Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Takin' a Different Route

Before I get started with the heart of my post, let me tell you about my day: I didn't get up at 4:30 like I thought I was going to, I ate a good breakfast (peanut butter toast), a good lunch (leftover slow-roasted tomato fettuccine and carrots), a good snack (cocoa-roasted almonds), ran two miles, and ate a good dinner (more slow-roasted tomato fettuccine).

Also, my legs are so freakin' sore.  Like, I can barely move.  Ow.

The end.

Now, I thought I'd take a different route for today's post.  I've been working on a couple of CD mixes, and I thought I'd share one with y'all.  This particular mix is a two-disc set entitled "The Life of Em" and holds the songs that have impacted me throughout my 27 years.

Here's "The Life of Em (Volume One)" - stay tuned for Volume Two tomorrow.  :)

1. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her, Simon & Garfunkel
  • This song is kind of self-explanatory: it's my namesake!  For realz: my mama named me after a Simon & Garfunkel song.
2. Brown-Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
  • My dad always calls me his brown-eyed girl, and my mom is certain this will be the father-daughter dance at my wedding.
3. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
  • Here's another one for my daddy.  My dad was a phenomenal violinist in high school, and the talent never left: he can pick up a violin today, having not played for several years, and sound perfect.  His song of choice is Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  This is what I think the father-daughter dance will be.
4. Ice, Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
  • What a weird choice, right?!  My brother and I are were huge nerds, and we used to sing this every night while we were brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed.  Yep, there was even a dance involved.
5. You Got It (The Right Stuff), New Kids on the Block
  • Two words: Jordan Knight.  I mean, just look at him!  At six years old, I thought he was smokin':
6. Candle in the Wind (Live), Elton John
  • This song was influential for a few reasons.  First, I love Elton John.  Second, he adapted this song for Princess Diana when she died; yes, I woke up bright and early and watched the funeral.  However, the primary reason I selected this song was because I love Marilyn Monroe one million - so much so, in fact, that my brother sketched her portrait, and I've had it hanging in my house ever since:
Sorry for the poor-quality cell-phone photo.  How talented is Alex?! 
7. Halley Came to Jackson, Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Every single time all five of us got into the car for a long trip, my parents whipped out their case of "trip music."  Mary Chapin Carpenter was a fixture for every. single. trip., as was Chris Isaak, John Denver, and Harry Chapin.  While I love these artists now, I did not so much as a tween.
8. Keep Me In Your Heart, Warren Zevon
  • One of my all-time favorite albums in the whole wide world is The Wind, the album Zevon wrote and released when he discovered he was dying.  I cannot make it through this album without crying.  While my parents introduced me to the album later in life, my nana died suddenly when I was in eighth grade, and it was such a sad time; she was such a hippie, and I'm sure she loved Warren Zevon.  Remember: enjoy every sandwich.
9. Friends, Michael W. Smith
  • All throughout high school, I was involved in Soul Seekers, a choir at my church.  Including me, my brother and sister, and our best friends, there were about 80 members from all across Omaha.  We shared so many memories; so many experiences, including seven of us getting lost in the Rocky Mountains; and so many stories.  Our two traditional songs were Friends and Pass It On.  Again, I can barely make it through Friends without sobbing uncontrollably.
10. I Don't Want to Miss a Thing, Aerosmith
  • My dad took me to my first concert: Aerosmith on their Nine Lives tour.  It was so freakin' awesome, and I'm so thankful I got to share it with my dad.  Likely as a result of that concert, Aerosmith remained my favorite band for many, many years (and still ranks quite high on my list).  While I Don't Want to Miss a Thing is not my favorite Aerosmith song, it is the reason I wanted to go to the concert (and is, shockingly, their only number one).
11. I Believe, Blessid Union of Souls
  • Another concert I went to in high school was Sweetstock 98, an outdoor festival-of-sorts that was put on by the local Top 40 radio station.  There I met Blessid Union of Souls and fell in love with them.  This particular song is my favorite today because it is all about equality, making the world a better place, and loving everyone: "I believe that love is the answer, I believe that love will find a way."
12. Waterfalls, TLC
  • In the mid-1990s, my uncle was diagnosed with AIDS, and that was a very difficult thing to deal with.  While he is doing wonderfully and is very healthy now, that has not always been the case: there were several rough patches that were very, very scary.  Because of the personal connection I have to HIV/AIDS, I have worked within my sphere of influence to educate others.  Hopefully someday this disease will be history.
13. Right Now, Van Halen
  • Another big part of my high school years was my involvement in DECA.  (Don't judge: I promise it was really, really cool at my school!)  My senior year in DECA was spent putting together a written research project; there were six of us in the class, and we were quite close.  We played the same songs over and over and over and over.  This was one of them.
14. Landlocked Blues, Bright Eyes
  • One of my best friends in high school introduced me to indie music, and we saw a couple of concerts together: Rilo Kiley at Sokol Underground, Bright Eyes at the Rose, and various local bands and Saddle Creek Records musicians at the Ranch Bowl (Omaha has a great music scene.)
15. The Execution of All Things, Rilo Kiley
  • See explanation for #14.  I couldn't choose between the two songs.
16. Young, Kenny Chesney
  • Again, this song has multiple meanings.  First, I love Kenny Chesney; he's my favorite country singer, and I can sing along to all of his songs.  Second, from age 16 to age 20, I dated a boy from small-town Iowa.  This song really reminds me of him, his friends, and the time we spent together.  We had a great time, a wonderful relationship, and I am thankful that he was a part of my life.

17. Corey's Coming, Harry Chapin
  • My mom and I were on a road trip together once (probably to Des Moines) when she introduced me to Harry Chapin, the best storyteller of all time.  If you've never heard it before, please listen; it's such a wonderful story.

That should tide you over for tonight.  Stay tuned for "The Life of Emily, Volume Two" tomorrow!


  1. What a great mix!! Are you doing the Aids run/walk this weekend in DSM? This will be my first year participating and I'm excited :)

  2. I really want to run the 5K and am trying to find a friend to do it with me! I kinda forgot about it until yesterday...oops!

  3. Amber: I registered today! So excited!