Category Archives: Songs

Three coins in the fountain

Roma Maratona 2013

roma maratona 2013
Source.

Loyal followers may have noted my prolonged silence – I was busy, just like you! I’m trying to look forward and forget about my desire to catch you up on my recent adventures. There will be time for all that later. This weekend, I am heading to Rome to run past several historic monuments, to feel the Catholic vibe (the run is the same day as Pope Francis’s enthronement), and to spin my legs for fun!

This is the third coin I’m throwing into the marathon fountain here in Italy, which brings to mind a lovely song for the movie “Three Coins in The Fountain.” I saw this film when I was on the plane to Rome, with my great friend Ashley, who re-shaped my plans to spend a month in Paris and instead nurtured my long-standing love for Italy. We made it to Paris, but not before Rome and the rest of Italy stole my heart. I always get a bit nostalgic when I think of the Trevi Fountain and this song. I am looking forward to running past it on Sunday and yes, I’ll probably shed a tear!

Enjoy!
(Song starts around the 1:00 minute mark)

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Thank you Sara & KEXP

First things first, I have to kick it to all of my Seattle peeps because almost everyone I know in Seattle has at one point or another recommended KEXP to me. But earliest and most adamantly, Michael B nudged me in his quiet “look how cool you can be like me” way to listen to KEXP when I was living in Seattle.

Thank you Michael!

Next, Nathan gave me more of an insiders view of KEXP. My Seattle friend Nathan has been volunteering at KEXP for years and years; he let me tag along on a companion fare for SIFF movies, he took me to the studio a couple of times, prodded me out the door to KEXP community events, played beautiful music for pure appreciation after dizzying conversations about life, let his adoration and admiration of KEXP shine through all the time.

Thank you Nathan!

Of course, everyone else Seattle who is reading this and I can’t name you all – thank YOU, too!

Then I came to Sicily and thought KEXP would be a ghostly whisper in my ear…but of course, these are the days of the internet…but even more than that, these are the days of Sara telling me about the KEXP Song of the Day podcast. Not being a very good media technician, itunes technician, or anything like that, I quickly signed up for this podcast and then even more quickly forgot all about it.

Nevertheless, Thank You Sara!

Luckily, despite my shortcomings, Sara reminded me of Santigold, which she discovered via KEXP Song of the Day, and now I am nursing my pre-race jitters with this song. I hope you enjoy it, too!

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Clandestino

Whoa. This life is a wild ride if you pay attention to the little details. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and all, but don’t forget it either, I say! Just wait to see what a beautiful pattern those small details create in your life – be patient for them, and don’t overthink it (right, Jonathan?).

There are so many themes that tie in with the idea for this post that it could become a major theme, but I am not going to overthink it and will keep the stream of consciousness light tonight.

First of all, the beautiful Manu Chao song, “Clandestino”

The song is essentially about noticing how many people around you are illegals (clandestino), yet they are of sufficient mass that they support the culture and economy of nearly all modern industrialized nations; the U.S. and Europe alike.

Then, the article about the Romania immigrants sold to or enslaved by Italian (European, American, Imperialist, etc) people; in particular, this article discussed how these people are forced into panhandling. This type of panhandling is likened to (though not outright compared to) the umbrella girls – poor, disenfranchised people, brought to a foreign country without language, people or resources, forced into some sort of body labor (prostitution v. panhandling) and left without money or independence at the day’s end.

Finally, Clandestino banana products. The cover design, product design, and results are exquisite. Beautiful product! I hesitated at first due to my on-again-off-again hatred of banana texture and flavor, mitigated by the ubiquity, utility and nutritional quality of bananas. Yet, when I tasted the Clandestino bar, I was pleasantly surprised! (As was this blogger who reviewed the product.) Finally a “power” bar that is mostly unprocessed, full of nutrition, and doesn’t leave that gross-fake-chocolate taste in your mouth.

No matter the quality of the banana bar, I couldn’t help hearing the haunting sounds of Manu Chao’s song, nor the images of my favorite pan-handler (one-legged-Andy), and the many, many umbrella girls I see nearly daily. The power of words, and particularly of names, is immense.

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The Weight of Lies

If you’re feeling at all contemplative or like you want to give some thought to how we try to hide within ourselves, give The Avett Brother’s a chance. These guys write some really honest lyrics that strike me as simplistically beautiful. Big props to my cousin Steph for initially introducing and to my brother Jim for re-introducing me to The Avett Brothers.

The music hits that same simplicity, but it is more nuanced with harmonies and hums, sharp dynamics and pitch changes that draw your attention right back to the song just at the moment that your mind started wandering away on the implications of the lyrics.

“Nothing happens here that doesn’t happen there”

This lyric has always been the one that stands out most to me. Due to my introspective nature and my wanderlust soul, I have made several self-check-ups over the years: Are you running away from something? What do you think will be different in the next place? What is making you feel like leaving again? What challenges are you seeking with this next adventure?

Between 17 and 27, I lived in three dorms, my parents’ house, three sublets, one house share (unknown roommates), four apartments with seventeen different roommates, my friend’s parents house, a host-family house (Ecuador), my suitcase (extended travels), and one apartment all to myself. I was the opposite of settled down. Because I was not running from the law, or debt, or even a bad break-up, I thought that I answered all the self-questions correctly. I thought I was just curious about the world.

While the song is couching its lyrics around the concept of lies, I think the lies at issue are really those that we tell to ourselves. Hiding who we really are, or holding back from expressing ourselves really only charms others, and sometimes ourselves, into befriending, or be-lovering, a facade. While it is still true that I am curious about the world, I have been enough places and put myself in enough situations that stretch the limits of my comfort zone to see that I didn’t necessarily need to travel the world to have these growing experiences (though it is certainly a great way to do it). I just need to be brave enough to be honest with myself about my dreams, opinions, doubts, ideas, loves, hates; about why I avoid conflict to my detriment until I seek it out to my detriment; about my career status and how I chose each step on the path to this point…and, that if I am brave enough to be honest with myself, well, that would be the grandest adventure of all.

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We goin’ ridin’ on the freeway…

…of Love in my pink Cadillac!

Sicilian driving is the stuff of legend, or urban myth, depending on your viewpoint. I’m pretty sure Aretha Franklin would take it all with a measured “ah ha, ah ha!” or a “Here we go!” or even a “Drop the pedal and go!”

As sound as all of her exclamations are, none of them were much aid during our commute home from work this evening. I work in a busy, bustling office, where I am surrounded by radio playing, officemates chatting, phones ringing, conference calls blasting over speakerphone, and with my pleasant charm and chatty nature, several visitors to my incredibly open cubicle in the high-traffic area of our office space. As such, I prefer to drive the homeward commute in order to relax from the day. As much an oxymoron as it sounds to use a busy drive home to unwind from a busy office; on the autostrada, I have ever slightly more control of my environment than I do in the office.

Today’s traffic was extreme. It is the eve of the Italian summer holiday, Ferragosto (roll those r’s), when legions of Italians take advantage of the national holiday, the heat of the summer, and the ubiquitous beaches. In droves, Sicilians were fleeing Catania for family homes in the country, fancy to low-budget beach resorts (more low-budget this year due to flailing economy), or a campsite. About 1.5 miles from the toll booth we normally traverse with our Telepass with the most minor of pauses, we came to a screeching stop as brake lights flashed suddenly ahead of us.

My tires did not actually screech, but I quickly threw on my hazard flashers (because Italians heed this warning, pun intended). I glanced in my rearview mirror and left space in front of my car…to ensure that even if I were rear-ended, I would not slam into the car ahead of me. To my relief, I saw the first three cars coming up behind me also put on their hazard flashers, and I let out my breath and slowly crept up on the car in front of me. A millisecond later, I heard the screeching tires and let my foot off the brake. Can you tell that I am paranoid of being rear-ended?! (That’ll happen after you work for personal injury lawyers!) Fortunately, the screecher screeched to a screechy halt and all was well.

After about a 20-minute delay, we broke free from the bumper to bumper grind and proceeded home. The good-natured folk we are, Dave and I tried to make the best of the situation. Aside from grumbling “this fucking sucks” a few times, I did enjoy my newly purchased Diana Krall album “The Girl in the Other Room,” managed to notice some graffiti I had not seen before, watched a trucker ditch his garbage directly into the bougainvillea bushes growing between autostrada lanes. I also appreciated this “poisonous material” warning sign (presumably that is the message).

Whatever’s in this truck will sure as shit kill your fishies and your trees

Luckily, I wasn’t near the truck with this symbol when the screeching tires were freaking me out. In any case, it was a truly Sicilian drive home, but I could only think of Aretha Franklin. Sing it, sister, sing it.

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Just Think of Nice Things

“What kind of things?”

Ciao tutti…Saturday was the one-year anniversary of The Cinquecento Project!!!

Like any good recovering Catholic, amidst my celebration a little voice inside my head cautioned me to take a step back. Thus, following work this evening, I dove into the weeds of our finances. Several calculations later, Dave and I have a collaborative view of our financial future. You know, until it changes again!

Despite my bleary eyes, the knots in my shoulders, and my drooping head, I feel upbeat. Hence, that little sadistic voice in my head was silenced by Julie Andrews!

Hope you enjoy some of your favorite things today.

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If today had a soundtrack.

Please don’t hate me, but sometimes when I’m getting ready for a workout, I sing the lyrical phrase “Working on my Fitness” a la Fergie (around the 1:25 mark) in “Fergalicious.”

It is a little bit better than singing the latest craze by LMFAO, “I’m sexy and I know it,” which includes the lyric “I work OUT” (kind of all the time, I don’t need to direct you to this line).

However, the best song to wrap up this momentary meme is the simply beautiful and haunting song “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra. The video is super cool, so it’s worth checking out, but the chorus will stick with you, too.
“You didn’t have to cut me off…
blah blah blah (good lyrics, but they change)

Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know”

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