Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Feedback and Links

First, I have never seen the like of the (in person) feedback from my boob posts. Not so much about my actual boobs, but more like questions about where can one procure this marvel of mammarial engineering for oneself? And, I am happy to help wowify cleavages everywhere by sending you HERE. It's even on sale (know it was on sale even cheaper at our local store). One word of caution: if possible, try this on in person in the store before you order. (I had to go down a cup size).

Secondly, I’m in a little trouble with Satan. He seems to have gotten an inordinate amount of feedback on the bedspread post. Even the police department has weighed in on the subject, helpfully suggesting he go ahead and keep the “Chenille Number Five” because, if, God forbid, Lowertown ever floods, it could easily do double duty as a signal flag. Also, the S-man is not happy about the fact that everybody that sees the pictures continues to classify the bedspread as “pink”. The color is coral, people, coral!

And now for a few recent links of interest from across the pond, as they say:

First, this piece on death on the web from the BBC. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I'm completely okay with memorial sites where people can leave written tributes to the dearly departed, but I'm not sure how I feel about "funeral videos". Somehow, that just doesn't seem right to me. Color me old fashioned, but I just am not too pro about imagining my funeral tape potentially filed away next to a dusty copy of "Rambo" and an empty case that used to contain "The Little Mermaid" in somebody's entertainment center. On the other hand, if I were filed between "Husbands and Wives" and "All that Jazz"? Well, that would be a bit of all right.

Nextly, this piece from the Daily Mail on the why the politically impotent Prince Charles didn't just go ahead on already and marry arfy Camilla Parker Bowles in the first place. Turns out, things weren't all together, ahem, shall we say pristine "down there" thanks to the wild week of her debutante ball back in '65. This will definitely be one for the Netflix queue. And, PS, actually, I have to say Camilla was pretty cute back in those days.

And, finally, from our own country, this piece from the New Yorker on the dismal state of the republican party as a result of GWB's disastrous presidency. Here's what, in part, Newt Gingrich had to say:

Not since Watergate, Gingrich said, has the Republican Party been in such desperate shape. “Let me be clear: twenty-eight-per-cent approval of the President, losing every closely contested Senate seat except one, every one that involved an incumbent—that’s a collapse. I mean, look at the Northeast. You can’t be a governing national party and write off entire regions.” For this disarray he blames not only Iraq and Hurricane Katrina but also Karl Rove’s “maniacally dumb” strategy in 2004, which left Bush with no political capital.

Hate it for 'em.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

When Smokey Sings...

I was surfing around at iList Paducah today when I ran across this:

Saturday, July 28
Smokey Robinson 7:30 p.m. The Carson Center. Does your love life need a boost? Grab that special someone and be serenaded by the smooth soul singer Smokey Robinson. Ain’t nothing like a little Smokey to stir up some spark! 270.450.4444.



I don't know about you, but I LOVES ME SOME SMOKEY! Near as I can tell, this event is not even yet listed at the Carson Center website. I called them immediately and found out tickets go on sale June 11th. Trust me, I will be there. Nobody does sexy falsetto like Smokey. NOT Aaron Neville, NOT the BeeGee's, NOT Prince and sure as HECK not what's-his-face Justin Timberlake. Also, the S-Man and I actually agree that, yes indeed, Smokey is The Bomb.

And here I have to interject that I have it on good authority that Smokey MIGHT HAVE HAD a little bit of "work". You know, as in his face has been completely reconstituted and draped back onto his skull. And, once I was apprised of this situation, I only had one question: But what does his voice sound like? And, I'm happy to report it's as good as it ever was (according to my Source).

So...we're on! Me and Smokey and his whole new face. Yes, indeedy, July 28th!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day


This was the best photo I could manage tonight (and it's super blurry) of our neighbor, Julie's, Powder Puff Chinese Crested, Rosie. Rosie walked with FurGirl tonight, all the way to the city hall fountain and back. Try as I might, though, I just could not get a good one of the two of them together. They are both the nervous type.

We were walking off dinner: pork loin encrusted with garlic and rosemary and roasted with potatoes, a side of asparagus, and broiled parmesean garlic english muffins. Our friend Mark joined us and we had a nice, quiet visit.

It was a long weekend what with the festival and all. The S-man didn't quite know what to do with himself, being a workaholic and all, and waking to a full day of rest after a weekend of nonstop activity. This kind of thing is sometimes more than he can handle. And this was one of those times. He spent the morning sort of moodily pawing the ground, snorting, and looking dangerous. But a good movie, "Keeping Mum" (see sidebar), a high-dollar trip to Sam's, and he was mostly recovered.

I spent the day cooking. For lunch I whipped up some cornbread and spicy chicken, rice and vegetables.

I'm sort of dreading the week.
P.S. I sort of forgot to mention that I decided during a prolonged conversation about death with some people I know last week that I would totally like to be buried in a tiara. Pretty much, no matter what age I am when I die. Because, first off, it's sort of hilarious to be in a coffin with a tiara on your head, isn't it? It might just lend that sorely needed note of levity to the proceedings. And, secondly, how great would it be to know you'll be spending eternity in a tiara? Thirdly, maybe there should be an actual law enacted that every girl must be buried in a tiara.
Or would that be going too far? I'm not sure.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Two Weekend Conversations and a Quote

First, a conversation with Satan:

ME
(Climbing into a festival golf cart with Satan in my new VS bra.)
So! What do you think about my new boobs?!

SATAN
(Glances down at my feet.)
Those aren't boots, they're sandals.

Next a conversation with Christa:

CHRISTA
It just seems like, with clothes these days, it's one extreme or the other out there!

ME
You said it.

CHRISTA
It's either "granny" or "teeny-bopper" and there's not much in between.

ME
So true! But, I swear to GOD, I'm not going "granny". Oh, HELL no! I'm just not doing it I don't care how old I get! I'M JUST NOT!

(What's funny about that conversation you ask? I'll tell you what's funny about that conversation: at the time, I was sitting in my living room wearing an ankle-length long-sleeved flannel night gown, an irony that hit us at exactly the same time, right after I made that last rather emphatic statement.)

Lastly, a quote of the day from Satan's new favorite book "The Big Curmudgeon":

People say to me, "You're not very feminine." Well, they can suck my dick!
-Roseanne Barr

That one cracked me and the S-Man up for an innappropriately long time this morning over coffee.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday Night at the Festival

As you might suspect, it's been a little wild around here. A little crazy. Nothing illustrates this point better than the fact that I neglected, despite dragging my camera around all over the place with me, to get a picture of ChristaD in her supercute, supergroovy hemp earth shoes (not to mention her supercute orange tee-shirt). What can I say? I have no excuse. I'm blaming it on the beer.

Also? I've taken to referring to my newly engineered incredible rack as "two scoops of danger".

Don't worry, I've cut myself off the keg.

Other than the previously stated glaring omission, I'm posting my three favorite photos of the evening. At the top of the entry is the guy I'm assuming is the lead drummer for Avec La Force (MAJOR noise alert on that link), a West African drum corps that is, quite possibly, the most energetic band I've ever seen perform. I love that photo. Trust me when I tell you these people (and there were at least six of them all together) can bang some percussion instruments. They were great.

New Mama Nikki May and her nine week old adoptee, Skyler, a yorkie-poo (combination Yorkshire Terrier and Poodle) that she actually acquired at the festival just a few hours before this photo was taken. Ohmygosh, this baby is a doll. Although something of a throw pillow. He slept all night. I had the priviledge of meeting and getting to know Nikki's sister, Sandi, who proved to be just as quick and sassy a gal as Nikki (not an easy feat).

Lastly, we have Satan and Aynex bonding after video taping his five-question interview which did in fact include the infamous SIXTH QUESTION. You'll have to watch Aynex's vlog to find out just what that question might be and whether or not Satan's answer makes the post cut. Rumor has it that the Mayor is next on the inteview list. Is all I'm saying.

The evening took a dramatic turn when, in response to the question of how old I am, posed by Nikki, I came to the tragic realization that I am, in fact, a WHOLE YEAR older than I thought I was. No kidding. Evidently, I've been telling everyone for a solid two years that I am the same age.

Maybe I was abducted by aliens and I have lost time?

Lost time! Yah, that's it!

Interesting...

Some fascinating (to me, anyway) insight into the marriage of Paul and Linda McCartney.

Dancing (enhanced)

Inspired by the smooth/hot latin sounds of Al Delore Salsa, a pair of sisters shake their tail feathers in front of the main stage yesterday.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Big Finish!

Here is the best photo I got of Toubab Krewe (noise on the link) totally rocking the festival tonight. They went long, playing two encores. It was a mighty groovy scene for our little town.

We're starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow with yoga in front of the main stage. Come on over and do a little downward facing dog for yourself.

Coupons and Boobs

Welcome to the day that answers the question: What do you get when you add two girls, five coupons, and one afternoon off work?

That would be: Danger, Will Robinson.

Ohmygosh. The girls in question would be Crystal and I. We were perhaps unwisely turned loose from work at noon.

It all started innocently enough. We were going to be reasonable. Responsible. Have a little lunch. Do a little shopping. We had coupons.

FIVE coupons.

But we would never need that many! No, of course not! Five coupons we said...HA! HAhaha! Five coupons. Ridiculous! We laughed to each other over our pasta con broccollis.

Of course, do the math, Pasta House is right next to...say it with me: the crack cocaine of the fragrance world: Bath and Body Works. Stuff was on sale!

We started small with the five hand soaps for ten dollars. They practically paid for themselves! You can't not take advantage of a deal like that! You almost feel sorry for Bath and Body Works. Guilty, even.

Then there was...Victoria's Secret.

SALE! I tell you sale. Half price, HALF PRICE bras.

(Warning: I'm going to talk about my boobs now. It's not the first time. If you are someone who would be upset by this? Now is the time for you to scoot along. SCOOT!)

Okay, I don't know about you, but I keep seeing women, like, everywhere, with the girls hefted up ridiculously high on their chests. And, it has come to my attention, that the girls actually look pretty nice in this heightened state.

And, there's really no excuse for my not being in the know about the latest boob enhancement technology, I do, after all, watch What Not to Wear about six times a weekend. How often have Stacey and Clinton lectured a girl about the importance of the proper brassier? I'll tell you. Practically every show, that's how often.

Still, I was in the dark until I experienced the revelation of engineering technology that is the Victoria's Secretary Sexy Push Up Bra today.

Ya'll? If you're a woman, like me, of, shall we say, a certain age (and probably even if you're not), you have to have one of these. I'm telling you. Go ahead on and redefine your whole entire upper body with a single incredibly comfortable foundation garment. Trust me on this.

According to the VS website:

Revolutionary bra technology with a fashionable secret: provocative prints or contrast color inside the cup. Also in all-over solid colors. Padded one-piece push-up bra with patent-pending technology. Seam free. Label free. Stitch free. Twinned adjustable straps are convertible and can be worn halter, racerback or two-strap. Underwire cups. Hidden back closure. Imported nylon/spandex.


Are you with me here? They have applied for a patent on this thing. And don't let the "padded" part fool you (I nearly did). It's not padding like padding, it's engineering, it's architecture, it's structure. I tell you there's the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sears Tower, the Pyramids, and The Victoria's Secret Sexy Push Up Bra. And? Don't ask me how, but they're not kidding about "no seams" and "No stitches". This thing is made out of some kind of new kind of material. Possibly from outer space. It's like super light foam rubber. Best of all? The thing is on sale for half price right now.

Just go try one on...GO!

After the bra acquisition, we were just barely warmed up. But we had the taste of blood in our mouths and it was to be a feeding frenzy over at New York and Company.

I'm not sure, but I think we may have been adopted by our sales clerk at some point. We spent hours in the dressing room. HOURS. We went through the entire line, shirt by shirt, capri pant by capri pant. Nothing looked too weird on the hanger for us. People in neighboring dressing rooms were asking for fashion advice. Pretty soon, we were adding accessories. They had to bring in miniature back-hoes to clear out our fitting rooms twice for reloading. Crystal spent some time shouting directions to various items of interest to questioning fellow shoppers from the entrance of the dressing room, i.e.,

"NO, to the LEFT next to the WRAP SHIRTS underneath the KHAKI CAPRI ANKLE PANTS...LEFT, WOMAN, LEEEEEFT! And get a black body shaper to wear under that. BLACK! Yes, good that'll work! No, wait, NOOO, not the horizontal stripes. Yes, that's better, good job! Now try that on together, ma'am."

And so on.

And then there was the check-out!

Good Lord, the check-out.

It took Crystal, the sales clerk, the cash register, and a separate calculater to determine the most optimal method of employing our five coupons and grouping clothes into the best possible number of transactions (a lady in line behind us tried to toss in the purse she was buying at one point to make it work).

After all that, what could we do but head to Starbucks?

It wasn't until I got home and tried on the wonder bra with my new purchases that I realized just what a bonanza I had going on. Check me out. I'm actually in danger of smothering in my very own cleavage:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Festival and Fringe

We're gearing up in the hood for our big annual event (scroll down to see the whole schedule). The street in front of my house is closed as is the street over. A total of six blocks will be without vehicular traffic. FurGirl enjoyed several middle-of-the-street romps on our walk tonight, a rare treat indeed.

I'm not sure we're going to get away this year without any rain, but I have to admit I'm just mostly glad it isn't likely to be unseasonably hot like it was last year.

We're going to have much more exotic food choices this time, for instance: Pad Thai, Spider Rolls (yes! sushi!), Chai Tea, and Lobster Croquettes as well as the usual barbecue, barbecue, barbecue. And! Cheesecake on a stick! As for me, I usually just end up buying and eating grilled burgers morning noon and night. Because a grilled burger is God's perfect food.

The tee-shirts are super cute this year with some babydoll styles with scoop necks, not just one design fits all. Also, there will be free yoga sessions in front of the main stage (7th and Madison) at 10AM Saturday and 10AM Sunday. They will be lead by someone who is nationally known, I'm sorry I can't remember his name, but I hear he is very good. Just wear something loose, they are providing even the mats for free.

Not to mention, all the great galleries will be open for browsing! Come on down! We'll chat!

Otherwise. We've had a bit of a. Well, I guess you could say a decorating incident?

I should preface all this by saying that Satan and I, since we married, have been on a quest for The Perfect Bedspread. We've been on this quest for, oh, say, ten years now. It goes like this: If I find a bedspread I like? Satan doesn't like it. If he finds a bedspread he likes? I don't like it. And so on.

During this time, our bed has been dressed with an unending sucession of crappy blankets and throws. Over the years, Satan became randomly convinced that the ONLY possible bed treatment that he would ever possibly enjoy was an actual BEDSPREAD. Not a comforter. Not a duvet cover. Bedspread. Only. BEDSPREAD!

That should have been my first clue that we were headed for disaster. But, no, I just kept on keeping on finding treatments that I liked and Satan kept on rejecting them. Because they weren't, technically, BEDSPREADS.

Satan! Must have! Bedspread!
(How about a comforter?)

Comforter! No cover bottom of bed!

(There's this thing? Called a dust ruffle...)

No! Do not say the dust ruffle! Satan spits on the dust ruffle!
Dust ruffle for girly man ONLY!

A month or so ago, Satan mentioned something about a bedspread (!BEDSPREAD!) and the internet and an order. And, you know, I was all whatever, okay...blah blah.

Until. Until I came home to this:

And, trust me? I think the picture is actually FLATTERING that color a little bit.

It went like this:
ME
(walking unsuspecting into the bedroom)
(then, suddenly, I gasp)
(Involuntarily, I clutch my chest.)
SWEET JEESUS!

SATAN
Pretty, huh?

ME
Does that come with sunglasses?

SATAN
It's chenille!

ME
You're not keeping it...?

SATAN
Look! It has FRINGE! 'Cmon, touch it!

ME
Okay, just don't talk to me like that.

SATAN
Feel!

ME
I'm afraid it will burn.

SATAN
You don't like it?!? But, it's chenille!

ME
I feel a headache coming on. I have to look away...

SATAN
(Hops under the cover fully clothed, looking extremely proud of himself and begins patting the "chenille")
Yep! This is my Chenille Number Five right here, baby!

ME
(Backing out of the room.)
I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear that.

SATAN
(to my retreating back)
Don't you wanna feel the FRINGE!
IT'S GOT FRIIIIIINGE!
***
So, yah. Wanna feel my bright pinkish orangish "Chenille Number Five" bedspread?
Did I mention it's got fringe?
Fringe!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

Just a quick entry to recommend Pan's Labyrinth.

The S-man and I were completely and utterly transported by this fairy tale tonight. A story of enchantment and brutality, innocence and evil, the film is set in post Civil War Spain in 1944. Young Ofelia travels with her pregnant mother to be united with her new stepfather, a soldier in the Spanish army, and also father to Ofelia's unborn sibling. On the way, Ofelia begins to have some rather strange encounters.

A three time Oscar winner, the film earns its accolades with a gorgeously articulated world of fantasy and a completely raw and painfully believable reality. It is perhaps this contrast that makes the story so intriguing all the way around.


You won't recognize any of the actors and the film is subtitled in Spanish, but none of this takes away from the enjoyment. Don't miss this tour de force written and directed by Mexican film maker, Guillermo Del Toro.

One note of caution--though this film is a fairy tale, it is suitable only for the young at heart. There is some serious violence and disturbing imagery not at all suitable for anyone under twelve or so.

Backpedaling

In case you're wondering, I'm not planning to take this blog all political, all the time. But recent events are just a little bit too compelling for me to ignore.

Today, it's Jimmy Carter. Former President Carter points out in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette that the Bush administration has the worst international relations record IN HISTORY. He also points out that Bush's funding of "faith based initiatives" to the tune of $2 billion might be just a tad unethical (or words to that effect) and allows as to how the US's new policy of participating in pre-emptive war is a radical departure from any previous administration ever.

Also included in some AP versions of the story:

Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University presidential historian and Carter biographer, described Carter's comments as unprecedented.

"This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president," Brinkley said. "When you call somebody the worst president, that's volatile. Those are fighting words."

First of all, I'm not sure the addition of Doug's opinions to the article are particularly relevent or newsworthy. Or even appropriate. The story, it seems to me, stands on it's own.

But be that as it may, I'll work with the story as is. I would respectfully ask that Doug and the Associated Press consider the possibility that Carter's words also might just be the the truth. What about that? Isn't that the real story? Maybe the story here is a little bit bigger than the fact that Jimmy and George have a a conflict. Maybe a former president and Nobel Prize Winner is uniquely qualified to shine a light on The Problem.

And I think, at this point, people on both sides of the aisle are beginning to acknowledge that there is a Problem.

Maybe the fact that George has proven to be an incompetent boob surrounded by a near impenetrable cadre of yes-men (and women) making an unprecedented amount of distrastrous decisions costing over a thousand American lives is really the issue here. Just maybe.

In any case, Jimmy himself has already backed up. Oh, my, no, it seems, his remarks were "careless or misinterpreted". Evidently, the worst thing in the world is for a former president to criticize a sitting president. Above all, we can't have that! Nope!

Meantime, the Emperor will continue to march around with no clothes and everything will be just fine.

(shhhh....If only we don't mention it.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Kennedy 101

I was greeted upon waking and logging on this morning with this article at Yahoo news. I'll save you the trouble of clicking the link if you like, it seems researchers, including a former top FBI scientist, have found reason to doubt that there was a lone assassin doing the shooting on November 22, 1963. They've unearthed new evidence that indicates more than two bullets struck President Kennedy in Dealey Plaza that day which would necessarily mean Oswald had at lease one accomplice.

REALLY?! You don't say!

I mean, please. Now that Gerald Ford is dead (and they've stopped touring his poor corpse around Washington landmarks), is there really anybody out there that thinks Oswald acted alone?

I didn't think so.

I'll just go ahead and admit right now that I'm a Kennedy-phile. I've read tons of the books written about the family, never tire of learning new minutia about Jackie, nearly died of heartbreak when John-John, the sexiest man ever produced in this country, plunged into the Atlantic, and of course, I've watched all the History/Discovery/Prime time channel specials about the assassination. I own the movie JFK.

In fact, I come directly from a line of three generations of Kennedy-philes which includes my mother and my Grandmother. Between the three of us, we pretty much know everything there is to know about the Kennedys. Knowledge about the Kennedys is actually encoded in my DNA.

For instance, did you know that Jackie was a chain smoker? That she actually committed suicide? That she wore a size ten shoe? That she stole Ari Onassis from her sister Lee Radziwell? That Jack was in love with and wanted to marry a Swedish actress, but his father, Joseph, put a stop to it? That Jack tried to hunch Shirley Maclaine in a limo who, unlike everybody else of the time, refused his advances actually leaping from the car? That Bobby and Jackie had a brief affair after the assassination?

I could go on.

My point (and I do have one), is that when you are a student of the Kennedys like myself, the very first thing you learn is that Lee Harvey Oswald was just what he said he was: a patsy. And that, hell no, he most certainly did NOT act alone.

This point was driven dramatically home to me when I visited the Texas School Book Deposity, now a museum, in the now infamous Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Even I was not quite prepared for the obviousness of the situation when I stood in sixth floor of the book depository and looked out that window and on to the plaza.
The fact is, that Oswald would have had tons of opportunity and clear shots at Kennedy before the limo made the turn onto Elm Street. The fact that the shooting didn't start until the limo was well down Elm Street is just more evidence of the obvious, in my opinion.

I don't guess the American people will ever get to the bottom of what really happened that day in Dallas.



But we sure as hell deserve to.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Possibilities


Reading this Time Magazine article on Al Gore made me almost giddy considering the possibility of him changing his mind and throwing his hat in the ring. I'm like the guy in "Dumb and Dumberer" at this point,

"So you're saying....there's a chance?"

I'm already fairly disgusted with the posturing of the current slate of Democratic candidates. I have no desire to keep a sister down, but I just don't think Hillary is electable and I have the nagging belief that, appealing as he is, Obama is still too inexperienced.

Gore, on the other had has so been there and done that. And, faced with sucking up the fact that he was actually elected president then denied the position, instead of shooting us the bird and retreating permanently into private life, he set out on a quest to save the world. It's often true, I believe, that the most difficult of times bring one's true colors. Sort of like when that plane flew into the World Trade Center and Bush spent the rest of the day under his seat in Air Force One flying inneffectually from airport to airport.

And then we realized the only thing worse than that is the man actually making decisions.

No, I think we're all ready to support Al at this point. I know I am completely over being pissed at Tipper for her censorship campaign. Have I mentioned I'm a close personal friend of Tipper's? No? Well, yah, I sort of hung out with Tipper back in '95 when she came to the city hall where I was employed at the time. We passed each other in the hall more than once. I can assure everyone that Tipper is in fact way smaller and cuter in person.

Okay, let's just get down to it, is it just me or do you think both of the Gores look a little nip-tucked in the photo? NOT, I assure you, that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, I'd go so far as to be interested in who did their Work. Because it is very good. Natural.

Don't you think?

(Please run, Al! We need you man!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sushilicious

It's been a weird day. Just one of those times where I feel out of sorts and vaguely icky and occassionally specifically pissed off.

I completely drove into a curb in my car at lunch time. Then, later, I was running across a parking lot in my high heeled pumps (don't ask) and suddenly I realize I'm running along minus a whole entire shoe which is several yards back where I ran out of it.

Fortunately, the perfect antidote to that sort of day is SUSHI!

My friend La Donna and I found out recently that, though we knew each other, we did not know that we each were having a passionate love affair with that most special of Japanese treats.

So, we made plans for a big sushi dinner and invited our sushi-hating friend, Rhonda, who only likes food of the cooked variety. Although...we hadn't been at the sushi place for long when we hit on a Japanese delicacy we all could enjoy: saki.

Specifically, FREE saki.

Here is Rhonda with her free saki. Her hand is all blurry because she is in a hurry to have another sip. She is smiling like that as a result of her first sip which made her very happy.


And...I guess it was sort of right after that that the whole dinner sort of turned frat party. Next, we have photo of La Donna enjoying her free saki. And the reason the entire photo of La Donna is blurry is because I was in a super big hurry to enjoy my free saki.

Sorry, La Donna!

(Although...La Donna might actually be secretly glad no one got a clear shot of her at the sushi frat party.)


So, yah, there was free hot saki and sushi and then free cool saki and sushi and we're throwing napkins and taking up four tables and before you know it, ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing, we're all going to New York City!

It's really nice when a day turns around all of a sudden like that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The foot? It is big.

It’s been a HUGE news day in our little town.

First, a report in the local paper on the controversy about what to call the neighborhood I live in. Is it “Lowertown”, or “Lower Town”, or “LowerTown”? Good LORD, we must get to the bottom of this!

AND, (brace yourselves), there has been a BigFoot footprint sighting at a major wilderness area to the east of us known as Land Between The Lakes. That’s right, BigFoot (Or is it “Bigfoot”?) lives! At LBL! And he’s leaving footprints! DIRECTLY in the path of BigFoot researchers! It just so happens!

Immediately, upon reading the Big Foot news, I dropped everything and called the world’s biggest BigFoot fan: Satan.

Have you ever seen that “In Search of Bigfoot” show on the Discovery Channel? Where a team of researchers tromps all over the greater northwestern United States armed with the most sophisticated Bigfoot Research Equipment known to man? They have Bigfoot cameras! Bigfoot audio recording devices! Infrared night vision Bigfoot binoculars!

And for a solid two hours the Bigfoot researchers roam the wilderness (always in the dark for some reason) searching for Bigfoot. Finally, after a full hour of the show has elapsed, they are sure they hear Bigfoot! And then for the next half hour they are sure they smell Bigfoot! And then, finally, there’s a grand finale where they find a tuft of what is obviously Bigfoot’s fur! Caught on a barbed wire fence!


EUREKA! And then the show just...ends.

I have seen this show, people.

Yes, I have seen this show FIVE TIMES.

Because, despite the fact that Satan is too good to be subjected to any of my favorite fluff TV like “Clean House” or “Mission Organization”, there is simply no limit to his capacity for Bigfoot TV.

It doesn’t matter if we’ve seen it before. Is it BIGFOOT?! Then we’re watching it again, baby!

Yes, Satan loves him some Bigfoot.

Which doesn’t exactly explain why he’s asleep on the couch instead of at LBL right now.

Garden Visitor


Sunday, May 13, 2007

How to Have a Perfect Mother's Day

  1. Sleep in, but not so late that the morning is over when you get up.

  2. Sip stout coffe with cream whilst the S-Man reads hilariously cutting quotes to you from his new book "The Big Curmudgeon". My personal favorite: I'm gonna memorize your name, then throw away my head.-Oscar Levant.

  3. Realize it is a perfect spring day while watering plants on the balcony.

  4. Skip down to the neighborhood coffee shop to purchase fresh strawberry shortcake made with berries from the Farmer's Market.

  5. Admire Satan's newly planted rose garden.

  6. Discover a sweet, loving happy mother's day message from your stepson, Matt, on your cell phone voice mail.

  7. Receive a surprise visit from your son bearing a beautiful card and a gift sack full of wonderfully scented candles. When you open the sack it plays, "How Sweet it Is to be Loved by You" . You open the sack. A lot.

  8. Entertain your mother on the balcony with a box luch you both walked down together and picked up at The Stranded Cow restaurant.

  9. Eat the strawberry shortcake for dessert.

  10. Receive an extremely delightful happy mother's day call from stepson, David.
(Repeat steps 1-10 whenever possible.)

Editor's Note: Step number ten was changed after publication because getting a call from David is even better than an afternoon of repotting on the balcony.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

Frank Lloyd Wright



It's been an incredible day for us. We were given personal tours of two of the buildings commissioned by the Johnson (as in wax) family whose headquarters have been in Racine since the late 1800's. Both buildings were designed by legendary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.


I don't know that I've ever been presented with such photographic bounty of the architectural kind. Okay, yah, I do know. I know that I never have. Wow.



First, the home office of SC Johnson Company (also above). I was not allowed to take photographs of the inside of the office building designed by FLW and still in use today. The indoor office space was incredible. Fortunately, the outdoors wasn't too shabby either.







Next up, I got even lucker. Wingspread, the family home of the Johnsons designed and built at roughly the same time as the company headquarters, is also located in Racine. This time, I was given free reign to snap away at whatever took my fancy. It was a little much. But I did my best. Wright not only designed the home, he designed the furniture as well.


In an age where we're used to furniture being GIGANTIC, it was hard for me to get used to Wright's furniture which was designed expressely for the person well under six feet. We were continually reminded by our guides that Wright was only five feet seven inches tall. It was a delight to experience furniture made with an actual normal sized human being in mind.


The spaces themselves were beautiful, all warm wood, and dancing sunlight and entirely comfy even though the ceiling height was at least twenty feet in the common areas. Wright designed all his entrances to be small and spare of height in order to maximize the scale and impact of the family rooms. The hallways were tiny and narrow and would have been claustrophobic had it not been for the artfully placed windows that lined and lit them.


Surprisingly, the floors were stained concrete which somehow didn't seem the least cold or harsh or even industrial.


It was a rare priviledge to experience and photograph these two amazing spaces designed by the master himself.








.


A Slight Case of Trip Anxiety

Satan has trip anxiety. This is totally not unusual. Many, MANY people get a little wound up when taking a trip that requires them to step outside their normal daily comfort zones. What really, REALLY bugs me about Satan is not the he HAS Trip Anxiety, mind you, but that he refuses to ADMIT he has trip anxiety.

The other morning, in our Kankakee hotel, I awoke to a frantic Satan pacing around the room, gathering up stuff for his suitcase. I did not move, however, or give any indication of consciousness, since the Trip Anxiety was so thick in the air you could have cut it with a butter knife.

Eventually, though, Satan turned his attention to me, the inert lump in the bed.

SATAN
GET UP! Get up NOW! It’s late!

ME
(not responding)

SATAN

(Turns the 100 watt reading light on in my face.)

ME
(from under the covers)
Oh no you didn’t.

SATAN
We HAVE TO GO.

ME
Hmmm…

(This goes on for a while) (Finally…)

ME
(I get up. Begin stumbling toward the shower.)

SATAN
(Stopping me on the way.)
Okay, here’s what we’re going to do.

ME
(Turning back toward the bed.)

SATAN
(Grabs me by the arm..)
Okay, now listen. You remember where the car is parked, right?

ME
(Though standing, I manage to doze off again.)

SATAN
(Gives me a little shake.)
Are you LISTENING? Okay, the car is down the hall and to the right outside the door, okay?

ME
(shrugs)
So?

SATAN
Yes, it is. That’s where the car is, okay? Now. I’m going take my stuff out to the car and load it up. Immediately across a grassy median from the hotel parking lot is a Cracker Barrel. I’m going to walk over there and order us breakfast. You then, when you’re ready, will pack your stuff, carry it down the hall, and load it into the car, and then drive the car over to the Cracker Barrel. Meanwhile, I’ll already have us a table and have breakfast waiting. So! What do you want for breakfast?

ME
(Blinking rapidly.)
Breakfast?

SATAN
Yes, damnit, BREAKFAST! Have you not heard a word I said?!

ME
Umm…what time is it anyway?

SATAN
(On the verge of exploding from Trip Anxiety Anxiety Overload. A wisp of steam escapes from his left ear.)

ME
Uhh…right. Okay, how about a diet coke?

SATAN
That’s it. That’s all you want? Diet Coke. Do you have your car keys? Do you know where the car is?

ME
For the LOVE OF GOD JUST ORDER ME SOME F---ING BREAKFAST, OKAY?

At this point, I escape to the shower. When I’m finished I emerge from the bathroom to the sound of my ringing cell phone.

I ignore it as I apply my make-up and get dressed. It rings at regular intervals. Eventually, I hear the two-beep sound that signals a voice mail.

When I’m completely ready, I listen to the message:

SATAN
(Speaking very slowly and distinctly as if I am a semi-conscious mental patient.)

I’m AT THE CRACKER BARREL. I’m AT THE BACK TABLE. When you come in the FRONT DOOR, look to your LEFT. TO YOUR LEFT.
(click)

ME
(I choke out a sound that is somewhere between a giggle and a sob.)

Eventually, I make it to the Cracker Barrel and find Satan AT THE BACK TABLE TO MY LEFT. I sit down across from him.

SATAN
Did you put your luggage in the car?

ME
No, it’s actually currently up my ass.

SATAN
Very funny.

ME
You know, a lot of people have Trip Anxiety.

SATAN
What are you talking about? TRIP anxiety?

ME
(I sigh and look away, but can still see him from the corner of my eye signaling to the waitress to bring our food, so the whole thing will seem like a perfectly timed and brilliantly executed plan.)

SATAN
(Digs into his breakfast looking extremely proud of himself.)

ME
You know, we could just leave the hotel together like normal people. Having a plan only gives you the illusion of control over the situation, not any real control.

SATAN
Good GOD, could you be any more full of sh--?

Eventually, we finish breakfast.

SATAN
Are you finished? Do you need to go to the bathroom? Okay, here’s what we’re going to do…

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Racine

After spending an uneventful night in Kankakee, we arrived in Racine this morning at around 10:00 a.m. The S-man's co-hort's flight was delayed, so the Mayor took just the two of us on a tour of the artsy side of Racine. We took in the Racine Art Museum or "RAM" as it is called. They have something like the second biggest folk art collection in the world.

I saw many of the interesting chairs crafted by artist, Gary Knox Bennet, a 72-year-old who is currently producing a collection of one thousand chairs. They had about fifty at the RAM. We also made a stop at the local arts guild which had an exhibit of reproduction quilts used in the Underground Railroad. Racine, it seems, was a major player in the movement and women of the time hung quilts out on the line to send covert signals to those traveling to freedom.

After that, we met up with Mark and we all dropped our bags at our room, actually in a very nice B&B on the lakefront (pictured above). And, by the way, WHAT a lake front. It dwarfs our little riverfront to a mud puddle in comparison. Lake Michigan looks more like the ocean with no land on the horizon whatsoever. I snapped this photo just now after crossing the street directly in front of our B&B.



Then it was off to lunch at a nice enough downtown watering hole. I've taken to ordering my burgers medium well these days as it cuts down on cooking time. It turned out to be a grave mistake today, however, since my burger came out positively tar-tar. As in it MAY have been waved over the grill a few times. I sent it back and contented myself with Mark's fries which he was foregoing. They brought the burger back only slightly less moo-ish. I think it may have still had a pulse. Good thing the fries were tasty!



After that, I was taken on a short driving tour of the town by a super nice Racinian (sp?) named Fred who drove me by some interesting local landmarks along with his own painstakingly restored gingerbread-covered intricately painted Victorian.

And then it was back to the B&B for a blissful afternoon of quality time to myself with the camera, and a wireless connection. Heaven!


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Photographs


Since finishing The Artist's Way, I promised myself I'd make being creative more of a priority in my life. To that end, I've promised myself I'd enter some of my photos in a local contest; you know GET OUT THERE WITH IT ALREADY, so to speak. I'll be posting some of the photos I'm working on here and there. The photo in the "Artist's Way" post is one of those as is this one.

I'm so lucky to have a Mom that I can talk over things like writing and photography with, someone who understands the creative impulse, someone who constantly encourages me, someone who has known I was creative since before I knew I was creative.

Last night, while congratulating ourselves on her publications over the phone (yes, for reasons unknown, I congratulate myself when she is published--for being on the team I suppose), I began musing about how long it took me to decide to have a blog. Or rather, back in the day I first had the impulse to write on the web, they were more often called "online journals".

I've thought about writing online--are you ready for this? For eight years. EIGHT. YEARS.

Talk about your creatively constipated! It's a wonder I didn't ultimately require a creative colostomy. Maybe even a creative reincarnation. Seriously.

And, to be honest, I do wonder sometimes if blogging is a diversion, too. It feeds the creative impulse while not requiring me to really produce anything serious. I'm notoriously bad about writing first drafts, reading them over, becoming HORRIFIED at how bad they are, and then never being able to bring myself to revisit the work again.

Then I read "Bird by Bird". And found out ANNE LAMOTT has shitty first drafts. Like, every time. First drafts so bad she lives in fear someone will find and read them some day.

I'm running out of excuses.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

PUBLISHED! (twice)


BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC NEWS: Mom's books have arrived each containing, within its printed, published pages, her very own short story written her very own self.
What once seemed too much to hope for is now just the beginning.

Go ahead buy the book. You know you want to.

The Artist's Way


I have joked in the sidebar about being the “last person on earth” to read this book, but I think it very nearly might be true. A phenom in the early nineties, the book caught my attention at the time only briefly since I had to get back to the important business of smoking, drinking, and being a wild and crazy singleton.

It has come around to me again by way of being actually pressed into my hands and accompanied by the words, “You HAVE TO read this.”

For the unaware, the book is essentially a textbook for getting in touch with your inner creativity, information on what stops people from doing this, and exercises designed to break through one’s creative barriers.

I haven’t exactly engaged in each and every exercise, okay, I'll be honest, in fact I haven’t performed any. The book’s main device is something called “morning pages” an exercise in which one grabs a pen and paper immediately upon awakening and jots down (unedited and, at first even unread) all the thoughts ping-ponging around in one’s head at the time. According to the author, Julia Cameron, this has the effect of draining distractions from the creative mind, freeing the artist up to focus on the business of being creative.

I haven’t tried this because, as anyone who knows me will tell you: I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. It’s something of a miracle I respond to the alarm at all.

On the other hand, there is something else that is also true about me: The Mormon Tabernacle Choir lives in my head.

Trouble is, instead of belting out inspiring renditions of The Hallelujah Chorus, they are all talking at once, each about something different: the grocery list, that bathroom that needs cleaning, whether or a not I’m a good enough parent, musing on why my wave petunias haven’t sprouted, reminding me to make that appointment to get my oil changed, wondering if my patent leather faux croc pumps would work with my new denim Capri pants…

You get the picture.

And, before you point out that hearing voices is a sign of mental illness, let me just say, YES I KNOW THAT, THANKS! See, my voices aren’t telling me to KILL anybody or anything like that and, besides, according to my good friend, Julia, it just MEANS I’M CREATIVE.

Ahem. As I was saying, even though I’m not actually doing it, the whole philosophy of needing to drain away distractions really rang true with me, as did many of the other concepts in the book.

Julia talks a lot about the creative process being divinely inspired; more of a channeling of something than a thing that is actually conjured up all by one’s lonesome. And, I have had the experience, not often mind you, but at times, of feeling like what I am writing is not being written by me per se but rather that it is being written through me, if you will.

I realize that none of these concepts are really new, but they are certainly presented in a way that is very accessible and inspirational. I recommend the book for creatives and constipated creatives everywhere.

And only a mere fifteen years late! Next I'll be rhapsodizing about the wonders of the cotton gin and extolling the virtues of the horseless carriage!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir just reminded me of a few hundred chores that need tending to.

I will leave you with this from “The Artist’s Way”:

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
-Andre Gide

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Say WHAT?!

I nearly plotzed upon reading the news that Sacha Baron Cohen beat out Johnny Depp...I repeat JOHNNY DEPP to play Freddie Mercury in an upcoming biopic. Mercury was the flamboyant lead singer of the rock group Queen who died of AIDS in the early 1990's. For the record, I was a HUGE fan back in the day. Cohen, for those of you not in the know, played Borat in a movie of the same name.

I didn't see Borat, but doesn't he eat boogers or something?

According to other articles on the subject, the surviving members of Queen were behind the Borat choice because he "LOOKS MORE LIKE Freddie". Hello? Slap a pair of fake teeth and a wig on Johnny and he WILL BECOME FREDDIE people! Ed Wood anyone? Johnny is a professional! Edward Scissorhands? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? There is nothing this man cannot do.

For the record:












The Original Freddie Mercury











Depp









Cohen

Am I going to have to move to Hollywood? AM I?!? And, if they are all about looks how are they doing to overcome that NOSE ISSUE?
Oh what's the use...

Sunday


That photo of FurGirl taking full, languid advantage of a sunny skylight square pretty much says it all. It's been a lazy Sunday here. Slept in, entertained Mom on the breezy porch while we poured through old pictures and discussed her impending site, made the requisite trip to Wal-Mart for a few of the necessities of life and then home again.

I'm going through one of my not-really-in-the-mood-to write phases, but am trying to keep up the blogging regardless.

Satan got in a bit of trouble recently.
How much trouble?

This much trouble:
And, as a woman who prides herself on giving credit where credit is due, I'll say this for the S-Man: he ain't cheap. Never has been.

Welcoming Chaseroo


Why is it that I seem to have either pictures or words? Never wordsandpictures. It's a puzzlement.

I've had a great weekend and it's not over yet. Received an e-mail from Chaseroo who, it seems, has finally become connected with his very own e-mail address. He is pictured here with Tasha (center) and Brindy.
A very big Sunday morning shout-out to Bizzyville's favorite son.
(Edited to add don't miss out on today's cuteness over at Namaste what.)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Congratulations Street Sense!


(Tiago came in 7th--nice try, Tiago!)

The Derby


My pick to win: Tiago!

The puppy next door.




I've been meaning to snap a few photos of Spanky, the dog who belongs to my next door neighbor, for a while now. Spanky is possibly the cutest puppy EVER, but dang, he does NOT like to sit still.
I first thought Spanky was a West Highland Terrier, but actually, he is a Scottish Terrier. He takes his duty of patrolling his porch very seriously.

Spring Bounty


For me this morning: a breathtaking riot of velvety rich pink from the S-man's balcony garden. Romantically juxtaposed with Death in Venice purely by happy accident (click pic for a larger image).