Tuesday, June 24, 2008

To Whom it May Concern

Dear Reader,

I really enjoyed the letter writing format on the "Panera Girls" post. So I think I'll try to do that from now on. There is much to tell about from the past month or so (the promised MPJ show review is finally here!), and I think this medium will lend itself to my particular brand of quirkiness quite nicely.

I'm not sure what that last sentence was about, but it sounded good.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Dear Teenybopper Band that Opened for Matthew Perryman Jones,

I give you an A for effort. It certainly wasn't a boring show. It was just very... contrived. Your stage decorations were weird--the empty wall frames wrapped in colored icicle lights might have been clever, but the fact that you wore T-shirts that matched them was just too much. Not to mention that although the lead singer/keyboardist's red shirt was an exact match for the red thingie, the guitarist's green shirt was also a good match to the green thingie, and the drummer's yellow shirt matched nicely with the yellow thingie, the bassist's teal shirt was NOT a good match with the blue frame-light-thingie. If you're going to be cute, please be consistent!

And I admit, I liked your song the first time I heard it. The second time you played it (oh, was that supposed to be a new song? Really?), it was okay. By the fifth time you had played your song, though, I could have quite calmly beaten you with your super-cool Vans. Or scratched your face off with the lenses from your hipster glasses. Or smacked you with your nearly empty can of hair product. There is only so much dramatic chord-banging, meaningful pauses and angsty high notes that one person can take. Well, one person out of puberty, anyway.

You asked me to go to your MySpace page. Something about "Musical Parachutes." You also asked me to tell my friends about you. Although I won't be adding you as my TOP FRIEND on MySpace, I will tell my friends. It's the least I can do.

And what will I tell them? That if Ben Folds, Dave Matthews (minus the band), Jack Johnson, and Lars Ulrich all had an orgy... 9 months later, we would be able to RAWK OUT to your fabulous sounds. Congratulations, it's a... boy(band)!

Oh, and keep drinking tall cans of "Old Milwaukee" on stage. That is so clever, and shows all the teenage groupies that you are cool like that.

Yes. Cool. Like. That.

Thanks for the memories,
The married couple who laughed a lot at the table in house right.

Dear Matthew Perryman Jones,

An hour? That's all we got to hear from you? That, my friend, was NOT ENOUGH. And since there was another act coming on, I couldn't even holler for an encore. I was glad that Smith's Old Bar is here in Midtown, just down the road, but it's not my favorite venue. There's none of the intimacy of Eddie's Attic nor audience attentiveness of a church setting, but it was loud enough that I could shamelessly sing along for some of the songs. I certainly did behave myself during quieter numbers like "Meghan's Song." Speaking of your lovely wife Meghan, good for you for wearing your wedding ring on stage. It may have made playing your guitar a little more difficult, but we're proud of you for making that subtle little statement. Good for you and for your family.

It must be hard to leave your family so often, but we sure appreciate it. I don't remember your exact setlist (and I'm not sure how Team Redd always manages to remember the setlists of every show they see), but I do remember it was a great show, and all too short. It was great to see you with a full band! I especially dug the sounds on "Echoes of Eden" and "Waiting for the Light to Change."

Shame none of your shirts matched the decor, though.

Thanks for coming by to say hello to us. It's fun being your groupie. Maybe one of these days I'll be shameless and ask you to take a picture with us for my Facebook profile. After all, I did with NT Wright!

Much love,
The Atlanta transplants who always hope you'll do "Machine-gun Love."

Dearest Kennan,

You're my favorite person ever. I had so much fun at the MPJ show with you, celebrating our 7 year wedding anniversary a little early. Hard to believe it's been 7 years! I'd say that evening pretty much summed up our entire marriage: lots of laughter and fun, sweet times, and just a little squabbling. :)

Thanks for letting me be your number one groupie, dear.

Always your,

Friday, June 20, 2008

To the Girls in Panera

Dear College Beauty Queens,

I can hear every word you say. I'm here, minding my own business, trying to get work done. And while I have accomplished a lot this afternoon, I must take a break now to tell you some things.

I don't care about your sex life. Really, no one else in this restaurant does. So if you could lower your voice a little, that would be great.

I also don't care about your new haircut, your problems with your boyfriends, or your most embarrassing moment. Seriously. I stopped reading Seventeen over a decade ago.

It's true that you're cute, skinny, and well dressed. Congratulations. If I had lots of money and time on my hands, I might look pretty fabulous, too. But let me tell you now, that without drastic measures, your looks will not last. After your metabolism slows down, your "freshman fifteen" catches up with you, and you deal with disappointments, a sedentary lifestyle, and pregnancies, your cute little backsides will enlarge. Even if you remain disciplined and go to the gym everyday, leaving your children with the nanny, some things are inevitable. I guess you'd better find a plastic surgeon that you like now.

And speaking of pregnancies and children, if you aren't supposed to tell anybody about Justin getting "that slut" pregnant, then why are you? I realize that someone ending up with a new life growing inside of them is a novelty and feels light-years away for you, but it isn't for everybody. I don't want to hear all the juicy details about someone getting to see a little fragile heartbeat because of an accident that they can't wait to move on from. While I agree that
she shouldn't be drinking caffeine and alcohol and she should be taking better care of herself, I don't think I'm bothered for the same reasons you are. I know you don't understand why this hurts me. I know it's just a weird thing that's interesting to talk about. I just wish you didn't talk so loudly.

And for all that I find you annoying, I have to say that I hope you don't ever understand. I hope that you will never have first hand knowledge of the sting that accompanies life after losing a child. But it would be nice if you understood what other people are going through because you're aware that they exist. And if I hear the movie Juno quoted one more time, I will scream. Right here in the middle of Panera.

It "ain't no etch-a-sketch," it's true. But just because you can't undo it (at least, not without a doctor's help and a lifetime of guilt), doesn't mean it isn't sometimes undone. As though it never happened, leaving just an empty space behind.

My tirade is done now, and I'll put in some headphones or something and get back to work. I just wanted to let you know. I wish someone had told me when I was 20. Because I'm sure I annoyed many an innocent restaurant patron with my drama, too.

Have fun in the Bahamas. I hear it's nice there. And I agree--you probably do look best in the black shorts. Happy first day of summer, girls.

The woman by the window with the laptop.

This post was brought to you by the letters C and O for "cranky" and "old"...
and the number

Monday, June 16, 2008

Somehow, I got Old part II

Three decades. Really? I do indeed feel old.

Mehhhh! When I was your age...

Happy Sacrifice Day

I meant to post this yesterday, but I'm really behind on posting these days...

Finally, a video set to Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine" that isn't sappy or stupid. In fact, it's amazing. A true picture of a perfect father's love reflected by an earthly father.

Father's Day isn't easy for us this year. We are so grateful that my dad is healthy, and that Kennan's dad is on the road to a full recovery. Still, it's hard, knowing what we had and lost. It's hard to trust in our heavenly father, but we're determined to cling to grace.

The video really sums it up. Sacrifice. That was the point. Christ didn't just come to be good (and he was indeed perfect!) and then call it a day. God didn't just give his son to come hang out with us sinners and then move on. He made the sacrifice to let his son--part of the perfect, holy, triune God--come and make the ultimate sacrifice. Unlike with Abraham, there was no ram caught in the thorns to take the place of Isaac. Rather, we are Isaac, and Christ took our place. Willingly. In my book, the words "father" and "sacrifice" should be interchangeable, and I've seen that reflected in many men around me, Kennan foremost.

So, Happy Father's Day to our fathers, our friends who are and will be fathers, and those that have been like fathers to us. And Happy Sacrifice Day to all, for whom the greatest sacrifice was made.

I'll post about the MPJ concert, drive-in movies, Indelible Grace concert, etc. etc. (it's been a packed couple of weeks!) soon, I promise.