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?