Monday, December 29, 2008

In trying to eat like the Hawaiian locals, we did venture close to Spam sushi, but never went there. Good for you, Mr. President-elect.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Three Days After Christmas! My tree smells great, I had champizzle for brunch, I worked just an hour or two since Thursday, and my children are still sweet and grateful for the Christmas bounty. Truly, I ask you, what's to enjoy about the pre-season? Give me the days after for true relaxation.

I watched the Bejing Opening Ceremonies last night, in between naps, with a mixture of disbelief and horror. Why didn't you people tell me it was so frightful? YIKES is all I can say to 2,000 drummers in line and in unison, and I'm something of a percussionist myself.

The children received a Wii, against my best wishes, but so far so good. Friends have counseled me that it is all good. We don't really play computer games, and my urchins have thus far appreciated the new bikes and bouncy playground balls to the Wii...and their favorite Wii game is tennis which does actually involve movement. I had been debating getting them a hand-held game for the car so I guess this is ok. Feel free to berate me and tell me "I told you so" since I was all "no video games". I can take it. After Friday's breakdown (and subsequent back rub, sympathy, and other attentions from my husband) I'm strong!

We saw the Carolina Ballet's Nutcracker yesterday and enjoyed it a lot. It really is a quality production, and very charming. My daughter's best bud was a truffle. I also like the intermission coffee.

We also attended a Boxing Day soiree that was 2 intense hours of social fascination. I guess I knew almost all the attendees, and everyone was feeling peckish after a few days with family, and there was an open bar -- and well, you can figure out the rest. Good times, good times. My husband left floating on air - he was compared to George, Jon, and Errol????? I kissed at least one guest on the mouth and teared up about the Christmas spirit and my family. Ah, vodka.

So the holidays continue with some fun for my children (sleepovers? What are people thinking?) and I may actually try the Wii. If I can get my butt off the couch.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hostess gifts are tricky. Or not, depending on what you have on hand and for whom you buy. Adorable options can read up on Mighty Girl's Target finds, or see what Domino mag says about the subject (warning: lengthy and maybe not good, as I didn't have time to watch the vid). Or you can try some of these tricks. If you received one of these from me and didn't like it, let me know.

Fruit/homebaked goods. I always think this is a good idea. I gave a bag of clementines on top of oranges on top of grapefruit this year. Even if my host had a buttload of citrus like I do, she could re-gift or make juice or whatever. I like handing over a pumpkin loaf with a one-pot bag of coffee for the morning after a party, too.

Lotions/handcreams. I found some awesome organic stuff in the mountains - you can visit this place in person for maximum fun, or go online to Hazelwood Soap Company. Candles are nice, too...and this site as well as those large candle shops sell the new rage, soy.

Ornaments. Three words for you: Pier 1 Imports. Three more words: Also World Market. Cute, fun, cheap.

Method holiday soaps. Sometimes, if I'm feelin' crafty, I'll knit a washcloth with festive holiday colors to attach to some dish soap. I love the hand soaps, too.

There's always wine, but I may be one of the few people who loves a $10 and under bottle. There's a bunch out there that I love right now.

May your parties be fun, and your host gifts completely appropriate.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bill Cunningham ran into a bunch of Santas....

Friday, December 19, 2008

No groceries are bought,
the shopping's not done
but none of that matters,
'cause I'm having fun!
I'd rather not do all
the things on my list...
I'm more of a party-type -
you get my gist?
I'd rather go visit
with friends (and some not)
than cook dainty pastries
or wrap toys for my tots.
I'd rather surf the net
for ideas and news
than to polish the silver
or buy some more booze.
So procrastinate?
Yes! I'll sit here all day
while Santa bemoans
how I've not filled his sleigh.
Then last-minute-like,
I'll dash out in the night
and accomplish so much
in a schedule so tight!
And Christmas will happen
tho I worry a bit,
that the house isn't clean and
the cat may have shit...
I'll treasure it all...
as I do every year.
I may seem stressed,
but I know what is dear.

(Written in under 3 minutes)

Friday, December 12, 2008

The 21? 22? year-old feline is yowling in the night and pooping on the floor and seems to be the worst type of geriatric patient. I can tell few people about this and expect sympathy, as we live in the age of major, expensive care for pets. Gone are the days of the outdoor cat, like mine, who was born on the streets and rescued? by me to live a nomad's life. (By my count she has moved with me 6 times...and only been lost once, when the neighbor's dog chased her to another street. Where she found a loving woman who gave her four cans of wet food a day and would have kept her had we not been idiotic enough to post a "Lost Cat" sign. )

So...I'm taking her to a new vet, but that takes time...I have to get her old records, find a vet that doesn't charge $250 for a senior cat panel, find a spare hour in this, the church's busy season, and wait for the month's paycheck to get deposited. In the meantime, I bought some Feliway spray. This seems to work a bit when applied to her sleeping areas and where she poops. But it is the Calm Kitty elixer of happiness, added to her water bowl (or milk if I'm feeling guilty) that she loves.

I couldn't find a link to this magical product, but it's out there. And people, I myself may have to try some (remember - I will try anything) . It has mystical aloe essence, and oil of orchid, and hibiscus parfums.....

....and 13% alcohol. For the same price, my husband noted, we could just give her a jigger of Bailey's every night. Cheers!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mommy, What's a Single?

It's the things that cost .99 on iTunes. From Rolling Stone. If you liked it, you shoulda put a ring on it!

100 - "Yes We Can"
99 The Enemy - "You're Not Alone"
98 Teyana Taylor - "Google Me"
97 Sheryl Crow - "Now That You're Gone"
96 Little Joy - "Brand New Start"
95 Lucinda Williams - "Real Love"
94 Los Campesinos - "Miserabilia"
93 Madonna - "Candy Shop"
92 White Denim - "Shake Shake Shake"
91 O'Neal McKnight - "Check Your Coat"
90 Busta Rhymes - "Don't Touch Me (Throw da Water on 'Em)"
89 Old Crow Medicine Show - "Alabama High-Test"
88 Bon Iver - "Skinny Love"
87 Friendly Fires - "Jump in the Pool"
86 The Rumble Strips - "Cowboy"
85 M83 - "Kim & Jessie"
84 Lil Wayne - "A Milli"
83 Get 'Em Mamis - "Cold Summer"
82 Santogold & Diplo - "Icarus"
81 The Knux - "Cappuccino"
80 Mudcrutch - "Crystal River"
79 Kid Cudi - "Day 'N' Nite"
78 Love As Laughter - "Holy"
77 Hercules And Love Affair - "Blind"
76 The Roots - "Rising Down"
75 Flo Rida feat. T-Pain - "Low"
74 Ra Ra Riot - "Dying is Fine"
73 Ciarra feat. Ludacris - "High Price"
72 Sam Sparro - "Black and Gold"
71 Phantom Planet - "Do the Panic"
70 Busy Signal - "Tic Toc"
69 Missy Elliott - "Ching-A-Ling"
68 Fall Out Boy - "I Don't Care
67 M.I.A. - "Shells"
66 Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"
65 The Virgins - "Rich Girls"
64 She and Him - "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here"
63 LCD Soundsystem - "Big Ideas"
62 The Gaslight Anthem - "The '59 Sound"
61 Robyn - "Cobrastyle"
60 Ne-Yo - "Closer"
59 Low vs Diamond - "Don't Forget Sister"
58 Jazmine Sullivan - "Bust Your Windows"
57 Charles Hamilton - "Brooklyn Girls"
56 The Hold Steady - "Constructive Summer"
55 Sigur Rós - "Gobbledigook"
54 Cat Power - "I Believe In You"
53 AC/DC - "Big Boi"
52 Lee Ann Womack - "Last Call"
51 Ashlee Simpson - "Rule Breaker"
50 Jackson Browne - "Time the Conqueror"
49 Jonas Brothers - "Video Girl"
48 John Mellencamp - "Troubled Land"
47 Janelle Monáe - "Many Moons"
46 Taylor Swift - "Fifteen"
45 Foals - "Cassius"
44 Panic At The Disco - "Nine in the Afternoon"
43 Erykah Badu - "The Healer"
42 The Raconteurs - "Salute Your Solution"
41 Duffy - "Warwick Avenue"
40 Kings Of Leon - "Sex On Fire"
39 The Academy Is... - "About a Girl"
38 Jamey Johnson - "High Cost of Living"
37 Bob Dylan - "Someday Baby"
36 Usher feat. Beyoncé and Lil Wayne - "Love in this Club, Pt. 2"
35 Kaiser Chiefs - "Addicted to Drugs"
34 Gnarls Barkley - "Run"
33 The Raveonettes - "Aly, Walk With Me"
32 N.E.R.D. - "Everyone Nose"
31 Conor Oberst - "Moab"
30 Weezer - "Pork and Beans"
29 Pink - "So What"
28 Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne - "Let It Rock"
27 The Ting Tings - "Shut Up and Let Me Go"
26 The Rapture - "No Sex for Ben"
25 Leona Lewis - "Bleeding Heart"
24 Lykke Li - "I'm Good, I"m Gone"
23 The Black Keys - "I Got Mine"
22 Jay-Z and T.I. - "Swagga Like Us"
21 Vampire Weekend - "One (Blake's Got a New Face)"
20 Katy Perry - "I Kissed a Girl"
19 Guns N' Roses - "Better"
18 Kid Rock - "All Summer Long"
17 The Killers - "Spaceman"
16 Young Jeezy - "My President"
15 Al Green - "Lay It Down"
14 The BPA feat. David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal - "Toe Jam"
13 Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - "Magick"
12 TV On The Radio - "Golden Age"
11 Rihanna - "Disturbia"
10 T.I. - "No Matter What"
09 Coldplay - "Viva la Vida"
08 My Morning Jacket - "I'm Amazed"
07 Estelle feat. Kanye West - "American Boy"
06 Beck - "Gamma Ray"
05 Lil Wayne - "Lollipop"
04 Blitzen Trapper - "Furr"
03 MGMT - "Time to Pretend"
02 Santogold - "LES Artistes"
01 Beyoncé - "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


When going through the Christmas stuff, I found a tin that had been put away last year with cookies in it. I took a bite. Wouldn't you have? It was gingery and somewhat moist, but did have a staleness.

We also had last year's egg nog from the famous Egg Nog Party that my parents go to annually. The "egg nog" consists of a lot of grain alcohol (a substance that I have only ingested in my home town - why is that?) and some nutmeg. Also something creamy (Bailey's?). This stuff keeps for a year, but a little goes a long way, especially undiluted. My husband and I enjoyed some in cordial glasses whilst decorating the tree. I had dreams of intense swimming in currents, losing my job without knowing why, and outrunning a murderer with a gun in a retail store. My back is now out and apparently at one point I woke up screaming. No more year-old "egg nog" for me!

The children made the popular pretzel/rolo/M&M treat this weekend. Comments: 1. Not good for those whose gums have been sewn together like a quilt, and 2. leftover m&ms are dangerous indeed.

If you make the Joy of Cooking's french toast, I recommend that you add cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter. And I always go for the maple syrup over sugar in the eggs. I do use skim milk instead of cream, but I have occasionally used Silk or Egg Nog.

I had the world's crappiest Indian food last week. I truly thought, that like pizza, there was not going to be any bad Indian food. I was wrong. Don't go here. I have heard about a fantastic Indian place in Cary - details when I get them - and of course the high end Indian at Azitra is tasty if not pricey.

Finally, in the midst of all this eating, I am trying to start jogging. Not going well. But I love it? Just a little? Exercise - it's really like a wonder drug. You can feel free to hit me now.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Guest stars - always worth the price of admission!

I can watch it on our big-ass new tv (well, big for us...we've been using a 19 incher for 17 years now) as soon as we get it hooked up, HONEY.

I can live with this new technology if it involves me seeing things up close, and in great detail...

image via exclusiveartistsblog

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Whilst I Enjoyed "Tropic Thunder" And Laughed Heartily, I Thought it Was a Boy Movie

Except for this part, that I had to watch three times.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I love my family, but this Thanksgiving will not have Gourmet tendencies. I'm not sure what to think of the crock-pot stuffing that will be served. And though I enjoy, in a sentimental way, the picture above, I'm BYOCS (bringing my own cranberry sauce). Let's just hope that the roads are not so icy that I can't get away to work out or get some air or whatever, and that everyone remembers their very best Thanksgiving mountains. That, and their own personal stash of alcohol.

Enjoy your holiday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things I've heard this week:

1. "I don't want to be old and dried up when I'm like 30. (pause) But you're not like that, ma'am."

2. "I dreamed I had candy in my pants."

3. "The mouths of the people will drop. open."

4. "You, as the conductor, are in full control of your musicians."

Who said it?

a. Sexy musical artiste
b. my son
c. a grocery bagger
d. one of my preschool students

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Love Story

I love Taylor Swift. A few months ago my daughter found out about a song and video that I found at once catchy, if not a bit fluffy. That would be "Love Story." See how pretty and unskanky Taylor looks -- sorry, you have to click to see....

But then. Last week we're riding home from who knows where and we hear a song on the radio. From the opening riffs, I guess it is Taylor Swift and impress my children. My daughter and son both knew the song - they told me it was "Our Song" from Taylor's first record. And I listen closely and hear:

"Our song is the slamming screen doors,
Sneakin' out late, tapping on your window
When we're on the phone and you talk real slow
'cause it's late and your mama don't know
Our song is the way you laugh
The first date "man, I didn't kiss her, and I should have"
And when I got home ... before I said amen
Asking God if he could play it again"

In a choked up voice, I squeaked out, "Oh."

Is that not the cutest capture of high school? DUDE. And her voice! Clear, straight tone, unstrained, and NOT NASAL (Yes, Miley Cyrus, I'm looking at and Ashley Tisdale.).

Our Song - Taylor Swift

The 3 minute pop song is my life's soundtrack, and y'all know despite my indie tendencies I'm not averse to folks like Justin and Beyonce and Gwen and Madonna - if they keep to their tight, edited little frothy concotions. Taylor has done it and without the annoying, repeptitive twang of today's country (sorry if I'm offending...maybe my new fascination will help me to be more open-minded).

So I get home after wiping away tears of music love and nostalgia, and open up a New Yorker that's sitting around.

And Sasha Frere-Jones loves her too! His article, like a lot of his, is a gushfest and almost too critiquey, but he knows more about her than I do, so I enjoyed it. Also, read how much better he describes "Our Song".

" 'Our Song' ” was not Swift’s first hit, but it was the first to stop me in my tracks. It’s a breezy recounting of frustration, streaked with simple phrases so conversational that on first hearing they fly by without registering. For example: “He’s got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel, the other on my heart.” Not one hand here and another there; first comes a “one-hand feel,” and then the asymmetrical “hand”—on someone else’s heart, not his own. The song’s tension is that Swift and her man don’t have a song to call their own; its genius is that they never pick one—their romance is the song, and both characters get a chance to narrate. Swift, the writer, also gets to transubstantiate; their song is their life as she describes it.

Now, I should warn you not to watch the video for "Our Song", cause remember that unskankiness? Yeah, apparently she didn't konw how to avoid it on the first album. Taylor's new release is obliterating the charts, iTunes, etc. etc. so you'll hear more of her, obviously, and good thing, too. I have given my full approval for my children to follow her career. Let's hope she continues to let her music do the talking.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Carlos and Reggie, Guppies. Carlos has a blueish hue...he is a Turquoise Guppy. Reggie is a Tuxedo Gold or some such. They seem very pleasant thus far. I feel sorry for them. The children love them.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Now that Scrabulous is gone, Facebook doesn't hold as many wonders for me. I've tried promoting events on there, and keeping up with organizations that I work with/volunteer for, but it really doesn't seem to serve that purpose, as I am not in high school.

The purpose it has served, however, is to render meaningless the phrase "whatever happened to?" I now know what happened to Greg, he with whom I had a tense hook-up one night in college. He was broody, smart as hell, little, and of course I was completely intrigued. Despite my pseudo-edginess, I was perhaps needy at the time, so you can imagine the scene both that night and the days that followed. My roommates nicknamed him "F.O.G.", for "Fear of Greg". His arrival in classes or the cafeteria was noted by their poking me and saying in a spooky voice, "The F.O.G. is rolling in...."

Last I saw Greg, his then-girlfriend was flinging his belongings out of a 2nd story apartment window whilst screaming obsenities. Now I know that he lives in a hip urban center, is into Mingus, the New York Dolls, A Confederacy of Dunces and Tristam Shandy, and is going to a birthday party this weekend. Granted, I knew about the music and books already, but did I need to be reminded?

I also now know what happened to Mark, and I'm happy about it: a fun and wry wit from high school, he has his PhD and teaches history at a nearby venerable institution. We're meeting for lunch next week. Mark would be the fellow that made our chemistry teacher, whom we called Mick Jagger (and for good reason) say, "Silver nitrate will turn your hands black, even you Mark!" I can't wait to ask if he remembers this moment.

I guess I just want some mystery to my past. I wonder if I'll ever again have those surreal moments of bumping into someone from your old life. I literally bumped into a guy I used to know Manhattan! Pete had taken me to a fraternity dance in college. He was handsome, fit, smelled delish, and an amazing dancer. On the night of our date we enjoyed a super-long, very public, fantastic makeout session....and then we just resumed our friendship. When I ran into Pete many years later outside a Broadway theatre, he was thrilled to introduce me to his new boyfriend. He still smelled and looked great: he just had bigger muscles and gel in his hair.

I'm sure he'll friend me soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I was a secret policy wonk this past election season. And I say secret because I hid it from my family. My husband is a well-known political junkie, and I just didn't think our house/family/social life would survive with two of us in the house. So I started a few rituals: whilst making dinner or before everyone got into the kitchen for breakfast, I would watch CNN non-stop. In the car, no more jazz - just NPR. (Or, in the days before the economic meltdown, Rush Limbaugh. I kid you not.) And I became a devoted follower of Nathan Silver.

FiveThirtyEight was fun, impressive for a non-numbers gal, and generally a calming influence for someone who worried about certain races going certain ways, that they certainly did not. Apparently, I'm not alone in Loving Nate - check out the NYTimes, Newsweek, and Facebook.

So now the election is over, and Nate Silver is worried people won't care about politics anymore. But as my friend Linda said, now is the time to put the shoulder to the wheel. I'm taking down my political signs today (don't blame me for leaving them up for a week - those on differing sides from me in my 'hood have done the same and I suspect won't take them down anytime soon). I'm ready to recommit to helping people in my circle, to advocate for those less fortunate in my community, and to try to keep our own family economics from imploding. I'm proud and happy - and especially grateful that gender and race seemed to be non-issues last week (especially in my state!) - but I won't be a pompous, gloating ass about it. Starting now!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It Just Gets Weirder

via Sasha Frere-Jones

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Because I am slightly melancholy over the ending of elementary school, I insisted we all go, as a family, to the State Fair. We didn't buy advance tickets, and we didn't have a free evening. So we skipped something (soccer, I think) and I took out $700 cash from the ATM, and off we went. Daddy was to take the bus and meet us.

As we walked in, earlier drama over too much homework and whatever happened at school that day melted away into memory. Someone smiled at me and asked if I wanted an admission ticket. Sure! Later, someone asked us if we wanted their leftover ride tickets. Yes! "Good Karma", my daughter assured me.

(We went one day earlier than Paul Friedrich, he of Onion Head Monster fame. Which was too bad, as his day-long experiment? performance art piece? heart attack- inducement exercise? fascinated me.)

My son ate:

Half of a funnel cake sprinkled with another half pound of powdered sugar

a foot-long hot dog

an apple (from one of the exhibits on agriculture that I thrust upon my young charges)

a deep-fried Snickers bar

(He had a lot of gas that night.)

The children's favorite rides involved them going high in the air, in circles. One ride, a favorite for years, is a hanglider-type contraption. Watching them soar over the fair was fairly magical, and worth the traffic and depleted bank account.

Daddy met us without too much trouble, having taken the bus from his swanky new downtown office. We only argued about what and where to eat for 15 minutes, a family record! And all agreed to go see the cows and bunnies. I didn't get to see the gardening competition...but only because I felt like my feet were going to separate from my ankles (for exercise that day I walked for an hour...dumb. Just finding that hanglider ride was over a mile trek).

The fair was a pretty Republican-seeming place...but there were the occasional Democratic stickers, and usually on people who looked less urban than I might have thought. I saw most of the Dems in the Village of Yesteryear. What does THAT mean?

We parked far away from the fair, which was not only free, but that much closer to our house. Home in 10 minutes, then showers to wash off that special brand of fair grime. My son, who spent a good portion of his fair time on the GROUND, got a Mommy-scrubbing. Ewww. And we read books and drifted off, and another fall is upon us and the leaves turn and the children grow and the days are shorter than ever.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bill Cunningham on "colah"

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Other causes I lurve:

The Gail Perkins ovarian awareness
group has a walk that has taken place, but their site has wonderful information and there's always next year!

Remember that the JRDF walk is coming up soon - you can always support my friend Scott.

Hearts with Haiti really needs your help. Things in Haiti are almost bleaker than I can comprehend.

And of course I encourage you to donate to the candidate of your choice for state and local races, as well as the big 'un.

I'm feeling like I should put positiveness out into the uni, so I'll report that my family had a special time of it this weekend. Team Whilst traveled to a town west of here for my daughter's soccer tournament. Not only did she play crazy great (including performing a block that had her sliding into the ball to knock it away from an offensive opponent...she would be on the highlights reel), but we all enjoyed the Emb-ASS-y Suites - free breakfast! Complimentary cocktails! A separate room for Mom and Dad! There was also the 10 hours of sleep we all got Saturday night. Love the church gig, but it cuts into my Saturday/Sunday laziness.

So I'm feeling good and healthy and aware and rested, and I want you all to feel the same. That's my wish tonight.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Also about my son? He has a favorite new playmate at recess, a boy who is not in his class. From what we can tell, the boy speaks in another language that "is not Spanish", but his English is good enough that he and my son discuss any number of things. The playmate's name, according to my son, is "Y2K".

Y2K is apparently funny, engaging, and quickly becoming popular with the 3rd grade boys. Until the school directory is published, we may not know his real name. Even then, some of the Montanyard children at school's names go almost completely unknown....initials are used. So for now, Y2K it is. My son says it is spelled "Ytookay." I prefer the numbers. I"ll keep you posted....I can't wait to meet him!

Monday, October 06, 2008

My son asked, "Is 'Mad Men' your 'SpongeBob'?"

I replied, "No, 'Lost' is."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

On the Street with Bill Cunningham< - another fun fall truffle.
On the Street with Bill Cunningham - another fun fall truffle.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Y'all know I'm, at the very least, a bit fascinated with Britney Spears. I loved when my sister-in-law got tickets to see her concert, and then got my daughter a t-shirt. I shielded my children from the worst of it (though they heard about it at school), and I basically forbade them from watching "Zoey 101" when Jamie Lynn Spears got pregnant at age 16.

Yes. I decided they should not watch that show, based upon the actions of the star in her personal life.

So when Bristol Palin shows up pregnant, proud, touted, and supported on a national stage, what was I to do? I didn't let my children watch. I didn't even tell them about her or her condition. But I let myself get swept along in the tide of public opinion. I agreed that "that's life".

So it is with a heavy heart, in these dark times, that I tell you I actually applaud Lynne Spears. I admit, finally, that it took guts for that family to keep that baby. I admit that we have treated them badly, we who watch from afar. Sorry about that.

For more on the story, visit the venerable news source, "Pink is the New Blog". I swear, sometimes it takes a celebrity web site to make you realize your own double standard.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's time for my semi-annual, preachy blog post on do-goodery. In the midst of awards season, election fever, and the change in weather, I want to remember to get out there and make change happen.

My husband and son were actively involved in the Stop Hunger Now! packaging of meals held here in the Raleigh area last week. "Dash" got to run bags of meal back and he was happy. Our group packaged over 40,000 nutritious meals. Not shabby for a couple of hours of work.

My friends support the JDRF and their annual walk. What a good reason to stroll about in the Fall!

Banned Books Week is next week. Note your favorites on the splash page. Do what you can to learn about how to keep libraries free, open spaces for us all.

Regardless what you support or don't, you should vote. It feels, especially now as we enter troubled financial waters and tight races, that our one vote is insignificant. And it is. But we still get to do it, and that is something. Not everyone does. You can register with Barack or John, or you can rock. Editor's note: These sites are SUCH an improvement over having to find some out of the way library back in the day to go prove who you were and how old you were, etc.! This Internets thing is really wonderful!

There is a lot of talk, and will be in the next month, about faith-based organizations and the work they do to help the underpriveledged. I am an employee of a faith-based organization of sorts. I also have mixed feelings about such organizations. But I will not deny, and I will not have you malign, the important work they do for the least of these. At my place of work alone we are focusing on Stop Hunger Now, WIHN, Wee Care, Urban Ministries, ZOE, and a Red Cross blood drive. And that's just this week. Most folks I know are equally busy at their places of is really heartening, when you are low, to look around at the good work people do. I'm proud of you, friends - you know who you are!

That's enough preaching for one day. This all comes from me feeling so tiny and small, that the problems are so overreaching, and that the People StyleWatch didn't lift me up like I hoped it would. Sometimes I need to stop and remember that there are ways that I can bring hope and change, if only for a few, if only for a little while.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Don't tell my husband, but I just spent $80 on one undergarment. We won't call it a bra, we'll call it a brassiere.

When one has special needs, one seeks a specialist. So it was that I ventured to J. Alane's in the tony Lassiter shopping village. A girl who did not look unlike P!nk took me back, asked me outright my bra size, and then laughed as I measured two inches smaller in one area and two inches bigger in another. Who knew? She then pushed, pulled, and mauled me into the garment in question.

What does my eighty smackers get me? A French-made, long-lasting, uber-supportive brassiere that lifts the girls and smoothes, shapes, whatever else you can think of. Whilst other gals may spend their money on clothing consultants and wardrobe assistants, I went a bit deeper. I believe a solid foundation will serve me well.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I don't know whether or not to let my children see P!nk's new poignant, energetic video. I worry that my son would want to pee in bottles and offer it to people, and that they might start to understand heartbreak....

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This could be terrifying or fun, depending on Guillermo's mood, I guess.

My (ancient, annoying, immortal) cat looks a lot like the Spaghetti Cat.

Also, I saw this on the treadmill today. Maybe Sarah Palin and Michelle could have a dance-off?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Beanie!

My husband's birthday involved yet another tropical system. As far as those monsters go, this one was mild. We lost power for all of five minutes and got five inches of needed rain. He got to sleep in, read the paper in bed, and enjoy pancakes. And then he had to GO!

I don't know why my husband, who is inherently a bit lazy, needs to go/run/do on Saturdays. It drives me nuts, but go we did. We went downtown to the new convention center, the International Festival, and the various food/artist/bizarre vendors surrounding both. Hubby had Nepalese food. My daughter and I had some bizarre Chinese sweet buns, and my son went Bangladeshi.

Then, my son and husband went out for a birthday afternoon of canvassing voters. That's right. He spent his birthday going door-to-door, talking to undecided voters. You gotta love this guy...or at least admire him...or puzzle, along with me, about what makes him tick.

They got a few people who were interested in chatting, someone who shut the door in their faces (my baby!), and a man who felt compelled to speak to them for an HOUR (my baby!) about Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. Then they went and got Locopops.

Flush with political happy times, Hubby then watched his beloved Demon Deacons pull it out in the last minute! With that victory, he also enjoyed his new favorite beer - a Bud Light Lime. NOW are you puzzled about what makes him tick??

We ended the day with a special lasagna and a family viewing of "Stick It" and some special couple time. Was it a good birthday, Beanie? I hope so, 'cause you deserve it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

I'm tired of politics. So let's do some random musings.

At an exit on the beltline: a shiny black Honda convertible with the license tag "MBA JD". Good for you? Beside it, a shiny neon blue Nissan 350 Z or something with the tag "DROPOUT". Better for YOU!

The Tropical Storm called Hanna is now entering these parts. It feels like a snow day, except a lot more humid. I have chips, salsa, limes, and ground lamb for a special lasagna. Also, I have my trendy book. And HBO!

(My favorite thing about my job, by the way, is that my boss has a PhD in meterology. He has called four times today to report on INCOMING RAIN BANDS. I am out of my head with joy.)

The start of school is always so totally fraught. People upset about their teacher, their carpool situation, their child's behaviour. We've been dealing with tired monkeys who have bits of colds. And also the transition from summer to school, which sucks all around for everyone. Still, they are excited to go each day, and for that I am extremely grateful and proud. All this to say: I'm not going to complain because it's all pretty good.

Next weekend is a potential girls' beach weekend for me. I've not done this since 2002. And before that, I'm not sure that I ever did it. I'm nervous, as I sometimes drink too much and say things that offend or shock or whatever it is that I do. Also, I never sleep well away from home. But I'm also excited as this particular group of ladies has few who really get on my nerves, and the ones that do get on my nerves do so only occasionally. Really, I think I am the one who gets on nerves in this group. So barring a full-on attack from Hurricane Ike, I'll hopefully report back to you next week tanned, rested, and seriously hungover. Oh! And we're discussing the porn book. My husband said not to act any of it out, but if I did, make sure and film it.

Monday, September 01, 2008

From the Times:

"Asked if Ms. Palin would be able to juggle the demands of the vice presidency with her complicated family life, Mr.[Steve] Schmidt [McCain strategist] said, 'She’s been a very effective governor and again I can’t imagine that question being asked of a man.'"

OH REALLY? I beg to differ, Steve! John Edwards' main trouble, it always seemed to me, was that he continued to run for office though his wife had breast cancer. Granted, that guy dealt with his stress in a way less preferable than what you would want from a presidential hopeful, but still. Do not, Steve, play the gender card that way. I think we both know that when Governor Palin was picked as a VP candidate you she was not considered just for being an "effective governor".

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I've not known how to put down my thoughts on Hillary in this forum, knowing that many of you read it are Republicans, some are devotedly in love with Senator Obama, and some couldn't give a shit about any politics....but you should know that I am one of those people who really wanted to see her win.

I know she had crooked real estate dealings. I know her "marriage" is non-traditional. I know she is power hungry. I know she's a bitch. ("Yeah. She is...and so am I....") Yet, I was given a chance to vote for a smart, qualified, experienced (please don't flinch when I use that word....Obama is plenty experienced and everyone knows it) candidate who cares about the issues I do and who happens to be a woman. This may not happen again in my lifetime, nor my daughter's. But I can tell my daughter, regardless, about the time someone really did put those 18,000 cracks in the glass ceiling and really changed things for women in America. I'll tell her, too, that on a pre-menstrual, rainy night I watched Hillary's speech at 3:30 a.m. (you try sleeping when your hormones are causing your synapses to snap, crackle and pop) and I cried...even when I was bored by the stats and politicospeak...because we had a chance to see what a woman can do leading America and that chance, for now, is gone.

I am supporting Obama/Biden 100% and I plan to talk to my fellow Hillary supporters (especially those who will perhaps head McCain's way) about why. I believe Obama will work with Senator Clinton, Speaker Pelosi, and other ladies in leadership positions. And finally, I think Michelle Obama will be as powerful a first lady as we've seen....not since the likes of....Hillary.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I just love the New York Times fashion moments...just a little video blurbette for the interested observer.

When I have time, I also peruse Face Hunter for street style. They are going further and further abroad, though, so I don't find it as accessible.

I know, I know, the Democratic National Convention starts and the Closing Ceremonies were ridiculous and it might RAIN HERE...shocker....but sometimes you need a break from all that seriousness.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

I get it. I just don't like it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Crocs Don't Rock

From Dooce:

"So we walked over to the ENORMOUS display, I'm talking racks and racks, almost an acre of genital wart-inducing gnome shoes, and she heads straight for the green ones, and I'm all, no way, no how, this right here is called compromise, or in some circles they call it laying down the law. I like to call it There Is No Amendment To The Constitution That States You Get To Choose What Color Of Ugly Shoe Your Mother Is Averse To Even Let You Look At."

Sorry all you. I feel the same way, and thank God Mr. Puma and Ms. Old Navy Slip-On That is Too Big By a Wide Margin haven't mentioned them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Songs of a Season, by Maureen N. McLane

for here or to go--
a glass mug, a paper cup --
life is fast, art slow

only a few years
before all that I am blows
free, subatomic

not for me that life
the careless joy of the dog
not for me that leap

how to say
beautiful weekend
in chinese?

is "weekend" a concept 
in China?


rose petals fell
and the wine uncorked itself
for our pleasure...

what comfort
do you not give me
little cat?


wheatfield bleached near blond
light licking the Luberon
and the sea beyond


the cherry orchard
harvested but for one tree
found that afternoon


yesterday I saw a fox
then saw
it was a deer

all year
I have been mistaking
the hunted
for hunter


for the lilacs the bees
for the maples the jays
for the locust the chickadee
for the lavendar the butterfly
for the bleeding heart the ruby throat
for my lips your tanned throat


in mandarin
The Little Szechuan Place
in english
this modest joint
serves taiwanese home cooking
pigs' ears, beef rolls, doughnuts
for dipping in soy milk


 air thick
with lilac
the strong sun liquefying
the street


mosquito whine


mourning dove at evening

and the ancients thought Venus

two stars equally bright
at morning and evening

doubling the source
of day's beauty


your plum lips
your slim hips


and while I was not thinking
the lake rolled on

and while I was thinking
on a soft summer day sitting by the lake
I missed the lake


with my swizzle stick
and my scissor kick
I'm set for summer
drinks on the deck
and dives from the dock

the main halyard's new
nylon white and blue
the old mainsail's patched
no mice in the hatch

let's cast off from the dock
and break out the bock
set sail for Split Rock


reached for a raspberry
got a nettle

forgot the stove flame
burnt the old kettle


caffe latte -- "caf
or decaf?" little choices
of an afternoon

Monday, August 11, 2008

Of all the things that John Edwards did, or didn't do, that have now
come to light and merit our questions and judgement, the one that
annoys me the most is that he has completely legitimized the National Enquirer. In fact,
by calling their (spot-on) reports "tabloid trash", he has given them
claim to a moral superiority he himself once had. Or, perhaps, he never had this touted moral superiority. Gail Collins says: "If Edwards’s political career is toast, it will be because he has always seemed to be less than a sum of his parts: the position papers, the “Two Americas,” the photogenic grin, the supersmart wife. The only piece of the package that consistently disappointed was the man himself."

Maureen Dowd put the skewer in snugly by calling Edwards' infidelity "oncologically correct". I myself would say that the infidelity is politically correct, as in lots of politicians do it. The decision to do it after trotting one's cancer-stricken wife onto the campaign trail, continuing to campaign for a desperate Democratic Party's nomination, and then lying about it - and funding or having knowledge of the funding of - the cover-up.....well, Senator, there's the rub.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What Would Joan Holloway Do?

Baby got BACK! I love her. (You can also ask Don Draper.)

New episode, tonight at 10. I better stay awake, remember to watch it, and avoid the Olympics. Which may be hard to do. I know, I know....get TiVo.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I am typing from a stand-up station at the library. Our computer is down...AGAIN...but things are looking up. As in, we probably won't be buying a new computer til next year. Some guy sitting next to me at the genius bar (NOT the genius working on my machine) may have solved our problem. Thank you, Greybeard Genius Bar Guy, for suggesting more RAM. We'll let you know how it goes, should we ever run into you again.

More randomness - I promise to get organized soon! I got my hairs cut (as we like to say in our family). Only 5 people have noticed, and of those only 3 seem to like it. My husband loves it, but we all know what his ulterior motives are. My daughter reminded me that it only matters if I like it. And I do.

Top 5 Things I Love About My Baby Niece:

1. She likes me and smiles when she sees me!
2. She opens her mouth wide with amazement...lots.
3. She is completely irresistible when asleep and one wants to wake her and play with her.
4. She drinks and eats heartily and poops the same way.
5. When hiking, attached to an adult in a Baby Bjorn, she sings/talks non-stop.

My session is running out here in the library, and I must go give blood anyway. Have YOU given blood lately? Just asking.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Say what you will about our beloved Chick-Fil-A, but it made the grade. I will admit to occasionally getting fatty spicy dressing (heaven) and sweetened tea, but still.

Did you watch Mad Men's premiere? If not, you can mooch off your connected friends and see not only the missed premiere, but the 2nd episode too!!!! Big secrets revealed! Smarmy! Hot fashion and cocktails!

Do you live in town? If so, make plans now to attend the NC premiere of "Ready? OK!" starring people I like and admire, and a family-friendly couple of hours. Get tickets here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Random Musings

Do you want to see Helen Mirren in a bikini? THE ANSWER IS, YES, YOU DO. Good gravy! Like the Fug Girls, I, too am in love.

Do you want to see "The Dark Knight"? I do, and yet am scared, and yet if I can sit through most of "Children of Men" (a recent rental) I think I can. Reviews of interest here, here, and here (though I truly hate our paper's reviewer at the moment. Why all the Will Smith hate, Craig Lindsey???)

The Olympics always tire me out. One more thing to do, and one more excuse to not exercise - instead, I watch fiercely competitive, passionate people in amazing shape go out and do dramatic physical feats whilst sitting on my ass. Still, one is inspired by Dana Torres, if only because she is 41 and a mom. I don't believe the doping semi-hype. I think she just rocks.

The New Yorker, my only source of cultural reference for many years and a magazine I've subscribed to since I was less than 30, is getting some major criticism over this week's cover. My copy hasn't come yet. My newspaper columnist friend has weighed in, and my mother-in-law left a message this morning bemoaning the offensiveness of the cover and her desire to quit her subscription in protest. Anywho, the artwork seems to be in bad taste, but I would agree that perhaps it might have gone a bit under the radar had Obama's campaign not brought it up at all. We'll see how I feel when I hold the issue in my hands.

We're gone for a week. The cat is well cared-for, we have folks staying in our house whilst we are gone so don't even think about it, and there is rain forecast for my new plantings. Goodbye, and good luck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

MORE Happiness! Rocky rocky!

The album is due September 13.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Friday, July 11, 2008

I found, via about four other websites, a treatise on How to Be Happy.

See #1. And my own personal fave would be #3, but you probably know that about me.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

During this session of Camp Grandma, we've had three delish dinners and feel very much at ease with one another. It's crazy how you forget a lot about the person you are married to when you run a cab service/diner/laundromat.

We had tasty but surprisingly expensive Indian food from our fave place in town. UTI, I know you react badly when spicy food is introduced, but I don't care. Chicken Tikka Masala forever! That night we watched "Juno", which I had already seen. I repeat that the supporting players damn near outshine the cute and perky Ellen Page.

The second night was the big night out. I rested all day hoping to be up for it, put on a newish frock, and we went downtown. We checked in on my hubby's new building, then went to Fins. Thank God my boss had given me a gift certificate for my birthday. Sheesh, was it pricey - but worth every penny. The atmosphere is so chic, the service so unobtrusive, the food so ridic....and me, just in from Chi-town and New York! I daresay we had my fave meal EVER in the Triangle that night. We went to The Mint for dessert, which was fun and bar-hoppish, but I wish we'd stayed at Fins, in retrospect. I did enjoy my lemon verbena creme brulee but the green tea biscotti tasted a bit like seaweed.

Oh, so what did we have at Fins: the Thai snapper for him, the mango-salad Sea Bass deal for me, the hot pot appetizer selection of a Thai soup with shrimps. GOOD FREAKING TIMES.

Last night we had to go to a soccer meeting for my daughter's team, which was crazy, but it made us feel like we deserved another expensive night out. We went back to a tried and true place, Margaux's, which has been around since we got married in '92. They even had vintage menu items from '92 as choices! I got another great piece of fish but wow, was it filling with a She-Crab bisque surrounding it. My husband got duck. I love duck. I love all the cute animals.

So today I'm hopin' and prayin' he comes home from work early and we can go see "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and laugh and relive our Hawaii trip, and then get a LIGHT dinner with NO alcohol (eesh I'm a bit hungover from a very tobacco-y Zin last night).

I promise to get back to bitter, angry, and edgy posting next week sometime.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Because I am a nice wife, I will occasionally jazz up our Netflix queue with a boy movie, especially after a slew of costume dramas. I was very, very brave last week to watch, in its entirety, ""I Am Legend".

I didn't expect to completely adore it.

Will Smith is a pretty thing to see. I've always liked him, despite the Scientology rumours and his way of naming children. He and his wife seem on equal footing, they work well with the ex-wife apparently, and I love that a black man in Hollywood gets the recognition and money that white actors have claimed for so long. I mean, look at them!

But. To single-handedly carry along a plot line - and a crazy one at that - for at least an hour of a major film. That is something that few have done - Tom Hanks comes to mind. I remember a New York friend telling me, after seeing "I Am Legend" in the theatre, that she wished she "hadn't seen my city in that state". I can understand - the shots of Manhattan completely uninhabited, wild, and decaying are amazing and horrible. Still, one can't take their eyes off of Will Smith. He's believeable as a military medical genius, he's believable as a survivorist, he's believable as someone whose sense of self is slipping away.

That said, the movie falls off at the end. The questions of faith and science are nice touches (a la "Lost), and without spoiling it for you I can reveal that other characters appear in various states of humanity. The way the movie MIGHT have ended, however, is highly preferable.

Take some time, if you've seen "I Am Legend", and watch the alternate ending. I believe this was how the movie should have finished. Now to read the books!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Camp Grandma

My children are on their second jaunt to "Camp Grandma". The first occurred during my jet-setting. (In the space of four months I went to London, Atlanta, Chicago, and New York. Who you calling BORING, huh???) Yesterday, the urchins left with their grandparents for a brief trip - we'll see them Friday afternoon. One would have thought that they were being shipped to the country for their safety. I'm not complaining: I can't remember a time, even during the sweet toddler years, that I've felt such affection and attention from them. I also can't help but wonder if I'm raising them to be too dependent on me and their dad. Of course I want them to fly....but my gut tells me that they need stability and assurance at this point, so I am encouraging and push a bit, but also return their love.

The minute they left I was expected at a staff retreat. We sat outside in the hot. Still, there was a breeze, it was poolside at a lovely in-town home with a gorgeously landscaped yard, and there was lemonade and watermelon along with catty asides and frustrations (and occasional problem-solving, too).

So obviously when that was over, I left and fled to the gym since I never get to go during the summer. No parking! ANYWHERE! WTF?????

Then, I went home thinking I'd go for a walk -- the temp had cooled. But there was nausea, and pain, and I spent the rest of our first night of alone time in a fetal position waiting for my doctor to call in a round of antibiotics. My dear husband drove me to an all-night pharmacy at 11 p.m. I fell asleep in the car waiting for him and promptly had a nightmare that I was driving and the brakes went out. Honey, if you're reading, I promise we will go out tonight to somewhere more fun, and possibly less expensive than the Cipro was!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Let's Talk About..., baybeeee.

First, having sex. You can, if you want to, in most cases! Especially if you are, say, a white suburban married woman or perhaps a thirty-something hipster guy with really cute fashion sense. You may want to have sex a LOT, or you may opt out of marital relations. One hundred days in a row, or even 365 days in a row seems....monotonous, but goals are worth having! Not having sex seems to be a common ailment amongst a lot of married couples I know. There are a variety of reasons folks don't do it, and most have to do with daily life and its trevails. Still, it seems like a good idea to get on the bandwagon, at least every now and again. Ok, ladies? Give it up for your guy tonight! Guys: spend a little extra time, please!

By the way, married sex is going to gain some new fans AND haters, soon!

One of the reasons I've been thinking about this topic is that my book club has voted on, basically, a porno (but highly regarded and critically lauded) graphic novel for one of our selections. This has been a tough decision, and maybe offensive to some members of our club. I won't even link to the book here for fear of repurcussions, but my initial forays into the selection left me aroused, offended, and even a bit bored. I'll let you know how THAT discussion goes, when and if it happens!

Finally, there is occasional discussion of the birds and the bees around here. Now, I'm not exactly like the Family Kinsey, but I'm trying to be open and truthful, and still respectful of the age and the innocence and the general repulsion a ten year-old might have. To say that this is like walking a tightrope is about right. It seems to me that the biggest issue someone just finding out about sex might have is why it is, and how it came to be, so very important. Sure, people make babies via this vehicle, but they also do it for nefarious and self-satisfying reasons. And it is everywhere - music, movies, books, adverts. I'm trying to give it its due whilst still making sure that its mores are known and respected. Tough task, that.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

R.E.M. at Walnut Creek June 10th, 2008

First, I can safely publish the set list thanks to a. this GENIUS and welcome site and b. my husband taking notes on his Blackberry. I generally hate the new trend in concerts wherein people feel compelled to call friends, take photos, hold up the glowing white light of their phone during a ballad, etc. Still, I enjoyed texting my boss (who was at the Cubbies v. Braves in Chicago) and an old college friend (who got last-minute 12th row seats, grrr) during the show.'s a preview of the show....

....and here's the setlist typed out:

Harborcoat (!!!!!)
Living Well's The Best Revenge
Bad Day
Whats the Frequency, Kenneth?
1,000,000 (!!!????)
Man-Sized Wreath
Welcome To The Occupation
7 Chinese Brothers
Hollow Man
Imitation of Life
Houston (not quite as greasy awesome as on the record, sadly)
Walk Unafraid (I've heard this live now probably 5x)
The One I Love
Final Straw
Find The River
Let Me In (acoustic!)
Horse To Water
Auctioneer (Another Engine) (OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Orange Crush
I'm Gonna DJ


Supernatural Superserious
Losing My Religion
Pretty Persuasion (Um, haven't heard that live since, oh, I don't know, 1989?)
Fall On Me (w/Johnny Marr)
Sitting Still (w/Mitch Easter and Don Dixon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Man On The Moon

I should not type anything more before stating that, as you may have read, Stipe wore a SUIT. The entire time. This was no small feat. After "Harborcoat" (a wholly unexpected and delightful opener), Stipe said, "Welcome to the R.E.M. weight-loss program 2008". But he professed to love the heat, as a Georgia boy.

(I did NOT love the heat. It was blinding. Though, my husband did text me, whilst on a beer run, that I am hot when I sweat.)

Stipe only mentioned Obama twice. Amazing!

He was appropriately chatty, which pleased me. Many of Mssr. Stipe's comments centered around his love for the Raleigh area. So nice, especially considering that he travels the world regularly. R.E.M. has a lot of history here, and we were the site of Bill Berry's one and only reunion with the band (in 03...a show that was not even that amazing, except that the completely unthinkable happened. The audience was was an incredible moment.)

The set and lighting were, as usual, strange and mysterious and great. R.E.M. works with avant-garde filmmakers and designers, so I expect nothing less. I can tell where they were headed: "Remember, we are a stadium band who make stadium rock, but we want the look and feel of an indie film." They got it.

Peter Buck barely rates notice in concert, which is very rock n' roll. The night of the 10th he was lazy on some songs, especially some of the older stuff, but he was inspiring on new songs like "Accelerate" and "Supernatural Superserious". I could have been listening to a guitarist half his age in a club twenty times smaller.

I'm not complaining about the old songs, though. Being with my husband and with my old college friend and hearing them was nostalgia exemplified. My friend took me to see R.E.M. and Let's Active at the Township in Columbia, SC, about a two-hour drive from Greenville where we attended college. I love the Internet, cause I can look back and see what that show was like -

17 November 1986 - Township Auditorium, Columbia, SC
support: Let's Active
set: These Days / West Of The Fields / Harborcoat / Crazy / The One I Love / Feeling Gravitys Pull / The Flowers Of Guatemala / Pipeline / Cuyahoga / Tired Of Singing Trouble / I Believe / Swan Swan H / Lightnin' Hopkins / Superman / Can't Get There From Here / Old Man Kensey / Pretty Persuasion / Auctioneer (Another Engine) / Little America
encore: Driver 8 / Harpers / Fall On Me / Strange / I Can Only Give You Everything

And to that I say, LORD HAVE MERCY. My friend (who still rocks) and our fellow concert-mates (one of whom I recently found again, and the others...whoever they were) got up to the very front of the crowd, nabbed a set-list after the show, and received pieces of Stipe's flannel shirts (he also had hair then). This was not unusual in those days...during one Athens show in the 80s I recall leaving a front-and-center position to go outside, and then coming back in and getting right back up front. After the Township show, my buddy introduced me to Mitch Easter. Dude!

I've only seen my friend once since he graduated in '87? I think? but through the magic of technology we reunited at this R.E.M. show, near 22 years later. The band brings us all together in harmony and love, promoting peace and happiness and rock wherever they go.


Here are the notes I jotted down on my early-ass flight to Chicago the very next morning:

Mike Mills had his traditionally goofy stage presence, but his vocals! They were spot-on and as moving and pretty as I've ever heard them. Well done, sir!

Seeing Mitch Easter and Don Dixon come out for "Sitting Still" was not as exciting as Bill coming back, but fun nonetheless and really set Raleigh's show apart. I am very grateful to R.E.M. for doing shit like that, as my Chicago trip made Raleigh seem ultra-boring. But Chicago's R.E.M. show was not as long OR as cool. So HA.

You may know that Johnny Marr came onstage to play on "Fall on Me". That was fun and 80s but didn't sound all that spectacular. Still, seeing Marr in person was very for Modest Mouse, I could have done with about 20 minutes less of them. Jerry, of my college days, texted that they sucked - I wouldn't go that far, but I do think they need to vary up their tempos a bit. Johnny was good & jangly.

The National opened and I was in a very, very hot and humid heaven. I have a thing for the lead singer (he's a baritone! So unusual in pop music today) and the drummer is crazy-good. They didn't have the drums as loud in the mix as on the record, which was disappointing, but they really sounded lovely. The band kept a great rapport with the crowd and played a finely tuned set. I was will be, too, if you have not yet checked them out.

I have a hand cramp, so let me wrap this up:

I was eager to hear the acoustic version of "Let Me In", the fabled ode to Kurt Cobain which was probably also an ode to River Phoenix and now, probably an ode to Heath Ledger (also a friend of Stipe's). I preferred Mike Mills's keyboards on "Electrolyte", though that song was not quite as successful as "Let Me In". The acoustic accompaniment was pretty, but Mssr. Stipe's vocals made "Let Me In" ethereal. I read somewhere, sometime, that Bono called Stipe our modern-day Bing Crosby. It's true: he sings beautifully and loftily, and evokes so much.

Also, such a dandy poseur and dancer, and all, as I've said, IN A SUIT in the HEAT.

The overiding themes of the show were political protest and enviromentalism, Not a bad idea in these trying times. One was reminded, amidst all the politics, of how relevant the band's stands have been for lo these many years. Still, there was never too much seriousness, and the nostalgia of the golden oldies never got in the way of the new, the untried, the technologically marvelous, and the driving rock and roll.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It Happens

My son tossed his bathing suit into the toilet, thinking he was putting it in the shower. My daughter never flushes after pooping. The washing machine is currently running.

This after hanging at Lynn's pool and her baby pooped in his swim diaper (this is a very, very horrible phenomena if you are not familiar with it). This action caused her daughter to throw up. Then the diaperless baby peed on my swim bag. What could we do but laugh?

I'm happy to report that I had diarrhea three times today. No salmonella - just the normal life of a 40 year old woman, it seems.

Field Day took place in heat, humidity, and goose droppings.

And don't get me started about the cat.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

So its freaking hot. Coolest May on record, then earliest reading of 100 degrees ever, and of course no rain in sight after a damp Spring. One feels the climate is...I don't know, changing!

Due to the hot, the family camping trip was put off. Mommy and Daddy's vision of a sweaty, toss-and-turn night that didn't involve sex did not appeal.

Instead, we day-tripped to the beach! Just when I'm about to hate my town so much I'll have to badmouth it on this blog and others, I remember that a short, two-hour trip away I can find a breeze and temperatures ten degrees cooler than 102. Off we went with picnic, pails, and about $79 worth of sunscreen.

Seriously, here's the breakdown of our trip (you know I'm so budget-conscious):

Tank of gas: $50 or thereabouts
Sunscreen: $10 (seriously, that is how much it costs to protect my family for a few hours)
Boogie boards: $26
Picnic lunch and ice: $15 or less
Dinner out with friends: $40

A day of relaxation, beautiful views, non-stop wave riding, friends and family, all for less than $150. A trip to the local water park would have cost the same, and I would have more than likely have committed some atrocity to my fellow man when packed into such a place on such an intemperate day. Better that we had a few hours of air conditioned car time, just the four of us, and pelicans, sand, and the gentle waves of Fort Fisher.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I don't know how best to describe the month of May in this household. I'm not trying to be a martyr here, but this, after all, is MY martyrdom is what suits my current mood.

I'm not organized in a traditional fashion. My husband is not "clean" in a traditional fashion. My children are not terribly self-sufficient though they appear that way, thus misleading me. These are the basic ingredients to which we add the insane schedule of people who are probably too social and too involved.

The calendar is just not viewable day by day at this point in the year, and that makes every day seem nearly undoable in terms of logistics, who goes where, etc. Add to all that any minor little stressor: a big case for my husband at work, a family issue, hurt feelings somewhere in my circle, etc. and KABLAM. The castle of toothpicks starts a' wobblin'.

It's not a cheap month, either. We've shelled out, for activities and medical, over $3000 in the last two weeks. My children are going to exactly one day camp apiece, so this is not including that expense. I'm not complaining, for it is a wonderful thing to have dental care and a pool to swim in on these already-hot days. Still, as you all know, the money worries eek into your brain and start to spread like mold.

I'm trying very, very hard to take care of myself. I am not great at remembering to be grateful at night, but I am grateful....for good nights' rest most nights; for exercise (my new goal is to be sore at least once a week. Today's sore is brought to you by: Tennis With the Children. How is it that they are great at every sport? My thighs are crying.); for sweet new babies in our life and their calm, loving parents; for a job I enjoy and that includes rewards like children telling me they want to be singers when they grow up; for online Scrabble; for a month until the conventions; for Memorial Day and a relatively relaxed schedule; for sneaking away with a friend and her mom to catch a movie that, whilst not the finest film I've seen in May, gave me an intense belly laugh or two; for the concerts seen and anticipated; for my family; for a house with air conditioning; for the Trader Joe's guacamole kit; for loaner books from friends that were sweet little truffles of enjoyment; for a purpose in life that seems bigger than my petty woes.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

You have to hand it to Ellen DeGeneres for taking a stand...she's getting married, LEGALLY, and now she's wondering why the rest of the country can't catch up to her state. She wonders, in fact, aloud - to John McCain.

The clip is found here...I can't find it on YouTube.

Those of you who know me know that I tend to date gay people in my teens and twenties, and that a lot of folks I love are gay. What you may not know is that Ellen and I agree pretty much down the line. I think that gay rights and perhaps even gay marriage in particular are this generations' desegregation and racial equality statutes. Twenty years from now, when I'm pretty sure that every citizen will have the right to marry regardless of their sexual orientation, what are you going to tell your children about where you stood in 2008?

This is about as rabble-rousing as I get, so if I've just pissed you off, SORRY! And Happy Memorial Day! I work tonight and then BAM! Holiday weekend with some fun relatives and our new niece. There, have I taken the edge off???

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two concerts in two months - a record!

We saw The Swell Season at one of the arguably best acoustic venues in town on a recent Thursday night. That said, the venue is usually used for the Symphony, so Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova both seemed to feel a bit formal at first. They said so. After a while, though, they got very comfy and easy with the crowd, so much so that the onstage banter begain to overcome the music.


Glen and Marketa are, if anything, earnest as hell. You know that if you saw their Oscar night speeches and performances. Their lessons to the crowd were lovely and optimistic, and all about "make art, make art" and the like. All in lilting Irish and Irish/Czech brogues.

But I've never been one for stage talk. I like the occasional powerful, funny, or relevant bon mot. Any more than that makes me squirm. Glen and Marketa as people were not annoying, but after a while I wondered if they didn't have enough faith in the music they were making.

Which was astounding!

I think I liked Marketa's song best - "If You Want Me". And "Lies" is so incredibly powerful in the movie "Once" as well as on the album that I almost couldn't believe how excellent it was live. The stage manager did a Steve Earle song, the violinist did some tricks with his on-stage recorder doohicky...and that was all fine and dandy. Why did we need it, though, when Glen's guitar and vocalizing are intense enough to hold a hall spellbound? Marketa is a precise pianist and I really like her voice - she's matured since the album was recorded it seems. The band was great, too. Have faith, Swell Season. You sound divine.

Check out this clip (it's not great, but it gets the job done) from Glen's version of "Astral Weeks" - recorded in Louisville a night or two before our show.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My first movie was a short entitled "Jammin' In the Streets". The director has gone on to relative fame in regional theatre; my co-star can currently be seen in the HBO series "True Blood". She can also be seen in a new film premiering in NYC first week of June. I, of course, have become the publisher of a small but vital online journal. The plot of "JITS" was simple: two bored teens with nothing to do are loathe to while away their summer in their stifling hometown. But wait! They can roller skate - with boom boxes! And they do, with style (dashikis, MC Hammer pants) and relative grace. They do tricks, pop in and out of the screen, and then finally come home, exhausted, to fall asleep. The movie has been screened countless times, and if y'all are lucky, I'll try to find a way to post Super 8 to the Internet. Thus, you'll be able to see it, too.

Until that time, and that time may never come, please enjoy the world premiere for the Flight of the Conchords' video, " Ladies of the World":

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I love it. I love it all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Spinning on That Dizzy Edge

Myanmar and now Western China, plus the cruel month of May have me in a funk. New Cure, anyone?

Also, I think that Effexor is much more awesome than John McCain.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

To take our minds off of election-night angst, I'll focus on wine! Delicious red wine. And a wine controversy! I love that something that is so tasty and fun for the masses has such a sophisticated, complicated history and structure surrounding it. Like the church. Or Obama. KIDDING!!!

Monday, May 05, 2008

I live in a house divided when it comes to the local, state and national elections. My husband I are truly split on several races, and split on purpose in one race because we are friends with the two people running. Thus, serious guilt. (Don't worry - the candidates are both great and would both do the job well.) But Senator Obama, when you offer free tickets to Arcade Fire and Superchunk on a beautiful Friday afternoon - and it's a school holiday so my children can go - and the show is great and if not a bit ridiculously issue-laden, then fun in a rallyish sort of way, may have won a vote.

And my GOD - Superchunk! Mac and Laura's KIDS were on stage with them. My husband and I figured we hadn't seen Superchunk in about 12 years.

We also got to meet and greet with Win Butler after (Regine didn't come over to us, alas). He was nice to the children.

My son, however, preferred Superchunk:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Second Day, Second and Third Stops

We headed on to Avebury after lunch in Windsor. My husband's people love Avebury, much more than the arguably more famous and fantastic of the pre-Druid stone circles, Stonehenge. Numbers like 5000 BC tend to impress, and we all enjoyed this visit, my second. Twas muddy and off-and-on rainy, just the way England should be.

My children were immediately the humongous hills they could run and roll down. They didn't really get the fact that what they tromped about in might have been some major civilization's burial site or leadership gathering space...or maybe they did, but they really liked flailing about the expanse of land.

On to Stonehenge, which I was not prepared to love as I have cleaved to my husband and his likes and dislikes. BUT NO, I LOVED IT. IT WAS BIG, BEAUTIFUL, AND SUPER COOL!!! Some folks were doing seismological tests on the site. My dad, chatty as he is (much moreso with perfect strangers than his loved ones), found out all about these tests and then we were told about the first archealogical dig that would be taking place the very next week. That dig was the first in 50 years, and it proved very fruitful. (Be sure and listen to audio of Dr. Tim Darvill - what a great British character he seems to be!)

Stonehenge photo by my son.

The Volkswagen Sharan carried on to Salisbury to see the ginormous cathedral. Again, who knows how these people did it. Crazy. 1300 AD or something and the beautiful spires and ridiculously realistic carvings and feats of engineering boggle the mind. The cathedral was reverent and pastoral; the town was tiny and boring. We had a hard time finding somewhere to eat and were even turned away at one tasty-looking place due to the insanely late hour of 7 p.m.

But then we happened upon our happy little Gastro Bistro and it was cozy, warm, ancient, and tasty. Also - a seven-pound menu available til 7:30! Everyone had beers and soups and olives and burgers and were thus fortified for the heinous, rainy drive back to Central London whereupon we only got a little bit lost and had to hoof it back to the Tube station in the rain and HAD to stop so my dad could get Sprite for his imported Maker's Mark and almost had to pay the congestion charge.

That part, as you can tell, was not the best part of the marathon day...but we stayed happy and optimistic and even made a game of the late-night Tube ride with the children, amongst all the post-work revelers. We flopped into the flat, wet and weary, but with many tales to tell our sleepy aunt.