Songs that make me cry

Or, more accurately, songs that make me tear up in a suffusion of sublime emotion. You know how it is.

Swansea,” Joanna Newsom, from The Milk-Eyed Mender (Drag City, 2004)

And yonder, wild and blue
The wild blue yonder looms
Till we are wracked with rheum
By roads, by songs entombed…

Holocene,” Bon Iver, from Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar, 2011)

And at once I knew, I was not magnificent.

Saro,” Sam Amidon, from All Is Well (Bedroom Community, 2008)

I wish I was a poet
Could write in find hand
Would write my love a letter
One she’d long understand

Tempo di Valse,” Antonín Dvořák

[No lyrics; just beauty.]

Any songs that always make you misty?

Monday Snax

Chillin' on the couch with Windy!
Happy birthday, Granddad! He looks very much at home in his chair, which is now taking residence in our house.

We had a lovely weekend with Guion’s parents and his grandfather, aka Granddad; they came up to celebrate my confirmation at Christ Church and Granddad’s birthday! We had such a great time squiring them around town, eating tons of amazing food, and exchanging stories and memories. Brother Win was greatly missed, of course. Wish they could only have stuck around longer!

Snax with roasted kale and butternut squash, because, believe me, this week’s Snax are super-delicious and good for your heart:

With Love from Chitwan. To my heart’s relief, Grace is alive and finally well in Chitwan, Nepal! Read about her adventures and go see how totally adorable she looks on a bicycle by a rice paddy. (Como Say What?)

In Which There’s a Girl in New York City Who Calls Herself a the Human Trampoline. A thoughtful reflection on and celebration of the 25th anniversary of Paul Simon’s magnum opus, “Graceland.” Who doesn’t love that album? (This Recording)

Proust Questionnaire: Tina Fey. One of my all-time favorite women answers the classic questions from one of my all-time favorite authors. What do I have to do to become BFFs with this woman? (Vanity Fair)

A Guide to Crying in Public. As you know, I cry in public often, so I found this especially helpful. Retreat! (The Hairpin)

Big Laughs, Cheap Grace. Thank you, Rob Hays, for finding the words for my dislike of “Modern Family.” Thanks for finding the words when I could not. It is entertaining, but perhaps that is all one can say. (The Curator)

How Dancers Prepare Their Pointe Shoes.  I had no idea this process was so involved! (Behind Ballet)

Iceland Part 1: Roadside Horses and Geysir. Here is a Law of the Universe: If anyone on the Interwebs posts photos of Icelandic ponies, I shall immediately repost photos of said ponies. This law is immutable and shall remain unbroken for the duration of time. (Kris Atomic)

Here’s Another Thing Julianne Moore Will Ruin. FOR REAL. (Best Week Ever)

Dog-Friendly Paris: Doggy Etiquette in the City of Lights. Kelsey and Grace regaled me with stories of the impeccably well-behaved and countless pooches in Paris. I’m not one for big city living, but this account of Paris is tempting! (HIP Paris)

Origami Animals. Origanimals. My dad had a client who once made me an intricate Japanese beetle out of a $5 bill. He would have liked these paper animals. I like them, too; they look like they want to be friends. (Miss Moss)

The Desktop Wallpaper Project. I change my desktop image every Monday on my work computer, and my Mac desktop rotates every 15 minutes, so I guess you could say I’m a bit of a stickler for change. It makes me happy to have a new, pretty image on my computer. If you are like this, check out this site. A collection of beautiful, graphic designer-friendly desktop wallpapers! Artist Michael Cina’s work (around page 7) is my favorite. (The Fox Is Black)

Is Ulysses Overrated? Now I feel a little bit better about giving it only spot no. 7 in my top 10 books of 2010. This guy from Slate thinks it’s a crock and not worth all of the hype. He says there’s only one chapter worth reading. (Slate)

Happiest States According to Twitter. As far as useless and unreliable maps go, this one may rank quite high, but I like its findings. According to a mood map of Twitter, the top three happiest states are: 1) Tennessee, 2) Colorado, and 3) North Carolina. I like it! I can definitely attest to Colorado and NC making that cut. (Daily Intel)

I Am Only 6, But I Think I Can Do This Job. KIDS! Killing me again with cuteness! Application letter from 6-year-old Andrew Scott, who applied for the position of Director of the National Railway Museum. What is it with little boys and trains? It will never fail to make my heart melt. (Letters of Note)

Themes in tears

Humility time!

Today, I am thinking about crying, but not because I am sad. I’m thinking about crying on a purely objective, philosophical, memory-induced basis. In the quieter hours of the day, I’ve been replaying the still shots from the many times I’ve cried in front of strangers. Yes. In front of strangers. Many times.

Anyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that while I might not cry that often, I cry VERY easily. I’ve often tried to reassure myself that it’s only because I am an incredibly well-balanced person emotionally (crying releases stress and toxins. I love this line from that article: “Emotional tears are common among people who see Bambi’s mother die or who suffer personal losses.” No kidding!).

But, honestly, I think it’s just because I hate being wrong. The common theme in my ridiculous flow of tears has to do with reprimand from figures in authority. Being the eldest child and homeschooled means that I can probably count on my fingers the number of times an adult was angry with me as a child; I lived to be the good girl, the front-row student, the teacher’s pet. In other words, I was the type of little girl that Guion hated in elementary school.

I still have a visceral memory of the first time a teacher rebuked me in front of a class. I was probably 8 or 9, and attending ballet class at Miss Vicki’s (which was a bunch of pink girls running in circles and trying to learn the positions). We were rehearsing some flower dance for our upcoming performance of “Beauty and the Beast,” and I spent my time during the rehearsal telling all of my fellow ballerinas what they were doing wrong. Finally, Miss Vicki had had it with me, and brought our merry little circle to a grinding halt. “ABBY. IF YOU TELL SOMEONE WHAT TO DO ONE MORE TIME, YOU ARE GOING HOME.” I fell apart. I started sobbing–weeping, like I would have done if someone had killed my sweet velvet-eared bunny in front of me. I sat in a corner for the rest of the lesson and was inconsolable, even when Mom came to get me. I don’t think I spoke for the duration of the year in that class. I was stone-faced during our actual performance, terrified into submission.

More recently? I’m not a wilted ballerina anymore, but I still cry at really stupid, inopportune moments when I’m in the wrong, such as in…

… News editing class. My professor stood over my chair and yelled at me for opening a file in the wrong directory. Tears welled up in my eyes, but did not actually fall. I looked upward and hoped that they would seep back into my eyeballs and that my classmates would not notice.

… The Denver Post newsroom. I missed a misspelling of the Chinese province (the “x” and the “i” were swapped) where the earthquakes during the summer of 2009 were wreaking havoc. My editing mentor caught it and yelled at me for missing something so elementary and critical. I listened to him, corrected my error, and then went into the bathroom and cried silently with my hand over my mouth. But it was midnight, and I missed Guion, so it might have been for other things, too.

… The Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Guion and I were going to get our marriage license. We were in the wrong building, and had to go through this intense security scan. My camera was in my purse, as it usually is, and the police officer grumbled at me to take it out and told me I could not reenter the building. Commence tears! Guion fixed it, though.

… The Charlottesville DMV. We barely made it there in time to get my new license and change my name, and then when we get to the counter, I realize I don’t have the proper paperwork to prove that we live in Charlottesville. The lady at the counter considers this as she’s holding my hand, admiring my wedding and engagement rings. She even called a coworker over to look at them. Meanwhile, I start to well up. Guion comes to the rescue again and dashes home to get the paperwork, and she decides to give me a ticket to wait anyway. I think the only reason she let me through was out of pity, and admiration for Mary Windley’s rings. Many thanks, Grandmother Tillman! I knew I could count on you.

… Our car, listening to NPR. OK, so this time I wasn’t in the wrong. But I cried yesterday in the car listening to this story about Davis Guggenheim’s documentary about inner-city kids trying to get into charter schools. The interviewer recounts this scene in the film about Daisy, the Los Angeles 5th-grader, going to the charter school lottery with her dad. Her dad tells her to cross her fingers, because he has a good feeling about it, and Daisy sits there for two hours, tightly crossing her fingers, hoping and praying for her future. I LOST IT.

Hope this post made you feel better about yourself. At least you’re not as pathetic as I am! But, that’s the way it is.

What about you? Do you cry? If so, why? If not, why?

(Also, according to this poll, one in five Americans believe Obama is a cactus.)