Monday, July 31, 2006

Beach reading:

Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro

The Tongues of Angels by Reynolds Price

Blink by Gladwell

And a ton of magazines.

Friday, July 21, 2006

S/FJ has an interesting running record of people weighing in on record stores, their employees, and their sicko tactics to make any kind of money at all. I haven't read all of the entries but I get the feeling this is like a time-capsule sort of exercise: one day, record stores will be no more and Sasha's blog will provide a quaint remembrance of a time gone by.

At any rate, it should not surprise regular readers of Whilst (aka my friends and family) that I worked at a record store. This was during Christmas break, probably 1987, and my mom thought a job would cheer me up from the crushing depression I was experiencing due to a horrid bout with pneumonia and the funk brought on my heavy doses of my anti-convulsant. She was right. I can't even remember the name of the was across from the mall and not in it, of course there were no c.d.s, and I was the only girl in the shop. I have never looked as hip as my music taste and especially not that year with my big ole hair and blue eyeshadow. But I knew a lot and I impressed the boys at the store. The management, inspired by my sales, challenged the employees to hit a fairly high goal that Christmas. We would be rewarded with a FREE TAPE! We made it, and I got my first Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The store had Beastie Boys and U2 and even some Lone Justice (my GOD Maria - please get it together!!! You have such talent, dear!), but it was heavy on R&B, in keeping with the 'hood of its location's preferences. My favorite customer interaction was with the guy who was looking for a record that he could play whilst making love to his girlfriend. My various suggestions (Sade? Jody Whatley? Cameo?) were met with scorn and laughter. He finally admonished me that "you ain't sleeping with a brother worthy of you, baby" because "none of those records lasts NEAR as long as me!". I acknowledged that this was definitely the case...and I sold him a long-ass LeVert record and wistfully sent him on his way.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sometimes I tear up at the weirdest times, like when we approached this house on Sunday.

I didn't tear up when in the same room with my friend and her baby who had just died.

I sobbed later, though.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

There was a time when we were at the church a whole bunch. The children were small, I was desperate for activities, and my husband was enjoying the intellectual theology discussions in our Sunday School class. That time has passed, due in large part to severe burn-out from saying YES too much. And due to an influx of not-very-intellectual religious people who, as my theory goes, joined to be with their Bush-loving peoples. Or to assuage their fears after 9/11...whatever. And to a feeling that God, should he or she care, would really prefer for me to have precious family time instead of shipping my children off to craft hour whilst I decide what casserole to take to someone with yet another new baby.

But we do go occasionally, and I love our preacher's style and substance, and the church thing is calming in the way that many rituals are. I'm glad to be part of a community and since I believe, a la Middlemarch, that we are put on this Earth to help one another, a church is not a bad place to appear in every now and again.

There are tons of baptisms at our church each week - thanks to the aforementioned preacher and maybe the listed reasons for our congregation's explosion - and the children saw one this week. Now, they have set up an entire day care center in our home for around 36 stuffed animals/dolls. The day care center features a chapel, where all of their bibles (you get free ones at church) are piled on a stool and a bucket filled with water stands nearby. My son in particular seems keen on putting hands and water on each animal. So last night I snapped a shot of him as he had Baby Li-Li, a tiny stuffed panda, in his arms and was making a cross (well, more of an x or something) on its tiny head, saying, "I baptize you the name of the Father, the man, and the spirit". While the boy continues his baptizing, I have noticed that the girl has been filling out report cards. Power Ranger got a negative 5 rating, but Blue Bunny is up to a four. In the meantime, our house is not open for guests or visits and my husband cusses every time he trips over something on the way to the bathroom, but my children, they have found religion.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Katie Mayer it use calamus!

What do the spammers think they are going to accomplish with such subject lines?

A fun summer week here. Some commitments, and one that is sad and bad and tragic, but I am put on earth to help my fellow humans so there it is, and also the occasional doc/dentist outing, but mostly happy urchins and not-too-busy husband and good books, and health! And plans for travel upcoming and interesting movies and books and ripening tomatoes and air conditioning.

Friday, July 07, 2006 is playing SexyBack!

I know, I know. Here I am getting all excited about Justin's new single when I saw perhaps the single most maddeningly talented performer since Prince whip a crowd into a crazed frenzy last night with a sick mix of jazz, rock, hip-hop, strange covers (The White Stripes' "7 Nation Army" AND Pussycat Girls??), manic energy, slick dance moves, annoyingly pretty guitar playing and adept drumming, clever on-stage banter, fun sing-alongs, gracious praise for fellow band-mates and audience-love, and of course audacious piano playing.

I'm just that way. Plus, Justin has been around longer. But I'm hopeful for Jamie's future.

As for the phone saga, I don't have any heart or energy to type any more about it. Suffice to say that many dollars were spent and even more time (around 3.5 hours on the phone) just to get us to a point where we will have our phone and number back safely at BellSouth. In ten days.

We're changing our email address too. I'm kind of excited about that. Sort of like dropping 20 lbs or dyeing your hair blond, right?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

And before any more time passes, let these pages reflect the passing of a most amazing lady. My husband's grandmother died at age 92 last week. We are all sad, and that is saying something - that my children had a relationship with a great grandparent, that she adopted me as her own granddaughter (literally - she even sent "Happy Birthday, Granddaughter" cards along with very generous checks until just recently), that she was such a meaningful presence in my husband's life, that we all felt so close to her despite her living in the great wild plains of America's midwest.

Grandma lived through some hard times, including the hardest time I could possibly imagine for myself or any mother. We sought to honor her struggle by naming our son after someone she loved. I think she was pleased. I hope we will find many other ways to remember her and her energetic, loving, accepting, and family-centered life.
Day three or four or whatever it is...and no phone. I'm using my cell exclusively. I signed up for a mack-daddy package with BellSouth - JUST because they assured me I would have a phone by midnight yesterday...which didn't happen. I was also lured by unlimited long distance and I thought we might as well ditch Earthlink altogether. Part of me also hoped that by changing my email address I might get fewer emails. I need more free time - I have a new commitment to be creative this year and that means getting my ass out of the computer chair a bit more than it is currently.

Creativity is very stymied, however, by this day-to-day, rote crap called life. Sheesh. Hopefully tomorrow will bring a dial tone.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

We tried a little digital phone experiment with Earthlink - that lasted a day. I know we are babes in the technology woods, but the phone didn't sound good, I couldn't use but one of our three phones, and I started getting scared once I did a little research. Filled with fear of upwards of $175 in "early termination fees" and warnings that I would be strongly encouraged not to quit the service, a la the AOL sitch,
I called tonight and canceled. I was honest, I was a bit meek, I played the "my children and I are alone and need a phone service we can rely on" card, I repeated again and again my desires and what I was understanding was what was going to happen. I got my service canceled to the tune of around $100....$50 of which we may or may not get back...but I also got some good advice and tips from my friendly Earthlink representative. I've reinstated our local phone service (another $50 or so) and now the waiting begins. I'm to call them back on Wednesday...we'll see what happens. Regardless, and regardless of how few of you read this, I'm reporting back. The little gals and guys need to keep people aware on the Internets of the horrors of cancelation, and indeed, the customer service world in general (reg req'd).