Dilovely’s Playlist: 30 Summer-Sunshiny Beat-the-Winter-Blues Songs

It’s the first day of spring! Maybe if we talk about warm weather, it will happen.

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When I was a teenager, I made a mix tape every summer. This was back in the days when there was no hipster definition of the term “mixtape”; when mixes were made on actual cassette tapes, and the process involved piles of tapes, painstaking rewinding and forwarding to find songs, hovering in readiness to stop at the right moment, and deciding whether the convenience of high-speed dubbing was worth the loss in quality.

By gum, kids making mixes these days don’t know how good they have it.

To me, a summer mix is a sacred thing. It needs songs that are true anthems of summer, but it also needs songs that are just good, classic, solid songs to sing along to – preferably ones that evoke, with their vocals and/or instrumentation, sun/sand/porches/patios/hammocks/dappled shade.

Right now, here in Southern Ontario, we’ve had some tantalizingly mild days, but the cold keeps coming back. Meanwhile, on the East Coast of Canada, they just keep getting more snow to decorate the 40 cm they got a few days ago. And now the Northeastern States are expecting Winter Storm Ultima for spring, just to remind them who’s boss (i.e., not the calendar). Sigh.

This is for all the folks who are finding that winter just won’t quit. I’m posting it with all the warm, sunny vibes I can muster.

1. Here For A Good Time, by Trooper (1977). It’s danceable, singable, air-drummable, and frankly just captures the whole essence of summer: you know it will be gone in a blink, so make the most of it.

2. The Tide Is High, by Blondie (1980). I love the sunny brass and the steel drums in this one – not to mention the sweet vintage video – although the original by the Paragons is great too.

3. Good Vibrations, by the Beach Boys (1966). I know, it’s not a surfing song. Sadly, I’m not a California Girl and I don’t live anywhere near the ocean. But we all can relate to good vibrations, while enjoying the surfy sound of the BBoys.

4. Stir It Up, by Bob Marley (1973). Practically any Marley song could work here, since they’re all so mellow and sunny, but I’m partial to this one.

5. Sunny Days, by Lighthouse (1972). It’s so fun and quaint, and yet I love the line, “Ain’t nothin’ better in the world, you know, than lyin’ in the sun with your radio…” Even in our screen-obsessed age, it’s still true. Simple and awesome.

6. Me Enamoré, by Chichi Peralta (1998). You can’t help but dance to this li’l song about falling in love (like never before), and the exuberant Latin sound conjures palm trees and margaritas. (In my mind. I wish it could actually conjure them.)

7. This Is The Right Time, by the Corrs (1995). They speak true – sometimes the sunshine in your window is the perfect catalyst for creativity. Be in the zone.

8. Jack & Diane, by John Mellencamp (1982). It may just a little ditty, but the word “classic” doesn’t even do it justice. (I happened to have this one on my summer mix in 1994, the year I could sing “Hold onto sixteen as long as you can” with especial fervency.)

9. Summer in the City, by the Lovin’ Spoonful (1966). When I was a kid, my sisters and best friend and I produced a “Sounds of the 60s” singin’-and-dancin’ spectacle for our families and neighbours, based on – what else? – a cassette tape of 60s pop masterpieces. I have loved this song ever since.

10. Walls Fall Down, by Bedouin Sound Clash (2007). As mentioned above, NSS/SV: not strictly a “summer” song, but a summery vibe. And a good message.

11. Saturday In The Park, by Chicago (1973). So many images, you feel like you’re there with the ice cream. Yes, we can dig it.

12. Brown-Eyed Girl, by Van Morrison (1967). Green grass, waterfalls, sunlight, laughing, running, skipping… Perfect. (Kinda made me wish I had brown eyes, back in the day.)

13. Le baiser, by Alain Souchon (1999). This song is actually about a mysterious (kissing) encounter with a stranger on a beach in winter, but to me it sounds like summer. Mostly the guitar, but also because it talks about Dunkerque and Malo Bray-Dunes, which is where I lived in France, and I got to know the song when my time there was almost over, just starting to break into warmth. The lyrics are pure poetry.

14. Groovin’, by The Young Rascals (1967). Could there be a more quintessential hot-lazy-days sound than this?

15. Simple Pleasures, by David Myles (2011). Love this guy (whom I happen to have seen in concert). He knows what’s important in life.

16. Ukulelove, by Dilovely (2014). Whoops, did I just stick that in there with all these other legit songs? Why yes, yes I did. Mostly because the Hawaii pictures can’t help but cheer you up if you have the winter blues. *insert winky face.*

17. Red Red Wine, by UB40 (1983). Sad song, happy groove. There are other UB40 songs I like more, but this one gets people singing the most.

18. Hot Fun in the Summertime, by Sly & The Family Stone (1969). It speaks for itself.

19. Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974). Again, NSS/SV – especially if you’ve seen Jenny and Forrest dancing to it in Forrest Gump (and if you haven’t, wha??). This song’s iconic guitar riff is one of only two things I’ve ever learned on the guitar. And if you’re interested, the politics of the lyrics are more complex than they seem.

20. Jump In The Line, by Harry Belafonte (1961). Gotta have some calypso on the list, and no one compares with the legendary Harry. I loved this song as a kid, back when I had no idea of Belafonte’s varied and inspiring activism. (Also, did you know it was originally composed by Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Kitchener? Thanks, Wikipedia.)

21. Summer of ’69, by Bryan Adams (1984). Because naturally, this list would not be complete without it. Plus, it explicitly mentions the porch.

22. Beast of Burden, by The Rolling Stones (1978). NSS/SV. Sooo mellow and… dare I say, grassy?

23. In The Summertime, by Mungo Jerry (1970). Not politically correct, per se, but so sincere at the time. Plus, jug solo.

24. Long Time Running, by The Tragically Hip (1991). NSS/SV. It doesn’t get more laid-back than this. And the “long, long, long time coming” bit seems to go poetically with summer, for many of us.

25. Montego Bay, by Amazulu (1986). Sounds like paradise – except I’d be more vigilant with the sunscreen, myself. Original by Bobby Bloom is good too.

26. Dela, by Johnny Clegg & Savuka (1989). NSS/SV, simply one of the best songs ever. (Only now am I finding out from YouTube that it was in George of the Jungle… huh. Not sure I’m down with that.)

27. Here Comes The Sun, by the Beatles (1969). Even if you can’t see it yet, the sun is coming. It’s all right.

28. Under African Skies, by Paul Simon (1986). NSS/SV. Just a gorgeous, twinkly-starry song, with “the powerful pulsing of love in the veins.”

29. Reggae Night, by Jimmy Cliff (1984). At the end of a long summer day, the ground is stays warm and it’s time to dance with all your friends. And if you’re wondering, all your friends are in this song, singing along.

30. Sleep Walk, by Santo & Johnny (1959). Finally, it’s time to get into your hammock on the beach, and nod off to the sound of the waves.

How do you feel now? Sunny and happy??

Just in case you need a little extra, here’s one for the kiddies:

And a sizzling hot number for the symphonic music-lovers:

And that should do it. YOU’RE WELCOME. Happy spring!

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Dilovely’s Playlist: 20 Sad Songs that Sound Happy

I know I’m not the only one having a mercurial November. It’s an odd month for a lot of us (including the thermometer). In honour of the confusing nature of the in-between season, let’s pick up our spirits with some songs that are tragic but sound lively and fun. K?

  1. Tears of a Clown (1967) – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. A very distinctive song with its circus-type theme and high catchiness factor… but it’s all about loneliness and regret.
  2. Build Me Up Buttercup (1968) – The Foundations. So singable, such a fun song to listen to – especially considering it’s the words of a desperate man begging for scraps of attention.
  3. Bad Moon Rising (1969) – Creedence Clearwater Revival. Trouble starts with the fourth word of the song, and doesn’t let up. And yet, you could practically polka to this.
  4. I Want you Back (1969) – The Jackson 5. One of my favourite songs EVER, brimming with energy and awesomeness… and more begging, not to mention tear stains on the ground.
  5. You Left the Water Running (1976) – Otis Redding. (Actually that’s just the most famous version – he didn’t write it – and it was recorded in ’66 but not released until ten years later). My favourite rendition is from Huey Lewis and the News’ Four Chords and Several Years Ago – the piano part totally makes me dance around. (Not that this is hard to do.)
  6. Angel Eyes (1979) – Abba. There were actually several Abba candidates – “Knowing Me, Knowing You” is another one; and of course “Mamma Mia”… and they all rock so much it’s hard to decide.
  7. I Don’t Like Mondays (1979) – The Boomtown Rats. This song is about an actual school shooting perpetrated on a Monday in 1979 by a severely effed-up 16-year-old girl in California. She fired into a schoolyard from her house across the street, because she was bored. (Her dad gave her the rifle for Christmas, so there you go.) Horrible plot, great instrumentation.
  8. Hungry Heart (1980) – Bruce Springsteen. Festive song in which Narrator leaves his wife and kids in Baltimore in the second line – and we never hear from them again, poor folks.
  9. Jessie’s Girl (1981) – Rick Springfield. I think a lot of us can relate to unrequited love/lust for someone who’s already taken; we just don’t usually turn our angst into wicked 80s power chords.
  10. Invisible Touch (1986) – Genesis. About a woman who grabs right hold o’ your heart – and tears you apart. And I challenge anyone not to bop along to this infectious beat. Continue reading “Dilovely’s Playlist: 20 Sad Songs that Sound Happy”

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Dilovely’s Playlist: 25 Legendary Canadian Songs (x2!)

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Hey, beloved readers. Welcome to NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month)! In honour of this, and in accordance with tradition, I will be challenging myself to post something every day. (We shall see if I manage.) If you are totally sick of me by the end of November, I will have done my job. 🙂

My first post for November is inspired by CBC Radio, whose 75th anniversary is TOMORROW! Or probably today, by the time you read this. (And just happens to coincide with my own Bloggiversary.) CBC has been compiling a list of Canada’s greatest songs from each decade… and I’ve been putting off looking at it so I could create my own list without cheating. Just so you know, CBC Radio 2 will be doing a through-the-decades countdown tomorrow… and I kinda wish I could skip school just to listen to it.

So we’re looking at great Canadian songs. Hang onto your hats, folks, it’s a double whammy. (Are you excited yet??)

First up, I thought about songs that have, in my humble estimation, become part of the very fabric of Canadian culture and will be sung for centuries to come. They’re not necessarily my absolute favourites (some are), but they are populace-approved and I am confident in their staying power. I tried to keep it to 20 but THERE WERE TOO MANY! I could go on and on!

So here’s my genre-sweeping list of 25 Canadian Songs I Believe Have Achieved the Status Of Legendary and Never-To-Be-Forgotten:

  1. Diana (1957), by Paul Anka. The Justin Bieber of his time, apparently in love with his babysitter. A word to the wise: if you’re writing a romantic song to your unrequited love, saying “You’re so old” in the first line is not going to help your cause. (The fact that this song’s title is my name has nothing to do with this choice.)
  2. Magic Carpet Ride (1968), by Steppenwolf. The essence of psychedelic, at least in my mind.
  3. These Eyes (1968), by the Guess Who. Already a song for the ages, it was endearingly re-immortalized for a new generation by Canuck Michael Cera in Superbad. Come on. Who can resist this kind of sincerity?
  4. The Weight (1968), by The Band. No idea what it’s really about, but it’s fun to listen to and even funner to sing along. (Yes, I know funner isn’t a word.) Continue reading “Dilovely’s Playlist: 25 Legendary Canadian Songs (x2!)”

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Dilovely’s Playlist: 20 Favourite Pick-Me-Up Songs

As promised ages ago, I have made y’all a playlist of “uppers”, as my brother calls them: songs that I put on when I need a mood-lifter, ones that are infectiously happy, or just have a melody that makes a body feel good. These are by no means the only 20 songs I would put in such a list – in fact, there could probably be many more volumes.

Just so you know, I have lots of related playlists brewing, such as “Songs for Grooving to with a Baby”, “Songs that Rock My Socks”, “Beautiful Songs that Pluck My Heartstrings”, “Symphonic Music That Makes the World Better”, “Must-Dance Songs”, and “Canadian Songs that Shall Be Immortal”. Please stay tuned.

I hope you will

a) enjoy perusing the list and perhaps checking out some songs, because we can all use another pick-me-up; and

b) add to the list!! It is fascinating to know what songs make people grin or dance like fools or belt out loud in their cars or kitchens. Please share with me.

Dilovely’s Playlist of 20 Favourite Pick-Me-Up Songs:

  1. You Make My Dreams (1980), by Hall & Oates. I’m a sucker for 80s pop – just so happy.
  2. Accidentally in Love (2004), by Counting Crows. I can feel myself turning a little faster and jumping a little higher.
  3. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (1976), by Elton John and Kiki Dee. Too fun to be glum – or sit still, for that matter.
  4. Only One (2007), by Jeremy Kay. You stimulate my mind too, Jeremy – thanks.
  5. Good Lovin’ (1966), by The Rascals. I’m also a sucker for oldies with tight harmonies.
  6. Shine (2007), by Take That. We are AWESOME! We are the best, shiniest people ever.
  7. Right by Your Side (1983), by Eurythmics. It’s not often we get such a burst of euphoria from Annie Lennox… and I like it.
  8. Love You I Do (2006, a la 1963), sung by Jennifer Hudson, from the Dreamgirls Soundtrack. You just can’t beat exuberant Motown brass.
  9. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (1981), by the Police. A perfect combination of epic and ecstatic – plus, really fun video! I just discovered it today.
  10. Procura (1997), by Chichi Peralta. It’s everything I love about Latin music – and you should have seen my Grade 2 music class go nuts for it!
  11. Down Rideau Canal (2006), by James Hill. This Canuck ukulele artist is just… amazing. I dare you to watch this without smiling. Also, the most shimmying I’ve ever done was a solo to this song (the CD version is a whole minute longer).
  12. Don’t Stop Me Now (1978), by Queen. If Freddy wants to make a super-sonic woman outta me, I won’t stop him.
  13. Birdhouse in Your Soul (1990), by They Might Be Giants. After 20 years, I still have no idea what they’re talking about, but the glorious song lives on.
  14. The Set-Up (1998), by Reel Big Fish. Immature punks with potty mouths… and incredible musical talent. (Actually, no real swearing in this one.)
  15. Take Me Down (1996), by Phil Collins. Isn’t it amazing how these balding, middle-aged dudes can rock? It doesn’t hurt that I’m also a sucker for the African influence.
  16. Lovin’ Each Day (2000), by Ronan Keating. The epitome of catchiness, in a good way. Don’t be afraid to bop along.
  17. Jump (1984), by Van Halen. So hard-core, and yet so sweet! Let’s jump, people.
  18. Soul Man (1967), by Sam and Dave. I know I’m not qualified to say this, but leave it to a black musician (Isaac Hayes) to take inspiration from the Detroit Street Riot and turn it into the funkiest, foot-tappingest, proudest anthem you could ask for.
  19. Koff Drops (1989), by Moe Koffman. A fantastic Canadian jazz flautist re-imagines a Bach (?) sonata and it’s pure awesomeness. It was also the theme for CBC’s As It Happens for a while, and when I was a kid I always looked forward to the few moments we got to hear this song – right around dinnertime.
  20. C’est l’amour (2002), by Youssou N’Dour. From a very political artist, a simple and beautiful song about how you can’t eat or sleep when you’re wishing for the one you love. (I’d think whoever she was, she could’ve been won over with this.)

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5-Day Artist Challenge, Day 4: Music

In my bakery-café of the 5-Day (plus an intervening month) Artist Challenge, how to metaphorize music? How can I possibly convey, bread-wise, what music means to me? The truth is, I can’t. But I’m going to use some more it’s-my-blog leeway and say: it’s COOKIES.

Some cookies need lots of practice and training to make. Some cookies you can just whip up on instinct. Some are stunningly intricate, some are satisfyingly simple. Some you’ll make over and over again, and they never fail to comfort. Some cookies are so sublime, you have to drop what you’re doing and close your eyes to enjoy them properly.

Mozart cookie: lovely and mathematically precise.

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Classic Viennese cookies via andrewingredients.co.uk.

Debussy cookie: sophisticated, with deceptive lightness.

Colorful macaroons
French macarons via bonepi.com.

Miles Davis cookie: smooth, sweet-salty, and ultra-cool.

Double-Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Salted-Swirl-Ice-Cream-Sandwiches-glitterinc.com_
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich cookie via glitterinc.com.

Gordon Lightfoot cookie: deliciously chewy and sturdy, with lots of traditional ingredients.

Cinnamon-Oatmeal-Raisin-Cookies.ashx_
Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin cookie via recipeshubs.com.

Rage Against the Machine cookie: hard-core, with principles.

badass cookie music
Vegan Power cookie via chicvegan.com.

Justin Bieber cookie.

golden oreos
Golden Oreos via thecolorless.net.

Now that you’d rather be eating cookies, let’s get back to Music. At this juncture, I’ll admit that cookies still don’t fully express what I want them to, because I could FAR more easily live without cookies than live without music.

In utero, I was already learning to depend on melody and harmony; as my mom sang with her Renaissance choir, I frolicked along.

During my childhood, we listened to music in our house all the time – from Sandra Beech and Raffi to Sleeping Beauty and Mary Poppins to Brahms and Prokofiev to Bruce Cockburn and John Fahey to the Beatles and Jethro Tull. We often attended the symphony and the opera as a family in those days, too. We would take turns staring at the performers from the second balcony, using binoculars.

Music was always full of images and emotion for me, even when I was quite little. We often listened to music to fall asleep, and certain pieces moved me so much, I felt bereft when they ended. I can remember a long pre-teen afternoon spent nerding out with my little sister, writing interpretive poems based on Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring; it was so beautiful it had to be poemed.

As for my musical training, it’s been a bit spotty. I sang a lot, from toddlerhood on (we have audio footage of my Raffi covers). I cheated through about three years of piano lessons from my mom; I could play well enough by ear that I didn’t need to read the music – until it got too hard, and by then I was rather behind in my music-reading abilities. After that, I mostly contented myself with making up pieces to play, so that I could forego the reading of music. (Well, not completely – I did also learn the soprano recorder.)

In high school music class, I learned to read music for flute and piccolo, and eventually alto saxophone. I love love loved being in the Concert and Jazz bands, playing in big, thrilling ensembles. Making awesome music with a large group of humanity… it’s a rush I wish everyone could experience.

In my teen years, I began making mix tapes (back when they were actually tapes) that would later by replaced by playlists, collecting songs I loved and cherishing them like shiny shells. I also fell in love with a whole bunch of musicals. The significance music takes on when you’re a teenager in the midst of your identity quest (plus lots of hormones)… it’s just EPIC.

First live rock concert, just for reference, was the Grapes of Wrath at the Hamilton Tivoli in 1992, with my best childhood friend Natalie. We were 14.

Since high school, I’ve fit music-making into my life here and there – choir and concert band at the University of Toronto, a women’s choir for a few years here at home, and in recent years, my ukulele, and Massed Choir for one week a year at OELC. When I have a compelling enough reason, I open up GarageBand or a score-writer and make a record of music that’s been in my head, waiting to get out.

I still use music constantly. It’s therapy, energy boost, relaxer, comfort, distraction, focus aid, pick-me-up… you name it. Music helps me celebrate when there’s joy, and process and heal when there’s pain. I do not know how I’d live without it.

Furthermore, I think we all need it, on a fundamental level. Like, as a species. Why else would we have vocalized and pounded out rhythms together, since forever, in all the corners of the world we occupy? In this way, music is almost more like water than bread, transcending political boundaries, flowing through us, connecting us, keeping our souls quenched. You know??

Yep. That’s what music does. Makes me wax friggin’ lyrical.

What music keeps you alive?

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Meet the New Lady

{So far, Mr. A is winning: I’m pretty sure “Di-hards” is my favourite suggestion regarding club names to make us sound more cool. (Well, he suggested it along with “fans”, but I’m just not sure I pull that off.) To me, you’re di-hards because you rock no matter what. You’re here for the funny stuff and the sad stuff, whether we’re discussing poop or politics. You inspire me every time I write. If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t be either.

What do you think? Are y’all down with your new monicker? Because the polls are still open – if you have more suggestions, feel free…}

Okay, back to business. Would you like to meet my new friend? Here she is.

Kiwaya KS-4P ukulele

In my mind, I call her Lady, in honour of the yoga ladies. She is damn gorgeous.

Here’s how we came to be together.

Sometime in early 2007, Dilovely heard this guy play this song on CBC Radio 2, and promptly fell for both (you may remember it from the Pick-Me-Up Playlist)

 

Continue reading “Meet the New Lady”

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What I’ve Learned from NaBloPoMo

Well, folks, it’s the last day of November. I am proud to say I have DONE IT!

30 blog posts

One per day, posted before midnight (though on some days it was a VERY close call)

21,285 words written

An average of 710 words per day

(But if I’m honest, handfuls of those belonged to my students, the gang at Google, and those talented comment spammers)

Shortest post: Fun With Photo Booth (65 words) – lettin’ those images speak for themselves

Longest post: Dilovely’s Playlist: 25 Legendary Canadian Songs (x2!) (1,777 words) – on day ONE, of all things

Runners-up for longest post: the marathon Toddler Tracks – Recent Quotes and Conversations (1,663 words) and My Twilight Rant (1,503 words)

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My Personal FAQ:

Why am I doing this, again?

Because I am exceedingly stubborn with respect to my knee-jerk no-quit prove-I-can-do-it response. Same reason I wrote a 75-page research paper in French for my M.A.: “‘Cuz I said I was gonna.”

Aren’t my readers getting sick of me?

Yes, probably. I’m getting kinda sick of me.

Would I do this again next November?

Hmm. There would have to be a compelling reason – BESIDES “I said I was gonna.”

Isn’t posting a video or some photos when I’m short on time just… cheating?

I rather think it is, for the purpose of NaBloPoMo, since the point is to write every day… but the gals at BlogHer said I could!

Would it still be cheating next month, when the pressure’s off?

Strangely, no. Somehow I don’t think it’s cheating unless there’s desperation involved.

Should I be using the writing prompt?

BlogHer offered a “writing prompt” each day, for people who needed inspiration. Which is nice. As it turned out, yesterday was the first day I thought to look at it, and the prompt was “What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?” Um, WTF? Why would anybody want to read about me brushing my teeth, taking my earrings off, and giving treats to the cats? Unless it’s supposed to an exercise in imagination where I tell you how I have to check my spy-cams for terrorist activity in the palace, or fly my jet home from Wiki-Washoo, before going to bed. But clearly, imagination is not my strong point. Just as well I didn’t use the writing prompts, then.

Has this made me a better blogger?

Well, I had to resort to cheating, so… NO.

Has this made me a WORSE blogger?

Gosh. Not permanently, I hope.

Why I liked NaBloPoMo:

  • Once I get going, writing gives me energy. When I finish a blog post, I am UP. (When that’s early in the day, it’s great. When it’s bedtime… oops.)
  • It gave me an excuse to do the writing I love. Sometimes I have trouble justifying this “me” time, since nobody’s paying me for it so far. For one month, I relished this obligation – almost all the time. (I will admit to having fantasies about writing full-time. But I’m sorta hooked on my student moments, too.)
  • It was good to write – finally! – about some of the ideas in my backlog. I made a dent! But then I had more ideas… so my idea bank is right where I started. Can’t complain.
  • Writing every day without fail makes going to a 3-posts-per-week format look like a piece of cake.
  • It’s over! Suddenly it’s going to feel like I have so much flexibility with my “free time”.
  • Participating in NaBloPoMo Soup at BlogHer, I got to read lots of interesting posts by other women – in fact, I could easily have done nothing but that! There are some fascinating blogs out there.

Why I didn’t like NaBloPoMo:

  • Exercise pretty much fell by the wayside.
  • Bedtime often fell by the wayside.
  • Instead of starting out hard and getting easier, it was kind of the opposite.
  • Times when it was hard: a) on my more draining teaching days, b) when finishing a post jockeyed with bedtime for the umpteenth night.
  • Those darn videos almost derailed me more than once. They take for-freaking-ever to upload.
  • There were times when I felt inspired to tackle a big topic, but didn’t, because I knew I couldn’t do it in one day. That was frustrating.
  • I couldn’t shake the feeling of narcissism. Seriously, as FABULOUS as Dilovely may be, do readers truly want to hear from her every single day? Are the things my blogself has to say really that important? Well, I obviously can’t be the judge of this, but I’m gonna go with “not bloody likely.” If my own Hubbibi had email notifications piling up in his inbox sometimes, I can only assume he wasn’t alone. People are super-busy, on a perpetual basis. I feel privileged to get as much of your time as you give normally; I’d hate to abuse that. (MOTL.)

Once again, to each of my sweet readers, whether you be a loyal follower, or an occasional browser, or a random person who happened to stumble upon my blog whilst searching for a chihuahua in a costume: THANK YOU for reading, and for keeping me accountable. I most definitely would not have been up to this challenge without you.

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From the Pages of Mini-Di: The Scents of Autumn

It’s Day 17 – IN A ROW! Are you sick of me yet??

Anyway. When I was younger, I figured I could write poetry. Sometimes I wrote things that rhymed, but most of it was free verse. I considered it poetry if I used words that sounded poetic to me, on what I considered poetic themes (i.e. nature and feelings). As I got older, I worked on getting some imagery in there, and even some metaphors and other poetic devices. I occasionally wrote things I was pretty sure (at the time) were deep.

Now that I’m an adult, I hesitate to call anything I would write “poetry” – I hesitate even to try writing it. Because I don’t know what makes a poem a poem. Or rather, I don’t know what makes a poem GOOD. I just know how I think I should feel when I read one: moved, as if I will forever look differently at something because of the way the words were combined.

For example, I’ve never forgotten the sweet image in my mind when I first read this poem where it was posted on my sister’s wall in university:

Song (“I almost went to bed …”) from “The Spice-Box of Earth”, by Leonard Cohen

I almost went to bed
without remembering
the four white violets
I put in the button-hole
of your green sweater

and how i kissed you then
and you kissed me
shy as though I’d
never been your lover

Come on. So simple, so beautiful.

Now, without claiming this to be the same species whatsoever, here is The Scents of Autumn, by Mini(ish)-Di [age 11 or 12].

Autumn has some special smells,
That come again, every year,
That come reborn, crisp and clear,
Come rolling, ringing like silver bells,
Riding on the wind.

The scent of fire that warms my back –
The smoky smell of burning ember,
A fragrance that I’ll e’er remember.
I watch the bright flames spit and crack
And dance with graceful leaps.

The special smell of autumn trees,
Of fallen leaves soon turning brown,
That dressed the trees in crimson gown
Adds its spices to the breeze
That always comes with fall.

The scent of apples, bright and ripe –
The tang is cheery, fills the room.
It seems to exile any gloom
Like the music of a pipe,
It lifts away despond.

The smell of outside, a sharp, fresh blowing,
Makes its swift way from the North,
Like a banner carried forth.
It clears my mind, and leaves me knowing
Soon it will be winter.

Can you guess which famous Canadian author I was obsessively reading at the time? (Hint: it was someone in whose books words like crimson, despond, ember, swift, forth, and even e’er would actually sound appropriate.)

I remember being proud of this poem – did you notice how I made it rhyme, but all tricky-like? Plus: can you possibly think of a more majestic phrase than “Riding on the wind”??

I’ve been chuckling at my wholesomeness combined with my pretentiousness… but now I’m thinking… maybe I’m still like that. After all, I love my thesaurus to death, as you may have surmised. (Also, I use words like surmised.) And as it happens, I still do have a soft spot for the “special smells” of autumn, aside from the pig manure. Ha ha. Maybe I should just put a sock in it already.

***


 

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Dilovely’s Top 10 Pick-Me-Ups

The other day, I was in a funk. I’d had some news from my school board that made me feel frustrated and undervalued, and once I felt like that, every other little thing made me feel worse. E was in a cranky mood and doing his whiny cry for no reason all the time, and I was tired of listening to it, tired of worrying about money, of never making headway on my gigantic to-do list, of my house always being a mess even right after I clean up, of food underfoot thrown on the floor by my darling son… tired of owning that onus. (Props to all the single parents out there, for the ump-hundredth time – whew.)

Luckily, it was temporary. I also tire of feeling bad about feeling bad, knowing that my life is great and I have absolutely no reason to complain – so it’s a relief when these funks lift.

I decided to create a new blog list of my Top 10 Pick-Me-Ups, so that when any of us is in a bad way, we can take our pick of moments to put some joy and faith back in our lives on Earth. Just reminders, really, of the awesomeness that is present and possible.

1. Splashin’ in a Washbasin – I’ve already mentioned that this is key in kicking a bad mood. I can’t deny that my family, while sometimes the source of my frustration, is also my best pick-me-up.

2. Chillout Song – Read a story that will truly warm your heart, and let Ze reassure you. It’s gonna be all right. Just breathe.

Continue reading “Dilovely’s Top 10 Pick-Me-Ups”

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blossary

To contain my terminologisms, such as…

BAM: By A Mom. (Me.)

BANG: By A Normal Gal. (Me again.)

Bébépourri: As a mom, it’s my prerogative to obsess about my progeny. As a French teacher (and student), I love French words, and I love playing with them as I do with English ones. I know “pourri” actually means rotten or corrupt, which babies are not… it just sounded good.

Bellyciousness: Thoughts about belly dancing. When you’re a belly dancer, your belly is automatically delicious.

Birdhouse: In our household, we refer to the internet as “The Birdhouse”. (It’s a long story.) Quaint, n’est-ce pas?

Bloggenesis: How I became a blogger.

Discomposure: The name I originally thought would be super-cool when I someday had a critically-acclaimed music album… now used to designate the music I’ve had the gumption to share with you so far.

Di-hards: You, who read even when the reading gets tough. You make my day, and I am so thankful for you.

Dilovely: (noun) Me, a.k.a. Diana. But also (adjective) you, for being here (see above). And also… Mitzi and Donald.

Dreambition: hopes for the future, whether rational or absurd, about anything from career to the organization of kitchen cupboards.

GGG: Guelph Gang of Girls (a.k.a. the book club).

Hubbibi: a Middle Eastern nod to my wonderful spouse. As most belly dancers know, “habibi” means “beloved” in Arabic.

Mini-Di: Dilovely, way before she was Dilovely. Back when she was short or innocent or both, and still had time to write by hand, with a pen, in her diary.

MOTL: More On That Later. I’ll try to remember to link back when I follow up on a topic, in whatever post that may be.

Nostalgiapalooza: where I get sentimental about times gone by – usually featuring Mini-Di.

Playlistry: I take my music mixes very seriously. It’s a form of art.

Requestions: When I humbly request your response to a question – I’m serious. I really hope you’ll comment.

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