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A Story About the Kindness of Strangers and Musical Miracles, Told in Song Titles

27 Sep

The picture above is an approximate representation of how I feel. I’m happy. Like, spin-around-in-a-mountaintop-meadow-while-singing happy. Actually, since I’m supposed to be taking vocabulary steroids in preparation for the GRE, maybe I should be using a better word than happy. Gleeful? Ecstatic? Joyful? Thrilled? Jubilant? Elated? Tickled pink? Man, if this turns out to be one of the questions on that dratted test, I am set. 

I know what you’re thinking: Oh my words! Why are you so very happy, Abigail? Well, first of all, I like you’re enthusiasm. You’re all right. Secondly…I’ll TELL you why I’m happy! Because the universe is awesome and I have been rewarded with a stupendous gift! 

You may recall that I have been searching for a special Birthday Song that is part of my family’s birthday tradition. Well, a wondrous, serendipitous event happened. Someone who visited this little ol’ blog (Kasi, if you read this, you’re my new favorite person in the whole wide world) appreciated my desperation and my story, and left a comment that included a link to the MP3 for the song. Isn’t the universe amazing? Isn’t the internet incredible? Is the sky bluer than usual today? Are my dogs cuter? Don’t you just feel like smiling and laughing all the livelong day?

Really, though, I am so happy that a perfect stranger helped me out and am grateful that I now have this song in my itunes possession. I was taking a blogging break to focus on studying and working and other unpleasant -ings, and when I finally allowed myself to return to my blog baby, it was such a thrill to find this long-lost song. See? You can rely on the kindness of strangers. Ask and ye shall receive. Music does make the people come together!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: What’s this about a story told in song titles? Oh my word, Abigail, was this post’s title false advertising?

First of all, woah Nelly! You’re a tough audience, aren’t ya? It’s okay though, I forgive you because a song title poem-story is quite exciting.

Below is my epic hero’s journey–the significance of the Happy Birthday Song, its absence, its recovery–told through song titles, to honor this miraculous musical moment. I’ve linked a few of them to their youtube selves and encourage you to listen and enjoy.

(Note: You may need to read the original Birthday Song post for some helpful context….or you can just muddle through and listen to the music….woah-oh-oh, listen to the music… )


Music. Foundations. We Are Family. Songs We Sing. Memories Are Made of This. All the Small Things. Precious Love. Part of My Life. Hooked on a Feeling. Groove is in the Heart. Hidden Away.

I Got Trouble. Something’s Missing. Those Sweet Words. Can’t Find the Words. I Have Nothing. Lost. Harder to Breathe. It’s the End of the World as We Know It. I Hate Myself for Losing You. What Did You Do. Don’t Blame Me.

Heartbreak Hotel. Today I Sing the Blues. Irreplaceable. Incomplete. Inaudible Melodies. Here Without You. Crying Shame. When You’re Gone. I Want You Back.

Help! Rescue Me! Not the Only One. We All Want the Same Thing. Searchin’. Luck Be a Lady. Simple As It Should Be. Needle in a Haystack. Creep. The Things We Do For Love. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.When You Were Mine. Wasn’t It Good.

Worrisome Heart. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning. Trouble Sleeping. On My Mind.  I’ll Do Anything. Nothing but a Miracle. Makes Me Wanna Pray. When You Wish Upon a Star. I’ve Got Dreams to Remember.

Takin’ Care of Business. It Ain’t Over Till the Fat Lady Sings. You Can Get it if You Really Want. Never Going to Give You Up. I’ll Find a Way.

People Get Ready. Something Good This Way Comes. Teardrops Will Fall. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. Fairytale. Love is All Around.

You Don’t Know Me. Beautiful Stranger. You Give Me Something. The Gift of Song.


Oh!   You’re the One.

Back Together Again. Celebrate. I Feel Home. Breathe Again. Oh What a Day. Because of You. You Rock My World. Hallelujah. Wonderful. Bubbly. Overjoyed. Zip a dee do da. This Magic Moment.

From My Heart to Yours. Thanks and Praise. Danke Schoen. Thank You For the Music. Thanks For the Memories. All Because of You. Earth Angel. You’ve Got a Friend in Me.  

What a Wonderful World.

And I Didn’t Even Need a Flux Capacitator

2 May

The times, they are a changin’. Literally.

Last Monday, I lost an hour without any warning. Somehow, my alarm clock changed so that the time was one hour later than it should have been. I ran around crazed, scattering dogs and brushing my teeth while putting on my shoes. (That’s not easy, let me tell you. Just try it and see if you don’t leave a minty dribble somewhere.) Then, I happened to look at the clock in the kitchen as I packed my work bag with a piece of bread in my mouth. Its time was quite reasonable—an hour earlier than the one in my bedroom. I stood there, sourdough still hanging from my mouth, as the meaning of the numbers sank into my brain. Of course, then I had to run around checking all the clocks in order to determine whether I was late or early. If before I was the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland (“I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!”), now I was his schizophrenic, insecure cousin. “Am I late? Am I late? What time is it? Where am I? What am I doing?”

I figured out that my alarm clock was running exactly an hour fast, but I’m still not sure why. It could be that it thought it was daylight savings, and changed the time itself. I can’t decide if this is impressive or not. On the one hand, it means my clock is complex enough to change its own time. Then again, it got the day wrong and nearly made me leave for work an hour early. (That, as you must know, would have been a disaster.) The good news, I’ve decided, is that if machines rise up to rebel against us and dominate the world, there’s a good chance there will be something hinky deep inside their intelligence that will cause a robotic downfall. At the very least, if my alarm clock joins the rebel alliance, nothing will happen on time. 

Two days after the alarm clock debacle, my watch stopped. I was annoyed because I replaced the battery in December and it seems like a watch battery ought to last longer than that. Ever the technical guru, I sort of tapped the face of it—just in case it was sleeping. I pushed the little knob that sets the time in and out—just in case it needed a reboot. But there was no ticking heartbeat, so I set it aside and went about my day. But that afternoon, my watch was working. Its hands were pointing to the wrong time, so it was hours behind, but the second hand was moving like a trooper.

As if my slow watch and fast alarm clock weren’t enough, then my car’s clock changed. See, I like for my car’s clock to be ten minutes fast. It’s a ten minute cushion I’ve grown to depend on. It doesn’t exactly make sense (since you would think that knowing about those ten minutes would negate their benefit) but a lot of things about me don’t make sense. Anyway, I suspect that a well-meaning passenger changed the car clock, thinking that he/she was doing me a favor. It turned out that I was ten minutes late picking my grandma up, when I thought I was perfectly on time. I tried to explain by telling her that someone fixed my clock so that it shows the correct time, but for some reason that didn’t seem like an explanation to her.

Now, one weird time/clock incident could be a coincidence. But after endless scientific research (i.e. hours of watching Fringe, Star Trek: the Next Generation, and Back to the Future), I’ve concluded that three weird time incidents means a pattern. Three incidents means something’s up, and I should prepare for a DeLorean to take me back, back to the future.

Don’t roll your eyes, because I’m actually sort of serious about the time-travel thing. I’m serious, because I did it—I traveled through time. I was in Los Angeles last Friday and met up with four close friends from college. It’s been almost a year since we’ve seen each other and although hairstyles were different and several of us wore work outfits instead of sweats and library clothes, everything was exactly the same. For a couple of hours, I traveled back in time. We teased each other about the same things, we laughed the same way, we ordered our food family style and with the same preferences and serious concentration. I know a year is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but it was really nothing. We ate at an Indian restaurant we used to go to during school, and I could have almost believed that we were munching on naan and chicken tikka masala during finals week. Clearly, whoever said that the only constant is change never had a mini reunion with friends and watched as the same epic struggle to figure out the bill unfolded.

I’m pretty sure that all of the clocks in my life were prepping me for time travel. Yep, that’s what I got out of this. I traveled through time, and I didn’t even need an orange vest or a flux capacitator.

Now that’s heavy.  

Don’t Ask Me, I Can’t Talk About It

11 Apr

Something happened today, but I can’t tell you about it. I might jinx it. Apparently, I’m very superstitious when it comes to things like what happened today. I had to wear a ring from my grandma and a necklace from my aunt to the thing that happened today, with the theory that they’d act as comforting, powerful talismans. (Hey, just because I’m not a hobbit, doesn’t mean my life can’t be influenced by magical  jewelry.) I had to drink from my lucky cup–an oversize teacup with Monet’s Red Poppies at Argenteuil–before I went to the thing that happened today. But I couldn’t have coffee, because that would only mess with my nerves before the thing that happened today, so I had nice, hydrating water. I had to listen to You Make My Dreams, by Hall & Oates, and Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough before going to the thing that happened today. That’s what I listened to the last time I went to something like what happened today, and it was really great pump-me-up, here-I-come music. Plus, these songs make me think of the funny Chris Tucker and a happy, sexually-satisfied Joseph Gordon Levitt. (If that sounds creepy, I beg you to extend your movie-watching to include Jackie Chan buddy flicks and indie films.)

I took the ferry boat to go to San Francisco, where the thing that happened today happened. I couldn’t sit backwards on the ferry, because it would be bad symbolism to go towards your potential future, backwards. (You can take the girl out of the English classes…) I had to sit on the right side of the boat, because on that side you can watch as the city by the bay gets closer and closer. Again…lucky symbolism. As the heroine of this story that is my life, I figure good symbolism can’t hurt. The thing that happened today might benefit from some symbolism–who knows?

Don’t ask me, because I can’t say any more about the thing that happened today. Maybe it had something to do with watched pots and boiling lives, maybe it didn’t. Maybe I’m DYING for a positive outcome, after the thing that happened today. Maybe I spent the whole ferry ride back thinking this-is-the-first-day-of-the-rest-of-your-life thoughts.


But I can’t talk about it.

My Words Are Older Than I Am

1 Apr

One time in high school, I was sitting in the hallway with a bunch of friends and someone was entertaining the group with some scandalous bit of gossip that was really important breaking news–I’m talking about High School Red Alert kind of stuff. When the storyteller got to the big climax, the real dirt, I exclaimed “Oh my stars and garters!”

Old woman or young girl? Oh my words! It's hard to tell!

Slowly, heads turned towards me. I think the storyteller still had her hands raised in an explanatory gesture, so she sat there frozen in a Vanna White pose (but sadly lacking Ms. White’s charm and sequins). It was as if I had ripped off my face, Scooby-Doo style, to reveal that I was not, in fact, a sixteen year old, but rather an elderly blue-haired woman with a fanny pack. I don’t even know where that expression came from. You all know, based on past posts, that I’m very close with my grandma. You might think that grandma’s everyday sayings would naturally rub off on me. That’s certainly true, but my dear grandma has never, ever said Oh my stars and garters! Frankly, she’s cooler than that.

It remains a mystery why those particular words burst from me at that particular point in time. Maybe I had heard or read them recently and my subconcious tucked them neatly away in a fold of my brain to be used for just the right occasion. (A bit like special underwear…) Perhaps in a past life, I frequently shouted oh my stars and garters as I fluttered my lace fan and sipped sun tea. That’s certainly plausible.

It happens a lot–I open my mouth, and decades-old words come flying out. Sometimes, like with the situation in high school, the conversation will come to a halt as my words float around and slowly collide with the other newer, cooler words. (Picture a sort of social-linguistic tetris game.) More often, though, the old-time expression is such a natural part of my vocabulary that the words mix and mingle without any awkwardness. Really, you have to own your old soul.

So what other sayings do I say? Here’s a sampling, plus some commentary (because why wouldn’t I explain these words with more words?):

Oh my word!
I know, I know–this isn’t much of a shocker. I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that in addition to being a clever title for an online collection of my thoughts, this is also something I say regularly.

If I had my druthers….
A combination of “would” and “rathers,” druthers also sounds like an uptight, rigidly formal butler with a heart of gold. Sure, he’ll sniff his nose at you when you speak to your dogs in cutesy talk or ask for a poptart, but underneath it all, he cares enough to conceal your secret identity. (Or, if you’re not a superhero, then he cares enough to save you from ironing.)

What’s that got to do with the price of peas?
I’ve heard other versions of this expression. (What’s that got to do with the price of tea in China? the price of eggs? the price of fish?)But bursting out with “the price of peas” is so alliteratively satsifying. 

Lord love a duck!
Once again, the alliteration here is oh-so-satisfying. This is also a wonderful subsitute for a more, let’s say, adult expression that you’d like to burst out with in times of crisis or frustration. But I have to wonder, is it the Lord loving a duck? The big G himself? Or is it an English aristocrat? In that case, I’d be worried about hunting seasons if I was the duck. (Hey Daffy–don’t trust declarations of love from men with hunting hounds and animals on their wall.)

Geeze Louise!
Who was Louise? Was someone once upset or astounded by her? Do women named Louise ever use this expression, or is that simply too weird? Was this saying only created because Louise rhymes with geeze? Because in that case, you could’ve said Geeze sneeze! or Geeze cottage cheese!  or Geeze Taiwanese! (Okay, I suppose that last one could be misinterpreted, but as long as you said it with respect and love, I don’t foresee any problems.)

Tim Allen is Trying to Contact Me Through My Television

3 Feb

As I was watching tv today, three commercials featuring Tim Allen’s voice came on in a row. I’m sure that this is a sign. I am very big on signs. What besides fate could have made commercials for Campbell’s, Chevrolet, and the great state of Michigan play in a neat little lineup? And don’t even try to tell me about marketing and target audiences and whatever other black magic words you can think of. Twas fate I tell you!

I’m still working out what exactly this sign means. There’s the possibility that I’m watching too much television. (Although really, Tim Allen, who are you to dictate my television time?) I could go for a sort of literal interpretation–maybe I need to drive a Chevrolet truck to Michigan and eat Campbell’s soup. That sounds logical, doesn’t it?

Let’s see, my favorite Tim Allen role is Buzz Lightyear, followed closely by Jason Nesmith (of Galaxy Quest, for all you squares). Buzz Lightyear…Galaxy Quest…space…..I know Tim’s not telling me to go to space because I can’t even ride a rollercoaster. Hmmm.

Well, barring his Pixar success, Tim Allen is probably most well-known for being Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on Home Improvement. Maybe I’m meant to work with my hands, nail something, spackle. (Note: As soon as I ended that last sentence I realized that I have no idea what spackling involves. Luckily, informed me that spackle is a type of quick-drying plaster-like material; thus, spackling is the act of applying said plaster. Basically, to spackle is to plaster. Hey you know how “plastered” is commonly known as a level of drunkenness? I feel like “spackled” could work just as well. As in, “Dude, I was SO spackled last night!” Wait, is this still in parenthesis? What was I talking about? Oh yes, Tim Allen and fate. Guess I’ll get back to that. See you on the other side.) If we go with the Home Improvement angle for this sign, then this may well be my if-you-build-it-they-will-come/Noah’s ark moment.

Then again, I’m all about words here at Oh My Words. Campbell’s tagline is “It’s Amazing What Soup Can Do.” Chevrolet: “Chevy runs deep.” And as for Michigan, the state motto is “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice,” which means “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.” Maybe Tim Allen (or an even higher power) is giving me a pep-talk through taglines? Perhaps I’m being told that I am complex and capable of amazing things and that I need only look around me for happiness. Huh? Huh? Pretty good, right? And, actually, that’s a wonderful pep talk because the job search has been a little disheartening lately.

Let’s not even talk about Tim’s jail record. I do not believe that my sign has anything to do with prison. That’s just ridiculous.