31 December 2008

2008: The Year in Review

In January of this year I posted my new year's resolutions.  The theme was "The Year of More" and my resolutions were: (see original post here)

1.  Read more 
2.  Take more photos 
3.  Run more 
4.  Blog more  
5.  Hire babysitters more 

So, how did I do, you ask?  Well...

1.  I definitely did read more.  I successfully completed the 50 book challenge.  It was down to the wire since I just finished the 50th book today, but I did it!  The complete list can be seen on the right side bar.  Some of my favorite books read this year include The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Interpreter of Maladies, Blink ( a rare foray into non-fiction), and When you are Engulfed in Flames.  I am hoping to read another 50 books in 2009 and will keep a running tall on my blog as I did this year.

2.  I failed miserably at this one.  I never made one excursion just for the sake of photography.  I never eve cracked the book on my camera that I bought.  I did get a few good photos this year, but there could have been so much more.  I will have to do a post on my favorite photos from 2008 very soon.

3.  I did well with running for the first half of the year and then about halfway through the summer I just got bored with it.  Running became more like torture so I decided to take a break from it.  I haven't gone back yet, but I'm thinking about it again now.  I think I just can't do all running all the time.  I prefer to mix up my work outs.  I never ran another 5K this year and that is a bit disappointing.  

4.  I was highly successful at blogging more.  I had a total of 96 posts in 2007 (an average of 8 posts per month) and including this post I had a total of 154 posts in 2008 (an average of 12.8 posts per month).  I hope to continue at this pace in 2009.

5.  I was lucky enough to find a wonderful babysitter and I have definitely kept her busy this year.  I have no plans of letting up on that in 2009 either.  It has been very liberating to rely on a babysitter and I feel lucky that we can afford it.  Which reminds me, I must email her about some upcoming nights in January...

All-in-all 2008 was not a bad year.  It had its ups and downs -- ups especially on the vacation front (Italy and the SXSW tour) and downs especially on the work front.  Everyone I love is healthy and pretty happy so I am feeling lucky.  Best of all, there is much to look forward to in 2009.  2009 resolutions are coming soon...

24 December 2008

Merry Christmas!


2008 Christmas card, originally uploaded by Marcyjill.

(Hiatus-shmiatus)  :-)

22 December 2008

Mini-hiatus

I've just decided to take a mini-hiatus from blogging. My to-do list runneth over as does my nose from this cold and as much as I would like to be blogging about the Hanukkah and Christmas fun and craziness, I need the time I'd spend blogging to either wrap presents or nap. So, I'll be back sometime after the 25th and before the 31st. Until then I hope you all have a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas!

19 December 2008

My To Do List

I'm sure the title of this post excited you (NOT!) but I cannot get over the things on my to do list and they all need to be done by 12/24 -- also known as Christmas Eve. I woke up at 5AM thinking about this list and I feel the need to share it. So, without further adieu and in no particular order I present my list:

(Please note that this does not include any items from my work-related to do list.)
  1. Buy a Hanukkah gift for my cousin who I just found out will be at my father's house on Sunday night for the first night. He's 10 and a wonderful kid so I don't want to get him just anything, but I have no idea what 10 year old boys like.
  2. Buy the rest of Rob's Christmas present. I am not quite sure what that is going to be yet.
  3. Buy stocking stuffers. That one is pretty easy and can be fun.
  4. Buy salad stuff to make salad for the aforementioned Hanukkah party. Another easy one.
  5. Buy stuff to make baked ziti for Christmas Eve party (which is not at my house so I am not complaining!)
  6. Buy chocolate at Munsons -- especially the sugar free assortment for my friend with diabetes and nonpareils for my cookies. Going to Munsons is not hard duty.
  7. Buy cookie making stuff. Cookie day is Tuesday. (I think that is it for the stuff I need to buy.)
  8. Make 2 dozen cookies with Zoe for here first grade cookie exchange on Monday. Would someone please explain to me the educational benefit of a cookie exchange?
  9. Decorate the Christmas tree we got on Sunday and has been standing naked in my kitchen all week. The poor thing!
  10. Get a hair cut. I need it bad.
  11. Wrap presents. Daunting, daunting thought. I love buying presents, but I hate wrapping them.
  12. Make cookies all day Tuesday. That will be a fun, but very tiring day.
  13. Make salad.
  14. Make baked ziti.
  15. Get my iMac fixed. Fingers crossed that my baby can be saved.
  16. Load 2 different iPods that are Christmas gifts.
  17. Plan the Christmas morning breakfast menu.
  18. Get the Jeep's oil changed.
  19. Negotiate with Zoe on her Christmas Eve attire.
I'm sure I have left something off this list, but whatever it is, I don't want to know right now. I am also sure I am not the only one with a list like this right now. Aren't the holidays fun?!?!

17 December 2008

Words for Wednesday: Losing My Religion

So I can't believe how many weeks I have been doing "Words for Wednesday" posts and this is my first R.E.M. song. I love R.E.M. and have loved them since 1984. So many of their songs are poetry, amazing poetry. "Losing My Religion" was one of their more popular songs and maybe that is because it is such and evocative song. The thing I most love about it is that it could be about so many things and it all depends on what you bring to it. There's a lot of pain in these words, but the way they are expressed makes you feel that you are not alone in your own pain rather than just feeling sympathetic.

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

Oh, life is bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no, I've said too much
I set it up

(chorus)
That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight, I'm
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don't know if I can do it
Oh no, I've said too much
I haven't said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

Every whisper
Of every waking hour I'm
Choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool, fool
Oh no, I've said too much
I set it up
Consider this
Consider this
The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around
Now I've said too much
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream
That was just a dream

(repeat chorus)

But that was just a dream
Try, cry, why try?
That was just a dream
Just a dream, just a dream
Dream

16 December 2008

Fun on Ice

Last night I had the good fortune to go see David Sedaris at Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center.

Yesterday afternoon as my mother and I were figuring out what train we were going to take and where we were going to eat dinner I asked her if she had read anything about what exactly David Sedaris would do on stage. She hadn't. Neither had I. Google was of very little help because the best thing I came up with was a link to his agent's site which only gave a basic bio. It hadn't even occurred to me to think about what exactly we'd be seeing until just that moment. I mean, its David Sedaris, of course I want to go see him. Duh!

Mom and I traveled into NYC by train in the afternoon. Upon arrival we headed downtown to West Elm so I could pick out furniture to outfit my new work from home life. I got some great stuff and it is coming next week. Yay! Then for old time's sake we headed to our favorite West Village Chinese food joint, Sammy's Noodle Shop where we indulged. Yum! Many years ago not many weeks went by without us eating there so we try to get back there as often as we can. As we were finishing dinner we both started wondering again about what we were about to see, but we were both at a loss.

After dinner we grabbed a cab and headed uptown to Lincoln Center and can I tell you just how annoying the mini TVs in taxis are? Ugh! We picked up our tickets from Will Call and noticed that there was a display of signed David Sedaris for sale and a notice that he would be signing books at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes and Noble after the show. And then I started to get a little disappointed. Was this just going to be a typical author appearance on a large scale? Quick, but amusing speech, quick reading, and Q&A where a bunch of people ask questions that are so obviously trying too hard. I hoped I didn't pay for a glorified author visit.

I'm not exactly sure what to call what we saw besides a veritable laugh riot. It was part reading, part lecture, and part performance piece. It was all wonderful. I'm not sure how much of David Sedaris in print and now as I have seen him in person is persona and how much is the real David Sedaris, but I have a hard time believing it isn't more true than act. I like him more today than I did before I saw him last night and I was even tempted to go to the signing afterwards. Especially since he said on this last book tour he moved all men under 5'6" and all women in braces to the front of the line. Hah! The only time wearing braces could ever be a benefit.

For all my book loving friends I have to mention that David Sedaris included a book reommendation at the end of his performance. Last night's book was The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders and it sounds hysterical. I've already added it to my Amazon cart. There is a list of book reommendations from David Sedaris here. There is a number of very interesting looking books there.

12 December 2008

Routine

The funny thing about routine is that both too much and not enough are not good.

With my recent change in work situation my regular life weekday routine has been trashed and I am feeling kind of out to sea. It is both disconcerting and liberating. It is an opportunity to re-think the routines I'd established, shake things up, do things differently and hopefully better, but it has also left me feeling terribly inefficient and unmotivated.

I've had a thing for quotes lately and I recently found these two quotes:

"Most of life is routine - dull and grubby, but routine is the momentum that keeps a man going. If you wait for inspiration you'll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street." Ben Nicholas

and

"As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge." Henry Van Dyke

The thing is, I think they're both right. The key is to find the balance and that is what is missing in my life right now. The holiday season always throws routine a loop anyway, but this year is extreme and I am having trouble feeling festive. Zoe is counting down the days until Christmas and I'm not even sure what day it is half the time. Everything seems so much harder because I have to think about it so much more. I know 6 months down the road things will look different, but that just looks like a long road right now.

10 December 2008

Words for Wednesday: What's Been Going On

My song for this week, Amos Lee's "What's Been Going On" takes a page from Becky's penchant for male angst music -- tormented lyrics and jangling guitar included.

I am a pretty new Amos Lee fan and once again have to thank my favorite Sirius Satellite Radio station, The Spectrum, for the introduction. I think just about anyone who has tried to return to a place that used to be home can relate to the words to this song. It is a beautiful, simple, tortured song and you just have to hear it to really appreciate so I highly recommend you watch the youtube video or just take my word for it and buy the song on iTunes.

What's Been Going On
by Amos Lee

And no one says a word to me
They're concerned with my jealousy
Well I guess that's how it's gotta be
From now on

And time, it swallows everything
From the mighty to the meager thing
And it's as dark as it is comforting
To play along

Well what's been going on?
What's been going on?
What's been going on?
Around here

There goes her old beat up car
Outside of our old favorite bar
She's proudly in there playing her guitar
With stars in her eyes

Those are some of my favorite memories
All of those carefree melodies
While I'm out of here on this raging sea
About to capsize

Well what's been going on?
What's been going on?
What's been going on?
Around here

What's been going on?
What's been going on?
What's been going on?
Around here

And no one says a word to me
They're concerned with my jealousy
I guess that's how it's gotta be
From now on

09 December 2008

Homemaking, A-Z meme

It has been a slow (non-existent) blogging week for me so I was happy to discover and tag myself for this meme I found both at Becky's and Emily's. Anyone who knows me is probably scoffing already and even though they are right, I will proceed regardless.

A is for Aprons. Yes/no, favourites?
Once a year and only once a year do I don an apron. On December 23 of every year I get together with 2 of my sisters-in-law to bake Christmas cookies. We bake all day, get covered in flour and everything else and generally have a great time. Plus we make a ton of cookies. I wear the apron because I was given it as a gift and it has cute snowmen on it.

B is for Baking. Favourite thing to bake?

See above. I enjoy baking cookies. Baking is the only kind of cooking I can say I actually enjoy.

C is for Clothesline, do you have one?
No, but the neighbors right in back of us do so we get to see their clothes drying on the line all the time without the work. It is quite a view -- especially when the nightgowns are up.

D is for Doughnuts. Have you ever made them?
Yes. Once. In 7th grade home economics. Buying them at Dunkin Donuts is a lot easier.

E is for Everyday. One home making task you do every day.

Laundry. Dirty clothes, sheets, and towels multiply exponentially in my hamper therefore rare is the day that goes by that I don't do at least one load of laundry. It just never ends. And if I skip a day it is as if I skipped a month.

F is for Freezer. Do you have a separate deep freeze?

No, but I wish we did. I would stock it with ice cream. What else would you use it for?

G is for Garbage Disposal Unit. Do you have one?
Yes, we have one. I use it now and then. It is rather convenient at times, but I did not know it was bad for the environment as I read on Emily's post. I will have to look into that and re-think my disposal use.

H is for Handbook. What’s your favourite home making resource?
My favorite home making resource is not a handbook, it is a person -- my cleaning lady. She is heaven sent. My second favorite resource is take-out menus.

I is for Ironing. Love it or hate it?
Hate it and won't do it unless it is absolutely necessary. I would rather wear it wrinkly or send it to the cleaners to deal with it.

J is for Junk Drawer. Have one, and if so, where?

One in the kitchen for things like tape, pens, coupons, clips, etc. And one in my bedroom for small miscellaneous items like wallets, sunglasses, bits and pieces given to me by Zoe, etc. Also every drawer in Rob's dresser. He just doesn't get the idea of a sock drawer, a t-shirt drawer, etc.

K is for Kitchen. Colour and decorating scheme?

Our kitchen has cream-colored walls and counter tops with a black island top and red cabinet fronts. It is fairly modern with stainless appliances, but the flower tiles and the oak trim take away from the modern look.

L is for Love. What’s your favourite part of home making?

Decorating. I love to pick out paint colors, new furniture, art for the walls, etc. I will even paint and hang and move around heavy furniture.

M is for Mop. Do you have one?

Yes. We actually have a couple of them. When our dog, Spanky, was still around, mops often came in handy.

N is for Nylons. Machine or handwash?
I detest nylons and I usually run them in their first wearing and then just throw them in the trash. Tights I will wash in the machine.

O is for Oven. Do you have a window or do you open the oven door to check?

We have a window, but I never use it. I always opent the door.

P is for Pizza. What do you put on yours?

I am the most boring and un-adventurous eater you will ever meet so I only make plain cheese pizza.

Q is for Quiet. What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Read or write blog posts or read my book or the current issue of The New Yorker.

R is for Recipe Card Box.Yes/no? If yes, what does it look like?

Uh, no. I have a couple of recipes stuffed in the junk drawer, but I haven't read them since I put them in the drawer.

S is Style of House.
Converted Cape with many modern touches -- hopefully more to come.

T is for Tablecloths. Do you use them?

I used to when I had a real table. Now our kitchen has a big island and no table. I like tablecloths and miss using them.

U is for Under the Kitchen Sink. Organised or toxic wasteland?

Definitely organized. Sometimes it gets a little crazy down there, but I clean it out fairly regularly.

V is for Vacuum. How many times a week?
Does that include dustbuster use? Because if so, then vacuuming happens every day. If not, once a week.

W is for Washing. How many loads of washing do you do a week?

At least 7 and probably more like 11.

X’s - do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off?
I keep a to do list for work, but not usually for personal things. Once in awhile I make a personaly to do list, but I generally don't have trouble remembering the personal items.

Y is for Yard. Who does what?
Rob does it all except for grass-cutting and taking care of the outside furniture. I clean the furniture and move it back into place after the grass-cutters come.

Zzzzzs - what’s the last task before going to bed in the evening?

Put the dishwasher on -- we fill it just about every day.

03 December 2008

Words for Wednesday: Albuquerque Turkey

There is nothing meaningful about my song lyrics this week. This week's song is something Zoe learned in school for Thanksgiving and she has been singing it non-stop despite the fact that Thanksgiving is over. It is one of those brain-infecting songs and while I was trying to think of something good for this post these were the only lyrics I could think of. I will spare you a link to the actual music so that if you don't know the song you won't also be infected.

I promise to try to come up with something better for next week, but for now...

Albuquerque Turkey

(sung to the tune of "Clementine")

Albuquerque is a turkey
And he's feathered and he's fine
And he wobbles and he gobbles
and he's absolutely mine.
He's the best pet that you can get..
Better than a dog or cat.
He's my Albuquerque turkey
And I'm awfully proud of that.
He once told me , very frankly
he preferred to be my pet,
not the main course at my dinner,
and I told him not to fret.
And my Albuquerque turkey
is so happy in his bed,
'Cause for our Thanksgiving dinner...
We had egg foo yong instead.

02 December 2008

SXSW Tour: What I have learned

Here is a list of things I learned on my SXSW road trip:

1. Just because a hotel room says it is non-smoking, it doesn't mean it won't smell like smoke.

2. The GPS woman (we named her Greta) gets easily annoyed when you stop for gas or lunch or whatever. I swear I heard her sigh after her 3rd "Recalculating."

3. Cabela's is not a store for me -- or really anyone who is not interested in either making things dead or moving dead things around.

4. Tennessee has a lot more to offer than is obvious from the highway. Like The Arcade restaurant -- I am still thinking about that French Toast!

5. Always take more audio books than you think you'll want.

6. Families on Thanksgiving are basically all the same -- it is just a lot less stressful when it isn't your family (or in-laws).

7. The highway between Dallas and Little Rock is so flat and straight that you could put the car on cruise control and get in the back seat for awhile.

8. Tex-Mex food eaten in Texas is so much better, but turkey is turkey no matter where you are.

9. Any trip that involves going through New Jersey will mean taking at least 2 wrong turns.

10. When you're doing your final hotel room check to make sure you have everything always, always, always check under the covers.

That's what I learned. What I knew going in was that we were going to have a great time both in the car and in Dallas, we were going to eat a lot, and that I am lucky to have a husband and kid who were as enthusiastic about this trip as I was. I also knew it was going to be absolutely fantastic to be with Karen and her family and that it would be really, really hard to say good-bye.

01 December 2008

Rocket Man

I received and Early Reviewer's copy of Rocket Man by William Elliott Hazelgrove through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. In general I am predisposed to like these books because I had some initial interest in reading it based on the description and that was certainly the case with this book. I was quite pleased that I was chosen to receive this book. Unfortunately this book did not live up to my expectations at all.

Rocket Man is a story of middle-aged, middle class white men's angst. It is the story of Dale Hammer living and struggling in suburban America and battling both with and for the "American Dream." Dale is, in my opinion, the worst kind of snob -- the kind who despises people for finding success and/or happiness in situations where he cannot and therefore looks down on those people as being less intelligent. Worse than being a snob, he is also a hypocrite. We are supposed to feel sorry for him because his father wasn't there for him growing up and yet he cannot stop himself from disappointing his own son at every turn. His own father mis-treated his mother and yet he mis-treats his wife albeit not in the same way it is still mis-treatment. There is no redeeming moment, no better qualities that shine through Dale. The female characters are paper doll thin stereotypes. The plot itself only loosely hangs together. And although the last couple of pages try to redeem him and give him a happy ending, it is hard to believe Dale won't sabotage this happiness as he has sabotaged all other happiness in his life.

After visiting the author's website, I see that this book is supposed to be satire and I think I missed that. I'm not sure if that's me or the book.

[My original post included some negative comments about the copy-editing, but I received a note from the author that the copy I received was an un-corrected galley. I looked for that on my book, but it didn't say it anywhere so I thought it was a final version. I'm glad it is not the final version. My apologies to the author and editor.]

30 November 2008

SXSW Tour: The Final Day

Yesterday was a good travel day. We got from Little Rock, AR to Roanoke, VA and we managed a couple of good stops in between. We hit the road early from Little Rock and hung on 'til Memphis before stopping for brunch. I googled "best places for brunch in Memphis" and was presented with a couple of nice lists. Both lists included The Arcade Restaurant and since it was right near Beale St., we decided to give it a shot. All I can say is yum! The best french toast I ever had and they had beignets which are nearly impossible to come by in New England. If you're ever in Memphis definitely add The Arcade to your list of restaurants to visit.

After a quick peek at Beale St., a drive by Graceland and a stop for souveniers at Zoe's request (for show and tell) we were back on the road. We pushed through to Knoxville where we stopped for dinner. I'm sure we didn't see the pretty parts of Knoxville (should there be any), but we did find a very convenient shopping and eating area where we were able to get some dinner and pick up a car charger for the iPod which was a pressing need. All-in-all Tennessee redeemed itself on this return leg. What we saw coming down did not appeal. We didn't get to Roanoke until 1AM and I am not sure how Rob managed to drive so long, but he did and I was grateful.

And now were off for our final travel day. We're getting a late start because we got in late so I am not sure if we'll make any good stops today, but we'll see

Today's plan:

SXSW Tour: Final day

Destination: home

Expected travel time: 9 hours -- not including expected traffic. Hopefully it won't be too awful coming in to the tri-state area, but I don't have high hopes.

29 November 2008

SXSW Tour: The Return

Yesterday afternoon after a tearful good-bye, we were on the road again. Destination: Little Rock, AR. We arrived with no problems. The drive was about as straight, flat, and boring as it gets and we made good time. Luckily the scenery improves today.

Our stay in Dallas was lots of fun and lots of eating! Between Thanksgiving lunch and all the other eating we did, I think I might need to fast for a few days. My favorite meal by far was had at Mi Cocina in Dallas at Highland Park Village. It was Tex-Mex food and it was sooooo good. Other highlights included watching Zoe and Karen's daughter play together non-stop, a grown-ups night out with the kids at an amazing place called Adventure Kids Playcare which is drop-off babysitting (an amazing thing I wish we had nearby), and, of course, our first time on a real Texas ranch -- the Triple S Ranch. More on the ranch later. Right now we have to get going because we have a long day ahead.

Today's plan:

SXSW Tour: Day 7

Destination: Roanoke, VA

Expected travel time: 12 hours

Sights: Hopefully we'll have lunch in Memphis and pick up some Elvis souveniers!

27 November 2008

Words for Wednesday on Thanksgiving Thursday

I have been busy vacationing and not blogging much so I missed "Words for Wednesday." Instead I thought I combine lyrics with a Thanksgiving tradition -- at least around where I'm from. The tradition is to play Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant." It is an extremely long song so without further ado...

Alice's Restaurant
By Arlo Guthrie

(listen/watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_7C0QGkiVo)

This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the
restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant,
that's just the name of the song, and that's why I called the song Alice's
Restaurant.

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
restaurant, but Alice doesn't live in the restaurant, she lives in the
church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog. And livin' in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin' all that room,
seein' as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn't
have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it'd be
a friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So
we took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red VW
microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed
on toward the city dump.

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
dump saying, "Closed on Thanksgiving." And we had never heard of a dump
closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

We didn't find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the
cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
decided to throw our's down.

That's what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
dinner that couldn't be beat, went to sleep and didn't get up until the
next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, "Kid,
we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it." And
I said, "Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
under that garbage."

After speaking to Obie for about fourty-five minutes on the telephone we
finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
and pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
police officer's station. So we got in the red VW microbus with the
shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
police officer's station.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
the police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and
we didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
and told us never to be see driving garbage around the vicinity again,
which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station
there was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was
both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said "Obie, I don't think I
can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on." He said, "Shut up, kid.
Get in the back of the patrol car."

And that's what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the
quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of
Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop
signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the
Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars,
being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to
get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of
cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer's station.
They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and
they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each
one was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach,
the getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that's not to
mention the aerial photography.

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put
us in the cell. Said, "Kid, I'm going to put you in the cell, I want your
wallet and your belt." And I said, "Obie, I can understand you wanting my
wallet so I don't have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you
want my belt for?" And he said, "Kid, we don't want any hangings." I
said, "Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?"
Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the
toilet seat so I couldn't hit myself over the head and drown, and he took
out the toilet paper so I couldn't bend the bars roll out the - roll the
toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie
was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice
(remember Alice? It's a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few
nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back
to the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat,
and didn't get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.

We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back
of each one, sat down. Man came in said, "All rise." We all stood up,
and Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he
sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the
twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows
and a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.
And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles
and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry,
'cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American
blind justice, and there wasn't nothing he could do about it, and the
judge wasn't going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And
we was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but thats not
what I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about the draft.

They got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street,
where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,
neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one
day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. `Cause I wanted to
look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
to feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
and I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
kinds o' mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
me a piece of paper, said, "Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604."

And I went up there, I said, "Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and
he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
yelling, "KILL, KILL." And the sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
sent me down the hall, said, "You're our boy."

Didn't feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections,
detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me
at the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four
hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty
ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was
inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no
part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the
last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there,
and I walked up and said, "What do you want?" He said, "Kid, we only got
one question. Have you ever been arrested?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacre,
with full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all
the phenome... - and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, did you ever
go to court?"

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten
colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on
the back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, "Kid, I want
you to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W .... NOW kid!!"

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W's
where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father
rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And
they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the
bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean 'n' ugly
'n' nasty 'n' horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay
$50 and pick up the garbage." He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?"
And I said, "Littering." And they all moved away from me on the bench
there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
said, "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand,
and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of
things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it
up and said.

"Kids, this-piece-of-paper's-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-
know-details-of-the-crime-time-of-the-crime-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-
you-gotta-say-pertaining-to-and-about-the-crime-I-want-to-know-arresting-
officer's-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say", and talked for
forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had
fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there,
and I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony, and wrote it
down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the
pencil, and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the
other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on
the other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the
following words:

("KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?")

I went over to the sargent, said, "Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to
ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I'm
sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench
'cause you want to know if I'm moral enough join the army, burn women,
kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug." He looked at me and
said, "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send you fingerprints
off to Washington."

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I'm
singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there's only one thing you can do and that's walk into
the shrink wherever you are ,just walk in say "Shrink, You can get
anything you want, at Alice's restaurant.". And walk out. You know, if
one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick and
they won't take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they're both faggots and they won't take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement.

And that's what it is , the Alice's Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the
guitar.

With feeling. So we'll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
sing it when it does. Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing it
for another twenty five minutes. I'm not proud... or tired.

So we'll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part
harmony and feeling.

We're just waitin' for it to come around is what we're doing.

All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant
Walk right in it's around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant

Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice's Restaurant

24 November 2008

SXSW Tour: We Made It!

Day 3 went very well. We were on schedule all day hitting the road by 8AM and keeping the stops to a minimum. The day's highlights included breakfast at the Loretta Lynn Kitchen (not sure if it is an officially sanctioned Loretta Lynn restaurant, but I've had worse), a disappointing stop at a rest stop that promised TCBY frozen yogurt, but the frozen yogurt machines turned out to be broken, and Tex-Mex food for dinner in the Texas side of Texarkana. We arrived in Dallas around 9:30PM and stayed up talking until Rob passed out from all the driving around midnight.

All-in-all it was a really good drive. I didn't have to do any of the actual driving so I found it very relaxing to just sit there and watch the world go by. As a matter of fact this is the most relaxed I've felt in quite some time. Kentucky and Tennessee were really not my cup of tea (even sweet tea) although I am sure we missed most of the good stuff. I have been to Louisville, KY before so I know not all of KY is like the Wal-Mart and Horse Cave hotel experience we had, and I've been to Nashville and Memphis, but this time we just drove on past those spots. What we did see seemed to be from an alternate universe where people do a lot of hunting and wear Clint Black t-shirts. Not at all what I'm used to, I guess, but everyone was friendly so I can't complain too much.

SXSW Tour: Days 4, 5, 6

Destinations: in and around Dallas/Ft. Worth area

Sights: to include, but not limited to the King Tut exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art, Highland Park Village shops, Dallas Zoo, movies, and many kid-friendly restaurants.

On Thanksgiving Day we're headed out to Athens, TX for Thanksgiving at the ranch belonging to our friend's family. That will definitely be a different way to spend the day!

23 November 2008

SXSW Tour: Where's Eeyore????

We got off to a late start yesterday and after visiting the Gettysburg Battlefield Visitor's Center and driving around the town of Gettysburg, we were even later.  But we weren't too concerned because we'd had a good night's sleep and figured we wouldn't make any other long stops and everything would be fine, right?  Wrong.  Of course wrong.  

About 7 hours of driving from Gettysburg headed to St. Louis, MO where our hotel with a view of the Gateway Arch was waiting my blood ran cold when Zoe asked, "Where's Eeyore?"  My mind instantly flashed back to earlier that morning and packing up Zoe's suitcase.  I had not put in Eeyore.  Oh. my. God.  Zoe has had Eeyore since her first Christmas.  She cannot face bedtime without him.  

"Do you remember packing Eeyore?" I asked Rob, hoping against hope.  

"No," he said looking at me and we both knew we were in trouble.

Rob pulled over at the next exit and checked the suitcases just in case.  Nope, no Eeyore.  I quickly found the receipt from the hotel and asked Rob to call them while I broke the news.  It did not go over well.  And that is an enormous understatement.  By some miracle the hotel had Eeyore and they were willing to Fed-Ex him to us in Dallas, but still that did not fully help.  What was Zoe going to do tonight??  I decided we'd have to find a Wal-Mart and get some kind of replacement.  

So, another stop top shop at Wal-Mart (not hard to find in KY), then dinner, and by the time we got back in the car the GPS said it would be 3AM before we arrived in St. Louis.  I immediately knew that was not going to happen.  So, we re-programmed the GPS to head right for Dallas, drove a couple more hours and ended up spending the night in Horse Cave, KY otherwise knows as Somewhere, KY.

Today's plan:

SXSW Tour:  Day 3

Destination:  Dallas, TX

Expected travel time:  12 hours

Sights:  Only what we can see from the car.  We just want to get there and minimize the detours.  

Will hopefully report in next from Dallas!

22 November 2008

SXSW Tour: Gettysburg

We made pretty good time leaving the New York area yesterday afternoon only hitting real traffic on the GW Bridge. We were moving along at a very good clip until somewhere in Nowhere, PA we saw in the darkness a huge sign that said "Cabela's." Rob, who was starting to get a bit drowsy immediately perked up. "Cabela's?" he said like a kid on Christmas morning. "Should we stop?"

Rob regularly pours over the Cabela's catalog dreaming up all kinds of camping and fishing fantasies. I do not pretend to understand, but I could only imagine that going to an actual Cabela's store would be the equivalent of me going to a Kate Spade store. So, we stopped and Oh. My. God. It was so absurd that it could have been a Saturday Night Live skit. There were dead things everywhere. There were all kinds of implements for moving dead things. There were things to wear while getting things dead. It was stomach turning. I can't even dwell on it or I will ruin my breakfast. Needless to say I had quite the vegetarian dinner after we left the store. The store also happens to be enormous so it was over an hour and a half before we got out of there with the armload of things Rob could not live without. It was fun to see him shop with abandon and he did not actually buy and implements of death. Zoe was quite confused by the place. I'm not sure what she thought. I will have to remember to ask her today.

So, here's my report:

SXSW Tour: Day 2

Destination: St. Louis, MO

Expected travel time: 12 hours

Sights: Gettysburg National Military Park, Gateway Arch.

Believe it or not, this morning I went to the gym and then took Zoe swimming in the hotel pool. We are about get breakfast and hit the road again.

We've got 10 - 11 hours between sights so who knows what we'll find today. Hopefully something more like Kate Spade and less like Cabela's!

21 November 2008

S X SW Tour

This year on our long list of things to be thankful for, we add the fact that gas prices have gone down dramatically in the last several weeks. The whole Zoe family is headed off for vacation this very afternoon and we could not be more excited about it. We are driving off into the sunset for a good old-fashioned road trip ending at our good friend's house in Dallas, TX where we will be spending several fun-filled days and nights including Turkey Day and then we will turn around and head back home.

Road trip!


S X SW Trek: Day one

Destination: Gettysburgh, PA

Expected travel time: 6 hours

Sights: Battlefield, hotel's indoor pool

I have made sure that all our the hotels (2 going, 2 returning) have pools so that Zoe can get some exercise. We will also be on the look-out for playgrounds along the way. And of course, we will try to fit in some good sights -- anybody know where we can find the largest ball of twine???

I will be doing my best to blog about the journey and include photos.

18 November 2008

Words for Wednesday: Least Complicated

"Least Complicated" is on the Indigo Girls 1994 album "Swamp Ophelia" and I have been faithfully adding it to mixes (tape, then CD, now iPod playlists) since I first heard the song and bought the CD.

What is more true than the line "The hardest to learn was the least complicated" ? Especially in matters of love as this song pertains, but isn't it that way with everything? I can't count the moments of my life where I acted such a fool hoping for something despite the fact that the truth was plain to see and clearly that truth did not involve my hopes. Hoping that boy liked me, really liked me. Hoping that job would be offered. Hoping that just a little bit of good luck would come my way this one time, despite all signs to the contrary. Oh how those things hurt. And you would think that the hurt would help you to not make the same mistakes over and over, but in some things, you think you can make it happen this one time and "start clean slated."


Least Complicated
by The Indigo Girls

I sit two stories above the street
Its awful quiet here since love fell asleep
There's life down below me though
The kids are walking home from school

Some long ago when we were taught
That for whatever kind of puzzle you got
You just stick the right formula in
A solution for every fool

I remember the time when I came so close to you
Sent me skipping my class and running from school
And I bought you that ring cause I never was cool
What makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated

So I just sit up in the house and resist
And not be seen until I cease to exist
A kind of conscientious objection
A kind of dodging the draft

The boy and girl are holding hands on the street
And I don't want to but I think you just wait
Its more than just eye to eye
Learn the things I could never apply

I remember the time when I came so close with you
I let everything go it seemed the only truth
And I bought you that ring, it seemed the thing to do

What makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated
So what makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated

I'm just a mirror of a mirror myself
All the things that I do
And the next time I fall I'm gonna have to recall
Its isn't love its only something new

I sit two stories above the street
Its awful quiet here since love fell asleep
There's life down below me though
The kids are walking home from school

Im remember the time when I came so close with you
Sent me skipping my class and running from school
And I bought you that ring cause I never was cool

What makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated
So what makes me think I could start clean slated
The hardest to learn was the least complicated
The least complicated
The least complicated

17 November 2008

Blogger meet-up

So, Saturday was the big blogger meet-up day and it was a great success. In attendance: Emily, Becky, Dorothy, Hobgoblin, Cam, and Charlotte. If you go to Dorothy's blog you can read a really nice summary of the day's events so I won't re-write that part.

What I really want to say is thank you to my blogging friends for sharing your thoughts, taking the time to write and write often, and creating such an interesting community that I have come to rely on every day. Some blogs I have been following for awhile and some I am a newer reader, but I really enjoy keeping up with all your posts and getting to know you through your writing. That said, it was a real treat to put actual people with the voices behind these blogs. I look forward getting to know you all better and hope that we can meet up again someday.

Special thanks go out to Emily for organizing our day. And thanks and happy 40th to Charlotte who's birthday trip made this possible. I hope all your NYC birthday wishes came true!

P.S. The books I bought for Zoe at the Strand made up for the fact that I went off for this fun day without her even though Becky and Emily are her friends too. I was forgiven and welcomed home.

14 November 2008

The Alcholic Meme

I found this one over at Emily's bar, I mean blog.

1. What’s your favorite drink?
It often depends on the weather or the food, but Vodka Tonic with lime always works for me.

2. Do you prefer red or white wine?
In general I prefer red.

3. Do you prefer dark or pale ale?
In that case, I prefer diet coke. Beer of every variety just turns my stomach. I can't stand the smell or the taste and it doesn't agree with me at all.

4. What was the worst hangover you ever had?
It was after a night of many El Rio Grande happy hour margaritas that never progressed to actual dinner. (Those of you who have been to El Rio Grande on 38th Street know how strong those margaritas are. Those of you who haven't been, please proceed with caution if you ever find yourself at that establishment.) I didn't even get home that late, but by the time I did I knew I was in trouble. A stomach full of strawberry margarita and not much else is not good. I was sick most of the night. The next day I went to work and my boss, who knew immediately that I was hung over told me that I should have called out sick. I was embarrassed, but she was right. My head hurts just thinking about it.

5. Would you describe yourself as a mean drunk, a happy drunk, or a maudlin drunk?
Definitely a happy drunk.

6. Are you a two-fisted drinker or a light-weight?
Complete light-weight except for once in a blue moon when I can drink like a fish, barely feel it, and be completely fine the next day. Obviously, the stars have to be perfectly aligned for that to happen.

7. Do you drink while reading?
Not usually. I like to talk when I'm drinking.

8. Reading what makes you want to drink?
Raymond Carver short stories or Richard Russo novels.

9. Which favorite fictional character of yours has got to be an alcoholic?
Most of Raymond Carver's and Richard Russo's.

10. Which fictional character would you most like to bar hop with?
Delysia LaFosse from Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I can just imagine the amazing bars she would know about, the fabulous clothes we would wear, the handsome men we would meet.

11. What’s your favorite scene from a movie involving drink?
The scene in Sideways where Paul Giamatti's character says: No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!

12. Watching what movie makes you want to drink?
The SpongeBob Square Pants Movie. Do I need to explain?

OK, I have to go now so I have time to stop and buy wine on my way home...

12 November 2008

Proud to be a Connecticut Yankee

Today is the official start of same-sex marriages as a reality in Connecticut!

There's a nice article in the NY Times about it all.
“Today, Connecticut sends a message of hope and promise to lesbian and gay people throughout the country who want to be treated as equal citizens by their government,” said Ben Klein, a lawyer with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a Boston group that litigated the Connecticut case. “It is living proof that marriage equality is moving forward in this country.”
Interestingly on Monday night Zoe and I were in Border's and out of the blue she asked me, "Mom, can a girl marry a girl?"

I smiled to myself and said, "yes, a girl can marry a girl and boy can marry a boy." And I thought to myself -- now.

Words for Wednesday: New York State of Mind

Maybe it is because I am looking forward to my blogger meet-up day in the city on Saturday or maybe it's because I just simply love New York (insert the "I love New York" theme song here), but this song has been in my head lately. Billy Joel's own love for New York comes shining through this song through both the words and the piano.

I always get that riding in a cab up Fifth Avenue on a clear night with a view of the Empire State Building feeling when I hear it.


New York State of Mind
by Billy Joel

Some folks like to get away,
Take a holiday from the neighborhood.
Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood.
But I'm takin' a Greyhound on the Hudson River line.
I'm in a New York state of mind.

I've seen all the movie stars in their fancy cars and their limousines.
Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens.
I know what I'm needin', and I don't wanna waste more time.
I'm in a New York state of mind.

It was so easy livin' day by day
Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
But now I need a little give and take
The New York Times, the Daily News.

It comes down to reality, and it's fine with me cause I've let it slide.
I don't care if it's Chinatown or on Riverside.
I don't have any reasons.
I left them all behind.
I'm in a New York state of mind.
Oh yeah.

It was so easy living day by day
Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
But now I need a little give and take
The New York Times, the Daily News.
Who, oh, oh whoa who.

It comes down to reality, and it's fine with me cause I've let it slide.
I don't care if it's Chinatown or on Riverside.
I don't have any reasons.
I left them all behind.
I'm in a New York state of mind.

I'm just taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River line.
Cause I'm in a, I'm in a New York state of mind

10 November 2008

Cosmetics Counter: Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Eyeshadow Primer Potion by Urban Decay claims to do what many products have claimed before. The difference is that this stuff actually works!

Urban Decay's claim:
This miracle eyeshadow primer is unmatched by any other in the beauty industry! The genie in this bottle fulfills three wishes: eyeshadow that lasts, more vibrant and lasting color, and absolutely NO creasing.

It goes on quickly and easily although I recommend blotting it on with the wand and then smoothing it out with your finger. It dries quickly and does not affect the color of your eye shadow.

When I bought it I was highly skeptical of its ability to make my eye shadow last without creasing, but being the sucker that I am, I was grabbed by the marketing and bought it anyway. The first day I used it my expectations were low. I put my make-up on at around 7:30AM as I do most mornings and I was absolutely shocked to look in the mirror at around 5PM and see that I still had eye shadow on my eyes. No creases either. Amazing!

07 November 2008

The arc of history

There's this one small part of President-elect Obama's speech from election night that I keep thinking about:
It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

I just love that so much and my naive, liberal heart really hopes it is true.

Relive the moment. Read the full speech.

05 November 2008

Words for Wednesday: Falling Slowly

This week's song for Words for Wednesday is the Academy Award wining Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the movie Once which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. This song is on the CD playing in my car that I sing along with daily and has been on my favorites list since the moment I heard it in the movie.

It is ostensibly a love song, but the chorus makes me now think about Obama's victory and the change this could really mean. It has the same hopefulness -- "raise your hopeful voice" -- that I feel. Whatever you bring to it, it is just a beautiful, beautiful song.

Falling Slowly

I don't know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can't react
And games that never amount
To more than they're meant
Will play themselves out

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You've made it now

Falling slowly, eyes that know me
And I can't go back
Moods that take me and erase me
And I'm painted black
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It's time that you won

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We've still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you had a choice
You've made it now
Falling slowly sing your melody
I'll sing along

Hear it for yourself at the movie's website. While you're at it, listen to the entire soundtrack.

I love your blog

Earlier this week I was given an award by by Becky from her sofa and my soon to be new friend in real life, Charlotte. Thanks to you both! I feel the same love for you.

And now I have to pass it on. The rules are:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you (as shown above).
3) Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.

So the awards go to...

Heather and her D's. Love keeping up with her boys.

Sara -- one of my newest blog favorites. Love her view on life and motherhood.

Rebecca Of Books and Bicycles whose writing on books is a regular education

Emily the Telecommuter who regularly makes me laugh out loud.

Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle His blog is more than just hints for the day's puzzle (which I often rely on), but really interesting thoughts and analysis of the daily puzzle and I love it.

Traciedesigns who is a great shopper and and even better designer.

And last, but certainly not least...

Becky from her sofa. And not just because she gave me the award -- I love her and her point of view.

04 November 2008

MaBloCoPoMo

I kind of meant to participate in NaBloPoMo, but somehow I looked up and it was already November 2. Instead I've made up my own event MaBloCoPoMo -- Marcy's (that's me) Blog Comment Posting Month.

I will do my best to comment on every one's NaBloPoMo posts as an encouragement for their efforts. I am sure their will be some terribly inane comments, but I will try to write something meaningful.

Get out and vote!

Get your own badge here. It's free. Thanks Mandie!

02 November 2008

Looking devilish


IMG_1243, originally uploaded by Marcyjill.

Here's Zoe all dressed up for Halloween and doing her best to look evil.

Halloween was 24 hours of celebrating this year -- starting with the parade and party at school Friday afternoon and finishing up at a party at my sister-in-law's house on Saturday afternoon. Enough candy has been consumed to make all 5 dentists scream and the tatoos will hopefully be gone by Thanksgiving.

More pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marcyjill/sets/72157608599581590/


31 October 2008

The Cosmetics Counter: Drying Lotion

It has been awhile since I have done one of these Cosmetics Counter posts, but lately I have discovered a few new products that I really want to share so I am reviving the category.

The first product I want to share is Drying Lotion made by Mario Badescu.

It is not an anti-moisturizer as the name implies, but, in fact, it is a pimple healer. And it really, really works! I am prone to occasional pimples (not regular acne) and I have tried a lot of these so-called "spot" removers. Most of them don't really seem to work, but this stuff is like a little miracle. Apply this stuff before bed and in the morning any pimples are either gone or really significantly reduced. I've even started putting it on in spots where I think I might be getting a pimple. It is something that has to be worn at bedtime because it is a pink solution that has to be washed off. Also good to note, because you only apply it on the spot, your skin doesn't get all dry and flaky.

At $17 for a small bottle it does sound expensive, but one bottle lasts me at least 6 months.

30 October 2008

Sing for stress relief

I have always enjoyed singing along with the radio while driving. I do it by default and I have a knack for remembering lyrics. Admittedly I am not the greatest singer (I am not the worst either), but when a boyfriend of mine once told me that the person singing didn't need my help, I pulled my car over to the side of the road and told him he could get out and walk if he didn't like my singing. You can probably see why things didn't work out between us.

Anyway, my point is that lately I have been, like much of the country and probably the world, kind of stressed out. Between the election, the economy and my own work situation (which I have now named "Survivor: Corporate Edition") my shoulders have found a resting spot around the tops of my ears and my sleep patterns make me think there is a baby in the house. The other day while driving home I noticed that on my trips to and from work I was making things worse for myself by either listening to news radio (CNN via Satellite radio) or thinking about my work situation and what exactly I was going to do or needed to do. Rather than let myself wallow in the stress yet again I switched the station until I found a song I liked. I turned the music up loud and then sang along at the top of my lungs. I sang like that for the rest of the ride home and when I got home I felt so much better (although slightly hoarse).

The next day on my way too work I tried it again. This time I popped in an Indigo Girls CD. I know every lyric of every song so I didn't have to stop singing for a minute. It was great!

That night, I went home and burned myself a CD of all my favorite songs to sing along to. It is a somewhat eclectic mix, but it works for me and it has been playing in my car every day since. I have been singing my little heart out. I sometimes wonder if the other drivers notice me belting it out, but that doesn't stop me because it works. I drive a beige Jeep Grand Cherokee in case you think you've seen me...

So, if you're feeling stressed out, I recommend you give this a try. Find some songs you like to sing, get them playing in your car and go for it.

29 October 2008

Words for Wednesday

Yesterday Emily started a new regular blog entry she has titled "Favorite Song Lyrics Monday" and she welcomed others to take the idea so I am doing just that.

My day will be Wednesdays and I am kicking it off with my current favorite song "Free Life" by Dan Wilson. I discovered this song while listening to The Spectrum on Sirius satellite radio (also known as '"crack radio'). I remember the first time I heard it. Rob, Zoe and I were on our way to Springfield, MA to see the Dr. Seuss museum on a gorgeous, sunny spring day. Zoe had fallen asleep in the back seat and Rob and I were enjoying the music and chatting. When this song came on we both stopped talking to listen and I even wrote down the title and artist so I could remember it for later.

The lyrics are simple yet moving and evocative. I want to "fall in love again." I want some more "empty afternoons." And most of all I want the answers to some of the questions. The music, mostly guitars, starts out soft and slow and it builds throughout the song as the chorus hits home more and more. So, now, without further delay, here are the lyrics:

Free Life
by Dan Wilson

Let's take a little trip down where we used to go
It's way beyond the strip, a place they call your soul
We'll sit down for a while and let the evening roll
Don't worry about the time, we'll find a place to stay
The people down here seem familiar in some way
Look kind of like we did before we got so cold

In the air the questions hang
Will we get to do something?
Who we gonna end up being?
How we gonna end up feeling?
What you gonna spend your free life on?
Free life.

Let's fall in love again with music as our guide
We'll raise our ready hands and let go for the ride
Down into unknown lands where lovers need and hide
We got these lives for free, don't know where they've been
Don't know where they'll go when we are through with them
Starlight of the sun, dark side of the moon

In the air the questions hang
Will we get to do something?
Who we gonna end up being?
How we gonna end up feeling?
What you gonna spend your free life on?
Free life.

It seems so long ago, those empty afternoon
With nowhere much to go and nothing much to do
Just sit up in my room and let the world unfold

In the air the questions hang
Will we get to do something?
Who we gonna end up being?
How we gonna end up feeling?
What you gonna spend your free life on?
Free life.

26 October 2008

A Six-year-old in a Sleep Mask


sleep mask, originally uploaded by Marcyjill.

Yes, I love to take pictures of Zoe while she is sleeping and have taken many and posted a few here on the blog, but this may be my favorite to date. The funniest part about the fact that she is wearing the sleep mask is that she insists there be at least 2 different lights on in her room at night -- her closet light and a night light. At least the flash from my camera didn't disturb her when I took this picture.

23 October 2008

The elementary school vote

The other day Zoe came home from school and announced, "You cannot vote for John McCain because he wants to add one more hour to the school day! You have to vote for Barack Obama." You cannot imagine the look of horror on her face as she said this.

My husband and I giggled and then because my husband likes to tease as much as I do, he said, "Barack Obama eats children." Zoe stomped off and we continued to giggle and then the subject was dropped.

Several days later we were in the car and out of no where Zoe said, "Daddy, tell me the truth. The real truth. Does Barack Obama really eat children?"

"Of course not honey." We were both stifling huge guffaws. "Not anymore."

"Daddy!" she shouted exasperated.

I then tried to reassure her that Barack Obama does not eat children, but I'm still not 100% sure she believed me. Rest assured though, Zoe still things we should vote for him because she does not want John McCain and his extra hour of school.

17 October 2008

Excuse me while I get political for a moment...

I have stayed away from posting anything about the upcoming presidential election, but I just had to share this one video clip because it truly scares the life out of me and I want to make sure as many people as possible see and hear this.



What goes on in his head????

16 October 2008

9 things about my marriage

Today is my 9th wedding anniversary therefore I give you 9 things about my marriage:

1. It has been a lot of laughs and not too much tears.

2. It has been a lot of pizza and some champagne.

3. Neither of us cook or clean much, but I clean more and he cooks more.

4. He can still surprise me (in a good way) and I think I still surprise him occasionally.

5. There was a time about 5 years ago when I wasn't sure we would make it. I'm glad we got through that time and it makes me more confident that if (when) bad times come again, we'll get through that too.

6. We still hold hands all the time.

7. On weekends we often have to make sure we're not dressed in the same outfit (i.e. jeans and a black shirt).

8. We're the only people we don't bore with endless talk of Zoe and we do spend an awful lot of time talking about her -- or watching her sleep.

9. I love him more than I did on our wedding day.

13 October 2008

Zoe and Michelle

We spent this past weekend visiting good friends who have a farm in Aurora, NY. Their farm includes a beautiful old farmhouse, a big red barn, corn fields, and chickens. Hard as it may be to believe, they are really good looking chickens too, but they all look identical. Therefore, they are all named Michelle. Zoe had a fantastic time at the farm and especially loved getting to know the Michelles.

video

12 October 2008

Once

This past Friday night I was fortunate enough to catch a really wonderful movie on TV. It is called Once. The title caught my attention as I was scrolling through the "guide" looking for something to watch because I remembered that it won an Oscar for best music in February. I had never heard of the movie before Oscar night, but the two lead actors performed one of the songs and I remember thinking how much I liked it. The song was "Falling Slowly" and if you go to the link for the movie above you can hear it.

The official movie description is:
A modern day musical set on the streets of Dublin. Featuring Glen Hansard from the Irish band "The Frames," the film tells the story of a street musician and a Czech immigrant during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story.

It truly is one of the most beautiful love stories I've seen in a long time. And for those who are generally turned off by musicals, in this case the music is so perfectly integrated into the story that I don't even consider it a musical per se. I highly recommend this movie.

Now I am off to check out more music by Glen Hansard and The Frames.

07 October 2008

Confirmation at last!

I took the The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test and I have finally gotten confirmation that I am:

Pure Nerd


Here are my results...

For The Record:


A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.



You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.



The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Congratulations!


Take The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test at HelloQuizzy

06 October 2008

Where did my rug go?

Did you ever get some news that, even though you pretty much knew it was coming, you were completely unprepared for? At least completely unprepared for the full impact of the news at any rate. It seems that is what has happened to me.

Last Wednesday I arrived at the office just in time to receive an email from the president of the company informing us that we have been sold and we're all officially being given 60 days until termination. Fun stuff, right? Unfortunately and fortunately -- depending on how you're looking at things -- it isn't really all that simple.

We've been sort of sold.

We sort of have 60 days until we're out of work.

We sort of might have the opportunity to apply for our own jobs.

We sort of get information eked out to us.

Like I said, I was largely expecting this news, but somehow seeing it all in print and living through the bureaucracy has been unsettling to a degree that I hadn't expected. I have been a real grouch and I kind of feel like somebody died.

Bah.

30 September 2008

Current Addictions

I've been tagged again...

RULES:

* Post at least five current addictions (with some details, please).
* Mention the person who started this meme (Being Brazen) and also the person who just tagged you - Emily.
* Type your post with the heading “Current addictions”.
* Tag at least two people and pass on the above rules.

So, here are my current addictions:

1. Shopping. No, duh right? It's an addiction that has lived near and dear to my heart for many, many years now. I should qualify this by saying I like shopping for clothes, shoes, make-up and books. I can live without shopping for furniture or groceries or any other practical things. I do enjoy a good turn through CVS though. In this current economic climate shopping will probably be my downfall. There are major bargains out there!

2. Buying Books. I guess this is related to the above, but it is more than that. I have an enormous pile (several shelves worth actuall) of unread books -- my TBR pile as its called. And that pile makes me happy because when I am ready for a new book I have my own private selection to choose from just waiting there for me. I love going to the bookstore to discover books, I love ordering books from Amazon that I've read about. I love my books and I just keep on getting more.

3. LibraryThing. This one is related to the above. I have become obsessed with not only cataloging my books, but also with recording when I acquired the book, when I started reading it, and when I completed reading it. I try to never look at the ratings or reviews for a book until after I've read it because it is so much fun to compare my thoughts after.

4. Twitter. I just love it. It is great to see the thoughts of multiple friends and persons of interest. It is fun to post my own thoughts for many to see at once. And it was so fun to watch the posts on debate night. It is like blogging, but it is short and sweet and to the point and it gives you that false sense of connection to others that only the internet can give.

5. Mike and Ikes. They are my current favorite candies. I eat some just about every day. They are just so chewy and good. But too many do make me feel a little ill so I only eat a handful.

6. Diet Sunkist. When we were in Italy in June I drank a few Fantas and they were sooo good. Especially in the heat. It was 100 degrees almost everyday we were there. The U.S. version of Fanta is not as good (just like the Italian version of Diet Coke is not as good) so I decided to try Diet Sunkist one day and it tasted just like the Italian Fanta. I've been hooked ever since. However, I do not like to have Diet Sunkist and Mike and Ikes at the same time.

These are my addictions, I tag Tracie and Noble Savage.

28 September 2008

Aging Meme

I was tagged by Becky to do my own meme. Imagine that!

So, here goes...

The Aging Meme
all you have to do is fill in the blanks...

At a certain age women should not wear very long hair. At a certain point I think around shoulder length is really long enough.

At a certain age men should not date/marry/or make children with women in their 20s.

When I was a kid I thought I would become an artist.

Now that I am older I wish I spent more time thinking things through when I was younger.

You know you are too old to wear a miniskirt when you wonder if you're too old to be wearing it.

You know you are too young to wear make-up when you still have gorgeous kid skin.

When I was in high school I listened to the music of The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, R.E.M.

Nowadays I find I like the music of whatever they're playing on The Spectrum on Sirius Sattelite radio. It's a great mix of new and old including R.E.M., Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Lucinda Williams, Tom Petty, and Jakob Dylan.

On my last birthday I turned 37 and celebrated as described here.

On my next birthday I want to go skiing.

The best birthday present I ever got was the timing of my birthday. My birthday is January 15 which was Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and because his birthday is treated as a national holiday I not only get to share my day with a great man, I get a long weekend. Don't get me wrong, I've gotten lots of wonderful presents, but that day off is so nice.

The first time I felt grown up was the first time I had to stay up all night with Zoe when she was sick.

The last time I felt like a kid was 5 minutes ago as I enjoyed the movie Wall-E.

When I read Bridge to Terabithia it changed my life. I read that book sometime in elementary school and that's when I discovered how wonderful reading is.

Last year was filled with ups and downs.

Next year I hope not to repeat some of the downs from last year.

26 September 2008

What does my inbox say about me?

Here are the first 6 emails in my personal email inbox right now.

23 September 2008

Aging

It seems like there has been a real lack of memes out in the blogosphere lately. I went searching for one the other day and the best I could come up with was not very good. So, I was inspired to create my own and here it is.

The Aging Meme
all you have to do is fill in the blanks...

At a certain age women should _________ .

At a certain age men should ___________ .

When I was a kid I thought I would ___________ .

Now that I am older I wish ___________ .

You know you are too old to ___________ when ___________.

You know you are too young to _____________ when ___________ .

When I was in high school I listened to the music of __________.

Nowadays I find I like the music of _____________.

On my last birthday I ___________ .

On my next birthday I want to ____________ .

The best birthday present I ever got was ___________ .

The first time I felt grown up was _____________ .

The last time I felt like a kid was ______________ .

When I read ___________ it changed my life.

Last year was __________.

Next year I hope _____________ .


Tag, you're it!
In order to get this off on the right foot, I am tagging: Becky, Emily, and Tracie. Anyone else is welcome too.