Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making and Baking

Instead of a link dump, I'm finally going to post pictures of stuff that I've made, especially holiday-related stuff.

First, I made my own bows! I used this Craftster tutorial and the Paper Source and Sephora catalogs, plus a back issue of Magnet. It was very fun, and really not that hard.

Then I ordered this cool wine bottle wrapping kit from Chronicle Books for Cary so he could make the wine for his work partners look festive.

Next I started baking. I don't bake much, so there are always plenty of things to go wrong. Since the kids had a snow day Friday and Cary got the day off too, I decided to use the extra time to make homemade marshmallows, after seeing how good Emily Martin's looked. Much to my surprise they turned out really well, and are delicious plain or dipped in chocolate.

That's when things went pear-shaped. Yesterday I attempted to make Sarah's delicious sounding Kima's Melt-a-ways. The dough was extremely sticky even after chilling it for an hour, and when baked the cookies ran all over the tray. A quick back and forth on Twitter with Sarah confirmed that I had accidentally doubled the butter. Doh! I started over and the second batch turned out very well. If you want to see a pic, check over at Sarah's blog. Hers is much prettier than mine.

Now I'm making Chocolate Cheesecake Candycane bars. All was going well until the mixture wasn't puffing. Turns out, the oven wasn't on. They turned out OK, but I don't have a pic because they aren't finished yet -- I still have to glaze them.

Boy, can't wait until I have to cook a three pound tenderloin on Christmas Day.
In other handmade news, I'd been wanting to post a picture of my pinecone cheese ball.

And the beautiful duvet cover that my mom quilted for my bed.
What a lot of pictures! -- now I'm off to glaze those cheesecake bars.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Because Nobody Asked, again -- Best of '08

I did a lot of record reviews this year. Some of my favorites were even records that I discovered through writing reviews, which is even sweeter.

Top 10 of '08

1. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All
2. The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
3. Vampire Weekend
4. Pas-Cal - I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Laura

I will be listening to records 1-4 well into 2009, while 5-10 are less likely to endure.

5. Lykke Li - Youth Novels
6. White Denim - Exposion
7. Ladytron - Velocifero
8. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
9. Islands - Arms Way
10. Her Space Holiday - XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival.

Next year I'm already excited about new records from Andrew Bird, Metric, and Annie. I haven't had much time to listen to the Santogold record, She and Him, or Deerhoof's Kill Maggie, so maybe those would have made the list if I didn't run out of time!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Now I wear the red dress, paint my toes and twirl

So Lucy and I are feeling (appropriately?) full of ourselves at the moment.

She just said to me, as she stepped out of the bath, "We're smart right. We're the smartest people in the world, right?" She was genuinely distressed when I told her that, no, we are not the smartest people in the world.

She had her Nutrcracker dress rehearsal tonight. She is an angel, one of many, and can't wait to don her feathered wings for the Friday night performance. After she was done rehearsing she was all sassy, wanting to run around and introduce herself to all the other little ballerinas and show off her twirling. She wanted none of my advice, my lap, or even the seat next to me. I practically had to carry her out of the theater.

Pretty much out of the blue I got a chance to interview a musician that I, well, I pretty much worship. I've only "interviewed" one other musician (unless you count my family) and that never saw the light of day. So this was a pretty big deal. But I was going to have to do the interview while at the dress rehearsal.

I immediately inventoried what might go wrong. In the last 24 hours I drew up questions, cleared them with the editor, asked anyone who would listen for moral support, listened to the band non-stop, procured Cary's microcassette recorder, watched the band's DVD (twice), and tested my cell phone on speakerphone picking up an answering machine (Hi, Mom).

So I left Lucy just as she was about to go on stage and set up a mobile office in the minivan.

The interview went way better than I could have hoped.

Believe you me I'll be posting if (no, when) it goes to press.

There've been some heaping doses of what went right lately. You know what that means -- trouble is right around the corner!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Home, will infect whatever you do

I went to see David Byrne with my mom last Friday night, and though I'm not exactly able to concentrate at the moment (two kids singing two different songs) this is the closest I will get to peace today, so I thought I'd better put down some thoughts about the show.

David Byrne's voice is still tremendous. He also has incredible stage presence -- he got a standing ovation just for coming out on stage.

He played Talking Heads songs. Never would I have expected to hear "Cross-eyed and painless" or "Life During Wartime" live. But he also played more well-known songs like "Burning Down the House," "Take Me to the River," and "Once in a lifetime." And never for a moment did the performance feel like a victory lap. Byrne was with us every step of the way.

I was too young to see the Talking Heads when they were together. But this show made up for anything I missed.

The new songs held their own. I particularly like "Home."

But it wasn't just a new song vs. old song kind of performance. It was a Performance. Everyone wore white. He had three back-up singers who danced and three back-up dancers who sang, and at one point danced and sang with electric guitars in their hands. The dancers almost stole the show. I don't think I've seen as joyful a performance outside of Lucy's pre-school.

I had the sensation while I was at the show that this was the sort of positive experience I'm always hoping for at shows, but rarely find. And I'd completely forgotten what a Talking Heads super fan I was -- I involuntarily knew the words to all the songs.

While I was there I kept thinking, "this can't get any better." And then it did. And it did. And it did.

Also, this is my 300th post. I can't of anything else I'd rather be writing about.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Went Thankful

So I'm thankful for all of the usual reasons: family, friends, Sufi. Even though the last two weeks have been very sad for some of my best friends, I'm fortunate to have gotten to spend a little extra time with them. I do wish my brother could be home today since yesterday was his 25th birthday, but he went to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, which is pretty cool.

I'm also thankful for a few less important things:

1. Fess Parker Frontier Red - which we drank last night, after we won it at an auction at Lucy's school. It's a wine I would have never chosen myself, but it was delicious despite having a screw cap. It was so good that we went out and bought another bottle for dinner today, and at $10.99 it isn't over-priced either.

2. You may have noticed a new box on my blog -- for the Sixty One. It's a music site where you earn points for listening to new stuff, and can then spend those points to bring attention to songs you like. It is addictive. You can check out my hand-selected picks by listening to the stream through this page.

Almost forgot, I review the new Surf City EP for Donnybrook.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not ready for this

Of late Lucy has started referring to one of her school friends as her "boyfriend." Our conversations have gone a little something like this:

Me: "Where did you get the idea of a boyfriend?"
Lucy: "You had a boyfriend and then you got married."
Me: "Yes, but I was 25 and you are 4."
Lucy: "Will you call A's mom and have him come to our house so we can get married?"
Me: "Don't you think you are a little young to be thinking about getting married?"
Lucy: "Oh Mom, we're just pretending."

Me: "What is it that you like about A that makes him your boyfriend?"
Lucy: "He likes to play with me, except when he doesn't want to play with me, and he makes me laugh."
Lucy: "I just love my boyfriend. He's in my heart."
Me: Silence.

Also I review the White Denim record for Donnybrook, as well Larytta, and going back a few weeks, the latest from the Sea and Cake.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It was a long afternoon

I learned today that a good friend lost her father. I've known her since first grade and spent so much time at their house over the years that I got to know her father pretty well too. May he rest in peace.

While still reeling from this news I looked outside and saw our neighbors playing with the stray cat that had appeared and then disappeared last week. This was no typical outdoor stray. This cat seemed HUNGRY and came when called. I regretted letting it wander off last week because I knew he had a home, but without a collar I had no idea how to find the owner. It ended up across the street today because it had followed a neighboring high schooler home from school, and she was as taken with the cat as I was.

My neighbor's son suggested checking at one house a few blocks away because he thought he'd seen the cat there. But the trick was that I couldn't leave the house because I was waiting for the cable guy. So I brought the cat inside and put him in the basement. I put Sufi in Lucy's room. I called the Vet's office and the tech suggested making Lost Cat signs which I did.

When Cary came home I had a few minutes before he and Henry left for violin, so I went out to hang the signs. I spotted a neighbor not far from where the cat might have come from. He sent me to one house, who sent me to another, where, I'm not kidding, a guy with a Russian accent was working in his garage with a blowtorch.

Anyway, it turns out the cat was Mr. Blowtorch's. Hurray! So I sped home, scooped the cat into the car and delivered him home. I learned his name was Tommy. To his credit the cat took off again before I could even get back in the car, but at least next time I see him I know he has a place to go to, even though I'd probably run too if my owner was playing with fire in an enclosed area.

What a weird day.

This will be the first week in my life where I'll have gone to multiple wakes. I hope it will be the last.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why is it always a mixed bag?

Henry had a pal from school over, and it went really, really well. The kid was fun to have around, and got us all out of the gloomy pissiness that seems to infect the family when we spend too much time together.

That was the bright spot. I was feeling good because I'd called a mom of a kid that I didn't know and no blood was spilled. Lucy cried so hard because she didn't have "anyone from outside this house" to play with, but she survived once we broke out the model magic clay.

Cary came home with a grin from ear to ear. He'd upgraded out TiVo without asking first. What he didn't know was that a) I'm still recovering from the TiVo impersonators and the techno-fear they instilled in me and b) my parents have this newer TiVo and it's a pain in the ass c) we will get fewer channels than we do now for the same $$. It's reasonable to suggest that he should have known all three facts. BUT, he was trying to do good. AND there is a chance it will all work out. I wash my hands of the entire process starting ... Now!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Finally, a purpose for Twitter

So this is totally mean-spirited of me, but it's been a crappy day, and following the fool(s) at has made me laugh and laugh.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hope is the thing with feathers

I'm sure this election is full of a lot of very specific memories for everyone. These are mine:

Lucy: "John McBush isn't a good President. Barack Obama is better. John McCain is nice." This morning she asked if she could have a sleepover with Barack Obama. I thought, "my god, Lucy wants to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom!"

Henry: He sat this morning glued to CNN. Then he put his hands in the air and said, "The Democrats did it! It's their turn. Until now every president has been white. Now an African-American gets a turn. "

My brother: He and I exchanged exclamatory text messages. He said he could hear people cheering in the streets outside his Manhattan apartment.

Cary: He held onto my hand for dear life through Obama's entire speech. He also kept commenting on how great the picture was on our new TV.

Here are my hopes:

1. I hope my mom gets some more sleep now that Sarah Palin can't do any real harm until 2012, and maybe never.

2. I hope the Republicans actually work with Obama and we see more of the John McCain of last night's concession and not the McCain that campaigned.

3. I hope the rest of the world hates us a little bit less.

4. I hope Lucy doesn't find out that Sasha and Malia are getting a puppy.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Not the good kind of record

I just got two calls from school today in the span of 15 minutes. I think we just set a record. I feel a little queasy.

Now I actually have to go to school to pick Henry up from Spanish and try and contain Lucy while we wait for class to end. She just asked if she can wear her Tiger costume (again). Maybe I will say yes so at least I can be amused for a little bit.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It could always be worse but it was certainly messy

The good: Henry finally finished reading the biography of Mozart aloud to me. Next up is James and the Giant Peach. I hope he keeps this up.

The bad: He was not home for even five minutes when he knocked an entire bottle of Dave's Insanity sauce onto the kitchen floor.

The ugly: I thought dumping baking soda on it would make it easier to clean because it would soak up the mess, but it just made it look like vomit -- vomit made up of habernero peppers and glass shards.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Only my child

can put me in this maddening position.

First, you must know that Henry freaks if Lucy makes any noise at all while he is doing his homework. Thank God it usually only takes a few minutes.

So, I go to the trouble to get her on the computer, and after several false starts she is finally content and quiet.

Then he has disappeared.

Then I hear the sound of the violin.

He doesn't want to finish his math, do his reading, or practice his spelling. He just wants to play violin.

So once again I find myself in the ridiculous position of getting mad at my kid for wanting to play music.

I wouldn't mind so much if I hadn't just arranged everything just so to accommodate his idiosyncrasies, only to have him ignore me anyway.

Now playing: Stereo Image - Pack Moves
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Get your Holiday shopping started early

I just discovered Indie Fixx -- they cover handmade goods of all types. I will definitely be consulting them to get gift ideas.

And to motivate you, they are having a really great giveaway, so check it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A few bright spots

So I pulled myself up, dusted myself off, and got distracted.

1. Lucy has been cracking me up. She got out the Mr. Potatohead yesterday, decked it out, and said, "I made Cary. Hi, Cary. You're a potato."

2. Cary and I were in hysterics over a fake political campaign where I run for State Senate and my slogan "I want to serve you so I can stop serving them" -- where them refers to my family.

3. I've been cranking out the submissions for the next print issue of Venus - in better bookstores everywhere on 12/1/08. I've more or less quintupled my contributions. V. exciting.

4. I'm lucky to have such lovely friends, and it's great to get to see them once in awhile.

Friday, October 17, 2008


1. Yesterday we finally got that phone call from school. Henry had refused to do what the teacher had asked and had gotten very upset. The call itself and the reason for it wasn't that bad, but I had to take the phone call with the bus coming up the street and Lucy clinging to my leg and screaming.

2. Today Henry came home with his pant legs wet up to his mid calves, his socks ruined, and his shoes sopping wet because there were puddles under the swings.

3. And we got his school pictures back and you can see food on his face. Food. on his face. I'm livid. Did no one inspect him? Now we have to hope that they bother to schedule retakes before he has his lunch.

My mood is crap. Between the TV and the neighbor's lawnmower I think I'm about to eat my own head.

I've got some stuff up at Venus and Donnybrook. I seriously don't even feel like linking to it.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

They call them long weekends for a reason

I'd just like to say, for the record, that long weekends piss me off. My kids don't have school again until next Tuesday, and I have no earthly idea what I am going to do with them from now until our routine resumes.

I would welcome the time with my kids if they were just nicer to each other. Every time Henry plays the piano Lucy screams. I can't believe I'm actually telling my kid to stop practicing piano. I feel more like a referee than a mom.

On the bright side, I've got a bunch of stuff up on the web. I declare my love for Sigg bottles at Venus. Also at Venus I express disappointment in the latest Stills record. At Donnybrook I cover These United States and Her Space Holiday, both of which are excellent.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Testing 1,2,3

So this probably won't be a regular thing, but Lumpyhead's mom wanted pictures, so pictures you shall have.

Cardigan - random brand, Dress - Liz Claiborne, Socks - Chinese Laundry, Shoes - Sanita

This is the first time I have ever worn this dress because it is too big on top, so I was excited to realize I could just throw a sweater on and no one will know (except you, dear reader).

Also, it's a big hair day.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Driven to distraction

To keep myself from dwelling on the big things that I cannot control (i.e. the election) and the little things (i.e. the downfall of the TiVo impersonators and my feelings of technological inadequacy), I've done some window shopping.

It began when Emily Martin (of Black Apple fame) mentioned Wardrobe Remix on her other blog. Now I just sit and stare at the pictures of people in their everyday clothes while my brain fuzzes over. Sweet, sweet peace.

I have actually learned a few things too. Buffalo really needs to get an H&M or a Zara. And I am going to embark on a little wardrobe remix project of my own, which is to wear skirts on occasion instead of just jeans and T-shirts. I don't plan on taking any photos of myself to add to the anonymous fashion parade, but if I do, I will be sure to post about it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Time to concede

The TiVo impersonators finally got the best of us. Cary and I dismantled them last night and re-installed our old TiVo. Now once again we can have audio and video that are in sync! We can use the microwave without making the TV freeze!

It makes me feel a little queasy to think of the amount of time and energy that I devoted to trying to make these stupid things work. I just want to watch a little TV at night. I don't want to devote the better part of my day to trouble shooting only to have the system fail just when it is time for Project Runway.

Cary and I may be technologically landlocked, but at least we are happier.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Not so great news from the Vet

The Vet called to say she got the report back from the Histopath regarding Sufi's tumor. The Histopath thought the Vet didn't get the whole tumor. Shit. But he couldn't be sure. Which leaves me wondering why the hell couldn't he be sure? The Vet tried to pawn the blame off on the lab techs that took the sample for the histopath. I really don't care who is to blame I just wish the news was better.

In annoying, but less important news, I spent the morning running around trying to get a NYS enhanced driver's license. And I learned something about myself. No, not that I hate senseless buracracy, but that my birth certificate is not valid proof of citizenship. Apparently in the state of Illinois it was (is?) commonplace to give out a hospital certificate with a little poem about angels and my mother's thumbprint. However I never received a copy of the state's record of my birth, which is the only proof NYS or the US Govt will accept for creating travel documents. So, close to $50 later, nearly 1/2 of which was for UPS overnight shipping (why do they only give me one choice for shipping and it costs $19!), I will have all the documentation I need to spend another $80 on the enhanced driver's license, so I can still go to Canada. Grr.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's already Sunday afternoon?!

I've slept the weekend away. I've had a terrible cold and have pretty much spent several hours each day completely knocked out. I hope this doesn't lead to insomnia tonight...

Our TiVo impersonators still don't work correctly, nor is the picture good enough for Cary to enjoy football. I don't even care any more, but I wish we had never bought them. TiVo made TV so much better and these things make it an infinite hassle where there is always a new problem to worry about.

I've got a couple new reviews up. I review The Donkeys' Living on the Other Side over at Venus and I review Lightbulbs by Fujiya & Miyagi at Donnybrook.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In which I bitch about the PTA

Why is it that the PTA at Henry's school seems to go out of their way to make me feel like I am inconveniencing them every time I volunteer to help? I volunteered to be the room parent last year because they asked me to, and I did not enjoy it. This year I wrote on the form to "call me if no one else volunteers" because last year that is what they told us to do. Sure enough, someone called me and asked me to be a room parent. I said sure. This was a couple of weeks ago. Then I got a call today, three hours before I was supposed to be at a meeting for room parents, saying that "people who had never done it had asked if they could be room parent, so they had to let them because that was their policy."

To which I say, "fine." But instead of saying, "we really appreciate your offer to help" she acted like she needed to comfort me that I hadn't been chosen and told me that I shouldn't fret because "I could still get into the classroom on party days." What? Is the classroom like a secret society that I need a key for? And why didn't they wait to call until they knew everyone had responded? Isn't that just common sense?

This is probably the fifth time I've dealt with the PTA and every single time has been unpleasant, insensitive, and rude. If I didn't feel guilt for not having a real job I would have a much easier time saying no. I think that's why I feel so crappy about this. That, and because in three years at Henry's school I have yet to make friends with even one other parent.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I woke up to this morning

A huge tree had cracked in half when the remnants of Ike passed through last night.
But I was still happy to see how nice the Cimifuga looked surrounded by the Toad lilies and Astilbe, and I was grateful that the lawn was the only thing crushed by the falling tree.

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Apropos of nothing, I've got a new review of the glammy Semi Precious Weapons up at Venus.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Today sucked for the following reasons:

1. Henry completely lost it on the soccer field. And while I was not there to see it, both he and Cary came home from the game, early, and utterly deflated.

2. Sufi was traumatized by my two attempts to administer her pain pill via syringe. Now she isn't eating again. But I'm comforted that she is sitting in my lap, purring as I type this.

3. The weather was dark and wet. I'm not sure the sun even rose today.

4. According to the NYT David Foster Wallace committed suicide. Suicide is largely a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I still grieve for Spaulding Gray and his family. And I wish we lived in a country that fostered better support for depression.

5. I'm starting to freak out about the election. I can't live with the idea that a book burning Jesus freak might be making decisions that affect my children for the rest of their lives. Toronto has never looked so good.

6. And the TiVo impersonators are crapping out on us again.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It was another long day

but hey, that's my bread and butter.

Have I mentioned the new computer? Yah. The computer itself is actually fine, but the ancillary TiVo impersonators and the router were giving me fits. I spent three hours on the phone with tech support today. Then a quick call to my knowledgeable brother-in-law solved everything. As of now we have a working system, but I'm not confident that it will still work tomorrow.

In more important news, I took Sufi in to have a tumor removed from her upper lip. She's at least 13, and with each passing year I worry more about her health. The surgery went really well, though the portion of her lip and cheek on the left side of her face is no more. Still as sweet as ever, she sat on my lap and purred all evening, even though she has shaved whiskers and an Elizabethan collar.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First world problem if ever there was one...

We got a new computer today. I have been working on setting it up since 3 pm, however, I still can't post from it or use it for e-mail until I decide to give up the ghost of migrating Firefox and Thunderbird from XP to Vista. I think I figured out what to do with my iPod. A pox on technology.

On the bright side, I stopped thinking about Sarah Palin for more than five minutes.

Henry's first day of school was free of nosebleeds, forgotten backpacks, and homework! Can't ask for more than that. I hope everyone else's kids fared as well.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow

Henry starts second grade tomorrow. As I just told him, kids I knew in second grade came to my wedding. And that's enough to freak me out before anything even goes wrong. I really hope this is his year. The year that we do not get "the phone call." Maybe even the year that he initiates having his friends over. It's tough not to raise the expectations unreasonably. It's even tougher to believe that, in a pinch, he's big enough to wear my socks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hi, My name is Emily

and I'm an Etsy addict.

It started innocently enough with a Venus staff fave proclaiming the wonders of busterandboo.
Then I discovered scrabble pendants and placed another order from the delightful HomeStudio-- this time with gold accents so they looked nicer with my Indian jewelry.

Then I got glasses and my hair started driving me nuts, so I turned to the site's headband makers for help. Precocious came to the rescue!

I've been wearing these headbands everyday and I love them.

And I finally gave into my desire to own something designed by Emily Martin of The Black Apple.
Maybe the closest thing I will ever have to a self-portrait. But I bet Emily hears that all the time.

And then I bought these paper dolls because OMG, Stella has a Smiths t-shirt and a cat hat. want to frame them for Lucy's room.

It's so easy to scoop up all these things that I would love to be able to find locally, and Cary isn't really satisfied with my justifications: "it's handmade! I'm supporting small business women!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gypsies and Owls

Thanks to the NYT for alerting me to the existence of The Orwell Prize. A simple, but genius, premise, The Orwell Prize makes George Orwell's diary entries available to readers 70 years to the day that they were written.

While hardly as intense as 1984 or Animal Farm, I'm already hooked on Orwell's observation of slugs, weather, and the sloe gin making traditions of the Gypsy caravans that made their way through his area of England. It feels like it comes from a place much more remote than 70 years ago.

Perhaps this is the perfect solution to my inability to sit down and read anything for more than 45 seconds.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Best Laid Plans

Since we went to Florida in August, Cary and I couldn't really muster a full-blown summer trip. Yeah. We're wusses.

But he decided to take some time off anyway.

Here's how it has gone thus far:
1. Thursday we went to Fantasy Island. Cary and Henry regretted riding the Silver Comet. I confirmed what I already knew -- that I really hate amusement parks.

2. Yesterday Henry woke up with a mild fever, so we tabled our plans to go to the Museum of Play. He didn't have any other symptoms and I wasn't too worried until 5:30 when the fever failed to respond to Advil. A quick call to the doctor confirmed that we could alternate Tylenol and Advil. Tylenol brought the fever down, and I relaxed enough to head out to meet a friend for a drink.

3. Cary let me sleep in, bless his heart. But when I woke up Henry's fever had climbed to over 104. I gave him Tylenol, and he immediately vomited. Another not so quick call to the doctor's office gave me some good advice, but it also lead us to accept the inevitable and cancel our plans for today and tomorrow.

I've never been so grateful for the Canadian Olympic broadcast because we were at least able to enjoy Lucy executing her version of rhythmic gymnastics while watching the finals.

Maybe we will make it to the Museum of Play on Monday, which is Cary's last day of vacation.

And I almost forgot -- I've got a review of the Head Like a Kite Remix EP up at Donnybrook.

Monday, August 18, 2008

No More Camp

But strangely the children and I are not at each other's throats ... yet.

I think it is because I kept them busy today. We met a friend at the playground and they were busy for over two hours. It was sweet. And we went to the library. Now Lucy is at a neighbor's playing with their 4 year old daughter and their 7 year old son is here playing with Henry. Henry is boring the pants off the kid with his violin talk, but then I heard the kid sing an acappella version of "Our House" by CSNY, and decided they were even.

Also, Henry got the name of his teacher for next year, and it seems like we got the teacher that the Principal promised we would, so I am cautiously optimistic. I'm sure the tears will flow soon enough on that front.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Always glad to be home.

I've written before about our mishaps on previous Toronto trips here and here.

1. On the trip up I pointed out the mist from Niagara Falls that was visible from the Grand Island Bridge. Lucy misinterpreted what I said and started calling it "Mister Niagara Falls." On the way home we could see the Falls again from the Rainbow Bridge. She said, "Look, it's Mister Niagara Falls. He's so happy to meet me."

2. We were only staying over one night this time, and all in the same room. Though no one really slept well, we did sleep. And the kids were up until almost 10 p.m., which is ridiculously late for them. Couldn't have asked for better.

3. Our trip began at the zoo. I think it was the first year the kids were as interested in seeing the animals as they were in the camel and pony rides. Our only real problem came when Cary decided we should go to the Canadian section of the zoo. I swear it was like 1.5 km, uphill both ways, and when we got there we found very few animals in view.

4. We met our friend for dinner in Chinatown and both kids found something to order off the menu. Miraculous! Lucy got what they referred to as a "salted donut" for $0.95 -- I think it a deep-fired rice flour pastry with salt.

5. We spent the morning at the Toronto Islands. A good time was had by all. Unfortunately the ride home was brutal. The two hour trip took over three hours because the QEW was a parking lot the whole ride home.

I love it in Toronto and would love to head up there once a month if the traffic wasn't so insane. Plus I got a migraine each day of the trip, which is kind of a disincentive.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ragweed can suck it

I think we are suffering from allergies. Here is the evidence:

1. Henry was a pleasure to be around until last Friday when he suddenly became whiny, impatient, and easily moved to tears. Fun! Benadryl was dispensed.

2. I have that dizzy, nauseous feeling which I can't shake. Beer was dispensed. (Alcohol dries you out, right?)

3. Lucy coughed all through the night and woke up sounding croupy, but it went away quickly. Zyrtec was dispensed.

All of us have been taking our allergies meds right along, so I can only guess that some new plant is in bloom and that plus all the rain is making us feel like crap.

My Takka Takka review finally surfaced on Venus.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ask and ye shall receive...

For Anne. The children join me with their sympathy glasses.
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Garden Picture Collage

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Four eyes update

The glasses were much easier on my eyes the next day, so I think everything is fine. I still feel uncomfortable with them on my face all day long, but I'm pretty sure I can get used to that. Now, to look for vintage frames on eBay to make some thrifty RX sunglasses...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The last place I saw it was in my hand as I was shoving into the mailbox

One Watch. I found Cary's watch!!! I realized I didn't actually remember seeing it outside of Target, so after checking the RX desk about a week ago with no luck I decided to ask at Customer Service. Bingo! There was the watch. He can fix his own damn battery.

Two visits. I went to my in-laws twice today. First to pick up Cary's grandfathers masonic memorabilia and second to pick up empty boxes that my father-in-law was too exhausted to collapse. They are currently in the back of my van. Anybody need some empty liquor boxes or a hideous floral display? The worst part is that garbage day was today on our street. (I'm not sure why he gave me the floral display -- I think because his garbage cans were full. If I were a better blogger I'd take a picture, but alas, just imagine metallic, silk, and plastic jutting at odd angles from a jar).

Three Reviews. I reviewed Nisennenmondai and Arms (a Harlem Shakes side project -- who knew 3/5 of the Harlem Shakes went to Yale?) for Donnybrook. I don't know where my Takka Takka review for Venus is -- I turned it in last month, but it's on P4k today and I liked the CD way less than Joshua Klein did.

Four Eyes. I got my glasses today. I really dislike them. For the first eight hours that I wore them I thought my head was going to explode. The Optician's office told me that RXs which are mostly for astigmatism (like mine) rather than magnifying stuff don't fix things immediately, so I'm not passing judgment yet. It's just that I was really looking forward to being able to see again.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The mind-body problem: my version

1. I have the worst migraine in recent memory today. I am convinced if I could just relax it would be better.

2. I want to go to a memorial service on Tuesday but it is in the city of Buffalo and I have a longstanding fear of driving, particularly on highways. Maybe this will get me over it. Hopefully a kind soul will offer me a ride, or I'll do what I usually do -- get my mommy to drive me.

Also, I review CSS's disappointing second record for Venus here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Two parties and two more reviews

I think this may be a WWW first, Cary and I are going to paint the town red. First we are headed out to an engagement party at the Frank Lloyd Wright boathouse followed by a second party -- what has been described to me as a "Disco Boat Cruise." I hope we have a great time and I'm sure nothing will go wrong...

Also, I reviewed the wacky new CD by Daedelus, Love to make music to and Pas/Cal's wonderful I was raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke & Laura, both for Donnybrook.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Signs of the end times

1. Social Media Measurement -- Andiamosystems, I'm watching you watch me.
2. Yellow Hummers
3. The blow up machine gun decorated with an American flag design that my brother-in-law spotted a little boy carrying around a carnival in rural Virginia. I'm thinking it looked a little like this or this.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Yesterday was a suckfest

1. I hate my gym. It's official. They badgered me until I renewed, and then when there was a problem with my last payment no one told me (because we canceled the credit card, and I forgot we were on autopay). When I figured it out after a series of phone calls they said I had to pay the $27 in person. When I did that they tried to charge me a late fee and a fee for paying at the desk (which I had to do). I am less pissed about the fees than I am about how hard it was to find out what was going on, fix it, and then fix it again when they screwed up. If they had told me about the billing issue I would have paid them that day.

2. I went to Target to get a new battery for Cary's watch. They will no longer open watch backs, so they couldn't change the battery. They could sell me a battery, but without the back being open I had no idea which one to buy.

3. Then I went to Wegmans where my half gallon of milk leaked all over the sushi I was buying for lunch (to try and cheer up) and my beer.

4. When I went to pick up Henry from camp he was upset. By the time I got the reason out of him he was in tears because the camp teacher won't let him pick up rocks when they go on walks anymore. I do consider it some type of positive sign that he a) didn't do anything wrong really and b) was able to tell me about it. Still, I hate seeing him cry.

5. I was going to try and get dinner ready and listen to my iPod. I couldn't find the iPod anywhere. I also couldn't find one of my super cute shopping bags. Then I realized that I couldn't find Cary's watch. Half an hour later I'd found the iPod (in a cabinet where I put it to keep Lucy from taking it) and the shopping bag (under my purse). But no watch. I still haven't found the freakin' watch. Cary loves this watch, and has had it since grad school. I'm really angry at myself for losing it and that pretty much did me in for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's like trying to clean the ocean. What, do you think you can drain it? *

Lately I've been obsessing about being cleaner, greener, and safer.

It started with Maura's post about the dangers of plastic and sunscreen. Then the Buffalo News picked up an article. Mrs. Q showed me this database and then told me not to look at it. She's right; it is overwhelming.

Take the databases' report on Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen. It ranks the overall safety as 2 out of 10 -- sounds pretty good right? But upon closer inspection it contains triethanolamine, which gets a 7 out of 10 and might cause cancer and immunotoxicity, among other things.

What does that mean? I don't know, you don't know, but the next thing we know fish are being born with six eyes.

Then this morning I heard a re-broadcast of WBFO's Meet the Author with Donna Jackson Nakazawa, talking about how environmental toxicity may explain the rise in autoimmune disorders. I really wanted to listen to the whole thing but it was making my throat close up.

I felt compelled to buy organic cold cuts this week. I keep thinking about all of the hot dogs Lucy eats, and rather than being motivated to sort through the facts I just feel panicked.

Buying this adorable set of shopping bags and switching to Sigg water bottles is cold comfort when it's hard to separate facts from marketing.

*Lyrics courtesy of Jenny Lewis.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Parting is such sweet sorrow

While it may seem logical, given the title, that I'm going to post about all the people I saw over the weekend at Old Home Days -- which was the best year yet by far -- no, I'm going to wonder aloud why I can't throw anything away.

1. Aside from my Pappagallo purse, I've held onto things which no sentimental value, such as a tube of Peppermint foot lotion that I purchased at the Jamaica Plain CVS in 1996. I've moved this particular item three times since owning it. After I publish this post the lotion is going in the trash.

2. I have a pair of brown M+M earrings that have a lowercase "e" on them, purchased for me by my mom at Love of Pete in 1981 or 1982. Why? I have unsharpened pencils that are just as old which I kept because they were decorated with alligators or lollipops or something.

3. I have trouble growing plants from seed because I just can't bring myself to thin them enough. I dig out the seedlings that I should be throwing away and plant them in little pots, and then water them until they get too big for the pot before I give up trying to find homes for them.

4. I hang onto computer files and e-mail, and I still have every promo CD that I've ever received, and in many cases I kept the mailing envelope and the one sheet as well.

5. I discovered over the weekend that I have two old cell phones and three working cameras that are not in use.

Any ideas how to break this habit?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Back On Notice!

Bring out the Notice Board Ladies and Gentleman...

See the results of my last foray into Colbert Culture. Funny -- putting Lucy's tantrums on notice did nothing to stop them from coming.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The problem with freedom

So here's the deal with camp:

1. Henry loves it. So far so good. He's even been exceptionally pleasant on the day that he stayed home with me and Lucy went.

2. Lucy does not know her own limits. When I have picked her up each day she has been red-faced and glistening with sweat -- and today they didn't even play outside. Then when I get her home she is a whiny little monster.

3. Lucy's pickiness means that she doesn't eat much while she is there. I'm trying adopt a laissez-faire attitude by telling myself that maybe this will broaden her horizons. Not bloody likely.

Also the center is nut-free, which is great except the mainstays of Lucy's diet are: Nutella, Peanut butter and Honey sandwiches, and a mix of cashews and almonds in a bowl, so it's not like I can offer to send in her favorite snack.

4. The two days this week when I had the house to myself were ultimately exhausting because I was busy without interruption. That's right. No kids, no reason to take a breath. And much like my own daughter I'm pretty cranky around 4 p.m. But I can't just sleep the whole time they are gone, can I?

Hopefully Lucy and I will adjust. But next week we're going to have the ceiling ripped out of our kitchen, and I'm sure none of us will cope well with that.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A few good things

1. My kids were so excited to go to camp today that they wouldn't even let me finish breakfast before I dropped them off. Let's hope I find them in equally good spirits when I pick them up in about an hour.

2. I had a nice, quiet lunch with my Mom at Samurai, where french fries are not on the menu.

3. I reviewed, and enjoyed, the new Cute Lepers CD for Venus.

Monday, June 30, 2008

I can't make the peace

so I'm buying myself some.

It's only the second full day of summer vacation, yet my children are already screeching at each other every time I stop entertaining them.

But tomorrow they start a few days a week at summer day camp. It will be the first time that I have ever had them both occupied elsewhere for more than 2 hours and 15 minutes at a time.

It's going to be a sweet summer.

Plus, Henry had his first violin lesson today. Cary and I have no idea if he will want to stick with it or not, but I am really excited for him and fully prepared to plug my ears for the next year or so.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ack, more asthma

Henry and Lucy slept over at my parent's house for the first time together last night. Cary and I had a so-so dinner at Sea Bar (the sashimi was tasty but whoever prepared it lacked knife skills, the Sojitos were too sweet) and split an amazing dessert at Butterwood.

All the while my cell phone remained silent.

We were most concerned about Lucy because she tends to reject any bed besides her own, but she did great. Unfortunately, Henry woke up wheezing at 4 a.m. and I'm pretty sure both my parents never went back to sleep.

Looks like we'll be off to the pediatrician tomorrow. I hope he doesn't need the nebulizer.

UPDATE: Henry does require the nebulizer with Albuterol and possibly Pulmicort. Does this justify the purchase of a Dyson Vacuum cleaner?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's finally over

It's the last day of school. Oh yeah! Henry made it through another year and I'm proud and relieved.

Also, I review King Khan and the Shrines for Venus.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sweet, sweet laughter

For me, one of '08's most anticipated releases, Head Like a Kite's There is Loud Laughter Everywhere has arrived. It met my expectations and then some, and I reviewed it for Donnybrook. Sweet laughter indeed.

But you don't have to believe me, you can listen to a live performance by the band streaming through your computer, or fancy phone, or whatever, this Thursday, June 26 at noon on KEXP.

I've got a soft spot for HLAK because it's lovely front man, Dave Einmo, is currently the only musician I have ever interviewed. And even though our chat never saw publication it was still a great experience for me, even though Dave was getting snowed on while I struggled awkwardly with the micro cassette recorder.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sleeping like a baby tonight

Nothing is more exhausting than attending a picnic for first graders. That is all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

White Board Update

My mom tells me the White Board is already in the Smithsonian.

Classic WWW moment.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Florida, Florida, Florida

Tim Russert's coverage of politics was pretty much the only mainstream TV news source that I trusted. Ever since the 2000 election I paid extra attention to what he said, and he had a way of explaining the news that always left me feeling like even if I didn't like what I heard, at least I understood it better.

Tim Russert was also from Buffalo. Even though hometown pride around here tends more towards chest beating and overstatement, he always made me feel like someone from our area was really doing good in the outside world.

I am well aware that my sadness is false. I didn't know Tim Russert. I only felt like I knew him because I like the same sports teams and suspect I shared the same political views. I don't care. It is going to be hard to imagine election night coverage without him.

I think they should put his white board in the Smithsonian.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I wish she didn't need the squirts.

Despite my hopes to the contrary, Lucy has asthma. We now have our own nebulizer. I let her put the medicine in it herself. She says, "I want to do the squirts! I looooove the squirts." At least she has gotten used to using the machine because the treatments are still onerous even is she isn't screaming.

But, I've got some writing to share. I reviewed the new Twilight Sad mini LP, Here it Never Snowed, Afterwards it Did, for Donnybrook over here. Also here, at Venus I review March Forth by KaiserCartel.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Crap, crap, and more crap

Things I did today:

1. 3 loads of laundry (probably not getting folded tonight).
2. Watered the garden
3. Took the car to the shop
4. Vacuumed the entire house and cleaned one of the bathrooms.
5. Mailed out two new house cards and one get well card that have been sitting on my counter for two weeks. (BTW, send Jen14221 good wishes because she made it through surgery today.)
6. Visited the pediatrician because my kids both woke up sick after playing their hearts out at a birthday party. Henry has a sinus infection, but that's really no big deal because Lucy was sent home with a nebulizer. Yep, I spent the latter part of the day begging my daughter to sit still so she could inhale a cocktail of Albuterol and Pulmicort. She flailed through the entire first treatment, and almost kicked the doctor in the process, but by the last treatment she fell asleep. My poor baby is asleep in her bed in the t-shirt she wore today because she refused pajamas.

Things I did not do today:
1. Work on my review that's due tomorrow, thankyouverymuch.
2. Attend to the transplanting needs of my hair allium -- they need more sun.
3. Catch my breath ... until now

Because inquiring minds...

want to know:

We sent Henry in the clean socks. They were black, regulation soccer socks. The socks I forgot to wash are red and the uniform is red and black, so it wasn't that bad. I am just anal.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Bad Mama Files 4

This is a good one.

Henry had a soccer game yesterday. He has another game today and I completely forgot to wash his uniform. He only has one pair of uniform socks.

It was like 88 here yesterday.

Do I make him wear the same dirty socks again, or send him in the non-regulation pair?

Also as I write this Lucy is sitting in a drained bath tub happily playing with her My Little Ponies. Gotta run!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh, the fauna! It's not hissing and it's not the destroyer.

So I took a bunch of pix of all the birds that have been visiting our yard.
First, there are a male and female rose-breasted Grossbeak on my tray feeder.

Second there are two Baltimore Orioles, a male and a female on my hummingbird feeder. And another male about to eat some grape jelly off the deck.

Then we get to the Wild Turkeys. Almost as sweet as the whiskey. The first pic has a male and a female and a Cardinal. Then a male Turkey, but possibly a juvenile.
Then the grandaddy of them all, a male Turkey with mature plumage. He just waited at the back of the yard for the female to finish eating, and stopped visiting once he established this was a safe place to eat. So it isn't the clearest picture, but cool nonetheless.

Finally, I took a picture of this bizzaro moth.

Also, if you're still reading, I reviewed the new Ladytron CD, Velocifero, for Venus. Check it out.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Wait, wait, don't change the blog's name just yet...

1. This morning I paid bills. I tried three times before I wrote out all the checks correctly and got them into Quicken with the correct numbers. I voided one check.

2. I dropped Lucy off at ballet. My mother-in-law was going to pick her up and bring her home LATER. Sweet. I was waiting to turn right on red at the corner of Transit and Wherle when ... Guzsh ... my car was covered in fine, greasy dirt. Once I turned the first thing I saw was a car dealership with a car wash. Sweet. I thought I'd be really smart and get it cleaned ASAP. I ran it through the car wash but it was still filthy. I took the car to the end of the now incredibly long line. The dealership actually pulled their detail guy out of line ahead of me so he could clean my car. It turns out that my car, and most of the used cars in their lot were covered in hydrolic fluid from the excavator at the corner. All the filthy cars had contaminated the car wash too. So the nice car detailer cleaned off my car, then hand washed it. Plus I met the owner of the construction company and got his number in case the paint starts to fall off my car. One hour later I was headed towards home, but the car was still not clean, so I went through another car wash. Then in the afternoon I cleaned all the windows with Windex.

As annoying as this was, it could have been much worse. My window could have been open, or Lucy could have been with me.

3. Lucy returned from Grandma's after having a great time and being a good little girl only to cry and whine until her father got home.

But I've got a review of the new Walter Meego CD up at Donnybrook. Check it out.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Perfect Day

Yesterday was just about perfect. I slept in (7:50 a.m., y'all) after rolling in from a night out with the girls at around 2 a.m. I turned in a review then we went to a friend's for lunch, followed by a fund raiser for the Chinese earthquake. Then I went to the Cranial Sacral therapist (i.e. I got a massage). Then we had dinner with my in-laws. I had a feeling of general well-being pretty much foreign to me. I am sure it won't last...

Plus I've got some writing to share. I reviewed James Pants' debut for Donnybrook. Plus I gave a thumb's up for Venus and they just put up my review for New Bloods from issue #35 on their website too.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cut it out! Better yet, don't cut it at all.

I know that it's too early in the season for me to have maxed out my ability to tolerate the excessive noise from lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and weed whackers, but seriously, I'm already sick of it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Free Kitten and Islands reviews

This week I reviewed the new record by Islands, which I highly recommend, for Venus. I also reviewed, and did not particularly enjoy, the new Free Kitten for Donnybrook.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's probably from the TV, but it's still funny

1. This morning at breakfast Henry was reading all of the bullet points from the box of Fruity Cheerios. After he read "25% less sugar than the leading fruity cereal," he explained to me, "the leading fruity cereal, that would be Fruit Loops."

He has never even eaten Fruit Loops.

2. Lucy and I were waiting in line at the grocery store. The woman behind us was visibly pregnant and purchasing chips, chocolate, and candy. Lucy turned to me and said in a stage whisper, "that lady is buying junk food."

I also doubt I have ever used the word "junk food" with Lucy.

Now playing: Ladytron - Ghosts (Cassette Jam mix)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Governor Patterson's Migraines

WWW wrong here, summarizing the best of the NYT's headache coverage:
The Governor has a headache. Many people needed to comment on this story, and most of them are assholes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It could have been a lot worse.

Last night we were eating in a Mediterranean restaurant. After about the third bite of my grape leaf wrap there was something really hard in my mouth. It was a staple.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bad Mama Files 3

It's been awhile since I had something to post related to my questionable mothering skills.

1. Recently I've been feeding Lucy pumpernickel bagels at lunch. She thinks they are chocolate bagels. I don't correct her.

2. I let her play in the bath unsupervised as the water was draining. I came back to find her sitting in a bathtub covered with every letter from our foam alphabet. She was quite pleased with herself.

3. I've been forcing Cary to take Henry to soccer because Henry's clueless behavior at games and practices reduces me to a puddle.

More reviews

I've got a review of Kassin+2 up at Donnybrook -- here. Plus a review of Nik Freitas at Venus here.

I hope I can stay this busy and balance the writing with Lucy's demands to ride her bike to the bus stop to greet Henry. She demands to do this at all hours of the day, even when the bus isn't coming any time soon. For his part Henry hasn't been demanding that much but all that will change once he completes all the pages in his Transformers Magic Ink Activity book.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Books, bubbles, and a headache

1. For whatever reason I woke up at 3 a.m. and could not go back to sleep for two hours. Now I have a migraine. Grr.

2. On the bright side my kids have been entertaining themselves. Yesterday it was "a bubble extravaganza," to quote Henry. Parents, do yourselves a favor and buy a large hoop for bubble blowing and a tray to dip it in. My kids were making these huge bubbles, squealing with delight, and not spilling the containers of bubble stuff everywhere. Now, if I could just bring myself to throw out the rest of the scented bubbles, we would be all set.

3. Anyone been to a Scholastic Customer Appreciation sale? I highly recommend it. Most of the stuff is 50% off. Lucy and I dropped by the one near us today and now my kids are busy with all of the cheap crap I bought them (it's not all books they have craft kits and a few toys too).

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Things are going well; I am very afraid.

1. Cary and I met with Henry's principal about getting him an appropriate teacher for next year. She said absolutely everything that I wanted to hear. I am cautiously optimistic.

2. I've got two new reviews for perusal. Birds of Avalon -- Outer Upper Inner at Venus and Shy Child -- Noise Won't Stop at Donnybrook.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

P4k gets one right

Never mind that I gave the New Bloods record a stellar review in the current print issue of VenusZine, some P4k love will help get this band the attention they deserve.

Spring has finally reached us

1. The first Oriole returned to my yard yesterday. On the same exact day as in 2007. I checked.
2. I let the kids have at their new stash of bubbles and wound up with strawberry-scented bubble solution in my hair. (This was not purchased by me). That stuff is nasty and should be banned.
3. I've got a very Spring-y staff fave up at Venus today, sharing my love of Shinzi Katoh. Check it.

Update: I saw the first hummingbird this morning too! Now I'm just waiting for the arrival of the rose-breasted grossbeaks.
Additional Update: The first grossbeak showed up this afternoon, but two days later than last year.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Lucy is going to lose it

When she sees The Shins on Yo Gabba Gabba

Too bad the song is pretty weak.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New gig

Mama's got a brand new bag, and a brand new alter ego. Check out my review of Heloise and the Savoir Faire at The Donnybrook Writing Academy right over here. Hope it's the first of many.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Just May be the Album of the Year

I've finally found the first album of 2008 that truly excites me - We Brave Bee Stings and All by Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. So what if it came out January 29th, and finally made it onto my iPod on Wednesday. It's not that I didn't hear chatter about Thao, it's that the press I skimmed made her sound like a garden variety singer-songwriter (usually a category to be avoided like death itself). P4k's 7.7 didn't register. It took a KEXP live podcast to change my mind, and now a hard copy of the CD is on its way to me directly from Kill Rock Stars. For 90% of my tiny readership, you could buy just this one record this year and be happy.

What makes her so great? She makes music that's easy to listen to but it's in no way easy listening. She makes banjo sound fresh without imitating Sufjan. She sounds how Chan Marshall might sound if she ever actually rocked out a little. Plus there is the moment on "Bag of Hammers" when the song escalates and I have to crank the volume and sing along, "I am all in a ball in your front yard / and I have this bag of hammers."

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - "Bag of Hammers"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It went a little something like this

Today was endless. I got both kids off to school. Then I stopped by a friend's house to help her move. After filling my van with boxes, skis, razor scooters, Tiki torches, and a fishing pole, I followed her mom to my friend's new apartment and unloaded. Then I picked up some special moisturizer for Cary (so manly), stopped by the bakery to get dessert for the KKG dinner I was going to attend tonight. I came home to find that Cary was joining me for lunch. After lunch I drafted a review, picked Henry up off the bus, shepherded him through his homework. Then I drove him to the pediatrician to find out that he has an infected ingrown toenail. Ick. I stopped by my saintly mother's house, picked up Lucy. We all waited at Target for the prescription, came home, soaked Henry's foot in a warm bath and then "treated" it (too disgusting even for WWW). Then I quickly changed, grabbed the cookies, my fancy plate to serve them on, and ran out the door to the dinner, which was really fun. Of course now I am still awake at 11:30, and tomorrow I will regret that I didn't go to bed sooner.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back from vacation in one piece

This trip wasn't the best trip to FL that I've ever been on, but it wasn't the worst either -- Cary and I were there in 1998 during a particularly bad bout of wildfires that forced us to cut our trip short.

It's tough to characterize the trip because we stayed with my in-laws, in their beautiful ocean-front condo. All four of us shared one room. The kids did great. Henry and Lucy both had a fantastic time, and that definitely made some of the more challenging moments -- like trying to sleep on a slanty marshmallow-like mattress when the thermostat is set to 80 degrees (which was about 20 degrees warmer than the average high temp. most days we were there) -- much easier to take.

Still, I don't think I was cut out for travel. I am so glad to be home, where fresh vegetables are plentiful, and it just so happens to be warmer today than it was in FL the day we left!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Not even on the plane yet and

I woke up at 3 am with a migraine.

I was still awake at 4 when Henry came into our room to ask if it was time to get up. Twice.

I fell asleep between 4:30 and 5:00. My alarm went off at 5:30 and here we are.

But you all can enjoy this little staff fave at Venus today, while I'm locked in a tin can at 30,000 feet with two kids on sugar highs.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This better not foreshadow the entire trip...

I have ONE really important task today - which is to print out boarding passes for tomorrow when we leave on our first real family vacation ever. Salt water and sand are involved in large quantities.

But I can't because the Jet Blue web page will not load in either Fire Fox or Internet Explorer. Maybe I'll try that copy of Safari that Apple just forced me to download. Christ on crack!

Henry update: I got Henry to school today 15 minutes before his class departed for a trip to the planetarium. (Score!) And since school ends in about 5 minutes I am going to assume all went well.

Thank God it's a new day

Yesterday was a classic WWW day.

1. I woke up and could not check my e-mail. The computer proceeded to crash.

2. As I was fixing the computer Cary informed me that his car would not start. This was at the exact moment that Henry needed to be taken to the bus stop.

FF a bit. AAA came and it turned out that Cary only needed a new battery, which they do on the spot. My mom was graciously doing my grocery shopping for me while I waited for the service person to arrive (this was because groceries could only be purchased in the 9-11 am window, which was now spoken for).

3. Just as the battery guy was about to finish the school calls and tells me that Henry just threw up in the class room. He's had a bad cold and this was the first day that he had gone to school all week. This Friday starts a week of vacation.

Turns out that he got upset because the teacher told them they were writing autobiographies. He started to cry because he said he "didn't know what had happened when he was a baby, and he needed me." Then he choked on all of the post-nasal drip and threw up. He was fine the rest of the day.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

On breaking free

1. My first flower of the year bloomed -- a type of Scilla. I hope it soon is one of many.

2. I'm pleased to report the presence of two new reviews on the Venus website that have finally seen the light of day. Check them out here and over here. BTW, that equals the number put up since September when the site got a new editor. I hope my reviews fare at least as well as the flowers in my garden. Spring is here and it is a good time for optimism.

Now playing: Heloise & The Savior Faire - Illusions