Song of the Day: Ben Lee, “Catch My Disease”

You’re Spring happy for what began as a gray Monday; it’s now turned sweet and soft out of doors. More coffee is brewing for the pile of grading, but it’s still turned out to be a pretty good Monday despite the wild thunderstorms and earthquakes and university curriculum committee meetings.

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Spring in Slow Motion

Okay so I started this post over a week ago, but in an effort to be less utterly annoyed with the snow and the havoc its wrecking on my course planning, I began making lists of things I wanted to do when it thawed out. I think the list still applies, especially since I’m listening to the first flush of spring music. On the list so far:

  • make happy, slow motion-esque spring mix in an Umbrellas of Cherbourg aesthetic but not ultimate ending. Songs so far: Jonsi, “Go Do,” Glee version of Florence & the Machine “Dog Days are Over,” and Christophe Mad’dene “Denghe”
  • FC Dallas v. Colorado Rapids for my birthday.
  • SEC baseball game (Glinda really likes baseball; I like sporting events that involve incredibly bad for you hot dogs)
  • learning to quilt
  • doing that whole race thing with SGS (5k people, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; okay sort of on hold while SGS heals from car accident. Exercise in general then.)
  • fondue party
  • I have an itch to learn how to make home brew or just how to make Dog Fish’s Jiahu or I just need to get on that teleport machine so I can go spend my weekends at Eno’s in the Bishop Arts District. Surely the exercise will cancel out the pizza and Jiahu?

Song of the Day: Ben Lee, “We’re All in this Together”

I’ve had this song in my head off and on since last week. My composition classes are working on structuring arguments and fiskings. We discussed a Kathryn Jean Lopez argument I’ve looked at before about pop music and her desire for kids today to be exposed to songs modelling good behaviors. I think this song fits that need. But, it’s been in the ether also because it’s a song on a mix I listen to when going to Dallas, which I did this past weekend for my best friend’s birthday. Put that together with Joe Clifford’s sermon on Sunday about wilderness wanderers and being inbetween promise and fulfillment and the current events in Libya, Egypt, and the rest of North Africa, and well, it’s message of connectivity is even more apt.

Song of the Day: Arcade Fire, “No Cars Go”

I’m still a little shocked that Arcade Fire won the Grammy for best record. Sure, they’ve been indie darlings for awhile, and they played a lot of rallies for Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. They just were never mainstream. Their performance Sunday night was most decidedly not one I’m sure most of the Grammy viewing audience was expecting. Arcade Fire don’t perform, per se. The BBC video posted here shows that fact. The various members of the band are caught up in the intensity of the song. Nor do I think the Grammy audience expected people to be yelling into bullhorns, BMX camera bikes, and an accordion. Although, having now seen Arcade Fire juxtaposed with Eminem, I realized that he doesn’t perform either. Both Arcade Fire and Eminem are about the intensity of the sound; Eminem just gets away with it more effectively because hip hop stage numbers are big and brash.

At any rate, I find it a bit ironic Arcade Fire won for The Suburbs, an album I like, but no where nears as much as I do Neon Bible. Oh the vargaries of taste making institutions.

Commonplace

No scheme could have been more agreeable to Elizabeth, and her acceptance of the invitation was most ready and grateful. “My dear, dear aunt,” she rapturously cried, “what delight! what felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport shall we spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of any thing. We will know where we have gone–we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers, shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers.

~ Elizabeth Bennett to Mrs. Gardiner,  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Song of the Day: Monica Zetterlund, “Some Other Time”

My downstairs neighbor, who must detest me for the regularity with which I drop things on the floor, is a trumpet player. Most days he’s practicing scales, or most annoyingly, for a week, a tricky high note. I think it’s a fair exchange. After all, I’m a real klutz, and I drop a lot of stuff. Plus, the cats play and knock stuff over too. Sundays afternoons, though, he plays jazz standards. I don’t know why, but he does. It fits today, a gloriously sunny, almost warm day. I have  a window cracked, and I’m looking at couple more houses this afternoon (I’m officially house hunting). I’m still fascinated by Monica Zetterlund. So, here’s some more of her with the Bill Evans Trio.

Cynthia

Cynthia Logan, one of the pastors at First Presbyterian in Dallas, retires today. We’re asked weeks ago to contribute to a remembrance book for her, but work and snow and re-doing work because of the snow has put a hitch in being so advanced. And, I’d always intended to put what I wrote for the book on the blog too. I thought it appropriate given that this blog was begun in part out of grief for my father and Cynthia was instrumental in making that process transformative and good.

I began attending First Pres after I finished my dissertation. The church I had grown up in had closed, a not uncommon fate for small inner city churches, and I had let attending church slip as I completed my dissertation. (No question, however, that faith, my family, and good friends sustained me through that process.) I went about finding a new church all wrong. I slipped into the back of the sanctuary one Sunday morning in May, spotted a bunch of Trinity folk, heard Joe Clifford speak, and some how knew that was my church home. Oh, I visited off and on for a whole summer, but I knew that first Sunday I wasn’t going anywhere else.

Part of the reason I felt at home was Cynthia. She literally beamed from the front of the sanctuary, her sunny joy filling the room. I loved the way she sang. Her mouth open the wide the way we’re taught in choir, her head thrown back. When Cynthia sings, her whole body and mind is dedicated to it. She called me friend from the first day we meet, and I always feel loved when I’m with her.

Her joy and love sustained me through my father’s illness and death. She came to the hospital so many times. She, I think, thought the family a little crazy as we told wildy inappropriate, if funny stories after dad passed. (Dad loved inappropriate jokes and laughing, so it fit.) Cynthia told me that my mother would be so upset if I didn’t take the job here in Arkansas, that her heart’s joy was seeing me be happy and successful. (She was right about everything, and I couldn’t have found a better or more supportive place to be.)

Most of all, Cynthia didn’t offer empty platitudes. She simply said that there were stages to grief–not the five stages thing–but larger swaths of time. The first one is bereavement, and then the funeral is supposed to help transform bereavement into grief. She also said it was possible to grieve well. I never thought of grieving as being good, but she was right again. It is possible for grief to be good, healing. It’s a different state of being but not necessarily a bad one.

I miss Cynthia’s beaming smile here in Arkansas, and I’ll miss seeing it from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. But I know she’s still, and forever, my friend.

Oliver

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Here’s more of the kitten. He’s become extraordinarily playful as my book corners and arms now attest. He’s also super lovey dovey, liking nothing more than sitting on the shoulder. Ah kitten happiness.