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Best of 2011

Are you sick of these lists yet? They start earlier and earlier, it seems. Oh well, whether you’re ready or not, it’s time for my annual Best Of playlist! At least, I think I did one last year. If I didn’t, then this is the first annual Best Of playlist.

I start making my yearly playlist on Jan. 1 every year. I love doing it. I love seeing what we bought through the year. The ridiculous amount of money that I would rather forget about spending in iTunes every year results in our end of year playlist. Of the 30 some-odd singles we bought, only the best of the best can make it to the final playlist. And it’s really not just my playlist. It’s my family’s, and every family member has input. I make sure we are all reflected in the playlist from the year. So blah blah blah, let’s get to it.

Anderson’s Best of 2011:

1. On the Floor/Jennifer Lopez: We loved her on American Idol and how can you not shake your booty when you hear “Let me introduce you… to my party people…in the cluuuuuuuub…” It’s a fun one and won the lead-in spot.

2. Tightrope/Janelle Monae: This one is, for me, a different sound. That’s what attracted me to it, initially. I thought, this is like Outkast different. And lo and behold, Big Boi is featured on it! I love that they hail from ATL and it’s something new. Even had to get it for my ringtone.

3. (It) Feels So Good/Steven Tyler: Oh, Steven Tyler, you sexy, rhyming, soulful, kooky rascal, you. You old-enough-to-be-my-father, you. This song makes me play my air guitar and scream in glass-breaking pitch. We loved him, too, on Idol.

4. Born This Way/Lady Gaga: The kids love the Gag-ster. I love the message. So here it is.

5. Animal/Neon Trees: Honestly, I have no idea who this group is. Haven’t even Googled them. All I know is, it’s a great tune for driving on the highway.

6. Moves Like Jagger/Levine and Aguilera: When I first heard this song, I didn’t like it. Which I now know means it will be HUGE. It grew on me. The kids love it. Gave me reason to educate the 10 year old and 6 year old on all things Jagger and Stones.

7. Grenade/Bruno Mars: The kids and I love to sing this one, with all of that emotion and heart-wrenching despair…”why were they open?” I don’t know, though, I kind of regret putting it on here due to the overplay, much like Adele.

8. Stereo Hearts/Gym Class Heroes: Again, no clue who these people are. I’m so freakin’ old. Kids love it. I don’t mind driving along to it. Have you noticed my husband hasn’t been mentioned yet? He could care less about the first part of this list.

9. Mr. Know It All/Kelly Clarkson: The kids and I love her. She is our American Idol. I love that she is never in the tabloids. She can sing anything. She is lovely.

10. Save Me, San Francisco/Train: Okay, is there a Train backlash or something? Regardless, we like their songs. That lead singer looks older and I’m all for older folks having success (J. Lo, S. Ty, Train.)

11. Brighter Than the Sun/Colbie Caillat: This is the sweetest little song. My 6 year old belts it out like there’s no tomorrow. This is, hands down, her favorite. I like positive songs that brighten my mood, and this one is all that.

12. Come Back Song/Darius Rucker: And now we come to the country portion of the playlist. My husband loves this one. As we all do. He and I went to see DR in September and he is awesome. Such a fun show. I love this man’s voice, whether it be country or otherwise. He also happens to be my celebrity crush and from my homestate of SC. Ah, Darius, how I love to hear you on my radio.

13. Knee Deep/Zac Brown Band: Come on, this is another great party song by some good Georgia boys. Raise your beer and sing along. Our whole family loves them. Also went to see them with some great friends in the summer and had a blast. I love all kinds of music, but seems like I only go to see country shows. Guess I am a country Southern girl at heart.

14. Dirt Road Anthem/Jason Aldean: We all love this one, too. Jason is also from Georgia, my birth state and adopted homestate. I think he took a bit of a risk on this one, adding in the rap segment, but I love it. Again, something new and different. And I love it when several music styles are melded into one, since I love so many different styles of music.

15. Barton Hollow/Civil Wars: Well, this group just blew up this year, didn’t they?! I remember before I knew who they were, I saw them on Leno (who I never watch because of my unfailing, stalker-like loyalty to Conan O’Brien.) I asked my husband, “Who is that?” and could not tear myself away from their hauntingly beautiful harmonies. It was just the two of them and a guitar. I love this song and loudly sing Joy Williams’ part every time it’s on…”cain’t no preacher man save my…SOUL.”

16. All Your Life/The Band Perry: This one is for me. Again, I love to belt it out like I am Kimberly Perry and I am at the Ryman Auditorium…”all your li i i i fe…li i i ife…” And I love the writing. Of this song and the others. I love when she does that part “Lately I’ve been writing… desperate love songs… mostly sing them to the wall. You could be the centerpiece ooooof my obsessio-o-on, if you would notice me, I, oh whoa, yeah ye-ah yeah…” Love the drama and the heartache! Love that they write their stuff. They’re Alabama peeps. My ancestors are from Alabama, so I figure we’re probably related, right?

Last but not least 17. Rhythm of Love/Plain White T’s: Thought this was a good one to end on. Sweet, good theme, and we all like it. And that’s really what it’s all about- love. From the Beatles in the 60’s to the Plain White T’s in 2011, and now to you: Love is all we need.

All the best to you and yours in 2012,

Katie

 

 

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I love a blog that begins with a Grease 2 reference! Just so you know, if you are a G2 hater, I don’t want to hear it, and will just post the next blog with the entire soundtrack! Oh how I wanted to be Michelle Pfeiffer and have a Cool Rider for my boyfriend.

Greetings and happy end of summer vacation! So it’s back to school, again! Where I live, school has started and what you’re hearing from the general direction of the Atlanta metro area are moms’ and dads’ exuberant cheers! It’s so damn hot here, the kids might as well be in school. The pool feels as warm as… well, I won’t go there because, let’s face it, that’s pretty much what it probably is. We’re all sick of the sweating, the too-often-3-showers-a-day routine, and having to exercise before 9 am or after 8 pm, which for me, means not exercising. We are Over. It.

So I welcome the open doors of the schoolhouse with a happy heart and smiling face. I am grateful that the angel teachers of my 2 children will educate and entertain them for the next 9 months.

Summer vacation wasn’t bad or anything. We actually had a fun summer, despite not scheduling a bunch of camps. The kids both were anti-camp; they just wanted “to play outside with their friends.” So, that’s what we did a lot of the time and it worked out much better than I thought it would. For me, that is. I guess they learned how to be bored, and so did I. And in the end, we didn’t get bored all that much.

We went on some trips to keep from going stir crazy. We visited with family and friends, we went to the beach, and we got to go to Denver for a few days. We went to Six Flags and Stone Mountain. We swam and played some tennis.

And we read. Since the kids had refused all things camp, I implemented afternoon reading sessions in hopes that our brains would not completely shrivel up. The kids picked books from the county library and the Carnegie library. I came up with my own summer reading list:

1. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

2. Classic American Short Stories edited by William Roberts

3. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

4. Roots by Alex Haley

5. Does the Noise in my Head Bother You? by Steven Tyler

6. Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Yes, I like literature and celebrity tell-all’s. I will often buy a New Yorker and a People magazine at the same time. I must admit, though, when I had problems with my Nook Color (I forgot to register my new debit card), it was a bit embarrassing that the problems were with the Steven Tyler and Rob Lowe books and NOT something more literary, like the Alex Haley. The B&N rep reassured me when she told me, “oh yeah, you’ve got to get this Rob Lowe book, it’s really good!” I told her I was an English major and embarrassed; you would think I was admitting to reading porn. I guess you could argue that they are the same thing….but that’s another blog.

I would recommend them all. I’m still working on Roots. It’s gotten rough and I can’t read it at night so it’s taking me a bit longer to get through. It is an incredible book, though.

We cooked some, but not a lot, and nothing very exciting. My son is becoming a young chef; he loves to cook and as he says, “make concoctions.” He makes his own eggs now, and made a solid pan of stuffed shells. My daughter enjoys it to a degree but has a shorter attention span. She did start up a make-believe restaurant this summer, complete with apron, real dishes, straws, and food made out of paper. Together, we made lots of desserts, popsicles, smoothies, and homemade soda.

And there was the inevitable too-much-tv and video games, the whines when the friends were on vacation, and one “Maybe I should’ve done some camps.” There was the reminder that we are a one-income family, in weird economic times, and we couldn’t do everything the kids wanted to do, when they wanted to do it. I even went through my own school withdrawal, surprising after I thought it was going to do me in. But I’ve worked enough summers in the past to know that I was lucky to be off this summer with my kids, who get bigger and more independent each day.

I reconnected with friends, family, my husband, and my children. I read lots of books. I saw the Rocky Mountains. I slacked off on my blog. I know more than anyone needs to know about Steven Tyler and Rob Lowe. I wrote a grant. I watched a lot of Bravo and Food Network.

That’s what I did on my summer vacation. How about you? I would love to hear from you all.

Take care of yourselves and each other,

Katie

Zoe

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