Revised Top 9 of 2009

It has been brought to my attention that “Taylor Swift” was listed (explicitly) in at least three of my top 9 of 2009 yesterday posted on this blog. To some, this may seem unfair. Why am I not on the list when Taylor gets three spots? they’ll rhetorically state, yet earnestly ask.

Here’s a revision.

9. Yeah, my mom on New Year’s Day. Yada yada.

8. Getting my MFA. You know, I still haven’t picked up the diploma…

7. Bird’s ticket buying skillz. Best in the world! Thank you!

6. Zipcar. Oh thank you, Zipcar. Though it is expensive, it helped me many times.

5. Learning the ukulele. It’s nice to have hobbies, and to sing songs by Alex Battles.

4. Taylor Swift. See, she gets number 4: mid-way on the spectrum of obsession. Shows, hair, Fearless. All in just one entry.

3. KH still gets an upper slot.

2. Falling in love. No need to reassess this ranking.

1. Everyone who has offered me support in the past year and years. Thank you. You’ve given me life … even if you aren’t Taylor Swift, who may or may not be implied in this #1 highlight of 2009.

I look forward to 2010 which is certain to be like and unlike this year that’s passing over us like a tidal wave.

Top 9 of 2009: many and few

This has been a memorable year for many reasons. Many of which are bad reasons. But some are good! Very good, I assure you, so I’m sharing a few of them here. And yes, many of them pertain to Taylor Swift.

9. Seeing Revolutionary Road with my mom on New Year’s Day. I was very sick and very depressed. She took care of me. We thought the movie was okay and later each read the book, marking the beginning of my fascination (and identification) with Richard Yates.

8. Friends. Limitless understanding and compassion from so many of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

7. Seeing Taylor Swift in College Park, Pennsylvania. Ten rows from the stage. Yeah. Thank you, Bird.

6. Finishing my MFA. I never thought I wouldn’t. Then again, I never thought I’d get an MFA.

5. Touching Taylor Swift’s hair in West Virginia. She walked by me at a concert, you perv.

4. Kathryn Harrison. Professor, mentor, friend. Where would I be?

3. Friends who did so much for me. Even when they thought they weren’t doing anything at all.

2. Falling in love. Seemingly self-explanatory, yet not.

1. Taylor Swift, whose music offered/offers strength and helped me believe in love when I couldn’t believe in anything. Thank you.

What do I have to look forward to in 2010?

Friends, love, happiness, support, new and improved ukulele videos, Taylor Swift concert on May 15, Taylor Swift reading this blog. You get the picture.

Few reasons to complain. Many reasons to live, love, laugh.

I am grateful.

Countdown to Taylor at Penn State


On August 29, Small Hands and I are going to see Taylor Swift at the Bryce Johnson Theater at Penn State University.

“Isn’t that far from New York, Nicole?” you might ask. “Why not see her locally?”

If you knew anything at all, you’d realize that her Madison Square Garden Show sold out in one minute. Plus, I like states that aren’t New York or New Jersey.

Last month, Small Hands and I saw Taylor at the Civic Center at Charleston, West Virginia. And the show was the best I’ve ever seen.

It’s a Love StoryIMG00173

First of all, the opening acts–Gloriana (a bestseller on iTunes somehow) and Kellie Pickler (of … Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader fame)–exceeded my wildest imaginations. Gloriana’s harmonic styles reminded me of Fleetwood Mac’s flawless tightness. Kellie Pickler, who played for about 40 minutes–man, she has one hell of a voice. If you ever get the chance to see her live, do. If she can’t add or read a map, she can definitely sing.

(Kellie and Taylor are BFFs. In the linked video above, Kellie sings “Best Days of Your Life,” a song Taylor co-wrote with Kellie. Taylor’s in the video, too. Also, Kellie is totes adorable. Watch it!)

Now for Taylor.IMG00181 Two hour set. Everything off Fearless, her latest album, except for “The Best Day,” a song dedicated to her mom. She played the favorites from her debut self-titled smash hit album and saved “Should’ve Said No” for last–an extended performance ending with a rainstorm on stage, leaving Taylor’s long, blond, wavy hair matted to her narrow frame.

I couldn’t count all the costume changes.

Because Small Hands is so generous and wonderful, she bought us tickets on the floor of the venue, granting us easy access to Taylor as she played several songs, “Fifteen” among them, from a rotating elevated platform at the rear of the floor seating area. (Linked video features Miley Cyrus.)  She came down into the audience and hugged the twitching, tweeting (I’m sure) tweens who gathered in the aisle as she made her rounds. I even touched her hair. An electrifying moment.IMG00187

She totally bashed Joe Jonas without saying his name. We knew she meant to say, “He’s incredibly fug and I’m totally not.” She didn’t have to. We were all on the same page.

I can’t tell you what the best part of the show was because every moment was incredible. On second thought, it may have been that blinding glisten from her sparkling guitar.

Another Overpriced Tour T-Shirt to Burn

With Taylor, there were no problems. Only the fans. And it mostly had to do with my inferiority complex about standing at least one foot taller than 90% of the audience (including Small Hands; sorry, dear).

Tied Together With (or Without) a Smile

Way, way smile.

Can’t wait to share with you the next show.

*Note: I don’t really know how to “count” days for countdowns. Does the day of the event count as 0 or 1? Neither seems completely logical to me. I need an informative Mary Roach footnote–or subject matter–instead of my rambling lack of counting accountability.