Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
You can also find Monica's writing here:
« First carousel ride | Main | Life lesson »

Help me help you

***UPDATE: I did one of those random number generator things and it coughed up number 61 which means that gypsyk8 is the winner. Contact me at monica bielanko at yahoo dot come to collect your loot! But please, if you still have music suggestions you're welcome to leave them here. This is quite the list to wade though so thanks everybody!

I want to give someone a free book. I bought an extra copy of The Help yesterday. I didn't mean to, but we'll get to that in a minute.

In case you didn't know, you're supposed to read The Help. Everyone says so. I received the book for Christmas, I think it was. Maybe it was my birthday, I can't remember now. And then I promptly forgot that I owned the book.

Yesterday, in a fit of rare energy, I hauled Violet to Target. On the weekend, while grocery shopping, Serge and I forgot to get coarse sea salt to refill the salt grinder. Yes, we grind pepper and salt. Two years ago Serge fell in love with this salt and pepper shaker set (I know! What kind of fella falls in love with salt & pepper shakers?) at Bed, Bath & Beyond. They were thirty bucks which is about twenty-eight more than I'd prefer to spend on those particular items. So I bought 'em for Christmas and we have grandly ground both salt and pepper ever since.

We are fancy salt grinding folk. Sometimes during dinner Serge wooshes over to the table and asks, "Would the lady care for a bit of ground salt on her Lean Cuisine?" I smile, bat my eyelashes and purr, "But of course."

But not really. I assure you that Serge has still been known to bite a chunk of cheese right off the block in the fridge. I know! He should be shot. And also, were you to avail yourself of the food in our home you would surely spot toast crumbs in our butter and bits of jelly in our peanut butter

But anyway, we needed a salt refill and I also wanted to check out the latest and greatest in video editing software. So off to Target we went. Of course it was a disastrous trip (see previous entry).

As any pregnant woman will tell you, often unsolicited, is that more often than not her gastrointestinal situation ain't exactly in proper working order. Sometimes there isn't enough, uh, poop. Other times there is too much. I had just begun to browse the various video editing software items on display when I made the realization that it was in fact, a morning of the "too much" variety.

I executed an about-face with my red pastic shopping cart that any sergeant would be proud of. We plowed full speed toward the restroom and I dragged cart, Violet and all right into the nearest handicapped stall.

Business complete, or so I thought, we started the trek, all the way across the store, to where we'd been before disaster struck my ravaged system. On the way I spotted hardback copies of The Help for 30% off. Groovy, thought I. I've been hearing so much about this book, I'll treat myself. Idiot. The book was on my radar as I'd been gifted a copy a few months prior. But amidst the gastrointestinal distress that was bubbling to the surface of my consciousness yet again, the fact that I had a beautiful brand new copy of this book at home in a box in my bedroom didn't occur to me.

I tossed it into the cart and beat a hasty retreat to the restroom once again. Although this time I was sure to take a different route, for fear store employees would spot me speedwalking to the restroom for the second time in five minutes and realize what was transpiring in their store, in my angry system.

Guys, my system was pissed. And we all know what happens when my system is pissed.

After the second restroom trip I gave up all hope of browsing, went straight to the food section, tossed the first brand of sea salt I spotted into the damned cart and got the hell out of there.

After paying for my book and salt I tossed the receipt into the shopping cart and dashed for my car. A third restroom trip was imminent, you see. I buckled Violet into her car seat and pushed the cart into the metal things they use to collect them in the parking lot. It was then I noticed my receipt flapping like a white flag of surrender at the bottom of the cart. Fuck it, I thought. Why would I need to return salt? And I'm going to read The Help. Everyone says I should. So I abandoned the receipt to certain demise at the hands of the Utah elements.

I was instantly sorry an hour later when I spotted my original copy of The Help in a box in my bedroom. I'm sure Target'll take back the book without a receipt. They take back everything. Hell, they'd take back the sea salt after we used half of it.

But I don't want to hassle with it. Returning the book would require driving back to Target, standing in a line and talking to people. And well, that's just too damn much. I talk to people all day. I'm just plain sick of talking to people. Can't I just eat salt and watch TV in peace?

Then I thought about y'all. I've been meaning to ask you guys what you've been listening to because I'm too old to keep up and I never have enough time and Serge always makes us listen to the jazz channel on satellite radio and so I NEED YOUR HELP! Whatchoo got? Band, album, song, whatever. What's your favorite song right now? I like new stuff but it doesn't have to be new. For example, I would tell you that I've been listening to the Rolling Stones a lot lately and I'd suggest Beast of Burden and Sweet Virginia. Matter of fact, I'm listening to Sweet Virginia at this very second.

Some time tomorrow night I'll pick a random number and will send that commenter The Help. Seems like kind of a chick book, but fellas, so what? Tell your mom or your lady you bought it special and maybe you can get laid. Or, you know, your mom will cook you dinner or something. Unless you live in rural Utah, in which case you may be into a little sexy time with mom.

So, in conclusion, help me find some new tunes and I'll send you The Help no matter where you live. Even if it's rural Utah.

Reader Comments (95)

They are both Chicago bands, but Canasta and Scotland Yard Gospel Choir (not a gospel band, but indie rock) are two groups that I absolutely love. Most people outside of Chicago (where I live) don't know them, but they are yummy!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy H.

I've been listening to Wilco - after my boyfriend made me watch their documentary "Ashes of American Flags: Wilco Live"...really enjoying the music.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjenny

Yes, Wilco = awesome! (My son is starting high school in a couple of weeks, and Jeff Tweedy's son is in his class!)

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy H.

Right now, I'm listening to Augustana. But I've also been craving some old school Pearl Jam.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndria

I've been listening to a lot of Piebald lately. Not new, but a solid band.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole R

Dan Mangan... ... so good!! I think you would really like his song Robots. He played at the Folk Festival in Calgary this year and was outstanding. Hope you like him Monica.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKat

Arcade Fire, their new and previous albums are all great- their new one sounds a bit different than previous, so definitely check out multiple!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

I've been listening to Something Corporate, over and over again.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

This is a band called The Merry Men, and they hail from a small town called Burnley, just up the road from Manchester in the UK. These guys were regular performers at my bar back in Manchester, and it is my dream to one day see them share a stage with Marah, preferably with Serge playing, if he is ever able to pry himself away from you, Violet, and the soon to be new little one long enough to go back on the road!

Like that's ever gonna happen! Still, that's the whole point of dreams right?

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDamien

The Nadas (

They are midwestern Roots Rock and its very easy to listen to. There are two singers, and each has a different sound and style.

Also, if you haven't found Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers then I'm not sure you've found music.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Bullet for my Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, Escape the Fate, 30STM and StoneSour. I can't make it through the day without rocking my face off a few times!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole M.

I've just discovered Mumford & Sons, and I am really crushing on these guys. Here is the video for their biggest "hit" Little Lion Man. Given them a listen...

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I only listen to Marah.
I don't buy the lost receipt ruse. You didn't wash your hands after the potty fiasco and now need to get rid of said doodie smudged book. Oh Monica, when will you learn I KNOW you so well.

Seriously. I love Foxy Shazam ("Oh Lord" is one of the best, most exuberant songs written in 20 years, and it's an ode to his son Julian, so I make pretend it was written for the golden boy-my nephew), Tom Waits, skinny armed era Springsteen & Marah. I listen to "Soda" and I cry every time!!! What band can do that? "Point Breeze" gives me tickles in my tummy and "Pizzeria" makes me bop in my seat & scream at the top of lungs "sweet-n-sour number 9!!"
Love "The Apartment" & "Dishwasher's Dream" because I know they reference my favorite writer/blogger/hot Mama/ex-Mormon....what is her name, shit it's on the tip of my tongue.....

I read The Help & truly loved it. But everything tastes better on my Kindle.

Just needed to vent. LOVE YOU!!!!!!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergiac

I will second The Nadas and third Wilco. I'm not listening to anything of note...I'm in a music rut with the same old stuff so I'll be checking back here for suggestions.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjen

Band Of Skulls. They are my "go to" band these days. I've been meaning to buy some "Redline Addiction" too (they are a band from DC) but haven't gotten around to it.

Now I'm gonna go do some reasarch on The Nadas. :)

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnjie B.

It's pretty girly, but I've been really digging Lykke Li. Pandora always helps me find something new or maybe just something different!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCait

Florence + The Machine has been on my iPod on loop for the last week or so. I think the most recent album is about a year old...but loving them. The Help looks like a great should read it. Everybody says so. :)

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLauren Crider

Hi Monica,
This is one of my favorite songs - Soullshine
The Allman Brothers sung it originally but Beth Hart does a really fantastic version - whenever life sucks, this song always seems to help.
Daycare Lady

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaycare Lady

Not new but Gillian Welch, Calla and Tool -- on shuffle.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

I'll chime in on the Beth Hart rec above. Her song 'LA Song' (live) is awesome. Must be listened to loud.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

avett brothers "salvation song" and grace potter "i chose you"

two of my favs this week... but neither are new.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercourt

I've recently discovered The Broken Bells, (The Ghost Inside being my fave song of the moment). Also check out The Black Keys and Modest Mouse. :)

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNicole B

i was sooo excited to tell you of what i thought was my dirty little secret, but i see that someone beat me to it.. ;) the avitt brothers!!! i second the avitt brothers!

ive also been listening to the album 29 by ryan adams a lot lately! its been rainy a lot here in PA lately, these guys just really fit my rainy day moods!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergnarle

Lakes of Pontchatrain by the Be Good Tanyas. The album is called "Blue Horse" and it was released in 2001. Look on Itunes for it.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

I'm gearing up to go to Burning Man next week and have been giving my more hardcore electronic music side some love. So I have been using an app on my phone called Digitally Imported. I love it, it's like Pandora but all electronic. Drum n' Bass and Dubstep are my favorite channels.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Most definitely Kindness and Lies- an up and coming San Francisco based band. You can check them out on itunes or youtube... fav song is Look Up Now :).

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKali

Wilco is awesome. Also try Sloan. Vampire Weekend. Fountains of Wayne.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRonna

I just downloaded Joanna Newsom's latest album. It's very weird and wonderful.

Also, a fabulous up and coming Canadian artist that I can't get enough of is Hannah Georgas. She is an amazing singer, songwriter, musician, etc.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I have been trying to steer my grandsons away from the usual kiddie movies and kid bop stuff. They already love Elvis (seriously), so I bought them the movie Jailhouse Rock on the cheap. In addition to the well-known Elvis songs and "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" I’ve gotten the song, "One More Day" stuck in my head. It’s not even sung by Elvis:

I'm up in the mornin' with the risin' sun
I work like a slave till the day is done
Just workin' and sleepin' and nothin' more
And ev'ry day is just like the day before

One more day, One more day
One day older and nearer to my Lord
One more day

Sounds like I need The Help.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnne

Today I was mainly listening to Marah (20,000 streets) - but that sounds like sucking up. But a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked me for a good song for her burlesque number (I haven't asked too much, but I think it will serve as the song to which she will disrobe to her nipple tassels, and ruffled knickers). Anyway, I suggested "Never Forget You" by the Noisettes. It's cool, and sexy, has a fab bassline and is sung by a sassy lady. Since then I can't stop listening to it.

Alternatively, if you haven't already heard them, YouTube "Single Ladies" by Pomplamoose. The video makes me smile.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Mumford and Sons - just discovered them, too.
Avett Bros. - all of their albums are great
ryan adams
a little jay z

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWendi McCombs

"When Everything Seems Wrong" by Ari Hest
"The Morning After" by Howie Day
"On My Own" by Green River Ordinance

Three of my faves!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Here is the best song ever. You're welcome.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterserge

Lately and not so lately I've been listening to Mazzy Star, Wilco, The Twilight Sad (love the Scottish accents), Vampire Weekend, Kaiser Chiefs, Decemberists, and always listen to Radiohead and The Shins. I found Broken Bells a while back and really like them, probably because the lead singer is also in The Shins. To find new stuff I use . . . better than Pandora in my opinion. You can listen to other people's stations or any band's station, or your library, or your recommended library. It's pretty awesome. :)

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBailey

I am really into John Mayer's new(ish) album, Battle Studies. I love all of his music, but this album is just incredible.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

josh ritter's new album...his new wife singing backup on this one and it's very good.

but i already read the help...because everyone said i pick another # if mine comes up

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralex

I would recommend The xx. They're a bunch of 19-year olds from the UK, but their debut album is so good. The sound is kinda moody, minimalist soft pop-rock, and oh so pretty. Of their songs I'd suggest you give a listen to "Intro" and "Crystalize."

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I have been digging Laroux and M.I.A. both female artists. Love em'! Liked them both before all the A holes around here started playing them on their overplayed radio stations that ruin music for me.
Love to read about your mishaps and stuff. Makes me realize my life is normal because I frequent the bathrooms at Target and Walmart also.
Keep writing because if you don't I won't make in this Bud Light commercial world that everyone we went to high school with call life:D

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKel Scott

OMGosh!!!!! YOU are cracking me UP!!!! No, wait....

" My eyes nearly cross and my vision blurs as the smear on my arm takes over the world."

SHUT.... UP....! That is SO freakin' FUNNY.

music....somebody took the contol to the dish and we are stuck in the 50s for now.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGina

My husband has been making me listen to folk or bluegrass or whatever you call it nowadays. Anyway, a really great band is the Builders and the Butchers.

Oh, and amidst all the mandolin and banjo, I listed to Christina Aguilera's new album. Hated it at first, but now it's growing on me. Don't tell my husband, though, okay?

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Been listening alot to a guy called Epic Soundtracks recently. Guy was the drummer in experimental "punk" band the Swell Maps in the 70's, played in various cult bands with his brother (Nikki Sudden) and assorted Nick Cave side-kicks in the 80's then re-emerged in the early 90's as some sort of Carol King-y piano balladeer, to very well deserved critical acclaim. Died in '97 of unknown causes, unfortunately, so there's only 3 "real" albums avaliable (+ some posthumous stuff). Every one of them is worth hunting down as the guy seemed unable to write a single bad song. Can't recommend him enough really. Don't think about sending me the book though as I live in Sweden - the shipping would cost you a fortune. ;-)

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKJ

I second Pomplamoose & anything by Tegan and Sara...Also youtube pregnant women are smug by garfunkel and oats :)

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

Band of Horses - all of the songs on all of the albums. They just transport me straight to another place. The Eels. Fleet Foxes. Broken Bells. And for something completely different...Edith Piaf. Because in my imaginary parallel universe I get to live in Paris.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchristine from canada

I am liking The Swell Season and I just pre-ordered Jenny and Johnny (as in Jenny Lewis) and I'm really excited about that (comes out aug 31). Richard Ashcroft (from the Verve) has a new project called RPA and the United Nations of Sound that I am digging.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrachelgab

Totally second Mumford & Sons (going to see them in Boston in Nov!!). My favorite is "White Blank Page." Happy to gift it to you.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Freelance Whales, The xx, Dexateens, Mumford & Sons, Ray LaMontagne, and Gaga are on rotation this week

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindi

no one beats the man, Johnny Cash. any and all songs...

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranother Cindy

Harlan T Bobo

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwindylou

ok, so not at all new, or even indie, so I'm sure you totally know this song already, but zombies by the cranberries is totally my fav right now! I can't get enough of it!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDani

Ever since reading of Henry Granju's memorial service, The Beatles "Let It Be" has been in constant rotation around these parts.

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelli

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>