Five Songs That Make Up a Happy Morning Playlist

Goooood morning from Madison. It’s the first day of school, and instead of sleeping in like I have been all summer, I actually beat my alarm clock up at 7:45 AM despite going to bed at 1:00 AM – if you know me, this is a miracle – and had the energy to emerge from the bed about 30 minutes later. Since then, I’ve showered, had an omelette and an iced cappuccino, played too much Secret Society, watched a podcast, done the New York Times Crossword, and read about 10 blog posts.

But back to today’s topic:

Waking up early is a treat, for me at least. It means I have the whole day ahead of me, and I want to start it right. Usually that’s the last thing I tell myself before opening my eyes again at 1:37 PM that afternoon, but you get the picture. Behold, this list that will get you up and at ‘em on the right foot.

Five Songs That Make Up a Happy Morning Playlist

1. Zooey Deschanel, “The Fabric of our Lives.”

Yeah, it was from a commercial about cotton, but it’s just so peppy and morning-like that you can’t not smile. It actually sounds like it could be an actual jingle from the 1950s or 60s, sung by Brenda Lee or Little Peggy March. Zooey Deschanel is kind of annoying, but this song made her grow on me a little bit, like antique moss on a plastic potted plant.

2. Lena, “What A Man”

Lena Meyer-Landrut is one of the few talented progeny of Eurovision, and this acoustic morning-show rendition of En Vogue’s “What A Man” has just the right coffeehouse vibe for a low key morning. I used to listen to it while driving to the University of Houston, with hopes it would dispel any tzurris in my immediate future.

3. Corinne Bailey Rae, “Put Your Records On”

This song hearkens a summer morning with it’s opening words: “three little birds.” It’s like a gently flowing breeze to wake you up, rather than a harsh alarm clock. Honorable mention goes to Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You,” but CBR’s got a little more soul to enrich that morning java. Plus, there’s an awesome studio version on YouTube somewhere where she’s singing it while doing other stuff like directing the sound check and writing stuff down, showcasing her vocal talent and giving AutoTune the middle finger.

4. Oren Lavie, “Her Morning Elegance”

You can read most of the specifics about the song in this Masterpiece YouTube from about a year ago. If you don’t want to click (even though you totally should), I’ll give you the short version. The lyrics, combined with the bells, strings, gentle percussion give this song its morningness, plus the fact that it has the word “morning” in the title. Listening to this song brings back memories of misty mornings in Jerusalem, mornings in autumn and winter with a bit of crispness to the air and maybe some fog. Add some shoko b’sakit, corner makolet Israeli-style cappuccino, or one of those awesome breakfast trays, and it’s heaven on earth.

5. Dolly Parton, “Nine to Five”

You knew this one was coming, it’s pretty much unavoidable. Dolly Parton’s working-woman anthem is for those mornings when you just can’t drag yourself out of bed. The horns and typewriter sounds are just enough jazz to steer your ass to the kitchen for your cup of ambition.

Honorable Mention: “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray. Works best if you are actually in Baltimore. Or Ecuador.

So, enjoy the rest of your morning, as it’s almost afternoon here in Madison and my first class is in an hour.

I should probably put on pants.

Labor Day of Love

How I Spent My Labor Day:

  • Sleeping
  • Finding 19 geocaches out of 22 I searched for
  • Starbucks
  • Finally finishing my posts on Ronnie Spector and her book. Check them out now for updates, pictures, and gifs.

Goodbye August, Hello September

There’s just something about August that emits sunlight and long afternoons, where September means apples, autumn, and chilly winds.

All that in just one day.

Ronnie in Retrospect, Part II

To those of you who didn’t read my previous post with this title, click here.

This doesn’t really fall under the category of book review, but after reading her book, I felt a kinship with Ronnie Spector.

I cheered for her when she had victories; I felt for her when she endured emotional pain, physical pain, mental anguish, and heartache. I’m not locked away in a mansion in the Hollywood hills, but in my normal life here in Madison, I tend to be my own prison guard and lock myself away from the world. Being alone has its positives: time to imagine, to reflect, to celebrate yourself, but if you’re not careful, the negatives can come out, leading you through dark paths and down steep slopes. When she had no audience, she turned inwards, which ultimately did more harm than good.

Mental illness is not an easy topic to talk or write about. Reading her words, however, made it seem more tangible and understandable. She writes about all the times she felt dark and all the circumstances that left her feeling that way. Though it was not discussed in depth, her sister Estelle also endured mental illness, of a different kind. It is fortunate that Ronnie was able to share these with the world; unfortunately, we’ll never read about the times and traumas of Estelle. I admire her search for herself, which continues to this day. She’s still got it, rockin’ and rollin’ all the way to the Hall of Fame as seen in her acceptance speech, but constantly navigating through the roles of musician, parent, friend, and person.

The biggest thing that I’ll take away from Ronnie Spector is the concept that you are not a bad person. She includes these words several times throughout her book. In times of failure, she asked God what she did wrong, citing her missteps and misfortunes: the downfall and breakup of the Ronettes, her attempts at a solo career, her failed marriage, her inability to conceive Phil Spector’s child, her failed attempt to reunite the Ronettes, and her troubled relationships with her family members. I would like to apply these words to myself.

Just like Ronnie said, despite my faults, my failures, my faux pas, and all the people who dislike me, I am not a bad person.

Oh, and be my little baby.

ronettes

***

Dear Ronnie Spector,

Please come do a concert in Madison.

Baby I love you,

Jacob

Don’t Worry, Baby

I am totally working on the Ronnie post right…now.

Tears-Free Turkey Burgers

New apartment, new feature:

That’s So Nom: Notes from Jacob’s Kitchen

Episode 1: Tears-Free Turkey Burgers

This is not what they will look like.

  1. Buy ingredients in three separate grocery stores on three separate trips because you’ve already forgotten what’s in it.
  2. Call mother, confirm ingredients and instructions.
  3. Wait until the sell-by date, then prepare to turkey-burger.
  4. Thaw turkey in a large bowl and preheat oven.
  5. Watch a podcast and then return to bowl. If the middle is still frozen, just pour water onto it.
  6. Realize that it’s probably a little soggy, so attempt to strain the water out, in vain.
  7. Mix in onion soup, mustard, and a few squirts of ketchup.
  8. Stir until it smells divine.
  9. Form six patties, place in the preheated oven.
  10. Realize five minutes later that you have somewhere to be, so turn oven off and go to meeting.
  11. Stay longer than planned at the meaning having fun conversations.
  12. Return to apartment.
  13. Broil the six patties, turning when firm, hoping that they’re still good.
  14. Take out patties, and make sure to not drop the first one on the floor like I did.
  15. Enjoy five little turkey burgers with a dash of salsa.

Recipe makes 10 burgers total.

The reason for the title?

Even though this week has been great and relaxing, it’s still nerve wracking that school is starting up again, next week. I feel so not ready. I was crying a little inside today, knowing that this is the last week that it’ll be easy. My apartment is still a mess and things just feel weird. Blogging has been helping, marginally, but cooking a healthy, somewhat-grown-up dinner for myself helped a lot.

Even after a shower, I still smell like turkey.

Fixer Upper Day, Again

Despite not doing much last fixer-upper day, I have actually worked on some other posts today.

Check out an updated story about setting up my wi-fi.

Currently working on my Ronnie review.

Stay tuned.

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