10 Influential Albums – Day 2

The B-52’s Self Titled First Album

This would be another stone in my musical foundation. I’ve written about my exposure to the B-52’s before, so I’ll skip that. What I’ll do is talk about the amount of time I’ve spent dancing to Rock Lobster, the full 6:48 of it, not the shortened version. “Down! Down!!” The time I’ve spent trying name all 52 Girls. The time Glitter Queen and I had “Dance This Mess Around” played at our wedding reception because it’s just so good. How their version of “Downtown” is so different than Petula Clark’s version, and I totally want to go to THAT downtown instead of Petula Clark’s

I’ll talk about my memories of the seeing teens dance to this album and DEVO and thinking, “OH! I get it.” At the age of 9 or 10, when I saw them, and heard that music, I can’t tell you how pivotal a moment it was for me. On a podcast this morning, I heard journalist and Jann Wenner biographer, Joe Hagan say something that totally relates to this album, “just a fantastic expression or joy. If you listen to this record it’s fun and it’s funny.” He was talking about the Specials first album, but seriously, these songs on the B-52’s, that’s it.

I’ll tell you how over the years I’ve seen the B-52’s many, many times and how they always impress me, even when Cindy’s voice is failing because she has a cold, but she still is there doing the show.

I’ll tell you how I know I have an instant connection with someone when I see that they have this album, CD, digital file in their music collection.

I’ll tell you how Ramona’s doctor, the dearly departed, Dr. Yoder, had “Rock Lobster” as his ringtone and how that spoke volumes.

I’ll tell you how mustachioed Fred Schneider banging that cowbell in the song means more to me than the cowbell in “Honky Tonk Women”.

I’ll tell you how when I’m driving around listening to music I almost always think to myself, “How would this sound if it was a B-52’s song?” “Shut Up and Dance With Me” – totally could be one of theirs, Fred – “Come on, GIRL!!” Cindy & Kate harmonizing in their amazing way, “Don’t you dare look back, just keep your eyes on me”. Then the 3 of them together, “SHUT UP and DANCE with me!” It’s a logical connection to “Dance This Mess Around”.

If you have this album and you haven’t listened to it recently, go and do it. If you only know the B-52’s because of “Roam” or “Love Shack”, I’m not sure what you’ll think of this, but I hope you go listen and I hope you love it like I do. So, don’t forget, “Planet Claire has pink air, all the trees are red. No one ever dies there. No one has a head…”

What it could have been

DEVO, New Traditionalists. Man, oh, man. Those teens listened to DEVO, too and again, it just spoke to me. So weird and so awesome. I think I’ve said this before, but I tried to get a group of my friends in 7th grade to dress up in matching white shirts and white pants and be DEVO for the day. I’m pretty sure an older brother of one of the guys convinced us that it was a bad idea.

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Week of Service

This past week I had the pleasure and privilege to take part in the Week of Service with the Oak Grove UMC Youth Ministry. Five days out of the kids’ summer break were given to help different people in different parts of Atlanta with different needs. I participated Monday – Wednesday. My 14-y.o. did Monday – Thursday and my 11-y.o. did Tuesday and Wednesday. My plan was to include information that I took notes on each organization, but my phone took a bath and the notes are lost, so I’m just providing links to each organization for you to follow up on.13482932_296596774012852_935247682296494223_o

This is the first day and the group of kids that came with us. We went to Open Hand and delivered meals to folks in the Atlanta area. We broke into two groups and delivered meals to 21 people. Some of them invited the Youth in and visited with them. During our orientation, we were told that we may be the only people the clients see during the day. The team that got invited in was much smaller than our other team. We delivered meals to two assisted living communities on the same piece of property. All the clients were happy to see us, but also happy for us to go on our way.

Our second day we headed out to Mountain View Personal Care Home. For this day we were doing some maintenance around the facility. Some painting, some planting, some cleaning. The kids knocked it out very quickly and with only a couple of paint incidents (my 11-y.o. included). Luckily, the incidents were on the kids and not messes on the property. After finishing up our jobs pretty quickly, we loaded our buses back and headed for some good food for Taco Tuesday.

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The third day we headed over to the Toco Hills Community Alliance to help distribute food to families from the  Mobile Food Pantry. We watched as the truck pulled in and unloaded seven pallets of donated food to be distributed. It was hot work! The kids, however, were super efficient and super friendly. They greeted each family that drove through with a smile and arms full of groceries. We left feeling tired, but very grateful for what we have and happy to have been able to help those in need.13497928_297476123924917_4532408098611723673_o13528062_297476127258250_2968021674392176578_o13483395_297479697257893_3176185617188843107_o

The 11-y.o. and 14-y.o. showing some typical great Picture Faces

Thursday was my birthday (yay!) so I took this day off, but the Youth continued on! They made lunches for the Smart Lunch, Smart Kids program in Decatur and then delivered the lunches to some very appreciative children.

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The last day of the week, the Youth delivered care packages for girls ages 12-17 who have been  victims of sex trafficking. The last part of that sentence was painful to type, but it’s real and it is being addressed and helped by the Wellspring Living for Girls organization. Because of the severe nature of the organization, the Youth do not have contact with the girls living at the facility, but instead, they provided the aforementioned care packages to be handed out later. After delivering the packages they were able to help out around the grounds of the facility, doing some yard work and basic cleaning.

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Overall, the week saw 18-20 teenagers give 4 hours daily to help those in need. With summer swim league, jobs, summer reading, daily responsibilities and more, these kids showed up and put in a great effort to help others. It was humbling to be a part of this week. It made me more thankful for what I have. It also made me so proud to be a part of the ministry of Oak Grove UMC Youth. I love working with the kids anyway, but when I get to see them in this type of situation it really makes my heart swell with love and pride.

Earlier this year I spoke about the loss of my good friend, Katie. Katie was an integral part of the Central Night Shelter in downtown Atlanta.  After she died I was speaking with friends about how to move forward after such a loss of such a significant person. Someone who truly lived out Jesus’ words of, “Love your neighbor as yourself” in such a hands-on way. I hope that by taking part in this past week, as well as getting my Girls involved and participating, takes me a little closer to being able to follow in her footsteps.

I hope that you will follow one or more of these links and find a way to help at some point soon; whether by donation or giving some of your time to help. I can say, for me, it paid off tremendously.

Current Favorites (fka Top 10 List)

The Cheeps

These chickens. They’re known as The Cheeps here at the Benefield Homestead. Each year Trinity School kindergarten students hatch chicks. Lots and lots of chicks. Since our last chicken experiment didn’t end up like we had planned we decided to start from scratch. I brought 5 chicks home so they could be with us and get used to us (and all the other animals) and hopefully stick around with us instead of flying the coop. Literally. We spend time with The Cheeps every day so as they get older they will not run away from us like crazy chickens, even though that’s what they are. The two white ones and Tina, the caramel colored one seem to get that idea. The two black/gray ones, not so much. It has been fascinating watching them grow. We think that one of them is developing into a rooster – the black/gray one with the growing comb on its head – that we will give to a rooster-friendly home before he starts to crow.  As summer goes on look for updates and pictures.

Keeping Kids in Motion

I have the great fortune to work at a school with some amazing PE teachers.One of them, Justin Cahill, blogs regularly about exactly what the blog is titled, Keeping Kids in Motion.
He also has a Facebook group under the same name. It currently has 921 members! People from all over submit articles, videos, and pictures of games, ideas, thoughts, questions and more dedicated to helping keep our kids, our students, ourselves active. I love his passion and dedication.

May 28 – August 7

It’s summer break, y’all! It’s awesome. I am so thankful to have this time off. I know there are some teachers that like to say that summer break has nothing to do with their decision to teach. I have no time for that. Of course, it’s not the main reason to get into teaching, but to deny that time off as an absolute reason to celebrate? Come on! This summer break I am trying something new – New Directions! I’ve made a two lists: Things I Need to Do and Things I Want to Do. Unlike years in the past when I’ve made lists of things to get done over summer, this time, I’ve included plans for getting them done. Now, I am sure that not all of them will get done, but this past school year with the help and advice of my department supervisor I started making lists of daily goals to accomplish, so I have somewhat of a habit going. To many of you this may seem like it’s common sense, well, to me it’s still a new thing. The whole planning thing has never been a strength of mine, so I’m trying to develop a new habit.

Summer Swim Season

Both of The Girls swim during summer league. Coco swims year around, but Ramona has several other sports going on, so we give her a break. I absolutely love summer swim season! I understand that it’s easy for me to love it because it’s not me going to practice and exerting all that energy, but I love it nonetheless. I have many, many great memories of my years of swim team summers. The first meet is tomorrow! TOMORROW! And sadly, Coco potentially has strep throat and Ramona is out of town on a choir tour with our church. That’s okay! We have the whole month of June for other meets. I love cheering on all of the swimmers, not just The Girls. Seeing young people with amazing strokes and skills is very exciting. I have seen some amazing swimmers over the past 8 years that The Girls have been swimming. We are at a new pool this year, so a whole new batch of swimmers to cheer on!

Good Music

The Avett Brothers, “Ain’t No Man”

JR JR, “Gone”

The 1975 – “Love Me”

Fitz and the Tantrums, “HandClap

The Lumineers, “Ophelia

Podcasts

I have spoken before about how I like to listen to music a lot. I still do, clearly. However, I have recently started listening to some podcasts on my way to work in the morning, and I have to say they have been very enlightening and entertaining. Glitter Queen requests me to put some on her Nano, so I have gotten some from her. Here are a few that I’ve been listening to:

  • This American Life
  • Nerdist
  • Freakonomics
  • The Way I Heard It
  • Nerdette

Freakonomics just recently had a whole month to learning to be more productive. I don’t know if there could have been a more opportune time for me to listen. (I think GQ might have requested those on purpose so I’d get hooked into them) I probably will go back and re-listen to one or two of them because sometimes it is a lot to take in at once.

Trinity School

I have just finished my second year at Trinity School. It was another phenomenal school year. It was a very challenging personal year, but my class, their parents, my teacher team, the administration, and everyone else at Trinity really helped me through a tough time. I continue to grow professionally and personally. I am excited about training opportunities coming up, and equally excited about the upcoming group of students that I will get to spend time with next school year. I am so fortunate to be part of a great school community.

So, there you go, that’s what I’m into now. It’s not 10 things this time. Maybe I’m narrowing my focus a little bit. It tends to be wide-ranging and makes it easy for me to get distracted. Hopefully, this shorter list will help me stay on task a little better this summer.

How about you? What’s good with you right now?

 

 

 

 

Current Top 10 Favorite Things

Okay, so I’m going to stop re-posting old things for now.  Here’s what is currently making me happy.


10.  Sitting in My  Backyard – I like to sit in my pink plastic Adirondack chair in my backyard and watch the crows fly through the neighbors’ yards. It’s pretty cool to see them swoop from air to branch or just navigate their way through the trees.  Every once in a while I’ll see a hawk do it, and that’s triple cool, but the crows are pretty cool on their own. (don’t tell GQ that I’m enjoying the crows.  She’s convinced they’re stalking her)

9. Marley – The newest addition to our family is proving to be quite a character. Whether he is jumping up on our bed while we’re reading to the Girls, chasing his tail, or just chewing on one of his many toys (and an occasional Barbie) Marley is definitely keeping us entertained.

8. Victory Golden Monkey – A Belgian style beer that packs an impressive 9.5% avc into a 12 oz. bottle.  I’ve added it to my Gentlemint with the description, “It’s the kind of beer that you drink during a long dinner with friends.”  This bonus of course, is that you’re basically getting 2 beers at one time – Economically Buzzworthy.

7. Shift Pale Lager – The folks at New Belgium Brewery (makers of Fat Tire and other good beers) recently released this new beer in not only a can (for pool consumption!!!) but also as a tall boy! 16 oz. of quality pale lager.



6. My iPad – I would have never gotten this on my own, but the principal at my school bought one for each of the teachers and paraprofessionals. I know, right?!? I have got to say, those people at Apple really know how to make the electronic crack.  This thing is a lot of fun and really handy in so many ways. I’ve got my Kindle books on there, games for the Girls to play, drawing apps, an app that lets me create and edit Word docs, and so much more.  It’s ridiculous how much I am enjoying this.



5. Real Sugar in my Coffee – A while ago I switched to Splenda b/c I realized I was taking in too much sugar and it was making me kind of  grumpy.  I guess my body can’t process it like it used to, and so I switched. I had switched to Coke Zero before this.  Not that Splenda wasn’t good, but real sugar is just so much better. I’m watching my sugar intake because no one benefits from my over  indulgence.

4. Three Websites – The Art of Manliness – http://artofmanliness.com/, The Thing About Flying – http://thethingaboutflying.com/, and Casual Disagreement – http://casualdisagreement.com/. Each of these gives me regular entertaining, thought provoking articles to read on an almost daily basis.  I’m happy that I am actually going to some sites that aren’t just pop-culture oriented (not that there’s anything wrong with those. I still go on them too, they’re just not on the top 10 right now).


3. The Popularity of The Avengers – Holy Record breaking Comic Book Super Hero Movie!!! American, and seemingly the world can’t get enough of this movie.  I’m pretty sure that if all comic book movies were this good there might not be a need for many other types of movies – I’m looking at you, Nicholas Sparks fans.

2. My Madness Pandora Station – I have loved Madness since I first heard, “One Step Beyond” back when I was 10.  It was a bug that I caught and never shed. They make me happy in a way that music should make you happy.  The Pandora station has introduced me to songs of theirs I’ve never heard due to only being released in the UK as well as similar bands such as The Selectors and The Specials.  Madness is one of the only ones that is still around.  The English Beat is still touring, but it’s just Dave Wakeling with a new group of musicians. Not to take anything away from them, because they put on a great show. I also get to hear The Toasters, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Aquabats, and more newer bands, as well as bands that influenced Madness like Toots Mayall and Desmond Dekker.



1. Summer Break – Hot diggity dog!  Two months off.  I know that a lot of us in our 40s and older like to think that we got all three months off for summer when we were kids, and it certainly felt like it, but I’m pretty sure it’s very close to what kids (and teachers!!!!) are getting now. Of course, to some (GQ) it seems like 10 months of interrupted regularly scheduled days, to those of us that get it off, it’s pretty freaking awesome.  Any teacher that tells you that summer break isn’t one of the reasons they are in our profession is a liar; plain and simple. BTW, no picture can do summer break justice.


Well, that’s what’s making me happy right now.  GQ & The Girls aren’t on this list because they’re beyond List Worthy.  They make it all worthwhile.

Go check out some of these things and see if they make you happy too.  Happy Summer!