Monday, December 20, 2004

Yes, Virginia....

mascara DOES freeze. Solid. And does not apply to eyelashes in a familiar fashion at all once frozen. Also freezable is the sliding door of a Honda minivan.

Just FYI.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Yes, Virginia...

... tights do eventually disintegrate. Hot weather will do it, and apparently, so will keeping them in your closet for seven years or more without wearing them.

Did I realize they might disintegrate whilst shopping at the new Target? Noooo....

Did you know that it is possible to change tights, even if you have on knee-high boots, in the front seat of your car? Hey - I was at Target! I was able to save the day!

So what to do with all the pairs that I saved from pre & during pregnancy (i.e., when I was a working girl)? Sigh.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

My hometown is often the site of bizarre incidents, including my birth and wedding. This article describes yet another strange happening. No one in Macon would yell "murderer" at anyone. At least not to their face.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Looks like its gonna be a white Christmas in my town this year. Boy, do I grow tired.

I'm enjoying my church a little more these days - we have a new pastor and he takes the job more than seriously. He's a hugger and his hair is really so very pastory but there is new life in the congregation and I'm not feeling like the lone voice of adventurous liberal-type questioning anymore.

I wish I were more thick-skinned. My neighbor and I have had a troubled relationship from the get-go, compounded by the fact that I cannot abide her child at all and am dismayed at his lying, his treatment of my children, and his destructive abilities (I thought this was MY problem, but other children have come over here with nary an incident, so there!). She is distancing herself now, which she should do, and for which I am grateful, but I never feel comfortable knowing there is someone out there not liking me. Why I give a shit, I'll never know. My plan is to drop this care once and for all when I hit 40.

The Christmas cards are almost done - nothing creative this year, just a cutie-pie picture of my girl with no front teeth and my boy loving on her. Being the family whipping post means that I mail to Aunt Alice and Uncle Arthur (who, I found out today, is dead. Will his card be returned? Forwarded to his descendents? What?) and Cousins Brenda and John. And John on the other side, too. I don't mind doing this - someone has to I guess, and I'm good at it. I just want to be thanked.

Finally, a note about my husband's bad behaviour this week. He wanted a snack. Did he go for a sandwich, a bowl of cereal, some nuts or an orange? NO! He opened the delightful baguette toasts for appetizers I was saving and ate them. All. And then for snack dessert, opened a jar of frosting. This sounds gross, but sadly it is one of my serious weaknesses so I am currently nursing a stomach heavy-laden with lardy icing and wondering what exactly I was thinking marrying a skinny man with a tapeworm. Love him though I do.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I had a car accident. Kind of my fault, kind of the fault of the humongous Suburban that kept me from seeing the speeding red car headed right at me (it is no secret that I do not care for humongous Suburban-like cars). The car accident has made me think so much that my brain hurts and that I need a nap.

The guy's car was totalled. My car, not so much. Me, the well-off young white girl in the minivan with a boy and his friend, not having to work because my husband does so well. He, the man just getting off from work whose registration was not current, whose license was expired, who may very well not have insurance. And who now does not have a car. At least he has a caring girlfriend, who, in her phone call to me today, identified herself suddenly as "fiancee". Lynn thinks they are going to shaft me. She's probably right.

Last night was bleak as all hell. I had to make a thousand phone calls to the thousands of people who were relying on me for something. I had to make my husband come from work. I had to rely on a stranger to change my tire (who did so despite his distaste for the constant stream of foul-smelling gas emitted by my son). I had to call the mother of my son's friend, who has already dealt with a year and a half of chemo for her child and now has to worry about letting her children ride with people.

Of course, had I not been so completely giving and maybe a little selfish on behalf of my family, I would not have been out driving at a busy hour at a bad intersection. I need to learn to say NO and say it often.

I had bad dreams and visions all night - of what could have happened, about what might have been, about where I might have ended up instead of in my bed, cozy and warm. I am lucky as all hell.

In the middle of the night, I went to check on my son - out of guilt, fear, whatever. I tucked in his covers and gave him a little kiss on the cheek. He woke up and said, "Mommy?" Yes? "I love you." I sure have a lot to be grateful for and I'll try to take more time and more opportunities to do just that.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Hello again, hello. I just wanted to say, "hello". I've been gone for such a long,long time. Mainly because of problems with the site. I really need someone to sit down and give me a tutorial on how to get my computer back to the pristine, lovely, spam-free creature she used to be.

READING: "To America" by Stephen Ambrose. Poor guy. I'm not a history buff, but I am a prose buff, and so far it is sloooooow going. Also reading a gift from my very favorite Republican, white, wealthy, religious, educated female of a certain age who is married with children (but she's so much more than that): "Barbarians at the Gate" by a bunch of guys. It is pretty interesting, but I have a lot to learn about big business.

WATCHING: "A Lion in Winter" with Kate. Ah, Kate. "Bruce Almighty". Oh, Jim. And with my daughter, "Samantha: An American Girl Holiday". A charming, heartwarming, tearjerking tale about a girl in upstate New York around the turn of the century. Great acting, very moving animated Tide commercials featuring American Girl dolls, and enough sweet plot twists to make my cry several times and for my husband to laugh at me.

LISTENING TO: "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" by who else. I mean, come on. If you can't love this album, then you don't deserve to call yourself a rock and roll fan. It has it all: ballsy vocals, layered production, "rifferama" as Bono called it in the Times,, Interpol-inspired bass, classic U2 drumming, and lovely lovely melodies with lyrics that are incredibly thoughtful but not so preachy.

I'm also way into Interpol, but you guessed that. I missed seeing them in NYC...can you imagine? It would be like seeing REM in Athens in the 80s. Oh yeah, I did that.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

So we have a Republican House, a Republican Senate (what happened, Erskine?), and possibly a Republican president.....are the Dems starting to think about the future? Sounds like it. And what of my hometown boy, Edwards? He is standing by his man. What must he be thinking? At ten a.m. today are we going to see him concede and then start the wheels rolling?

Will the President, should he win Ohio, realize that he has a delicate, wounded nation to run?

Will the eleven states that agreed to consider banning same-sex marriages - by law - crow and cheer that they kept the cruel but necessary institution of marriage so sacred and so rigid?

It's raining here.

Monday, November 01, 2004

New verb: "Netflixed". To receive dvds of one's choice, via electronique "queue", in the mail, complete with pre-paid return envelopes. Usage: "I 'Netflixed' the latest Merchant-Ivory vehicle and was entranced by the pastoral scenes of undiscovered Italy."

New noun: Pod. Slang for "iPod". Usage: "Where in the hell did you put the 'Pod'? Where did you leave it? Is it in your CAR?"

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Per their usual, The Onion has it just right. I think back to the halcyon days of watching Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, or Peter Jennings call the damn thing by 9:30 p.m. so I get out to the club in time for a show. And now that Arafat is sick, well, who the hell knows anything anymore. Life is just one big question mark. Just like George always said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Just to quote "The Onion", Holy Fucking Shit! I'm thinking that we are going to be all ok on election day but things could go rapidly downhill by 1 a.m. on November 3. Hold on, buckle up, and shut up. It's time to ride.

Finally got our pumpkins, at the old pumpkin patch in the 'hood. I was grumpy, dinner was burning, he was late and focused on work, but once we saw two little forms running about in the midst of so much warm orange, everything melted into happy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Big time fun in the Belle Household recently - when my children discoveredmy own childhood obsession. Cloris Leachman as the Amazon Queen (a sour and drunken queen - bril!), Lynda Carter's gorgeous gams and strangely effective expressions, and Lyle Waggoner. My God, Lyle Waggoner.

Get it. Rent it. Oh, and did you see this? We were one step away from canceling when the Amazon god(desse)s smiled on us once again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Not that I'm a fashionista, not even in the least, but I do agree with this article. I think my FOP (Fear Of Poncho) began on the day I walked into Belk's and saw the poncho-only department as described by Ms. Fortini. I love a trend, but too much of a good thing scares me. Like Dr. Scholl's matter how cool the pair, I just don't think I can follow the trend, now that it is so very much a trend.

Its not that I don't buy into fads - I have a bunch of animal prints this fall, I'm dying for a round-toed pump, and I really, really want to knit my daughter a poncho. But more than likely I'll still be cowering in the cold wearing last year's Target suede jacket whilst the rest of the population snuggles into their armless covers.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

I really have no problem whatsoever with this. So sue me. I am not an equal-opportunity player hater when it comes to selling out. I respect bands like REM and Neil Young for not every doing it and for railing against it, and then sometimes I think it is tastefully and carefully done. Other times, not so much.

I just read an interview touting Dylan's new book where he said Bono would have been a cop if he had come to America in the early part of the century. Apparently they drank a case of Guiness together. There was no mention of cigarettes but one would think they smoked a case of those. I just like to imagine these evenings when icons get together and discuss banal things. Peter Buck apparently got the idea to tour with two nannies from Bono. Maybe Dylan got the idea to do the Victoria Secret ads from him, though I doubt it. As the beer got low, there might have been comparison notes about various IRAs and investment opportunities. Sports? I guess not. Best hotels to stay in whilst in the Midwest? Home remedies for guitar callouses? Surely some religious discussion though God knows what.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Gracious. I had no idea that every single relevant topic could befodder for the fighting. I generally haven't thought this election as contentious as some - after all, I moved to my fair city in the midst of a Jesse Helms election. But lately Messers Bush and Kerry seem to be slinging it pretty regularly. Even people who wanted a decent, kinder campaign season were bitching that Johnny Edwards was too easy on Cheney.

But I shouldn't comment about anything relevant or timely, as I am completely out of it. I didn't even know about poor Christopher Reeve. I remember a New Yorker article from a year or two back that outlined the advances that Reeve's advocacy had made possible for people with paralysis. The article - and Reeve - both stated that he would walk again. I am sorry that didn't happen. Still, I salute someone who used his celebrity only for good and whose actions created real improvements and treatments for a tragic condition.

Finally, the Braves are on my mind. I've watched approximately one inning of the playoffs - baseball is one of the sacrifices I've made for motherhood. By the time the few of you who read this do read this, it will be over, for better or for worse. I can only hope that I am in for a few more nights of my husband lying on the couch for hours and a few more mornings of finding an empty beer bottle on the side table.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I had an appointment at the Carolina Ballet today. In preparation for interviewing a prima ballerina, I took my four-year-old to Bojangles where I delicately consumed a chicken filet biscuit and sipped down a cup of sweet tea the size of a traffic cone. I rubbed my hands with some antibacterial foam and sucked on a splinter of a breath strip, grabbed my boy, and strode into the offices of the company.

After I had a coughing fit due to the large fog of smoke that encompassed the entrance, I was delighted to meet both the handler and her ballerina. They were very kind women, very lovely. And very thin. We walked past a couple of freakish looking women and some slight but beautiful boys. To my son's delight, the handler showed him the gingerbread men's costumes from "The Nutcracker".

All in all, the meeting went well. I had to wonder about that life, though...I can't wait to see The Company (currently midway down in my Netflix cue). And I may very well attend another ballet. But it seems a harsh life, with stringent guidelines, and a limited window for achieving anything. I don't have the artist's heart so I can't really know. But I can gawk and wonder, and watch these dancers, right through the cloud of smoke that obscures them from my view.

Monday, October 04, 2004

This is the eve of an REM album release. So different, this time! First, we have the single released well ahead of time (and before that, a snippet released), and lo and behold you can even listen to the whole album right this very minute! Wow! The Internet! Wonders of wonders! But guess what. I don't know if hearing "Around the Sun" two days ago was all that. Was it because I wasn't sitting in a late-fall sun-filled room, with friends, with a beer or two, listening on my stereo? Was it because I didn't really like the record (gasp)? Was it because I was exhausted from running around after my two darlings and perparing for my music classes? Why, dammit, why?

Ah, let's just hope the album holds promise and will hold my attention. Maybe tomorrow, on its official release day, I'll fall in love with a new REM record. Just like I have so many times before, in so many different rooms, with so many different people.

Friday, October 01, 2004

A few blogs I've read today refer to being tired of their online selves. Or not just their online selves, but every other thing about themselves. I understand, really I do. But is there something in the air? Like me, are others lives running at fever pitch and finding no time to just stop and sniff the blog? No time to sit at the computer for anything other than work, volunteer work, coersion of parents into school requirements, Halloween costume shopping, and reviews of your latest book club selection?

There is plenty of time in my day, and some of it is spent in boring, rote, trite activity. Some of it is spent in anger. Some of it is spent in the car, where at least I can listen to music. Some of it is spent working out my body, some spent working out my brain. I'm very productive. But I refuse to feel guilty when I'm not. So maybe I won't blog a lot. No one reads this anyway!

(To those of you who do, of course I'm grateful. But don't expect an apology after an absence.)

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sheesh. This is TBS's marketing for their (cleaned up) repeats of SATC. I had to laugh at my mother-in-law's shock and awe at the show, and Samantha in particular, knowing that Mom had not seen such deleted delights as Samantha going down on Sonia Braga or Charlotte's date with a man who called her rap song-worthy epithets upon climax.

Anyway, its hard to let go. TBS is making the end of the show so much easier. The Emmys last night were also fun. Cause let's be honest: I was only watching to see what SJP and the girls were wearing. Not to mention Chris Noth.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

I just recently found out that I am knitting improperly. I have somehow created a new stitch, which I am calling the "Belle". (Belle one, purl two) With the help of a friend I have corrected my technique. I finished my current project in a Belleing pattern, but am now working on another kerchief and that involves increasing. So I asked the friend to help. She directed me to this site which has yet to fail to make me think of a porn video. Poor lighting, the faux French mani, the dextrous manipulation of the yarn....I'm wondering if they shouldn't put the thing to some synthesized soft jazz and see how many adverts they get then!

I do raise my glass, yet again, to the Internet though, porn knitting or no. This resource will ensure that I do not fling my size 8 wooden circulars at anyone or anything, and that I may create a project the way the knitting gods intended.

Friday, September 17, 2004

There are a few references to the Sex Pistols in this article. That makes me very happy. Somehow, I am in a major rock-out phase in my life. I was a little depressed to hear R.E.M.'s new album described as "melodic" and "lush". But apparently U2 has scaled it down to the fab four - vocal/guitar/bass/drums, and they are working with a producer who probably has no idea what the word "harmony" means. Good times.

As for the eligible bands for this year's Hall of Fame induction - all I can say is they clearly got me in the gut. I feel like my own personality could be described as "Lynyrd Skynyrd meets The Pretenders" myself. Maybe I should try and attend the induction concert.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

My daughter is really good at soccer. I'm so proud I could burst. And, I'm feeling more like a mom than I ever thought possible.

I drive my minivan to the soccer games at a place I swore (as a young married) that I would never take my children, should I decide to have any. I park next to Range Rovers, Volvos, and Lexus SUVs and escort my Aryan-looking children to the field in our requisite soccer gear. (Note: I have not yet bought the requisite chairs. Maybe I'm doing better than I thought.) Usually, I have taken care to wear a clean shirt and maybe some lipstick. I meet and greet and press the flesh of so, so many people.

But then the action starts and my golden girl is right there, in the game. She is agressive, active, unafraid, and fast as all hell. She gets tired and overheated easily like her mom did back in the middle-Georgia softball tournaments of the early '80s. Still, when called upon, she shakes off her exhaustion and runs to where she needs to be or digs the ball out from a crowd or kicks the living daylights out of it.

Here is where I must stop, for modesty demands it. Also, my soccer lingo is incredibly limited. Beyond "Kick it!" or "Goal!" I really have no vocabulary for cheering her little team on, since I have no idea how to play the game. My experience with soccer is limited to a one-night stand with a college player and the relevant cinema.

I guess I'll continue to stand on the sidelines, cheering loudly whenever our team does something I perceive as good, and then we'll get in the minivan and go out for pizza. So I said I would never be that kind of mom. It seems to be the right thing to do, right now. And never, I realize yet again, should you ever say "never".

Friday, September 10, 2004

Dumb Furcal. Why did he have to do it? Where are his people, his entourage? Where are the publicists, agents, etc.?

(Same questions were asked when John Rocker gave that interview to Sports Illustrated....)

All of my sports heroes keep falling, and hard. Oh, Marion. And speaking of Bravos, my darling Chipper fathered a few illegitimate children in between Ozzfest shows, apparently!

Timmy Duncan has stayed clean. Tiger seems human. The Williams have a few problems of their own, but they haven't pulled any Bush twin/Hilton sister antics...yet.

Let's hope that Furcal has learned his lesson and will let some highly paid driver escort him around 285 from now on.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I like Franz Ferdinand. Despite some bad reviews, I still think they have a unique sound and are worthy of this recognition.

So many of the great new bands are European. My favorite teenybopper rockers Snow Patrol were shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. The Raveonettes are Danish, The Hives are Swedish (Var sa god!), and Belle and Sebastian are something if not affected.

Who would win the American version of the Mercury? The Grammys always seem to embarass me with the "best new band" award....mainly because the "best new band" has either a. been around forever, or b. is no good and will not be around to see the next Grammy ceremony. Gaze at this list and you'll see what I mean.

For the American Mercury I'd look at the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or the Black Eyed Peas. But my first choice would be Interpol. We Americans are giving the Brits (and Swedes) a run for their money lately - and with new music coming from Beck, Gwen Stefani, REM, and my darling Interpol - plus the Strokes and Wilco among others with fun new records floating about - hell, maybe this year's Best New Artist won't be so totally cheesey.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Sometimes I like my town and my life. I was not offended at the latest Junior League meeting, I was pleased to get to the coffee shop
in time to discuss our book club selection,
the monster in the Atlantic doesn't seem headed our way, and my children have been funny and well-behaved for the most part.

In fact, they have been inquisitive and full of wonder. Discussions often ensue in the minivan about what life was like before a. toilets, b. cars, and c. hairbrushes. I have heard them talking quietly about how they wish Barbie was their babysitter, or that they could stay four forever.

There are stranger moments, when they sing songs and recite ditties all around the word, "Drinkskwush". This whilst sucking on defrosted popsicles. There is a lot of bottom revealing. And at various times one child is a baby and the other, its caretaker of some ilk. The baby's name is something along the lines of "Baby Ozie" or "Baby Rescue" or "Baby Banana".

So do I fear five hours in the car with them tonight? No, I relish it. My insurance is the portable tv/vcr and my iPod. But for the most part, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the drive.

Monday, August 30, 2004

EWWWWWW!!!!!!! I think it was a big drinking weekend. My son missed out on a playdate because his little friend's dad was recovering. Apparently my neighbor's husband was in bed vomiting till 5 p.m. on Saturday after a lively night of margaritas. Another friend went to see her husband's band play and doesn't remember the act he opened for. Dearest Lynn was quite the sweet, gentle drunk and hostess - a double-header! on Friday night.

Me? I can't seem to let go. I'm drinking some, but not losing control. Maybe it is because my husband is sick, maybe because I was helping other people have fun, maybe because the hurricanes have me all in a tizzy, maybe because I can hold my liquor like a man. Finally. After years of practice. That's me, cheap date no more.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Having recently taken a job, as in having recently become a working mom and maybe now not one of those rabid, boring, and predictable stay-at-home moms, I am constantly on the lookout for things to use at work. Teaching music at a church preschool does not necessarily mean a lot of Jesus and the lambs songs. Sure, there'll be some of that, but also some of this and maybe a little of that. (They Might Be Giants release their children's book October 18. Why everyone considers themselves worthy of writing children's books is beyond me, but everyone I know thinks they can do it. I'm hoping that Simon and Shuster just threw wads of cash at TMBG and insisted, instead of the other way around.)

I'm looking forward to the job and I've enjoyed loads of support and excitement about it. Lynn and hubby, my parents, all seem happy about it. A few people have questioned my qualifications, but it seems to me that I have:

- 11 years of piano lessons under my belt, from the dainty and lovely Mrs. Gordon
- 26 years of church music participation which is really above and beyond any "call"
- Unbridled energy at times
- Access to caffeine
- Four years as a college dj (WPLS: Ten Watts of Pride)
- An impressive cd collection
- An iPod
- knowledge of 7 (seven) guitar chords.

What more do you want people?

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hurrah, the new R.E.M. single finally debuted on iTunes. I had to wait a while due to technical difficulties, but I finally got it. Then I happened upon the new album by my old boyfriend's band. Wow, I thought: he's bald. And double wow: his album is on iTunes. A thorough examination of my life followed. The guy was dumped by me in a temporary fit of insanity that I regretted and tried to undo. This dumping later proved to be a good thing and gave me incentive to get out of my small, mean-spirited hometown. But a life-path not taken was glowing there in the iTunes music store. I guess, had I stayed with him and withstood his comments whenever I was slightly out of tune or his mother's nasty labeling of me as an older, more experienced high school ho-bag, now I would be living in Nashville or Memphis or wherever it is he is plying his trade. I would not see him and his shiny pate for weeks on end. I would have to endure earnest, mandolin-heavy folk tunes about my nagging.

I would not have my little girl, who rubs my hair in the night when I've gone to comfort her from her vivid bad dreams. Or my son, whose wacky and sometimes insensitive comments are very frequently tempered with, "Mom?" ("Yes?") "I love you." Or even my sniffly, allergy-prone husband, who helped make me who I am. And who is just as excited as I am tonight to listen to the new R.E.M. single, freshly imported into the iPod we bought together.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The fabulous song nonwithstanding, going to Wichita is indeed an escape for me. Just getting out of this town is a good thing - I've had deluges of rain, evil women ranting, Junior League issues, and for some odd reason, gas. So fly me to the moon, just fly with me, why don't we take a trip...with the children.

Wichita is where I decided my future was bright and my man was right. I grew to love the wide open sky and the threat of tornadoes. I enjoyed the open-minded and down-to-earth nature of my man's people. I associate wholesome things with Wichita: family, swimming, intense heat, coffee, newspapers, driving, and toast. All good.

Off to the heartland we go tomorrow. Lots could go wrong - especially when your time between connecting flights is ten minutes or less - but we'll get there eventually.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The gymnastically trained body is not the prettiest thing to look at. My main thought is this: what happens when you aren't working out 15 hours a day? When you discover double iced lattes with foam? When your shoulders pucker out to a size that is not thrice your hip width?

Basically: ewww. Then we examine the swimmers. Fundamentally: yumm. Say what you will about the butterfly stroke as work of art. Wax poetically about the arc of the back, the strong kick. I'd prefer to discuss the long torsos with rippling abdominal muscles FREE OF HAIR and the usually strong jaw that accompanies. Swimmer hands are usually good, too. I know this all for a fact...for a bright shining moment in my fresman year I dated a nationally ranked swimmer. Good times. We never got too jiggy with it but I did feel up his totally shaved and firm chest. Things turned sour around the time he was made to shave his entire self as a rite of passage for the swim team. Some guys look hip bald; this Wisconsin, fair-skinned native resembled an unripe embryo.

In fact, I think that is what my friends and I called him after we broke up: Embryo.

I know you're thinking that I turn every opportunity into a carnival of physical pleasure and appreciation. Think what you will. There ain't nothing wrong with looking.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

We dodged a bullet. I can't describe my pre-storm feelings - they are elusively indescribable. But they manifest themselves in bitching at my husband, yelling at my children, and once all the outdoor furniture is inside the garage, a total physical shut-down.

But today, Charley wasn't so bad and once that was clear, I was able to eat half a hamburger steak junior
plus some fries, plus some of my husband's milkshake. Then I was able to do some laundry and watch some obscure Olympic sports with my children. Now I'm blogging.

I got to see Lynn, my fellow blogger, and her family at home today. Later, our wacky European-lifestyled friends will pop by for a diet Coke (him) and a bottle of wine (her). Tonight we'll watch more Olympics, or maybe a movie. Normal day, right? Except nicer. Calmer. More family-centric. The nicest kind of hurricane day.

Friday, August 13, 2004

My anger at R.E.M. from yesterday has been dissipated by a real apology and seemingly sad explanation by Bertis Downs in the Raleigh paper and by this.

Here's to another Fall with another R.E.M. album. Good times, all.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

There will be no North Carolina show. I'm greedy, I want more. Sure, I got to see Bill Berry's only appearance at all in eight years plus hear him play with the band. Excuse me, PLAY WITH THE BAND. But I do want more, and there is a new album, and Autumn Approaches and that means R.E.M.!

But no, they feel compelled to play with Bruce Springsteen to support MoveOn PAC. Did I say earlier that I supporte this move? Cause I don't anymore.

My personal sacrifices to the Democratic party have been great. I lost a close friend to the Bradley campaign whilst pregnant and nursing my first child. Same friend went through her own personal hell when her husband signed on to little Johnny Edwards' campaign. I tried to be supportive and instead of us going out for girl's nights, we would dine together with our children. Now he's the veep candidate so I'm thinking the girl's nights are on hold again until November. Or January. Or 2014.

My husband's attentions turned more towards Obama than me for a good two weeks. His loss, but one does start wondering what an Illinois senate candidate can do for one's more animalistic desires. I'm not a good public speaker, but come on, I have other gifts!

And now my favorite band has decided that the Dems are more important than me. Dammit. If I could go to a MoveOn Rock for Change show, I would, but I can't, and so I think I'll just mope and maybe debate driving to Atlanta to see R.E.M. in our mutual home state.

At least Wilco is coming.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The chair came today. And my daughter met her first grade teacher. I myself don't remember much of first grade. I skipped it. I went to first grade, was taken to the principal's office, took some tests and read a lot, and then was told that the second grade class had voted and all but two of the students said I could come and join them.

One of the students who allegedly voted against me ended up at my college and now lives in my fair city and goes to my church. I have no problem with her vote. As it turns out, I think the decision to skip me was the wrong one. Think of how smart I might be if I had stayed and completed the first grade! Sure, I might have been bored and socially uninspired by my far inferior peers. And the argument can be made that I would have never met my oldest and dearest friend later, in seventh grade, as she is a year older than I. But maybe if I hadn't skipped I would now be the smartest, the best, the brightest. I wouldn't have struggled in college. I wouldn't have been so darn cocky and would have worried more about my studies. I would have various graduate degrees by now and would be online to research more about the effects of teeth grinding on receeding gums or Oedipal imagery in Updike (if I had pursued some of my early interests in full). Instead, I am online blogging about what could have been.

My parents made the best choice for me and I'm making the best choice for my daughter. Sure, I'll screw up at some point during her schooling. Sure, I've already screwed up. But I know for sure that my little girl is pretty excited about school and is more than ready to learn new things. For now, for this very moment, my work is done. Good night.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Today I was unable to "pay the toll". I consider the only toll road in Raleigh to be the one in which our beltline intersects with Wake Forest Road and a homeless guy stands there collecting. Today the "toll taker" was a handsome, thin, short white man with a beard and a nice hat. He said, via cardboard signage, that he was a veteran. I was mortified I didn't have a dollar, which is what I consider a decent and appropriate toll. I was able to pull together four quarters, though (the beauty of the minivan) and had it ready to hand off.

Alas, I didn't get right in front of him and he wasn't walking, just sitting. So the pressures of traffic, of the car behind me, the pressures forced me to drive through and not pay.

I felt like I broke the law.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Hey! I just realized I can go download Barack Obama's speech from the convention and finally 1. understand what every political pundit and columnist is talking about and 2. hopefully empathize with my husband, who brushes a tear away from his eye anytime he hears something that sounds like "Obama".

He does not like it when I call Obama, "Osama". I will try to stop this.

Off to happy iTunes land!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

My husband couldn't watch this. He put it in and after two minutes had it back in its cunning little envelope and headed back to The Flix. Seems Naomi Watts loses two children and is in the hospital with them. He couldn't tell me more, cause he didn't watch any more.

I couldn't sit through this one. I tried, and I really wanted to...watching Paul Newman's eyes can ease me through some harsh shit. And there's the whole Jude Law factor. But no, the mom and younger brother get blown to bits and I headed upstairs to learn how to increase stitches.

I know life is hard. I know tragedy happens. I know the most horrific, surreal thing could take place in my life. So I'm finding it harder and harder, armed with this knowledge, to suspend my disbelief for a book or movie that deals with people in said pain.

That said, I am currently sending out anger, violence, and dastardly vibes to the creators of Alias and 24. Next season is make-it-or-lose-me-as-a-viewer so they best ought to be working hard.

" It's Not Fair What They Say About Okra" : "Southerners can see, first of all, that okra is a good-looking vegetable, one that bolts from creamy-gold flower to perfect two-inch pod in three to four days. Whole pods are simply cute. Okra slices, on the other hand, are beautiful bands of green around a floral inlay of seeds."

What a great article! Nothing is missed about the treasured okra pod, including that the vegetable pickles like a dream. Okra seems so very Southern, but in fact it is beloved in Eastern African countries and, I know this for a fact, Greece. What an international flair! What green, scratchy goodness!

So the viscous gel and the slimy seeds are also examined. Sure, the texture of the plant is not ideal. But what is? The hard, rubbery zucchini? The slippery, sandy spinach? I can't think of any vegetable - or fruit, really, that doesn't have something disquieting about their constitution. Ok, maybe a banana.

I love the okra, though, saliva-like innards and all. My favorite way to cook it is with tomatoes, Greek-style, with a bay leaf, garlic and olive oil, and oregano. There is a Georgia gumbo that is good too: okra, corn, tomatoes, celery, onion, vinegar, sugar. That's it, and that's all good. I do enjoy a fried okra, even burnt little kernels like my mom makes. The pickled okra is divine; a Thanksgiving relish tray is not complete without it.

O.K. Okra! Do they need someone to take on the marketing?

Friday, July 23, 2004

I don't like these commercials. I also don't feel the need to hear voice cockpit recorders, as some folks do. Too much reality, being shoved in our faces. I hear petty shitty things all the time, why should I have to hear someone else's despair, horror, frustration, or ignorance about changing a flat?

Today I heard something pretty shitty. And petty. One of my fellow stay-at-home moms gave me the business for not having been her sidekick this summer and for my son not being her son's playmate. During the berating, I slammed my hand on the sink, rolled my eyes, changed the subject. I did wonder a few things, such as - how much time with you would be enough to get you off my back? Or, if I told you the truth, would you be happy that you got what you wanted or would you be pissed off at me because I told you I don't like you?

I wonder.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Our new chair cannot come soon enough. I just love to veg out downstairs in front of a dvd with my cocktail...and currently there is nowhere to sit. The ancient recliner given my husband by his grandmother finally fell completely, irreparably apart. My husband "disposed of" this chair, in some "undisclosed" location.

I wanted a chaise lounge. I really, really did...and I found one I liked. Actually, I found three I liked. One by one, over a period of months and months, these chairs were ruled out, and not by me. My husband was kind, supportive, interested...but not excited and the wallet stayed in his pocket.

But in we walk to the La-Z-Boy store. Recliners wall-to-wall. Ugly, unfashionable chairs with upholstery that I thought had been retired (or outlawed) all over the place. The wallet came out. I was in trouble.

Still, I had known this might happen. A man and his recliner...even if his wife usually sits there, well, its a cliche and for a reason. It was my idea to go to Recliner Wonderland. They have Todd Oldham-designed stuff now and hell, these are some comfy chairs.

Our new recliner doesn't really look like one. We got the one with enough back support for World's Longest Torso and enough fluff for me to see our minute telly screen whilst fully extended. The chair was relatively cheap. We're happy. It better come soon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Wahoo! Can't wait! I'm sure I'll see this one alone, at noon, with a can of seltzer and some snacks.

For all my intellectual inklings and artsy tendencies, I do love a summer blockbuster. Instead of seeing the correct movie this summer, I've instead seen all the incorrect ones. The only movie lacking in my list of checked -off must-sees is "Anchorman". I've enjoyed "Azkaban", "Dodgeball", Spidey Deuce", and even a late entry showing at the second-run theater, "Mean Girls". That Tina Fey - what a fun, throwback two hours that was! I think Lindsay Lohan is adorable. So does my husband, for obvious

I have so many good memories of seeing summer blockbusters - my first movie at age 4 or 5("Song of the South - in a bleak, tiny theater in middle Georgia), my discovery of Nick Cage in the classic "Valley Girl", which I saw three times in the five days it showed in my town, and my first realization of the power of Hollywood casting (Jack Nicholson as The Joker circa 1989).

Getting away to a movie is a great thing for a mom who stays home - you get a break, you expand your mind or at least bite your lip from suspense, and you don't spend $150 at certain retail meccas.

Good times. Love it. And I'll see YOU, Mr. Matt Damon, next week!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Michael Stipe endorsed this so of course I checked it out. I like that it seems non-partisan and supportive of our amazing process. So here's the link.

Today was a primary election day in our fair city. When I voted, 25% of the registered voters in my precint had been in to cast the ballot. I knew two of the people running for two different offices, which made me more apt to show; obviously no one else gave a damn.

So much work goes into making voting so easy for us. What horrible jobs these must be. Can you imagine designing ballots? Keeping up with who filed for what office? Finding middle-aged women to work all day at the polling places? Loading those big machines in your minivan to drag them across town to some fire station? But people do this, and for not much salary I'd assume, and sometimes as a volunteer gig. All we have to do is show up and color with markers and stick our paper in a slot. And we don't.

I hate people who are single-issue voters and I despise those who vote based on where a candidate goes to church or what the guy has said publicly about their Lord and Savior. But it seems downright criminal to not take five and go be a square in the American quilt. If only it were more of a requirement, not a right or priveledge! We could lock up those who don't vote. Now that would be a job I might enjoy!

Sorry for the soapbox! I recycle, I read Harry Potter, I write letters with pen on paper, I buy flavored waters, and I vote. It's a Bobo thing.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Um, why?
Take A Nap

Ok, I've got to call those people. Obviously, they have never heard of my national advocacy group for nappers. Sure, the movement is small and maybe even unpopular, but with some money, attention, and press, I think that Metronaps and I could make beautiful love together. Or music. Or whatever. We could work together.

My organization is currently called N.A.P.S. That's: National Association of People for Siestas. (I've got another name that doesn't have the brevity of the first. It is: S.L.E.E.P. Siesta Lovers Everywhere Engaging People. You, the reader, may vote for the name you prefer.)

My organization's purpose is clear: napping for all. I nap. My children nap, or at least one of them does on a regular basis. Our lives are great. Why do people have to work so hard all day and eat dinner early and then go to bed? Why not have a nap then have fun things to do until a late dinner? My friends and neighbors down the street keep European hours but school has cut into their fun. Bummer! If only N.A.P.S. could champion their cause! They could be the poster children for N.A.P.S! I'm sure ours would be a contentious battle, but one clearly worth waging.

I have been in Europe, in particular Mediterranean Europe, and the Siesta thing was rocking. We tourists loved it for the peace and quiet between 1 and 3, and also for the yummy huge lunches. Still, there was no denying the appeal of the siesta schedule. Give me a month and I can have all of us workaday Americans on a different, more relaxing schedule that includes a nap.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Dang. I'm still pretty bummed about it all. There's an article by Scott Turow in the Times that portends to be an argument for her jail time, so I'll go read it to get a balanced perspective. My currently unbalanced perspective is sad that for 10-16 months we'll have Labor Day with no insights on the white shoe debate, Halloween without a new rollout of plastic crows and ravens (this is arguably Martha's favorite holiday), Thanksgiving AND Christmas for God's sake....gosh, it just boggles the mind.

The Congress has stated that they are going to make an example of Martha and other corporate evil-doers. As a woman, I sometimes wonder exactly what example is being made. I guess Martha is as good a choice as any to send away - at least she is not a CEO whose children are still in day care and whose husband resents her power and prestige.

I hope they at least find a spot for her here.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

New to blogging? Or, new to blogs? I find that many folks I know have no idea what a blog is, much less how to blog. If you read magazines or even the paper, maybe a weekly independent rag, if you work, or if you surf the Internet for very long periods of time, you are bound to find out about blogs. Or at the very least happen upon a blog.

My husband is a blog addict...his favorites being more political or politically funny than the ones I like. I found many of my favorites by searching for information on knitting. Novice knitter that I am, I am extremely well-versed in Knit Blogs, and perhaps having that knowledge makes me the crafty equal to a master yarnsman in some circles. If you don't have a hobby, if you only email and check in on E! online, if you have two children under age 4 at home, if you don't work, well, you may still be in blog darkness.

There are blogs that are devoted to violent anti-abortion protests and there are ones about the daily life of a North Chicago teen whose iPod is full. So why the lack of widespread knowledge? Why aren't they mainstream? Is this what the Internet and email circles were like in 1990? What is going to happen when everyone has a blog? Will the cream still rise to the top? Will online life become very specialized and compartmentalized? Lots of blogs aren't "there" anymore...lots of bloggers have gone on to find life in the real world. So what's next? Is the Internet passe and over? Is it now the Encyclopedia Britannica with a keyboard?

I'm just wondering. Online, on a blog.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Save Our Summers

The front page of our fair city's rag is about a bill that made it through committee in the House yesterday - the bill would add a few days to the school calendar's summer break.

Disclaimer: I'm ALL ABOUT this!

I understand the need for local school boards' autonomy and for exams and semesters to have appropriate scheduling.

Again: I'm really, really excited!

I understand, too, that teachers do not need a decrease in pay. Heck, my voting record in local and state elections often reflects a keen understanding of this need. I'd be interested in hearing from a teacher about the effects of ten fewer workdays.

Still: How wonderful that we may not start in early August next year!

Our current calendar is not, in my humble (and uninformed) opinion, weather-friendly. Schools in our county begin in early August, which is a decent introduction to Hell around these parts. Schools get out in late May, which is a decent introduction to Nirvana. Maybe the argument could be made that children and parents would prefer to enjoy the outdoor Nirvana, but it has to be expensive to operate facilities during the Hellish months and I do feel for the children who can scarcely stay concious whilst outside for their alloted play moments. Not to mention my sporty neighbors, who this very minute have begun soccer practice. Ouch!

So: Change the calendar and make us happy!

I'll keep you posted as House Bill 1464 makes its way to the floor.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Baudelaire Three vs. Potter

Several folks had tried to get me to read Lemony Snicket before I actually did. Two in particular are among my smartest friends. (She thinks it is great, as does perhaps my most well-read friend). I've just started reading again - due in some part to my new book club member status and in large part to my son leaving toddlerhood. There is no denying, though, that seeing this moved me along.

Of course one wants to read the book before the movie comes out. One often ends up reading the book even after seeing the movie, but that delicious intellectual smugness is not near as omnipresent as when one can say, with firm and really honest conviction, "I preferred the book."

I have preferred the book on many an occasion. Maybe even all occasions - but there are some treasures in movie adaptations. Long ago, I sent out an online poll to my Austenesque friends asking them to rank the Austen movies and books. The results were funny and very differing. I, for one, would put "Mansfield Park" near the top of both lists, whilst Lynn rated "Pride and Prejudice" (the BBC miniseries, which is not officially a studio release but perhaps more cool and worthy of smugness) her favorite.

(Which brings me to my rant, and you knew it was coming: RIGHT ON, BOB!)

(O.K., I can't just say one thing about that. She is TOO YOUNG and TOO LANKY and NOT RIGHT! Yes indeed, LilMissCabbie!)

So back to my post's title and presumed subject: Lemony vs. J.K. They are different, for sure. But they are similar, and the movie looks and feels like an American Potter enterprise (Jim Carrey=Alan Rickman, Meryl Streep=Maggie Smith). "A Series of Unfortunate Events" may have started as vocabulary lessons for tots - and maybe an introduction to sorrow and horror. H. Potter gets more sorrowful and horrific as one delves further into the series - a fact we Potterites have accepted and even respect. Both books feature the plucky heroes and heroines we crave and they both have moments of laugh-out-loud humor. At this point I am only in book 2 of "A Series" so I must stay with it....volume one was quite slim....but I know I don't care for the Baudelaire orphans like I care for Harry. Not yet.

It would probably be quite un-American of me to prefer Potter, but most of my stances seem to be un-American anyway.


Friday, July 09, 2004

John Edwards is the pick. I wish I had blogged my prediction - made months ago and truly, both my husband and friend Lynn can attest to this - that Kerrey would choose him. Instead you'll have to take my word for it.

For me, the choice means a few things - that my town will be in the spotlight, that my daughter has a major claim to fame since she went to daycare with the second daughter (perhaps soon to be the First Daughter?), that my dearest friend might skip town in early 2005 for a political appointment. With such personal ramifications, I find it hard to be excited about Tuesday's events. One needs to be completely detached, or maybe completely involved, to get jazzed about this kind of thing. I guess.

The Dems needed some buzz and some bumps, and Edwards seems to have given it to them. I for one would have picked Elizabeth, but she comes with him, so its all good.

There is a rally tomorrow and I really should go - someone said it was "history in the making". But when one has two little ones and the heat index is going to be rather uncomfortable,one might be excused from making said history. I do plan to do my best to support my friend who is right there in the middle of this situation. Sometimes getting too close to the action can be right scary.

Friday, July 02, 2004

My daughter knows all of the words of "You're A Grand Old Flag" and she's known them since she was around 2ish. It is a cute, cute thing to hear her sing this song. I feel much more patriotic when she is wearing a spiffy flag-motif dress and singing than I would otherwise.

I hope this holiday will be terror-free. Seems like every holiday since 9/11 has been fraught with anxiety; but the horrible things happened on normal, uncelebrated days. Perhaps our collective grief is heightened on holidays, much like survivors' grief. And the media feeds on that and gets us jumpy. Or maybe the media is innocent and the government is trying to scare us. Or maybe the government and the media are trying to make us more careful and aware, because we let our guard down when we are having fun and enjoying ourselves.

I hope its the latter. I plan to let go of my war angst and just focus on my bizarre family issues for the holidays. The issues are complex enough for my brain to focus on, I truly don't need anything else. There will be good times, too, though: swimming with my children, they in their otherworldly goggles; lots of cold American beer swilled; fresh fruits and vegetables grown on an honest-to-goodness farm eaten. We've seen the obligatory holiday weekend blockbuster. Even gas prices have dropped some. So all is well and a happy Fourth of July should be had by all. Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Last night we saw the world premiere of an evening-length modern dance piece. My obsessive/compulsive side was restrained fairly well, and I did not yell out "BORING" during some quiet bits. I also did not hiss at the woman behind me who a. rustled her program incessantly, b. ripped out bits of hard paper to put in her mint which she c. unwrapped at the most silent moments of the performance.

This woman's behaviour was bad enough, but when one considers that Mr. Jasperse's dance involves powerful lawn tools, one wonders if the woman was, like me an obsessive/compulsive. Instead of unwrapping, wiggling, and ripping during the mind-blowingly loud sections of the dance, she knew she could satisfy her inner demons by waiting for the right time.

The dance itself vexed. My dear, dear friend was there...he is on the faculty of the dance festival where the work was premiered. And he hated it. "Self-important", "waste of major funding", and "abstract bullshit" were some of the most choice words he used in our post-dance discussion. Husband, friend and I all agreed that the company was lovely and in sync in mesmerizing ways, the set was beyond cool (very Gehry), and the images created were eye-catching. But the thing was excruciatingly long and the control of the dancers, while admirable, was not interesting to watch.

The soundscape (not music at all, really) of the piece seemed to fit nicely with the dance and set, but never did the elements create the pleasing whole that I expected. Even a disturbing, upsetting whole would have been nice.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I'm just starting to grasp how intense a day Monday was. Not only did we attend a funeral visitation, but my husband schooled me on the Supreme Court decision of the day. Now, this morning I am all in a dither about Internet porn, but on Monday I was a. flabbergasted that Scalia seemed to be deciding against the Bush administration b. intrigued that O'Connor led the way and in doing so was quite anti-war and c. not surprised that Thomas stood by his man.

Whether or not Hamdi is a threat to the freedoms that we are supposedly fighting for in Iraq, he does deserve some kind of hearing. I fear due process in these situations because I know that someone can - and will - slip through the cracks and wreak havoc on our current, tentative stability here at home. Fearing due process is not opposing it though, and the framers would remind us that back in the day, when the Brits tried to take their freedom away, the value of a fair judicial system was never more evident. Yes, President Bush, even in wartime.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Today was a good friend's mom's funeral. The funeral was very different, very funny, very Baptist, and very moving. Ultimately, it seemed to celebrate the life lived and comfort those left behind. I never know exactly how to act at a funeral - but at least I was sober. At the visitation I had imbibed a glass of cheap-ass wine and was saying things backward and sweating a lot. Still, my presence seemed to cheer and was particularly enjoyed by the youngster of the grieveing party, who is my daughter's friend. I really would do just about anything for these folks.

One starts to wonder - when will my funeral occur? When will I next have to attend a funeral? When will I be the one grieving? I have an obsessive habit of worrying about leaving my loved ones behind and of losing them so I wonder a lot. Funerals exacerbate my condition, but they also give me a sense of ease, too. The ceremony of it all is comforting and there is a great tradition in honoring the dead, much as we honor a birth or a marriage. For all my mixed feelings about church, there is certainly a feeling of importance and worth when a funeral is held in a sanctuary. I assume I will want to be remembered in a church service. With quirks, but a church service nonetheless.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Whither thou, Whilst? Whilst is a word that, upon hearing, can qualify for a listener the speaker's interests and intelligence level. I do truly believe that. That said, I also enjoy a hearty "motherfucker" tossed into common conversation, and I often choose my friends based on their usage of that fair word.

There is nothing to say about my day today, except that I was without children and still managed to be busy. Knowing lots of people and having lots of obligations keeps one far too busy. I would like to move away. Not too far, or very far, but away. Not for too long, or maybe for forever. It is important to me that we be mobile. My children hate this thought, and wish that I would never bring it up again. But I have a wandering foot and have always been jealous of those who have left me behind. Many have. Now I wish to be the one leaving.

My day will become more interesting and, I fear, more tragic, later this evening. I am to attend a "visitation" for a friend's dearly departed mother. I have no problem going to a visitation nor a funeral and in fact, I think sometimes that attending these events makes one appreciate the times when one is not attending such an event all the more. Just the other day - just before I found out about my friend's mother's death - I thought, "how nice that I am sitting here with a cold drink on a hot day and do not have to be in mourning clothes and attending a funeral."

Maybe that is what life is all about - as we reach middle-age anyway. Remembering that there are places and states we'd rather not be in during a given moment or period of time, and being grateful for just that.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Whilst is under construction whilst I think of what it should be.