I listened to this all day yesterday so why not stick it here and you can listen to it too. (Song of the Day Week)


I always thought this song--when I heard it sung by Bob Dylan and The Byrds--was pretty peppy and happy-go-lucky.  And then one day I actually heard the lyrics and realized how desperate and sad it is.  So of course, being me, that meant I loved it even more.  Yesterday I figured there must be a version that is true in mood to the sentiment of the lyrics, and I think Melanie hits it on the head. 

take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin' ship
my senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip
my toes too numb to step
wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin'
I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it


Then take me disappearin' through the smoke rings of my mind
down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
the haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
with all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
let me forget about today until tomorrow

(The lyrics I posted are from Dylan's website, and Melanie changes them a bit herself.  Just FYI.)

'This is hurt,' I said, 'there'll be more.'


Sheep Fair Day

The real aim is not to see God in all things, it is that God, through us, should see the things that we see.
                - Simone Weil

I took God with me to the sheep fair.  I said, 'Look
there's Liv, sitting on the wall, waiting;
these are pens, these are sheep,
this is their shit we are walking in, this is their fear.
See that man over there, stepping along the low walls
between pens, eyes always watching,
mouth always talking, he is the auctioneer.
That is the wind in the ash trees above, that is sun
splashing us with running light and dark.
Those men over there, the ones with their faces sealed,
are buying or selling.  Beyond in the ring
where the beasts pour in, huddle and rush,
the hoggets are auctioned in lots.
And that woman with the ruddy face and the home-cut hair
and a new child on her arm, that is how it is to be woman
with the milk running, sitting on wooden boards
in this shit-milky place of animals and birth and death
as the bidding rises and falls.'

Then I went back outside and found Fintan.
I showed God his hand as he sat on the rails,
how he let it trail down and his fingers played
in the curly back of an ewe.  Fintan's a sheep-man
he's deep into sheep, though it's cattle he keeps now,
for sound commercial reasons.
                                                    'Feel that,' I said,
'feel with my heart the force in that hand
that's twining her wool as he talks.'
Then I went with Fintan and Liv to Refreshments,
I let God sip tea, boiling hot, from a cup,
and I lent God my fingers to feel how they burned
when I tripped on a stone and it slopped.
'This is hurt,' I said, 'there'll be more.'
And the morning wore on and then sun climbed
and God felt how it is when I stand too long,
how the sickness rises, how the muscles burn.

Later, at the back end of the afternoon,
I went down to swim in the green slide of river,
I worked my way under the bridge, against the current,
then I showed how it is to turn onto your back
with, above you and a long way up, two gossiping pigeons,
and a clump of valerian, holding itself to the sky.
I remarked on the stone arch as I drifted through it,
how it dapples with sunlight from the water,
how the bridge hunkers down, crouching low in its tracks
and roars when a lorry drives over.

And later again, in the kitchen,
wrung out, at day's ending, and empty,
I showed how it feels
to undo yourself,
to dissolve, and grow age-old, nameless:

woman sweeping a floor, darkness growing.

by Kerry Hardie (listen to her read it here)

a good heart will find you, just be ready then


and you're slowly giving up on everything
love is gonna find you again
love is gonna find you, you better be ready then
you've been kneeling in the dark for far too long
you've been waiting for that spark but it hasn't come
I'm calling to you please, get off the floor
a good heart will find you then
a good heart will find you, just be ready then

slow blog

I haven't been blogging too much recently.  Too much, that is, by my standards.

I've completely let the RS 500 list go by the wayside, and I'm sorry about that.  I'm waiting for the inspiration to return.

So here's a photo of Oz.

'the limited world of loss is still your support, your delight, and as real as this hill angled with black stone...'


Rain in the Hills 

The dead stay with you always
taking house-room, finding in you
their haven and harbour; and this happens
even though you know their going sealed off
for you a segment of the whole circle
of things and now wherever you walk there is
some part of the hills and sky
you do not see, though it is not
obscured by the seasons or weather:

but where you are, in this impaired place,
they also remain and are necessary
and beautiful as the thundery light
over the black spurs on an evening
of spring rain; and being there
they will change, not as images
of yourself but in their own way,
allowing you to perceive them

Even the terrible deaths you believed
would shrink your heart forever
do not come to an end or leave you,
for you cannot repudiate your suffering
--it is in you, it is what you have become:
the limited world of loss is still
your support, your delight, and as real
as this hill angled with black stone
and the violet clouds above it--

they are yours, stately and strange
as they are, holding your defeat
and your knowledge of defeat, which is also
entirely at home in you, in how you
watch and speak, in your composition,
your nerve pathways, your membranes
and cells.  This is the chemistry of pain.

- Lauris Edmond

Lourdes and Hilda.


(I promise to do a post soon regarding my trip once I get the photos sorted!  For now, here's this post about home decor.)

About a month ago I was perusing my local beloved grocery store that also sells housewares.  I casually walked by the row of lamps, and between the fly fishing lamp and the moose lamp and the bright pink paisley lamp, I saw something...beautiful.

Well, beautiful for a lamp.  It was called Lourdes.  And I loved it and wanted it.  Badly.

But the tragedy?  It was out of stock!  Every time I went back to the store, I'd check to see if it was in stock.  I even considered asking if I could buy the display lamp, but had yet to get that desperate.  Clearly I wasn't the only one in love with this lamp.

Which brings us to tonight.  And can you guess?  The lamp was in stock.  And so I put one in my cart. I then proceeded to take 25 minutes to find the light bulb it needed.  Seriously, how are there so many lightbulb options?  Someone needs to do a stand-up routine on that.  A funny one, of course.

Anyway, I brought it home and put it together and here it is:

It's base is a large, clear, glass jar, and the lamp shade and electrical stuff connects to a big cork that sits in the jar.  That's pretty cool looking on its own, but guess what that design means?  YOU CAN PUT STUFF IN IT.

I just put one of my small frames in there as an example.  I'm not sure yet what will end up inside.  Some cool action figures?  Fake plants to make it look like a terrarium?  Marbles?  Beads?  We'll see.

And then there's Hilda.  This week I was scrolling through tumblr and I came upon a post about the best kept secret in pin-up girls: a plus-size pin-up named Hilda.  Not only was she adorable (her hair!) I loved the active, self-care-esque things most of the prints showed her doing.  So I hopped on to Ebay and decided to buy a few prints for my bedroom.  

You might be asking, "Why do you want pin-up prints in your bedroom?"

And my answer is, why not?  I think I was initially scared to tell people I was buying pictures of a pin-up girl, but that quickly faded (remnants of my adolescent legalism).  Hilda is fat and adorable and sexy.  And I think seeing her on my wall every day will do me and my self-image a world of good.  She's not like other pin-ups, with their inhuman, Barbie-doll proportions.  And I tried to pick prints in which she wasn't lifting up a skirt or had her butt hanging out of some bikini bottoms.  Instead, I tried to pick prints where she was doing something fun or good for herself, not necessarily for the Male Gaze, even if that was her creator, Duane Bryer's, original intent.  

First one (that's a butterfly on her nose): 

Second, which I find HILARIOUS:

And third, my very favorite (Duane drew her in these long-johns a LOT):

And here they all are on my wall:

I'm worried these might be the first of many.

God Says Yes to Me


I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

by Kaylin Haught

happy 4th, everyone.


Once in a while
in a big blue moon
there comes a night like this
like some surrealist 
invented this 4th of July
night ride home

Maryann's Top 5 Songs That Make Her Feel Nostalgic About Being An American (Rest Assured You Will Find No Lee Greenwood Here)


This post was originally dubbed 'Maryann's Top 5 Songs That Make Me Proud to Be American' but then I realized I don't really have songs that make me proud to be an American, even though I am, in fact, often proud to hail from this nation.  But the truth is these songs aren't about how kick-ass 'Murrica' is.  For me,  they're about my American experience, or how I like to think of it: good and bad, hard and easy, complicated and simple.  And they're all ESSENTIAL to any road-trip mix I make.

5) "Wild Montana Skies" by John Denver featuring Emmylou Harris

In 2009 my sister and I took a road trip from Minnesota to Washington.  Can you guess what song I made us listen to through the entire state of Montana?  This one.

He was born in the Bitterroot Valley in the early morning rain
wild geese over the water, heading north and home again
bringing a warm wind from the south, bringing the first taste of the spring
his mother took him to her breast, and softly she did sing:
Oh Montana, give this child a home
give him the love of a good family and a woman of his own
give him a fire in his heart, give him a light in his eyes
give him the wild wind for a brother and the wild Montana skies

4) "Angel From Montgomery" by Bonnie Raitt and John Prine

Hands down my favorite Bonnie Raitt song not written by Bonnie Raitt (John wrote it).  Yes, the song references a cowboy and the rodeo, but at its heart I always think it's about loving this land so much that as angel you'd like to fly over it.  Isn't that romantic?  Also, it's has the effing incredible line, "if dreams were thunder / lightning was desire / this old house would have burned down a long time ago."

make me angel that flies from Montgomery
make me a poster of a old rodeo
just give me one thing that I can hold onto
to believe in this living is just a hard way to go

3) "Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor

I grew up with this song, and when I met my friend Kj, she told me she'd driven through The Berkshires and I was immediately jealous.  A few days after 9/11, my sister and I had James Taylor concert tickets.  Everyone was waving American flags as expected, but when James sang this song we all just cried and cried.  It was an unbelievable moment in my life, period, but also as an American.

goodnight you moonlight ladies
and rock-a-bye sweet baby James
deep greens and blues are the colors I choose
won't you let me go down in my dreams?
and rock-a-bye sweet baby James

2) "Down South" by Tom Petty

I like to romanticize the South through music.  I've been to Georgia, and liked parts of it.  Namely swimming in the Atlantic and the food.  But I am obsessed with this song.  My dad introduced it to me, and every time it plays when we're together, I tell him, "I just LOVE this song."  And so far, he hasn't gotten sick of that.  :)  Plus, the line, "I'll give you all I have, and a little more" will always remind me of my family.

spanish moss down south
find the heroes of my childhood
who now can do me no good
carve their names in dogwood
so if I come to your door
let me sleep on your floor
I'll give you all I have and a little more

1) "City of New Orleans" by Arlo Guthrie

Well, a) it's a Guthrie song, and b) the lyrics.

Good morning, America, how are you?
Say, don't you know me, I'm your native son
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done

Honorable Mention: every Bruce Springsteen song ever.

Christmas in July: Maryann's Top 5 Christmas Songs That She Listens to Year-Round


It's July!  And only last weekend my lovely dad helped me get my Christmas tree off my deck!  Let's have some Christmas music.

These are all songs that I cling to fiercely around the holidays as the Santa Claus' and Rudolph's and Joy-to-the-World's get blasted from every speaker and station.  Don't get me wrong: I love hokey, traditional, even cheerful Christmas songs.  But that time of year can be difficult, for many reasons, so it's nice to have Christmas songs that you can 'feel sad to.'  And since I like to feel sad to music every month of the year, these stick around, no matter the season.

5) "Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head" by George Winston

It's easy to have all of George Winston's December in my year-round playlists.  It's so peaceful and calming, in every month of the year.  Similar to the Vince Guaraldi trio in that way.

4) "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

It took me a while to even remember this is a Christmas song, I listen to it so frequently.  "So Happy Christmas, I love you, baby."  Actually my favorite part of the song is when Shane sings, "I could have been someone" and Kirsty responds with such bitterness and remorse (at least to my ears), "Well, so could anyone.  You took my dreams from me when I first found you."  I have a lifelong dream to karaoke this someday.

3) "Christmas for Cowboys" by John Denver

I think I discovered this song at the John Denver Holiday tribute I went with my mom to back in 2009. It made me cry, and still does.  I have this on repeat through the holidays, but then when it comes up on shuffle or a CD in my car any other time of year, I don't skip it.  It's extremely melancholic and pretty, and to me speaks to the loneliness and separation you can feel at the holidays.

2) "This Was the Worst Christmas Ever" by Sufjan Stevens

If you take away the lyrics and song title, I would never have thought this was a Christmas song.  It just sounds like Sufjan.  "Silent night, nothing feels right."  Oooooh the feelings in this song.  Listened to it quite a bit after we moved from my childhood home.

And as for #1, I bet some of you can guess...

1) "White Wine in the Sun" by Tim Minchin

I can't get enough of this song.  It's one that reveals more to me the more I hear it, which is why I could never sequester it to just one or two months of listening.  I cry thinking about having a family like the one he sings about.  I cry thinking about not having a family like the one he sings about.  I cry for other people and their families.  This song contains within it all my conflicted feelings about Christmas, and I thank God for it.  (Which would make Tim smile.)

and you won't understand
but you will learn someday
that wherever you are
and whatever you face
these are the people you make you feel safe in this world
my sweet blue-eyed girl