-over, and they were change-averse.  And because it’s a lab, so people don’t have great any social skills.  But it still made me feel like it was ME.  And that brought back horrible memories of veterinary social problems that plagued my work life previously.  I had wanted new beginnings and to turn a corner in a new field–and this was not the start I’d hoped for.

8.  -Not getting into the UU AuD program, despite getting the 4.0, having extracurriculars, and working very hard on my application.  Was it the gay-themed activities I put on my application?  Bad interview answers?  Being from out-of-state?  I really don’t have any idea, and I feel like I should be in there.  Easily.  But this is toward the bottom of my disappointments (and the top of this list) because I’ve grown as a person, through my veterinary sagas.  I had to future plan, which wasn’t cool.  I still don’t know what I will do career-wise, which is scary and reeks of failure.  But I didn’t totally fall apart this time.  I took it in stride.  I do wonder how in the heck I didn’t get in that class, because I feel like I really deserved it and would have done an excellent job.  But I’m putting it on to them, not beating myself up over it.  And I’m not sure it’s what I want anyway.  I’m very disillusioned by the costs of school.  And I haven’t gotten ANY return on my undergrad investment.  And the forums scared me off of audiology a little, because they said Hearing Instrument Specialists can do almost exactly the same job, with NO school.  And they probably get paid equal or MORE than actual audiologists.  Also people talked about it being kind of a dead-end career, that’s highly redundant.  And I didn’t know if paying for 4 more years would even be worth it in the end.  But I’m still undecided, and haven’t closed the audiology door all the way.  Perhaps being 14th for a class of 12 was actually a favor to me. . .

7.  -When my parents insisted I call Dad’s chiropractor’s son about getting IN at Costco audiology–NOW, at the same time I frantically trying to complete a heavy-duty YWCA-UT job application and get ready for work at my current job.  They get overwrought and crazy and over-emotional, then there’s nothing for me to say or do to stop that crazy-train.  Unless I do what they say, when they say it, things fall apart quickly.  The whole thing just reminded me of every other time my parents tried to control me.  And how they were probably disappointed in me.  And that’s how the big horribleness of 2007 Cabin-Mansion had really kicked off the first time, so I was scared there would be a big blow up and subsequent melt-down of the relationship we had worked so hard to forge.

6.  -The meeting where work reneged on the full-time schedule, hours, and pay we had negotiated 3 days prior.  I had finagled the best schedule for my weekends, sleep, and time with Cool.  Everyone at work had left the meeting satisfied and happy.   They got coverage on a Sunday, which had been difficult to secure, I got Fridays and Saturdays off and a late-start Wednesday.  It was absolutely perfect and I commended myself for taking a chance and asking.  But 2 days later, they called me back in and told me I’d have to take the legit schedule I had applied for.  Because a girl (previously a bitch to me) who had more seniority, and was better at the job wanted to work Sunday.  And trying to please everyone, instead of defending me and the schedule they had promised me, they gave it to her.  So I felt betrayed (again) and like I had a much worse schedule.  But I also felt trapped.  What else would I do?  I needed this job, or it was back to veterinary assisting.  So I had to just accept it and deal with–while being really angry, frustrated, and un-trusting toward management–and that bitch.

5.  -When Cool picked a fight just 2 days after my good knows of getting a full-time job.  Cutting short my celebration.  Depression strikes this time.  Out of nowhere, Cool knocks the figurative wind out of me by acting like a major jerk.  It was awful, because I had just talked to my proud parents and had been super-ecstatic about my new job, and Cool knocked me down to a miserable level.  I was really sad about it, because I’m ALWAYS supporting Cool and she just didn’t have it in her to even pretend to return the favor–her depressive episode made it all about her.  Again.  I wished she could be supportive and celebrate with me, but instead her bipolar and selfishness ruined it all.  The memory of my new job is still tarnished.

4.  -Getting stuck with all the moving logistics, work, and most of the payments, because Cool went manic and in so doing abandoned me in a time of stress and need.  Which was the WORST because moving sucks anyway.  And there is so much to do and plan, and so much heavy physical work.  It wasn’t fair and I felt alone and unsupported.  Mental illness is the WORST sometimes.  It’s hard not to blame Cool, and that’s not really what I signed up for.  Cleaning the Spokompton apartment by myself was awful.  It was messy and there was so, so, so much left to do.  And it wasn’t fun, and I felt resentful that Cool had already started her job and couldn’t come do her share of the work.  Especially when I was cleaning things SHE had messed up.  Driving Rusty, alone, and wanting to come home and relax very badly, after such a tiring trip and no sleep.  Then walking into a messy house full of manic shenanigans, with a Craigslist ill-fitting futon we hadn’t talked about.  And dealing with having to clean and reconfigure everything, while dealing with a belligerent, unreasonable, manic person.  It was BAD.

3.  -Finding out I was just PRN (after they promised me something different in my interview).  I had interviewed over the phone for the job.  They said I was technically applying for a PRN job, but soon, they were posting a job with more regular hours.  That job was the same duties, but it was a year of guaranteed hours.  This PRN job, which had been posted was 25 hours a week for training, but then was substitute only.  Not stable, and not really what I wanted.  So they hired me during my phone interview, but told me they would call me when (slow) HR got around to posting the year-long job.  Then, I was to apply for that to make the paperwork legit, and that job would be mine.  I waited for the call to tell me that year-job had been posted and to complete that application.  And waited.  When I finally got the phone call from MSCL, they were wanting me to pick a start date for the as-needed job.  And pretended not to remember promising me the more stable-year long job.  I had written it down!  And the way my supervisor acted was callous–and I knew she remembered, but had just reneged.  But I had to take the lessor job, because what else was I going to do?  I needed an income after moving to a new state.  And sure enough on my first day of work, I found out they had hired a coworkers daughter for MY year-long job.  Nepotism had been at play, and as usual I got screwed at work.

2.  -The fear-phobia really, of being offered a job at a veterinary specialty hospital.  I had a sense of dread and sick feeling.  I should have never applied to veterinary hospitals, because my resume is just BUILT for them.  But I was feeling a little insecure and desperate about my guarenteed training 25 hours per week becoming true, as-needed.  I HAVE to work a minimum of 25 hours just to meet my bills, and that was soon to end.  And it’s my policy to ALWAYS interview for the practice if one is offered.  And while I know my veterinary experience is a major advantage in that field, I didn’t anticipate them loving me quite so much and being offered a full-time position on the spot.  The trouble was, it did seem like the best case scenario veterinary medicine could offer.  It was ONLY speciality referrals.  It was the BEST veterinarians in the state.  The hospital hirarchy was set up so there was a legitimate office manager and head vet tech to answer to–not the impulses of vets.  There was a true support system and everyone was on the same learning curve and truely didn’t leave you alone to fail.  And they seemed nice.  And said they didn’t yell–and I believed them.  And the technology was AWESOME.  They really had it all, not just the Idexx lab and digital x-ray.  Like ALL the toys, including MRI, and anything else spectacular.  But I had just such bad memories.  And I knew the schedules and the overwork, and the under-pay.  All the pit-falls, that really, I could no longer live with.  And it’s not what I want in life.  And the delimma was feeling like I HAD to take it, because I really had nothing else to fall back on, but feeling STRESS at the prospect of taking it.  In the end, I made the very, very difficult decision on not going backwards.  It was really hard (and brave) leaving veterinary assisting jobs in the first place, and I had done it for good reasons.  I had to keep up that bravery even when times got tough.  So I declined, but left the door open.  And they liked me so well, that they said to call any time I wanted a job.

  1.  VERY WORST 2015 MOMENT:  Thinking Goose might have thrown a clot to the leg, and worrying about his impending death, and worse, knowing there wasn’t a lot I could do to prevent it.  He randomly fell off the couch twice, and didn’t have use of his back leg.  It was too short to be a seizure (maybe) but didn’t have the pain of a thrombosis.  But my reference point was when the screaming cats had been brought to the vet.  Maybe there were precursor incidents at home that hadn’t been painful, and had gone ignored by owners–I didn’t know.  So of course, I thought the worst.  And I remembered the vets at Cats Meow preparing owners if there were any heart abnormalities.  Telling them to just make the decision to euthanize now, before emotions were involved, because once the clot was thrown, prognosis was grave.  And I remember the cats coming in-just screaming in horrible pain.  And owners saying it happened out of nowhere.  One day, the cat was fine, the next down in back and just SCREAMING.  It was awful to imagine that for my Goose.  And it’s still in the back of my mind, because he is a Maine Coon and they are notorious for heart issues.  But I’m hoping he was just being a clumsy dink, since it’s only happened twice, and the episodes were brief.

Robo-Music: Countdown of Top Albums from 2015

29 Dec

I’m not certain if it’s this era in music I don’t really care for or if it’s the tastes of Utah.  Here in Salt Lake City, at least, everyone is in to DJs.  And electronic.  And very pop-1980s throwbacks.  It’s nothing live, nothing that has heart.  And that’s the whole thing for me.  I need substantial lyrics and some belting out.  Instrumentation.  The popular music in the Salt Lake City area is computer-generated or superficial.  So I feel like I’m musically starved.  And I hope it’s just this region that doesn’t know the story.  I did manage to scrape up some contenders for this list.

music- robot 2

This list was compiled based on album alone. Catalog, concerts, expectations, hype, and cuteness were not factors.  And as an aside, I posted this before really going through it with a fine-toothed comb, so to speak.  In the interest of time.  I’ve been  notorious in previous years for wanting to perfect these or wanting to listen to ALL the options, then not ever posting them.  Or posting them a year late.  So up it goes, but I may edit or add some things later.

 

DIDN’T Likes (Worst to Don’t Love Listening):

Diddy

What happened to the Puffy/Biggy days when there was a melody or two within the rap?  This is harsh and displeasing.  Almost grating.  I think it’s that electronic influence rearing it’s ugly head again.   Also, rapping was not really a thing (which is the point?) so I didn’t really connect with any lyrics either.  A disappointment.

Sleater-Kinney

Some people might like “No Cities to Love”.  I am not one of them.  But I don’t think this album is bad, it seems well thought-out and well-executed.  It is just not my taste AT ALL.

Sara Bareilles

I have liked her past albums.  Like a lot.  I think she is one of few that speaks for feminists.  And that’s so important, especially in the male-dominated music industry.  This album was barely listen-able for me.  It felt like a cheesy Disney soundtrack or a musical.  Very overwrought and sappy to the point of-barf.  I hope she goes back to her roots.

Matt and Kim

It’s TOO harsh.  I understand they are supposed to be electronic and robotic.  But “New Glow”  is robots in a war.  I need something to sing to, some catchy chorus, somewhere.  All the noise makes that difficult to find.  And even as an exercise album, which I expect substantially less from lyrically, it was too jarring and too syncopated.

music- robot

Blah-Neutral, Try Harder in the Future, and Up and Coming in no particular order (Medium-Passion from Me):

Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell

The first two songs made me think they were going to steal the Grammy from Brandi.  Which, despite a flagging enthusiasm for Brandi’s latest, I most definitely want her to WIN that prize.  So I was horrified, I really liked a couple of Emmylou’s songs.  It’s old country and Americana as the category has nominated her for, but every song was not a winner.  The album lost steam in a few places.  Aside from some boring tunes, it’s a down-home oldy-feeling work of art that a person could listen to one or two times before totally losing interest.

Jason Isbell

It’s hard not to compare Isbell to Brandi Carlile–since they’re up for the same Grammy and all.  But, this artist is ranked under Brandi, because I said I would look at the albums singularly.  And his is a whole different thing.  I think in some ways it is more listen-able then “Firewatcher’s Daughter” in that it makes easy, background music.  I like the gentleness of the sound.  But when it comes down to it, I personally like catchy things sung well and with feeling.  And this album has no hooks or unbelievable vocal range, as Brandi’s does.  But it’s a chill-mood and none of the songs are unlikeable (which I can’t always say about Brandi’s songs).  So check it out–but it BETTER not steal Brandi Carlile’s Grammy if it knows what’s good for it!

Kelly Clarkson

More of the same.  I’ve always liked Clarkson, especially her breaking up songs.  Except, I feel like her albums and sound are becoming more and more of a manufactured machine.  The genuineness is simply  not there.  I think Clarkson should write from her heart and sing from her soul rather then doing mathematical calculations in trying to secure top chart numbers and album sales.  I want to hear her stripped down and authentic–even at the risk of being less corporate.

Tim McGraw

Went skating.  Skating by on prior success, on his image, and on his fan-base.  I thought there was nothing at all special about this album.  I would like to see him strive for the next work–I know he is capable of growth, of branching out, and getting out of his comfort zone a little.  This album was put out for the sake of remaining relevant, and unfortunately, you can tell.

Jewel

On the other hand, Jewel tried too hard.  I can hear that she tried to replicate her earlier success.  But the effort had a disingenuous, forced quality about it that I didn’t like.  The poetry was there, some sweet-signing, and a little discord.  Folk was full-force, but “Picking Up the Pieces” still wasn’t comparable to “Pieces of Me” as I’m sure she intended.  Jewel formerly sold out and went straight pop for the money.  Then she tried to recapture success easily by going to the easier realm of country.  After that failed, she’s floundering–and it shows.  I wish Jewel would forget the record sales and corporate numbers and actually be genuine.  I think she has a place in music–but it’s not going to be  through her own force of will.  She needs to get in tune (pun!) with herself and her story if she’s going to get out of her slump.

Papa Roach

Also offered nothing really special or nothing really groundbreaking here.  I used to like their rebellious sound.  The blend of punk, pop, and rock they had going.  Now, it’s a little formulaic, with no real standouts.  Can’t music forgo corporate manufacture and be real?!

Avicii

“Stories” could be a great album.  But the first album, “True” (?) that I listened to raised my expectations very high so this newest one was sort of a big yawn for me.  After falling in LOVE with the last album, I just could find anything to attach to in this one.  I think it’s still OK, but it hardly equals “True.”

music- electronic

Worth Mentioning (but not a blurb):

Adele-  probably would rank on my list, but no Spotify, no rank.

Christine and the Queens- self titled

Death Cab for Cutie- Kintsugi

The Decemberists- What a Terrible World. . .

Imagine Dragons- Smoke + Mirros

Kendrick Lamar- To Pimp a Butterfly

Luke Bryan- Kill the Lights

Sports- All of Something

music- robot 3

 

AAANNNNNND Top Albums of 2015 Countdown from Good to Very Best:

11 (honorable mention).

Kid Rock

Dave Matthews Band’s Lovely Ladies must have stepped into the recording studio with Kid Rock.  This album is good, but very, very different from previous efforts.  It’s more grown up and country/blues, than rebel rock.  I liked the gospel and southern flair and thought they were appropriate to the tracks.  The thing that would make the album stronger is a little more variation in the songs.  They all started to sound the same to me.  And though cohesive as an album, even the 80’s hard-rock Gods knew to throw in a ballad once in awhile.  There should be something that doesn’t meet expectations in here to really flesh it out.  And fans of the first few albums–prepare your ears–I’m not sure you’re going to like this even a little bit.

 

10.  rebel heart

Madonna

This album would have ranked higher, because the songs that I like, I really, REALLY like.  But there was some electronic/club influence that I’m trying to get away from—as you heard.  My top 10 is all about the human aspect of music.  What I liked was the variability in the album.  It all meshed together, but the songs were distinct and had different feels and influences in them.  We have a broken heart, dancy-club, a Jamaican sound, and of course electronic.  I especially give top marks for this seldom-seen vulnerability in many of the tracks.  It’s a softer, riskier sound for Madonna, and I feel like I know her better as a person because of it.  Of course I also like the stronger side of her personality and artistry, and that’s here as well.  Madonna’s sound has matured and she has leaned tons from her years topping the charts–but she’s still got IT.

9.  firewatchers daughter

Brandi Carlile

Let me just get it out there.  No, I have to soften it a little by saying Brandi is perhaps my favorite artist of the last 6 years.  And her shows are THE best!  She seems genuine and she’s personable, and of course she’s cute.  So my expectations for a new album were SKY-high.  Bear Creek was phenomenal, in my opinion.  The follow-up was sure to be even better.  But it wasn’t.  Not to me, at least–the rest of the world seems to disagree and is finally catching on to MY band.  Washington state, especially Seattle, feel like the band is OURS.  So I very much hate to say “Firewatcher’s Daughter” just seemed to meander too far to the right for me.  I’m not saying it was bad by any means.  But usually I attach to all but 1, or maybe 2 songs on Brandi’s albums.  This time, I only really-liked 2-3.  “These Things I Regret” was good and I think sort of a fan-song.  It was more the old style, the one I fell in love with.  “Mainstream Kid” with its strength and rock-flavor is the other obvious hit on the record.  And “Wherever is Your Heart” shows the band’s range and energy.  Honorable mention goes to “The Stranger at my Door” for most awesome song-ending ever.   The rest?  Too. . .  I don’t know, maybe just not MY style.  “The Eye” is not an album-song.  It’s meant for the live, breath-taking, ‘wow that’s almost a Capella  and look how they blend together as a group’ sentiment.  But even live (at the Gorge) the choruses repeat to the point of boredom and it just got tedious to me.  The Avette Brother’s cover is good.  But it also bothers me.  One, it seems too soon cover them–the Avettes (though their catalog is HUGE) are JUST going mainstream.  Mostly, though it seems (as gleaned from show commentaries and interviews) to be Brandi’s love song to her family and a gay anthem (from her perspective, I gather).  But it’s obviously written (and unchanged) for brothers, or at least siblings.  With the ‘which one of us would Dad be proud of’ stuff.  I want her to tailor it to her needs or really, just leave it to the Avette Brothers.  And “Wilder, We’re Chained” if it’s not a direct Fleetwood Mac cover, it’s MUCH too similar, and with “The Eye” having that same tone, it just feels like a throw away song.  I guess I won’t go into any more specific song detail (because I already wrote that blog) but I feel compelled to justify my options.  I don’t like “going against” my favorites.  Because–I feel guilty for being disappointed.  I am happy Brandi Carlile’s career is finally taking off in a mainstream way and she’s getting some long-deserved media-attention.  But, I hope Brandi Carlile does not continue to scout territory which takes her farther away from her core group of fans.  I liked the former albums–even if they didn’t garner all the attention, hype, and accolades.  Though they should have and I don’t know why she’s just now blowing up–it’s long overdue.  Maybe now that everybody’s watching she can go back to the more rock-folk style that I like better?

8.  Kacey Musgravespageant material

I like it:  A cheeky country gal.  The songs are catchy and foster an independent rebel spirit that I like, and that I think is totally necessary in the still good-ol boys country network.  I think she’ll join modern trail-blazers Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and especially Miranda Lambert as the new spunky voice of country women, working to bust stereotypes and get outside of the social norms.  This album gives me an idea of what Musgraves stands for, and I like that message even better then the songs.

7.storyteller

Carrie Underwood

Is back to herself–thank goodness!  I love her bitter songs where she gets feisty and this album has that in spades.  Seeing Underwood sell-out and try to please mainstream (impossible/boring) was sad, so “Storyteller” is all the better.  It offers almost every song as independent woman, talking trash to some loser who mistreated her.  The passion in Underwood’s voice is back to go nicely with her always strong voice.  Love.  And I hope she remains true to her roots from now on.

6.

Mumford & Sonswilder mind

I loved their sound so much.  When “Babel” exploded onto the scene, it was stripped down, featured a kind of country feel, and was completely different.  So I’m a little disappointed the band has chosen to deviate to the sound that contributed to their huge mainstream popularity.  I liked it because it WAS different and not the normal mainstream sound.  But alas, though I’m not sure I’m on board with the band changing its tune (another pun!), but I’m judging “Wilder Mind” by itself.  And it’s masterfully done.  Really, it’s a solid work as a group.  You can listen to the album over and over and it’s a really great work.  There are no real individual songs that pop though.  And as a side-note to the band–get back to your acoustic roots.

5.Mika-1st albumMika

Mika- The Origin of Love

Yes, this album is pretty-pure pop.  BUT it is strong in a socially-conscious way.  Mike SAYS something in this album.  Opposed to Cee Lo’s closet-case, Mike is totally uninhibited gay.  Like, old-school, flamboyant, proud to be a little feminine, gay.  This album is an anthem for all the homos everywhere, even going so far as to ask, “Where Have All the Gay Guys Gone?”  And the songs are catchy and dancy which doesn’t hurt one bit.

4.  The Indigo Girlsone lost day

When I was just thinking about the album, I felt sorry that I was a little disappointed in it.  “One Lost Day” is not an evolution.  Some past albums were much stronger, showed more growth, or talked more of political issues.  But if the Indigo Girls can do anything, they can subtly change their sound to remain relevant in current times.  Just look back at how long they’ve been around.  And just TRY to sound two very similar albums from there—they are all different.  And apparently, in order to be relevant in 2015, you have to have an electronic or strong-pop flavor.  I couldn’t remember any stand-out songs when I thought about the tracks of “One Lost Day,”  and I even thought maybe the new album was a little too pop.  When I actually turned on the songs to hone in on my  list-placement, I remembered why the Indigo Girls are masters at what they do:  The album has a clear ark and tells a cohesive story. Each song contributes to an overall story.   The songs are polished and you know the duo has absolutely perfected their writing/recording process.  But there is always a feeling-invoked and an authenticity about their works.  Yes, obvious success and maybe a little pandering is going on, but The Indigo Girls still have their amazing harmonies, their political ideologies, and a personal story to tell.  I call this one polished, but not superficial.

3.  Beth Hart

Beth Hart

I didn’t even want to sample Hart’s new album, because Douche had told me once that she attended a Beth Hart concert and the artist was sloppy.  Like, obviously impaired, and asking the audience for drugs while performing on stage.  And I’m not into supporting obvious drug-addicts.   BUT I came across a recent article about Beth Hart outlining her addiction, new sobriety, and bipolar diagnosis.  So I listened to “Better Than Home”.  And I’m glad I did!  It’s bluesy and stands out from the crowd right now.  Hart’s voice is resonant and her lyrics deep.  Also, she has this vibrato singing style that’s very technical and amazing.  It’s a different sound in a sea of similar female voices.

2.Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa Carlton

Where did she come from?!  All I remember is that “A Thousand Miles” song that was over-played to the extreme until it became hostile to listen to again.  But “Liberman” is so great.  It’s a stripped-down feel, heavy on the piano, and with good song-writing.  It’s a chill listen without being boring.  I don’t know if you could over-play this album–it’s sure been heavy on my rotation and I’ve yet to tire of it.  Think Ben Folds Five, but with a female vocalist.

  1.  Cee Lo GreenHeart Blanche

This is totally beside the point, but does anyone else think Green is a seriously closeted gay?  This album sets off my gay-dar.  It’s upbeat and dancy, but in a good way.  I may not have a lot to write about the album, but I want to convey it’s a fun, yet serious album that has good singing, true writing, and I found it very pleasing to my ears.

Cee Lo Green- gay

P.S.  Yes!  I finished this entire post, BEFORE the next year.  This is the first time in 3(?) years I can say that.  I am very pleased, and this means good omens for 2016.

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