Friday, November 30, 2007

One for Sling

Sling likes strings. The soulfully evocative "ping" of acoustic guitar strings, the stirring melodies of string orchestras, large balls of string which he keeps on his coffee table, string theory. He likes spaghetti. It makes him happy that his name rhymes with "string". Yep, he's all about the string.

So I thought I'd send out a dedication to O-Town today. This one's for you, buddy.

The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby"

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Little Tee

If you watch this little clip you'll see my brother, George Clooney, in action.


Oops! My Bad.

Doralong asked about my ensemble last night. Silly me. Hat and I were going to photograph what we wear while watching "Project Runway". Why? We don't know. Except that it is something of an occasion for us and we dress for occasions. But as I mentioned, I'd fallen asleep earlier in the evening and so I went to The Neighbor's wearing what I'd worn all day.

Black tulip skirt with a sheer black shirt, red cardi that I stole from The Neighbor a long time ago (which she keeps forgetting to ask me to return even though I wear it blatantly in front of her) and a sweet little scarf that Neighb brought me from Europe.

I also wore these sweet little flats, because they are comfy and sweet.

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Project Bespoke Boredom

Week 3 of Project Runway was a bit of a yawn, and I don't just say that because earlier in the evening I fell asleep watching "Firefly", which is definitely not a yawn.

The designers were taken to 10 Rockefeller, where Tim introduced them to *gasp* Tiki Barber. This is the point where I say, "Who?" Which is funny because that was pretty much the reaction of most of the designers. They put happy little, "Oh! You! Goody!" smiles on their faces but very few of them knew who he was (apparently he used to play football and now he's a correspondent for the "Today" show). Not the tinklefest that was meeting Sarah Jessica Parker, I'll tell you that.

The challenge? Design an outfit for Tiki to wear on the show. (Cue the cutaways to panic stricken faces of designers). He told them that he wasn't afraid of color and texture (took me years of therapy to be able to say that) and that he presented unique design challenges because he wasn't that tall (5'9"), had a thick neck and a big butt. (Rest assured, he's not a troll). Off to Mood, to get the allotted $150 worth of fabric and we're off.

Here's where I mention that I'm pretty sure The Committee revoked my "progressive" license a while ago so I'm safe in making the following very sexist comment: men's clothes are boring. I'm a big fan of the well-made suit and a nicely turned out gent. But let's face it, from a "fashion" standpoint, there just aren't a ton of options. Women's fashion, from a day dress to an evening look brings with it a HUGE range of options. Menswear, not so much. Pant legs flare or taper, collars widen or narrow, ties go from fat to skinny but really, after that, there's not much going on in the realm of menswear.

Consequently, uh, yawn.

But that said, menswear also presents a unique challenge because that crap is hard to make. Seriously. Once I tried to sew a dress shirt for my Ken doll. I had a pattern and a mommy to help me. It was the most excruciating experience of my life, and I include childbirth in there. So the technical end of this challenge was significant, especially considering that very few of the designers had a lick of experience making men's clothes. Moving on.

The big drama of the episode was just watching the designers freak out while trying to create something without really knowing what they were doing. Hot Jack was very clever and took off his shorts to distract the other designers in order to dismantle them and create a pattern. Which he shared with a couple of his designer buddies. Which made some of the other designer buddies testy, such as the future Mr. Hat (achoo), who was quite the little biatch about the fact that he figured out how to "drape" his trousers without using a pattern. Whatever.

Kevin, who wore a very slimy black hat that contributed mightily to his overall unwashed look, was on camera at least a dozen times reminding us that he is the only straight guy in the competition. Note to Kevin: Relax, dearie. They aren't into you, either.

Toward the end of Day 2 we cue Ginny Barber, Tiki's wife, who came in to critique the progress of the designers. Overall, she was positive but she told Carmen that her jacket looked like it was "Members Only" and even I know that is not a good thing. And Carmen freaked, mostly because she'd spent a lot of time on the jacket and hadn't even started the shirt.

Didn't get much from Elisa this week but what we did was pure hippy chick gold: a little random Lilith fair spinning dance, some yoga and best of all, her refusal to look at her model as he disrobed and being very careful to not touch him as she pinned garment bits together because, as she said in voice-over "I have only ever fitted intimately with my boyfriend. I choose to touch only him". Hi. I'm a big fan of monogamy myself but he's your model, hon. Kinda need to cope with his body. 'K. Love you. Have a magic brownie.

Ricky disappointed me a lot, because he didn't blubber a bit during the challenge. He did get into a bleepfest with Carmen...a very juvenile "shut up; no, you shut up" sort of thing, only with naughty words. Whatever. Oh, and he also made his model sew buttons on the shirt. Time crunch.

Carmen and Sweet P were both in the weeds by the time Tim showed up to get them to the runway. He had to be very stern with them. I would be sad if Tim Gunn ever spoke to me in an exasperated way. I love Tim Gunn.

The models hit the runway. Ouch. First time in a long time, if ever, when I've seen so many designers grimacing as their own work came down. These are professionals. They knew that in many cases the technical execution did not live up to their own standards, let alone those of the judges. They were nervous, many of them justifiably so.

Take for example, this monstrosity from Sweet P:

The trousers were actually quite good, fit well and were finished. Even she didn't know what the frak went wrong with the neckline. Abysmal. Super nice tie, though, which she made herself. And which snipey, still-not-funny Michael Kors liked.

But there were some very nice things. I was fond of this, by Kit:

The jacket was navy blue fleece...really sharp with the pants. Beautifully executed.

But I really think the best outfit came from, wait for it....Elisa. I'm not kidding. And this picture, in a testament to how not exciting menswear can be, doesn't do it justice because when this came down the runway both The Neighbor and I gasped with appreciation:

The colors, the cut, the really was a gorgeous ensemble and look fabulous on the model.

Plus I could see Tiki Barber wearing it on the "Today" show, as opposed to this number by my very-straight-and-don't-you-forget-it buddy, Kevin. I liked it a lot but didn't seem to really suit the "client" or his profession:


The highlight of the judging for me was when Nina decided to get picky about Jack's outfit, which was "just" a shirt and trousers. She wished there'd been "a third element". Both Tiki and Heidi piled on, saying they'd rather see 2 well made pieces than 3 that were sloppy. Ha! Shut up, Nina. No one likes you.

It may have been that little moment that sealed the deal, too, because Jack was named winner.

I know. Hi. It's a shirt and pants. They were nicely tailored, fit the model, yadda yadda yadda. A) The pants were pinstripe and the shirt had a small strip, too. I hate that. 2) Both Elisa or Kevin's outfits had more visual interest and were just as well made. 3) I saw the "Today" clip with Tiki wearing the ensemble; the camera did not love those strips. My head hurts.

Nice? Sure. A winner? I don't think so.

And in an eerily familiar scene, Carmen and Ricky were in the bottom two. Carmen's big issue, aside from the "Members Only" jacket was that she never made a shirt. She sent her model down the runway draped with the shirt fabric:

It was a real can-do move. She had to do something. But obviously, she mismanaged her time; she should have made sure she had a shirt and trousies before futzing with a jacket. Also, the crotch (I hate that word, btw) of the pants was Aw. Ful.

This was Ricky's design:

At first blush you're thinking, "what's wrong with that?" A couple things. The fit was ridiculous. It was boring. The only redeeming feature was the pocket square. Oh, and did I mention that that thing isn't sewn so much as pinned? Yeah. He went down the runway pinned together. While it might have been fun if it had fallen off the model, the expectation is for the designers to actually sew the garments together. Oopsie.

In the end, boring with a pocket square trumped bad crotch with a draped shirt and Carmen was auf'ed. Ricky finally cried.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fun with Scrabble™

A couple of you asked how to play Speed Scrabble™, the game that's sweeping the nation.

Here are the rules:

Turn all the tiles face down. Each player draws 7 tiles. Using the tiles you form words, down and across, just like you do for regular Scrabble™, only in this case each player builds his or her own words.

When a player uses all her tiles she calls "draw" and everyone has to take another tile, even if they are still working on their words. If you are clever enough, you can really get the other players in the weeds by calling "draw" a bunch of times. It's fun to hear them groan. (If there is a point, and there will be, when no one can play all their tiles, you say "stuck" and everyone draws).

The other important feature of the game is that you may rearrange tiles as often as you like in order to use them all.

For example, note that I just drew a "c"...a very pesky letter, by the way.

A quick move of the tiles and "arum" turns into "rum" and the "c" is utilized in the ever popular word "sac".

It really sux when you draw an "i" five times in a row.

Unfortunately, "i yi yi" is not found in the official Scrabble™ dictionary.

You have to be fast if you are going to rearrange your words, though. I've been caught in the middle of a reorganization toward the end of a game. That is bad. Because the game ends when all the tiles have been drawn and a player, having successfully placed all his tiles, calls "Done!" When that happens all the other players have to stop making words and, just like in regular Scrabble™, you have to subtract any unused tiles from your total.

Speed Scrabble™ is super fun and highly addictive. Just ask Buck. We played about 412 games this weekend.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Pass the Pie

Here's what I'm not going to do today: get on the scale. Nothing profitable can come from knowing the truth.

Yesterday I was singing a little song. It went something like this:

"I'm so tubby, tubby, tubby, tubby. All I do is eat. Tubby, tubby, tubby".

It was sung to a light and trilly tune.

Thursday it was turkey and carbs.

Friday it was cocktail treats at Stina's 40th birthday party.

Saturday it was a "traditional" Seattle meal of salmon with hollandaise, chanterelles sauteed with garlic, butter and sherry, roasted golden beets diced and served on a pool of balsamic vinegar reduction, steamed broccolini and cheese tortellini in cream sauce with salmon roe.

Last night we had an amazing Tex-Mex dinner lovingly prepared by Buck: the world's most amazing flank steak fajitas, refried beans (from scratch), Spanish rice and a fresh salsa plus guacamole.

And every meal was capped off with Sortilege, that fabulous whiskey/maple syrup cordial we first enjoyed in Chicago.

Know what's on the menu for this week? Leftovers.

Our time with Buck has been just lovely. He got a little tour of Seattle on Saturday and met some of our friends. I feel a little bad about the fact that the tours haven't been more grand and that what we've mostly done is cook and eat but he doesn't seem to mind. He got to go to mass at the Cathedral yesterday; it was the feast of Christ the King, the last big blow out of ordinary time before Advent begins. It was grand, although the fact is, the liturgy at the Cathedral is always grand. It was nice to see his reaction, though. Reminds me of what a gift it is to go to a church that does liturgy so beautifully.

We have also played multiple games of speed Scrabble. Our minds were kept sharp and lean even as our bodies were being transformed into dumplings.

Things are slowly returning to normal. The Child is off at school, The Spouse at work and Buck and I will just be hanging around talking (and yeah, probably eating something) before I have to take him to the airport this afternoon. The Child has been sleeping on the couch for 4 days and this morning I asked her if it will be nice to have her bed back. She shook her head "no".

"You like sleeping on the couch?"

Again, the head bobs with a "no".

"You're going to miss Uncle Buck, aren't you?"


Awww. It's nice when friends become family.

I'll post some pictures as soon as the camera battery charges up.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm So Predictable

I am also still full. Has anyone else noticed that a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is basically a big plate of carbs? I should probably go out into this very frosty and cold Friday morning and walk 5 miles, just to return some semblance of feeling to my gastronomical parts.

But I probably won't.

Besides, The Child and I have to teach Uncle Buck how to play speed Scrabble.

See you on Monday. Enjoy those leftovers.

The Cranberries "Dreams"

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Project Spit Mark

We'll make this short and sweet, kids. Yams, etc.

The designers were told that they would be creating something for a "fashion and pop cultural icon", as Heidi put it. The speculation and tittering in the work room was hysterical. "Madonna?" (As if). "Britney?" (Didn't catch who posited that one but Britney is to fashion what waterboarding is to human rights). And then, oh, then, the icon walked in: Ms. Sarah Jessica Parker.

"Oh My God" and "OH. MY. God" and "omigodomigodomigod".

I'm pretty sure several of them peed a little. I like SJP as much as the next person. Really I do. And you have to love how she has established herself over the years, all things considered (let's not forget "Square Pegs"). But wow. The tears and piddling over her seemed a bit much. It's not like she's Bono for crying out loud.

Anyway, the challenge: design a two piece outfit for SJP's clothing line, "Bitten". The real trick? It has to be high end but affordable. (I've seen the line. Ridiculously inexpensive and very cute and accessible). How affordable? The outfit couldn't retail for more than $40. Which meant the designers could only spend $15 on fabric. (I didn't actually see them go to China but they must have because I don't know where you get $15 worth of anything in New York).

The other part of the challenge: the designers had 30 minutes to sketch something, then pitch it to SJP. She would pick the 7 designs she liked best and those folks would then pick another designer to work with them to fabricate the ensemble.

The pitch bit was amusing...there were those who fawned, those who actually pitched, those who forgot to shake SJP's hand. Moving on.

Of the teams, the most interesting was Elisa and Sweet P. Everyone was shocked as hell that SJP picked Elisa's design in the first place...they clearly think she's a freak. Sweet P was the last designer picked to a team (hmmmm...not sure why that was); you could see it on her face...she so didn't want to work with Elisa. And you know what Elisa did? She said, "Oh, good. You're exactly who I wanted from the start". And I thought, "Damn. You are one weird hippie freak but that was one of the nicest things I've ever heard anyone say".

Right, so poor Sweet P was completely befuddled by Elisa's techniques. All hand-sewing. Spit marking. Yes. She spits on the clothes. Something about transferring energy. Eeeww. She described this week's dress as being "polymorphic". Cut to Sweet P repeatedly looking confused and overusing the signature Gunnian phrase "Make it work".

Most of the other designers were just happily working together, not much going on. Still lots flying under the radar. But Christian was still really arrogant and full of himself. Really. Kid, you're 21 years old. You might have mad skillz but let's accomplish a thing or two before we start walking around like our poo don't smell, 'k?

Ricky, or as I like to call him, Blubberboy, choked up half a dozen times in the show. He is way too sensitive. Too sensitive in a "overly fragile and possibly unhinged" sort of way. Plus, he wasn't even crying about anything of substance, like a broken bobbin or a model who suddenly hit puberty and no longer fits in the dress. I don't know what he's going to do if something like that ever happens.

The designs hit the runway. Wonder of wonders, Elisa's dress is one of the top 2. Everyone is shocked, except her. (Hippies have a wonderful sense of self, I'll give 'em that). There were "jokes" about her being from another planet. She softly replied, "I'm coming to your planet, with gifts". I think she's growing on me. That scares me.

Here was the Elisa/Sweet P collaboration:

Not bad. Why, it's almost, oh, what's the word? Polymorphic. (Huh?)

The winning design was Victorya's, who was partnered with Kevin:

Adorable. Although there were actually quite a few adorable numbers. In fact there really were only 2 ensembles that stood out for being not adorable. Which made the final judging pretty easy.

Christian's design, teamed with Carmen, described by the judges as "80s retro".

(It was the jacket wot done them in). Christian was very pissy with Michael and Nina (which was not smart because they are going to be judging every damn thing he does and he does NOT want to get on their bad side). They were giving their opinions and he was all, "I'd really like to hear what Sarah Jessica has to say". Ooooh, you're gonna be in so much trouble.....

It was bad. But not as bad as this, from Marion and Steven:

In their defense, SJP said it looked like Hermes. But Heidi thought it looked like it "came out of a's very sad". Ouch.

The impressive bit, after the scathing judgements, were that the team members were asked who should go. Carmen started to cry and Christian pretty much said it was his design so it would be his loss. Marion did the same thing. Very stand up of both of them.

Marion was auf'd for his raggy looking dress. I'd like to think the near miss had taken some of the stuffing out of Christian. But I doubt it.

Speaking of stuffing, I hope you all have a happy day full of thankful things and good food. And may no one spit on your clothes.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Song for Thanksgiving

Good morning! I meant to get up at 7 but now it's 8. I'm thankful for sleeping in.

There is frost on the ground but the sky is clear and blue. I'm thankful for November.

The house is not exactly in a state of readiness for Buck. Yesterday involved a lot more running around than I had anticipated. But I'm thankful for a house to clean and people to help me do it. Assuming, you know, that they help.

Today is The Dog's 3rd birthday. ("21", said The Spouse. "Now he can drink"). I'm thankful for my doggie who worships me and The Cat, who could care less about me most of the time but still deigns to sit on my lap and purr once in a while.

There is much to think on and offer up today. My finger didn't fall off, for one thing. A 4 day weekend, for another. Being 50. Having once been a teenager myself so I can remember what completely irrational beings they can be. Having friends. Good friends. Friends near and far. Friends down the street and in Blogtopia.

Yes. I'm grateful. I also don't have any time to make some poignant comment about said gratitude because if Buck is on time I gotta leave here in an hour and I'm so not ready for him. (Clean sheets on the guest bed are not a luxury but a requirement).

Oh, and here's something else to be grateful for: Scottish boys who make guitars sound like bagpipes!

Happy Thanksgiving, dear ones!

Big Country "Harvest Home"

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Things To Know

Even though it is Thanksgiving eve, I am going to watch "Project Runway" tonight and I'm so blogging about it tomorrow. Even though you are probably going to be way too busy to read it until next week. I don't care. It's how I roll.

I bought a super cute ruby glass turkey compote dish today, to complement the ruby glass turkey candleholders I already own. It was on sale.

I think he is very handsome and it will be amusing to fill him with cranberry compote because it will be the same color as he is.

I'm feeling ambient anxiety today, the sort where you can't put a finger on the cause but just feel sorta jittery anyhoo. I hate that feeling. I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that there are still bunches of things to do to prepare for our house guest and the feast, because those are joyful things. Maybe I'll take a nice long bath when I get home from grocery shopping for all the last minute things I realize I need. Like a leek and another box of bread cubes (just to be safe) and some nouveau Beaujolais. Oh, and brandy. I need brandy for the yams.

I'd better get on it, huh?


Surprise! Wednesday Jukebox

Mouse emailed me yesterday suggesting that since we have a big feathered holiday coming up and most people will be off on Friday as well (a moment of silence for all those who work retail), perhaps we should move Jukebox Friday to Wednesday.

This tickled me because it's not actually like we have a charter or a Quorum of Nine or by laws or anything. Crikey. I played a video yesterday (breaking news story); probably gonna play one tomorrow, too (something to wow the Pilgrims). Guess it just speaks to the power of the meme. Or maybe mob mentality. Peer pressure? Or perhaps my willingness to jump on board speaks to the paucity of blog material I have at hand just at the moment. Anyway...

Here's a little number that always surprises me when I hear it. It takes a lot of courage to cover a song that a) was such a big hit and 2) an iconic one, at that. It seems to me that if you are going to do something like that, you'd better do everything you can to give it a twist and make it your own, preferably without completely obscuring the fabric that held the original together. Or, you know, completely make it into something virtually unrecognizable. But if you do that, it's not really a cover, imho.

This song completely succeeds for me. It's perkily familiar and yet the rendering of the song, both by virtue of the ska take and the outstanding vocals, make you (OK, me) hear it in a new way. Far too young and clever, indeed.

Anyway, here's a little twist-while-honoring-the-original cover tune for ya to peel yams by. (Or in my case: peel yams, make cranberry compote, supervise but not meddle while The Child makes pies. And that bathroom isn't going to clean itself).

Save Ferris "Come On, Eileen"

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stream of Consciousness

Thank heaven for Yahoo News, huh?

Today's big story is that Neil Diamond has revealed who was the inspiration for his mega-hit "Sweet Caroline". Survey says: Caroline Kennedy.

It's a rather charming story, about how he saw a picture of her when she was a little girl, all dressed up to ride her pony, and how sweet and innocent she looked etc etc. etc. He recently had the opportunity to sing the song for her (and to reveal the story) at her 50th birthday party. I thought it was all rather lovely.

Plus, I loved the song when it first came out. A lot. Because I was a pop tartlet. And I thought Neil Diamond was dreamy. (Shut up). So of course I went to YouTube to find the song.

Neil Diamond "Sweet Caroline"

We're going to chalk this up as a story about how inspiration comes from vast and various places and how the kernel of an idea sprouts work that may actually be miles away from the original source. Because otherwise, this would actually be really super creepy.

Know what else I learned on Yahoo news today? Archaeologists think they have found the cave where the ancient Romans believe the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus. That's kinda cool.

Reminds me of a dog we had when I was growing up. Her name was Harvey. Because we thought she was a boy. Until she had puppies. But by then we were too used to calling her Harvey so we just kept it up.

Around that time our pigs, Ron and Judy (who were named for Dame Judi and Sean's best friends) had a litter, too. There was a runt. As is the way of large pig litters, the runt was destined to be shunned and die of starvation. Which we kids couldn't handle. So in a move straight out of Charlotte's Web, the runt came into the house to sleep in a warm box behind the stove and drink milk from a bottle. We were highly imaginative children, with a gift for the whimsical so we named the runt "Piglet". (Shut up again).

Piglet was a good pig. A smart pig, as pigs are wont to be. And Piglet knew a good thing when he saw it. He could struggle in the arms of a child holding him too tightly while trying to get nourishment from a rubber teat or he could nuzzle up to a nice warm mommy thing and nurse like a proper puppy. So he did. And Harvey let him. Piglet became one of her pups. He acted like them, too. He'd gambol with the other pups, until we gave them all away. And after that, he'd hang with Harvey. (Yeah, now I'm seeing the "Babe" connections, too. My childhood was a freaking story book). Piglet even became house trained, going to the door and grunting when he wanted to attend to his business. He was a good pig-dog.

This story ends badly.

Piglet was a normal pig pig, not a miniature. He kept growing. Except his hooves weren't cloven. (Which, had he also managed to chew cud, would have made him a kosher pig). The design flaw made it difficult for him to walk and so he curled his front hooves under him and walked on his knuckles, which became a problem when he gained weight. So eventually, much to our dismay, the merciful thing was done.

Speaking of knuckles, my finger seems to be getting better. See?

Can you even tell which one is afflicted?

It's the middle one. (Ironic, dont'cha think?) I really do think it's pinking up again nicely. Yay.

The Hat called me this morning for our ritual chat. I told her I didn't have anything to blog about. Guess I just proved my point.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

This is Weird

On Friday The Child and I went to Trader Joe's for the weekly shopping. I grabbed my purse and it felt too light. My wallet was gone. I knew I'd had it and she'd just seen it when she was frantically digging through my purse to find my cell phone so she could call Radio Disney. So we started searching the car. (We found the wallet...not the point of the story).

I was digging under my car seat and felt a weird prick or sting. I pulled out my hand and the middle finger of my left hand was immediately swollen and stiff...just like when I've been stung by a bee. I didn't think too much of it. The Child scrapped my finger in an effort to remove any potential stinger and then I just walked around the store holding a packet of frozen Dover sole to the ravaged digit.

By the time I went to bed the swelling had started to go down. There was never any fever or nausea of dizziness or other things that signal anaphylaxic shock so all was well.

Saturday morning my finger felt just fine. But it was bruised. Practically the whole finger. No swelling, no pain, I could move it just fine, but it looked like it had been smashed with a hammer. And it's still bruised.

I went on line to check it out...always a dicey proposition because every time you look up anything medical on the interwebs it appears that your condition is not only life threatening but exceedingly rare. I was able to confirm that a) I'm not dying of a mysterious bug bite and 2) bruising is a normal reaction.

But still. It's weird.

Last night The Child was very busy in her room. She's very excited about the fact that Uncle Buck is going to be here in 3 short days and she's beginning the process of making her room comfy for him. After a while she came out, big grin on her face and said, "Mom, you should blog about this".

"What? That you're cleaning your room?"

"No. That I'm making it super nice for Uncle Buck. You know how when Uncle JP was here all he had to look at were a few High School Musical posters and the Cheetah Girls? Poor Uncle JP. Well, Uncle Buck will have Miley and the Jonas Brothers and all kinds of stuff".

Seems she completely decimated the Tiger Beatish magazine I'd purchased for her earlier that day and donned an entire wall with every pop star currently in continuous rotation on aforementioned Radio Disney.

Yeah. Uncle Buck is gonna love that.

The volleyball championship game was on Saturday. The Child actually saw a fair amount of court time, all things considered. In fact, Bad Coach even subbed her in to serve in one game. That has never happened before. Probably her most glorious moments were when she was playing at the net. Twice she managed to get to balls that would have just rolled down the net, bumping them straight up so someone else could spike them. Both times they scored the point. Her serves were spot on, too. She did really well. The team won both their games. Guess that makes them the champions. Again.

I'm super proud of The Child for giving her best effort in every game, plus playing with grace and sportsmanship all season. It wasn't easy, what with Bad Coach being his typical bad self. It's hard to keep plugging when you're not getting any positive feedback or encouragement. But she did it, putting up with the negatives because she loves the game so much. She told me that she definitely wants to play CYO in the spring, even if Bad Coach is "coaching" (and really, we have to put it in air quotes because he's so bad) because she really wants to play in the new gym (which is going to be ready by next month).

I love that kid.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Yum Yum Bubblegum

Those of you with finely honed pop-culture skillz will know that this group were the inspiration for "The Partridge Family". Did you also know that the original concept was for these folks to play themselves? True. But the deal was scuttled because the kids didn't like the idea of someone else playing their mom, not even Shirley Jones. For that, David Cassidy, Danny Bonaduce and Susan Dey can all be grateful. As well as the other kids whose names I don't remember.

I was poking around the interwebs to see how their contribution to pop music has been remembered, what they're up to now, like that. There is a movement to have them inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. Start reading the petition and you'll be surprised and impressed by the scope of their contributions to rock music. Or poke around YouTube and listen to some of their other stuff. My point would be that they were legitimately talented and I would posit that the whole Partridge Family connection somehow created the impression that they never were anything but cardboard cutouts who only sounded good because of studio technicians. But listen: you can't fake sweet harmonies like that. Add in the actual playing of their own instruments and writing of much of their own music plus the fact that most of them are still in the music business one way and another....I'm just pointing out that all represents some serious talent and commitment.

Look at me, getting all defensive. I really loved this group. I was a little jealous of them. My sibs and I sang together, too. How come we didn't have a hit record? Huh? Maybe, among other things, because there is talent and then there is talent.

'Course, they were also not exempt from the curse of children performers. There was bitterness, acrimony and estrangement. Some of them got messed up on substances. Some of them are dead, too. Bill died of emphysema (so did their mom) and Barry frakking died in Hurricane Katrina. All that information made my heart hurt. Why do I persist in the delusion that the pop stars of my childhood are all still young, fresh faced and happy? I dunno and frankly, it's too early for me to contemplate.

A few things about this song. I totally thought the title was the coolest thing ever and honestly believe it influenced my writing style. Also, I loved this song bunches and bunches and even though it had heavy airplay when it first came out, I never grew weary of it. In fact, I seem to remember perfunctorily having on the radio with the single hope that at any moment this song would come on and I could be happy (happy happy). And even with the dated flower power reference, it has a timeless quality. The Child heard me playing this yesterday and came to listen, a big smile on her face. So there you go.

The Cowsills "The Rain, The Park and Other Things"

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Designers, Gather 'Round....

If you've already been by Hat's this morning you know that she and I love "Project Runway" and are, with the possible addition of Monica and Anne, going to play a little game wherein every Wednesday night we dress up to watch the show, taking care to document the ensemble photographically and posting said pictures with our reviews the next day. I'm giving it 2 weeks.

Now you've been warned that this post is all about the agony and ecstasy that is "Project Runway" so if you're looking for sturdier fare best to be moving along now.

I also have to make sure to not read Hat's posts until I'd written my own because a) it makes it harder to be original because I have to try and avoid repeating what she said and 2) it will be way more fun if we do say the same things without knowing it and then we can laffity laff about it over coffee later.

Hat did refer to the "hot Israeli guy", name of Rami, who won the first competition. I second her hotness nomination but would caution her that his last name, Kashou, is pronounced "cashew" and if she marries him it will be really awkward.

Hat and Tim Gunn Theatre

"Pleased to meet you. I'm Hat Kashou."

"Bless you, Hat. I'm Tim Gunn, your long lost uncle. But I didn't catch the last name."


"Bless you. Seriously, you're last name..."

"I said, it's 'Kashou.'"

"Goodness! Bless you again, darling; here's the perfectly pressed, monogrammed handkerchief I always carry for such a circumstance. Now, about your name..."

Here's my picture. I was wearing a terrific little ensemble: grey windowpane plaid tulip skirt, cashmere turtleneck, knee high black boots. All you get is this, though.

There's only one crappy picture because someone who shall go nameless (but lives next door and whose nickname rhymes with "babe") totally forgot that last night was the premiere and went out to dinner. Are. You. Kidding. Me? Anyway, I had hoped for her help with the "fashion shoot" but what the hey hey. If Hat has to take her own pictures then so do I. I'll do better next week.

First of all, the main reason to watch this show, imho, is Tim Gunn. Why do I love him so on PR and never make time anymore to watch the actual show he has on Bravo where he's on screen way more? Because his own show on Bravo stinks. He doesn't stink, mind you. In fact, I'm fairly certain he smells faintly of bay rhum. But it is a show that simply hasn't held my interest. His sidekick is thoroughly annoying and their relationship bears none of the wit, banter or obvious affection that is shared between Stacy and Clinton on "What Not to Wear"...with which "Guide to Style" is intended to compete. 'Cept it doesn't. Stacy and Clinton have No. Thing. to worry about. Where was I?

Tim Gunn. I adore him. I try really hard to impersonate him. It's harder than you think. I want to politely but warmly shake his hand and invite him to join me for a snifter of brandy in the library. (He's not the kind of guy you'd squench up in a sloppy hug and take for beer). He is simply the best thing about the show...a position borne out by the stupid text message contest thing that Bravo always does during their reality shows. (I hate that, btw).

Who I hate on PR? Michael Kors. He's really bitchy and worse than that, he thinks he's funny. He's so not.

Heidi Klum was looking superfantastic as always. I was a little annoyed that her first meeting with the designers was shot almost entirely with the camera behind her, up and at an angle. "All the better to see all the designers, my dear," says you.

"All the better to show us that her butt, tightly swathed in black, is fierce and this after having had her 3rd or 4th Seal pup", says me. But really. That simply was not kind. To any viewer with body image issues, I mean. It was obviously superfantastic for Heidi.

First challenge: using obscenely gorgeous fabrics, design something that will tell us who you are as a designer.

This is only the first week so of course this is going to change but I'd have to say that my favorite designers thus far are Carmen (funny, tough, used to be a model herself), Kit (little bit of punk sensibility, without the apparent ego of Jeffrey and if you watch PR you know what I mean), Jillian, because I liked her dress and also because she totally reminds me of that actress who's name I can never remember but who I really like and always have to look up on IMDb before I remember. See?

Jillian, the designer

Sofia Milos, the actress

Twins separated at birth, people.

I also like Kevin, who's a dreamboat.

Most people watch PR for the crazy fashion. Me, I always end up judging clothes by what I myself would wear. I also always root for the nicest people. Which is why I've only ever once been pleased with the winner (Chloe...season 2). That's also why my favorite dresses were this one, by Christian:

And this number by Steven:

I don't like Christian much, though. He's a pissy little dude and ever so impressed with himself. Look to him for some major bitchiness this season. Steven is his polar opposite, quiet and unassuming. He will be flying under the radar with consistently beautiful things. I suspect he won't actually win a challenge until later in the season. But he's super talented. I also like him because he's from Chicago.

Other notable designers, for one reason or another:

Sweet P, who is the most likely to either become one of my absolute favorite personalities or make me drive my Harley off a cliff.

Victorya, most likely to stick a stiletto in someone's back.

Ricky, most likely to break down and blubber during a judging.

Rami, the future Mr. Hat (bless you), with this little number:

As you can see, it is a perfectly lovely dress, crafted in grey silk gorgette. My biggest issue with it, frankly, was that his model is, shall we say, endowed. Endowed girls shouldn't go braless. (No, Sling, they really shouldn't). There was an undulation factor on the runway that was unfortunate. The girls shouldn't compete with the fashion, know what I'm saying? But still, he won and that's fine because he's clearly talented.

So let's talk about the losers. The first to go was a sweet, classy little thing named Simone Le Blanc (seriously), who made a not thoroughly horrible dress but the construction was abysmal. And I say that as someone who can't sew a lick. But it was really dreadful and the worst thing was that when asked to explain she said she got into a "time issue". Really? Honey, there were 15 other designers under the exact same time constraints as your sweet self and they all managed to finish their seams. Not to mention that most of them did much more ambitious things than you did (here's all the dresses...Simone's is the second one on the bottom row).

Not horrible, but still. Delivering the technical goods within time constraints is exactly the point of the competition. If she couldn't do it in week one, when she wasn't constrained by the limits of the challenge (make a day dress out of lettuce) then she was bound for a fall sooner rather than later. But she's cute as a button and I'll bet if she has other people sewing for her she'll make a fine designer without winning on PR. So bon chance, Simone.

Then there was Elisa. Elisa, who came second closest to being "auf'ed". Oh. My. Yord. What a freak. And I'm pretty sure the only reason she survived the cut (with a dress that, as Heidi said, "looked like it was pooing fabric") is because the producers are looking for her to provide a lot more interesting footage than sweet, sensible Simone. You can be a crappy designer and stay around a while, if you're nutty enough. And trust, Elisa is. She's a whack-O. A hippy dippy who "dyed" some of the expensive fabric by crushing it into the grass of Bryant Park. A nutjob who described her dress as having " a haiku of a cut". The sort of gal whose patchouli stench comes through the TV screen. The government should stop waterboarding prisoners and just leave them alone in a room with Elisa for 5 minutes. That'd win the war on terror.

All in all, a perfectly fine premiere episode of Season 4. Looking forward to next Wednesday. (Got that, Neighb? Wednesday. 10pm. Sheesh).

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's Happening Again

I swear. This blipping thing is going to be the death of me.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That Was Close

Last night it looked like my blogging days were over. Not in a "I'm over this and have better things to do with my time and blogging is so 2006 anyway" sort of way. No, it looked like my blogging days were over in a really final, "You are so denied entrance, what are you, kidding me?" sort of way.

It made me have a little panic attack.

So I called The Hat, which is one of the things I do when I panic. (Also, when something makes me laugh, when it's time for a second cup of coffee, or when I hear/read/observe something interesting in the universe. But also, when I panic).

So I call her and tell her, with no ceremony, that my blogging days are at an end. And she, being the sort of squenchy wench that she is said, "Oh...(with that really sweet and sensitive "I'm listening" voice)...what happened?"

Here's what happened:

I have my blog set up so that I get an email whenever someone leaves a comment. You probably do it, too. It's a useful device, especially for those of us who like replying to comments. Saves you checking your blog every five minutes to see if anyone has read it. Right. So a few months ago, I got one such email, clicked on the link and that stoopid "Security Information" screen pops up. I click on it and it went away, for a nanosecond, and then popped up again. And again. And again. Didn't matter if I pressed "yes" or "no". It wouldn't go away and I couldn't get to the comment box.

Fine. It was annoying but I entered through the Blogger dashboard and it was all good.

Last night I get an email. I went to my blog to respond (not through the email, mind you. Because that didn't work. I went straight to my blog). I COULDN'T GET IN. I was at the sign- in screen and it sat there, blipping and blipping and blipping. I couldn't type in my email address. I couldn't do anything. I COULDN'T GET INTO BLOGGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My entire bloglife passed before my eyes. There were at least 3 months of posts I hadn't yet backed up. My morning ritual of blog reading with coffee, gone. Oh, sure, I could spend 412 hours of my day typing every one's blog title into Google but that was going to get old. Plus, the blipping thing was going to keep me from commenting.

It would look like I was disappeared. One day here, the next day gone. No note, no explanation as to why there's a full pot of coffee and not a bite out of the delicious pie on the counter. Just G.O.N.E. Only I wouldn't actually be gone so much as locked out of Blogtopia. And, I might add, in a really passive-aggressive way. "Oh, I'm still here," says Blogger. Blip. "And all your blogs are here," blip. "Everything you've ever written" blip. "You just can't get into them," blip. "Ever, ever again," blip blip blip.

(Please note, "blip" it is not a euphemism for a vulgar word. (In those cases I say "frak", like they do on "Battlestar Galactica"). No, I mean what I say. Blipping. The screen was blipping. It was even making a little blippety blip of a sound).

I begin to mourn. I rue not backing up my archive. I keen the loss of Blogtopia: the give and take of commenting, the in-jokes, the nicknames, Pop 101. Sure, I have the emails of my bestest blog buddies. Their phone numbers, too, for that matter. It's not like I'll lose them forever. But Blogtopia will be gone. On a technicality.

Hat listened to my woe. She said something along the lines of "No, I'm not going to let this happen". She said, "Try this" and I did and it didn't work and she said, "What if you..." and I did and that worked but it was a really backasswards way to beat the system and then she said, "Do thus and so" and I did and not only could I log into the dashboard but it fixed aforementioned email problem, too.

Then she laughed at me. And Sling brought sandbags. And all was well in my bloggy little world again.

Learn from my experience. If the weird blipping thing ever happens to you, here's what you do:

1) Go to a blog where you have commented. Find yourself on the comments page, click on your name, which takes you to your profile and click the "big B" in the upper left hand corner. That gets you to the dashboard.

2) Go to "settings" and scroll down to where you have the email address to which comments should be sent. Delete the address. Save your settings. Go back and re-enter your email and save again.

If that doesn't work, I have no frakking idea what you should do. Probably call The Hat and tell her your blogging career is over. Worked for me.

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Oh my gosh, I think the most terrible thing is happening. But I can't tell you about it right now.

We Are Replete

And so, another fine Iwanskifest comes to an end.

(After you hit "play" and the music starts you have to click the second little "play" arrow. Or just look at Iwanski's smiling face. That's good, too).

Iwanskifest 07
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Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Iwanski!

Iwanskifest will conclude this evening, when we consume the Eli's Cheesecake that came in the Box o' Gout. Today is Mr. Iwanski's birthday and so I would like to sing for you a little song composed for the occasion:

Joy to the world,
Iwanski's here!
He loves hot dogs and beer.
He's funny and he's smart,
He has a great big heart.
McRibs he really loves,
and he also loves the Cubs,
and Healthy, Miss Healthypants
He loves her, too.

Chicago's his home
He loves to roam
her streets and snap some pics.
He knows about her crime,
the seedy and the grime.
He cheers the Bears and then
He cheers for them again,
Iwanski, Iwanski
We love you, dude.

There will be a full recounting of the joys of Iwanskifest tomorrow.


Friday, November 09, 2007

Brains and Beauty

I have been all over the map, thinking of what to play today.
(Really? You think about this? asks you. "Have you read my blog?" answers me).
I like this little memey thing we've started, plus it's superfantastic to know that if I haven't anything to post about of a Friday, all that's expected is a video. But then there's the whole not-being-confined-to-the-80s (the greatest era in music) thing and that just opens up so many possibilities that sometimes I'm giddy.

Or I can just do what I've been doing lately, which is play the song that has randomly emerged from the mooshy lobes of my brain. (That "I had XYZ song on my mind all day" phenomenon actually fascinates me a bit. I understand how all those songs get filed in there. The brain is really just like an iPod: stuff gets downloaded and sits there until required. But what is with that random shuffle button? Who pushes it and why does sometimes that mean that the song on my mind is something by Toto?)

This song is sung by one of the most beautiful men in the universe. He was fathered by one of the most important musicians of my lifetime, a man who also happened to be quite a feast for the eyes back in his youth. The son has a smoother voice than the old man but he certainly shares his father's gift for making stories into songs.

The Wallflowers "One Headlight"

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Volleyball and Pie

I am not at a PTA meeting this morning. This is me, being light of heart.

There are also merits to taking the high road. The Child had a volleyball game last night and many of the parents are the same ones who were being ridiculous on the weekend. I am happy to report that everyone was absolutely lovely to each other, laughing and joking and cheering for our kids like we always do. Maybe even more than we usually do. It was terrific.

The game? They went in with an undefeated record. Not so much now. However, it bears noting that after being smashed in the first game they came back and won the 2nd game 25-9. The Child was responsible for about 6 of those points, including her first ever spike at the net. It was a little piff of a thing but it surprised the frak out of the opposing team. And Bad Coach. And the snotty Princess. And The Child. Tee.

The girls started out with a 6 point lead in the 3rd game and then it went back and forth. Sadly, they lost, but they made the other team work for it, with a final score of 27-25. Hardly a drubbing. And for the record, our girls, who are 13 and 14, are "playing up", which means they have been facing high school sophomores and juniors all season. They so rock.

The Child still hates Bad Coach, who is still a Bad Coach and an idiot. But she told me last night that she wants to play CYO in the spring, even if he's the coach. (I continue to work behind the scenes to see to it that we have a good coach in the spring. I didn't engender all this political clout in my years on PTA for nuthin'. I know people. I'm going to work that like a mule in a field).

Meanwhile, parents are begging me to reconsider sending The Child to DC. Some of the folks that were such jerks at the rummage sale are even asking the head guy to credit their take to The Child's account. How do I feel about that? I'm not sure. On one hand, if I can send her without doing anymore fundraising and without paying for it myself, that would be a good thing. On the other, I'm still not sure, given a whole lot of stuff, whether this is really the group of kids with whom I want her spending a week in DC. I'm going to think and pray on it and talk to The Principal and see where that takes me. It'll take a very large and bright shiny sign to change my mind. Not to mention, Hat and I are seriously thinking that taking Rosie up on her suggestion of a road trip, with The Child, to Sandpoint in May. That sounds delicious. Almost delicious as pie. But not mincemeat.

About Mincemeat

Way back in the day, when there wasn't refrigeration and like that there, folks came up with a groovy idea for dealing with leftover meat that had begun to turn They chopped it up super fine, mixed it with strong liquors, dried fruits and other masking agents, popped it in a pastry and said, "Yum". Then they all died of food poisoning. But somehow the idea lived on.

Down the culinary road a pace, someone figured out that instead of rancid meat they should use fruit, like apples and green tomatoes. That's the sort of thing you find in most prepared jars of mincemeat today. But recipes I found for making the stuff from scratch very often still include some meat and suet. Personally, anything that calls for suet is a non-starter for me. Eeeww.

Anypie, many years ago I was on staff in the Continuing Education office at my alma mater. My boss was a charming, elegant man of refined tastes. The sort of gentleman you could picture in a smoking jacket, having a snifter of brandy in the parlour while his equally elegant and refined wife played a little Chopin on the baby grand. One Christmas he hosted a dinner party in his equisitely appointed home for the entire staff. A long table was set with a crisp white cloth, English bone china and gleaming silver candlesticks. The meal, which he and his wife had prepared, was a sumptuous event with many courses. We started with Oysters Rockefeller and, I think, champagne (the school was by mandate a tea total sort of place but that did not apply to the lifestyles of many players off campus) and ended with pie.

Mincemeat pie. Very lovely looking pie, flakey and perfectly browned crust from which oozed luxurious mincemeat. 'Cept, it was traditional mincemeat. As in beef. As in beef with sugar and apples and raisins. You know what? You cannot douse beef with enough brandy to make someone forget that they are eating sugared meat.

I love sweet and savory combinations. But there are limits. Would you put hard sauce on a burrito? Whipped cream on turkey? No. Meat is not a dessert. There. I said it.

I must away. I shall leave you with this, a little sumpin sumpin found recently while reading about pie. It made me laugh.

From Epulario (The Italian Banquet), published in 1598. The English translation:

To Make Pie That the Birds May Be Alive In them and Flie Out When It Is Cut Up

Make the coffin of a great pie or pastry, in the bottome thereof make a hole as big as your fist, or bigger if you will, let the sides of the coffin bee somwhat higher then ordinary pies, which done put it full of flower and bake it, and being baked, open the hole in the bottome, and take out the flower. Then having a pie of the bigness of the hole in the bottome of the coffin aforesaid, you shal put it into the coffin, withall put into the said coffin round about the aforesaid pie as many small live birds as the empty coffin will hold, besides the pie aforesaid. And this is to be at such time as you send the pie to the table, and set before the guests: where uncovering or cutting up the lid of the great pie, all the birds will flie out, which is to delight and pleasure shew to the company. And because they shall not bee altogether mocked, you shall cut open the small pie, and in this sort you may make many others, the like you may do with a tart.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Politics and Religion

Hat? Hat? Come back here, honey...I'm not going there. Oh, honestly, where did she go?


"Mom, today we were talking about elections and stuff. I knew how many years a representative serves before they have another election and how long a senator serves. 6 years, right?"

"Yep. Good for you"

"And then, Mom, Mr. D. wrote '01-20-09' on the board and asked if anyone knew what that meant and I shot my hand up and I was waving it and waving it and Joe was too but Mr. D called on me and I said, 'That's the last day Bush is in office' and you know what happened then, Mom? Everyone started screaming and cheering and it was like Mr. D had just announced that there wasn't going to be anymore homework for the rest of the year".

Those of you counting down the days (440) will no doubt appreciate that little tale but here's what I found significant.

As you know, The Child attends Catholic school. Now, Catholics are as mixed a bag as any other've got your no-war-social-justice-care-for-creation-dialoguing Catholics over here and you've got your you-can't-vote-for-a-Democrat-and-be-Catholic-I'm-so-pro-life-that-I-could-kill-you Catholics over here and then, as should be expected, a nice little hodgey-podgey all up in the middle here.

Having said that, in our small school I would wager that easily half of the families hover somewhere in the camp that I don't hover in. Thinking only about The Child's class, I would definitely say that is true. Which is to say that the cheering and stomping over Bush finally leaving the White House was not coming from a gaggle of kids being raised by pot-smoking-hippies or something like that there. And it either suggests that a) even the more conservative families have grown troubled by the direction of this presidency and/or 2) even if the parents still support Bush, their kids don't. And it'll be 5 years before any of them can vote but hey, they are paying attention. I really, really like that.

The Child, all full of poly-sci-ish fervor wanted to accompany me to vote. She asked questions about precincts and polling places and how I was going to vote if I didn't have my registration card and seemed very impressed that I knew they couldn't prohibit me from voting because I didn't have it and actually even more impressed when we walked into the polls and I went straight to my precinct table. ('K, I was too. I can't actually tell you the number off the top of my head but I know it when I see it. A 3 is involved).

She watched me sign for my ballot and go into the booth and then she said, "This is boring," and took her soda out into the hall so she could slurp on it without me shushing her.

Voting was easy. The Spouse and I had discussed everything and he'd marked the voter's pamphlet while he filled out his absentee ballot so I filled out all my little circles in record time.

I have a strategy when it comes to City Council, Port Commission and School Board. It is a very simple system, developed over years of watching Seattle/King County politics: always vote for the challenger. If the day ever comes when there is someone sitting on one of those bodies who ever does anything but natter, I'll support him or her. As that is not the nature of politics in this hippy-dippy consensus decision making, "let's commission a study to review the results of the bi-partisan panel that proposed a survey to see if we should limit our latte consumption" town, it's safe to say that the challengers will always get my vote.

There was a 30 minute period of bad juju in our house last night. I'm not naming names but 2 people were over the top hysterical and/or passive-aggressively ridiculous while 1 person was trying really hard to get everyone to simmer (and that person did raise his/her voice once but it was only to be heard above the din). It was embarrassingly stoopid. But before the night ended both of the other 2 people came to the 1 person and apologized for the bad behavior and that made the 1 person feel very good about the power of love and the strength of forgiveness. Because if it all doesn't come back to that what the h-e-double hockey sticks are we doing?

See, Hat? That wasn't so bad, was it? Oh. I think she's hiding under the table. I'll just leave this pie here...

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Resigning from Things

I got an email yesterday from Seattle Coffee Girl, which apropos of nothing, asked where I was on the liturgy book I finished writing a whole way long time ago. Hi. That would be one of the more classic examples of how out of whack my priorities have gotten. I haven't done a lick on it, even though there are only about 3 chapters left to edit. I haven't even thought about presses that might be interested in such a thing. (SCG, in her inimitable style, sent me links to about half a dozen this morning, including submission guidelines).

The point is, that things like book projects and building my business and general attentiveness to my family have all been swamped by meetings and fundraising and other obligations that have absolutely no bearing, at all, on anything to which I am truly committed. I've hinted at all this recently and was working my way out of it but this weekend it all came to a head.

I'll spare you the details because, well, frankly I know how you are. You'll get all outraged on my behalf and pledge to form arse kicking squads and all that. Which is always nice but I'm over the anger and don't need to feed into it anymore. Suffice to say that the frickety frakkety rummage sale was an even bigger waste of time and emotional energy than expected. Also, for the record, sometimes other people are soooooo stoopid.

By the time it was all over I sat, looked at my life and said, "Whoa, Nelly".

My poor, bedraggled little priorities are sitting huddled in a corner, begging for a crust of bread. They kinda look like the waif children that the Ghost of Christmas Future pulls out of his cloak when he's messing with Ebenezer Scrooge's weak mind. My priorities need to be given a nice hot bath, pulled up to the table and fed a warm, nutritious meal. I think fried okra and applesauce cake should be involved.

I'm usually the sort of person who is very clear about my limits and not afraid to say "no". I'm also usually pretty good at listening to my instincts. But once in a while I'll talk myself out of or into something because the instinct itself doesn't make immediate sense. Let me tell you, in the course of my life, there has never been a time when my gut feeling about something was wrong. Nev. Er. It doesn't matter if it doesn't compute at the time, I should trust it.

After this weekend I was more sure than ever that the rut I was in owed in large part to being over committed to things outside my passion and enough was enough. So.

A) I resigned from the PTA board. I loved working with the other board members and feel really good about what we accomplished. But I was beginning to get sucked into the inevitable politics of being in a leadership role. When the nitpicking starts to matter (and I should stress that the nitpicking was coming from outside the group), when I find myself getting stressed about things I can't do anything about, that's a good sign that I've been at something too long. I wanted to get out before I burned out because I love love love The Child's school and want to be able to continue being a booster.

2) We decided that The Child is not going to go to DC in the spring. There are a ton of reasons, any one of which is cause enough. But primarily, the fundraising is taking way way way too much time...time that she needs to be spending on the tours/exams/application process involved with high school. And, because of the way the fundraising is going, I've become really concerned that after all this time and effort the parents are still going to be on the hook for a portion of the costs. Her trip to France this summer is far more important than spending a week in DC with a bunch of princesses and little kings in the company of their over-protective and insular parents. (Did I say that out loud? Oops). I love the east coast and would like her first trip back there to be full of fun and mine was. That trustworthy gut of mine tells me that this particular trip would be anything but.

And how's she doing with all this? At first she was hesitant about the finality of the decision. (We had discussed the possibility but that's not the same). Golly, she is such a game kid...up for anything, even if it means that she's going to be surrounded by poo-heads. She had good questions and offered suggestions, though never actually pleading to still go on the trip. Then I suggested that perhaps we can arrange for The Godmom to schedule their trip to southern California (read, Disneyland) during that week. Or that maybe she and P can do something special while the other kids are gone.

Who is P, you ask?

That would be the other kid in the class whose family has decided that the Bravo Sierra around this trip wasn't worth it and pulled out earlier than we did.

Anyway, as soon as she realized that there were other opportunities for adventure besides DC she was downright jiggy with it. It was never about the specifics for her and all about the thrill of going and doing.

And moi? I am so lighthearted today that I've had to lash myself to my chair in order to write this post. In fact, I feel a song coming on:

Jimmy Cliff "I Can See Clearly Now"

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Tis the Season

I'll be the first to admit that I absolutely abhor the fact that Christmas advertising starts before Halloween. I hate going into stores before Thanksgiving and seeing all the trappings of the season yet to come. There was a big inflatable Santa in front of a UPS store this morning and I so wanted to pop it.

But that said, I am so getting into the holiday spirit. I'm very excited for Thanksgiving this year, especially because we're going to be joined by the lovely and vivacious Buck. For the last 15 plus years we've spent the holiday with my family but that tradition is changing (owing a lot to the fact that The Spouse has to work on the Friday after Thanksgiving and it's really become a stressor to try and rush down to the folks and then rush back. Hi, have you ever been in holiday traffic?) We'll miss the fam but it's going to be awesome to start our own tradition in this regard. Buck being with us is going to make it that much more special.

And, while we aren't going full bore on the Christmas thing, what with wanting to celebrate Thanksgiving and Advent first, thankyouverymuch, there are little plans afoot: settling on the menu and inviting guests and thinking about what sorts of gifties we'd like to shower on those in attendance (including The Hat...oh, the joy of family holidays frosted with Blogtopian goodness...we're so lucky).

But the holiday season is, for good and for ill, most definitely upon us and the magic of this time is palpable. There is much giddiness and delight in the family these days for lo, the best and most magical of holiday celebrations begins this Friday.

"What?," says you? "I'm looking at my calendar and see nothing. Unless you people get giddy about Veteran's Day?"

No, gentle and silly reader, not Veteran's Day...although who doesn't love a nice three day weekend? No, the feast of which I speak, the celebration which is getting us revved up is none other than the sacred and much adored celebration of Iwanskifest. Yes. On Friday we will receive our box o' gout from Tastes of Chicago and embark on a four day frenzy of eating in honor of our personal hero, John Iwanski.

This year is even more anticipated than last year. It is not unlike, I'm sure, how someone would feel who had always celebrated Christmas but never believed in Jesus. A nice enough holiday but missing some essence. And then that person becomes a believer and suddenly Christmas is more than tinsel and presents. Last year we celebrate Iwanskifest because it seemed like a good excuse for a party. But now, having actually met the man and been in his presence, it will be so much more meaningful.

Plus this year The Neighbor will actually be in town so she'll be able to join us if she wishes. Good times.

Now I must away to finish preparations. There is the Iwanski calendar to create and garlands of beer cans to string. Busy busy.

Oh, and sorry I'm so late posting, for those of you who have your deadlines. I was busy spending the morning resigning from things.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

For the Record

As of 10:35 PDT:

8 comments for the Plain White Ts.

12 comments for Hannah Montana (aka Miley Cyrus).

Kinda like a Google Fight without the, uh, fighting.

At this moment The Dog is barking furiously at me, wagging his tail, while he tosses his lion at me. This means he wants to go to bed. Because he sleeps with his lion...a stuffed toy he stole from The Child long ago.

I must go to bed because The Child and I have to get up early tomorrow to get to this frikkety frakking rummage sale in support of the 8th grade trip to DC and may I just say, the people who are driving this train are driving ME out of my frikkety frakkety mind? Good. Because they are. Trust. You don't even want me to get into how frakked up all this is. No? You do? 'K. I'll make it simple. I'll use army code:

This weekend looks to be a Charlie Foxtrot.

Myriad things have happened this week that make me say Whisky Tango Foxtrot.

I need to trip and fall into a bucket of money and I need to do it like, now.


Do you know, I haven't even had cocktails with The Neighbor since Monday? Yeah, that would be the shift in the space/time continuum that you felt earlier.

Lord, I will be so damn glad when this weekend is over. You don't even know.

I need change for a $20.

Don't forget to fall back tomorrow night. What will you do with that extra hour?

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