“Nowadays, all these girls are singing about their encounters and their dresses.”

When my mother says “encounters” she is referring, of course, to sex. When she says “dresses” she is likely thinking about that Selena Gomez song that wouldn’t stop playing some two or three summers ago.

“People have always sung about that, though…”

“Yeah but today it’s stupid: ‘he’s so tall and handsome as hell,’” she gestures at the radio, “what the hell is that shit?”

She’s complaining about Taylor Swift now, whose song “Wildest Dreams” is playing in the car.

Whether I think Taylor’s art is revolutionary or enriching is irrelevant because creating music that underwhelms me—creating anything, really—is still way more than most people do. I’m not proud to admit it but I once sobbed in a Bed Bath & Beyond parking lot when the song “You Belong with Me” came on the radio. Then, dry heaves and all, I leaned on my steering wheel and started laughing (because first “heartbreaks” are fucking hilarious). It was a time when listening to anything other than pop trash probably would have made me roll off my roof.

Even so, you won’t find me arguing for the lyrical ingenuity or emotional depth of lines like “I can feel my heart, it’s beating in my chest.”

I skip the explanation and agree with my mother: “RIGHT? Like, what happened to Etta James? Let’s talk about ‘Damn Your Eyes.’ I mean, DAAAAAMMMMMNN!”

Now there’s an angry, lusty love that I can understand.

Be careful with ya eyes,


“Does Etta James Make You Cry? Let’s Tango.”


I’ve been reading Quiet by Susan Cain in efforts to turn my brain off at night and maybe find out why the word “networking” gives me acid reflux. Yes, telling a group of strangers “what I do” is my idea of a nightmare. I tend to melt into corners at parties and I’d rather crawl into an industrial washer than attend another “orientation week.” I often marvel at the fact that I’ve managed to make any friends at all. Indeed, many parties and people send me running for the hills, but of course there are exceptions–nights and humans that leave me warm, inspired, and happy to have a mouth. Cain would argue that socializing can be difficult for an introvert because they tend to crave “deeper” connections, the sort of connections that go beyond weather and work dilemmas. Me? I’m just looking for people who get choked up when they hear this song. Everyone else is heartless and weird.

Cain also talks a lot about the types of environments intros vs. extros feel best in. Like my personality, my preference is somewhere in the middle.  A day in the country and a day in a big city energize me in similar ways. It’s the anonymity that attracts me about both. The vast expanse and quiet of a country walk and the endless characters that filter through cities both calm me. I’m that goober smiling her way through the streets, wondering where the balloon seller goes when the day ends. In the country, I’m wishing everyone would shut up while I recover from the immensity of life.

I took all of these photos in 2013 at Las Fallas festival in Valencia.  It was a dream state and I loved every moment of it.

Luv and other thugs,