31 March 2010

And I'm waiting patiently...

You may be making plans for your escape, but that doesn't mean you'll actually go anywhere.

That's what you think, horoscope.

Next week, I have to head to Hollywood at some point, and potentially, a site visit to...look at a site. Because I look at sites sometimes. For...reasons. Lots of them. Usually mysterious ones. Because I am mysterious.

Evidently.

Anyway, so yeah. Not like Hollywood is the end of the Earth, but there it is.

The beginning.

At least, it better be. Of something.

Something beautiful.

And as of tomorrow, When All This Actual Life Played Out, my new photo blog, is officially open for business. I mean it's up and running now, though I'm sure I'll keep tweaking for a bit, but overall, everything seems to be in place. And I'm amused by it.

I'd forgotten how hard it is to get a blog going. Of course, when I started this one four years ago, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing (still don't!), and things like feeds and CC licenses got added over time. Today, I was running from the oven to the desk and back, checking cookies, tweaking code, spritzing more cookies, laughing at a photo, scooping cookies onto a rack...

Blogs. (She shakes her head)

What am I doing writing a blog anyway?

The pink bag is sitting in the closet. I feel its baleful vibe. We are both hoping against hope that nothing is going to get in the way of it emerging from the closet, hopefully in a very few weeks to torture (with love) T. The first of many journeys.

We hope.

Tonight, J. called me, and as we went over the last things for tomorrow's party, we turned to discussion of the Graduation Luncheon and I felt a frisson sweep through me.

Jigsaw falling into place.

Go listen to some good music: "Exo-Politics" from the album Black Holes and Revelations by Muse. Muse amuses the hell out of me. They have the bombast of Queen, the off-the-wall style of Radiohead, the sci-fi opera pretensions that Rush is always accused of producing (but haven't figured on a Rush album in about 30 years--which is fine), and they are bloody loud. I like loud. And I'm waiting...

30 March 2010

We're still in beta...

It's an unfortunate truth that I tend to use my photographs as filler on this site when I can't think of anything to say but feel like I should say something. Occasionally, I take some nice photos, and decided that maybe they should have their own blog since this one is a fairly messy amalgam of recipes, rants, travel, concerts, off-the-wall musings, and whatever else occurs to me.

(Sadly, I think it's a rather accurate depiction of how my brain works. Not sure anyone was ready for that, least of all me.)

I've been working on it for a bit, and still have some work to do, but you can take a sneak peek if you're so inclined:

When All This Actual Life Played Out

Traveling at godspeed

After a protracted and sometimes heated discussion about next year's course choices, we were down to figuring out how the son was going to fulfill his fine arts course requirement.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

Finally, I pointed at a choice on the form: Pep Band.

He made a horrible noise. The boy has two years of clarinet under his belt and hasn't played since he was sixth grade.

"I will get you a bassoon," I crooned.

He whinged.

"You will be courted by every college with a marching band," I continued.

He made horrible gagging noises.

"Four-year scholarship for the bassoon," I went on lovingly. "The offers will pour in from everywhere."

He buried his face in my shoulder like he used to when he was a toddler.

"I hate you!" he wailed.

And then we both laughed until we quite literally cried.

Go listen to some good music: "Sing Me Spanish Techno" from the album Twin Cinema by The New P*rnnographers. "You know I was saying it with love, right?" he asked me anxiously. About right for a 16-year-old: he hates me with love.

29 March 2010

Morning mood


































Spring is springing rather wildly, as Milton, who was watching something fascinating below the plum tree, can tell you.

Woke to wind and excessively warm temperatures Saturday morning, and by Sunday afternoon, it was in the mid-80sF, and so dry that everything one touched lit with sparks.

Sounds like spring, doesn't it? Sparks? I feel sort of sparky at the moment.

The birds have been just mad, zipping crazily around, peeping, churring, chipping. And everyone is making an appearance: hawks, ravens, crows, towhees, finches of all sorts, phoebes, mallards, geese in V formation, hummingbirds of many varieties. Just on the walk home this afternoon, the kids and I saw 1 male and 2 female Western bluebirds, along with a woodpecker, who was cheerily tearing into the neighbor's liquidamber.

Tomorrow, naturally, the temperatures will drop about 15 degrees, to be followed by another 20 degree drop and rain on Thursday. The very day that J., another mother and I are meant to be entertaining 53 7th and 8th graders for their spring break party. In the rain. And the cold.

April Fools are we.

And of course, I'll be the one baking the cookies.

Go listen to some music: "Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46: 1. Morning Mood" from the album Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites by Berliner Philharmoniker and Herbert von Karajan. I know, I know. I don't think anyone really believes that I bake cookies. These are butter press cookies, shaped like flowers. They will be lovely. You have no idea how much is going on behind the scenes. And I don't mean cookies.

28 March 2010

World turning

Things are afoot, and that is good, mostly.

For the last week, I've felt bizarrely off kilter. I've been getting over this cold, which has been one of those rather more bad colds that has kept my sinuses stuffed and my ears blocked. So I've been off balance in a literal way. But in a more metaphysical sense, it's like I'm listening in to a radio station that is very far away. I'm hearing happy noises, but it's coming through static. I expect that the wavelength will clear at some point (along with my ears and sinuses), and until then, I'll keep working along.

All will become clear. And I will be ready.

Go listen to some music: "World Turning" from the album Fleetwood Mac by Fleetwood Mac.

25 March 2010

I wouldn't want to be like you

I was having an utterly awesome day, getting the things I needed to finish done. A huge--close to 2 ft. long from stem to stern--lizard showed up on the back patio and I got photos. The Cooper's hawk dropped in to visit the fountain and have a bath (and I didn't get photos). I picked the kids up from school, and the daughter was unhappy because a classmate had been rude to her for no reason.

"I don't understand why people have to be mean," she said into my shoulder. "I really don't get it."

But we regained our equilibrium and by the time we got home, we were laughing and the daughter was singing, and the two of us sat down outside to eat popsicles.

Then something not at all awesome occurred, and I'm still quite angry about it, though this is not the place to discuss it. Suffice to say that I wish people would keep their personal filth to themselves.

Quite often, I don't understand what motivates people to behave in the worst possible fashion. I don't know why people feel the need to be mean, to hurt each other and those around them. It's not that I am some perfect person, that I have never lashed out at someone else. But I don't behave nastily deliberately. I don't want to be like that. I want to be awesome.

So, here is my lizard. She is awesome.


Go listen to some good music: "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" from the album I Robot by The Alan Parsons Project.

22 March 2010

Diamond girl

I love my camera, but my macro photo skills were definitely lacking. If I managed a good macro shot, like the spider web covered in dew that I posted last November, it was by accident. So was the photo of the detail of an amazing boulder in Greenland:















I didn't have a good excuse for this except laziness to some extent (yes, I read the manual, but didn't follow through with the button pushing that I should have), and not really understanding the correlation between the manual 35mm I learned on back in the Cretaceous and the DSLR that I bought two years ago. I suppose that may sound odd to some people, but my brain needs to make specific connections sometimes, and hadn't here. Also, my camera has too damn many buttons and settings. And it's been a very, very long time since I took a photo class.

Thanks to the fabulous Kyle Cassidy, who taught the photography workshop I took on Friday, and the equally fabulous Kate McKinnon, who facilitated the whole thing, many things clicked in my head on Friday, just like a shutter release. Et voilà! Better macro photos! (Not perfect by any stretch. I have much practicing to do, but at least now I have a better understanding of what it is I need to do, as opposed to pointing, shooting and praying.)

This hunk of rock has garnets in it, and as Kyle commented, looked good enough to eat. It does look like a raisin scone. How appropriate.
















A lovely bit of light and very sharp lava. With vesicles. With stuff in them. But sharp, very sharp. I still have little cuts on my fingers.
















This is a gorgeous chunk of pyrite. I shot it from different angles, but I was joyously obsessed with the reflectivity on this surface. Of all the photos I took Friday, I was happiest with this and the lava.
















Same piece of pyrite, different background, and my finger pressing the shutter release reflected in the rock. The reflection probably shouldn't have amused me to the extent that it did, but it did.















(Click on any photo to increase size)

The class was really aimed at jewelry makers, but the macro aspect (and sometimes needing publication-ready photos of, well, rocks) was really useful for me, which was why I signed up. The side benefit for me was also meeting some super jewelry makers, an amazingly diverse and talented group of women, who create gorgeous work. It was very inspiring to be amongst such creative people.

Go listen to some music: "Diamond Girl" from the album Seals & Crofts Greatest Hits by Seals & Crofts. For what it's worth, all the photos were shot in natural, ambient light--the Greenland boulder was outdoors, of course--without a macro lens on either white paper or a black work apron (!). It was a matter of adjusting aperture and shutter speed, shooting from a tripod. These are all unretouched, but Kyle did a little Photoshop magic on the pyrite in class, and it looked amazing.

21 March 2010

Gotta pay dues...

I knew I felt a little off on Friday. I thought it was just the stress of all that had gone before, and waking up at 4 am, and doing the train thing (an unknown), and the anticipation of meeting a bunch of people I didn't know (which, depending on my mood, can be fine or really draining).

I felt surprisingly tired that day, and found myself having difficulty putting words together in the way that I do when I've been awake for weeks.

I had a tiny, niggling headache when I finally got home around 10:30 pm, but downloaded what I needed to, and was finally in bed about 12:30 am Saturday and up again at 6:30 to get the daughter to Pentathlon.

Pentathlon, in some ways, is as draining for the parents as for the kids. There's a lot of hurry up and wait, and for me, the worst part is talking to some of the other parents. My kids go to a competitive private school, and there are some parents who are constantly jockeying for position. Because both my kids are academically very successful, I am constantly drilled for information about our "tactics" for raising and educating them. I find it very disturbing and intrusive, particularly when they are second-guessing how I'm raising my kids or second-guessing themselves because I'm doing things differently. Evidently, there is something wrong with me because I don't care about their kids' music lessons or whether their kids are taking SAT II classes. I think I must have said 18 times yesterday, "All kids are different. All kids have different needs..."

And I believe that. Most kids will find their own success and happiness if their parents support their children's strengths and stop trying to push them into becoming geniuses. Genius is not made, and is pretty much overrated, anyway.

Needless to say, by about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, my headache had escalated into the sort of skull-crunching, brain-melting pain that makes me a little concerned that I'm actually having a stroke or an aneurysm has ruptured. I don't say that lightly because my tolerance for pain is unusually high.

I got home mid-afternoon, and after an hour, noticed I suddenly had a sore throat.

Gotta pay dues...

What annoys me most is that Pentathlon put paid (unless we hear that daughter, who was a Science Fair runner up is going to County because someone else drops out, please God, no) to the never-ending sequence of stuff that demands my attention (ok, yeah, I have to help with the 7th grade Spring Party, and eventually, I've got the Graduation Luncheon again), and the second the pressure came off, I get sick.

I know, I'm whining. Singing the blues for a bad cold.

But damn!

Of course, my beloved D. saved the day by sending me an email that said something like "You must fly to Toronto," which made me laugh out loud, and was immediately followed by a Neiman Marcus email advertising evening wear with a stunning blue sparkly cocktail dress.

Hmmm.

(She sneezes meditatively.)

Go listen to some good music: "It Don't Come Easy" from the album Blast From Your Past by Ringo Starr.

19 March 2010

Gotta pay dues if you want to sing the blues






















"It Don't Come Easy" was playing on the outdoor loudspeakers at the train station at 6:45 this morning when I arrived to catch my train down to San Diego.

It sort of set the tone for the day, though not in a bad way. It was a thoughtful, thought-provoking, and informative sort of day. I met some pretty interesting people, and finally, finally, got my head around my DSLR in relation to a manual 35mm. Which was highly enlightening.

And met a woman who sat through the same dress rehearsal of Carmen in junior high that I did. In Tucson. Which was mindblowing.

The world is...

Go listen to some good music: "It Don't Come Easy" from the album Blast From Your Past by Ringo Starr.

18 March 2010

Fly away. High away. Bye bye.

Recognize this?
















It's the photo that ultimately became my masthead. I took it after a huge winter storm passed through, just after I acquired my DSLR. Right before the madness of 2008 started.

Yup.

Go listen to some good music: "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" from the album Greatest Hits Volume II by Elton John.

16 March 2010

Little earthquakes

The jolt woke me, along with the noise of the old glass perfume bottle rattling on the top of my dresser. I waited--more and bigger? Done?--until the bottle had settled into silence.

"Elsinore," I mumbled.

The spouse grunted.

I listened to the restless sounds of the offspring moving in their beds, wondering if the cat would come to visit. Sometimes, when he jumps on the bed, it feels like an earthquake. When I didn't hear any fussing, even from the cat, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

It was a little quake--M4.4 at 4:04 am (Here! A fun little animation of this morning's event, which incidentally was somewhere around the Whittier Narrows Fault, not Elsinore, though I'm not sure they've pinned it down yet).

Just a little reminder that IF YOU'RE NOT PREPARED FOR DISASTER (EARTHQUAKE, FIRE, FLOOD, ICE STORM, TORNADO, WHATEVER!), GET PREPARED NOW.

(Don't complain. I kept it shorter than usual.)

It's another gorgeous day in the neighborhood. The back is a happy haven for weeds, and I need to go pull things out by their roots. The windows need washing. The birds are all crazy and everyone is defending the fountain right now...from each other, from me, from the cat watching from the window.

And the cat, he is running from window to door to window as birds fly at each other, and offer strange calls of lust and challenge. His frantic cries of frustration echo theirs.

I need to buy a new refrigerator. *sigh*

There's the matter of airline schedules. whee!

I need to take some photos. And look at some photos.

I am hungry. For spring, for the road.

For lunch.

I am restless; I am waiting.

A little earthquake. Life goes on.

Go listen to some good music: "Little Earthquakes" from the album Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos.

15 March 2010

She sees the value in resistance

We had a gorgeous day today. Breezy, clear and warm. The smell of pink jasmine. Birds going berserk.

I got my census questionnaire in the mail.

(she grins)

Need I mention which part I declined to answer?

Didn't think so.

Ready for San Diego, and looking at flights for the last weekend in April. Not a done deal, but hey... Who knows what sort of mischief T. and I can get up to on the East Coast?

Go listen to some good music: "Resistance" from the album ...undone by The Lucy Show.

14 March 2010

Diamond dogs

Dear Michael Kors,

Michael, Michael, Michael. I watch Project Runway. True, you couldn't call me a devoted fan; I'm a bit hit and miss. But Michael, I listen to your words when you talk to the competitors. Seriously. You have some good and worthy commentary about fashion. I mean that as a compliment because let's face it: some designers are off on another planet when it comes to dressing women. And by another planet, I mean Pluto, not one of our near sisters like Venus or Mars. Not even one of the gas giants, though some have the egos of gas giants and the fashion sense of a gas giant's tiny molten heart.

But I digress.

So, Michael, I'd say that a lot of your Project Runway criticism tends to be spot on when it comes to the female form and what a real woman wants to wear and buy. I appreciate the thought you put into designing and critiquing design. I, in fact, own some of your pieces. More to the point, I nearly always agree with you when I hear you say, "No woman would want to wear..."

Yeah. Well, Michael?

I can't speak for all women, but no way would I want to wear this:






















Nordstrom.com MICHAEL Michael Kors Pleat Neck Top

DUDE! Were you high on tanner fumes?

Let's start with the color. It is ghastly. It makes the model look sallow, not a good look for anyone. No one but an azalea bush looks good in that color. And I am not an azalea bush.

Now clearly, the model is a woman of a certain age. Oh, but wait! She's not. She only looks to be of a certain age because of the dowdy lines created by the "gentle puckers" on her square neckline that doesn't quite frame her slightly peeved face. No woman, Michael, wants a gentle pucker anywhere on her body. As a woman who sports the leftover gentle puckers of pregnancy, I swear on my firstborn that this is true.

Let's just carry that pregnancy thought a bit further here, shall we? Is our model une femme enceinte? 'Cause she sure looks that way with that unflattering little pooch hanging there around her waistline. No woman wants extra volume around her midsection, ever, especially when it's caught up around her hips to give a balloon effect.

I'm concerned about the level of taste here. Honestly, this shirt screams 1974 pink polyester nightmare hanging on the discount rack at Walmart. Or worse, Yellow Front, the mainstay of cheap haute horror in Tucson back in the day. Remember that really rough and cheap polyester that was so popular back then? Yeah, that. In pink.

So what do we have here? A young, slim model who has been made to look both older and heavier! Dowdy! Didn't someone on Project Runway get fired for that crime? Several somebodies? Additionally, I'm concerned about the level of taste here. This shirt is tacky. This shirt bores me.

I don't even have the energy to go after this. Shall we just say Victorian Nightshirt in Gruesome Green? DUDE! Even the reviewer (who loves it, incidentally) says it's comfy...like a pajama top.

Fail, Mr. Kors. Epic fail.

(Yeah, I still plan to buy the camp shirt. And probably the ponte knit dress...)

Go listen to some good music: "Diamond Dogs" from the album Best of Bowie by David Bowie. I really do like Michael Kors' design philosophy and he can be pretty strident on PR, but he's honest, and I'd say generally right. However, last night, I listened to him and Nina Garcia crucify some designers who previously had put out some pretty interesting stuff because of one bad design. Sure, this is TV, it's a trial by fire, and you have to have cojones to make it big in any industry, but I found myself profoundly irritated by this episode's critiques. And then I saw this damned blouse. And said, "GAK!" So this post was done in fun, but also to point out that MK has his own design failures. Because, holy mackerel! Hideous! Can you tell I've been shopping again? Short fashion fuse here. You guys, you gotta remember that I'm expected to wear this...uh...stuff.

12 March 2010

Undisclosed desires

I'm in a wicked mood today. A wickedly good mood.

Which is not to be confused with yesterday's wickedly bad mood, wherein I loudly blew a gasket. My meltdown mightily amused the offspring, so I guess it wasn't all bad.

The good mood stems from a number of things, including but not limited to my 5-1/2 mile march down the channel trail and elsewhere (it takes about 2-1/2 miles before I'm no longer in agony and actually enjoying stomping around, so it's the latter 3 miles that's nice), the glorious day smelling of spring (and the false acacia that is making me sneeze my bloody head off), and the prospect of hopping on the train down to San Diego for a photo workshop soon. Of course, the nice bit of lox I had for breakfast didn't go amiss either.

Looking ahead, I have to be in Hollywood a couple of days next month, and I'm trying to figure out if I can squeeze T. in the last weekend, and then once in D.C., maybe hop another train up to New York for the trip I didn't get to make last year, dammit. Because I'm nothing if not ambitious.

And where ambition is concerned, I suppose mine is misplaced. I've never had the desire for untold riches and fabulous fame. I only ask that the world doesn't bore me, and I live for the pursuit of anti-boredom. That's not as easy as it sounds, nor is it a small demand. It puts me in the position of learning all that I can about, well, everything. Which is both my strength and my downfall. Hence, the weirdness goes on, and in my own true style, I said just enough, poked the right amount, and voila! Produced a howitzer. Which makes it all the more likely that another call is coming, and hello! There goes my summer.

All the while, I'm waiting for a different call. Looking for a reason to say no to one and yes to the other. Because that is my strength and my downfall.

Hurry.

Go listen to some good music: "Undisclosed Desires" from the album The Resistance by Muse.

10 March 2010

Green peppers

When last we saw our heroine, she was battling weirdness and making lunch...

The weirdness continues. My life seems to operate on the Inevitability Principle.

The luncheon was yesterday, and everyone seemed content. And full.

Yesterday morning, the entire neighborhood smelled like posole, as enormous pots of the stuff simmered away on my stove. And posole tends to smell like a high school gym replete with sweaty socks, so I had the windows open even though it was only about 45F outside. But posole tastes so fabulous, it's completely worth it. And it's incredibly cheap! I made about 4 gallons for $50, which works out to a little more than a dollar a serving. The stuff I make is pretty healthy, too.

(Yes, I made gallons. Literally, gallons.)

Since some of the luncheon participants were vegetarians, I got to devise a veggie version in addition to the red chile chicken I made (most commonly, I make a green chile pork posole, but I needed to work with a lot of dietary preferences here, so went with chicken. And chicken thighs were on sale). Creating a vegetarian version took a little thinking, but one of the gentlemen praised it to the skies, which made me happy. And it's been awhile since I gave you a recipe. Bad me. So here:

Vegetarian Green Chile Posole

1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1-1/2 Tbl. olive oil
2-3 pasilla chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped (see below for method)
2-3 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
8 c. canned hominy
2 15-oz. cans Great Northern beans
3-4 quarts good quality vegetable broth (I used Imagine organic)
3 tomatoes, chopped
3 Tbl. dried whole Mexican oregano
1/2-1 tsp. chipotle chile powder (optional)
Salt
Pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Lime wedges

Heat olive oil in 8-qt. soup pot and saute onions, celery, carrots and garlic over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add chiles, peppers, hominy, beans and 3 quarts of broth and bring to a boil. Partially cover the pot with a lid, reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours until hominy pops, stirring occasionally. Depending on your hominy and the quality of your beans, you may need to add more broth during cooking. Once the hominy has popped, add tomatoes, oregano and chile powder if you are using it, as well as additional broth, if necessary. Return to boil, reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in large bowls, passing cilantro, cheese and lime wedges. Serves 12.

Roasting chiles and peppers:

Totally easy. Heat oven to 400F. Put washed, whole chiles and peppers right on the oven racks and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the skin begins to bubble and char. Allow them to cool a bit, and they pretty much slide right out of the skin. Remove the stem, slit the chiles and remove seeds, then chop in whatever size pieces you need. Important: If you are using especially hot chiles or have sensitive skin, you will probably want to wear clean rubber gloves or food prep gloves while working with the chiles because the capsaicin in the chiles burns on your skin just like it does in your mouth.

Notes:

I like my posole spicy hot, and I mean REALLY hot. On the Scoville scale, I can eat habaneros in their naked state, so I do mean hot! My friends and family cannot tolerate that sort of heat, so I cook differently for an audience. This recipe is pretty mild, as both pasilla and Anaheim chiles add more flavor than heat. If you like it hotter, use the larger amount of chiles, especially jalapeno. If you aren't sure, taste your posole throughout the cooking process and add more chiles and peppers as you go. The heat from peppers intensifies with time, so it's ok to add more gradually. The same goes with the chile powder. And yeah, you can use canned chiles--I do in a pinch--rather than roasting your own, but you do lose a lot of flavor.

Mexican oregano is different from the commonly sold Mediterranean variety. You can substitute the Mediterranean, if necessary.

I like both the heat and smoky flavor imparted by chipotle chile powder.

While posole is generally a thick stew, my family prefers it a little soupier, so I usually add more broth. It is important to watch that the beans and posole don't absorb so much of your broth that the stew becomes dry or burns.

And finally, no, I don't usually serve cheese with my posole, but in this case, the addition gives the meal a complete protein, hence the suggestion.

So, what are you waiting for? Go make lunch!

Go listen to some good music: "Green Peppers" from the album Whipped Cream and Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

07 March 2010

There's no business like show business

The Academy Awards telecast tonight surpassed itself in terms of sheer tastelessness. The opening number was appalling, and Martin and Baldwin fell utterly flat. The best moments were the camera panning to George Clooney looking bored and annoyed. We laughed out loud at his expression. I suppose it could have been staged; he is quite the actor.

I don't always watch the Oscars. Having worked in the industry for a number of years, I'm usually interested in the smaller awards, the behind-the-scenes stuff, unless I've seen a lot of the nominated films. This year, we'd all seen a number of the films, and there are some we're anxious to see but simply haven't had the time to, so there was more interest in the household than usual. And as the daughter has become increasingly interested in the craft of film making, she wanted to watch.

While the show's production was dreadful (and about 1-1/2 hours too long), many of the winners shone. I watched the daughter, and saw her really take note of the Up composer's speech, and I saw her follow the words of everyone who said, "I was told to practice." "My family supported me." "My mom made sure I did the right things."

"See?" I said softly. She put her head on my shoulder.

"Some day, I want to be up there," she said quietly.

"I believe that you can be," I told her.

She made a small humming noise, whether of doubt or affirmation I'm not sure.

"But," I continued, "The first time you go, I get to go as your guest."

"Hey!" said the son.

"You can go the third time she's nominated," I told him. "Your father will go the second."

"I'm not sure I can get nominated that many times," the daughter said nervously.

"You will," I replied airily. "And make sure you ask for the seats next to George Clooney."

Go listen to some music: "There's No Business Like Show Business" from the musical Annie Get Your Gun, lyrics and music by Irving Berlin and book by Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields.

06 March 2010

Some day love will find you

Except that it seems that it's work that keeps finding me.

(This song was on the radio in the car this afternoon and this line keeps repeating in my head. Over and over. Earworm! Earworm!)

Continuing with last night's theme:

So, stuff happened this last week, some of which was on the intense side, and I got home one day with a brain-exploding headache.

(Not to be confused with a brain-exploding Journey-based earworm.)

I think I also neglected to mention that I am catering a lunch next week. It's not a huge thing, but the meetings took me by surprise and I've gotten behind on the catering.

And, uh, it's raining.

(She notes, apropos of nothing)

Then I was checking one of my many millions of email accounts (being a tidy and orderly sort of person, I have email accounts for the various aspects of my life, and being a Gemini, there are a lot of aspects).

And in the in-box for the blog, was a solicitation to do a giveaway on my blog or review products. This left me slightly puzzled because I don't think I really have that kind of blog, and I'm not sure the Chinese bots that are so loyal to me are really up for a giveaway. And god knows I have opinions and no trouble airing them (hi, Motrin folks! Bosch...Gateway...), and I don't mind saying, "Bought myself a Calphalon panini pan and it is an EPIC WIN! The Cuisinart chef's pan not so much." Both are true, but I bought them under the influence of myself, not because someone gave them to me to review. So, I'm thinking that one through. Actual readers, feel free to weigh in. Bots and content scrapers, you are automatically not eligible.

(The Cuisinart pan either came warped or warped within very few uses. It's not as heavy as I'd like it to be, and as a pan of that size--what used to be called a chicken fryer--is vital in my cooking, I'm already thinking about replacing it. That Calphalon panini pan, though, makes one lovely sandwich.)

And in yet another in-box was an email from T. saying "When are you coming to visit?" and the prospect of traveling provokes pleasurable butterflies in my stomach--I think. And someone else is saying "isn't this your summer to end up in some part of Europe?" While that's true, I already know I'm going to be in Italy in 2011 (advance planning: it's a good thing!), and I'm not entirely sure what's happening this summer, other than you know, potential weirdness.

I want to keep some time open for the interesting things that occur out of the blue (like the photo workshop I'm taking in a couple of weeks or visiting T. on the spur of the moment), but the pragmatic part of me is jumping up and down demanding to be heard. So keeping time back for myself may be out of the equation.

Again.

"Break the chains that bind you..."

*sigh*

Go listen to some music: "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" from the album Frontiers by Journey. I'm really not a fan of Journey, and having this song on repeat in my head is driving me mildly crazy.

05 March 2010

Cast in this unlikely role

Using your brain once in awhile is a really good thing. My brain...my brain is sort of like those old nitrate photographic negatives. The ones that explode. They catch fire without warning and they burn very, very hot.

And putting the fire out? Well, that's kind of hard.

(Okay, we'll stop the analogy before we get to the toxic fumes part.)

My life has suddenly gotten weird again.

Because of that, I had two margaritas for dinner, which is seriously unusual for me. I can't even remember the last time I had one margarita. And because I had two margaritas, I am now hiccuping.

Dammit.

And in the coming weeks, things are only bound to get weirder.

A lot weirder.

It could be really wonderful.

Or...it could just be weird.

Go listen to some good music: "Limelight" from the album Moving Pictures by Rush. I've heard this song...oh... a billion times. And I've heard in concert...well, a lot. And never once until tonight did I see exactly how applicable it is to the way that my life rushes along. The more I try to dodge the spotlight, the faster it finds me, and damn if I haven't been caught again.

03 March 2010

Godzilla
















Milton sez: "There are enough pictures in the world of cats with things on their heads. You did not have to add one."

Go listen to some music: "Godzilla" from the album Spectres by Blue Öyster Cult. I'd never heard this song until the spouse downloaded it for Rock Band. I probably never need to hear it again. Let's face it, the best thing about BOC is the umlaut.

02 March 2010

Le coucou au fond de bois






















March 2010
Orange County, California

Granted they're parrots, not cuckoos, and it's a few Italian cypresses, not a forest. But they were particularly raucous this morning (hello, impending spring!) and they preened, and sat for photos. A continued argument for why I really need to spend the dollars on a telephoto lens (they were sitting about 20 ft. above my head). The flock has expanded to about 30 since we first moved here, with twice daily flyover service, dawn and sunset.

(Click photograph to enlarge)

Go listen to some good music: "Le Coucou Au Fond de Bois" from the album Saint-Saëns: Carnaval des animaux performed by Charles Dutoit, London Sinfonietta; Pascal Roge & Philharmonia Orchestra.

01 March 2010

Every day's an endless stream...

Yesterday, I was up at the spouse's parents home removing Trojans and malware from the my MIL's computer, and I was thinking about the remodeling that must be done pretty much immediately here at my own house. And for a moment, I allowed myself a small reverie that included wallpaper.

I really dislike wallpaper for the most part, but if I could find some beautiful vintage reproduction William Morris or Arts and Crafts, I might consider a border. Maybe even a frieze.

It's funny that I appreciate architectural ornament, love old copper and tin ceilings, would even enjoy crown molding, but my house is very plain. Even my lovely china pattern is understated in the extreme.

(I refused the whole flatware thing. Eventually, my MIL insisted that I had to have some silverware! And found me something somewhere. I couldn't actually put my hands on it if I needed to, though I know it's in the house. Somewhere.)

When I was a child, Sears still produced its giant catalog (a fun little history of catalog here). It was the best thing ever, filled with finery like valances for windows and dust ruffles for beds and exotic hanging lamps. We waited until the summer got so hot and our mother got tired of our whining about being bored, and we'd get permission to cut up the catalogs. At that point, we became nascent interior decorators.

It was best to create a house, first, and the best houses were old shoeboxes. Ever ambitious, I would design rooms in my shoebox with bits of cardboard for walls and then the magical moment would arrive to start decorating. We'd pull out the Elmers and start gluing together fantasy houses of unparalleled grandeur, filled with the likes of chaise longues in the living room, tapestry in the bathroom, and splendid blenders in the gleaming kitchen.

(But never pressure cookers. To this day, I am terrified of pressure cookers, scarred for life by the enormous, heavy thing my mother had that made horrendous wailing noises, and was really only good for sterilizing baby bottles and canning jars.)

We'd leave the boxes to dry, carefully pick up the bits of leftover catalog at the prodding of my mother, and then engage in some other spirited tomfoolery, like a game of Museum in the living room, or that childhood favorite: Can You Guess the Spice By Smell Alone?

Once they were finished, we'd admire our lovely houses and then consign them to a shelf in the bedroom where they'd gather dust or bugs, or with the addition of a half dozen rubber bands find new life as a guitar to entertain a night club full of stuffed animals.

Go listen to some good music: "Homeward Bound" from the album Simon & Garfunkle Greatest Hits by Simon & Garfunkle.