Monday, December 31, 2007

Bring on 2008

This year, we look forward to a new relative emerging from the woman whose lovely belly is pictured above. That, and many fun times and infuriating political moments and musically revelatory sensations. May you enjoy some or all of the same.

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Jones Soda hostess gift (thanks Lynn!), prices vary. Whole Foods Chocolate truffles (these are better than the Cappuccino flavor), $4.99, and Method brand holly berry dish soap, currently on sale for around $2.97.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

When entertaining relatives, one can go a bit batty. It is certainly understood that one should BYO Love, Attention, and Appreciation. (I read that, I shit you not, in "O" magazine. Sound advice.) Perhaps you are not eager to discuss the year's tensions, or future travel plans to family obligations (and not tropical getaways), or you just don't need to hear about little Johnny's overachievements yet again. I have the solution for you! Table games!

I've played many this season - in the guise of icebreakers for folks who don't know each other all that well, or in the spirit of convivial fun. One friend has an annual quiz....I found one here and combined some of the questions with this one here. I printed out a quiz that the head of the table will read out during brunch. We'll have children at our table this year (I think its time, and I'm eager to see how that works) so I've left in the easiest questions knowing they will get them.

Copying Lynn's icebreaker, I'll also ask everyone at my table about some faves and least faves of the holiday season. Fave ornament, least favorite Christmas song (religious and secular), fave gift to give, favorite Christmas beverage. I'll also ask each person to share a very favorite memory, hoping that my parents will share some of their childhood and memories of their parents and grandparents.

My children aren't crafty, but they do enjoy making placecards. We used a snowflake stamp, light blue paper, and glitter pens for ours. More creative types can read this article.

I'm looking forward to fun and festiveness around my table. Now, I'm going to go take a sleeping pill.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What a week! First I meet Bill Clinton, and now this? It's all too much.

(I am somewhat peeved about the new time, as it will really mess up my Thursday night issues. Who will host me for Friday "Lost" viewings?)

My children bought their gifts for each other, the neighbor food gifts are done, the champizzle is chilling for cocktails on Christmas Eve, and my melismas are in decent shape for all the Messiah sangin'. Bring on Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Though I loathe the clutter they create, I enjoy receiving magazine subscriptions (thanks C.! thanks mother-in-law! thanks CP! ) I was thus thrilled to see a feature on excellent subscriptions at The Morning News. This year, Santa is giving my daughter a subscription to Discovery Girls mag, but I'm reminded of how much more delightful and innocent Cricket is. Maybe next year. I love the shout-out to The Week, a fave of my dear friend Lynn (and rightly so! tis the thinking girls' Reader's Digest), and of course I am in lust with Cook's Illustrated.

That said, I don't know why, as today's neighborhood treat cooking went strangely awry. How in the world will I ever do something even slightly complicated?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Can you believe I didn't know that Ella had a whole Christmas album to herself? Where have I been? Here's a place where you can listen and download.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Home with sick boy and pressing deadlines...this seems like the perfect time to enjoy some spiked egg nog or a Prosecco cocktail. Instead, I'll stick with my fave holiday coffee this morning. Later this week, though, I'm going to check out the Jones Soda festiveness. This would make a great hostess gift or even a little something-something under the tree for your relatives and friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We interrupt this holiday revelry to smash all your baseball hopes and dreams. I doubt we've seen the last of the indictments. As for John Rocker, I am so proud of how well he has represented my hometown.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Peppermint Cupcakes, Anyone?

From the world's greatest cupcake website. Were it me, I might do a white icing with red glitter, or variations (green with white glitter, etc.). But it's not me, and I can assuredly state that I will not be making cupcakes this holiday season, so just go read the Cupcake Queen and do her bidding.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

(to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell")

We all have colds,
we all have colds,
sniffle snuffle sneeze and cough
we all have colds.

No meds work,
no meds work,
nothing that I ever take
seems to work.

I'm glad it's not next week,
I'm glad it's not next week,
at least we're sick right now
instead of next week.

They don't pay me the big preschool music teacher bucks for nothing. Despite being sick, I ran a pageant rehearsal, went to a barbecue featuring the original Red Clay Ramblers, went to a wedding and a reception, and went to an oyster roast -- all yesterday. I can really bring the noise.

For your holiday nugget this post, I recommend the following web site for an intimate look at an emo Christmas tree.... and that is just about as seasonal as I get at 76 degrees.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

During this, the Festival of Lights, I wish I could honor my Jewish brethren by learning more about their homeland and its ongoing issues. I would also enjoy some babka, if I could find it!! These recipes look too hard for me to make, but would be worth the effort if even marginally successful.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We've been watching Fellini films. Last night, after I finished "La Dolce Vita", I went to sleep at peace despite the dark realities and violence of the movie. But I had meaty, symbol-ridden dreams. I was walking down my current street. The houses were the same mid-century ranches we still have, but only those: no brand new McMansions. As I walked, the houses got smaller, the trees denser, and I was on the street of my early childhood. Both streets are dead ends. I passed so many houses, wondering who lived in each one. Were they people with interesting lives? People who would fascinate me or people not worth knowing? People I might have met before or even know now? I saw the house of my childhood music director who had indeed been my neighbor, but the paint was peeling and the house was dilapidated and empty. At the end of the street, a vision! A beautiful glass and cedar modern house on a woodsy lot near a stream. An Asian man and his wife and child were working on it and invited me to tour. I met the man's father, who told me the story of how he met his wife, the daughter of a wealthy, powerful corporate leader. Then my children joined me, and we heard a funny noise, a noise that was very familiar to me. I knew at once it was my toddler son, waking up from his nap. So I took my children with me, warned them to be very quiet because they were about to be able to enter the past, and walked into the room. My little boy, about 18 months old, was in a crib smiling and asking to be picked up. My children laughed at him and we watched my son's former self until my eyes opened.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Little Wake Forest has done it again, and will go to the Meineke Bowl. Hurrah!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Sis-in-Law!

(and beautiful mom-to-be). And, reader of these pages.
Solidarity! Tina Fey, Tim Robbins, Kristin Davis, John Edwards (??), And The Creepy Guy From "Lost" Rally For Striking Writers - Media on The Huffington Post Kinda cool. I'm on the writer's side, though I've read that the money is already spoken for, and I'm having fear and trembling about January and a lack of "24" and "Lost".

Play the video. The creepy guy from "Lost" is really well spoken! And Jack MacBrayer ("30 Rock") of Macon, GA and a friend of my in-laws, is funny.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I finished off the rest of the relish today. Mmmmm. In addition, we had my husband's delicious wine/garlic/lemon/rosemary basted turkey, stuffing a la the go-to cookbook, Greek green beans, the brussels sprouts I talked about earlier (I found the recipe!), mashed potatoes (also Greek style - no butter), pickles, olives, whole wheat rolls, and a starter of my friend Brooke's butternut squash soup with ginger....oh, it is tasty dear reader.

The Gerwurtzihengtraimer (I just cannot bring myself to spell it correctly) was PERFECTION with the bird. Ah.

And the Gruet was fun as hell! For the price, one cannot beat it. Seek it out, you who like bubbles: New Mexico Champagne: who woulda thunk it?

The pumpkin pie was prepared exclusively by the children and was so nice, and so good-looking! I was proud.

Another holiday come and gone. Aunt J. has gone back to her midwestern 20s bungalow, Mazda has gone home to his lovely, well-appointed home in the nice neighborhood, and my husband and I have gone back to work and the children to school. These times, they flee, but they are more appreciated with age.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

No time, no time. But here is the tasty relish we relished this past Turkey Day. It was a Cranberry and Pear Chutney Recipe at, and I can ASSURE you it is divine with pickles, lettuce, and turkey on whole wheat.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm thankful for so much today. Aren't you?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Because I am unable to post today's picture of Mazda, I'll share an article about two artists who clearly were meant to somehow get together somewhere, and they have, and did so notably in "Spin":The Feeling's Mutual

Also, I would like to give a shout-out to my friend's sister and her London 2007 blog, that has made me both insanely jealous and overly educated about that Queen of Cities and its Highly Superior People. Go read it and vote for your fave historical plaque.

Turkey Day update: we have our guests (Mazda and my husband's aunt), we have cranberries, and we have the wine. Two Gruets (one a demi-sec? or something?) and a Gershueweirtizzenmeinkampfer. That last one was described to me as having notes of lychee, so, you know, SOLD.

Now to get the bird.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I want to grow tougher skin when it comes to soccer parents. I never cease to be amazed at the behavior or by the words. I understand the impulse - it is exciting, you want your child to do well, things seem unfair, so you decide to blow off steam. But I don't understand not containing the impulse. They are children, you are an adult.

I understand that its going to happen, time and again, and I have to find a way to deal with it.

I know, I'll blog about it and get it off my chest! Like today, when scary big man with a red face and black Miami hat, upset that one of our players was shoving (she was, there's no doubt...but everyone shoves a bit), screamed at the young referee for not calling a foul. Then, when the referee appeared nonplussed, he screamed at our player! Uh, DUDE! She's not your daughter, she's a kid, she's sorry. After the game, two of our moms mixed it up with the guy, which is stupid, but again, I can't say a word because I've done it in my past (though not at soccer games). I fled, and tried to find my happy place and to focus on my tired girl.

This stuff has been rehashed, discussed, and debated to death. It won't stop, and horror stories will continue to come my way and I'll continue to hear it/see it/experience it. But I'm not going to do it and I won't let anyone in my family take part either.

Damn this is a self-righteous, boring post!!!

Favorite Kanye lyrics:

Life is a, uh, depending how you dress her
So if the devil wear Prada, Adam Eve wear nada,
I'm in between, but way more fresher

Stop dancing with your girlfriend and come dance with me
Stop talking about your boyfriend since he is not me
Stop running up my tab cause these drinks is not free
You drunk and hot girl

For me givin' up's way harder than tryin'
Lauryn Hill say her heart was in Zion
I wish her heart still was in rhymin'

Let's get lost tonight
You could be my black Kate Moss tonight
Play secretary, I'm the boss tonight.

I never rock a mink coat ina winter time like Killa Cam
Or rock some mink boots in the summertime like
Let me know if you feel it man
Cause everything I'm not, made me everything I am

How many ladies in the house?
How many ladies in the house without a spouse?
Something in your blouse got me feeling so aroused!
What you about?
On that independent shit
Trade it all for a husband and some kids
You ever wonder what it all really means?
You wonder if you'll ever find your dreams?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We're hosting my son's teacher's pet rabbit for Thanksgiving!

Yes! That is about the most exciting thing in my life right now!

Oh, well, sure - I got my period five days earlier than expected. But I'm sure you all saw THAT coming a mile away!

Mazda is his name! He is gray.

And white, I think.

And large. And poops, when scared.

And I want to keep him forever, but my husband does not. So I am making a much bigger deal out of all this than necessary, as is my way when I am pitching a fit!

Thanksgiving planning has gotten a bit out of control, with the exception of Mazda's confirmed arrival and departure date. We're not sure who else is coming, I'm at a soccer tourney all weekend so no grocery shopping, and we've decided to paint a room before Thursday. That said, we did find a new brussels sprouts recipe to try! (This isn't it, but this is the mag where we found it. I'll post it prior to the holiday. This one looks good, though, no?)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I've enjoyed reading about bento lunches and of course gazing at the many creations of my fellow moms around the world at the Kid Eats Pool. But let's be honest. I will not be forming tofu nor free-hand carving bread to create fun anime shapes in my children's lunchboxes. It's not me, it's not them, and I would much rather pick the strange, viscous skin off the bottoms of my feet (wha....? why? Is there a doctor in the house?).

However, I do enjoy packing my children's lunchboxes, and even enjoy their help (not always the case, see: cooking and crafts and iTunes playlist making). My daughter and son are fairly adventurous eaters, but they are different (he's more sweet, she's more savory) and have freaky caveats (no yogurt for him, no fruit for her) but because I feel like their lunches are downright Mollie Katzenesque in this age of Lunchables, I am willing to make some compromises.

This week's lunches included:


Leftover whole wheat baked ziti in a ground turkey meat and tomato sauce with fresh basil and parm sprinkled on top (in the thermos), naturally sweetened blueberry applesauce, Stoneyfield farm banilla yogurt, small tossed salad with a tiny container of light ranch, Horizon organic vanilla milk


Ham and muenster cheese sandwich on whole wheat, carrots and dip, raisins (snack), pear, cottage cheese, water in a reuseable bottle, Butterfinger (he thinks I don't know he's sneaking his Halloween candy in there, but I know. I know.)

Other things we like to put in lunchboxes include: organic mac and cheese and Progresso or homemade soup in the thermos, apples, cuke slices, bananas, Morningstar Farms "chicken" sandwich with whole wheat bun and PICKLES (my God the pickles this family eats! Two jars a week!), a small bag of Greek olives, whole wheat mini bagel with peanut butter and banana, hummous, or cream cheese, leftover pizza (causes fights; is delish), Amy's whole wheat frozen burrito, chips and salsa (only the kind with black beans and corn in it), Pirate Booty, and of course, Lorna Doones.

And that Buffalo Wing-flavor Goldfish, if any are left after Mommy and Daddy enjoy.

Here are some other lunchbox sites:

Tips from Family Fun

From the dearly departed Kiddley

The funny and honest Melissa Summers at Work It, Mom

Today I had a Lean Cuisine but that felt a bit light so I doused a bunch of blue cheese dressing on a huge mound of cherry tomatoes. My mouth is still too sore to eat lettuce. I wanted a beer to help wash it all down and soothe the pain, but I opted instead for a Reece's cup. Just in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tech Tuesday (some stuff you can check out on the Internet)

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. Check out J. Crew's opening montage my fellow Anglophiles. It's like the anti-SI swimsuit issue!

Bob Mould is running a poll on how people would best like to receive his music. See, and vote, here.

I've been having all kinds of weird experiences with LinkedIn, including technical difficulties. Is this a good thing for anyone out there? (FYI, I've found at least two old boyfriends on there! They were both in some sort of strange financial sector.)

I've always enjoyed? Post Secret and from those peoples come To Do List. Here's one from someone I'm pretty sure I'm related to. KIDDING! I HOPE!

My friend Melz is blogging again! Her acidic reviews of New York culture are fun and sometimes slightly terrifying. Check out her fall schedule here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

In a Times article about the word, "Va-jay-jay", apparently popularized on "Oprah" and "Grey's Anatomy" (neither of which I watch):

"Technically speaking, the vagina is the canal that leads from the uterus to the outside of the body, a fact that has led both Ms. Ensler [Eve Ensler, of Vagina Monologues fame] and Ms. Steinem [you really ought to know who that is ] to write that vagina — while not a word that should be stigmatized — is inadequate because it is not inclusive enough. It does not, they have pointed out, include the labia and clitoris, the nerve-rich locus of a woman’s sexual pleasure. 'I’m hoping that the use of this new word is part of the objection to only saying vagina since it doesn’t include all of women’s genitalia, for instance the clitoris, in the way that vulva does,' Ms. Steinem said."

This has been my point all along, people! The area that is usually being referred to is NOT (just) a vagina! And I for one didn't really want my 3 year old saying vulva all the time. So we have a nickname for the area. But my daughter knows she has a vagina. She knows she has a clitoris, a urethra, labia, etc. etc. We just opt to call the whole area something kind of cute and funny.

Which brings me to "balls". My son knows there is a scrotal sac with testicles, etc. etc. But they LOOK like balls! I think "dick" is probably inappropriate slang, but is balls bad? I got in trouble with a neighbor over this one. So we've switched to "marbles" for the interim. Equally funny, but won't have lasting power as he grows.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Perhaps an iPhone costume would have been more current.

We went with the Rapper, and the Movie Star. Or, as my husband called them, "Age 15 on first date". I think that is what all Halloween costumes eventually come to: some visualization of your future.

So what does it say about me that my last costume was a K & W worker?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Do you want to be an iPod?

Cause my children are still deciding...and it's almost 4 p.m., so my idea bank is completely overdrawn.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Notes from a Weekend Mini-Break

In the car:
Husband: Wow, you look like a rock star!
Me: (surprised smile)
Husband: Like, one who rocked all night long.

At Wal-Mart:
Me: I forgot to pack underwear. Thus, I'm going commando right now!
Son: Me too!

At a state park:
Me, looking at Son and Husband: Oh my God, they're PEEING - agh! Here comes a car...quick, pretend you don't know them.
Daughter: Who are those guys?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

All my husband's joking about me being "Curb East" and "Larry Belle" was perhaps a bit too prescient: The Best Medicine: We Are All Larry David is scary.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hi, I'm back and have had parts of my palate attached to my gums. Can you tell? Don't you think it's a bit swollen?

My idea for today's post is "A Budget Halloween". Or, "Saving Money During Fall Despite Constant Demands from School, Groups, and Family."

First, I can tell you that Fresh Market has pumpkins, three for $10. There were no fun photo ops with the children, but they do have complimentary coffee. My son got a pumpkin, my daughter got one, and then we had one for the class project. Done.

Our costumes are all homemade this year. My son has never had a store-bought costume, or one that he wore, anyway. (I got a really cool Annakin Skywalker suit on Ebay one year and he wore it for an hour. Freak.) My daughter, on the other hand, loves a catalogue and has contributed allowance for the last two years to get some variation on a fashionable witch. This year, she's going to wear some whack outfit with her hair in some Hannah Montana style and a bunch of makeup. And I won't say a word, unlike most school mornings. My son is going to go as a rapper, or maybe a hoodlum, or perhaps a roller derby guy. Again, not much different from his regular outfit.

For the Y-Guides meeting we're hosting on Thursday, I'm saying "no, thanks" to the high-priced crafts and spreads the other dads have provided. Instead, we'll pop bags of popcorn and mix them with raisins and candy corn for a autumnal trail mix, bob for apples (buy one, get one free bags at the Harris Teeter this week!), and do the human spider web, a team-building game that some of these kids totally need to do.

All this money-saving cannot stop me from certain purchases though - I've got to have my pumpkin spice latte at least once this season, though I've found that I can get by with a cup of coffee with some nutmeg sprinkled in it. And I am very eager to make my friend Brooke's butternut squash soup, that while not too pricey to make, takes up a lot of that valuable resource, time. Still. Tis the season.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I don't like Stereogum, a music web site, as much as I used to, but I do like that they did something like this:

Stereogum Presents... DRIVE XV: A Tribute To Automatic For The People

The new REM Live disc has received mixed reviews at best. Reading the following paragraph from Pitchfork made me wince, cause I know it is more than likely exactly the case:

"Stipe testifies persuasively on "Imitation of Life", one of their best late-period pieces, and the band ratchet up the tension on "Walk Unafraid" so that it sounds positively Green. "Bad Day", from 2003, sounds particularly energized as the band graft Bush-era dissension onto Peter Buck's Reagan-era riffs, creating one of the show's best and most effortlessly crowd-pleasing moments.

Still, the best tracks on Live predate Bill Berry's departure-- as you might expect. Early in the show, they speed up "Cuyahoga" from 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant, making the original's balladic lament about corporate pollution sound more pointed and angrier, even outright hostile. Here is the first glimpse of frustration in the show, the first and strongest hint at a creative dilemma that extends beyond the reach of lyrics and melodies, as if R.E.M. realize that yesterday's change-the-world anthems have actually changed nothing. You want them to hold on to that disillusionment, to keep pushing themselves and their audience, but instead they settle for the easy answers of "Everybody Hurts"."

In other cultural reviewy type news, we finally saw "Away From Her" and it was a night of fresh, cool Canadian goodness! Sarah Polley, K.D. Lang, Neil Young, snow, "eh?"....and all from a short story by Her Royal Canadian Literary Highnesss, Alice Munro.

(Interestingly, I had read this short story in the New Yorker, and remembered it vividly, and knew the plot of the movie from reading it. And it was published in 1999. My God, I had a 16 month old and was pregnant and it was Christmas in the world????)

Anyway, I lurved the film and sat in the recliner and sobbed for a better part of a half-hour. A successful evening indeed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Worst parenting week, nay, family week ever.

Rivals the Great Gall Bladder Scenario of ’98, during which I nursed a two-month old whilst experiencing brain-numbing pain throughout my body, was perhaps even at risk of death, and my husband went to work.

He has since made up for that, though. (See: Great Salmonella Outbreak of Ought-Six)

Parenting is harder, now. More emotional, more tricky. “This is a marathon” said my husband this morning, and he’s right. Babyhood and toddlerdom are like a sprint: you are exhausted, can’t catch a breath. These days, I have time to breathe all right, but we never, ever stop running.

On the plus side, we found a good used car with all our caveats (good MPG, AWD, V6, cheap as hell). Damn, though, it’s white. No offense to you white-car drivers out there, but I think they look like belugas. Dearest 1995 Mazda 626, we will miss you....we kissed your bent, rusted antenna goodbye and trust you will find some happiness, somewhere. (As a side note, we found approximately 73 black Bic pens in the side pockets. My children counted, so do not doubt that high number!)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

In my never-ending quest to feel the Aloha spirit from our January trip even in the midst of carpool hell, I have found a band called Aloha. And they are quite pleasing. Their MySpace page has bunches of songs and some downloads. There's also a song called "Body Buzz" that is nice, at Stereogum.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Early Radiohead Buzz

It came in at 2:32 a.m. our time (I had predicted 2 a.m.) and was a zip file....I paid five pounds for it ($11 US? something like that?) and my husband was mad, but I put our precious cash into this venture for a statement more than anything. Some linkage showing how much people paid and how much they like (or don't, occasionally) In Rainbows:

stereogum: Premature Evaluation: Radiohead - In Rainbows

NY Times "The Lede" blog with hundreds of comments.

Video of the album-making process.

From PItchfork:

"In related Radiohead revelations, is reporting that the quintet has entered a unique licensing deal for the edition of In Rainbows released today, in which all rights belong to the band for this downloadable version of the LP. "[Radiohead], in cooperation with us, have created their own model of direct licensing for online," a spokesperson for UK collection association MCPS-PRS Alliance told

Rights and royalty arrangements for the physical version of the album have not yet come to light, although Radiohead's publisher Warner/Chappell has stated that "all necessary licenses will be in place to allow proper payment of publishing royalties on both physical and digital sales of In Rainbows." All righty then."

Ok - this is crazy - I have to get to work. I'm going to have my headphones on all day, though - could be tricky during orchestra rehearsal tonight! (I'm playing CHIMES!)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Here's an article - and there is an accompanying multi-media feature - that fairly well illustrates the failure of our "education lottery" to effectively fund our schools. I was proud when the piece touted Easley as one of the last holdouts, but he didn't hold out. We're now keeping our poor people's money in house (or in state) as opposed to sending it across the borders. But when almost every new school built is barely funded, when they are overcrowded, and when parents are unhappy, and when bond issues still have to be floated (and can only pass by tiny margins), obviously the whopping 30 cents on every dollar we're recouping from the lottery is not enough.

It's not enough. It's not working. I'm agreeing with right-wing fundamentalists (who vehemently opposed the lottery). Hell, people! It's frozen!

(Though Raleigh? It's hot. I long for cooler temps...)

Friday, October 05, 2007


There. I said it. I just read "The Higher Power of Lucky" and the word had the same power as the word "menstroooation" did in "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret". Both are my book club selections this month. Anyhoo - both books were banned at some point, in some places. Why not read a banned book this week? It's an appropriate time.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

R A D I O H E A D - breaking N E W S

Egads....they stumped the record companies, the illegal downloaders, the bloggers...everyone! I just checked out the site above, and you can order this new disc via download by paying whatever you deem it worth. GAH. They have officially handed it to the man. The packaged disc with a bunch of collector's crap is more expensive - 40 poundsish. And ships 12/3 - but with that purchase you get the tuneage.

I'm about to vomit I'm so excited!

I can't even type. I also want that Kanye and maybe that Iron & Wine. But who knew I was ten days from a Radiohead release??? This event is more fun than the car shopping, I must say.
Just heard that New York's Mayor Bloomberg is in London this week, meeting with their Mayor about, among other things, the congestion fee & possibly instituting that charge in NYC....whilst finding out more about that, I stumbled across the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s. I've not been able to speak up as much as I like about big-ass cars due to fear, a lack of desire to mix it up, the fact that maybe its America and people should drive what they want, etc. etc. However, we're shopping for a car now and hope our purchase speaks loudly and clearly.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Poor Meg White has claimed exhaustion, and then denied that she's really the one in the sex tape making the rounds. I hope she is getting a bit of a rest and not letting all this stuff bother her....and that all the hipsters who are enjoying the indie rock "research" needed to offer up an opinion will soon agree that it's just not her. All this better said at Quarterlifeparty.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My Netflix queue has 129 entries.

(heavy sigh)

Upcoming cultural excitement includes seeing my friend on "Desperate Housewives", seeing my young adolescent friend in "Les Miserables" (directed by Terry Mann!), maybe getting to the "Marriage of Figaro" featuring my boss's baritone, and developing a treatment for a children's book to be produced at church.

And trying to make a dent in that queue. Starting tonight with some last season "Heroes". I'm prepared to not love it....anyone wanna challenge me on that?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The family camp-out got transferred to the backyard last night. And it was actually fun. The s'mores cleanup was vastly easier with the sink a foot away, and just knowing that I could reach a lovely toilet within striking distance (not that there is anything wrong with outside peeing) kept me from getting up and going all night. Plus, we watched part of a movie prior to bedding down for the night -- a really, really funny part.

The site transfer, however, is another example of September getting in the way of all things fun. Between my job, soccer, school needs, and my husband's intense work schedule this week we couldn't even drive to a campsite 20 miles away. Two friends are homeschooling, and boy, the temptation is strong. Just as strong as my desire to quit my job(s) and flee to Hawaii.

Also? It is 92 degrees today. Welcome Autumn.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's not a secret that I love quite a bit of musical theatre. It's no secret that I like sex or sexy things. I could even say I like 19th century German literature. As for Duncan Sheik, hmmm...not sure I've ever had an opinion. But I do now. We saw "Spring Awakening" in New York, and I cried a lot during the show, wouldn't let my husband touch me afterwards, and have been singing the soundtrack non-stop ever since.

The show is flawed, sure...but any experience that can bring a sharp, clear picture of my own history right to my eyes gets my approval. The terror, the loneliness, the yearning, the energy, and the confusion of my adolescence was reenacted by the hyperactive teens on the stage that night. The show is all gorgeous lighting and a pretty, old-school set, Bill T. Jones choreography (we are fans from ADF), and luscious music - I really can't say enough about what the music brought to the show - even the microphone exchanges and reveals delighted (they were hidden onstage, in costumes, and tossed around). "Spring Awakening" got me, and I got it. That's saying something, especially when one considers it is a MUSICAL.

The play is ancient, and though it still speaks to teenagers, the producers' decision to add modern choreography, lighting and sound makes perfect sense and gives the play not relevance, necessarily (because it is relevant, miraculously), but energy. Lots and lots of energy. And because the young have energy to spare, everything works together to make the stage pulse with a sense of possibility and dread. As a woman watching SA I think I was more unnerved than anything, remembering the decisions I had to make almost daily about how to live and act and the fear and uncertainty and pure excitement associated with becoming a sexual being.

Jonathan Franzen hates this version and has written his own translation of Wedekind's novel. My friend had seen the workshopped version and had even played Wendla in college (in a production that, not unlike others and even the original text, sees the sex act as less than consensual), but she loves it - this the girl who avoids musicals like the plague. Obviously, the production is bringing out strong emotions in people besides me -- just Google it. It is a MySpace sensation!

Between "Once" and "Spring Awakening", the musical has found new avenues. For that, I am incredibly grateful...even Franzen says he is not thrilled to have to diss anything that is causing such new-found interest in live theatre. I'm glad to be living in a time when this particular art form has received a major kick in the ass.

Monday, September 17, 2007

From the "I could have told you it would be like this" files....‘Tell Me You Love Me’ Goes From Sextastic to Totally Depressing . (I still want HBO - and not just because my friend has a recurring on a new series -- there are many other reasons, as well)

From the same files mentioned above, when offered some Turkish dried apricots, my son declined. "I'll fart too much when I eat them". How do you know? "Because I ate some and then I farted a lot".

Sunday, September 16, 2007

At the dreaded football game yesterday (and I say dreaded because I dreaded it), there was much not to like. Crowds, a bunch of white girls in the same strapless dresses with the same long shiny hair, drunk frat boys in mandals, and overpriced concessions. At the end of the game we headed out to get our football where it had been stowed away at the advice of the gate security, only to not find it. And our seats were on the sunny side which wasn't too bad on an 80 degree day, but I missed out on the loveliness of that temperature and only felt its fury.

But I had a good time. I liked doing something nice for my hubby, though as many of you know I am VERY nice to him, ahem, all the time in a VARIETY of ways, you feel me? We saw our dear friend Kevin - it had been so many years! And he was still handsome, still interesting (several Peace Corps tours, now an artistic type and living in a great American city), and still so enjoyable. My son got into the football so very, very much....and my daughter saw some friends and learned more about the game she finds mildly interesting (though it is not soccer, you understand). The chicken was good and greasy, the sweet tea was glycemic-shock inducing, and the football was some good times.

I just don't know how people spend that much of their time doing that sort of thing EVERY WEEKEND. In this area you can attend something like we did without the drive, of course - many of our schools are just down the road a piece. But what we did yesterday takes commitment. I don't have it, but I do think I'll go back. If only for the pure, sweet pain involved with reliving my drunken college days, or for the mindless, innocent entertainment. Or maybe for the F-15s.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I grew up hearing a lot of harping about tithing - giving 10% of your income to the church. I also grew up hearing that sex was evil and rock and roll wasn't worthwhile and that my hometown was the be all/end all of locations in which to exist.

But hearing about it and seeing it happen are two different things. My parents, though very middle-class and both working, gave to their church and their community. They gave heavily of their time and as much as they could of their money. And now I see my brother giving generously and I try really hard. I often wish for more money, as lofty as this sounds, so I could give it away.
There are just too many good causes and too many ways to help.

Some charity is under attack - see this article (reg. req'd). Some of the causes we end up donating to are really not about what we believe or support, but who we know. Sometimes, I feel like the children attend a private school for all the cash I'm doling out, but I do that with an open mind and heart.

Not everyone I know gives money. Sometimes I think people weren't taught it, as I was. I also believe there are those whose focus is intensely on their own family and so the money must stay in the inner circle. I'm trying to understand it and not be holier-than-thou about it. And yet I really, firmly believe that what you give out comes back to you. I know! The girl who thinks we lie dead in the ground with a big batch of nothingness actually thinks "pay it forward" is for real!

Whilst on this topic so near and dear to my heart, check out this cause that indirectly supports a child and his wonderful family, also near and dear to my heart. If you feel inclined to give, please do so...but truly no pressure. I'm hopeful that your budget is already tapped by a myriad of good causes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Quality awards, people! Unlike the MTV VMAs. Am I getting old? It was so LOUD! And so tedious. I ended up watching VH-1 classic, which was showing Truth or Dare.

Also? I'm sorry we missed out on our local Hooter's "Kid's Night", where all children dine free on Sundays.

We're back from New York and I'm in a Manhattan frame of mind. I'm still humming the inexplicably beautiful songs from "Spring Awakening" and I feel like my legs are still walking city blocks. I don't need to live there but I need a little bit of there to live here. You feel me?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The trailer for Elizabeth: The Golden Age has arrived and is attached herewith:

I just watched it...and I just climaxed.

And thank goodness, too, because my latest Philippa Gregory was a might disappointing.

Perhaps you yourself are not turned on by the Virgin Queen? Or by La Blanchett? Or by CLIVE OWEN? And if you are not, you are not worth my time, so away with you.

Monday, September 03, 2007

For those of us who live here, we know it is NOT "Raleigh-Durham". In fact, if we have to have the dashes, it should really be "Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill - Morrisville -Garner" or something like that. But in reality, we have Raleigh. Durham. Period. The two are vastly different and no one enjoys those differences more than I.

At a wedding last night, we sat in the synagogue whose location had eluded us despite Mapquest and a general knowledge of midtownish Durham after living here for almost 20 years. Once seated, we enjoyed the cushy seats, the beautiful chuppah, the joy on the faces of the 50ish couple, the cellist and violinist (friends of mine - who reportedly were kicked out of the Symphony due to an intriguing personal situation that I'll not gossip about here....but the intrigue only makes me love them more), and the increasingly frantic efforts of my husband to keep his yarmulke on his Brillo-pad of a head.

As I looked around, though, I was reminded of recent trips to Durham. For me, Durham is a land of dance performances, sometimes in the nude, sometimes with leaf-blowers. Durham is the apex of the Triangle when it comes to restaurants. And that includes the CC. Durham has the Bulls, sure, and Duke, of course. But it also has the NC Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the world's largest selection of intellectual-looking eyeglasses and apparently lots of boutiques that sell hemp jumpers. That is the dress code in Durham, and the wedding last night was a veritable runway for the Bull City look.

So as a fellow guest encouraged me to try the appetizers, as the dinner food was sure to be "quite different", and as I watched bemusedly as the mother of the bride was whisked onto the dance floor by a trim, close-shaven lady in a three-piece suit, and as we fretted about trying to find NC 147 from our location deep within the Duke campus, I settled into the Durhamness. I chatted freely about last weekend's film festival (having seen my friend's short there), I laughed at fellow wedding guests' frustrations with Raleigh, and I noshed on various gluten-free dips and really, really lovely Malbec.

There is much to love about the Triangle, but you have to look a little harder for it than in other regions of the country. I pride myself on having looked pretty hard, and as a result have maybe even found more than the average citizen. After 17 years, it is getting easier to find things to love.

Friday, August 31, 2007

"Courtney Love continues her attack on Steve Coogan" is a headline I didn't expect to see today. I am woefully behind on the Owen Wilson suicide attempt. In fact, I didn't know about it til yesterday. I've tried to ignore all the hype, and actually it seems as though the media is somewhat respecting his wish for privacy (I said SOMEWHAT). But now that my boy Steve Coogan has been indicted...well, I might need to find out more.

I do hope Owen is doing ok and healing. He's a funny little guy, and an actor I admire.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I just read the word "goop" in a NYTImes headline. The goop in question is a substance sprayed on expensive homes threatened by wildfires. Boy, if you thought the end of days was a myth...this week has been literally hell on earth. The story of the Greek teacher who gathered her children in her arms as the flames engulfed them was a serious downer this morning, but also a reminder of the power of a woman whose children are in danger. The beautiful, unreal Greek antiquities and sites we saw on our honeymoon are apparently not immune to destruction. And frankly, my yard might as well have been burned. The grass crunches like Pringles when you walk on it. We lost a Carolina jasmine this week, a plant that had grown so busy and wild (like the children, who were only tiny sprouts when we planted the jasmine) it seemed completely inpenetrable. But no. And likewise a dogwood, maybe two. The drought is a hard, awful thing. The heat that comes with it makes me lethargic and grumpy. The book "The Last Hard Time" about the dust bowl was one of our book club selections this year and I truly wonder about the emotional state of those who lived through it. If I'm this much of a wuss about a dry, torrid August in North Carolina, how would I have survived five or more years in the middle of nowhere, plus massive dirt walls that filled the skies every few days? Yeah, I'm not of that midwestern stock. I'm tired of relying on air conditioning for my sleep and on Gatorade for my energy level. This wave has got to break.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Many questions about my summer playlist:

Why that Shout Out Louds song? The cut is from a 2007 EP & I was trying to include summer 07 releases...I don't usually like EPs but I like the Shout Out Louds. My brother-in-law gave me a copy of Howl Howl Gaff Gaff from...2005, I think...and I am trying to listen to it over the loud weirdness that transpires on car rides with my children. Maybe after school starts I'll be able to hear it more fully.

No White Stripes? Oops. I do have them on all the children's mixes - they like "Rag and Bone" (and to hear my son, after I say a curse word, reprimand me with "Aw, Belle don't be rude!", is really something.) and "I'm Slowly Turning Into You"....I have a fondness for "Conquest". But maybe the "300 mph Torrential...etc. whatever" song is best for my mix.

Where's the leaked Rilo Kiley? Yeah, I...I just haven't been able to love Jenny like I should. I think that I will add "Silver Lining", but since the jury is out on the new stuff, I'm reluctant.

Also, this has nothing to do with anything, but I really don't see the big deal about Putin & his racy pictures. So the man has guns. And a nicely formed torso. I'm sure all the working out helps lower his stress levels.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My daughter is currently, despite the 99 degree heat, rocking a beret. I tried, quite incorrectly it seems, to give a brief history and overview of a beret. She could care less, but she does wonder why artists wear them.

ATL was a great end-of-season trip. Much quality family time, the Braves (though we missed the game of the season, which took place yesterday.....still, we heard Skip announce it in the car and that is a time-honored tradition for my spouse and me), the World of Coke where I tried Inca Kola and Beverly (foul language, be warned), and non-stop farm fun.

My HSM2 review will be forthcoming - there has been a high demand for it, so be patient. My time is at a premium with school starting next week.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It will be hot. It will be sticky. The beer will cost $12 and up. But thanks to my kind brother-in-law and his wife, tix have been secured for Friday's night's Braves game. My husband is delighted (his birthday is in a couple of weeks - what better way to celebrate?). The urchins have their red and blue gear ready. And I'm taking binoculars.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

My summer 2007 playlist is just about complete. Here's what I've got:

Never Again - Kelly Clarkson (pressure from the children, but you know I gotta give props to Kel)

Ooh La - The Kooks

My Moon My Man -Feist

Tonight I Have to Leave It-Shout Out Louds

Listen Up!-The Gossip (I bought this and the Justice song below - only to see them offered as free downloads on iTunes.)

Sister Rosetta (Capture the Spirit)- Noisettes

Do I Disappoint You-Rufus Wainwright


Secret Spell- Tori Amos (Not really a Tori fan, but credit where credit is due)

Mistaken for Strangers - The National

Innocence- Björk (I am just not listening to Volta the way I usually would with a Björk release...why?)

TV & Me - Mando Diao

1234 - Feist (More pressure from the children...they love the video)

The Illiad- Tapes 'n Tapes

Direct Hit - Art Brut

Paranoia In B Major - The Avett Brothers (thanks MP!)

Don't You Evah-Spoon

Take Me to the Riot-Stars

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Having recently entertained my niece and nephew for about 30 hours straight, and every snack and mealtime being somewhat of a struggle, I was interested in this article about eating together called, appropriately,The Benefits of Eating Together. There are things I learned from this - including to keep the mood light when it comes to manners instruction. There is many a night when I screech (quite heavily, nothing light about it) at someone to quit scraping their fork against their teeth or to stop with the slurping. My job and now soccer will ensure that there are nights when we don't eat together. Also: it will not be me who teaches my children to cook. Other friends do it beautifully - making cookies together, their urchins sneaking in the kitchen to prepare a surprise birthday cake...but I'm just not that good at it so I suck as a model and teacher.

That said, my daughter made pesto this week and my son scrambled an egg this morning. Maybe I should just avoid baking...which I do anyway!

I do feel like my children are open to trying new things, and they definitely go from strong dislike to acceptance after several introductions to a given food. They still have strong preferences, especially for packed lunches at school, but as long as it is healthy and well-balanced I usually give in to a certain whim.

Just don't say, "I hate this" or "I don't want any of that" at my table. I work far too hard shopping, planning and preparing to hear that crap.

By the way, the above article is from a fun site that is helping me track my exercise...Spark People. It has been sort of fun, for now, anyway, to see my progress. Try it out.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's hot. Like, so totally my 11th grade summer, lifeguarding at the YWCA hot, sticky vinyl front seat of my 1976 Toyota Corolla hot. The children and I just blended ice cream and watermelon for a completely refreshing treat, but I'd also like to try this: Mango Watermelon Shake.

And also? What do you do with YOUR dead digital cameras?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Our Cruise-azy soccer coach is at it again: three email messages in one day! He is ready to start practicing, he has scheduled two additional practices in addition to the two a week we already have next week (thank GOD we're out of town), he got each member of the team a subscription to a soccer mag, and he has already booked our hotel rooms for our tourneys in August October! Beyond that, he has given the players daily homework, and he has signed up our team to provide fruit baskets and ball girl services for a college team that is coming to the area for a tournament. Did I mention the players are NINE? Did I need to? It is this kind of thing that makes August the cruelest month (that and the freaking 101 degree heat, not counting the dreaded heat indices). I know, I asked for all this, I encouraged my daughter's talent, etc. but I truly wonder how our society ran so amuck in the first place. Is it because of Tiger Woods & his grotesquely early start? Is it because people have technology and can thus get more organized and plan things more quickly and thoroughly? Do we really hate hanging around the house with our kids that much? Do the organizers of all these leagues, tourneys, activities, fundraisers feel as though they missed out on their childhoods? We may never know.

So I'm ramping up. Soccer mom yet again. At least I'll have the other moms to commiserate with about the money, time, and pressure.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Ink Stain Removal Cleaning Tips are the very things for which I revere this tangled web each and every day.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Been recuperating from yet another expensive gum graft, and really mad at self for not learning the first time that I need not lean over my reclining son to hug him good night, for he will raise up, hard, and clock me in my tender jaw.

Surgery was well-timed, for my girl is at camp, and my son had his only day camp (a golfing one), and HP 7 came out. I read it, I was well satisfied, I cried a few times, and I will say no more in the event you haven't yet read it.

I've had so much to post about, but not enough drive. This inherent laziness that is one of my qualities has risen to a creamy, frothy head this summer. I'm succumbing to it, knowing that Fall and the First Day of School will soon force my hand.

At the very least, I encourage you to see the three movies I've seen this summer (in the theatre, anyway - we've rented no end of fun things): Waitress with the dearly departed Adrienne Shelly (what a tragic, horrific tale) and my favorite Cheryl Hines plus Captain Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly and Serenity; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with all kinds of dark, evil doings and a highly effective cameo by Helena (just as I had hoped); and Once, a tiny little film with all kinds of appealing features, the least of all the soundtrack. I've blogged about it before, but I keep coming back to the music and I do hope you'll see it if you've not already. Listen here, especially to Falling Slowly.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I am truly sorry, dear readers, to tell you of the deaths of Margaret and Henry Lee. Both parents and grandparents, both endlessly fascinating, and both whose deaths were a relief. As my son said during a funeral this week, "I"m sad. I'm sad for me, but happy for him because who wants him to suffer any more?"

Right. We're sad for us. And for those who loved them so much - you're out there reading this so know I'm with ya.

In the meantime, I'll try to learn more, be a more forceful and independent woman, help my fellow man more, and attempt to be 1/10 as optimistic as our dearly departed. Amazing lessons all. Well done, good and faithful servants.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No one belongs here more than you. Stories by Miranda July

No one belongs here more than you. Stories by Miranda July

I heard about Miranda July via a few New York-based web sites that I visit regularly. But I'm not visiting them today or really until I finish #7. As you know. Sorry to repeat myself, but I am needing to shore up my defenses.

Anyway, she's in a Blonde Redhead video at the moment. Interestingly, we saw Blonde Redhead in concert. And that is saying something, as I've seen maybe six concerts in the last two years and four of them were classical or jazz.

I'm eager to read her stuff. Not available, by the way, at our local libraries. Nor is The Dud Avocado. But you can find 12 - 17 books about big cats, including pumas, jaguars, and cougars. Just not at the moment, because they are all here at my house.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Please, please, please don't let me see or hear about any spoilers.

The Internet: my love, my arch-nemesis.

I'm taking a bit of a break from the computer in order to exercise more anyway...but good timing as my will is weak and the information is available.

We'll be at the Colonial Williamsburg Barnes and Noble purchasing our book, maybe at midnight if the children can hang (HA HA HA who am I will be me who will go to bed at 9). I promise no spoilers on this site for the foreseeable future. Promise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Favorite HP casting:

Well, Alan Rickman of course. I think that was pure genius.

Helena as Bellatrix LeStrange.

God love Richard Harris.

Ralph Fiennes was amazing in HP4 - and as I believe the New Yorker has pointed out, it may be the finest performance given without a nose, ever!

I was hoping for Daniel Day Lewis for Sirius Black but Gary Oldman suffices.

And for Rita Skeeter, Miranda is fantastic but what about Jane Horrocks??? If only for the voice.

As for the children, I still think Ron is going to be a huge star, and I'm impressed at Daniel Radcliffe's, um, flexibility with his career. Emma Watson doesn't do it for me, but she's been looking really cute at all the premieres.

Who do you like? I know comments have been acting up, so if you can't comment, email me and I'll post your faves.

Monday, July 16, 2007

My youngest reader, whom I'll call Abel, has said this blog is a bit boring for his taste. In particular, he would just as soon not read about, say, grocery stores.

I feel ya. Even though you are in the bloom of youth - and about to embark on a new chapter in your life (or maybe because of that) - I respect your opinion. On to bigger and better topics.

For example, today at Reader's Corner, I wholly expected the in-store conversation to be about Descartes. And it was, for a little while. And HP, too. But then I was bombarded with tales of the poor wrestler guy, and of the hot dog eating champ. Please, people! If you are going to go to the trouble of mussing your hair that nicely, and finding those cool specs, and carrying man-bags, and hanging in a used bookstore then for God's sake talk about something else!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Re-entry to civilization successful. More or less.

The phone rang 12 times yesterday. There were 62 emails (mostly from and various Democratic candidates. Honey, what sites did you visit whilst I was gone?). Book club was easy and fun and the discussion quite interesting! The society party of the year was hot and crowded but not without its charms...I was glad I didn't wear jeans (I'm talking to you, jeans girls!! You should not toy with those of us who worship at your fashion altar!)but I was mortified I had to slip out just as I was awarded a door prize. In my defense, the last sitter available in town was 12 and her bedtime approached. I saw, literally, everyone I know in town. I was reminded of how pretty my friends are, and smart, and of how much they drink. A few of their husbands are hot, and a few of their lesbian partners are entertaining, and most of them are incredibly wealthy.

I am reminded again of the movie "Friends With Money". I am the Jennifer Aniston character, but with frizzier hair and more restricted access to marijuana. I work, which is somewhat unusual in my circle, and I don't have a cleaning lady (or man. Have I ever told you about the golden days with Dust Bunny cleaning services? My dear friend Russell - what a pleasure it was to have him clean and then to sit and smoke a ciggie and dish about the Raleigh hipsters after!). We travel regularly, but that is in lieu of other delights such as buying clothes at stores that aren't Target or Kohl's, and letting our house fall into complete disrepair.

Money is a bigger issue than anyone ever thinks it is, and though I shouldn't complain because I have shelter, tasty and diverse food, and entertainment galore (including the iMac, which frankly is just an indulgence and a totally fun one at that), I sometimes wonder where my true peers are. Why is it that I have surrounded myself with people wealthier than I am? We moved from our old neighborhood partially because we didn't seem to have the money of our neighbors, and now our new neighborhood is full of homes over a million dollars and people with three kids in private school and OMG the cars!! Our church, our school, even our family members (save the Kansans, who are modest to a fault and I think would live in a middle-class fashion even if they were loaded) all seem to have money, money, money. Beautiful philanthropic gestures abound in my circle, however. Most of these people are generous to a fault, it should definitely be said. But they also have televisions from this century.

Maybe everyone is in debt. And there is no doubt that I compare myself to other people far too often. But really, would I have it any other way? There is a certain lack of stress in driving a 12 year-old car. (God love Mazda! It has NEVER been in the shop!) There is a "romance in the struggle" for sure, as my husband reminds me daily. We would go to public school even if we didn't have to, I'm fairly certain. Eating at home means being together and great conversation. As for having to clean my own house.....ok, well I don't see any bright side to that at all.

There's a lot more to say on the subject, but we have four kids this weekend! That I have had this much uninterrupted time is fairly amazing (though there is a small urchin doing crunches and pushups right beside me right now). Though we are fairly broke right now, we're going to have pizza for all and a movie tonight. And I think that is a completely good use of funds, especially when you have four sweet friends and a hot summer night and a big, unkempt den with a sectional sofa and the love of your life right beside you.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Are you interested in the "Cloverfield" buzz? I so very totally am.

We're in the midst of the child-free three days. We're trying hard to get in everything we want to do/see/eat, and all the while pretending we aren't really in town. But we were found out, and we ended up meeting friends for dinner. Twice. (I would link to the restaurants but Blogger is acting up. We ate at South and Riviera.) Still, fun was had. We also enjoyed a gallery walk featuring a very clever and eye-catching installation at Designbox. Aren't we hip. We saw the charming "Once" - and I cried (once). Sweet. We had breakfast at the Morning Times with Mayor Meeker. He didn't speak, but we didn't either - we're not morning people.

The house is clean, the cupboard and fridge are bare, and my husband is very well satisfied I should think, so we will end our mini-break on a high note tomorrow when I go to fetch the urchins. I think we're ready to become full-time guardians once more. I'll be gone again for a while so be sure and read my buddies, whose web pages I have linked below left.

Friday, July 06, 2007

What to do? We'll be in another town on the night of Harry Potter 7's release. I'm going to google LOCAL BOOKSTORES IN SAID TOWN right now. Also, the movie. We've made it a tradition to see it with my brother-in-law and his wife....but can I wait? Can they wait? We might have to plan a joint viewing and text each other throughout or something. I'm very excited about seeing Helena Bonham Carter, though the Fug Girls have already noted that she dresses like a Death Eater even in real life (please do note the euphemisms used for Tim Burton's bits).

My daughter is eager to begin book 6; we are not so eager for the mostly invisible, moody-when-present reader that she becomes when engrossed in an HP book. And then there's my son, who has gleaned key information from her by noodling her, his greatest talent.

Harry Potter. Who knew this phenomenon would cause so much stress?

Friday, June 29, 2007

In the online diary spirit, I'll give you a quick recap:

OVER: June (essentially), Vacation Bible School (finally), and tennis lessons (regretfully - what fun! What a foxy, Carribean instructor the children had!)

IN JEOPARDY: one of my jobs. But I'm not really sweating it at all - though I will miss the cash, won't you, honey? Still, one door closes...whatever.

BEGINNING: a quickie family trip involving some good adventure, meetups with friends, and relaxation;
my period, and soccer(what have we gotten ourselves into).

SLIGHTLY ANNOYING: the neighbors, the heat, the drought, my boss's exotic travel plans and the jealousy they are causing, and my gums.

MOSTLY PLEASING: The Motorcycle Diaries, my current summer playlist, and singing in the choir.

TOTALLY RAD: Absurdistan,
the childrens' new pasttime of riding the stairs in their sleeping bags, and a fun apres-choir outing with my hubby and fellow choristers last night.

There is other stuff that friends are enduring, stuff almost too hard to fathom and think about, and suffice to say I am grateful that MY stuff is only slightly annoying compared to life-altering and horrifying. And - at least my cat's worse vice is butterscotch-colored diarrhea left in a fairly self-contained area.

With that lovely image, I'll bid you all a vaya con dios - and gallop away!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Damn you Katie and Posh! Curly hair's reign was so short! Is the Side-Swept Bob going to dominate this year?

Monday, June 25, 2007

My last pedicure was May 23. I love a friend with a detailed calendar who can remind you of such things. Seeing as I have kept my toes on constant display ever since, I think it is high time to get them done again. What color? I think my current color may be "I Only Drink Champagne" or something more silvery. You know I want something black...check out what you like on this OPI Night Brights Review and get back to me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

And you kids wonder why I lurve Spoon. The first paragraph of Sasha Frere-Jones' review of the new album in the "The New Yorker" goes like this:

"The Texas singer-songwriter Britt Daniel has recorded only two songs that are more than five minutes long. He hardly ever plays guitar solos, is a terse interview subject, and would never be photographed wearing an untucked T-shirt."

The new album is out July 10. That, along with Kelly Clarkson and "Icky Thump", have me pretty excited for the summer's prospects.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Angelina Jolie keeps talking about how she lives a bold life. Do I?

I rarely spend my time doing what I want to do, but often spend my time doing what I feel obligated to do.

I am also really, very negligent in reading up on the Democratic candidates or anything about the election.

Maybe that will be my assignment as I go under the knife for my troubled gums tomorrow. I'm scared, but I have a little friend to hold my hand throughout.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Starbucks to Release Sonic Youth Celebrity Compilation. What do you think? I was a little shocked. Kind of like if Bob Dylan did a Victoria's Secret ad or something.

We are back from the cool, cool mountains. I am hungover. And today we are going to the skating rink. Hello, summer.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

There was hope that this was a free weekend with nothing to do. But now, we are seeing friends from Kuwait who are visiting, friends from South Carolina who are visiting, going to a global warming speech at church, fixing my car's hydraulic lifts struts thingys, going to soccer practice, going to a dinner party, and hosting a few little girls for my daughter's birthday.

That's just how I roll.

In the meantime, summer started off in fine form. I'm sleeping great thanks to the night guard (I think) and I've been able to sleep in a bit despite the blinding sun now streaming through the windows, unfiltered by the now-absent trees my neighbors stole from our planet. We had some bickering at the house, but then everyone seemed to fall into the groove of not doing much. We went to the bookstore and signed up for the reading program (free book in Sept.!), ate lunch out, shopped for Daddy, and then all collapsed in heaps with our magazines and library books.

I'll be computerless for a few days next week, and I think that is a good thing, though I will miss the radar desperately.

In the meantime, I encourage you to read, rest, and reflect on the good things that summer brings.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Whilst I am generally beloved, I have, throughout history, encountered some real haters. I remember their faces, but try as I might, I can barely remember their names! Well, I remember one or two, but I really seem to have blocked most of them. Healthy, right?

More than usual, I am experiencing a high level of enemies right now. Whether it is because I know more people than I ever have (since college maybe) or because I don't have time for this shit (due to jobs and end-of-year) or because I am truly a rebel I just don't know. I know that people don't like me because they are jealous, or they can't get close to me, and I'm not being vain when I say that. Well, I am, but I'm trying to be honest. I sometimes have no clue what I have done to offend. Which is an affliction for 99% of the populace, I'm sure.

In the case of the Room Mom Who Hated Me, I can trace the dislike back to a certain instance where I was wrong. But guess what people? I apologized. Twice. And to her husband, too. And what I did was not that bad, really (I recommended a movie to her she didn't think her daughter was ready to see). One other mom suggested that the Room Mom and I were just were not destined to click. Thanks for that advice, babe, but in my case, if you can't get along with me then it is because I either hate YOU or you're not trying...because I really know how to get along with people.

With the exception of my extended family, but I guess that is another post for another day.

Anyway, the year has ended and I don't have to deal with the RMWHM anymore. Or not for two full months and change. And that, my friends, is why I am not a fan of year-round schools: sometimes a girl needs a break from the hate.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

We chose, in a fit of penny-pinching, to see a movie on date night instead of having a gourmet restaurant meal. At Mission Valley we get free popcorn because we GO TO A GYM. Is that funny or what? I got extra butter.

We saw "Knocked Up", and for all my current personal hoopla over "Dreamgirls" (I cried three times - the three times I watched Jennifer Hudson sing "And I Am Telling You"), Judd Apatow's movie is my new favorite for this year and last.

The guy is a genius, and not just for the seriously raunchy sex talk and bodily function humor in his movies. He loves women, and I'm so grateful. He even seems to find the genius in his own wife - who performed one of my all-time favorite drunk scenes. She's equally funny and talented in this film.

Somehow, he takes intense subjects, life dilemmas, and bad people, and makes them sweet, funny, and sad, sometimes at the same time. He imitates, in his films, the way life seems to be every single day for me. I think I need to Netflix "Freaks and Geeks" to get more of his viewpoint.

I'm no movie reviewer, but I know what I like. And I wasn't alone in our (newly refurbished with sparkly curtain!) theatre last night in liking "Knocked Up" a LOT.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

NOON by Louise Glück

They're not grown up - more like a boy and girl, really.
School's over. It's the best part of the summer, when it's still beginning -
the sun's shining, but the heat isn't intense yet.
And freedom hasn't gotten boring.

So you can spend the whole day, all of it, wandering in the meadow.
The meadow goes on indefinitely, and the village keeps getting more and
more faint -

It seems a strange position, being very young.
They have this thing everyone wants and they don't want-
but they want to keep it anyway; it's all they can trade on.

When they're by themselves like this, these are the things they talk about.
How time for them doesn't race.
It's like the reel breaking at the movie theater. They stay anyway -
mainly, they just don't want to leave. But till the reel is fixed
the old one just gets popped back in,
and all of a sudden you're back to long ago in the movie -
the hero hasn't even met the heroine. He's still at the factory,
he hasn't begun to go bad. And she's wandering around the docks, already bad.
But she never meant it to happen. She was good, then it happened to her,
like a bag pulled over her head.

The sky's completely blue, so the grass is dry.
They'll be able to sit with no trouble.
They sit, they talk about everything - then they eat their picnic.
They put the food on the blanket, so it stays clean.
They've always done it this way; they take the grass themselves.

The rest - how two people can lie down on the blanket -
they know about it but they're not ready for it.
They know people who've done it, as a kind of game or trial-
then you say no, wrong time, I think I'll just keep being a child.
But your body doesn't listen. It knows everything now,
it says you're not a child, you haven't been a child for a long time.

Their thinking is, stay away from change. It's an avalanche -
all the rocks sliding down the mountain, and the child standing underneath
just gets killed.

They sit in the best place, under the poplars.
And they talk - it must be hours now, the sun's in a different place.
About school, about people they both know,
about being adult, about how you knew what your dreams were.

They used to play games, but that's stopped now- too much touching.
They only touch each other when they fold the blanket.

They know this in each other.
That's why it isn't talked about.
Before they do anything like that, they'll need to know more -
in fact, everything that can happen. Until then, they'll just watch
and stay children.

Today she's folding the blanket alone, to be safe.
And he looks away-he pretends too lost in thought to help out.

They know that at some point you stop being children, and at that point
you become strangers. It seems unbearably lonely.

When they get home to the village, it's nearly twilight.
It's been a perfect day; they talk about this,
about when they'll have a chance to have a picnic again.

They walk through the summer dusk,
not holding hands but telling each other everything.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wal-Mart is in Brazil. But this week, the employees are in Bentonville, AR. I know, because I heard them stomping, clapping, and chanting a Wal-Mart cheer in the Northwest Arkansas airport the other day. The entire facility shook with the raw force of the Wal-Martness of it all.

Fayetteville, AR is very pretty. There were indigo buntings all about. There were nice bookshops. My son really, really wants a Razorbacks t-shirt. Leave it to that boy to find some sort of retail need, even in the heart of the Ozarks.

In other news, I got glasses today. I don't know if they are sexy-secretary enough for my husband, but I'll soon find out. They are not what I expected to get, but they were certainly the first choice of everyone in the store. They are, however, BIFOCALS! But those are now called "progressive lenses." Come on, call them what they are. I can take it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

In other news...

Have you tried the Buffalo Chicken Wings-flavor Goldfish? I can't find any reference to them on the Internet. Did I dream it up? The intense, spicy flavor? The lick-your-fingers saltiness?

Also, I bought some deodorant and won't use yours anymore honey. I got some kind of Kuka Coconut scent. The web site says that my "scent expression" is as addictive as Caribbean folk music (what is Caribbean folk music? is it not politically correct to use the word reggae?). I was just excited to have a pina colada party in my pits.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

From "The Tail Section":

"Okay Des, why did you stand there with your mouth agape when you could have high tailed it into the water and brought poor Charlie an air tank?

Maybe that is exactly what happened! Wasn't that the song Charlie was 'writing' playing on Jack's radio when he pulled up to the funeral parlor?"
So, not Locke or Ben!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

It's not that I don't have anything to blog about, it's that I don't know where to start!

My daughter's soccer team won the championship game for their age level. And a good thing, since the coach a. found religion right before the game and has us pray and b. he only left the best players in the game at the end. Did I agree with these strategies? Not really. I also don't agree that the team should rent a gas-guzzler to drive around contributing to greenhouse gasses for two hours.

At age 8.

But I'm glad she won and it was fun to be on the championship team, if only this one time. Another such victory would be unlikely in her lifetime, but would be amazing....

Are you listening to me, Atlanta Braves?

I was highly disappointed with the 24 finale, much like the rest of the country. Actually, I was relieved that Jack didn't die. At least die during an awesome season!

Tonight is the Lost finale and I'm highly excited. Our church has an important vote on moving forward with an expensive and somewhat controversial renovation project. I'm going, mainly to SUPPORT MY HUSBAND, who has worked so hard and did me so proud when he was chair of a starter committee for this project. But I will have to leave at my witching hour - sometime before Lost starts and when my children grow tired of sitting on a hard floor watching some poorly animated Christian video and need to get home to rest up for bureaucratic testing.

And also the weather? It is hot and dry and I don't like it.

Back to perky happiness tomorrow, I hope.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Grocery store breakdown:

My local Harris Teeter:
friendly, friendly people...I love them all including Tim the bagger who calls me "Gorgeous" or "Pretty Lady", and Miss Doris who is sweet despite what all else she has going on and I suspect it is a lot as she is raising her granddaughter. Expensive, but small, which I like, and beginning to carry quite a bit of organic stuff. I hate their deli and rarely go to it.

My local Food Lion:
bleak, full of trans fats and high fructose corn syrup and no produce to speak of. But convenient and cheap as all hell. I frequent it in the summertime when funds dry up at our house. (The life of the preschool teacher and the self-employed dude - it sucks to be us)

Whole Foods:
I'm always on guard the moment I enter that store. The employees are mercurial, the aisles always unfamiliar, the choices overwhelming. But I go, I sometimes find a bargain (there is no cheaper, better milk and you can get an iced tea whilst you shop), and I can pop in the yarn store, wine store, and book store during a visit.

Fresh Market:
my guilty pleasure. A sample of coffee, classical music, and pretty flowers. I am lured by the creature comforts it offers. I don't think their meat is good at all. I think their baked goods are stale. I never find a dinner for the fam that is reasonably priced. But I go there, enticed by their siren song, at least once a week. There I said it, I've confessed.

Big. Bulky. Reminds me of when my children were tiny and women accosted me for not having a hat, blanket, long pants on that baby. Depressing. Even seeing the word "Kroger" gives me the heebies.

Trader Joe's:
Hello, gorgeous. Come over to Raleigh, won't you? This chain is so.....HAWAIIAN. Their foods are so tasty. The store is so manageable. Lots of white people shop there, but I never said I wasn't white. The crab cakes! The simmer sauces! The meringue cookies! I always take my own bags and they treat me like the Saviour of the Known World. That said, I can't get maxipads there. But it doesn't matter. No, Trader Joe's, it doesn't matter. I think I will always love you. We'll make this long-distance thing work.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

YouTube - Baby Jesus Prayer in "Talladega Nights"

There's no shame in watching it again.

Sickie went back to school today. He is a good sort. And frankly, much better behaved when sick. But we like his effervescent crazy self too.

Lost continues to be crazy good, and last night made me cry, but there is much on the Internet to read about all that and I won't contribute any more to it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I long to post the picture I took on Mother's Day and to tell you of the charming sentiments I received and compliments, etc.

But instead I want you to feel my pain. The pain I feel upon urinating. Why? And more importantly, why now? A UTI! Do adults even get those? Ouch.

And feel the pain of my son, whose vomiting has stopped but whose appetite has not returned and who insisted he must go on the field trip wherein the class hiked 2 miles in the sun, and who had to be carried (by his endocrinically-challenged mother) up a long gravel trail to the car.

Also, my son, he has emotional pain. He had written a darling missive to his mom entitled "Happy Mother's Day" that was stolen on the bus and then passed around to a bunch of ugly, stinky, wart-ridden girls on the bus who taunted him by saying he loved his mommy. He ran all the way home and hid in the bushes for 10 minutes after the bus ride. And we are not riding the bus this week (that is, we won't ride it if he ever goes back to school). Double ouch.

The pain affects my poor daughter, who has decided to go ahead and try out for an advanced soccer training program. This thing is expensive, it feels like it is so NOT us, it involves four days of tryouts??, and I just don't know, nor does she, if it is the right thing for her. Is it? How will we ever know? I hardly think she is the next Mia Hamm. But what if she really is?

The pain of the checkbook and its empty, gnawing feeling is one you've heard before and may be experiencing yourself this lovely month post-taxes. OUCH. OUCH. OUCH.

I'm going to call my gynecologist now.