Friday, February 27, 2009

Yesterday The Child was talking, very calmly and rationally, about college options and I, very calmly and quietly, mentioned that better grades would be an assist in that department. She replied, very thoughtfully and respectfully, that she sometimes wished she could go back in time, find her younger self and tell her that homework matters more than she thinks so that knowledge could be imparted to her current self.

I very softly and gently suggested that it wasn't too late to pass on that message to herself and then we proceeded to have a very calm and rational conversation about grades, responsibility and the necessity of doing not only what is required but beyond that in order to maximize opportunities.

Am I walking on eggshells a lot these days? On the homefront, for sure. Some things are a little fragile and call for a delicate balance. This is not always easy for me. My success depends entirely on the type of shoe I happen to be wearing.

U2 "Get Your Boots On"

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'd Offer Deep Insights but I Have to Sweep Up Dog Food

It occurred that an interesting project for Lent might be to keep a photo journal...a picture a day through the 40 days. I don't know that such a project will necessarily bear all sorts of insightful fruit but at the very least it will be an exercise in being mindful; it will call me to pay attention, look around, notice.

I don't anticipate posting every photo or anything but already the contrast between yesterday and today is striking:

"Ash Wednesday"

"February 26"


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Funny Thing Is, I Never Worry About Gumbo

A Note of Clarification: I didn't thoroughly proof yesterday's post. So it read like I was worried about the gumbo I made for the Fisherfolk. I wasn't worried. Gumbo is easy if you get your roux dark enough, which I did thankyouverymuch. No, the thing I'm attempting to not worry about was actually number 6 on yesterday's list.

Moving On: I was very eager for the not-State-of-the-Union last night. At the last one, as the President was announced and started walking toward the front of the chamber, I had this moment wherein I realized that the odds were really good that the next time that walk was made it would be by a woman or a black man. And I wanted to see it for real.

It was awesome.

I think Nancy Pelosi peed a little.

The grandest thing of all was the President's speech. Oh sure, I expected the elegant prose and Obama delivery. But it ended up being more than I expected. Because I have never ever in all my years of watching these annual addresses never ONCE heard a President talk to me like President Obama did last night. In the end, he wasn't making a speech so much as issuing a call to action, perfectly balanced between the statement of stark realities and encouragements of tangible hope. He looked, acted and sounded real. It was so refreshing.

Also, Michelle looked beautiful.

I didn't stay to listen to the rebuttal guy (I never listen to the rebuttal guy/gal. I think it is one of the silliest exercises in all of America politics. Let the President have his say...there's plenty of time to parse the validity or not of his words later. There's just something very silly about rebutting the State (or not-State) of the Union speech and that's why I never listen to the rebuttal). I ran over to see The Neighbor real quick and she muted Rebuttal Guy while we talked. I did note that his expression never changed and the cameras - at least on PBS - had him lit so he looked green. I decided he wasn't very impressive. The Neighbor said he was one of the GOPs newest, brightest lights. I felt bad for the GOP. When he finished his speech David Brooks, of the NY Times and my favorite conservative, looked apoplectic and did his best not to just laugh like a hyena. We did listen to him and he basically said that if the Republicans honestly think they are going to win hearts and minds by remaining mired in the past then they are just not going anywhere anytime soon.

I love David Brooks.

Also, interesting that the newest bright light tapped to do the rebuttal was the governor of Louisiana rather than, oh, I dunno, the governor of Alaska. Has the GOP already seen the error of their ways on that one? One can only hope.

And Finally: Today is Ash Wednesday so I'm not going to eat any meat. Or sweets. Or much of anything. You know what is sad, though? Yesterday was my last shot at eating sweetie things for 40 days and I didn't have a sweet-tooth. Isn't that just silly?

The Neighbor and I are going to go to services at the VA, which should be interesting. Actually, the most interesting part should be just taking a break and walking away from my desk...something I don't do very often. You have to understand, the nature of my job is such that I'm running around all the time and lots of my job is totally fun stuff like hanging out talking to people over coffee or pinching baby cheeks or, I dunno, organizing stuff (which you know I love to do). So it doesn't feel remotely like an office job though I have an office and jobs to do in it. But the point is that I rarely leave the house (except to shop for the house...which is also something I love to do), even for lunch because, hello? it's full of food.

But even though I love the house and the people in it and the things I do there I do need to walk away from it a little every clear my head or see something new or disturb the notion that I'm indispensable. Whichever.

"See something new"...I just gave myself an idea for a Lenten art project. (makes note to pack up camera)

Have a good day.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What I Will Be Doing at Work Today

  1. Submitting a bunch of stuff for the foundation magazine.
  2. Wearing beads.
  3. Eating punzckis! (MAB & I don't say "punzcki"! without an exclamation point).
  4. Shopping for andouille sausage.
  5. Making big pots of gumbo for the houseguests to eat for dinner tonight.
  6. Calling school and making a bunch of appointments that will probably mean at least half a day of NOT working at some point but it's that or have The Child practise "Hello, welcome to Walmart". (Oy vey).
  7. Trying not to worry about number 5.
  8. Thinking about pancake races.
  9. Thinking about how awesome it is to have breakfast for supper on Shrove Tuesday.
  10. Eating a lot of sweets since as of tomorrow I'm giving them up for 40 days.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Here. Have Some Beads.

Carnevale was this weekend. You can read about the food here (and yes, it's been so long I nearly couldn't find the keys to get into the door).

Or you can start looking at it here:

This years feast was a metaphor for everything I'm thinking my Lenten journey is going to be about. I was not organized, I was not prepared...I didn't plan the menu until Saturday morning and I was still cooking well after guests arrived. Was it horrible? Not in the least. But I did not like the feeling of not having my game on. It just felt like one more example of how much life has changed since August and how much I still need to get a handle on it all. It is very ironic to have a job that is so superfantastic and splendid and affirming and life-giving etcetcetc and then feel like everything else I care about is going to hell in a handcart.

I was never one of those women who bought the myth that we can "have it all". But a little more balance can't possibly be out of the question.


Friday, February 20, 2009

I Gotta Get Dressed

So many ideas for songs today...and they were either "embed disabled" or not even out there. (How does THAT happen...I wasn't looking for anything by Prince).

Oh, and this has been a hell of a week parenting-wise, btw...back to the "holy frak have we ever blown it with this kid" feeling which was all mitigated last night by a her telling me, vaguely, of a "situation" at school with some of her "friends" who appear to be doing what high school girls do best. (Let's have a show of hands here, and pardon me, dudes, but I believe this is a uniquely chick thing - How many of you had at least one of those "We want to be your friend but we would like you better if you (insert the behavior/character trait/fashion note they cited here)"? What is it with girls being the self-improvement police for others? And how is it that even the most legitimate of critiques in the mouth of a 14-24 year old girl/woman can't help but be snarky? Is it excess of estrogen? Oy vey).

And there is The Child, trying hard to be brave and me wanting to smash heads together even as I know that it's something that just about every girl has experienced at some point, which doesn't make it right, of course, but does tell me that she'll survive this, too. And after a week of ignoring me, distaining me, rolling her eyes at me (doesn't that start to hurt after a while?) and yelling, last night I told her "We can learn something from every experience. If there are things for you to learn in this, do it. But stay true to yourself". And at least she looked at me.

Allison Krause "When You Say Nothing at All"

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 16, 2009

A President's Day Note Which Has Nothing Much to Do with President's Day

Once, and it may have been the first time I got a paid 3 day weekend, I was telling JP how excited I was and he was excited for me too until he realized that he was basically paying for my day off. Now whenever I have a holiday he's bitter.

Not really.

Sorta he is.

So at this time I would like to thank all of you who are still gainfully employed and therefore still paying taxes for giving me the day off. Because I really need it. And I promise to use the time productively...which will in this instance include sleeping in ('k, already did that) and some well-deserved lying around not doing anything. I pledge to you, oh tax payer, that by the end of the day I will have recharged my batteries, cleaned up all my cobwebs and spent quality time with The Child that was NOT spent yelling at her. I also solemly vow to you that I will do all this (and all my nothing as well) with a heart full of gratitude toward you, the taxpayers of America, for allowing me this day to rest, reflect, redeem and restore.

God bless America.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 13, 2009

Musical Epiphanies, Part 2

You've heard of Rick Rolling, right? 'Course you have. The Child showed me this the other day.

I found it quite delightful. Almost as delightful as the original.

Rick Astley "Never Going to Give You Up"

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Musical Epiphanies, Part 1

Lent begins in a couple of weeks and I feel like I'm collecting a basketful of pieces of things to contemplate, think about and pray over during that time. One of the shards in said basket would be all the attendant schtuff around raising a teenage girl. Because let me tell you, for the last few months The Child has been busting my damn chops. Like, to the point where I have seriously been depressed with the thought that we have totally frakked up as parents, that she will never amount to anything, that in a few short years we will be foisting onto an unsuspecting society this completely lazy, entitled, self-absorbed person who, on top of everything else, believes that the floor is a place to store stuff.

It's been a little depressing, to tell you the truth.

Rewind to Monday night.

There was a school concert. I was not excited. After 9 years of school concerts I'm pretty much over watching other people's kids stand and scratch while mumbling the ABC song, accompanied by the lead pellet of fear in my belly that it'll be MY kid who scratches the most or pukes or hits such a high and horrible flat note that it'll be heard in space and it'll be all over CNN.

I pretty much had to beg The Spouse to go with me. Because he is over it, too.

But we made it a date. We had a lovely dinner in a nice place and walked over to the concert hall and they were, thank God, serving liquor. (Sometimes it soooo pays to be Catholic). We had our cocktail and we looked around the lovely concert hall and steeled ourselves to do what parents do: which is go to these things and fake enthusiasm if you have to because you love your child and support her and want her to grow up and do something meaningful with her life (even if at the moment you seriously doubt you've given her the tools to do so).

Then everything began to shift. This was, I realized, a big deal. Turns out, it was the 10th year for this particular event - "A Festival of Catholic High School Choirs". It was a sold out show, emcee'd by a local celeb, attended by the that. Plus, Benaroya is just a freaking fabulous place for a concert. Suddenly, I sit up a little straighter.

The first half of the show was each of the participating high schools doing one or two numbers. And of course, The Child's school is the last on the program. But the performances ranged from quite good to excellent. So it was enjoyable. So enjoyable that, even though we were at this point listening to other people's kids, The Spouse turned to me with tears in his eyes and whispered, "Thank you for making me come to this".

Then, finally, it was time for The Child's school. I got a little nervous. I remembered The Child lamenting earlier that they weren't prepared enough (even after 2 solid days of rehearsal capping off 3 months of practise). What if they sucked? I thought.

But they didn't. Oh, they so didn't. They were, in fact, quite the best choir in the concert and I'm not just saying that. They were so good I wished I had snuck in a camera and recorded the performance so I could show it to you.

Quick intermission and then the choirs combined...first all the boys for 2 songs, then all the girls, then everyone together. More loveliness ensued...especially when the girls sang "Heart, We Will Forget Him"...which I had never heard but is just gorgeous. And I watched my daughter sing, her posture perfect, her attention focused, her mouth moving and I was proud of her; proud of all her hard work, proud of her for being old enough to essentially be away from us for 2 days preparing for this moment, happy that she has found a niche.

But the thing that was most profound was when the choirs combined...nearly 700 kids. (OK, not kids...young people who are this close to being adults). Because I could still see The Child. And for the first time in my life I looked at her and saw myself. Which was very weird because people have always told me that she looks like me but I have never seen it. Monday night, half a concert hall away and surrounded by other young people, I saw it. And it astonished me because she looked so beautiful and grownup and purposeful. After weeks of feeling depressed about my failures as a parent I suddenly felt a rush of hope. Maybe she's going to turn out alright after all.

Sometimes, you get gifts when you aren't expecting them.

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 09, 2009

Holy Cats! I've Posted 1700 Times!

So, turns out that "tagging" is all the thing over on Facebook. And some of them are super annoying. But this one came from our dear Monica and after I did it on Facebook, I decided to do it over here. Only I'm totally going to redo the answers here because

a) I actually have an MP3 player (hi little pink Nano!) and it's just fun to twirl the dial (that's what she said)


2) Maybe some of the answers will make more sense this time.

1. Put Your mp3 player on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
5. Tag at least 10 friends

What do your friends think of you?
I Love a Man in Uniform - Gang of Four

If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
In Your Room - The Bangles

How would you describe yourself?
Miss Murder- AFI

You like in a guy/girl?
It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career - Belle & Sebastian

What is your life’s purpose?
Turn - Travis

What is your motto?
Going Down to Liverpool - The Bangles

What do you think about very often?
The Rising - Springsteen

What is 2 + 2?
Deadbeat Club - B52s

What do you think of your best friend?
I Think I Love You - Guggenheim Grotto

What is your life story?
Hero Takes a Fall - The Bangles

What do you want to be when you grow up?
They Don't Know - Tracey Ullman

What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Better Be Home Soon - Crowded House

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith

What will they play at your funeral?
It's My Life - Talk Talk [Ok, that's just comic gold right there, people!]

What is your hobby/interest?
99 Luftbaloons- Nena

What is your biggest fear?
West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys

What is your biggest secret?
Bohemian Like You - Dandy Warhols

What do you think of your friends?
How Soon is Now? - The Smiths

What will you post this as? (Which I actually won't because I already posted about the fact that I've already posted 1700 times...but you should totally use this as your post title if you're going to do it and have nothing else)
Heroes- David Bowie

I will not torture 10 people (mostly because I don't know who has an MP3 player and who doesn't). Suffice to say that if you need blog fodder sometime, go ahead and play.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

My iPod

Is full of music from the 80s. There's some other stuff. But mostly, it's music from the 80s. Like, if I could make a podcast of everything JP and I ever played on our "Here's the 80s" blog only without most (but not all) of the metal...that would be my iPod.

Also, my iPod is super cute and I love it. I call it "Poodle".


I'm sneaking this in because it's Sunday night and hardly anyone reads my blog on Sunday night and also, by the time the people who normally read my blog show up on Monday, all full of coffee and ready for a break, this will be buried under the blog post that is scheduled to post tomorrow morning. (Which, btw, is a really swell little feature and I should take advantage of that more often).

Point is, sometimes I think that maybe it's time to stop this nonsense and only because I don't have the time I used to have and the whole point of doing this in the first place was to create some sort of creative obligation, if you will. Blogging was about making a commitment to write.

Amazing things came out of that. Friends, for one thing. Some of them downright irreplaceable. And writing stuff came out of it, too. But now...I dunno. I've got this job, see? And it's superfantastic and I adore it but between it and managing the rest of my life (which I sooooo do not feel like I'm doing very well, btw) I don't know if blogging makes the same sort of sense.

(This is probably the point where I mention that this is a genuine musing and not some sort of bid for a big ol' "OH NO! RAINEY! DON'T STOP BLOGGING OR I'LL DIE! I JUST KNOW I WILL!" crapola).

The thing I'm trying to figure out is this: am I blogging because I still need/want/desire the creative outlet or am I blogging because I said I'd blog? Because I've been looking at the stuff I've posted since I went back to work and I think it's safe to say that the preponderance of schtuff is pretty much not so much.

OR do I continue to blog but just realize/accept that the parameters must necessarily change...that maybe now it's not about the frequency (Kenneth) so much as focusing on making what I write worth the drop by of whoever is dropping by?

Know what's really funny about all this? I think of the bloggy ones who've disappeared for similar (or not so) reasons and how when they did I was always (at least secretly) all "Oh, please...why are you making such a big deal about this?" but now I think I might get it a little.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 06, 2009

Things I Enjoy

The Spouse walking through the house singing "Baby Love" like Arnold Schwarzneger.

Discovering new bands, even if everyone else has heard of them.

Music with a Celtic influence. I just never get tired of it and I luvaluvaluv how bands over the years have incorporated the folk music of my people into pop/rock.

Knowing that I got paid today and there is nothing stopping me from picking up an iTunes card and using it tonight when I get home to add some more music to my Nano, including more from these guys. (I could just put the music on my credit card, I know. But I like the cards because it keeps me from forgetting and spending $412 on music in one sitting).

This little ditty, accompanied by a very fun video.

The Guggenheim Grotto "Her Beautiful Ideas"


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tiny Wonkism

I've been hearing and reading a lot about President Obama's "mistake"...about the "bad" day yesterday when Tom "Doesn't Everyone Have a Chauffer?" Daschle withdrew his name from nomination for a cabinent post....about how the President was out on the news shows (all scheduled before Dash decided to withdraw) beating his breast and sighing "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa". Golly, Mo Dowd just got all up in his bi-nis in her latest editorial.

Well, while the honeymoon may be over, I for one had the following reaction to yesterday's news:

a) Good. Dashchle should have withdrawn. I know he is a fundamentally a good man, a policy wonk without peer with regards to health care and has over 30 years of public service under his belt. He'd likely have been an excellent Secretary of Health and Human Services. And I'll even grant you that folks make mistakes on their taxes. You bet they do. But this one was huge and it did show a decided lack of being-in-touch. Most folks don't have cars and drivers given them by satisfied clients.

2) Good again. The President of the United States went on national television and conceded a mistake. Because even the President of the United States isn't perfect (and really, until we little folk get over the notion that our leaders must be perfect, we're always going to end up disappointed). But I think that the reason it is all playing so large in the media right now is that i) people are tired of hearing about how crappy the economy is and more importantly, ii) everyone is just shocked and blatherpatted in the face of such candor out of the White House.

The news isn't that the President made a mistake, it's that he admitted it. Personally, I found it refreshing as hell.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Sorry To Disturb

Has anyone seen my black pencil skirt? The one that hits me just above the knee?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

I'm Also Fond of Artichoke Dip

A shop clerk asked me yesterday who I was rooting for in today's game.

"Springsteen", replied Moi.