Remember how I said I’d come someday, baby? How I said I’d come around to see you one day?

Sometimes Christmas is about the happiness and joy of the holiday, about the time spent with family and basking in the warmth of that love. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s about accepting the sadness that the holidays can bring, the darkness of the winter, the long nights that give you no choice but to think and reflect, and sometimes, grieve.

I guess this Christmas has been more of the latter for me, one where I’ve just been working through my own shit, trying to understand this next chapter of my life, trying to process who I am, where I am, and what exactly I want to be doing next. This isn’t a bad thing–in fact, I almost look forward to winter for this very reason: a chance to really dig in on this heavier kind of thinking. But it certainly can come with its challenges, especially when trying to keep things merry and bright. Continue reading

Soundtrack of a Year

I’ve put together these annual mixtapes for some time now, in one form or another. Some years I focus on particular seasons, others are more a “year in review.” To me these CDs are like a scrapbook or diary—they best represent the things that happened to me, the lessons I’ve learned, and the memories from the year that I hold on to the most. I love making them, and especially love being able to share them with others.

I recently had a few people request that I create “liner notes” to go along with this year’s mix to explain the significance of the selected songs. I thought that would be a pretty cool idea, though I had no idea how incredibly challenging it would be, too.

2015 was a very good year for me in a lot of ways, but it came with a lot of serious change and challenges. While going through the monthly playlists I created with this project in mind, I was able to recount exactly what had happened in that timeframe and the emotional state I was in during most of it. It reminded me of the power of music, and admittedly overwhelmed me a bit.

Some of the songs on this list hold a lot of emotional weight for me; some are just ones I really enjoyed and think you might enjoy, too. Continue reading

Now I’m overcome by the light of day; my lips are near but my heart is far away…

“Thanksgiving was nothing more than a pilgrim-created obstacle in the way of Christmas; a dead bird in the street that forced a brief detour.”
― Augusten BurroughsYou Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas

I like being awake when the rest of the world is not. It’s one of the few times during the day where I don’t feel some crazy sense of urgency to get somewhere, to do something, to accomplish something before the day is done. I’d like to get better at getting up early, but that also means I have to give up my beloved late-night routine. I’m realizing that I love both for the same reasons–the feeling of being the Only One Awake, the calm of not having to answer to anyone… The benefit to switching this routine to the morning hours is that I’m able to more easily transition into a functioning adult after getting up early vs. staying up hella late. Continue reading

I wish the world was flat like the old days, then i could travel just by folding a map. No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways…There’d be no distance that could hold us back.

This has been a strange year filled with so many wonderful surprises, unexpected disappointments, unprecedented heartaches, and delirious celebrations. Although they haven’t all been easy, I am grateful for every single life lesson that was learned in 2012 and I look forward to applying this new-found knowledge to whatever 2013 has in store for me.

Here’s to uncharted territory. To the friends I’ve kept, the ones I’ve lost, the ones I’ve just met, and to those I’ve yet to meet. Here’s to new life lessons, to more growth, and hopefully more patience and grace. Here’s to the end of my 20s and the beginning of my 30s. Here’s to the tears caused by pain and by laughter, and the people who’ll let me cry both by their side. Here’s to love, to family, to new beginnings. Here’s to all the strange and wonderful things left to come!

Alright, 2013, I’m ready for you. Are you ready for me?

In my life I love you more…

I started to write this big ol’ reflection blog that inevitably begs to be written during the post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s haze, but I stopped short of posting.

What I tried to convey in about 600 words was already penned more succinctly and eloquently nearly (holy shit) 50 years ago.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and that the New Year finds you all happy and healthy. I’m hoping to get back on track with the blog once I’ve managed to more fully recover from the whirlwind that was December.

Looking forward to catching up soon, dear friends…

They call this Christmas where I’m from…

The season’s upon us, it’s that time of year
Brandy and eggnog, there’s plenty of cheer
There’s lights on the trees and there’s wreaths to be hung
There’s mischief and mayhem and songs to be sung

Been digging on this new Dropkick Murphy’s Xmas tune. To me, it sounds like an updated version of Fairytale of New York, another holiday favorite.

This would be the perfect post-bar night/holiday party hangout, when you’re still feeling warm and happy from the spirits and the twinkling glow of the Christmas lights…

Anyone else have some other new holiday tunes they’ve been digging on?

When Santa vists his Paesans with Dominick he’ll be, because the reindeer cannot climb the hills of Italy.

With life obligations mounting, it’s been difficult to keep focused on having the holiday spirit, which is frustrating, because I’ve wanted it to be Christmas more than ever for months.

Today I found myself grasping desperately for some way to hold on to that spirit while I was at work (D and I started decorating the house when I got home, so that helped tremendously, but I needed something to get me through the 8 hours leading up to that point…)

As noted last week, we started a Holiday Music bracket at work. Today, one of the battles included “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” vs “Dominick the Donkey.”

To me, this was a no-brainer: Growing up in an incredibly Italian-American region of the country, Dominick was a continuous staple in the Christmas song rotation. It was surprising to me once I moved out of the area for different periods of time and met people not from towns that considered themselves primarily “Italian” or “Catholic” that Dominick was not a hit. Everything about this song is cheesy and over-the-top, but that’s what makes it so damn good, especially when you watch grown adults defend its honor.

We’ll see how it ends up playing out in the bracket, but this campy Christmas tune will always be #1 to me. 🙂

All I Want for Christmas Is You

Considering that I spent a good portion of this morning listening to the Rent Soundtrack, reminiscing about my sophomore year of college when I lived in Middle Hall, the creative arts dorm, I thought it would be a good time to break out this Christmas song, and the reason why I will always love it no matter how garish Mariah Carey is.