Friday, May 30, 2008

They Aren't Booing


From the late 70s through the end of the 80s I was privileged to see any number of fine artists in concert, often in venues small enough to truly appreciate the experience. I pretty much stopped going to shows as the 90s rolled around, mostly because it cost so stinking much. And really, when you once paid $8 to see The Police (and thought that was highway robbery), a minimum of $50/ticket just doesn't seem reasonable, especially if you're in a stadium and the band for whom you paid all that cash is so tiny that you are forced to watch the big screens behind them and for all that headache, not to mention finding parking, you'd be better served staying home and listening to the records.

There is only one artist I've seen in concert more than once and that would be the inimitable Bruce Springsteen. What is it about him, you ask? Pretty much everything. He's a story teller, for one thing: Jersey thugs, hot rods, pretty girls, screen doors slamming, hardscrabble kids yearning for something more. Springsteen sings of broken dreams and wistful hope, accompanied by the occasional '69 Chevy with a 396.

It's his compelling sound: guitar driven with surprisingly lush orchestrations. It's that the E Street Band is truly a band wherein Bruce has assembled musicians equal to or even better than himself and pulled all those gifts together in a unique sound. Unique? How many bands can you name that celebrate the saxophone and glockenspiel as much as the Telecaster? It's the fact that he's not afraid to go acoustic.

It's that he's managed to remain true to his "working stiff" roots and values, even as he's become hugely successful. It's also that he hasn't been content to rest on those well-earned laurels and has been willing to take chances and make musical experiments. You might not always like every record but you can't ever accuse The Boss of selling out.

Other reasons I like Bruce Springsteen: we share a birthday, I like his politics and he and Patti gave all three of their kids totally normal names.

Another thing about Springsteen is the level of showmanship he brings to every single concert. It was legendary even back in the '70s. Shows would go for an average of 4.5 hours and Bruce was on stage rocking it every single minute. When you paid for a Springsteen ticket you knew you were going to get more than your money's worth.

So you can imagine my chagrin when, one time, he ended the show after only 3 hours. What? Oh, sure, it had been a great show, with Bruce working it from one end of the stage to the other, teasing with the Big Man, singing and dancing til he was dripping. But a 3 hour Springsteen show was unheard of. Over beers after the show we speculated: could it be that he was finally selling out, getting too big, so to speak, for his 501s? Was new found commercial success destroying the Springsteen magic?

Turns out the man was sick with flu and had been performing with a temperature of 101°.

This is a clip from 1978, when he had lots more hair and fewer bouncers.


video
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)"

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just a Note

Even though I honestly have absolutely no expectation of finding my ruby, I carefully search the sweepings up before tossing them away. I've found a lot of dog fuzz, plenty of mown grass and quite an astonishing lot of glitter. Which twinkles. Momentarily raising my minimal-to-non-existent expectations. But that's all.

On the plus side, my floors are really clean.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

That's Nice

Every day I do a bunch of things that go unnoticed. In fact, my life is such that most of the time there are only comments when one of those things goes undone. No one walks into the house and says, "Golly gosh, thanks a ton for doing all that laundry today". They may, ocassionally, say things like, "Uh, I'm running out of socks".

Now, strictly speaking, I'm not a housewife for the glory. (I'm in it for the stupendous salary). For the last 14 years, I've stayed home because I wanted to and because, thanks to The Spouse's generous income, I could. I stayed home because being around to raise my child and care for the household brought me fulfillment and joy. It also gave me time to pursue my other interests. The fact that I'm not receiving accolades, bouquets and being feted on a daily basis is immaterial. Truth told, I'd have to clean the house and do laundry even if I was the only person living here so really it's not a big deal.

Should The Child thank me every day for being the worst bestest mom ever? Should she be abundantly grateful that I've been around for her? Should The Spouse be eternally grateful that I pay the bills, change the sheets, walk The Dog, dust the piano and put a decent meal on the table 7 nights a week? I get as much out of all that as they do so it's pretty much a wash.

The truth is, I'm just as skilled at taking for granted the gifts they bring to the table. Maybe the point is that we could all do a better job of appreciating each other but I'm not convinced that the fact that we don't somehow diminishes what we do.

All that said, it is nice when the people in our lives make a special effort at acknowledging what we do for them. I had such a moment today. The Child is now in possession of her yearbook and this morning she came out with it. Each 8th grader wrote a little paragraph to accompany his or her "senior" photo, part reflection, part thank you.

"Did you read Fifi's bio?" she asked. "I think you should".

She handed me the book and pointed to the place. There, at the end of her piece Fifi had written, "I want to especially thank Mrs. Thomas for giving me a ride to school for 2 long years".

Hello? She didn't thank her teachers (although I'm sure she's grateful to them). She didn't thank the principal (although she most certainly owes her a debt). No, the person she singled out was little ol' moi for doing nothing more than ferrying her to and from school.

I give rides to 2, sometimes 3 extra kids. This is not a spectacular feat. They live right on the route to school and it is no trouble at all to pick them up. It takes virtually no more time or gas or effort to car pool than to not. Every single day they thank me. They say "thank you" when I drop them at school, they say "thank you" when I drop them at home. So it's hardly like I've felt put upon.

But still, there was something really sweet about Fi making that public declaration. And when I picked the kids up this morning I got out of the car and gave her a big hug. Because it is nice to be appreciated.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

R.I.P.

Sydney Pollack died yesterday.

I really liked most of his movies but whenever he'd show up on the other side of the camera it made me smile. He had a kind of elegant scruffiness about him that I adored and it made me happy.

He was also married to the same person for 49 years. That's a heck of an achievement.

Rest well, Sydney.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorializing Things

I noticed an article somewhere recently that was talking about how Memorial Day has lost its meaning ever since it became a Monday holiday.

For the record, I don't really remember all that much "meaning" around it back in the day. Now, Veteran's Day, there was a holiday for you. That was the day when the Veterans of Foreign Wars were out with their poppies. I've always had a soft spot for Veteran's Day, precisely because of all those old men outside the grocery store or the 5-and- dime, handing out their little paper poppies. I loved those little things and collected them but somewhere along the way they went missing. It was years later that I actually learned the significance of the poppies and of Flanders Field and when I did it made me very sad and nostalgic for my paper poppies and for the sweet little old men that handed them out to us. I really had no idea and wished I could go back and find them all and thank them properly.

But Memorial Day? I'm not sure it's federal importance has ever been as high on the holiday scale. Bottom line, it comes in late May and the necessary connection to the start of summer seems kinda inevitable.

But for the record, in the midst of our bacchanal last night there were conversation about our veterans and an expressed desire to see more done to truly honor the sacrifice of those willing to serve. Because I do grow weary of a government that is so willing to send folks into the maws of war, tell them how terrific they are for doing that, while treating them so shabbily upon their return. (Actually, there's some argument for the shabby treatment they and their families get while they are serving as well, but we needn't get into that).

Thing is, going back to WWII we don't have anyone, family or friend, who has died in service. Which is what Memorial Day is about. But without family stories of personal sacrifice, it seems almost specious to go on and on about it. Because that particular sacrifice is not one we've had to make. And it's one thing to acknowledge that others have and that others are making that sacrifice every day and another to truly know what it feels like to live it.

So last night we were enjoying friends, laughing and talking and bbqing and eating tarte tatin (one of the best I've ever made, btw, and golly Moses, I'm pretty much ready to make it on a weekly basis). Today The Spouse will probably watch some WWII movie marathon on the WWII movie marathon channel and I'm going to play Sims2 because I haven't for days. And if that seems very callous and la ti da in the face of Memorial Day, I apologize.

But at least I'm not running for President partly on the strength of my veteran status and being all red/white/and/blue about it while refusing to support or vote for the new GI bill.
Because here's the difference between me and people like John McCain. I may be at best 2 degrees removed from anyone who has made a sacrifice in war but at least I truly, madly, deeply believe that we should do all in our power to support those who served once they return home. Anybody can stick a flag in the ground at Arlington or pose for an "I'm a veteran, vote for me" photo op in the midst of vetting VP candidates at (one of) his (many) homes. We don't "honor" our veterans, or the memory of those who don't make it back by cutting care and benefits.

No, I don't like war one bit, my little muffins, and like I said, the sacrifices memorialized in Memorial Day aren't really something I understand but even I know that as questionable as the morality of war sometimes is, I know for sure it is immoral to send folks into it then leave 'em hanging when they get back; assuming they get back.

And with that, it strikes me that Memorial Day has, in fact, served its purpose. At least I thought about it.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Inches on the Reel to Reel


I read this intriguing opinion in the NY Times this morning. Boy, that Rosanne Cash sure can write. By the end of the article I was pretty excited about the snippet of song that was included and eagerly clicked the little play button.

Meh.

Oh, she sounds quite lovely as does Elvis. I just felt a little let down by Mr. Kristofferson. (Dig me, assuming you read the article...guess I should mention, if you didn't, that the article is about the process of writing "truthfully" in song-making and about a song, as yet unnamed, that she wrote with Elvis Costello and Kris Kristofferson. There). Point is, even when I've liked some of his songs, Kristofferson never did much for me. He seriously can't sing for crap. There. I said it. I think I might have liked the song better if it was just Rosie and Elvis.

But even OK songs (that might grow on you later, you never know) have their merits. Because I mostly ended up thinking about how much I love Elvis Costello. It was 1978, fall of my senior year of college. The inimitable Johnny Rotten, musical guru to my little group of friends, had come over to my place with his latest discovery. It sometimes took me a while to wrap my musical head around some of the offerings Mr. Rotten provided but in some cases, this one among them, I knew in an instant I was listening to one of my favorite artists of all time. And lo, these 30 years later, that is still true.

Not to mention, that Mr. Costello has proven himself to be a, oh, what's the phrase? Musical genius? All his youthful, quirky, punk beat poetry was just the first layer of the proverbial onion. In the intervening years there is pretty much no one in the musical universe he hasn't written for, recorded with and/or produced; no musical genre (with the possible exception of rap) that he's not explored. Have you ever listened to the album he made with Burt Bacharach? I rest my case.

For all his more-than-capable-musical ability, despite the length and breadth of his recording history, there are times when I simply must return to my roots, and his, and listen to one of the classics.


video

Elvis Costello and the Attractions "Radio Radio"

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Golly, I Could Make a Habit of This

Here's another actual email transcript. But it requires a smidge of explanation.

Last Friday The Neighbor was, per usual, over to watch "Battlestar Galactica". She mentioned, when she arrived, that she'd grabbed the wrong keys upon leaving, thus locking herself out of her own house, so she'd need to borrow mine at the end of the evening.

'Cept when I went to the hooks wot hold the keys, hers wasn't there. Which was weird, because I'd used it fairly recently.

One of her kids bailed her out and it was all fine but as she is leaving on vacation in a few days we needed to make sure I had a key and she was going to make another one for me but today I was able to send her this:

-------Original Message---------
From: Lorraine
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 7:30 AM
To: The Neighbor
Re: Your Key


Neighb,

I found it. It had fallen into the little thingy that collects bottle caps.

(Ed. Under the hooky googa that holds the keys is a vintage Coke bottle opener and under that is a little whoozy that catches the bottle caps. The Spouse uses it. For beer, mostly, not so much the Coke).

Nayb


-----Original Message-----
From: The Neighbor
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 1:57 PM
To: Lorraine
Subject: Re: Your Key

I'm so glad it has been found! Whatever compelled it to want to associate with bottle caps?

From: Lorraine
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 2:00PM
To: The Neighbor
Subject: Re: Your Key

It was Friday night...the bottle caps were feeling a little rowdy...they invited the key over (because, you know, if you're going to have a big, noisy party it's best to just invite the neighbors) and obviously it was a pretty killer time because the key has been sleeping it off in there ever since.

Unless, of course, it was just waiting patiently because, what with having no actual hands or feet, it couldn't crawl home on its own.

From: The Neighbor
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008, 4:45PM
To: Lorraine
Subject: Re: Your Key

I knew you'd have an explanation for it.

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When You've Got Nothing to Blog About, Post Actual Email Transcripts

-----Original Message-----
From: Seattle Coffee Girl
Thursday, May 22, 2008 1:21 PM
To: Lorraine
Subject: when...

is The Child’s graduation? Did you tell me we were going to be invited?? I'm having a space-out, please forgive me.

How come no post today?

On 5/22/08, Lorraine wrote:

the 11th and you were invited but now word is each family only gets 5 tickets so all our invitations have to be rescinded, which sucks but there it is. We are going to have some sort of celebration with "the family" after we get back from CA.

I had to work this morning and frankly, the only thing I had to say anyway was some ranting about Hillary's latest argument (and the most specious one to date) for her "electability" and I really try to limit the political posts because I don't want to piss off/bore people.

-----Original Message-----
From: Seattle Coffee Girl
Thursday, May 22, 2008 2:55 PM
To: Lorraine
Subject: Re: when...


Oh. My. Goodness.

You've had to rescind your invitation to us? I am offended, hurt and quite embarrassed. I don't know if I'll ever get over this. Hee hee ha ha.

Dang, that is SUPER LAME that the school is only giving each family five tickets. You pay good money for your kid to go there, they should at least give each family ten seats. Because, after all, this is a Catholic school, and we travel in tribes and have lots of babies and all that fun stuff...AACK.


So other than the Hills thing, you've got nothing else to tell us? Phooey. :(

On 5/22/08, Lorraine wrote:

I know, right?

I don't know how to make this up to you. Maybe offer free babysitting for the life of your child/ren? It would make a dent at least. And I'll pay for the superfantastic frock you already purchased for the event that you can't take back because it was tailor made for you but you don't want it anymore because just looking at it recalls the pain of the rescindedness.

As for non-Hillary related blogging, I could write about the fact that I woke up at 5am in a panic because I had let The Child take The Spouse’s lunch box to school yesterday which, of course, she left behind and when I remembered I panicked because The Spouse is a creature of habit and I knew that if he got up to make his lunch and found his box missing it would throw him into a tizzy and I wanted to try and forestall said tizzy but a thorough search of the house and car confirmed that she had, in fact, not brought it home. But it was worth it because he was still in bed and heard me and asked why I was up so I told him and that way he didn't have to be surprised so he adjusted very nicely.

So then I went into the kitchen to make coffee, because he usually does that, and under the circumstances I was in need of making things up to him and that's when I remembered that last night I'd made a special effort to do something particular to please him and now he'd never know. See, last night before bed I had unloaded the dishes in the drainer that fits in the sink (the one you gave me) and put said drainer away because it always annoys him to get up and make coffee and want to put the coffee grounds down the garbage disposal and not be able to because there are clean dishes in the sink. So I fixed that for him but since I was the one making coffee he’ll never know.

See? Boring.


From: Seattle Coffee Girl
Thursday, May 22, 2008 2:55 PM
To: Lorraine
Subject: Re: when...


I think you should hit copy-paste and post that baby. Ha ha ha! That's really funny, in an "I sneezed" sort of way. :)



So that's what I did.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What the...

13 days, 7 hours and 15 minutes. That's the amount of time left in The Child's middle school career.

She's getting some pretty fine grades this trimester, except for math but her math teacher is confident that she'll be able to bring it up before the end of term. She only had 2 missing assignments on her last progress report. That's huge.

We still haven't heard anything from First Choice High, but I'm told that it's really just a matter of waiting for the dominos to fall. It's all good. The fact is, she got into high school. That's the achievement.

Last night at the retreat I was sitting with a guy I first met when The Child started kindergarten. His son is now a sophomore. It seems trite but there was a moment when we looked at our kids, remembering them as little tinys and said to each other, "Can you believe it?"

9 years ago she was all about the stuffed animals, the Madeline stories and the soundtrack of "Little Mermaid". Now the makeup and clothes are pushing out the toys, pop tunes are in the iPod and she reads chapter books. Then discusses them. It's inevitable and right, I know, and I've been here the whole time, every day watching her grow, but, as she used to say when she was a toddler, "I can't bebeeve it".

Speaking of the iPod, this would be a good time for a public apology to Dame Judi and Sean. I would like to formally apologize for all those hours I'd sit, plugged into the headphones on the stereo, which resided in such a public place, and sang along to Bread and Chicago at the top of my lungs. Really. I'm very sorry.

What is it about having headphones (or, in today's case, ear buds) that renders a person incapable of singing in tune? (shudders)

Mom, Dad...forgive me. I knew not how I sounded. I do now. (shudders again)

The school year is winding down. A cap and gown are hanging at the ready. I'm almost the mother of a senior high student.

13 days, 7 hours.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Love Technology

We had a new security system installed over the weekend. It's superfantastic. The thing that is superfantastic about it is that it talks. When you activate it the alarm says, "Doors and windows on". When we come back in and push the magic buttons it says, "System disarmed". It cracks me up. The only thing wrong with it is that it should speak with a British accent. Because I call it "Jeeves". I would also like if it called me "m'am". Or perhaps "mi'lady". Yeah, definitely "mi'lady". And also, I think it should ask if it can bring me a spot of something.

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If It's Tuesday, I Must Be Tuning the TV To CNN

The Child has a retreat this evening for a mission trip she's taking this summer. At first I was a little annoyed, only because it's Tuesday night and there are 2 primaries today and you know how I like to watch the game. But turns out the church where it's being held is nearby and the parents only have to show for the first 30 minutes. The timing will be perfect. Kentucky returns will be coming in before we have to leave and the polls in Oregon won't close until 8pm so I'll be able to catch the first bit of that before I have to fetch The Child. I love it when things work out like that.

I was at dinner Sunday night with a group of friends, most of whom are Obama supporters. There were a few Clintonites and the question was inevitably raised, "Should she drop out?" And I, in all my diplomatic Obamaness said, "No. She has every right to stick in it until the last 5 contests are over. But she should drop out after that. If she takes it to the convention then I will be extremely disappointed in her". And the Clintonites agreed.

The thing that I think has been forgotten in these last 4 months (really, only 4) is that fundamentally the Democrats have had the luxurious and even enviable situation of having good candidates about whom the majority of us are excited. Yes, some people in both camps have gotten a little entrenched as the time has passed but the fact is, the vast majority of those entrenched types are going to support the Democrat. It might not be quite as blissfully easy as it would have been a few months ago, but it will happen. And if Hillary really loves the party like she says she does, if she really is committed to unity like she says she is, then she won't take this all the way to the convention. And that will go a long way toward restoring order. (Not that I think the process is all that disordered anyway. It's been an exciting contest and we've forgotten what that looks like. It hardly puts the party in peril).

Florida and Michigan. I heard this notion posited recently and I like it: count the votes but as punishment for breaking party rules, strip those states of their superdelegates for this round. Why? Because it was the party leadership that broke the rules. And I've said it before but I'll say it again, there have to be consequences. Otherwise every state will be breaking rules next time around. I hope the Rules Committee understands that.

Obama has picked up 10 of Edwards' 19 delegates since last week's endorsement. He now leads in the superdelegate count, as well as every other measure. And I think he's being terribly diplomatic about all that. While pundits and columnists begin to coronate him, he continues to say, "It's not over". Because it's not. Even though it really pretty much is. She'll get Kentucky, he'll get Oregon, she'll probably get Puerto Rico (but that will likely be pretty close) and he'll likely get South Dakota and Montana. And then Hillary should smile very sweetly, concede and do all she can to help Obama kick the stuffing out of McCain.

Speaking of whom, did anyone else see this over the weekend?

video

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

We had an exceptional weekend here in the great city of Seattle, with temperatures up into the 80s. Gor. Geous. Despite the vagaries of a dismal, wet and over-long winter, the tulips bloomed and now, as they fade, everything else is in bud. The May air is soft. Even on the chill, overcast days of last week it portended the warmth that was coming and on the mottled wings of that warmth, fragrance lingers. It stops me. I can be engaged in the most mundane of tasks - taking my wastebasket to the recycling, going to the garage to get chicken breasts from the freezer - and the air commands me to stop. There is a general sweetness of miscellaneous bud and blossom, fruit trees, new grass, the last hyacinth and the first rose but the top note, unmistakably, is lilac.

Nearly everyone in this neighborhood has lilac bushes. Sometimes I imagine that there used to be one grand house here, owned by a lilac fanatic who planted swaths and swaths of them. I imagine how gorgeous May must have been in that house- windows opened to allow the spring air to clear away the last vestiges of winter from the corners. Those homeowners would have been very calm and happy people, smelling lilac all day. It is a healing fragrance.

I imagine, sometimes, that the house had to be taken down...unfortunate investments, a heir who was neglectful of the family legacy...and the land being sold off in tiny parcels to post-war developers who raised up all the little ranch houses and cottages that line the streets now. But this would have been the '50s after all; these plain little houses were built with care and the heart of the craftsman still informed both design and construction. I fancy those developers saw the lilacs and held back modernity just enough to plot the footprint of each house to accommodate the old lilac bushes, striving to keep at least one for each property.

That's not what happened. And in fact, the lilac on our land is one we planted ourselves. But from the back garden I can see lines of lilacs to the north and south and can't help but think they were here long before our houses were built.

After our splendid weekend of heat, the lilacs too are fading for the season. Summer flowers are coming on. The irises, which might otherwise have waited until June, have begun to pop open and the roses are loaded with buds. The blossoms of the apple stick are falling like snow and leaving behind tiny green apple babies. The bees did their work; there will be lots of applesauce cake this year.

I must away to gather rosebuds while I may and hang washing on the line.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Song for a "Crisis"

My people know me. When I told The Hat about my ruby she started to giggle, saying she could just see us this time next year, ritualizing the loss of my ruby. Which cracked me up. That is precisely the sort of thing I would do:

Recreate the meal (crabcakes and tomato salad). Liturgically intone "OH! NO! My ruby is gone!" The Spouse ceremoniously falling to his knees to search for it. The Child looking grieved, with a trembling lip.

We had a good laugh about that.

Then JP commented something on the order of "You lost your ruby on a Tuesday? There's a song about that".

Yes. Yes there is.

I found a performance from the Ed Sullivan show but there were too many screaming fans to fully appreciate it. (Although you should go look for it on YouTube because Brian is wearing a modified Mad Hatter chapeux and playing the recorder. It's funny).

This is from a couple years ago. I like it. Mick even manages to strut.

video

Rolling Stones "Ruby Tuesday"

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Ring Redux

If you have ever been to downtown Seattle, you are no doubt familiar with the Rainier Tower:

It's base is very narrow and then tapers up to the office tower. Got it?

That's kinda what my ring finger looks like now.

I went to the jeweler yesterday and had my wedding ring cut off. The lovely man who helped me was very funny. "The bad news is we don't have any anesthesia," he said. "And I should probably tell you that I flunked out of medical school".

"It's ok," said I. "Just give me a shot of brown liquor and a bullet to bite".

He slid a metal cutter thingy under my ring and made a nice clean cut. With two needle nose pliers he then pried the ring apart enough that he could slide it off my finger without cutting me on the newly sharp edges.

He'll be getting in a shipment of rubies within the next week or so and I'll go back to choose one, then they'll fix my ring. Except I can't have it sized until my finger returns to it's normal shape. Which, he said, could take up to a month. What made me think that a ring which went on to my hand when I was a size 4 would never need to be sized? Very, very silly of me.

The good news? I have a few weeks to find the ruby. Not that I honestly believe I will, but since so many of you seem determined that the Universe will bring it back to me, I'm keeping my eyes open. (Y'all really are the sweetest things).

I have no idea what it's going to cost to restore the ring: a new stone, new tips, a shank for the resizing...could end up being as much as the ring is worth already. Although when I mentioned to The Spouse that I supposed we could just not fix the ring he quickly said, "That is not an option".

He also was amusing because he seemed a little nervous about the fact that my ring finger was now naked. "You have to wear something on that hand".

I have a claddagh, an Irish wedding band. But you see, if I put another ring on that finger it would get in the way of it restoring itself. It has to be jewelry free for a while. Then, later, and seemingly apropos of nothing The Spouse mentioned a recent statistic he'd read that 1 in 3 women in America are having or about to have an affair. As you know, I very rarely say anything negative about my Spouse in these pages. But for the record, sometimes he can be a very, very ridiculous person.

"I am one of the two," I said.

"I'm just saying..."

"Look at me!" He looked. "I have no interest in having an affair. Ever".

I don't believe he truly thinks I'd ever cheat on him. Never mind that I haven't the interest, energy or inclination to have an affair. Why would I ever think I could find anyone better than The Spouse? He's adorable. He brings me coffee in the morning. He takes care of his family. He makes me laugh every day. Every. Day. Sometimes he pisses me off but then, sometimes I piss him off. Hardly reason to go out and see if I can do better. I couldn't. And yes, in reality, that includes Steve Martin.

My point, I think, is that the symbol of the wedding ring, however powerful, is just that, a symbol. It speaks to something deeper and more mystical than the physical thing itself could ever be. I look at my Rainier Tower finger right now, at the impression that ring literally made on my finger and that seems as much a symbol to me as the ring. Being married to The Spouse, being his wife, is embedded in me. Right now the divot in my finger is the sign of that. Nope. Ring or no ring, I'm as wedded to that man o' mine as it is possible to be. End of story.

I did draw a ring on my finger last night and then, briefly, considered getting a little tat. Except that would probably interfere with the whole "restoring the finger" scenario. Although it's kind of a cool idea because then I could satisfy my on-again-off-again fascination with tatoos plus once my wedding ring was back on, I'd pretty much be the only person who knew it was there. And I wouldn't have to worry about it getting sagging and gross when I was older.

Nah.

I am going to take The Child to get a second piercing in one of her ears today. I'm cool like that.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Couple Quick Announcements

The Spouse just emailed to say that "Fortune Hunters" is now on iTunes and sweetly asked that I please "pimp" that fact here. Consider yourself pimped.

Also, a certain someone who I love very much (and call "Poodle") tried to slip his birthday past us. Now, he may be one of those people who doesn't care to make a big deal about his birthday. That is his right. But since I like making a big deal about birthdays, I'm going to celebrate. Go on over...I've basically highjacked the comments section of his post for today...and show him some love.

(Where did I leave the cake cutter...)

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This is Sad

Something disturbing happened yesterday. (No, not the election in West Virginia. Puleeze).

We were eating dinner last night, a lovely little repast of crab cakes and tomato salad, when all a sudden I noticed that the ruby in my wedding ring was gone. G.O.N.E. I know it had happened within hours, possibly minutes of my noticing but there is no possible way we'll find it. (I know only that it didn't fall into the crab cakes. Someone would have noticed that). The Spouse, Lord love him, was down on his hands and knees looking for it around my desk but, like I said, there is no way we'll find it. Most likely it is down a drain, well on its way to the Pacific by now.

It's sad, though. "We've had that ruby for 17 years," said The Spouse. We, you notice. It was as much his ring as mine.

When we got engaged there wasn't a lot of money between us. I told him I didn't need an engagement ring but he wouldn't hear of it. (The proposal had been very spontaneous, so the ring came later). We went to The Shane Company, because we believed their ads about being all affordable and customer service oriented and all that. I wanted a ruby, not a diamond. The Spouse told the salesman how much money we had, what we wanted and the guy proceeded to show us the crappiest, ugliest rubies you ever saw. Not to mention, the rubies weren't yet in settings. He basically showed us our budget in crappy stones, expecting to up sell us. We left. Depressed.

So we went to Nordstrom and bought The Spouse some workboots.

Then The Spouse spied Ben Bridge, a local institution, and suggested we go in there. I suggested we not...if we couldn't get a ring at (what I'd now come to think of as) Hairy Al's House of Low Rent Jewelry, we sure weren't going to be successful at Ben Bridge. But he figured nothing ventured, etc. etc. We went in. A lovely woman asked if she could help us and The Spouse said he wanted to look at rubies. She pulled out a tray of very sweet and perfect little rings and excused herself to help another customer. We looked through the tray and I knew almost immediately which one I wanted. It was like a little vine, a small ruby on a very thin band of gold that wrapped around the finger and ended with a small leaf that nestled the ruby. Inside the leaf was a teeny tiny diamond. It was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen.

Lovely Woman returned to see how we were doing. The Spouse indicated that we'd found something and then asked her "how much". She told us. We looked in shock at each other. "Oh," she said, and not at all patronizingly, "Is that too much? I have other things I can show you".

"No," said The Spouse, "That's perfect. We'll take it". My ring was less than just one crappy, unset ruby at Hairy Al's. The Spouse triumphantly paid cash on the barrel head and sweetly presented me with my ring.

By the time we got married, there was a little more money in the coffers so it was back to Lovely Woman at Ben Bridge. I wanted a larger wedding band and Lovely Woman basically designed my ring. They'd just got in a new shipment of diamonds and she suggested that the engagement ring be welded (is that what they do with gold) to the top of a larger band, with a diamond set on the other side of the ruby from the little leaf. It looks, to my mind, like a teeny posy of flowers. And the band is substantial. When The Spouse first put it on my finger at our wedding, my whole hand felt the weight of it. Talk about your symbols.

We both loved my ring. I would wave it at him and say "glint, glint, glint". It was truly "our" ring because he hadn't wanted a wedding band. Of course, within a few months of marriage he'd changed his mind about that, so for our first wedded Valentine's Day I gave him a band.

Cute story about that: at the coffee hour after church the next Sunday, we took it up to our priest and asked him to bless it. Father R, never one to do things by halves, pulled over 2 of our friends (later to be The Child's godparents), prayed over the ring, then had me put it on The Spouse with all the words from the wedding ceremony, followed by another marriage blessing for the two of us. It was pretty cool.

Anysparkle, after that we could both say "glint, glint, glint" and then we'd gently knock the rings together, rather like toasting with champagne flutes.

Point is, we were both a little sick and sad last night that our ruby has disappeared. I blame myself. Just the other day I was looking at my ring (I still look at it a lot, because it's so pretty) and noticed that it was really time to get the tips redone. The prongs that hold the stones wear down over time and have to be shored back up every so often. Because if you don't, well, the stones can fall out.

I really feel like an idiot today. I can honestly say that I have never taken this ring for granted. I love it. I think about its story and its meaning all the time. So losing the ruby feels a little like a kick in the gut.

I also feel like a chubby idiot because I can't get my ring off my finger. Seriously. I've soaped it up and that sucker isn't getting anywhere past my knuckle. Except it has to come off because a) the ruby needs to be replaced and 2) sleeping with a ring that is nothing but prongs is, uh, dangerous. Can they cut off wedding rings?

I'll find out. The Child has a dentist's appointment today not far from Ben Bridge. So while she's getting things drilled, I'll go in (Lovely Lady is retired, but they are all very nice there) and tell my tale of woe and see what can be done.

Sigh.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sorta on a Break

The Child is out of school as this is the week her class is in DC. We're calling it the "Not DC Week". On Sunday she packed her suitcase and checked into the Hotel Delmonico (don't know why I decided to name it that..just did). She's being very cool about all this...keeping a journal of her week, just like her classmates, and planning adventures with moi of a semi-educational nature (which is how we justify her not going to school every day and sitting in the 7th grade class doing busy work, which is what would have happened otherwise).

We are going to do a historical survey of our neighborhood & tour Underground Seattle. We are building a pinpoint camera from a kit (beastly thing) and reading Prince Caspian in preparation for the movie premiere on Friday. We're going to bake. (Shortcake, probably, to go with the gorgeous strawberries I bought yesterday).

We're also sleeping in. Well, here's what I'm doing: I go to bed without setting my alarm and wake up slightly when The Spouse kisses me goodbye, only to luxuriously rolling back over and going to sleep. I think to myself, "I love sleeping in. This is great. Sleep is great". Then I wake up because I really do feel quite refreshed and might as well get started on the day. Then I look at my clock and it says "6:20". That's right. I'm sleeping a whole 20 minutes more than usual. Sheesh.

Anyway, we're having a very nice time and The Child is being ever so cute and cooperative and charming. Yesterday when we started to work on the camera she said, "Let's be British". So we talked in British accents. Which was a good thing, too, because somehow it kept us from completely losing our tempers over the very fussy little project. Still upper lip and all that.

Point is, I may or may not feel like blogging much this week. Although I probably will. Just not first thing in the morning. 'Cause, you know, I'm sleeping in.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

The Spouse and Child went to Comicon yesterday to be geeks. They brought me home an early Mother's Day present:

That right there would be my autographed picture of Jamie Bamber, otherwise known as Lee "Apollo" Adama from "Battlestar Galactica". I realize that the only other people who give a rat's arse about that are Emma, The Neighbor and JP, but still, it was really super cool and made me inordinantly happy.

I sent a card to my mommy. It said, "Thank you for not killing me when I was a teenager". I think that pretty much sums it up, don't you?

To all of you to whom the greeting applies, Happy Mother's Day. Please know that I know how hard you work to care for your families & raise your kids into reasonable human beans. Motherhood has plenty of rewards but sometimes it can feel a little thankless, too. I honor you for your dedication. I think you rock.

And Dame Judi, I really truly mean it; thanks for not giving up on me or sending me off to boarding school or actually smacking me into next week. You would have been justified, but I appreciate your restraint. Especially now.

Now I'm going to sit on my arse and play Sims2 until the guests arrive for Pentecost supper. Because it's Mother's Day.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Yes, Honey, That's Exactly What I'm Going to Play


Most weeks I have selected the Friday video with great care and well in advance. It could be a new song I've discovered (thank you, Guitar Hero), a blast of nostalgia or a tune that provides the soundtrack for musing or current situation. And sometimes, like today, it's the first thing I hear in the morning.

Both The Spouse and I have clock radios. The reception in our room is weird. It's fine on The Spouse's side and his radio wakes us to the dulcet public radio tones of Steve Inskeep. Then I fall back asleep for an hour, until my alarm comes on with the tinny squawk reminiscent of a transistor radio. And the only halfway decent reception I get is on some weird "oldies" station.


My alarm goes off about the time The Spouse is leaving for work. He brings me a cup of coffee, gives me a kiss and tells me to have the best day ever. (He does pretty much the same thing for The Dog, sans the coffee). That's the ritual. But this morning he brought the coffee and said, in a high pitched "mom" voice, "Come on, Lori. Time to get up for your first day of high school". Because this is what was on the radio and it shot him back 35 years.

This artist is way bigger in the UK than he ever was here. This song was, in fact, his only Billboard hit in the US. But he started out in the UK as a wisp of a lad, playing the lead in "Godspell" when he was only 23. He has had a mess of pop hits but is probably even more well known (again, in the UK) for his musical theater work. He's done quite a bit with Andrew Lloyd Webber, for example. I was looking at some stuff about him on line and am happy to report that he's aged extremely well. Which is nice because golly gosh, Preppie, was he yummy back in the day.

video

David Essex "Rock On"

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Let's Party

This is the 1500th post to this blog. I don't know why that seems like a big deal, maybe just because it's kind of a big number. Of course, considering that 3/4 of my posts have been pure piffle of one sort or another, it's not like it's a huge achievement but it seems like the blogger equivalent of a show's 200th episode or something. And you know my motto, any excuse for a party. There will be a special guest appearance by Alan Thicke
and cameos from the entire cast of "Scrubs".
After almost 3 years I'm still having fun blogging, mostly, I think, because of all y'all, the friends I've met. I'm happy that so many of you have become (or are about to become) "real" friends but you all bring a special little something to my life. When I started this enterprise I had absolutely no expectation of that and it's worth celebrating.

So I've hired a caterer and there's an open bar, although you're welcome to bring a favorite dish if you'd like. There will be pony rides out back and a dunk tank. Come on over.

Oh, and I brought my bangs.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

On the Mend

I'm quite sure it was all your good wishes that have brought me back from the brink. Word was received today that 95% of the production force in my Phlegm Factory has been outsourced to China.







Oh wow! I can breathe again. And...what's this? The door to the Wonk Center of my brain just became unstuck....

There's a Meez animation that lets your character jump around while holding Barack Obama on your shoulder. I was so going to use that today. Until I realized that it also includes drop kicking Hillary Clinton. That seemed a little mean. I don't want to drop kick her. Slap her, sometimes, yeah, but not drop kick her.

Update: the whole "drop kicking" thing apparently is just when you first dress the Meez. Because this is just cute and non-mean, don'tcha think? (I just did this for Hat. Carry on). So, about Indiana. Spin from the Clinton camp will tell you that a win is a win. Math, which is far less prone to manipulation, will tell you that a 2% victory means she gets 41 delegates and Obama gets 38. Overall, he's still leading by every mathematical formula. He's even closed the gap on declared superdelegates to a mere 6. Trust. I'm willing to bet that within the next few weeks we'll see him pull even in that count, if not move ahead.

Her electability argument is waning; the numbers simply don't support it. And, if I were in the Clinton camp, I would definitely move off the message that the blue collar/white male "base" supports her more. For why? Democrats haven't won the blue collar/white male vote for over 30 years. Doesn't matter what they might be doing in the primary...that "base" is all but nonexistent come the general election. Any Democratic candidate is going to have to try and convince that bloc to vote their economic interests. And whenever he/she does, the GOP is going to charge in and remind them that the Dems want to take away all their guns and make them live next door to married homosexuals. And they'll freak. Like they always do. Point is, if that's all she's got, it ain't much.

Which is why she's ramping up the argument for the "disenfranchised" voters in Michigan and Florida.

Let's be clear about something. If anyone "disenfranchised" the voters in those states, it was their own party officials. Here's how it works: the DNC sets the election schedule. States vote in the order the national party determines. Period. Michigan and Florida decided to jump the gun. The party said "don't do it or your delegates won't be seated". They did it anyway and then have the temerity to cry foul. I guess I'm looking at this like a parent, but if I tell The Child she has to do something or else and she doesn't do it, it's my job to impose the "or else". If I don't, not only does she not learn her lesson relative to personal responsibility, she also gets the idea that I don't mean what I say. In my view, the party should stick with their "or else" and not seat those delegates. Why? Because if Florida and Michigan can break party rules without consequences, what's to keep any state from following party rules next time? Especially after this election. Hell, Indiana's primary hasn't mattered since 1964. You don't think they didn't love all the attention last night? What's to keep Pennsylvania from wanting to be the new Iowa?

If I were head of the DNC I'd be telling the state chairs to suck it up. They screwed up. And if the Democrats in those states had any sense, they'd be calling for the heads of their party leadership for putting them in this situation. But at the end of the month the Rules Committee is meeting to settle the matter. Florida is easier: both candidates were on the ballot and delegates could just be apportioned accordingly. Clinton won Florida but including those delegates doesn't put her ahead. Michigan is more problematic because Clinton was the only name on the ballot. She's suggested that Obama can have the "Other" votes and she'll take hers. She's generous like that. Personally, I think a revote is the only way to go there, but sounds like no one is excited about that possibility. I think she's afraid she could lose some delegates, I think he's afraid that somehow people in Michigan blame him for the kerfuffle. (A Clinton supporter actually tried to insinuate that last night on CNN. And promptly got stomped on. That would be a terribly, terribly disingenuous position for the Clinton camp to take).

Bottom line, even if delegates from both states are seated and even if Clinton gets the majority of them, the margins are not large, which means he'll get almost as many delegates as she does. And since he's already up by 155, it's still not going to put her in the lead.

Meanwhile, what in the world is John Edwards going to do with his 19 delegates? He's been sitting on those since, what?, February? What is he thinking and more to the point, why isn't anyone else asking that question? Is he waiting to release them to the first person who promises to make him Attorney General? Of course, releasing those delegates doesn't mean anything one way or the other. They'd be free to commit to whoever they wanted; although, I'd make the assumption that the majority of them would go to Obama because I think his positions are more in line with Edwards than Clinton. But I could be wrong about that. Still, it's a puzzlement.







The worst thing about this cold has been that food doesn't taste good. For me, that's like, like some kind of really bad thing for which I'm suddenly incapable of producing an example. I'm not sure that was even a cogent sentence. Dinner should be really yummy tonight, is my point.

Oh, and I gave myself bangs last night. I think it makes me look younger.







Oh, ok, fine. But I only did this for the Hat. Because it's her birthday month. And from the looks of it, the whole "drop kicking Hillary" is just for "fun" when you first dress your Meez. Because obviously this is just me and Barack having a good ol' time.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Two Words x 10

Feeling punk.

Phlegm factory.

Primaries today.

Indiana Hoosiers.

North Carolina.

Obama 08.

Weekend party.

Big fun.

More later

when well.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

My Bumper

Seattle Coffee Girl asked for it, Buck already had it, so here's a picture of my car bumper:

You can't read my favorites very well. The one under the "Catholics for Kerry" sticker is illustrated with retro looking housewives and says "Smart Women Vote". The little faded sticker to the left of "Endless War" reads "I'm pro cupcake. And I vote".

In case you're wondering, I'm waiting on the "Obama 08" sticker for when he's the candidate (dig me being all hopeful). And I'm also waiting because if, by some (gods forbid) chance it's not Obama, I a) wouldn't want to cover up his sticker with hers and 2) I couldn't very well drive around with both stickers because that would give a conflicting message about party unity.

Yes, I really think about things like that.


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Four More Years?


If enough of you take this quiz I can get a new bumper sticker for my car. And that's important. Also important is understanding that a vote for John McCain is like a vote for W, only with fisticuffs. Oh, and if you play through the bonus round, you'll be able to play the Carrot Round. That's just plain fun.

UPDATE: Wow! You guys are good. Less than 30 minutes after posting this, I've already won my new bumper sticker. You're awesome. I thank you, my bumper thanks you. But if you haven't played you still should. I'm telling you, the carrot is funny.

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Undiscovered Talent


I've got something a little different for you today, kiddies. We have a virtual friend, Lessia who is, among other things, a song writer. You can read more about her here at The Spouse's blog. She has gathered together a flock of young women from all walks of life with a unifying love of music and formed a little group. One of their songs is "Fearless", the title tune from our movie. (That one is sung by Jessie Bridges, daughter of Jeff. Yeah. We cool).

Anytunes, the other day Lessia sent me a link to another little ditty, which is performed by a young woman named Zoe who has, as Lessia put it, a rubber face. She can also sing. Kinda reminds me of Ricki Lee Jones without the heroin.

Y'all know I don't watch American Idol, but even I know who Simon is (shivers) and I found this whole little bit of business to be quite delightful. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as well.


video


Vocals by Locals, featuring Zoe Gray "Scary Guy"

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Well, It's May Day. Again.

This morning began as does every first of May, with The Spouse planning his parade of tanks and missiles in Red Square. I hope that I can someday buy him some armaments. He'd dearly love to have a tank. And some Marines. He really wants to have a rank of Marines standing at attention when he walks in a room. Who doesn't?

I had to put together the Maybaskets as The Child was indisposed yesterday. When we first bought our house there was very little in the way of flowering bits for our first May Day. Not to mention we had only met a few of our neighbors back then. But much has changed in 10 years and so even though I am quite a neglectful gardener and despite the first 6 weeks of "spring" being wretched and cold, there were enough blossoms to create these:


I think they look very pretty.

The Child, as was to be expected, tried to get out of going to school today. I mentioned that since from 4pm yesterday she was fit enough to argue with me, I suspected she could handle school. She countered that there was a test today for which she had not studied, to which I replied that if that was the case perhaps she would have been better served studying yesterday afternoon rather than watching "Return of the Jedi" for the 412th time.

"Oh, fuh-ine, I'll go to school," she huffed.

Sing it with me..."she's the worst mother in the world"...waah, waah" ...

She was over it by the time she needed to deliver her fleurs.



The Rabbi's Wife saw us as she was returning home from her work-out and gave a friendly wave. She knew what we were up to. But otherwise, the mission was accomplished. And when I mean "mission accomplished" I mean that the flowers were delivered on time and, with that one exception, in secret. You know, accomplished successfully. I clarify, less you be confused by the infamous moment which today celebrates its 5th anniversary:

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that phrase means what you think it means".

Or in the sentiment JP once gracefully penned, "George Bush is a jackass".

Returning to happier, more May-like thoughts. My lilacs are in bloom.
I adore lilacs. And over at the coffee shop you'll find a video which is my theme song for the day.

It's a beautiful morning, full of blossom and chirping and that odd but insistent bright orb in the sky which seems to be trying to coax my roses. I think it's a good omen.

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