Sunday, December 31, 2006

What are You Doing New Year's Eve?

I'm not sure what happened. I had some intentions for today, not the least of which were cleaning the house from the party remnants, dispatching a pile of papers and generally getting things all tidy. I have this thing about entering the New Year with nothing hanging over me; no laundry, no bills to pay (well, that I accomplished) know, just generally setting the stage for that "fresh start" feeling.

Not so much. It didn't help that we all slept in, what with SFYS ending at 12:30am. Deciding to help The Child reorganize her room took some time. Man. The stuff we found. It was like an archeological dig. Launching the new blog certainly had something to do with it. I had to drink coffee. One thing and another, it's now 7:15 and while there is light at the end of the tunnel, I can guarantee you there will be a lot left undone before The Neighbor shows up for our New Year's Eve celebrations.

But hey. Life is never tidy. There's always something to be done. The second you finish all the laundry somebody in the house changes their underwear. That's the way it is. And it's more than ok because as long as there are dustbunnies and dirty laundry and baskets of papers to look at it proves, once again, that life is occuring. A good life. A life full of friends and parties and challenges and blessings.

So the house isn't clean. Meh. It will be. And then it will get messy again. The New Year will dawn with remnants of the Old Year. I'm totally ok with that.

Wishing you and all yours a very happy new year! Where's the champagne?

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There is Something You Should Know (Please! Please! Tell Me Now!)

All good things must come to an end. After 2 months of playing videos on the weekend it's time for a change. "No!" I hear you saying, "Say it ain't so! We love the 80s!"

Well, so do I. So does JP. That's why we've decided to launch a blog dedicated to our favorite decade.

For now, we'll just do it on the weekends, because that's what you're used to and besides, if we started doing it every day we'd probably stop writing our own blogs, never do our laundry or even leave our homes. That wouldn't be good.

The blog will be mostly music videos (including all genre, so you hair metal and rap fans need no longer wonder, "Hey, what about me?") but we may slip in other bits and pieces of all the best things about the Decade of Excess. It's gonna be big fun.

We've launched it today, with a supefantastic template designed by JP. Go on over to "Here's the 80s" and take a peek and bookmark it. You know you totally want to. The request line is open.


SFYS: Karaoke Madness

The Neighbor, belting one. Which was impressive considering she had a sore throat. Jen, resurrecting Janis Joplin.
Kina, thanking us for the music. (She's pretty much our disco queen).
The Spouse and Norbert singing no one remembers what.
But this is what happens when The Spouse sings "Wish You Were Here".
David, cracking himself up (he's easily amused).

I'll fly away, oh glory, I'll fly away....
Independence Day
Love shack, baby!
Material Girls
A wee dram o' Scotch...for courage.

TK singing "Blue Hawaii". (His wife told him not to quit his day job. He was charming. Silly wife).

Stina rocking Avril Lavigne.

Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river...

Because after the feeding frenzy, there just needs to be more singing.

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SFYS - Food and Fun

Jerry, consuming a turkey leg.Jan, hovering over what's left of the bird. The Spouse described the frenzy for his brined, cranberry glazed turkey as "what happens between pirahna and a cow carcasse".
Stina and child.
Ree and Jerry (one of the most adorable couples evah, btw).

The Child demonstrating that she is now taller than a grownup.


The 6th Day of Christmas: SFYS Aftermath - First the Singing

Sing for Your Supper was a gas, as attested to by the litter throughout the house, the quantity of recycling to be carried out and the giant turkey carcasse which even now is being rendered for stock (then to be transformed into enchilada sauce). Would you like to see pictures? Of course you would.

Many guests do in fact sing.

Ooh ee ooh ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang...In the bleak midwinter...

There might be a soulful country tuneor an old folk standardwhich will cause people to remember that the last time you performed you did "Will the Circle be Unbroken" and everyone will want to sing.Maybe you'll do a cover of a Hannah Montana hit, complete with choreography.You might gather the family for a charming rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"and get extra points for audience participation.But other entertainments are certainly encouraged. You might blow a blues harp,read your reflections for the year just passed,or tell an enthralling tale about the time your great uncle met Billy the Kid.You could juggle and in so doing unleash The Dog's inner Circus Performer, causing him to dance at your feet and wait for a ball to drop. You might read some moving Native American poetryor teach everyone to fold an origami star box.(This will definately earn you snaps for getting everyone involved).You might throw in a little bonus, such as Special Ed singing his own very particular version of "The 12 Days of Christmas". Hilarity will ensue.
But so long as you enter in, you will win the appreciation and applause of your hosts.

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It's Been a Good Year

I shared the following with the Sing for Your Supper crowd last night and felt compelled to share it now, with you:

It is traditional at this time of year to reflect, to take stock. We count and celebrate our achievements. We face our failings and resolve to do better. And so, in that spirit, I offer the following reflection on my life in 2006.

The writing is going well. My blog audience continues to grow and inspired by the daily need to keep them coming back for more, I have begun to do what I intended in the first place…develop a body of work. One manuscript finished, another begun and within the next few days I should hold in my hands a copy of the first edition of the Unbound Press which contains my first published work in 2 decades (not counting Letters to the Editor). I am proud of that. I’m also proud of the fact that none of my work contains fabrications about my drug addiction or reference to how I would have killed my wife if I had killed my wife.

I was involved in an exciting and successful political campaign this year. The Democrats are in control of the legislature. This makes me very happy. It makes me even happier to note that at no time during the campaign did I refer to anyone as “Macaca”, text any underage pages or have to resign my seat because I was facing indictments of fraud, corruption or money laundering.

I was never photographed without my panties.

I never made any racial slurs about anyone, under any circumstances; not even after a drunk driving arrest or from the stage of a comedy club. I’m pretty proud of that.

Upon reflection, I might possibly be more proud of never being photographed without my panties.

I didn’t have a baby in Nambia. I didn’t buy one in Malawi. I also didn’t “have” one and then keep it in seclusion until Annie Leibovitz was available to take her much ballyhooed photo and smack it on the cover of Vanity Fair. I suppose I’m a bit old fashioned, what with my having a child in wedlock and/or not buying it thing. I’m ok with that.

I was (photo shopped) on the cover of Vanity Fair. And of course, I was named Time's “Person of the Year”. That was cool. But all in all it was a quiet year. No court cases, no quicky marriages and even quicker divorces. I avoided scandal, the glare of the papperazzi and I can’t be accused of ever once suggesting that the war in Iraq is going well. Those are all things for which to be thankful.

But mostly, I’m thankful for the blessings of friendship, virtual and actual. Friends are a gift. And I’m happy to say that this year I once again managed to avoid shooting my best friend in the face while duck hunting.

Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 30, 2006

I Am Very Shallow

I got an email from Chris Van Hollen, the new chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Is he hot or what?

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That's the number of videos I will have played so far, after this post. And sometimes I think I've only scratched the surface of that glorious decade that we call the 80s.

This video runs for 6 bloody minutes. Just so you know. And it is psychedelic, man.

Well, I've Finished the Excel Spreadsheet

It's important to be organized.

Also, it's almost 3 o'clock. I really have to clean the house.

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with this video.


The ABCs of the 80s: M is for Madonna

Thought I'd throw JP a bone. I'm pretty sure he's heard this song.

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Cover Tunes

I've always thought it takes a lot of nerve to record a song that was a big hit for someone else. It's even more impressive if you manage to do such a good job that subsequent generations think it's your song. Like Naked Eyes doing "Always Something There to Remind Me".

I don't know how the purists will feel and you all know I think John Lennon was a genius but I really like this cover.

Bryan Ferry is so hot. But I always expect him to sprout vampire fangs.

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The Child's New Lunchbox

Now that task is accomplished I should probably start on cleaning the house. And because, for whatever bizarre reasons, we've now associated Kim Wilde with caviar I'll play another one of her tunes.

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Still not Toto. But I'll give you the real Rosanna. And Madge. Now I really am going to go get caviar.

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I Love Archie McPhee

You'll recall that last year The Child gave me my Jane Austen action figure for Christmas. This year she gave me a Rosie the Riveter action figure. Isn't she cute?

Made me think of this video. And now I'm off to buy caviar.

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Poor Spouse

He's had this whole week off and I'm worried about him. He's been watching movies and sleeping in and playing online war games. Poor thing. I think he's overdoing it. He really needs to take it easy. I just reminded him of that fact, as I saw him in bed with The Dog watching TV. He needs some coffee.

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I Don't Do Repeats

Usually. But Eva asked very politely and besides, it is appropriate for the weekend so what the hey hey?

Can you even stand the Edge? Seriously, I just love love love listening to his guitar. Whoa.

(And no, JP. It doesn't matter how politely you ask).

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Still not Toto

Things were pretty strict around our house in my teen years. (Owing to my father going into the ministry. Hello? Shout out for a celibate clergy!) There were some things about all that which were really just fine and for which I'm grateful. Many of the same principles are being applied around here. Save this: I wasn't allowed to dance and I wasn't allowed to listen to "rock" music. So my high school album collection ran to Carly Simon, James Taylor, a little that. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Oh, Cat Stevens. I was big into Cat Stevens. Elton John came to town on his "Yellow Brick Road" tour and I wasn't allowed to go. And yeah, it still bugs me. ("Years from now it won't matter", said Sean and Dame Judi. Just about the only thing they were ever wrong about).

Anyhoo, my musical education got a good shaking up in college. I guess it started, oh so subtly, with Heart. But in 1979 my then boyfriend met a guy name John, who we nick named Johnny Rotten (yeah, 'cause we were original like that). And John had spent some time in Europe and on the East Coast. And John knew stuff that none of the rest of us knew. And one night he came over and played a record called "London Calling" by The Clash and everything changed for me in that instant. Everyone else was listening to it going, "eew" and "not sure" and "is that music?". I sat on the floor in front of one of the speakers and I looked at Johnny and I'm guessing my eyes must have been glowing or something because he looked at me and nodded and said, "This is the future".

Well, it certainly was a seminal and important record and I'm very glad that I was living on my own so that I could go see The Clash in concert.

This is pretty much their big hit from the 80s and frankly, I don't know if it is prophetic or naive or what, watching all these years hence in this post-9/11, post-Saddam world of ours.

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Good Grief

Can you even believe I haven't played these guys yet? (Good thing I have a list, huh?)


I'm in My Jammies, Dancing in my Chair. You'd be Laughing.

I don't know what happened to all my tapes of this band. Not that it matters because who even has cassette players anymore? I have one in my car. I digress. Point is, I have to go find a CD of "Greatest Hits" 'cause I just feel near to sanctified every time I hear one of their songs.


5th Day of Christmas: Sing for Your Supper

A traditional part of our Christmas celebrations, we invite friends to come for dinner, with a catch. They must literally perform before being fed. They don't have to sing. Any sort of little entertainment is fine. Yes, we have to perform, too and no, I have no idea what I'm doing tonight. I kinda wish I could spin videos but that won't really work.

Anyhoo, the turkey is brining and I'll have to do a few things...bake a cake, make some dressing, like that. Not to mention pine needle patrol and probably rearranging the living room to allow for adequate performance space.

And after we have dinner we will likely have karaoke because we usually do after SFYS. (Should probably call Ree and see if she's bringing the box). And if we do have karaoke, I'll probably end up singing the following with Ed because it's what we do.

BTW, The Spouse once cautioned me against playing this video because it was "too predictable". Huh?

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It's Not Like I'm Obsessive or Anything

But I've been keeping a list of all the videos I've played. So I don't repeat myself. ("You obviously don't know anything about the radio business", said The Spouse). But see, this isn't the radio business. This is the Superfantastic All-Request All-80s Dance Party Countdown Duran Duran Hit Music Weekend Video Spectacular. Or something like that. And as I was perusing my video collection, thinking up stuff to play today, I couldn't remember if I had played this song yet. And so I went to my list (which really should be put into an Excel spreadsheet so I can sort more easily. Shut up! I am not obsessive!)

So I start poking through the list and I can't see that I've played any songs by this band. Which I know is totally wrong because I have and because hello - they're even in the program title.

I had to go through every weekend of "Here's the 80s" to check my list. Found a few other things missing as well. At least now it's up-to-date. Sheesh.

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What was the first video played when MTV premiered? That's right. Good nerds.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Breaking News

Saddam is dead. He was a really, really bad man.

Guess what?

There's still plenty of evil in the world.

Just saying.

So Not Toto

Now I'm going to go make dinner.

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Things I Need To Remember

I had one of those Chrissy doll moments today. After years of growing my hair out, today I noticed that it is finally really and truly getting long. Yay!

As is true with most women I know, I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. It was superfantastic when it was super long but like a fool I cut it progressively shorter and shorter after The Child was born. Then about 4 years ago or so I did the Sinead thing, shaving it in solidarity with ChouChou when she was beating cancer. Actually, I loved having a shaved head. I'd still have one except for the gender conflict issues it created for The Spouse. Anyway, I've been growing it out ever since. It's finally long enough to do things with, long enough to pull back when I don't want to do things with it.

Here's what I have to remember: short hair has its limitations. There's only so much you can do with short hair. The fact that I never really learned how to style my hair complicates the matter further. I also have to remember how long it has taken me to get back to this point of hair lengthness. Finally, I have to remember that however tempting it might be to cut my hair, doing so will never make me as cute as Clare Grogan.

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I'm So Bad

I'm going to blame this, as I do everything, on JP. He's a bad influence. He wrote a very funny piece today, on a subject that sorta makes you feel bad for laughing but you can't help it because he's, you know, brilliant. And of course, inspired by his post I couldn't not play this so I am. But I feel bad about it.

No. I won't feel bad. I'll just imagine Gob from "Arrested Development" doing a magic show and pretend that's why I'm playing this.

So much satire, so little time.

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The caviar store moved and I didn't know that. Went all the way down there, couldn't find it and thought, "Oh woe. Latkes without caviar. What kind of New Year's celebration is that?"

A Google latter and I have the information I need and all is well because they are open tomorrow. So there you go.

Now I have to unload groceries and take advantage of the fact that the family is out skating. And start "Here's the 80s". This song has nothing to do with caviar.

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On the 4th Day of Christmas

Today is not a Cat Dog Day(1).

I have to do some budgetting, get new tabs for my car and buy groceries. I also want to go to what Jlow would call the "Bait Shop" and fetch caviar for New Year's Eve. (I love the caviar shop. They give you tiny tastes of roe on mother-of-pearl spoons and when you make your selection they wrap it all up very nicely and send it home with you in a fine little insulated cooler that is black embossed with gold writing and makes a very swellegant lunch box for those days when you can't find the regular one because someone left it at school). It is a very posh place to shop and the people are super fantastically nice and helpful.

The Spouse is going to take The Child ice skating and I will use their absence to remove things from her room that she's forgotten she owns.

We have to brine a turkey. Tomorrow night is "Sing for Your Supper" and the feast must be lovely because people have to work so hard to earn it.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll get an early start on "Here's the 80s", since it is a holiday weekend after all.

1 (I really worry about this international incident stuff: last night we watched "Gregory's Girl", which is set in Scotland and then we played the Altered Images video of "Happy Birthday" for The Child. I went to bed and had that song playing all through the dream during which The Spouse ate microwaveable oatmeal from a packet and Charlie, who had prepared a huge pot of Scotch oats, became very offended and thugs came to our house and were going to beat up The Spouse unless he ate proper oatmeal. It was harrowing).

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me

A whole lot more lying around.

It's that time of year and I love it. The Spouse takes off the week between Christmas and New Years and rather than filling it with all sorts of activities and adventures, we mostly lie around.
Lying around is good for the soul. If you turn off the VH1, "We Love 1996" show and listen very carefully, you can hear frazzled nerve endings healing. Most of the year is full of planning and doing and going. Which is why we instituted "cat weekends" as a balance to the demands of life. Christmas week is one long "cat weekend".

The Child and I went for lunch yesterday with my friend, June. Funny story; turns out I sent June a birth announcement for The Child but had somehow neglected to tell her I'd gotten married. Plus, because I'd changed my name, she didn't even know who the heck it was sending her a birth announcement. "Well, that's very nice for you," she thought upon recieving it, "But I don't know who you are!". She did figure it out. Eventually.

After lunch, because we both received gift cards for Christmas, The Child and I wandered over to Barnes and Noble for a little book shopping. I got 2 new books. Almost French, by Sarah Turnbull (which is one of those true story sorts of things on the order of A Year in Provence or Under the Tuscan Sun about learning to live in another culture). The other book is Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire, the clever, clever chappie who wrote Wicked.

I am very excited about this, if you can't tell. It has been a long time since I got a new book. It has been even longer since I've spent any time to speak of reading. I know this sounds completely shocking, especially to those of you who know me and know how I love to read. I don't know what happened this year. Maybe it was because I made a new year's intention to spend more time reading and so I immediately, on a subconcious level, rebelled from such rigor. Seriously, I couldn't get excited about any book, not really even ones I'd read before.

But now I have these 2 books, and Barack's new one plus The Neighbor loaned me The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I plan to spend a substantial part of my day curled up with one of them.

And maybe I'll sweep the house. Or not.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Non Sans Jammie

Scenes from a Feast, With Guests

Despite earlier fears that the party might be too small, the house filled up very nicely on Christmas.

Dr. Kenny, who used to live one block over, with his daughter and The Child. (He's a Doctor of Philosophy and teaches things like "Politicial Movements of the 20th Century").

The good doctor's lovely wife, Tiff.

Our neighbors, Dwayne and Mark, who are building a superfantastic house down the street. And that's Ken & Tiff's son on the couch with The Child. He was about 2 when we met the family. Now he's 10. Kinda freaks me out.

The lovely Karen, sister of Dwayne, who was a delightful guest. This shouldn't have been surprising because her brother is very charming but if I were invited to some strange person's house for Christmas I might feel a little uncomfortable and awkward, liking my comfort zones as I do, but Karen entered right in and seemed to have a nice time and I hope she did because it was very nice having her.

Karen has a 4 year old daughter who is very into Abba and hence I call her Abba Baby. It was fun having a little tiny one in the house at Christmas, especially this one who ran back and forth putting away her toys (?) and used words like "please" and "thank you" (??). She received a baby doll from us, which she looked at with starry eyes and said, "Oh, I love it, thank you!" and then said, "I'd like another present, please". There were only 2 presents, but there were Christmas crackers. That took some of the edge off.

Abba Baby started singing "Mama Mia" and so The Spouse put on our Abba Greatest Hits (because no home that entertains should be without it. Trust me on this). And Abba Baby sang and danced for us.

Then she grew weary of dancing by herself and started asking for partners. The Spouse was game.

It was a good party.

Yes, it was.