Thursday, January 31, 2008
Next, I entranced by the latest video from Stephanie, one half of the driving force behind the William Sledd video heard 'round the world, "Ask a Gay Man About Denim" (and others). Most recently, she's put together something for her husband as a gift that she's also posted. See it here.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
[Edited to add: I found these pictures of the chaos posted yesterday by the BBC]
Another chilling message from my friends at Project AIDS Orphan.
This is the latest message from David Okongo:
Hi Ndugu (brother,Paul),
Thank you for your prayers. Actually i did not sleep. I was awake and hoping to die because there is no where to go. Justine was trembling, we could not eat,the power went off. Martin was affected, Billy was there. Susan and Joshua are in Nakuru. We cannot reach them. A friend Kikuyu called me to be safe. A group of ladies came to my house fearing the attach. I had some men who could not be in town came to our house. We pray hoping we will be safe. Many people who saw the TV were concerned and called. Life is very precious.
I only wish this killings will stop. Today Thy are saying will come to the farm to evict those who have displaced here! Just pray
It continues to be simply beyond my comprehension that, in this world, right now, a gentle soul like David Okongo and his wife and family along with countless others are in danger of being burned or chopped to bits with a machete for ANY reason, much less that they are a member of one tribe or another. I can only hold this concept in my head for a short time before it makes me cry. I cannot imagine what it means to actually live through such horrible times.
Please, please pray this brutal fate does not befall these wonderful people. Please, if you have any contacts or influence that could help, e-mail me.
I began my Saturday morning in Lowertown enjoying a warm pomegranate tea at Etcetera while I waited for my nine o’clock appointment. I was fortunate to see lots of familiar faces and, when my appt didn’t show on time, it just so happened that the next person thru the door had his cell phone number making it possible for me to call and remind him, thus salvaging the whole meeting plan. How sweet is that?
Paducah. You gotta love it sometimes.
Saturday night was my friend Mary’s birthday and the girl party convened at Christa’s house where, once AGAIN, she outdid herself with a dinner of stuffed pork loin, candied carrots, scalloped potatoes and, for dessert, chocolate praline cake with HEAVENLY layers of real whipped cream in between.
We enjoyed the raciest possible dinner conversation. And then after that the perfect Wayne and Garth moment in the car when together we belted out a rousing version of Tempted when the song popped up unexpectedly in my CD rotation (what we lacked in timbre we made up for in enthusiasm). Then it was on to the play house where we met up with no less than two other party contingents for Wii, foosball, and wild irresponsible consumption of adult beverages.
Sunday I was treated to a soothing delicious batch of chicken and dumplings, the best I ever ate to be honest, and a marathon movie watching session. This is, trust me, the perfect way to spend the day after.
Someone asked me what it was like to be single and on my own again. I found myself answering, almost without thinking,
“It’s like…um…one big…slumber party?”
I said it just like that with a question mark at the end.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
According to a report by the BBC, inter-tribal violence broke out late yesterday, and at least nine people are feared dead in Naivasha having been hacked to death with machetes.
You can read the latest update at the PAO blog here.
The BBC story is here.
Please, please pray for David and Justine. It is literally all that can be done for them.
Friday, January 25, 2008
For a few seconds I was speechless at the thought.
I mean, sure, sometimes I go for as long as eight or nine days without a movie, especially lately, but eight or nine…years? It was truly beyond my comprehension. Movie titles began to spin around in my head, slowly at first, but then gaining speed and momentum, ultimately leaving me dizzy.
Finally, stupefied, I managed to spit out,
“But you can’t mean absolutely NO movies, can you? I mean, like, you’ve seen, say, “Shawshank Redemption”, right?”
(And, yes, I realize Shawshank is more than nine years old, this is just the first random title to emerge from the vortex that was my scrambled brain at that moment.)
And so I fell out and paramedics had to be called in to shock me with electric paddles until I regained consciousness.
And so then I got worried about you guys. You have...right?
Because friends don't let friends miss Shawshank.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
So…first I do it and then I find myself seeing the show at the Carson Center last night.
Is it just me or is there a lot of Movin’ Out going around these days?
Just the thought of seeing a show based on the music of Billy Joel brought back a ton of memories from high school. There were a few albums back then that provided my life soundtrack and Joel’s “Glass Houses” was one that lived in the tape player constantly, right beside the Pat Benatar and the Cars. I can probably recite every lyric on the Glass Houses song list.
I was so inspired at the thought of seeing the show in fact, that I ran right out and bought The Essential Billy Joel and am enjoying it even now. Joel’s music is timeless and irresistibly catchy and I’m glad I got reminded of that.
My thoughts on the show are mixed. I purposefully didn’t learn anything much about the format going in and was a bit surprised the show was, essentially, a rock ballet—no dialogue whatsoever. Joel’s music is cobbled together to form a story of sorts: a young, innocent group of friends live through high school, war, drug addiction, love, loss—essentially, an American odyssey. The performers tell the story through dance while a narrator of sorts—not surprisingly one guy at a piano backed up by a talented band of musicians—sings the songs.
The award winning dance, choreographed by Twyla Tharp, is interesting and intricate with a lot of human pyramid stuff going on: dancers lifting other dancers in ever more inventive ways. It was very pleasing to watch even if it wasn’t the A-Team we were seeing. The piano man (and I’d tell you his name if I hadn’t lost my program along the way) had a fine voice and incredible stamina considering the show required him to sing for nearly two hours straight.
As a Billy Joel fan, I loved hearing the familiar songs set to dance but wondered if members of the audience not so familiar with the songs were as captivated for the entire length of the show. A glaring omission, in my opinion, is the fact that Joel’s opus and signature song “Piano Man” was not included in the play list. I’m not sure how one even thinks about a show like this without including a song like that. Especially when so many lesser known and inferior (at least to “Piano Man”) songs were performed. Here's the list:
1. Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
2. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
4. Just the Way You Are
5. The Longest Time
6. Uptown Girl
7. This Night
8. Summer, Highland Falls
9. Waltz (No. 1)
10. We Didn’t Start the Fire
11. She’s Got a Way
12. The Stranger
14. Invention in C Minor
15. Angry Young Man
16. Big Shot
17. Big Man on Mulberry Street
18. Captain Jack
19. An Innocent Man
21. Goodnight Saigon
22. Air (Dublinesque)
25. The River of Dreams/ Keeping the Faith/ Only the Good Die Young
26. I’ve Loved These Days/ Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
All in all, my quibbles are minor ones. It was a stellar night of entertainment in Paducah and I was thrilled to be included.
[As an aside—I have received a lot of concerned inquiries about my sleep situation. I should let you know that the butterfly is staying in his bottle these days, and I am sleeping normally thanks to the natural supplement melatonin. No more unconscious midnight snacks (that is SO last week!).]
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
It’s not that it’s all that unusual, or dramatic, it’s just that I suppose I’m reorienting my perspective. Who am I now that I am single, unattached, and a free agent rather than one-half of a team? Who am I if I'm not satan's cabana girl? The answer requires a shift in my outlook and something of a different approach to my life.
That process is ongoing, obviously.
I can tell you the whole thing is made much easier by the incredible help and encouragement I receive from my family and friends. I have been treated to amazing dinners (have even had a delicious homemade dinner delivered to my house for heaven’s sake) and shows, invited out and checked on, visited and supported. I’ve gotten together with old friends, dear friends, and talked to new ones--readers of this blog--that I didn’t even know I had.
It’s not all wine and roses, of course, but the news is that it’s not all tears and despair, either. I guess I’m a little surprised about that. Maybe more than a little.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I have to mention that “The Kite Runner”, a book I’m listening to in my car, is just an amazing read (listen?). I don’t know why I’ve avoided the book up to now; Khaled Hosseini is a kick a$$ writer (damn him!). I always consider it a special treat when an audio book is read by the author and this one is. I am on disk three and have already experienced several driveway moments.
And, speaking of driveway, thanks to some recent technical assistance, I now have the ability to open and close my garage door by using my remote opener like normal people. Can I just say that rolling into your garage and closing it with the push of a button is such a VIP experience? I swear, I feel just like a celebrity with the rock star parking, even if it is at my own house. It will be months, and possibly even years, before I get over this particular thrill. Also, as someone who spent a considerable amount of time experiencing top floor living, it is totally awesome to park my car darn near in my kitchen.
Poor FurGirl has, since the move, been doing without her toys, most particularly, she has been doing without her baby, Number Five, the stuffed Serta sheep. And, yes, this all my fault. Color me insensitive, but I sort of forgot to pack the toys.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
And if the breaking up was all that was going on in my life it would be rough, no doubt. Thing is, it isn’t the only pressing difficult life issue that I’m dealing with.
My pharmacist friend asked me what sort of food I kept in the house and whether or not there was a huge cache of, say, M&M’s around that I could potentially access in a nocturnal feeding frenzy. When I told her I didn’t really keep sweets around, she said that perhaps I should stop worrying about it—so you ate a few crackers? (She said.) So what?
Another friend suggested I keep a small bowl of tortilla chips next to the bed in the hope that a pre-measured, reasonable portion might satisfy my night time craving (and also prevent me from tripping over something and hurting myself during my semi-conscious travels).
As a long time NPR fan and WKMS listener, I was beyond thrilled.
A Bizzyville SuperSnap to Mary and her amazing ability as a blogger and PR maven. You go, girl!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I’ll just say that at approximately 2:00 p.m. CST, on Monday, Pinky, my less-than-one-month-old laptop, my PRIDE AND JOY, died on my end table.
I turned Pinky off and on; I control-alt-deleted. I did Lamaze breathing, rapidly fanned my face (and Pinky’s) with my hands and choked back sobs.
I went through the five stages of death:
Denial: This is not even what it looks like…no! Why, laptops this young don’t JUST DIE. Whoever heard of Sudden Infant Laptop Death Syndrome? (insert weak, nervous unconvincing chuckle here)
Bargaining: Okay, so I didn’t mail the St. Jude’s check, okay? I’m sorry, I’M SORRY! It was a BAD TIME for me. Bad, I tell you!
Depression: I’m JOB! I swear to god, I’m the female Job!
Acceptance: (This was a very short stage of not more than a second or two when I briefly considered the worst which was followed almost immediately by…)
Okay, so, in my case there were six stages of death. There were words on Pinky’s screen, but it was so traumatic that I couldn’t actually tell you what they were. Mostly the screen was eerily black.
After a couple (twelve) of unsuccessful re-booting attempts, I knew the situation was: a) critical and b) way beyond my technical skills (read: more complicated than hitting “on” or “off”).
I gathered Pinky and her power cord in my arms and sprinted to the car.
We roared out of the driveway, me still very deeply in the throes of Stage Six and Pinky in the early stages of rigor mortis. I drove to a computer fix-it place and found an older woman who looked decidedly low tech at a reception desk.
Can I help you?
(Cradling Pinky in my arms my voice shaking a little..)
My laptop is…sick.
(Fishes a clipboard from the far reaches of a deep desk drawer.)
Okay, this? This would be an E-MERG-EN-CY. (I paused between syllables for effect.)
(Looks at me uncomprehendingly.)
Pinky needs help. NOW.
(I turn Pinky so she can see the pink lid that was up to now pressed to my chest.)
We can’t possibly fix, um, your computer until tomorrow.
(Already sprinting back to my car.)
I drove to another possible tech support place where I was given the news that I’d need my “System Restore Disk”. Which? As far as I knew, I’d never laid eyes on and even if I had, it would, at best, be moldering away in a hastily packed unlabeled box at the new place or, worse, still at the Cave of Despair.
It was at this point that I finally called Someone Who Knows from my car which I was at this point driving aimlessly around town, a crumpled Pinky in the passenger seat.
One Who Knows
Pinky died. On the end table! All of a sudden!
Okay, where are you?
Car! Pinky’s here with me! They said I need a System Restore Disk! I have NO IDEA where my…
What happened when Pinky died?
There were words, gray ones! Gray words on a black screen!
What did the words say?
BAD THINGS! Do you have a System Restore Disk?
You don’t need a system restore disk. You need Dell Tech Support.
NOOOOOOOOOOO! Not THAT. ANYTHING but that! It’ll take days!
No, it won’t. That’s a brand new machine. They can fix it over the phone while you press the buttons.
NO! I can’t!
You have to.
Really. Now, do you have a pen? I’m going to give you the phone number.
(By now carrying Pinky back into the house from the driveway. I found a pen in a drawer and, finally, moved beyond Stage Six and into a state of extremely agitated resignation.)
Okay, give me the number. I’m ready.
In the end, it took about twenty minutes on the line with tech support to resuscitate Pinky. I had to do a complete System Restore and lost all the documents I had created and saved on my hard drive since just before Christmas when Pinky arrived.
Of course I’d recorded all recent important information like my new phone number and password to my wireless network on my hard drive, so I was without internet access for ONE WHOLE NIGHT.
Fortunately, I was distracted with Wii and some delicious chili and by around 1PM today I was once again connected to the world wide web.
As of right now, I’m back up and running and hoping to stay that way for a very, very long time.
With the exception of the missing documents, Pinky seems to have sustained no permanent damage from the incident and, as far as I can tell, she has absolutely no recollection of the terrifying events of yesterday and our harrowing dash for salvation.
The same salvation that was to be had via a simple cell phone call I could have made from my living room to begin with.
Ain't it the way?
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
But maybe first I should back up and say I'm something of a game-o-phile (if you will). I don't like every game in the world, for instance Chess is just too much thinking and not enough interaction for my tastes. And even though I'm a wordy person, scrabble tends to bore the crap out of me. Same for Monopoly.
What I enjoy are games that require people to interact together. I spent much of my twenties playing impromptu games of charades alot and of my youth playing cards (spades in particular and I still do play an inordinate amount of this game online--shhhh don't tell anybody).
It has been touched on here that I love Taboo and any game that includes just alot of talking (big surprise there). Also? Trivia. Love!
I'll just admit to being old enough to have personally witnessed the evolution of the video game. I was among those pathetic souls of yore who were absolutely shocked and amazed by Pong, the first video game. The game consisted of two bars and a white dot. Witness the wonder for yourself:
How impressive is THAT?
Then there was era of the video arcade that featured video games the size of refrigerators that allowed you to play for a quarter a game. I'll go ahead and further admit to spending a lot of time playing Space Invaders but most particularly Galaxia and Galaga the latter of which I am unable to pass up to this day, should I happen across the game in the lobby of a restaurant or in the odd truck stop. (Chase shares this obsession and it is totally my fault).
I've written about my experience with my son when he was little and the first generation gaming technology that we enjoyed together which was mostly the original Nintendo system.
Of course, Chase moved on the Nintendo 64 and now on to the PS whatever, but I didn't really make that leap along with him. As he grew older and his dexterity developed with him, the whole concept of controlling any more than two push buttons at a time was, for me, a talent that what with making a living and all, I didn't really have the time to hone.
But last night? Last night I experienced the Wii.
And, oh my gosh, ya'll! Maybe you already know all about it, and are all, "Wii--whatEVER" but this is a game that is interactive in such a way that you can pick up a control and start having fun at the get-go. Combine it with a (really) big screen TV and you've got yourself a party.
We played amazing tennis and golf (and I don't even LIKE golf) and bowled and I got to experience the new generation Zelda which in my case meant me hopping on the horse and galloping aimlessly around the kingdom for, like, an hour. But just doing THAT is fun.
Today I woke up actually sore in my tennis arm.
(But not so sore I'm not ready for a rematch).
So, yah. The Wii. Wow. Who knew?
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Val and I, we’re just so over these situations.
Otherwise, while visiting a friend earlier, I managed to fall both up and then down a half flight of unfamiliar stairs at her place. Yes, up AND down. Falling up was certainly embarrassing, but falling down ten minutes later? Hello? Might have thought to use caution?
However, every time I think of it now, and how I must have actually looked as if I’d been launched from a cannon when I came shooting into their family room from the upstairs, I get a case of hysterical giggles imagining the scene.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Why can't I just select it from my hard drive?! Wah.
Now if I can just wrangle my wardrobe (which is everywhere but where it should be; yesterday a search for my favorite denim Capris lasted half an hour and was ultimately unsuccessful--I know they're here somewhere, by God) into my somewhat reduced closet space...
[Edited to add: Okay, now I think I have added the photo to the profile from my hard drive. I swear, if I were the least bit technologically savvy I'd be dangerous.]
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Like when you have a major life change and post about it? It means you don’t have to keep re-announcing it each time you encounter a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Provided that most of your friends read you, and mine do, you can just jump straight to the ‘how are you holding up’ conversation when you run into someone at Wal-Mart in, say, the toothpaste aisle.
This is all to be expected.
What’s surprising to me is what, more often than not, question number two is.
More than once or twice, after I’ve discussed with a friend how I’m doing (and the answer is still fine, I’m doing fine) and they are satisfied I’m okay, they’ll get a concerned look on their face. And then they’ll hesitate for a moment but then go ahead and ask, with an almost imperceptible cringe,
“What about The Couch?”
Not the dog, mind you, but The Couch.
I guess I’m just surprised that both mine and the ex-man’s great affection for The Couch was that obvious. It’s not like we were caressing it ala Montgomery Burns, “Ah, yes, my marvelous couch”; or Gollum, “The precious…” every time someone came over or anything. Well, okay, maybe I was, but not more than once or twice, tops.
And I swear to you, I had just written the preceding paragraphs when I noticed a new comment on my January 4 blog entry. The post included a photo of FurGirl that caught a corner of the couch in question:
In case I havent told you already, i love that couch...glad to see you have it.
See what I mean?
(I’m glad too, Stephanie.)
Monday, January 07, 2008
I got my freelance project wrapped up yesterday afternoon/night and heaved one of those long, shuttering sighs of of weak, dizzy relief. Today is the day that kept me going through all the stuff, both expected and unexpected, that happened in mid-December, not to mention (horrors) The Holidays
And sure enough, here we are. FurGirl is completely exhausted and in a boneless heap on the rug as close as she can possibly get to me; her body situated so that if I leave the couch I will necessarily have to touch and therefore alert her in order to come to a standing position. In this fashion, she has learned, the dog is sure not to miss out on anything. As if on cue, she just let out a noise somewhere between a sigh and a groan in her sleep.
My sentiments exactly, FurGirl.
Yesterday, I stumbled upon some forgotten treasure while doing more unpacking. I knew it was a time capsule when I opened the box. On top was a black suede crop jacket trimmed in fringe, a gift of some extravagance from an old boyfriend that I had saved. (My love for fringe is similar to my passion for things that glitter. I know it's wrong, but I cannot help it.) Under the jacket, I found a pair of acid washed jeans of no particular significance (though I may have forgotten). Packed into the side were some framed old photos, one old enough to be a family antique, the others photos from some of my travels in my twenties.
Underneath that stuff, I found an unfamiliar sack. Inside was the treasure. Or it was treasure to me, anyway. The first item from the sack was a maternity shirt I hadn't seen in, well, I won't tell you how many years. But, even now, it was familiar to me. It ultimately became the only shirt large enough to cover my ever expanding belly comfortably, and I wore it almost constantly those last months up to and including on the trip to the hospital (in a blizzard, but that's another story):
I'm sort of surprised I saved it knowing how heinous I considered maternity clothes to look in general. I certainly never could bear the look of me in them. Lord. Back then everything was fussy and patterned and way too embellished. Just what a girl needs when she's swelling like a balloon on a tank of helium at a circus party. Puffed sleeves and ruffles. Remember Princess Diana's maternity outfits? Eesh. Women are much smarter now, just buying regular clothes a little larger and not being so afraid to show a contour or two.
For months after Chase was born I would snicker with relief every time I passed by a maternity department, usually with Chase in the stroller, knowing the days of me and the nausea and the foofy shirts were over.
And so I was quite surprised that the sometimes unsentimental and often overly practical twentysomething me had managed to have the forethought to put this particular relic in a safe place.
The other treasure in the sack was an unfinished embroidery project (it's actually crewel embroidery) circa the exact same time as the maternity shirt:
I've mentioned here that I have a rogue crafting gene. This was more in evidence in my younger years. My son was born in January, and I was pretty convinced, rightfully so, that money for Christmas gifts that previous December would be tight. I remember buying this project, a ridiculously large Victorian village, with the intention completing it and giving it as a Christmas gift to my mom.
Many is the night and weekend I spent working on just the small portions of the trees that you see completed. Back in those days we didn't have (brace yourselves) HGTV. I know, it was totally primitive. What we did have was a guy named Bob Villa and a show called This Old House, the PBS precursor to the Tsunami of renovation and remodeling shows that have now taken over the airwaves. I did most of this painstaking work while listening to Bob and incubating my future son. (And wearing that pink shirt!).
Of course, once the baby came? There was no time for crafting. The needle looks to be just where I left it, 22 years ago:
The entire kit including yarn and instructions is still all together in the sack.
It's enough to make me want to pick up where I left off.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
On the other hand, my visitor stats have doubled. Hi everybody!
I’m still working under a deadline, albeit an extended one, on a freelance project.
I’ve learned a little something about myself these last few days. Turns out a reeeally good way to torture me is to place me in a blank area with all my belongings in a large pile and then force me to work on something BESIDES arranging furniture, hanging pictures, organizing cabinets, and generally decorating the space.
It’s damn near impossible. Or it is for me, anyway.
Oh, I try, I do. I’ll be typing away having thoughts, writing words, being all business-like and Productive and then? And then I’ll glance up. Realize that the wall next to the front door is CRYING OUT for my framed “Saturday Evening Post” cover.
It’ll just take a second.
Two hours later, I’ve unpacked and washed the glasses, dragged in a new area rug, shopped online for a fabric with which to recover my throw pillows, tried my vintage vase in fourteen different places in the living room (and it’s not a big living room), arranged my CDs by genre, and re-read the first chapter of “The Borrowers” after pulling it unexpectedly from a box containing a bunch of dog-eared books from my childhood.
I’ve come to think of them as Design Seizures.
But that’s not the worst of it.
No, the worst of it is that, having untangled my belongings from the Ex-Man’s (heh! No extra charge for that one ), I’ve realized just how retro my stuff is, taken as a whole. It’s practically Leave it to Beaver up in here…seriously. It’s all fifties all the time. The fifties-style couch, dinette set, prints, lamps; it’s crazy.
And, God help me when I get hold of A Theme. (You’ll recall the tiny?)
Yesterday, during a particularly intense Design Seizure things got. A little out of hand.
I’ll just admit right now that I fashioned a side table (because a girl needs a place to sit her wine) out of a plant stand, a paper plate and a deviled egg dish. A vintage fifties-style deviled egg dish. You know, the kind your mom has in the back of the cabinet in case of a sudden funeral or holiday; the sort of thing that was a wedding present from aunt Velma?
Think I’m kidding?
Trouble is, I can’t decide if it’s fabulous or fugly. And that’s where you come in.