Didn’t See That One Coming…

In my previous post regarding my uneducated predictions for the 2020 Oscars, I made a vow to watch what ever movie won Best Picture and offer an honest and what is sure to be a cringeworthy review. When I made this promise I was relatively certain the movie I would be watching was going to be Joker or at the very worst, 1917. Well, Parasite, A movie I have never even heard of before tonight has won this distinct honor.

Now, I’ve never ran for office (not even student council) and haven’t the foggiest idea what it means to be a politician…until now, as I have made a promise that I should keep, but really really don’t want to.

I will, however, put my big girl pants on and fork over the 5.99 plus tax to the powers that be at Apple tomorrow and watch said movie. Oh the things I do for the 10 people who read this questionable blog (just kidding, thanks for reading!).

Oh, on a side note, I only got 9 out of 24 correct on tonights predictions. If I was better at math I could give you an actual percentage, but if you have been here long enough you know that isn’t going to happen (#mathsucks). The night started out pretty good, I was 3 for 3 at first (thats 100% #nochildleftbehind)…then the train went off the rails pretty quickly. Oh well, not a bad result for someone who has no business judging these types of things anyway.

Stay tuned this week for my rousing and exhaustive review of “Parasite”.

And The Oscar Goes To…

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I don’t tend to watch live TV anymore and with the exception of baseball, I’m more of a pay $6 a month for Hulu and binge watch my shows months after they debuted. That whole ‘waiting next week for the cliff hanger to be solved’ is for the birds. Building on that confession, I also don’t tend to watch new movies. There was a stretch of time in high school and college where my friends and I LIVED at the movie theaters, but as of the last 10 years, I could take it or leave and more than likely wait until its on Netflix. 

There is one star studded exception to this sad declaration, once a year I adjust my apathy for TV and movies and I tune into the Oscars. Now, Ive obviously not seen every telecast in my 32 years of life, I was born at the end of 87’ (shout out to all my scorpios out there…) which means I can’t even start counting until 1988 and even then its not like I was tuning in from my bassinet. I do however have very early memories of watching the award show with my Mom long before I really even understood what was going on. Pretty dresses, funny skits with jokes I don’t understand? Sign me up!

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Mom always treated the Oscars like most treat the Super Bowl…we had a special meal, she would buy the fun grape juice in ‘wine bottles’ (we were classy and sophisticated people) and I would make my predictions based on no real research or knowledge as the presenter was reading the nominees live.

As I got older and we got cable for the first time my moms enthusiasm for the event wained, but I carried on the tradition on my own in my bedroom on my 13 inch black and white TV with my stuffed animals. (I clearly had a smashing social life as a child…) Again, about 95% of the movies I had never seen so my predictions were merely guesses, but I recognized the people, understood more of the jokes in the monologue and who doesn’t love watching the glitzy gowns coming down the Red Carpet and then seeing them a week later on the “best or worse dressed” lists in my moms National Enquirer magazine…(see, I told you we were a classy bunch…) 

Now, if you are thinking the rest of this post is going to be a detailed guide on tonights Oscars, you are about to be sadly disappointed. My Life has been crazy as of late and to be honest, I almost forgot the Oscars were tonight, further more, I had no idea who the nominees were and just like usual, I have only seen Four movies mentioned out of all the possible categories. (Toy Story 4, Lion King, Little Women & Judy if your wondering..) Sooo, I will be reverting back to the old days and making blind guesses on a ballot I looked up this morning. As for the fancy meal and sparkly grape juice? We’ll, my husband is out of town for work and I don’t want to cook or go to the store, so its a tuna fish sandwich and Ice Tea for me (obviously my class level hasn’t increased over the years).

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My “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” ballot will be included below for your amusement and as an added bonus, I vow to rent and watch what ever movie wins best picture tonight (if it is available) and give my honest review on here with in a few days. Its been a long minute since I’ve fumbled around a movie review, why not make my comeback be awkwardly ripping apart a newly crowned beloved title. 

Keep score with me and tell me who you think is a shoe in for an Oscar or at the very least who has the best shoes in the comments below!

 

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Jennifers Blind Guesses..

Vanity Thy Name Is Colgate

This past week I have found myself a bit of a nomad. I went from Texas to Chicago for a few days and then from Chicago to Lafayette Indiana, for a few days more. Because I am a responsible cheap traveler, I try to fit as much as I can in a carry on bag with limited liquid and gels. Usually I can make it a whole trip with my rationed toiletries but this trip I was off my A game and must have gotten slap happy with the soap and was out of shower gel on my last night. Since I was about to spend the next 34 hours crammed into a metal tube with LOTS of other people on a cross country (ish) train trip, I thought it best not to skip this essential part of my bathing routine. (you are welcome riders of Amtrak Texas Eagle). 

Thankfully, my sister in law is a wonderful hostess and her guest bathroom has a wonderful jar of toiletries for the guest to use. I removed the lid and stuck my hand inside and pulled out a bar of soap. Huzzah! The day is saved! Interestingly enough, I had also grabbed a sample of a charcoal face mask on accident and in an moment of weakness, I decided to be ‘extra’ and partake in a little spa moment while I took my pre-bed time shower. So I cracked open the package, squeezed out the charcoal contents and applied it to my face. 

Do you know that scene from Home Alone where Kevin slaps the aftershave on his cheeks and then immediately regrets all his life choices and screams? Well, add longer hair, better manners and about 250 lbs and you’ve got me. Without asking you to picture me in the shower (we all have our boundaries), just consider the scenario. I’m in a bathroom thats not mine, using elf sized toiletries, blind because my glasses are on the counter and I’m about 75% sure my face is melting off. I can’t really yell because there is a sleeping baby in the room next door and ultimatly my brother is going to be the one to investigate my blood curdling screams and we are about 30 years past the acceptable age to see your sibling in the buff. 

My first thought is, ok, I’m either doing something wrong or I’m allergic. Either way, I grabbed the tiny little package to inspect the ingredients and directions. No directions could be found anywhere. Who doesn’t put directions on a package involving skin care?! After a rather loud “seriously!!” came out of my mouth I flipped the package over. And there it was, plain as day.

 “Hello: Fluoride Free Whitening Toothpaste Activated Charcoal with Fresh Mint and Coconut oil” 

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In my desire to glow like Snow White, I took it upon myself to spread toothpaste all over myself. No wonder there were no directions. Toothpaste is pretty self explanatory. It involves no lessons and while pretty harmless, it does not belong on your face no matter how pretty you want to look!

 

Ear Worm of the Week

That day of the week where we discuss the songs that have over stayed their welcome.

Flowers On The Wall- The Statler Brothers

This weeks ear worm comes as a bit of a shock to myself and any of my readers who know my dislike for ‘country’ music, but darn it if this song doesn’t get my ‘toe a tappin’

I don’t know if it is the harmony, the peppy guitar or the fact that the letter “G” just doesn’t exist anywhere at the end of a word (spelling isn’t my strong suit either 😉 ) but I can not stop hitting repeat for this song. 

Click here to be transferred to the magical world of Youtube to listen to the sweet twangy crooning of the Statler Brothers and judge this weeks song for yourself. Those are words I never thought I would say…

Favorite line:

Countin’ flowers on the wall

That don’t bother me at all

Playin’ solitary till dawn with a deck of 51

Smokin’ cigarettes and watchin’ Captain Kangaroo

Now don’t tell me, I’ve nothing to do

What song is stuck in your head this week? 

Train Travel Diaries: 24 Hours on the Amtrak Texas Eagle

I enjoy a good adventure and while I travel by plane quite often, sometimes it is nice to enjoy a road trip, or in todays case, a train trip.

Train travel is nice if you aren’t under any time constraints and are looking for a more laid back experience. No assigned seating, you can move around whenever you want and depending on the time and leg of the trip, you could virtually stretch out onto two different seats. Plus you get to see parts of the country that are virtually unseen from the highway

My trip has me leaving from Chicago Illinois and goes all the way to San Antonio, Texas and while I will get off before the train reaches its final destination, It will still be a total of 24 hours before I get to my stop.

10 hours into my trip I’ve already written two future blog posts, finished one and a half books and listened to all of Hamilton twice. Everything has been moving right along wonderfully! That is until ‘quiet time’ hit and the conductor lowered the car lights so that long distance passengers such as myself can attempt to sleep. That is when my nightmare began.

Please watch the following video clip to get a taste of the midnight action I have been treated two for the last 2 hours…(spoiler alert, it lasted until 6 A.M.)

Now if you have ever had the privilege of having me over to your house or you to mine, you know that I, too am ‘snorer’ and this admission adds a certain level of “pot calling the kettle black” here, but seriously how is this possible.

I never ever promote physical violence at all, but how much trouble would I get in exactly, if I were to gently throat punch a sleeping adult on a train? Are we talking community service or jail time? Normally I’d say ‘no’ to jail time, but is this really any different?

I honestly can’t decide if its the pitch and sound level that bothers me, or the fact that he can’t pick a rhythm. He settles on a melody and rolls with it for a bit then nothing for a minute and I think he has woke himself or maybe died and then just when you think its safe to remove the 10 pieces of chewing gum you’ve shoved in your ears, BAM. Its truly unsettling.

Now I realize that my over dramatic reaction to this situation could be fueled by my lack of sleep the night before and the mounting exhaustion of almost two full weeks of travel, so I am still recommending train travel, just bring noise canceling head phones or a baseball bat and an alibi just in case!

Move over Stella…

I’m throwing in the towel in terms of being a reliable and regular blogger. Too many times I have “restarted” this thing, swore on my favorite stuffed animals life that I wouldn’t disappear again, only to go into hiding for an extended period of time. Then, like some twisted whack a mole game, I appear out of depths of the internet to offer you a moderately interesting commentary on what would otherwise be a mundane situation. I know I am not alone in this vicious writing cycle. I would venture to say that 65% of blogs on the internet operate on this type of chaotic schedule. Do I wish I was a more dedicated writer? Yes, but some Jennifer is better than no Jennifer, right? 

So, where have I been these past seven months? I’ve traveled quite a lot. I roamed the streets of Boston in search of lobster rolls, Paul Reveres house and baseball. I Traveled from Indianapolis to the Grand Canyon and back and I even managed to fit a few trips to Chicago (one of my favorite cities) in there as well. 

I was promoted to ‘Worlds Best Aunt’ which is a title I take rather seriously. My nephew Curtis is only 5 months old but we have already made great plans for the next 20/30 years. I’ll push his stroller now and later he can push my wheel chair. 

“We ride at dawn!”

I also spent more time in Indiana than I have since I moved to Texas in 2012. In January we started the process of packing up and selling my childhood home. It had sat empty for three years since my mom moved to Texas to be with us and it was time that I FINALLY cleaned under my bed. My mom has only been asking me to do it for the last 30 years. I can finally get my allowance now.

How did I spend that 30 year old allowance with interest you ask? (jk there was no allowance)Well, you will be happy to know that my introverted self still managed to make it to 3 MLB games, a Jimmy Buffett concert and a Billy Joel concert! 

Between all the traveling, packing and baseball, I have been reading. A lot. Goodreads had my 2019 ‘Year in Books’ at 110 books and over 35,000 pages. For someone who only read when it was required in high school and in college (sometimes not even that..Sorry Ms. Duley) that is a big accomplishment. 

This next section of my year is the hardest to write about and not because it’s sad, although that is an acceptable feeling, but because I just don’t how to write it. At least not in my funny writing voice I tend to use. So, I’ll just get serious for a moment. Sorry.

My mom passed away on November 20th and if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t experienced the traditional kind of sadness/grief one would usually go through when dealing with the loss of a parent. Don’t get me wrong there has been lots of crying and moping. I miss my mom very much, and I always will, but when you have been caring for a parent with a chronic illness for a considerable amount of time, you prepare yourself for that inevitable pain and emotion (at least you try too). In my case, we have been playing hide and seek with ‘death’ on and off for 13 years. She fought so hard for many years. She was tired, and if not having her here to make me mashed potatoes or sing with me anymore means she is pain free and at peace, I accept the trade.

 I think the part that tends to hurt the most and usually hits me out of nowhere, are the moments when I catch myself feeling like a 32 year old ‘orphan’. My grandparents passed away when I was in High School, my dad passed away in 2012 and now my mom. I know that I am far from being alone. I am close to all my moms siblings and my cousins. My brother now has his own little growing family that I am lucky to share in, and I of course have my wonderful husband and his whole family who have loved me as one of their own since day one. It still feels weird though and some times I let my anxiety get the best of me and I worry that I won’t be as much apart of my moms extended family as I used to be because that connecting factor is now gone. I know none of my Aunts or Uncles would ever let me disappear even if I wanted to, but as we all get older and people drift apart and that scares me sometimes.

So, whats next? I’m not sure what my next move is in life. So much of my world the last 3 years has been ‘mom centered’, especially after I left my job in spring of 2018.

(Side note: I don’t want to sound like a martyr who has devoted every minute to my moms care. It takes a village, and because of help from my husband and our amazing aid and friend Denise, I have been able to do things such as travel and read 24/7 that I would have never been able to do if I had stayed with my regular job, but those trips and activities also involved a heavy amount of stress, planning and scheduling to make them happen).

For right now, I think more reading, writing, traveling and then eventually finding a new career is in the books. I haven’t felt like ‘myself’ in such a long time so I am looking forward to finding my new groove in life. So, move over Stella, it’s my turn. 

Becoming The Best Wife Ever On Our 9th Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 9th wedding anniversary and in an effort to keep my marriage fun and exciting I took to the ‘inter webs’ to search for advice on being the best wife possible. The internet did not disappoint and I found a blog that posted 40 great tips to be such a wife.

Seeing that I put this task off until 2 days before our anniversary, I will not be able to complete all 40 steps, although, I feel pretty secure in my wifely ranking that I don’t need to do all 40 steps to push me over the top, just saying. 

With that said, I have selected 9 Steps to share with my husband, so, join me as I spend the whole day annoying and alienating my Husband on our 9th Anniversary. #Truelove

1.Frame a nice family picture for him for his bedside table, desk, or cruiser. Bonus points for a nice note on the back.

This seemed easy enough! I grabbed a cute frame and after a quick google search for “nice family picture” and a click of the ‘print’ button, step one was completed! It really is a darling picture, isn’t it? I named them the Howard family. Brad, (an investment banker) Julia (Once a lawyer, now a travel blogger) and little Ryan and Georgia.

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Oh..and just know I couldn’t forget about the ‘bonus points’! I find the ‘Eighth note’ to be one of the nicest notes, don’t you?

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2.Buy his favorite candy bar when you go grocery shopping.

-Wow! Another easy one, although it seems like a waste. We have separate taste in candy bars and cookies ’n’ cream is far from my favorite but maybe this step is designed to make us see our spouses point of view. Oh well, I never say no to chocolate!

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3.Leave a note (or several) for him to find randomly.

-This one is a little more time consuming, but important in any relationship and I know just what I’m going to tell him. We’ve been on a Cheers kick lately, so in true Cliff Clavin style, I left 20 ‘important but mostly unknown facts’ around the house (read them all for yourself here). 

He already knows I love him but did he know that cats can’t taste sweet food because of a genetic issue? Nope, didn’t think so. Knowledge is power and love.

4.Help your kids make him something.

-We don’t have any kids, but we do have 2 minimally creative dogs and one cat who thinks throwing litter around a room is an art form, what is the worst that could happen?

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Turns out, the ‘worst’ that could happen is 3 dirty, pissed off pets and paint everywhere. EVERY. WHERE. Of all the questions asked of me today the one, “But why did you choose RED paint?” will be the one that resinates the most. It looks like I slaughtered all of Santas reindeer as they then struggled for their life on my patio…

5.Tell him one reason you love him (or randomly text it to him.)

-Just one?! Thats amature hour. I say lets kick this affection up a notch and bombard his inbox with nothing but sweet and touching reasons why he is my forever.

6.Get dolled up just for him, like you did when you were dating.

-Again, this one seems a bit off, but I’ll try to recreate the magic. We started dating in college, so it may take me a minute to dig out my ISU hoodies and sweat pants that I seemed to live in for 4 years straight…

7.Hand over control of the remote for a night or two.

-This task wasn’t specific enough for me, we have 3 different remotes, how am i supposed to know which one to give him? Being the bigger person I gave him the remote that turns the TV on and off. He always likes that. I’ll maintain ownership of the sound bar remote and the Apple TV remote, both of those are too small and annoying to keep track of when you want to change the station..

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8. Buy him a small gift.

-You know, thinking back to Step 2 where I bought his favorite candy bar for myself to enjoy, I thought that would be the perfect small gift for him as well!

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9. Plan a special date night, start to finish.

– You may be thinking that I just wasted a whole day leaving weird and confusing messages for my husband, but after 9 years this is just another day in the trenches for him and a ‘special’ day was had by all!

 

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The Piggy That Went To Market…..

……And Never Came Home

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What do you get for the person who has everything? A gift card? Flowers? Fruit of the month membership?

How about for the person who has just casually lost a toe at home like it was no big deal (Yep..I said toe..no awkward auto correct here). A get well card? New socks?

I mean, at least for baby teeth, you just DM the Tooth Fairy, she drops a dollar or two under the pillow and you call it a day. —Side note, what are kids making these days for teeth? I imagine with inflation the whole exchange is worth more now than it was 25 years when I last cashed in on that ‘savings bond’.

Before you answer the real question at hand, I feel like I must explain my situation just a bit. If you are squeamish…move along..trust me..

It all started with an ant bite. Yep, you read that right, an ant bite. If you are a long time follower of my blog, you know that 1. I already hate ants (read here) and 2.  I take care of my mom who is in ‘end stage renal failure’.

My mom, who is freezing even when its 90* outside (side effect of Dialysis), has turned my garage into a little living room complete with T.V. , fridge, recliner and microwave (sounds weird but I promise you, a lot of people do that around here..).

One day the ants went marching one by one (hooh rah..hooh rah..) and decided to make a picnic of my moms foot while she was napping post dialysis. These ants weren’t just black ants, by the way, these were Texas Fire Ants. Other wise known as ‘satan’s little gardeners’.

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This situation all took place last summer. Since then, she has had two surgery’s. One to remove her big toe (buh bye..) and the second surgery to try to save the another one (spoiler alert..second surgery didn’t work)…Now we have a long-standing appointment every Wednesday to see her podiatrist/wound care specialist in an attempt to help her body fight off an infection where every one else would just rub some cream on it, grab some gasoline to light the ant mound on fire and then call it a day.

Now, to say I’m squeamish, is an understatement. With that in mind, my mom often excludes me from graphic discussions about what is going on underneath 30lbs of gauze and bandages on her foot. Until one day, I walked in on my mom and her home nurse re doing the dressing on her foot. It was then that I noticed that she was down half a toe. As you can imagine, I had some questions and a lot of statements. Mom and the nurse laughed as they realized I was pretty much clueless to what was going on. Apparently, they have been anxiously awaiting for the toe to drop off. Just wating…like you wait for pizza rolls to cook in the microwave. Ding..its done or gone. (Andddd I just ruined pizza rolls for myself…)

So, here we are one month, post-toe and I have yet to present my mom with an adequate gift to commemorate such a ‘special’ occasion…here are some of the leading ideas suggested by friends, family and the Dr. himself….

“You Are An Obsession, My Obsession..”

I can’t just casually like something. Nope, not me. I’m either all in or nothing at all. I am that person who goes to the store, buys 50 bags worth of groceries and insists on carrying them all into the house in one trip only to drop them on the counter and want to give up. This is an issue. Take for example, this blog. Four months ago I was writing two posts a day, four times a week, then..nothing, blank spaces, crickets.

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Example 2: Cross stitch, sewing, crocheting. There was a point in time where I would stay up until 3 in the A.M. working on one large project or watching every how to Youtube video, only to shelf the whole unfinished project to pick up another hobby.

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The Facebook Album of where pinterest projects go to die….

Example 3: The gym. Probably the best obsessive hobby to have, there was a time when my husband and I lived at the gym…now, we send postcards and share fond memories when we can.

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My current obsession? Books. I’ve always liked to read, (I grew up without internet and cable tv…better, simpler times!) but college seemed to kill the ‘read for fun’ idea for me so I stopped. I picked it back up in October and now I am currently reading anywhere between 3-4 books a week, and we aren’t talking small books either. I go to bed with a book in my hand and wake up with a book in my hand.

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My goal was to read 50 books by 2020…half way through May and I’ve read 43..

Now, I know what you are thinking..It could be a lot worse…I could be obsessing over drugs, alcohol or even worse TWINKIES…(a twinkie does sound good right now….) but I am here to say this type of obsessive behavior is exhausting for not only me, my poor husband who has to try and keep up with me,  but my house as I am running out of room for the hobbies I take up only abandon months later.

A skilled proffesional would probably argue that this obsesessve behavior is my minds way of dealing with (or rather not dealing) stressors in my life. I could get behind that, but I have no time to meet up with said skilled proffesional, given all the unfinshed new AND old projects I have yet to complete…(ha)

Sooooooo In an effort to correct my obessive tendencies, my goal for this 2019 summer is, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!! (except baseball…that love affair has been going on since the mid 90s). If I want to blog here and there, then read for a few days than put that book down and pick up some knitting needles to learn how to make a blanket, that is fine, but I will by NO MEANS, buy every size needle, every book available or hoard every color of yarn known to man to inevitably make half of a dish towel..(besides..if you have followed along this far…you should have guessed I already have a crap ton of yarn..)

 

So with that said..LET THE SUMMER OF MODERATION BEGIN! What should I write about first, or not write about until I’m ready to write..you know..in a non-obsessive way?

 

P.s. (do people still P.s. anymore?) I want to know if I am alone or not. Do you obsesse over something more than you wish you did? Please don’t leave me sitting alone on the crazy train, the trip is quicker with friends…ha!

 

Earworm of the Week

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Hear ye, Hear ye, may I now present to you for your reading pleasure, the inaugural post of “Ear Worm of the Week.” In this new weekly segment, I will share with you the one or two songs that have been STUCK in my head. Through this process we will either bond, argue or I will help you find your next favorite hit. So, lets jump into it, shall we.

I’m The Greatest Star-Barbara Streisand from Funny Girl

It’s no secret that I love musicals and Barbara Streisand and when the two worlds combine, even better. Last week while my husband was away for work, I traded out my Gilmore Girl’s marathon for a Barbara binge instead. Funny Girl was obviously on the list, and even though I’ve seen the movie a million times, it still managed to get lodged in my head for a week. Why do I like it? A lot of Barbara’s movies focus on girls that don’t fit the typical mold but overcome the stereotypes to get what they dream of. (Funny Girl, Yentl, A Star is Born, The Mirror has Two Faces) In this song she is trying to convince theater producers that she is exactly what they are looking for. It’s catchy, funny and I think it could apply to anyone who has ever felt underated and overlooked.

Favorite line:

I’m a natural cough
(ahoo, aheh, ahay)
Some ain’t got it, not a lot
I’m a great big clump of talent
Laugh!
(ha ha ha ha)

They’ll bend in half
A thousand jokes
(Stick around for the jokes!)
A thousand faces
I reiterate

 

Come Along- Cosmo Sheldrake

I rarely watch live tv, but I am a sucker for the award season and found myself watching the Golden Globes. One of the commercials was for Apple featuring this song Come Along. I was immediately drawn to it. Now, I know I late to the party as it came out in 2017, but my XM station is glued to either The Beatles, 70’s on 7 or The Bridge, so it takes a minute for current music to reach me. Why do I like it? One of my favorite things about Wings and the Beatles is their use of orchestral accompaniment and this has it for sure. If the Beatles and the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack had a baby, this could be it. Ok, that might be a stretch, but it works in my imagination. Also, this song makes my toes tap and I jog faster when I listen to it on the treadmill (which is always a good thing).

Favorite Line:

Come come come come come along now,
Run away from the hum-drum,
We’ll go to a place that is safe from
greed, anger and boredom

So there we have it, the first week is in the books! What song or songs are stuck in your head this week?