Closing Credits

What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.
— from On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

Today’s Writing Group prompt: Which 5 songs would you like played at your funeral and why?

This was my contribution to the list of prompts.  I’m not sure why I came up with it, but I’ve been thinking about it since I submitted it.  Here’s what I’ve got:

1. Wonder, by Natalie Merchant

Yes, I used this in the theme song post, but there you go – if you talked to people who knew me during a particular period of my life, they’d tell you that this song is mine.  I want it sing me out.

2. Seasons of Love, by the cast of Rent

This song, man.  The lyrics are gorgeous, and the music just gives me chills.

3. Angel, by Sarah McLachlan

I know what this song is about, but I don’t care.  I think it’s beautiful, and I find it so comforting.  I’d hope others would as well.

4. If I Should Fall Behind, by Bruce Springsteen

For David.

We swore we’d travel, darlin’, side by side
We’d help each other stay in stride
But each lover’s steps fall so differently
But I’ll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me

5. All Good Things, by Jackson Brown

And I want you to remember/All wild deeds live on/All good times/All good friends




“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it’s enough. I really do because they’ve made me happy. And I’m only one person.”
–from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Today’s Writing Group prompt:  What’s your theme song?

This is super easy for me:

I have loved this song since it came out, and it’s long been my signature song at karaoke.  I wish I had more time to get into it right now, but today’s a busy day for me.  My apologies.  Here are the lyrics:

Doctors have come from distant cities
Just to see me
Stand over my bed
Disbelieving what they’re seeing

They say I must be one of the wonders
Of god’s own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer
No explanation

Newspapers ask intimate questions
Want confessions
They reach into my head
To steal the glory of my story

They say I must be one of the wonders
Of god’s own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer
No explanation

Oh, I believe
Fate smiled and destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience, and with faith
She’ll make her way

People see me
I’m a challenge to your balance
I’m over your heads
I, I confound you and astound you, too
Oh,  I must be one of the wonders
Of god’s own creation
And as far as you can see you can offer me
No explanation

Oh, I believe
Fate smiled and destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience, and with faith
She’ll make her way

Ellie and Adam’s Day of Fun!*

(* to be said in your best Janice voice)

To me, clowns aren’t funny. In fact, they’re kind of scary. I’ve wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad.
— Jack Handy

So, my niece and nephew, heretofore referred to as the Princess and the Conductor, came up last Friday night to spend the weekend.  Friday night, they helped me make a special Shamrock Cake – to be blogged separately – and then went to bed to rest up for the big day on Saturday.

We took the Metro into DC – which they love.

Decked out in St. Paddy's Day finest!

Everyone smiled when they saw Ellie with her shamrock deely-bobbers (that’s what I’ve always called them – what do you call them?).  We arrived at the Verizon Center, and they were super, super excited because we were going to the circus, which they’ve never been to before.

I bought Adam a toy (Ellie declined) and we headed to our seats.  The clowns came out for the pre-show, and the kids were laughing and clapping.  Then, the lights went down, and were were asked to stand for the National Anthem.  And then this happened:

After that, it was basically non-stop awesomeness:


glow-in-the-dark jumpers

And my absolute favorite:

Tightrope walkers

But wait – it gets awesomer:

On a bike!

There was lots of other stuff I didn’t get pictures of – more clowns, tumblers, those guys who run around those giant hamster wheel things, oh – and the rope swingers, the ones who wrap the ropes (or fabric, really) around their hands or feet and slide down and back up.  Amazing.

There were animals, too, of course, but aside from the elephants, watching them just made me sad.

I don’t know if it was the PETA assholes outside the entrance protesting making me feel guilty or what, but the horses and the tigers were just a let down.  The tigers seemed almost drugged, and watching the horses run around those tiny rings, with their heads constricted so they couldn’t rear . . . it felt dirty.

Anyway, the big finale was a guy who set himself on fire and launched himself across the arena.  It probably goes without saying that that was Adam’s favorite part – boys and fire, you know.

Afterwards, we took a break for lunch, then headed to the National Museum of Natural History on the Mall.  On our way, we wandered through the Sculpture Garden:

Adam loved this giant bunny.

Once we got to the museum, we wandered around the ocean hall, where we saw the jaws of the largest shark ever known, and then the mammal hall, which had all sorts of animals from all over the world:

(Sorry for the quality; that one’s from my camera.)

Finally, finally, after a walk through the gems and minerals hall, it was time for the big deal, the reason we came in the first place – a trip through the Butterfly Pavilion.  It was as neat and amazing as billed – walking through hundreds of live butterflies of all species, nothing between you and them but air.

One landed on Ellie’s leis, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture.  This lady had one land in her hair:

Neither of them wanted to hold the paintbrush this big guywas on, so I took one for the team:

And then.  And then.  All of a sudden, Adam hollered, “Mel-mel, come here, look!”  And this is what we saw:

Untitled from Melanie on Vimeo.

Yeah!  A butterfly being born!  And two more trying their hardest to break out of their cocoons!  How cool is that?

By the time our turn in the Pavilion was over, the kids were worn out and ready to go home.  We drove down to Fredericksburg (they both fell asleep) to pick up David, whose car had broken down, then had dinner and came home.  Then it was time for the super special Shamrock Cake!  I know you can’t wait to see it, but you’ll just have to tune in tomorrow!

Ah, Youth

Smooth ice is paradise for those who dance with expertise.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Driving home from an appointment this evening, I had the XM radio in David’s car tuned to the 90s station.  After some Goo Goo Dolls, a little Soup Dragons, some Sophie B., what should I hear but . . .

Yeah.  That’s Vanilla Ice.  This song was released in 1990; I was 13.

At 13, I was dying to fit in.  A lot of people I knew at school, who were already into classic rock, hated this song.  I clearly remember repeating one of their derisive comments when this song came up in front someone I was trying to impress: “Oh, all he did was rip off Under Pressure,” I said, trying to sound worldly.  As if I gave a fuck about Queen at 13.  In truth, I loved this song.  I taped it off the radio and spent afternoons in my bedroom with the door closed, playing it over and over, even choreographing a dance routine that I imagined presenting in the talent show at 4-H camp that summer.  It should go without saying that I was not cool at 13.

Welcome to Springfield

A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed.  It feels an impulsion; this is the place to go now.  But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.
— Richard Bach

This is what the sky looked like on my walk on Thursday afternoon:



Every time I see a sky like this, I can’t help but think of the opening credits of The Simpsons – I call it a cartoon-blue sky.

(Why, why, why does nothing ever embed anymore, even when I put the video code in in html view?  Boo.)