Monday, December 31, 2007

The missing link post: Unresolved about resolutions and looks back, but grateful iPod knows my musical style for me

Many bloggers are doing these fabulous retrospectives of their blogging through 2007. Others are doing these awe-inspiring lists of resolutions for 2008. Some impressive bloggers are doing both.

Here's where I let my inner Slacker shine through. And do neither.

But I will throw out a few random and frank (versus Ethel, Lucy or Fred) comments here:

1. About resolutions

A while back (and dear me, if I were a better blogger or not so lazy I'd link to the post I mean here) (this is what I call a Typical Julie Guilting Self Trip---I travel this often) I went on a little rant about the abuse of prayer.

After my more recent rant about gift wish lists (again with the missing link), it will probably surprise not one person to learn the direction of that rant.

I was disturbed by the specific desires uttered in prayer.

It seemed to me that the utterly faithful would only ask for God's guidance, presence, support or peace to deal with outcomes that are usually beyond our control.

Only I tried to sound less judgmental and more diplomatic than that.

The trouble with strong and specific opinions is that there is no way to not offend someone, or most people actually (my usual). There is also no way to plead, exactly, that this is just about me, because let's face it, it's not. In this kind of opinion, I am thinking about what other people do. I don't judge it but I do note the difference. And thus...in so uttering my thoughts on the matter, I know I open myself up to debate, criticism, defensiveness and my name in vain.

Some of you made really good counter points in the gift wish list post comments. It gave me a few more things to think about, chiefly that not everyone is like me. Believe it or not I think we need this reminder often.

So I accept that my opinion is imperfect, full of flaws and holes that someone can drive a counterpoint tractor through, and I welcome you to do it.

I think what that will gain is better understanding and acceptance on my part of differing methods. I don't think it will change what I believe is right for me.

I know what I want, usually, at least I do when it comes to the little things. It'd be really easy to ask God for all the things I want: help me renovate my kitchen, change my kid's attitude in this moment, let me pick the winning lottery numbers.

But I don't ask for that. Someday I'll be able to articulate my "deal" with "expectations."

Dear God: In this prayer I ask that you help me find a way to articulate my "deal" with "expectations." (KIDDING!)

What I do ask for is the strength and grace I need to navigate life. I ask for help finding in myself and my faith what it is that I need to make it through today.

I know what I want in any given moment---my friend's cancer to go away, my kid to get well, rescue from my own disease---but I also know this is not in my control or how things work. I know what I actually need is the core to manage with what does happen.

That sounds passive and I am anything but that. I am also not peaceful and accepting, in all cases. I'm a fighter.

I think---I hope!---that with age I am simply learning the wisdom of what I can control and what I can't, and am hoping/praying/asking in a direction that supports that.

So with this course of thought so clear in my head when it comes to prayer and gift wish lists, it begs the question about why I am so unresolved when it comes to new year's resolutions.

Today I said to Chani, "I'm so immured in a goal-oriented culture where one must write a thesis goal and action plan to work towards that and I find it hard to think that's *all wrong* because it's such a big *should* and works for so many people but something about it niggles at me."

Then it started to come together in my head.

As I read through people's resolution lists, I found myself most attracted to the general ones, the ones that aligned with my beliefs---that fit with how I like to think of prayer and gifts, for example.

They might not be specific. They aren't necessarily traditional goals. They might not include an action plan. Many are a list of improvements, and as I looked at them, I saw an underlying single goal, a theme if you will. So I decided to, privately, list out my own goals for myself, specifically, and see what underlying theme they revealed.

I won't be surprised if my resolutions match my prayers: dear God help me live more mindfully and with grace, courage, nobility of mind and spirit, and kindness.

2. About music

Jon got me an iPod for Christmas and a trip to Vegas in the Spring, because he can be really, really good that way (and maybe I can be really, really good too to get such things).

This is about more than shutting up my complaints about how radio in this town sucks rotten eggs. This is about more than pulling me into the 21st Century.

This is about pure aesthetics and pleasure.

Do you know the joy it is to be able to have your music go with you everywhere you go?

I bet you do.

I think I am the last person in the US over the age of 10 to find it out.

And Thank Goodness iPod understands my musical style and can list it out for me---and even suggest things to me!

Here, according to iPod are my Top 25 (so far...because I need a new computer hard drive to finish loading the rest of my music, such as the stuff that I carry with me always in my car):

Please Don't Tell Her---Big Head Todd and the Monsters
It's Alright---BHTM
Bittersweet---BHTM
Super Duper Love---Joss Stone
When the Stars Go Blue---Ryan Adams
So Nice---Bebel Gilberto
Desafinado---Ella Fitzgerald
Dancing in the Moonlight---King Harvest
The Good Kind---The Wreckers
Chain of Fools---L'Aretha
Natural Woman---L'Aretha
Respect---L'Aretha
Dindi---Astrud Gilberto
A Peak You Reach---Badly Drawn Boy
Something to Talk About---BDB
Walking Out of Stride---BDB
Crazy in Love---Beyonce
Stir It Up---Bob Marley
Everybody be Yoself---Chic Street Man
Mustang Sally---The Commitments
You've Got a Friend---James Taylor
Cool Lookin' Woman---Jimmie Vaughn
Crapped Out Again---Keb' Mo'
Can't Get You Out of My Mind---Kylie Minogue
Sweetest Goodbye---Maroon 5

I haven't even added the rest of my R&B. Corinne Bailey Rae. John Legend. Alicia Keyes. My ska music. Mighty Mighty Bosstones. My disco music. That is but the tip of the iceberg. More R&B, more Latin, more alternative rock (grown-up version). Blues. Southern rock.

And is it just me or do all the bands coming out now sound like garage bands by the sons of Flesh for Lulu, The Smiths, The Cure, and so forth?

Are we in an 80s revival?

3. About the 80s

So tonight happens to be New Year's Eve which means the end of 2007 and the usual rocking new year's eve, in some form or fashion.

We will be ushering out the old and welcoming the new in 80s fashion.

I kid you not. (It is fun, people, not pathetic.)

Within walking distance, thank goodness.

A while back my neighbors and I decided it would be loads of fun to get one of those online mysteries and host a party, which got shuffled to New Year's Eve at my neighbor's house. After a flurry of email votes, we decided on Murder in the 80s. Because most of us are almost 40 like that.

My character is Samantha, and I think it needs no further description but think Molly Ringwald in a John Hughes film. (If you don't know what I mean here you are too young to read my blog. KIDDING!)

The game Strongly Suggested I play this part and I do not even want to deconstruct that.

Jon is a GhostBuster. He's just thrilled.

I got a funky fun prom-like cocktail dress and will do an 80s 'do complete with one of Persistence's tiaras, which she has graciously loaned me for the evening (since I seem to have none of my own).

Jon will probably wear his REI casual hiking pants and a sports tee-shirt. He's currently constructing a bookcase rather than a cardboard box with a hose, as the game suggested, so I'm going to venture a guess he'll carry no ectoplasm pack type accessories.

The kids will be spending the night with Nana and their cousins at my sister's house, because they are good to me that way.

I'm just hoping I can harness enough brain power to figure out a clue or two, and not get too distracted by Whip It or Dancing With Myself over in the Karaoke/Dance corner. My clever friend, the hostess, is offering prizes for best costume, best 80s drink and appetizer, and best dancing 80s style. I've got the last one sewn up.

I know this because the last time I was at a dance club dancing my happy heart out, this man tapped me on the shoulder and with a big laugh said, "You graduated high school in the 80s, didn't you?"

No, I did not bitchslap him. I just laughed and admitted the truth. I am a mature person with a rich life and confidence in my age. See? Good sides to getting older.

So we're looking forward to a night out, but especially this night out because historically we do a Big Party and then sit home for the next five years (or so) to recuperate.

Our last huge bash was 1999. Apparently that year a big group of people in Boston decided the only place to party like it was 1999 was in Chicago, so unbelievably we all chartered seats on a plane, flew to the Windy City and then really closed out a century in style. We were on a subway...and at some ginormous sports bar...ate pizza...went to a blues club...somebody had managed to hire up a bar for the group party...then the big excitement was when my guy friend proposed to his girlfriend at midnight (with a little teensy help from me) and everybody was really happy after that. So happy that the following year we had to all get on a jet to Sarasota for their lovely wedding. But I was pregnant by then and thus ended most of the jetsetting.

Tomorrow we'll all gather at my sister's before my mother heads back home. We'll eat black-eyed peas, of course and probably watch football, of course. The kids will run wild.

Not a bad way to begin a year. A good way, actually.

Happy New Year wishes to you!

P.S. I did post a bit of fiction yesterday.

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
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34 comments:

thailandchani said...

Your thoughts on prayer are awesome .. probably because I agree with them. :)

It's always amused me (in a perverse way) how so many view prayer as though they were petitioning a cosmic vending machine.

Still.. I like this best:

I won't be surprised if my resolutions match my prayers: dear God help me live more mindfully and with grace, courage, nobility of mind and spirit, and kindness.

Makes all the sense in the world to me.

liv said...

You know, Julie, I may just be like the little imp hovering over your shoulder, but I submit that perhaps you were so naughty that Jon bought you the trip to Vegas?? What happen there stays there...wink! wink!

melissa said...

I like your theme resolution. That should work for just about everyone.

And it shouldn't surprise you that we have similar tastes in music. The Commitments version of Mustang Sally is better than the original actually.

Have fun tonight!

Jeff said...

Geez, one long weekend and I miss 3 major posts here. You gots to slow down woman!

Have fun at your murder mystery party. One hint... it's usually the housewife in the bedroom with the pizza guy. No wait, that was a movie... nevermind.

Julie Pippert said...

Well Chani, you know what they say about great minds thinking alike. :)

Thanks.

***

Liv, LOL, or maybe we are now at That Age where we begin going to Vegas and Branson, MO LOL. Actually, we just decided that it was Time to Travel again, since the kids are big enough to come along or be left behind. It's our thing.

But you know, there are always two sides to every coin, so nice has a flip side, LOL at you.

And the Blogger Code lets me leave it in Vegas anyway? woot woot

***

Melissa, you absolutely have to come over for Jenny's party. You can ride with me and Kyla and we can share iPods.

I agree about The Commitments.

***

Jeff, slow down? Hey, this is slow for me LOL.

And OMG I know what movie you mean!!! LMAO

That Fountains of Wayne band even did a song about it too, Stacy's Mom.

My money's on Jon's character. LOL

Sober Briquette said...

Happy New Year, Julie.

bubandpie said...

For a long time, I have believed that the "right" way to pray is to seek spiritual blessings only - joy, peace, patience, the things God has promised to provide to those who ask.

Lately, though, I've been wondering if that was a discipline I needed, that habit of curtailing my prayers to the spiritual, never asking for specific material outcomes. And I wonder now if there's something I need to learn from stretching in the opposite direction.

What's made me think that, mainly, is praying with Bub. He was sick on and off for ten days this month, and only at the end of it did I think to pray specifically for him to get better. I prayed this with him in bed at night: for him to sleep well, to wake up and feel better. And he did. The next day he was truly healthy again. So is that coincidence, or selfishness, or is it meant to be an oddly humbling experience, simply to ask out of need and then accept God's response without worrying about whether or not it would have happened anyway?

wheelsonthebus said...

"A cosmic vending machine"

Chani has it about right. I am not a prayer, but if I were, I would have to believe in a God who didn't sit around waiting for wish-lists to come rolling in.

Emily R

Kyla said...

iPod! YAY! Mine is like a third arm or something. I'm having a hard time deciding which is my favorite electronic toy (heh...not THAT kind) now that my Canon is in the running, too.

Gina Pintar said...

"I think I am the last person in the US over the age of 10 to find it out."

NOPE! I may be. No ipod here and none in the near future. I am going to have to accept what the radio plays for a long time. ;)

I disagree with you a bit on prayer. Yes I ask for direction, patience, strength and other general things. I also believe in "seek and you shall find", "Ask and it shall be answered". Sometimes specific works. I am looking for specific direction in M's social skills. It can go several ways so I need a direction. I set it out there and a door will open for me. SOMETHING will happen. Someone will say something, I will see an ad in some paper I don't usually read etc. I will get an answer and it will be specific.

Sometimes, you have to ask.

I also did a goals list but I do them all the time. I do a to do sort of list and a general goals list. I went to 3 funerals last year for people under 40. I want to make use that I focus on what is really important.

I love that biddy P LOANED you one of her tiaras. LOL.

flutter said...

That is one bad ass iPod, I must say!

jeanie said...

I am an iPod luddite - but I listen to talk radio, and you can't program that. (Its not the angry rant talk radio, more the news and information style - I am sure you could program angry rant stuff)

I think that everyone's way of praying is right if it works for them - and by "works for them" I don't mean some God doling out the wishes - I happen to believe a lot of the answers lie within, its how you access it all. Strike me down, I know, a theological opinion.

I remember Molly in Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club - but have no idea of her name in any of them - they sort of blurred... I found out last night that V had a crush on her in high school! I far preferred Ducky.

I hope 2008 brings you many gifts.

ewe are here said...

I don't even know where to start, so...

Great resolution wish list...

I am ipod-less, so while I find your music list fascinating and pretty cool, I don't know the joy of always having music in my ears...

Your 80s party sounds awesome... love the costume ideas.

Happy New Year, Julie!

anne said...

Right on! on the prayer thing.

Oh, darn. I was trying to keep with the 80's theme but I accidentally slipped back into the 70's.

How about, I totally agree with you, fer-sure!

Have fun at your party.

Happy New Year!

Karen said...

Happy ipoding! Happy party! Happy New Year!

painted maypole said...

80s party sounds like a blast. You MUST post pictures!

Andrea said...

Happy New Year!

niobe said...

On prayer -- for myself my usual prayer is that old stand-by: Thy will be done. 'Cause I'm pretty sure that that's going to happen whether or not I pray for it. I have no problem praying for specific outcomes for others, though.

Gwen said...

dear God help me live more mindfully and with grace, courage, nobility of mind and spirit, and kindness.

For all of us. Indeed.

Happy New Year!

TwoSquareMeals said...

Great thoughts on prayer. I think it is okay to ask for specific things, but I definitely think that it's more important to prayer for our own ability to deal with life as it is.

I was late on the iPod bandwagon, too. I was still listening to mix tapes in my CD playerless minivan until a few months ago.

And I am pretty sure I would end up playing some version of Claire from The Breakfast Club. I don't want to analyze that too much, either. At least you got to be a John Hughes character and not the scary chick from Ghostbusters! Hope it was fun!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I am often impressed with the comments I get, especially when I post on something less than nonsensical (yes..that is a word...I THINK!). There are SO many bloggers with strong opinions out there...it is VERY interesting to see them shared.

As for praying...I TRY to stick to the mantra my preacher once said,
"Pray God gives you the strength to accept His will...not the power to change it!"

Happy new year! :)

Queen of the Mayhem said...

I am often impressed with the comments I get, especially when I post on something less than nonsensical (yes..that is a word...I THINK!). There are SO many bloggers with strong opinions out there...it is VERY interesting to see them shared.

As for praying...I TRY to stick to the mantra my preacher once said,
"Pray God gives you the strength to accept His will...not the power to change it!"

Happy new year! :)

slouching mom said...

what, no dusty springfield's preacher man?

i liked your story. and the title? perfect.

Suz said...

Ohhh...I've never heard of so many of these songs. I'm going to have to check them out. And, as for resolutions, I am an action plan sort of girl, but I haven't done anything like that this year. I don't know; it seems like I just haven't had time to think..yet. As far as New Year's goes, my last huge party was 1999, too.

Kellan said...

What a great post - prayers and hopes and goals - definitely all connected. I often pray for guidance with the belief that the path that God has designed for my life is predetermined and my hope is that he will guide me constantly toward that devine path. If I believe I am on that path, then I also believe that if my children are behind me - that we are all on a road that is safe and will lead to happiness and joy. One day, they will have their own paths and my prayer will be that they ask God to help guide them and help keep them on the path he has chosen for their most perfect life. This New Year - that is my hope and prayer and goal.

Happy New Year Julie - I hope you have had a great Holiday season and that this will be the best year ever - for all of us. I look forward to seeing you lots throughout 2008. See you soon. Kellan

Cathy said...

I loved The Commitments.

As for your 80s party, you MUST post photos. Especially after those descriptions.

Kathryn said...

You are very wise. I think the way you pray is inspirational.
You have FAB taste in music! I love it all. Aren't IPODs amazing? My hubby bought my an IPOD Shuffle last Christmas and I LOVE it. So fun!
What a fun idea for New Years Eve! Hope you had a great time.
Happy New Year!

Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I am utterly in love with both you and your ipod.

SciFi Dad said...

I say we need a picture from New Years!

dharmamama said...

Lovin' your ipod! I don't have one yet, but do have lots of songs on itunes.

I took Evan to see Reel Big Fish (ska) for his 14th birthday. What fun! I didn't know them at all, he discovered them online.

And, sorry to mix comments, but I really enjoyed your story - it was very, very real! Creeped me out.

Happy New Year!

Magpie said...

I love your ipod list.

Have you heard that Luciana Souza disk of covers? It's cool.

Gunfighter said...

Dindi is one of my favorite songs!

How can you not love Astrid Gilberto?

Aaron & Alaine said...

Your musical rants made me a bit reflective. This year I did a poetry fest at my alma mater, and spoke about the 80's. One of the crowd members politely told another guest - as if we were born then. Yikes! I'm enjoying your post and cycling through ipod must haves as I type. Stopped by via CHBM.....

Happy New Year! (Resolutions be d#$%^$) (Smile!)

the end of motherhood said...

I like abstract resolutions best myself - and not just because they are really hard to fail at in the first month. This year mine is "take more risks." My all-time favorite was: "tolerate uncertainty." I am still working on that one.