Saturday, April 16, 2011

Music of my Soul lovely little sister, Haley Johnson did a recent post where she posted the first 10 songs that came on her shuffle, and then described what they meant to her. And because I am an avid blog copy cat...I am going to do the same... ahem...

1. Johnny Cash: I love Johnny Cash...mainly because his songs often sound the same and yet I can listen to him for hours. His best album would have to be Live at Folsom Prison...Hands down. He also reminds me of playing music with my dad. Favorite song: Girl from North Country with Bob Dylan, and Cocaine Blues

2.Oh Lord...The second band is Iron Maiden. I have recently been introduced to this magical band by a friend at work named Jeremy Smith. I can't really say that I am as crazy a fan of he is. But I do enjoy running to them... And attempting to do the first acoustic cover of When the Wild Wind Blows. Favorite songs: When The Wild Wind Blows and Dance of the Dead

3. Roma Di Luna! One of my all time favorite bands. They always remind me of my sr year in college when I downloaded all of their albums and listened to them almost non-stop for 4 months. They make me proud to be from Minnesota, land of good musicians. Also, when I first saw her sing live...I've never seen anything as magical since. She has the most amazing stage presence and you can't help but stare at her in awe as she belts it! Favorite Songs: The Devil Walks, Inside the Bells and Below our Feet

4. Vampire Weekend...They make me happy. I like to listen to them while I'm driving on the highway with my windows down. The song "Campus" makes my day.
5. Oh Coldplay...Coldplay has been one of my favorite bands since highschool. I really enjoyed their first two albums. Parachutes and Rush of blood to the Head are their best, in my opinion. Whenever I listen to Rush of blood to the head, I think of the trip we took to Louisiana and I listened to that cd the whole time. Favorite songs: Strawberry Swing, Green Eyes and Clocks

6. Selena. Selena will forever remind me of Miss Melanie Tidwell-Johnston. Anytime I hear Selena I think of the time(s) we watched Selena and the time(s) we drove to Boise with the windows down BELTING all of her songs! Anything of Seleeeena! Favorite song: Bitty Bitty Bum bum and Barefoot barely breathing (hahahaha, I don't know the real name of that song)

7. Regina Spektor. One of the greats. I remember the first time I heard her song "Us" I was hooked. I was determined to learn it on the guitar and sang it non-stop for weeks. She also reminds me of my college times. Favorite songs: Samson and Us

8. Trampled By Turtles...introduced to me by my brother Jonathan Bly. They are a great bluegrass band...on acid?
9. Greg Brown. My all-time favorite musician. I could listen to Greg Brown everyday for the rest of my life. He was the first concert I ever went to with my mom, dad and brother. He proved to me that a true musician can sit on a stage with only his guitar and voice and make for a great show. He's the best story teller in his songs and audience banter. He always will remind me of my dad. Favorite songs: Spring Wind, Rexroth's Daughter and his Richard Thompson cover of Vincent Black Lightning.

10. A Night in the Box. This one makes my heart hurt because they are no longer a band. I've seen A Night in the Box three times in concert and everytime they have blown my mind. Talk about the highest energy concert I've ever been to. These guys could belt anything out with a banjo, guitar, fiddle and harmonica. Yet another tribute the the greatness of Minnesota music. They were the best and I'm sad they are no more. Favorite Songs: Lie to me, Hustle, Don't Do me Wrong, West Texas, and The Prayer...there are many more.

11. (woops...more than 10...this is just so fun!) The Shins. If any band can get me in the mood to run, it is this one. The funny thing is, The Shins are not even that fast paced...but they fit my pace almost perfectly. Favorite Songs: Caring is Creepy, New Slang and Turn on Me

12. Brandi Carlisle. She has shown me that it is alright to belt and break your voice. She also has the coolest voice of all time and does the coolest covers. She reminds me of college and my dear friends there. Favorite songs: The Story, Walking in the Snow.

13. Mumford and Sons. this is a relatively new band also introduced to me by my brother dear. I ADORE this band. They have a great ability to sing with passion. I have really enjoy them...a lot this last few months. Favorite songs: Awake my Soul, Roll Away Your Stone, and Winter Winds.

14. James Taylor...I love James Taylor because I feel like he summed up song writing in an interview I read. People often ask me how I come up with the songs that I write and he said it perfectly. He said that he felt like these songs were in the universe and he was the channel through which they became organized...Totally hippy, but that's how I feel too. These beautiful themes and words are floating around and for some blessed reason, I have been given the gift to put them together. James Taylor also reminds me of my best friend Melanie Tidwell (now Johnston) and that always makes me happy!

15. Bob Dylan: One of the greatest. This kind of sounds cliche. But the more that I've been listening to Bobby boy...I really believe that that is true. He wrote SOOO many songs. And I really enjoy covering his music. Favorite Songs: The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol, Boots of Spanish Leather and One Too Many Mornings

16. CAKE. Reminds me of the summer of my Senior year in college. It also reminds me of the wonderful roadtrip we had driving to Boulder from Rexburg to watch them in concert. Best concert EVER! John McCrea can also put on a GREAT show! I loved it...he is also the king of covers. Cake has shown me that if you can take a song and make it your own, people will go...wait...did you write that? or is that a song I've heard before? I'm not really sure! Favorite songs: Jolene and Pentagram at the moment.

so...since I've wasted most of my Saturday morning doing this...I will have to stop there. I do have to say that I skipped over some songs that I didn't have anything to say about. These towards the end have turned out to be more influential artists than anything else. Great times! i love music more than almost anything in this world. It makes sense to me. I feel calm when there is a beat and harmony and inspiring words. Cheesy...but whatever... peace out until next time.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Autism Awareness Month...

So, the last few posts have been somewhat negative, therefore, here comes positivity. This month is Autism Awareness Month! As most of you know, I work with children who have autism. And as there are some children who make me want to pull my hair out on a daily basis, there are the ones that make me want to be a mother! I love autism. I love the way they move and speak (or don't speak) I love their eyes. I love what they say when they can't speak. I love their quirks and different stems. I work with my favorite little boy who has figured out how to "favorite" Tarzan videos on my iphone. I work with another little girl, who although looks and acts like Mowgli from The Jungle Book, can play the piano and sing on perfect pitch.

I'm not really sure where my love of autism stems from. I have worked with many different children but my first autistic love is a little boy named Seth. Seth couldn't talk and he really didn't care to be around many people. He was 7 years old when I first met him. And when we first met, we bonded. I don't really know how it happened. But I received great joy and satisfaction from being one of the only staff at day camp that he liked to be around. He'd hold my hand and walk me to the swing set or climb on my lap for tickles or kisses

Here is a picture list of my other favorites at my little day camp. I'm not allowed to post pictures of my favorites at work, but just know that I have them! :)

Evan...One of the smartest kids I ever knew. We played games, talked about politics, worked through issues of him accidentally walking into the women's restroom and having his "worst nightmare come true!!!!!" He had a different obsession every day ranging from the Reeses puff cereal rap, timers, banjo music, fashions, and whatever else it may be. I love this child.

Elyssa...One of my all time favorite children. This girl could quote any line from almost any movie. She loved to write stories that were almost identical to Disney stories, except she would substitute in other characters, (usually animals) from other Disney movies. My all time favorite story? Marley and me with Timon and Puma raising Kiara, the worlds worst lioness. I don't know where she got it, but it always entertained me. I worked with Elyssa first in the school district as a sixth grader and we would talk about Harry Potter and any dog movie that was ever made. She asked me one time what my dogs names were and what type of dog they were and to this day, if I ask her what kind of dogs I have, she says, in the same voice as always..."Chloe and Coletrane...Chloe's a rat terrier and Coletrane is a golden retreiver."

Ana has always called me Breckey. One of my favorite memories of Ana has to have been holiday week at summer day camp. She missed Christmas because she was sick, so when she came to camp the next day, (which was Halloween) she kept coming up to me and saying in her little robot voice..."We going to sing Christmas Carols today???'s Christmas today? I want to sing Christmas songs today?" sooo...with a little sneaking around, and a pretend note from Santa Claus, we had a special Christmas hour, sing along time with Ana. It still freaked her out that she missed Christmas, but she was fine once we got to the pool. (How I got a picture of her smiling? I will never know!)

This little guy was one of my favorites because not only did he have autism, but he also has Down Syndrome. Which is actually a lot more common than people think, (as will be apparent in my next picture) Jonathan loves singing time with Jenny. He can sing Old Susanna and Yes, Jesus Loves me! I love this kid because it took him 40 minutes to walk to the park with two staff on either side, he couldn't swim in the pool because he would poop on command, and he loved lady bug erasers.

And last but far from least...

Alex is also Down Syndrome and Autistic. I love Alex because I have worked with him since he was a sixth grader. Alex is naughty...He kind of reminds me of a sour patch kid. One minute he's sour...the next he's sweet. I could always tell when it was going to be a good day, and when it was going to be a bad day with Alex...Just by asking one question..."Alex, what's my name?" good day answer: "Buh...buh..becky!!"...Bad day answer: "Iiiiii...Don't know." Favorite memory? Alex picking up a piece of goose poop with two sticks and walking up to Haley (my sister and saying) "Haaaayley. Eat Poop." while pushing it to her face.
As the month goes on, I hope people will realize the importance of recognizing Autism. I think people are more aware of it these days, but not so understanding of it yet. These special spirits bring me GREAT joy. :) Happy Autism Month!