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

Monday, April 07, 2008

I ramble while I listen to the Pixies

I'm sitting here watching loudQUIETloud for free on, which launched recently (Friday?) and I thought, my god, the Pixies reunion tour was four years ago. (No wonder p4k can show the movie for free). Yeah, those four years went by pretty quick.

And the Breeders record comes out tomorrow. I'd say it has about three tracks that I really like on it. I didn't love it, but it didn't anger me like Title TK either. I wish Kim would just sing in English.

As an aside, has the potential to be create a pretty useful and enjoyable archive if they keep updating it. I wish they'd strike some deal with TiVo so I could watch it on my real TV.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Sweet and Tender Hooligan Strikes Again

Henry brought the following piece if writing home from school the other day:

How my MOM and my DAD got Married.

The met in mid. school. My dad only kissed Her until high school. AND then they were sending notes that they loved them. then they got MARRIED. THE END.

Now playing: Lou Barlow - Brand New Love

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bra-dyssey, D.I.Y. style

This post was inspired by Auntlyh's recent bra-buying spree at Nordstrom's. While it contains no graphic details, it is certainly going to be convoluted, and may be of no interest to anyone but Auntly. So, if bra shopping is not your cup of tea, come back soon when I rant and rave about the usual nonsense.

After reading how Auntly went from a 36B to a 32D in 15 seconds flat after visiting a real department store bra fitter, I thought what every woman who read her post thought: "Damn, I bet I am wearing the wrong size."

But unlike Auntly I just couldn't put myself at the mercy of the sales ladies. Because they were going to show me undergarments with price tags that were going to make me cringe, and after they had just measured me I could hardly decline to buy something.

So I set out to measure myself and purchase my bras on the web. The process was comical, but I did learn a few things:

1. I have never really had a set bra size, but lately I've been wearing a 34A. I was actually a 32 band size. Which I would have never believed if it hadn't happened to Auntly first. I thought you gave up being a 32 when you gave up reading Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret.

2. If you want an inflated cup size, go to Linda's Bra School. The Wonderbra calulator ended up being right on, but it was one full cup size bigger than I had measured myself.

3. It's advisable to buy a bra that fits on the tightest set of hooks because it will stretch.

I decided to head to Marshall's to see if they had some sizes I could try one on in anonymity.

Sadly, I had Lucy with me. I can tell you that the trip did not take very long because there were only two 32Bs and one 32C to try on. The 32B fit OK, but the 32C fit really well. It was made by Wacoal and cost $10 (plus one Groovy Girl Mermaid at $5.99 for Lucy). Sold!

I was still not convinced that I bought the right size, so over the next two days I visited two more T.J. Maxx stores, where I ended up clearing the racks of every size 32C. Hardly a shopping spree, but I now own five bras. I guess I don't have to buy everything online.

I probably never would have tried the larger bras on if Auntly hadn't written about her experience. I would have just kept wearing my two stretched out, ill-fitting ones for at least another year. I also realize that my body hasn't changed one bit. Put me in a t-shirt and jeans and I still look pretty much like a ten year old boy. And as much as I prefer to point, click, and wait for the UPS man, I think it really helped to try them on first.

Now playing: Rilo Kiley - Smoke Detector