Monday, January 27, 2014

Soundtrack of the Party


I love soundtracks.  Road trips, parties, daily life ... every event must have a music soundtrack.  I firmly believe emotions are tied to music and music is a trigger for memories.

We invited people over for Hubs's birthday party on Saturday night, as he's turning a certain age this week (Hubs and Kate Moss are the same age).  We were having so much fun that I forgot to take pics during the party, but I wore my Megan Mad Men dress that I bought in Chicago last year

                        pic taken last year, at least 4 hair colours ago

 ... and we passed around the bottle of Veuve Clicquot.


I wanted to create a great party soundtrack, something people would remember.....keep in mind our music tastes are quite eclectic (lots of 1980s, rock, new wave, alternative) .... had it been my b-day party, I would have thrown in some Kate Bush, Stevie Nicks, Debussy and Roxette for a real sensory experience but I reined myself in for Hubs's party (well, Hubs asked me to).  Don't go overboard...  (sotte voce voice)

Moi?????  Never!!!! 

So, to start the party with upbeat energy right when people arrived and so as to inspire cool confidence to make sure our guests hit it off right away (some people didn't know each other prior to the party and I definitely didn't want a "we're back in a high school clique" vibe, ugh) we played:

1.  Beat City - The Flowerpot Men (*this song is from the Ferris Bueller soundtrack - when Ferris, Cameron and Sloane are driving into Chicago after ditching school)
2. Wouldn't It Be Good - Nik Kershaw (preferably the Live Aid version
3. Don't Stop The Dance - Bryan Ferry
4. L'affaire du Dumontier (Say to Me) - The Box
5.  Stylo - Gorillaz (*Gorillaz is Damon Albarn's "virtual" band with guest performers on every record -- Damon was the frontman and songwriter for British band Blur in the 1990s)
6.  I Am Here - The Grapes of Wrath
7.  Lose Yourself to Dance - Daft Punk (this video has now received over 9.9 million views, the dance edits are perfect)
8.  Give Life Back to Music - Daft Punk
9.  Enjoy the Silence - Depeche Mode (our friend D was like YAHHHHHHH when we played this but he managed to restrain himself and didn't do any Dave Gahan dance moves)
10.  Reflektor - Arcade Fire
11.  Let's Dance (extended version) - David Bowie
12.  Everything Counts - Depeche Mode
13.  Making Plans for Nigel - XTC
14.  Scare Easy - Mudcrutch (this was Tom Petty's band before he started Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers in the 1970s, Mudcrutch reunited a few years ago and came out with an album)
15.  Pretzel Logic - Steely Dan

then we morphed into ...

1.  Bad is Bad - Huey Lewis and The News
2.  A Dream (About You) - The Grapes of Wrath
3.  Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
4.  Subdivisions - Rush
5.  On Melancholy Hill - Gorillaz
6.  Backward Town - The Grapes of Wrath (*we saw Grapes in concert one year ago this past weekend with our friends, so of course we had to play Grapes songs at the party)
7.  Swimming in Your Ocean - Crash Test Dummies
8.  Route 66 (Beatmasters Mix) - Depeche Mode
9.  Don't You (Forget About Me) - extended mix - Simple Minds
10.  Heartbreak Beat - The Psychedelic Furs
11.  Moving in Stereo - The Cars
12.  All Mixed Up - The Cars (best to play these back to back as Moving in Stereo blends into All Mixed Up)
13.  Don't Let Me Down - The Beatles (Hubs's favorite Beatles song)
14.  Come Together - The Beatles
15.  Heroes - David Bowie
16.  Heartbeat City - The Cars
17.  Summer Madness - Kool and the Gang

As the evening took on a relaxed pace and a chatty vibe emerged amongst guests (the topics of conversation at that point were health care, conspiracy theories, travel and concerts), we played these songs which fit the ebb and flow of conversation quite nicely:

1.  Chain of Fools - Aretha Franklin
2.  We Can Work It Out - The Beatles
3.  Wait - The Beatles
4.  Tu es ma came - Carla Bruni
5.  Dirty Work - Steely Dan
6.  In a Little While - U2
7.  Prairie Wind - Neil Young
8.  Let Me Roll It - Paul McCartney & Wings
9.  America - Simon & Garfunkel
10.  Scarborough Fair/Canticle - Simon & Garfunkel
11.  Vienna - Ultravox
12.  Live to Tell - Madonna
13.  Things I Do For Money - The Northern Pikes
14.  To the End - Blur
15.  Hey Jude - The Beatles
16.  A Day in the Life - The Beatles

Hubs commented that only I would be able to get away with playing songs by Ultravox, Huey Lewis, Carla Bruni, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles and the "required Canadian content" (just like a Canadian radio station but BETTER!) all at the same party, and it totally worked.  Why not?

Aside from one of our guests wandering off during the party and using my bathroom upstairs that I didn't have time to finish cleaning before the party (and only I use) ... instead of using one of the two bathrooms on our main floor and downstairs where the party actually WAS, it was a good time.  There's always one quirky guest, right?

Happy Parties.

And Happy Cat Birthday Cards.  Pardon our hysterics.

video





Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Five Are Back Together Again...Never Break The Chain!

You read correctly, my favorite band EVER is back together again with the classic lineup!  Christine McVie will be finding a house-sitter to tend to her gardens and cats while she rejoins Fleetwood Mac this year.

                                        via

Happy New Year alright, how phenomenal is this?!  Fleetwood Mac back on tour in 2014? 

I've already told Sis --- if Fleetwood Mac does a concert somewhere even remotely near here, WE ARE GOING!!  (like she has a choice in the matter!)

So cool.

                                        via

Favorite Christine McVie song?  Such a tough choice as she wrote most of the hits, but I would have to say a tie between Little Lies (this remix version is my fav) and Rumours favorite Oh Daddy.  If she performed either of these songs in concert again......just wow.  That would be epic.

And you? 


p.s.  Thanks to everyone for your holiday and New Year's wishes!  I hope everyone had a great Christmas holiday, mine was great and here's to a fantastic 2014!



Sunday, December 22, 2013

It's Christmas Time...


Yes, it is!  This week is holiday week, Hubs and I are going to Mom and Dad's tomorrow for a few days to celebrate Christmas and I'm really looking forward to it.  All of us will be there.  It will be a time for celebrating - my brother is doing well in his treatments, he's in good spirits and aside from a few infections here and there, he's doing okay. 

It's funny, up until the last week or so, I hadn't really gotten into the Christmas splendour yet, I hadn't even put up many decorations (the photo above is of last year's tree) ..... but this year it's been more about reconnecting with our people and appreciating what we have.  It's been great and it has left me feeling inspired.

Thank you for reading and commenting.   This year was a bit up and down for me and posts have been fairly sporadic at times, but sometimes that's just how life is. 

I wish all of you a very Happy & Merry Christmas and an inspired holiday season!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Beautiful Boston

Stately Boston.  We love it, we spent barely a day there..... and we are going back.

                                           Beacon Hill, Boston

Unfortunately, I had motion sickness on the train ride from NYC to Boston (always an enjoyable time).  We woke up really early that morning at 5am NYC time (which was actually 3am our time), as the train left Penn Station around 6:30am or so ... you know those days when you wake up early, not feeling the greatest and you know you're in trouble already?  Yah, that was me.  Once we were on the train, something triggered something and I visited the restroom a few times.  Good thing there weren't many people in our train car witnessing my parade back and forth to the restroom!  Blech. 

my hand there by the window, trying desperately to stay stationary and focused while the world whips by after being told by the train steward "Oh there's at least another 2 hours to go!"  UGH.....

However, I did take my most favorite photo of our entire vacation at a brief stop....isn't this setting beautiful?  Perfect autumn colours.  No editing at all, aside from the camera zoom.


Unfortunately, I can't tell you where this house is, since it was taken in between restroom trips (or as Hubs so eloquently (and hilariously) put it :  "oh yes, that photo was taken in between barfs!")  I wasn't really paying attention to the train stops since, well, I had my mind focused on other matters requiring my full and undivided attention.  Is anyone familiar with the Amtrak route from NYC to Boston (Acela Express) and know where this house is?  I'm guessing somewhere in Connecticut.   Any assistance would be appreciated.

Thankfully to Hubs's relief (and mine), I rallied and by the time we pulled into Boston South Station, I somehow got my equilibrium back.  I'm sure the train trip was enjoyable for everyone else, and I'm told by Hubs that the scenery was wonderful.  Maybe next time I'll be able to take in the views.   Good thing the weather was on the cooler side that day in Boston, I actually enjoyed walking around and getting the fresh air.  I kinda needed it after the train trip.


Then I proceeded to have the best day ever!  See, I recover fast.  (I've had almost 31 years experience now with motion sickness so I know the routine.)  Hubs, being the history buff he is, was in his absolute glory that day.  He LOVES exploring historical sites.  I do too.


We strolled around and saw the site of the Boston Massacre:




Faneuil Hall and the Marketplace:


Went to Quincy Market for lunch.


I had even recovered enough by this time to have a Starbucks mocha and a bowl of Boston clam chowder.  There was no way I would visit Boston and not have clam chowder.  As if! 

Hi Norm!


Walked around Boston's North End, the cobblestone streets and older buildings reminded me of being in Europe:





Paul Revere House:

It is the oldest building in downtown Boston



A Boston Red Sox fan:


Old North Church:




Massachusetts State House:



Boston Common, oldest park in the USA:



Public Garden:




Beacon Hill -- love this area!  Love the rowhouses, gaslamps, uneven cobblestone sidewalks, the front doors of the buildings, all those little quaint details ....







Cheers Bar:



Then, our favorite stop of all, JFK Library.


To our immense relief, the JFK Library re-opened one week before our vacation, at the end of the government shutdown.

If you ever get a chance to go to the JFK Library, please go and see it and allow yourself at least two hours to look around and take in all the exhibits.  Had we not had to cram all of our sightseeing in barely 8 hours, we could have easily spent the entire afternoon at the museum. 

We took a cab to JFK Library from the North End.  On our way back to downtown, we took the free JFK shuttle bus to JFK/UMass station, where we took the Red Line subway back to downtown.  Very simple and very efficient. 

Some of the exhibits:

Life in 1960.....my sister-in-law (who would have been 4 years old in 1960) saw this photo and exclaimed "there's my childhood right there!"

Campaign Poster




Photo from cellist Pablo Casals's performance at the White House on November 13, 1961....what an event that must have been...

Love the displays and chandeliers

Evelyn Lincoln's diary during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Oct 23-24, 1962

   Stern report card for Jackie's conduct in Form during her school days.... hilarious!


Instructions to Pam from Jackie ....I chuckled at this too.

Bobby Kennedy's desk


    President Kennedy's desk and rocking chair


We saw the Cuban Missile Crisis exhibit, which was on display at the museum until December 1, 2013:





Original speech

             Marked missile sites in JFK's handwriting

President Kennedy's doodle notes during meetings

Hubs bought me this Jackie replica gold clutch.  Love it.


I have always loved this green Cassini dress Jackie wore:


                                        both photos via

 photo taken at the museum - JFK chatting with Pearl Buck, JBK chatting with Robert Frost


So I bought the little painting of it. 




At the end of our tour:


view from inside the museum

"For this is a time for courage and a time for challenge. Neither conformity nor complacency will do. Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed."    --  from JFK's undelivered speech which would have been given in Austin, TX on November 22, 1963.  Source

I love the above quote, especially "neither conformity nor complacency will do"... I completely agree.     

Following our brilliant day in Boston, I was a bit concerned about the train ride back to NYC, but this time I felt completely fine on the train and enjoyed it.  Of course, right?

I even followed along where we were on the train route on my iphone GPS map:


The TAPS Ghosthunters crew are based in Warwick, RI (Jason, Tango, Steve, Amy and former crew member Grant)


In Connecticut, north of the Hamptons

Also interesting to note where the fictional characters of Mad Men live.....

Trudy Campbell lives here in Cos Cob, CT:


Betty (Draper) Francis lives in Rye, NY (not too far from the Westchester Country Club, I see!):


What a fantastic day -- Hubs and I were very inspired by Boston -- the vibe, the history, the architectural details, the scenery.  We would love to go there again and explore some more, we would also like to visit Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard (oh yes and Nantucket, Hyannisport .... )

Thanks for reading!