Thursday, May 26, 2011

Top 10 Most Romantic Songs EVER, Plus A Few More

10.) Groovy Kind of Love, by Phil Collins. Maybe it's the tempo. Maybe it's Phil Collins' mellow voice. Maybe it's the improbable lyrics that somehow work anyway. This song just makes me melt.

9.) Rhapsody on a Theme by Pagannini: Opus 43, variation 18, by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Even without that classic romantic film "Somewhere in Time," this piece would still be at the top of the charts for romance. Jane Seymour & Christopher Reeve just bump the wistful, yearning, bated breath factor up a notch.

Honorable Mention: You Are My Home, written by Frank Wildhorn, performed by Linda Eder, from "The Scarlet Pimpernel." Take out the fact that it's a brother-sister duet, and you've got a perfect romantic Broadway song.

8.) Nessun Dorma, from Puccini's "Turandot", performed by the incomparable Andrea Bocelli (who makes this list TWICE, might I add). I don't know what it is about Puccini + Bocelli, but it just makes everything right with the world.

7.) Nobody Does It Better, by Carly Simon. This song gets bonus points for summing everything up perfectly & succinctly. It's exactly the way you want to feel about that special someone.

Honorable Mention: Look Heart, No Hands, by Randy Travis. You knew I'd sneak some country music in here. Along with John Michael Montgomery's Home to You, this is one of my favorite ballads. I'm a sucker for Randy Travis' voice, and I like the imagery of this song, plain & unpretentious as it may be.

6.) All of My Life, by Barbra Streisand, from the movie "The Mirror Has Two Faces." Not actually in the movie, this little gem is hidden in the credits. I just like it, that's all.

5.) Reaching back to my trailer trash roots, Shania Twain ties with The Woman in Me, and You've Got a Way. Hokey, not too high on brain power, riddled with cheap cliches...and I can listen to them over and over and over and over and over and over...

Honorable Mention: Five for Fighting's 100 Years. I can't decide if this is actually a romantic song, but I like it, and I'm choosing to read it romantically, so there you have it.

4.) Can't Help Falling In Love, the Elvis Presley piece, performed by Andrea Bocelli. Seriously, what is it about Bocelli's voice??? And there is something about this simple little tune, with simple little lyrics, that just makes me smile.

3.) Lady, by Kenny Rogers. I am so embarrassed to list this one. Especially toward the top of my list. Believe me, I didn't want to do it. It first hit my top ten list when I was about 14, and it's just been stuck there. But Kenny Rogers is soooooo icky! I went back & reviewed it several times, trying to convince myself that his general nastiness ruins the song. I couldn't do it. Even knowing he's a blecky old perv, and even though this might be the only Kenny Rogers' song I can stomach, it still just gets me every time. Hanging my head in shame now...

Honorable Mention: In a tie for the most upbeat, toe-tapping romantic songs, Waterloo by ABBA, and Run to You, by Lady Antebellum. Lady A makes me smile; Waterloo makes me laugh out loud. Warm fuzzies all the way around.

2.) Anne's Theme, from Anne of Green Gables, composed by Hagood Hardy. I love this song. Did you get that? I LOVE this song. I so love this song. Who needs a man--I could fall in love with this song. Everything good in the world is wrapped up in the song.

Honorable Mention: (have to sneak one more in!) Unchained Melody, by the Righteous Brothers. This song just screams--if scream is the right term--candlelit dinners and walks in the rain.

1.) Unexpected Song, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, performed by Bernadette Peters (though the Sarah Brightman version isn't too bad, either). It's really a toss-up which song gets to be number one, but I'm going to go with this one. It just seems to nail the wonder & magic of falling in love and finding that person you never thought you'd find.

What about you? What are your top romantic songs?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Something That Makes Me Sad

While it's probably not huge in the minds of other people, I'm always conscious of that big 'ol red letter stamped on my chest identifying me as one THOSE people. One of those people whose stroll down the aisle of wedded bliss somehow derailed into a painful mess that eventually ended up painful enough and messy enough that only divorce could offer a chance for cleanup and healing.

So, understandably, I am extremely reluctant to offer marital advice in any way, shape, or form. Don't get me wrong--there are times when I think married people should listen long and hard to those of us who have survived spectacular marital implosions. Nothing like a wreck victim to scare you into following the speed limit and wearing a seatbelt. But, cautious of how it will be perceived, and sensitive to the fact that no one, sometimes not even the two people involved, ever really know the heart of another's marriage, I generally refrain from advice.

Today I am breaking my rule.

I'm not so much offering advice as I'm begging all you married people out there to do me one little favor. Pleading with you, even.

Be nice.

That's all. Just be nice to each other. Especially in the way you talk to each other and about each other.

This is not hypocritical advice. Regardless of what went wrong in my marriage, one thing that went right is that we were polite. We still are. Believe me, the gloves are off, neither of us has any vested interest in maintaining more than cool civility, but we most definitely do have that. One friend calls us the most civilized divorced couple she knows.

That breaks my heart. Our no-frills generic politeness should be the norm, not the high end. But I know what she means. I assume you do, too. Divorced couples aren't generally known for their positive relations.

Speaking to those of you who are married, whether happily, miserably, or somewhere in between: when I hear you call your spouse names, belittle him, make fun of her, give sarcastic or unfeeling responses to innocent questions--something in me just curls up and dies. And I'm not even the target of the comments.

Words have power. Words, especially words that are repeated over and over, for long periods of time, can wound souls and damage relationships beyond repair. It's not just a joke, it's not just kidding, and it's not just harmless fun. It's not okay when you're really, really frustrated, or when it's really, really justified.

There was a point when I felt like calling my ex-husband every scummy, horrible, rotten word I'd ever heard. There were times I could have unleashed the full fury of my carefully honed sarcasm and extensive vocabulary to make him feel just as lousy as words could do, to drive my point home with total precision about just how I viewed him and what our marriage had become. Don't think I wasn't tempted.

But in those darkest days of our marriage ripping apart, I realized that it really wasn't about him at all. It was about me. It didn't matter if he truly WAS the epitome of every bad thing I thought. It didn't matter if he fully, 100% deserved whatever I shot his way. The real issue was whether I was the kind of person who resorted to name calling, insults, yelling, mocking, and verbal abuse.

I decided that I wasn't.

I'm not polishing my halo here. I'm sharing this because a.) if I could bite my tongue under extreme duress and in circumstances serious enough to warrant divorce, you can keep your lips clamped when he forgets to pick up milk or she gets yet another speeding ticket, and b.) I'm daring you to do the same. I'm daring you, right now, to decide that you are not that person. You are not a whiny, screechy, bitchy, naggy spouse.

In a perfect world, the closest, most supportive relationship we each enjoy would be with our spouse. In a perfect world, we would hear nothing but kindness, love, and gentleness from that person. I realize that may be asking for too much.

So, how about just following the old adage that if you can't anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Don't recite a list of your husband's faults to your visiting teachers. Don't make fun of the way your wife speaks or dresses or dances. Don't speak to your husband like he's a child--an especially slow, intellectually stunted child. Don't lash out and shout at your wife over really small things that don't matter. Or big things, for that matter. Don't make snide comments implying that she's not smart enough to catch your clever humor. Don't use sarcasm to address issues with him that should be brought out openly and objectively.

Be nice.

Regardless of what your spouse does, or how much he or she does or doesn't deserve it, be nice anyway.

Regardless of how you were brought up, and what patterns you observed, and what habits you've created in your own marriage, be nice anyway.

Regardless of how funny it is and how much your spouse doesn't mind your humor, be nice anyway.

"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren [and sisters!], these things ought not so to be." --James 3:10

I can't say it any better myself.

Be nice.

Please.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Update Which Is More of a DOWN-Date

On the Uber-Fabulous Dating Contest:

Nothing.

Nadda.

Zip.

As in, not a single one of you came through with a man. Even those of you who swore, prior to my posting the contest, that you'd set things up with every barely-legal-age or possibly-gay-but-who-can-tell man you knew.

I've gotta say, I do better on my own. And that's saying something, because available, non-creepy men are nearly as rare as Hailey's Comet. Yet once in a blue moon they do turn up, which is better than the JA Dating Challenge did, where never in a blue moon did anyone turn up.

I do have to give Michelle props for at least trying. It wasn't her fault that every guy she found had a criminal record and/or was on a sex offender registry. At least she tried.

Anyway, that's the update, which needed to get out of the way so that I could move on to bigger and better things that I've been postponing posting because I knew I needed to follow-up on the burning question you all had as to whether Mr. Hottie showed up in the JA Dating Challenge.

That would be a no.

Onward and upward to bigger & better things!

Stay tuned...