Party Playlist Post 4 (Or We’re ALL Hard to Love)

Guys, it’s my birthday! So this is going to be a quick post about the party playlist ‘cuz I’m rushing off to someone else’s birthday party (naturally) before I head down to the OC for a little Bob Dylan and My Morning Jacket, with a side of Wilco.

Annnnnyway, here goes today’s edition:

The Pixies’ Monkey Gone to Heaven is for Brady, my first rescue dog.

Cocker Spaniel on Dogs Dishes and Decor

Wasn’t the Bubba amazing?

It was the only song I could stand for days after he died. It’s for battling cancer, congestive heart failure, deafness, and raccoon scars but being the sweetest, gentlest little man. It’s for being the best hiker of all my dogs, despite his health struggles. It’s for that night in 2003 where his howls of distress over my sobs pulled me off the kitchen floor and out of my own wallowing. It’s for the way he always licked away my tears. It’s for the peaceful way he silently slipped away while wearing his Michigan shirt on Melissa’s birthday so many years ago. It’s for helping me grow up. For teaching me so much about love, loss, and letting go. May you forever be hiking in heaven, Monkey.

Steve Aoki’s I’m in the House is for my Boxer, Albus. It’s for crashing into my life on what would have been my Grandpa’s 88th birthday and shaking everything up. It’s for breaking up the warring Spaniel sisters and setting us all free. It’s for helping me quit a job that was killing me. It’s for the people I’ve met while trying to wear him out on walks. It’s for the happiness he brings every day with his big paws and his boundless enthusiasm. It’s for the way he flops down in exhaustion long before his little sister. It’s for the way his strong, tough exterior belies such a gentle little boy underneath. It’s for letting me use him as a pillow while we’re watching TV. It’s for reminding me that things like Ray Bans don’t really matter that much anyway….

You ARE in the Muthaf*&#ing house, Bus.

The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What you Want is for my Cocker Spaniel, Woodley. It’s for how right her trainer was when he said, “God is trying to teach you something with these dogs.” It’s for the way she finally let me in after weeks of being aloof. It’s for the ways she has grown stronger and saner without her sister. It’s for being the dog I always knew she was inside and for how far we’ve come since she came into my life. It’s for the way she snuggles up against my back. It’s for the way she loves carrots and big sticks of celery. It’s for loving Albus immediately even though she despises almost every other dog. It’s for the way she tries to defend him from dogs five times her size. It’s for the way I can’t help laughing that she absolutely defines the word “bitch” in all the best ways. And maybe most of all? It’s for truly teaching me that you can’t always get what you want, but you really do get what you need.

Lee Brice’s Hard to Love is for all the friends, family, and strangers who have confided so much in me. Your stories have shown me that we’re ALL hard to love and that’s what makes it so magical when someone knows it all and still loves us anyway.


Birthday Party Playlist Part 2 (Or I Cry… Just a Little)

Guys, tomorrow is my birthday! And today I need to talk about the other people who inspired songs on my birthday party playlist.

There are so many people I love. Truly. And if I had my way they’d never go away. They’d all be here to toast the good times together. But since I’m not supreme dictator of the universe, it’s not the case. And that’s OK.

So, anyway here it goes:

Pharrell and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is for Gilbylocks. It’s for that Sunday morning dance party we had in the Bronson Canyon Parking lot. The one Benito filmed. It’s for our sunny convent breakfasts after CrossFit. It’s for laughing with me about a flaming pink teakettle. It’s for going on this gut wrenching, heart-opening journey with me – and for understanding why it’s the thing that just might change my life. It’s for those talks we had in the back of a SXSW cab. It’s for instigating the birthday backbend test to see if we’re old. It’s for carving my name into a tree in Calcutta. It’s for making me her kohona. I love you, Suzie. Come home from Sweden soon.

David Bowie’s China Girl is for Gillian. It’s for being with me at Cabo Cantina when we put it on the juke box that Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It’s for knowing — really knowing — what this business has been like for me. It’s for our inside joke about my illegitimate children. It’s for almost setting ourselves on fire the first time we tried to light a grill. It’s for being one of my very first dinner party partners back in the day. It’s for bonding with me over a love of Laura Palmer. It’s for letting me be Ziggy’s dog sitter. And it’s for always calling when she’s back from making big box office hits.

Bertie Higgins’ Key Largo is for Sarah. She and her husband may be the only other people on the planet who also have this song in their iTunes library. It’s for always listening to the boy drama. For working with me until midnight on stupid soap opera recaps. For making me get on the stage to sing a little Garth Brooks on her birthday. For her thoughtfulness. For her encouragement. And for her sunny spirit.

George Straight’s Easy Come, Easy Go is for Pewther. It’s for finding it in my iTunes library the last time he stayed with me. It’s for offering to come down when my dog died even though I didn’t let him. It’s for making me laugh — easily and often. For making cuddling easy. For making frozen pizza and reruns of The Office seem like a night at the symphony. For the times he’d stop me from being bossy by just saying, “Hold Me.” He wasn’t easy to let go.

2Pac’s Thugz Mansion is for Dana. It’s because it blew me away when I first learned the sweet, soft-spoken girl sitting in the cubicle next to me at ABC loved her some Pac. It’s for our Maha Yoga dates and our bagel Sundays. It’s for that wedding dress shopping adventure in Orange County. It’s for celebrating my 30th birthday and her wedding together at the Mandarin Oriental. It’s for telling me about the best Italian restaurant in the East Village. It’s for her loyalty. And her honesty. (BTW, Happy Anniversary, Dana and Alex!) #gangstarapforever

Nelly’s Country Grammar is for, well, Nelly P. It’s for batting 1,000 on birthday party attendance in our 20’s. It’s for pickle tacos at Malo. For making me laugh over IM at 4 am when we were pulling our hair out over the marketing plans for our theses. It’s for bringing a bag of candy to my first Easter Dinner. It’s for saying, “We almost wrote, ‘you ARE hot’ on the cake instead of ‘Happy Birthday’” that year I’d been Bill Callahaned myself. It’s for coining the term in the first place. It’s for all the cigarettes we smoked outside every club in Hollywood in our 20’s. For letting me cry on his patio when I called in sick to work over a broken heart. For being the cell phone number I still have memorized.

Baby Bash and T-Pain’s Cyclone is for Danielle. It’s for making it my song – and making me laugh for the reason she chose it. It’s for our laundry nights during slumber parties. It’s for her big, big heart – the one that no matter how broken it is never seems to be too full for someone else. It’s for the encouragement she has given me to follow my dreams and follow my heart. It’s for the hours we spent on the phone the night Melissa’s dad died. It’s for somehow knowing Melissa needed that rose on September 11th… the one she saved when she was sad. It’s for getting why I have to put bows and sparkles on everything too. It’s for sharing the pleasure and the pain of being alive. And it’s for loving pink as much as I do.

Lil Jon’s Get Low is also for Melissa. It’s because one song isn’t enough. It’s because we danced to it so many times on a couch in Santa Monica that afternoon in August. It’s not just about the people we’ve lost since we met. It’s about the family I have because of her. It’s about making Suzie and me go to SXSW in the first place. It’s about making me take the tags off the Ted Baker suit when I was agonizing over it. It’s about the strength she had to just cry in the middle of a bar on Abbot Kinney — and about what I’ve learned from her loss. It’s about the day we cried on the phone when I walked her through her dog’s final hours. It’s about loaning him to me in the first place when I’d lost mine. It’s about the way somehow we’ve made each other do the tough stuff even when we didn’t want to. It’s about our honesty over tacos on Lincoln Avenue and hauling trash into the Albertson’s dumpster. It’s about the battle not to be broken laptops but shiny MacBook pros instead. Chris Rock says, “We should all be ashamed of ourselves for liking this song….” but we’re not ashamed. At all.

And finally…

Flo Rida’s I Cry is for my Bumpa. I know it sounds weird to say Flo Rida reminds you of your Grandpa, but it’s because the song makes me happy. And every time I hear it, I start skipping — or dancing in my car. The first time I caught myself doing it, I started smiling through the tears that came streaming down my face. It’s because my spontaneous skipping in the Hollywood Hills brought me back to a night with my Bumpa in Detroit so many years ago. He was carrying a picnic basket as we walked through the streets near the Renaissance Center. All of a sudden, for no apparent reason, he started skipping and singing, “We’re off to see the wizard,” and it was just infectious. His joy was contagious. And the world needs so much more of that. I’ve only started to scratch the surface when it comes to telling his story – of saying what he meant to me – but THAT might take a lifetime.

OK, I’m going to get into this mocha and bagel now because it’s my birthday week and I wanna.

Carbs on Dogs Dishes and Decor

My kitchen table is a mess. And Today? I don’t care.

Then I’m gonna dance in my kitchen, Bumpa style.

I might even make that face I make when I dance – the one that startles my aunt ‘cuz I do that thing with my mouth that he did when he danced.