Thursday, November 30, 2006


So, I guess I really cannot get enough of myself.

I don't have school to force me to think, nor do I have (much) work on the outside to stimulate creativity. But I do have this blog, and coming up with something daily makes it more interesting. It gives me license, and I have a ready-made excuse when I post something that feels insignificant and unfinished, which is 99.987643% of what you see here.

I had never even heard of this.

So of course, I marched right over and signed up.

Please keep commenting, because I am truly a glutton for comments.


This home for at-risk (meaning young, fighting addiction, unsupported or otherwise compromized) moms is a great thing. I'm so raring to go get involved. They need gliders, bedding, and hang time with other moms. Visit them here.

I'm reading Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis, and David Crowder's Praise Habit. Before last night at Borders I didn't know about either.

We were introduced to Bell's Nooma videos back in Madison- very slick, contemporary, fresh takes on theology. I'm partway through his book, which at times skitters around the heretical, but I still like it. My favorite passage thus far:
...sometimes when I hear people quote the Bible, I just want to throw up. Can I just say that? Can I get that off my chest? Sometimes when people are backing up their points and the Bible is used to prove that they are right, everything within me says, "There is no way that's what God meant by that verse."
Sometimes I question his motivation in distancing himself from The Church, but my conclusion so far is that he's sincere and has a good foundation.

The Crowder book is just fun without being dumb. So is his Blog. So is his music (when it doesn't pop out completely leaving me feeling old... but mostly I love it.)

I'm having a really great day. Toby is being a flirty goof- and with those cheeks, you can imagine he's quite proficient.


I can totally be consistant about something when I put my mind to it.

Just give me an arbitrary group of prizes I am unlikely to win and I'm all over it. Prizes!!

The public nature of Nablo was highly motivating to me. Now that it's over, I want to move our stuff here to a better platform. On the new blog, I plan to have several areas where I can post whether I've done x that day. Not the drug x, but whether I've completed certain tasks. I'm hoping that posting my practicing or working out will help me maintain habits that make me happy. And wouldn't category tags be nice?

Writing something daily has given me an excuse to think about what I'd like to remember about now, to collect, to discuss, to display; having a challenge made navel-gazing just a bit less embarassing.

So in the *hopefully* near future, I want to make this blog comfy, personalize it. Maybe I'll use this picture. Anyway, Happy end of Nablopomo!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sopranos. Shush.

I am going to complain now. About work. On my blog.

The soprano soloist is horrible. I guess she's Russian; she's singing a Russian hymn thingie. The choir is excellent, conductor's great, orchestra's okay.

The soprano's soooo bad. Like, people were snickering. She's out of tune, she has super-chipmunk vibrato and she got lost in THE Mozart soprano piece. Three times.

During the break in the bathroom theeere she was. I could not wash my hands fast enough- right there in the teeny room she had to start up the caterwalling in her stall. It actually hurt my ears.


Oh my halleluja how I like Heroes.

First off, Ali Larter's in it, which rocks. And I've liked Hayden Panettiere- shown here looking all singed yet powerful- since Ice Princess. {WAIT, don't write me off as a poofter with crap for taste, that was a perfectly forthright cute Disney fest, and it was about skating. Skating! Because if you take that treacle and raise it one spandex costume with jazz hands, you've got drama gold for all the white bread girls, baby.}

Heroes also has a whole story line in Japanese. The characters not only have hip, edgy coversations replete with well-written dialogue (subtitles are placed around the screen like in comics), they struggle with believable contemporary dilemnas. One of them says he doesn't want to be just like everbody else, "homogenous (like) yogurt". His friend replies, "We're Japanese." I love that exchange- you have to see it to appreciate it. I wonder if the Japanese actors were thinking that parts in an american "dorama" would involve plotless twists and random shower scenes just like back home.

As a slightly cheesy, well-soundtracked world-saving fantasy it may simply be filling the gaping void left by Buffy, (or Wonder Woman for that matter) whose loss was keenly felt in the core of my hero-adoring being. Whatever the root of my fascination, I highly recommend giving it a chance. There's a marathon today (God bless TIVO) so go program that season pass. We can make popcorn & brownies and braid each other's hair. I'll wait here. Go.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Atomic Tumor

I saw this blog mentioned on somebody's nablo site, and started following it around the first week of November.

A man's wife was sick, they have three kids, he was an interesting read and so I read. Then his wife died on November 17th.

I'm still reading.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Apocalypse Now: PDX

Oh my gosh, you GUYS!
It's snowing. In Portland.
Weatherpeople across the state woke up and experienced very personal implosions.
Don't go out- don't even look out the windows. If you step one foot closer to your car, the snow will GET YOU, levitate the vehicle into the air, slam it down on its roof, crush some kittens in the process.

You better say a couple KumBaYas for us now.

The dolls... The Dollllllls.

Did you see my new persona? My profile pic:

I am trying to conquer my fears. It's not on my 35 list yet, but still. Some dolls are frightening. Not automaton-frightening, obviously.

These guys- ladies, rather- belong to my aunt Sally, who keeps them fetchingly arranged in a sweet antique high chair in her tastefully appointed dining room, which I loooove. So I stole pics, and decided to get over my fear that some of them might have those nasty moving eyes (none did... or did they?) or require batteries (nope). And look- they really don't make 'em like they used to.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Joy! Now pay.

Home sweet home!!!

I thought J & I would be the happiest to arrive at home tonight, that a wee babe wouldn't care where he played, but I thought wrong.

T full-body squealed when I carried him inside, crawled all over, then came over to pat me on the leg and cackle his approval.

I fully expect him to reward me with extravagant gifties. I'm thinking something in about a 12-hour stretch, extra silent... Our relationship has developed to such depth, I feel we're both ready for such an exchange, don't you?

Sledding (Beta version)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Papa & Toby

There's just something about a boy and his great grandpa.

35 x 35

I'll be turning 35 on May 22, 2008. Thirtyfive is the oddest age. Younger people think you're old- on the decline from hipness, losing grip of the here and now. Older people remember being your age and feeling younger than they do now.

I find reading these things boring, but if I put it up here, it will feel more "official". And... if I can do a post-a-day for a month then maybe I can capitalize on the momentum and do these.

1. Run 15 fun runs
2. Play entire Bartok in recital
3. Weigh xxx OR gain no more than 30 in pregnancy
4. Paint the big canvas
5. Spend a day junking with Mom
6. Get a system for photos (boxes? books?)
7. Spend at least 4 days straight tent camping in Oregon
8. Paint Toby’s room: Chalk board paint, tree.
9. Take 4 Dobro lessons
10. Arrange five songs for viola
11. Continue tattoo
12. Publish article in a music journal
13. Learn how to do pincurls
14. Learn how to self-braid
15. Volunteer 3 places
16. Record a CD (for school jobs, also to sell)
17. Make a bonfire on the coast
18. Help Mom paint something in her house
19. Make glass panels for entryway
20. Refinish Toby’s table/chairs
21. Eat low sugar for one month straight
22. Make 3 (1 yr, 1.5 yrs, 2 yrs) video cards of Toby for relatives
23. Set up old viola for baroque
24. Take 4 baroque lessons
25. Build one bookshelf or window seat
26. Visit Madison House
27. Play duets for John Ward
28. Make wheat bread like Papa
29. Personalize case
30. Practice 5 days/week with MD player
31. Get into Precepts (at least 3)
32. Give my testimony- no holds barred
33. Plant pots outside
34. Go to a dinner show at Kennedy school
35. Make a monthly picture capsule

Friday, November 24, 2006

Smellular rant

Exhibit A: the multitudes whip around to scowl at the poor sap whose ringer interrupts something formal like church or a concert. Exactly 78 seconds later, another one rings. And another one rings. Weren't those people JUST thinking, Wow, is that guy over there ever an idiot. Thank you Lord for blessing me with such a large and pulsing brain...
Well, hey, maybe it's Himself calling to congratulate you for ignoring the hint he just gave you to KILL YOUR OWN PHONE.

Exhibit B: I am struggling with my eavesdropping addiction. I believe it dates back to living in Japan, where I enjoyed listening to extremely personal conversations cloaked in the assumption that I couldn't speak Japanese. You learn alot about a people that way.

So just remember when your cell rings in the Marshall's dressing room: you are not alone. And having never actually bailed out a boyfriend, been in a catfight, or purchased drugs, I will be hanging on your every word, yo.

Exhibit C: My friend Andrea posted here about an obnoxious When the Saints ringtone and the very next day I heard one like it in a bookstore. I laughed out loud and couldn’t help but look over at the guy, who scowled back. What, he was hoping I would mind my own business, ignoring the aural equivalent of hot pink sequins with four-inch fringe on a man who could be a linebacker? Not a chance, big man.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Jurassic Post

FRIGHTENING monster skull discovered in rural Montana. Scientists recommend buying generators and stocking canned goods a la Y2K.

Oh. Nevermind.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I'm bathing in the scent of McEverything again today in Butte just to keep up the NaBloing. I am so ridiculous, diligently working at this just because it's a challenge and because I want a prize (hundreds of blogs + a handful of prize drawings= optimism defined). There are so many other things I can't seem to maintain despite a guaranteed reward for consistancy: practicing, running, studying... I'm a prize hooer. Higher levels of health, satisfaction, knowledge and creative success are not shiny enough to be prizes.

Toby woke up this morning to his first experience with a world blanketed in snow. We put my dad's mittens on his feet, baby socks on his hands, took him out in the yard and set him down to decide for himself what it was all about. He sat looking around his legs for a long while- which I loved because when he looks down it always makes him all jowly and serious looking. Between that and the mitten-feet, he had this whole look going.

Papa got out his big blue sled (he uses it to bring firewood inside & dead animals to his rigs- rugged, remember), and Dad started pulling him around the yard in great wide circles. Toby got excited then, doing his cackle-laugh and randomly shouting Tourette's style. I screwed up the ISO on my camera in the perfect white brightness, resulting in perfect white bright useless shots, but mom got some cute stuff I'll post soon.

Tomorrow we'll have 12 together for Thanksgiving. I love this holiday because it's easier than Christmas and we get more time to chat. Plus, food! In fact, telling an interviewer at the Japanese embassy in New York that very thing may have won me the job in Japan teaching English. Another friend who already had the job told me they ask what holiday's your favorite and I decided to lie (Christmas rocks) in order to seem more universally appealing and friendly. I wasn't Christian then and also didn't want them to assume I was. I wonder if I did the interview today what I'd say... hmmm.

Here's a picture of Evel Knievel because 1) he's from Butte 2) there's snow in the picture 3) that's all I got.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Blogging from Way Out There

This is coming at you from a McD's in Butte, Montana. That's just how seriously take being a Nablopomo mofo. Like their deadly food (mmmmm...deadly), McDonald's offers wifi for cheap- actually, that they have it publicly available at all here in Butte is in itself a rare and wonderful thing. So thanks, Ronald. Sorry to hear about that angioplasty...

My grandparents are more rugged than your grandparents. Our Thanksgiving tour 2006 has brought us to Opportunity, Montana, Big Sky, God’s Country, USA, where we’re watching Toby careen from one babyproofing disaster to another.

My Gramma and Papa built their house from scratch, digging out a huge basement in the fifties. He included a neat little firing range in the basement where you sight in past the washer, dryer and boxes of Christmas ornaments. In the middle of the main room, a cozy sitting room at the front of the house, sits a carousel style fireplace. That’s right, 360 degrees of potentially burnt toddler fingers. The hearth beneath it is made of hundreds of pieces of Montana agate cut and set by my great uncle Kell, who used to give me an opal and play the Skater’s Waltz on the harmonica every time I saw him.

The living room contains pot upon pot of Grandma’s cacti. They’re Cute, almost every one accompanied by ceramic elves she painted and fired herself. She’s done a whole range of figurines over the course of her crafty life but can’t see to do them anymore. I repeatedly imagine a scenario where Toby simultaneously smashes one, cuts himself, and gets poked by the cactus. I’m nothing if not imaginative.

Papa trapped for years and also worked at the Anaconda Copper Company, whose smokestack was the tallest structure in the world. Or the country. Anyway, it’s tall.
All the surrounding towns- Anaconda, Butte, Opportunity, Mill Creek, Ramsey, Rocker, Crackerville (seriously- Crackerville), Meterville, Walkerville, pretty much the entire world as they knew it made a living thanks to the Company.

Meterville no longer even exists today because the enormous Butte pit mining operation dug the land right out from under the few homes and many night clubs there.

Mill Creek is a ghost town because the Company decided the pollution they were sending that way was so bad they better move everybody into town rather than pay their lawsuits. In fact, Opportunity’s own livestock were poisoned to the point they would run randomly, impaling themselves on fences in their arsenic induced insanity. Vacation home, anyone? Get out of that mud puddle, Lassy… Lassy?

We went up Dry Cottonwood Creek today to hunt elk with Papa. He’s got a doe tag but hasn’t been up to going on his own, so my dad and I had the honor of going along. Here’s the closest we got to seeing an elk. I bet you a Big Mac I was the only lactating vegetarian Oregonian hunting in all of Montana today.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Freak magnet

Hey Wackos- I’m right over here!

Having a kid gives every single wack job on the street an entrĂ©e to conversation via the “How old is he” viaduct. The other night on the MAX train a guy sitting too close across from us opened up with that, then jumped directly to a monologue about his apple juice container. I made a quick mental review of escape routes and wondered what to do if he flung his drink on us.

It’s hard being in charge. I want to always be between strangers and the kid without making him a scaredy cat and without snobbing about town. Some folks get aggressive when they can see you’ve placed them firmly in the nut-job category.

The apple juice zealot wasn't our only encounter that night. We also met Teeny Chihuahua Man on that train. He sat down, cast glances up and down the car and opened a little bowling bag. Seriously, this thing was miniscule. The pup, not the man. The way he raised his eyebrows at me as the puppy appeared I thought at first he was offering me a black market purebred wussy pet. Don’t tell J, but I was almost reaching for that itsy-bitsy canine until I realized Toby was sizing it up for destruction sequence alpha charlie 4.25t.

Toddler + Trembly Fragile Life Form = just not good, okay? Just ask J's guinea pigs- oh wait, you can't, because they're DEAD. He didn't mean to, but apparently he squishicated them when he was three, killing them softly... His poor mom felt awful. I figure the best way to honor their last little weeeee weeeeeees is to take this as a lesson to my own heart and ban small pets until Toby can hurt them only on purpose. Besides, small dogs still poop and need babysitters. I can’t even find one of those for the human I own.

Does the fun end there? No, it does not. A woman randomly threw an abandoned umbrella at us, I guess because she wanted the seat and had crappy aim. Disconcerting, having things wing over and clatter your way out of nowhere, though.

Telling J about our friendmaking on the commute downtown, he remained unimpressed. “Creeps have always been drawn to you.”

“Zzzt! Like a magnet, baby. Bring me your mumbling, your shifty, your purveyors of illicit animals. All are welcome- here, touch the baby you germ ridden wierdo, I just love when strangers do that. Why do you think you were attracted to me in the first place, J- hmmmmm?”

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nucular puhlifferation

I remember my mom working when I was very young. She was a nurse, and old-school nurse who had been trained to do everything in a specialized (not unlike conservatory) school. It's not done that way now, and when a new nurse appears on staff somebody has to precept them for a long while, teaching them what to actually do with patients.

These were the days of the white behatted uniform, and my mom looked so spunky done up in perfect red pincurls and cat-eye glasses. I love pictures of her from back then, with her capris out riding motorcycles in the desert with a bad boy who became my dad. I imagine it must have been so freeing to leave Opportunity, Montana for Opportunity, real world.

From my earliest memories I knew my mom had worked hard and amassed tons of medical info to get where she was. She amazed me, and I assumed she was in charge everywhere she went. She probably was.

There are so many excellent stories confirming this sass coming to life in her time on the job. In her fifties she returned to nursing after a long hiatus. A few weeks into that job she accidentally socked her friend- an ex-Philly Eagle linebacker turned doctor- in the balls while unwrapping a patient's leg. All he could manage to squeek was, I'm okay Karen- please don't hit me again. Bet the other Minor Dieties thought twice before hassling her after that.

My first knowledge of mom having any role outside of our house came when she took me to visit a man I thought must be magical since he lived in a building made special just for him and had groups of people on his staff. He's the Hanford "accident" I was talking about yesterday.

I knew him as Mac and loved to visit him to color and have him read to me in the facility where my mom was his nurse. The story goes that he was on duty at the nuclear plant, the second shift of men back to work at cleaning Americium after a strike there. He couldn’t have known that the first shift had failed to change out the chemical bath. Things began to overheat and react as the second batch of radiation was initiated, sending up a small cloud of green steam. I wonder why claxons didn't sound like they do in the movies.

His biggest mistake was removing his mask to better determine whether he was really seeing fumes rise up behind the several panes of leaded glass. I imagine it was like that second of disbelief before a car wreck, where you can't grasp how things could possibly go that wrong. The glass did nothing more than embed Mac's body with a million radioactive shards, emanating that foreign energy within him the rest of his life.

What stuns me about the story is that fellow workers came running, past fear toward the noise. Mac's friend Marvin seared his own lungs pulling him out, saving him.

In the aftermath, Hanford seemed to want to will the whole episode away, to expunge it from history. I remember Mom had to fight to get new sheets every day- they were soaked with blood and alpha radiation daily. She also had to fight for checks of her own body before heading home to her young family each night. She threatened them with media leaks, and they conceded. I'm telling you, she's tough.

One night she heard an odd clanging sound, and sent the security guard to check it out. Some dumbass members of the media were trying to break in through the concrete block walls, to gain entry into an air locked building. Had they succeded, my mom would have only had more patients. (My dad likes to add that they were already contaminated… with LIBERALism.)

Mac lived to a good old age, leaving the hospital and carrying his geiger counter wherever he went. Pieces of glass continued to work themselves out, though he dealt with it all as more of a curiousity than a burden.

I suppose most women idolize their moms. I realized I should have included her in my post a while back about women who made it to my own personal covet-this list. She fits right in- when we had a CB radio her handle was Raquel (RACK-el). See,you know why.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

All I've got...

I am in downtown Spokane, in a parking lot, refraining from tossing the laptop into the falls.

There's free wifi here.
This computer can connect.
It's debating me on whether it should.

I'll post more tomorrow if we don't work this out.

Here's from earlier today:

We’re driving through the wifi cloud in the middle of nowhere (Hermiston, Oregon) but I can’t quite get hooked up. The cloud serves the farmers out here, allowing them to download crop information on the fly in their tricked out John Deeres.

Nothing like a road trip. I love the unpressured conversation and that cozy feeling that sets in after a few hours.

Today we’re driving through a hazy fog which is fine because this drive (central Oregon/Washington) is in the top five most boring stretches of highway in the country. The only interesting things to see are tumbleweeds and dead animal bits. When it’s clear and cold and a skiff of snow skirts the endless fields of wheat stubble then you can hunt for coyotes and big birds and see beauty in the ruggedness. Red-tailed hawks and eagles make a lonely living, sometimes venturing onto the highway to take advantage of the carnage.

The saddest roadkill to me has those long wild feathers sticking out, evidence of a poor sense of timing or a titan avian ego.

We’ve pulled up into the rolling hills above the fog, but it’s still just pale gold stubble and tumble weeds to the horizon, where gargantuan windmills are turning. They look large from here, but when you see a single blade go by on a semi you realize how enormous they really are. When I was little I thought they were being turned by something inside, like a little gimmicky personal fan. I couldn't figure out why they didn't just turn them off in Don Quixote when the crazy attacked them.

Looks like it’s 22 miles to Richland, the atomic city, home of superfund site Hanford Nuclear. Where I was born. Just nine months after that horrible accident. Mwahahahaha.

Seriously, I have a story about an accident there, but I'll have to save it for later- my battery's dying.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I'm lookin' for bluuue-oo eyes.

Has anyone seen him?
I’ve got to find him
Cause something tells me
He’s looking for me

Thursday, November 16, 2006

That just makes me sick!

I've always hated the color yellow. I don't even like the way the word sounds (marshmallow either, nor mellow, though cello has the crisp beginning to redeem itself) but this here's a nice, solid yellow and I was surprised to be unrepulsed by this thing surrounded by the ivy so I took its picture. It's brighter in real life and in my camera. (You pain me, Blogger. Start packing.)

My yellow hatred problem is more about that harvest gold crap like my mom used to have (sorry mom!). It was trendy back in the day, and I know there are people who dig it still though I can't be friends with any of them. She had a bathroom set (shag rugs, hamper) which inspired me to tell her I felt yellow anytime I had to hurk. She also had a fridge. I'm not clear whether it was due to some subconscious hatred in me for that hue, but I forever bleached an odd drippy stain on the front of it by trying to "help" clean it with Lime-Away when I was a kid. Poor mom, she couldn't have nice things when I was loose in the house.

The yellow issue is compounded by the fact that I don't like pastels. They look like lies to me. (J is shaking his head and chuckling nervously.) Seriously, anything that non-commital has something wrong with it. There are pale shades of things that get by alright, but the true pastels- baby blue, pink... peach! for the love of my retinas, peach and yellow should be illegal. Especially yellow.

We will always find out the sex of our future babies (IF AND WHEN) in plenty of time for you to buy stuff that is not the color of hurking, should you feel so inclined.

In summary, yellow bad. Hydrant goood.

My vote for person of the year.

Dear Time magazine,

Got it!

Here are your criteria for Person of the Year 2006:

TIME's Person of the Year is the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or for ill, and embodied what was important about the year.

And here she is, a kickin' violist right up in your faces:

Jennifer Stumm is the first solo violist in the fifty-five plus year history of the Concert Artists Guild Competition to win the jury’s unanimous vote. Unanimous! And she won every other important competition last year. And she studied with a teacher of mine!

And I love this head shot because that shirt rocks, and she's got the "i'm better than everybody but it's okay because i make lovely music"-face without looking completely bitchy. And she does play beautifully, which is not always the case with competition winners.

I don't even like those pieces on that link (or I didn't until now) but she's lilty and singing and chocolatey toned. Yay!

If you live in NYC you should go to her Carnegie recital on December 6th. If you're independantly wealthy you should fly me in, too. Mwah! (BTW, I can get you $10 tickets in return if you like.)

Ooh, look at her hair. You see why I want to grow mine?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So this is how it happens...

I am such a dork. Did you see how I went off yesterday on 1190kex's Mark&Dave and then realized I was WRONG and whiny and poorly written all at the same time? Dangit.

This posting every day takes the likelihood of mediocrity right past probability and plants it squarely in Inevitablesville. I don't even like that sentence. (I misspelled sentence in the fourth grade bee and have been nervous about typing it ever since.)

I'm unravelling like a Times reporter with a deadline.


Fifteen Fuh-fuh-fuh-fuh Fifteen. Fifteen. (with apologies to nineteen)

Woooo, we're halfway there, wooo, livin' on a prayer.
M. Kennedy told me to post this.

November 15th in History
1837: The shorthand system, 'Pitman', is first published
1901: Hearing aid patented in New York, by Miller Reese
1918: Victory' day celebrated in Britain to mark the ending of the First World War

November 15th birthdays
1891: Erwin Rommel, Leading German General of WWII
1907: Count Claus von Stauffenberg, Involved in the attempt on the life of Hitler
1930: J.G Ballard, American novelist

And with that... I've posted!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Radio (NON) Slop Jocks ***REVISED*** doh!

SHOOT SHOOT SHOOT. I was totally wrong about the radio guys. I just re-listened to the whole show podcast and realized I went off without the right information. They told this woman's story very well:
Here's the link to that story.

I'm a breastfeeding mom, but I'm not militant about it. In that situation I would have done the exact same thing- those blankets are gross and there is barely enough room to get everything in place without one. Many kids (like mine) will pull down a heavy blanket and refuse to eat under something like that. In the end, her reasons for refusing the blanket are unimportant: she has the right to feed her kid within reason, and the airline personelle was out of line both legally and on a customer service level.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Wagnerian fantasy.

In the last page of the Wagner tonight, I had something of a personal crisis. It wasn't the blathering brass parts, the meaningless arm-breaking viola challenge rendered inaudible by the brasstastic droning on, or the climaxes made simply embarassing by amateurish repetition; it wasn't Wagner's fault at all.

It's just that I'm not entirely sure what I want.

I was playing well, but I was also thinking about the pink-shirted pediatrician I saw today, who told me Tobias is most likely teething. Or growing. Or just cranky. The guy was sweet and really liked Toby, but still I felt like a jerk for complaining. What kind of mom can I be when my kid's clinging drives me nuts in the mornings (SET ME DOWN AND JUST SEE WHAT HAPPENS, BIOTCH) and that I can't handle him sleeping from 8:30 pm to 12 noon daily (IF YOU'RE TIRED OF PLACATING ME, WHY DO YOU CARE THAT I SLEEP 15 OUT OF 15.5 HOURS?). Toby yells in my head, because he is a man of strong opinions and cannot be explained by science.

If you don't have kids, the previous paragraph all about mine made your eyes glaze, I know. But the clicheed thing is, I cannot express how fundamentally the focus of my life has changed with the introduction of Toby. I want to fight for my own happiness while struggling with the knowledge that it's no longer about me. I want to be happy because it will impact him, but also because I'm selfish.

There was an article somewhere earlier this year that pissed off the feminists because it said there's a "brain drain" where American women with higher degrees are pissing it all away by raising babies. Am I a total whore for wanting to use my skills for something other than making a great life for my kid? Because a substantial, Wagnerian vocal part of me is obsessed with asking the question What do I want? lately.

In the middle of that last page, looking around the stage at the lifers (musicians with contracts), at the conductor, at the audience, all I could think about was that they all seemed more... free. And that I am ungrateful, and that I don't know what I want.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Seal of Approval

Did you know such a thing as a free seal-maker site even existed?

I'm telling you, one short week with me and you will have no free time left to waste.

More Idol- ization

I wish I could dye my hair black and look like this.

I don't care about Amy Lee's theology, or that she's got trouble singing in tune in some live situations. I just like listening to Evanescence. I like music that makes me feel tough and is rad in the car but is not classical.

You see, future kids of mine who may be forced to sit and read this, there used to be a thing called YouTube where a person could watch tons of video under copyright without paying on, say, a Sunday afternoon. It wasn't right, but there it was. Having never had MTV back when they played videos(I'm dating myself again...) I am fascinated by them now. The best are little operas, stories within layers of clothes, make-up and schticky sets. Check out Going Under- where she's under... water! Unsubtle, yet brilliant.

Speaking of Ms. Lee, I can't help it- I like her clothes and ESPEcially the fact that she makes them! Is it hype? Probably. Do I buy it anyway? By the truckload!

Lessons from the Randomizer Part II

*WARNING* This post brought to you by Red Hook Winter Ale and Bridgeport Ebenezer.

I continue to be enriched and educated by the randomizer. And to waste more time than one woman has any business to.

For example, I did not know or care or in any way relate to Britney (and! I can even spell her name right) Spears and Kevin Feta-cheese-butt until the internet taught me how bbbbbad he is and how miraculous it is that they have separated. Snoooore.

Also, every blog I have traipsed into with a political post has been inhabited by a raging liberal. Some are interesting and well written and I will Favorite the rockin' ones anyway, but I don't really give a crap how they vote unless it's a political blog. Because the lay blogger just doesn't do politics well. So I'm not going to either. Unless I do.

Me: What was it you said today, and I said, I'm blogging that?
J: I dunno...
Me: It was witty and funny and hott.
J: {audience sees this coming} I say lots of things that are witty and funny and hott.
Me: ... [resigned typing]

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I had a revelation. I came home from the concert to find J on the couch watching old Star Trek- it's the alternative universe agonizer "Mirror, Mirror" episode, where Spock has a soul patch and half of Uhura's outfit is missing. I can't find a pic, but DANG. Too bad Sulu is gay, since he gets up close and personal.

Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) is so hot! She's not stick thin, but she has a total six-pack and this was the seventies. Here's her normal outfit. Va-va-VOOM!

Right? So, I think my body idols are these athletic-yet CURvy women.

Need further evidence? Well, here's my childhood idol.

And my early adulthood idol.

Though let's face it, I wanted to be Drew just as much as a kid.

...and my fully-grown-but-still-into-childish-shows idols. (Mostly Faith- I'm only putting Buffy because I want to BE like her. I want to LOOK like Faith. But they're both hot, no?)

Magical powers, other universes, great racks, what's not to covet?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Everyone's a Critic: Leila Josefowicz

Photo from

This week the symphony has violinist Leila Josefowicz playing Hindemith's ("HIN-duh-mitt's" ((are parenthetical phonetics condescending?)) ) concerto. I really didn't know much about her, except that she was a child prodigy, moved beyond that to have lived 26 years now and she has a lovely name. Leeeee-la leela, see?

Today I sat in the balcony for the Hindemith and watched her rehearse with the orchestra, curious about both the piece and her playing. One great benefit to being a sub is almost always being cut from concertos so you can lay back and listen for free (for pay, even).

I should give you a little background on my prejudices. Violists have a close relationship with Hindemith because he wrote one of our few major concertos. Our ears perk up a bit in music history class when his story gets told, there are all sorts of minutia we gladly memorize, and we imagine ourselves in possession of a very special brand of interpretive juju.

Ms. Josefowicz impressed me anyway. She played a personal, convincingly nuanced reading of the score which left me with an unexpectedly new view on Hindemith.

As I listened I realized what it was that was so different in her playing; her treatment of rhythm. Hindemith uses lots of dotted rhythms (these sound like bahhhhh ba bahhhhh ba) which folks tend to play with military precision and "dryness" because these are associated with the German classical tradition. When a string player talks about a dry sound, we generally mean there is some space between notes to accentuate rhythm where possible and the bow is pulled steadily without any swell in the sound- it's as strong at the beginning as in the middle. In a long phrase, there will be strong-weak combinations of notes built around the rhythmic structure.

So I was a little surprised when I realized how fluidly Ms. J played, how lovely and controlled and unobtrusive every bow change was, and how long and sinuous she stretched her phrases. It sounded like Hindemith in Paris, Hindemith on brie with poodles and fall in central park... but not in a non-German heretical one-trick prodigy kind of way. It still played out like legit Hindemith.

This woman has some serious bow-arm. She has changed direction and moved three notes down the road before you even realize. There is never any "Kkk" as the hair turns to rub the string the other way, nor does she ever appear to be "saving" bow. Lovely. I couldn't stop staring. Looking at her bio, I discover she plays a Guarneri del Gesu. I love the caramel latte with a little Grand Marnier and a Cuban cigar sound of Guarneris. I think Strads tend to be more Whiskey Sour with a plate of smoked caviar & jicama triangles while a Ferrari's parked outside. Nice, but not me.

I'm hungry.

She does do a few odd things. She bends herself in such a way that you think her upper body may be permanently creased as her upper back pokes toward the first violins and her clavicles strive to touch her hipbones.

Also, every famous string anybody I've come across MUST sign a union contract to make extra movements when the phrase is done and the bow leaves the string. It's the classical musician's version of jazz hands and techniques abound. There's the dramatic pointing of the bow to the balcony group, the whip it out and jut your chin forward sect, the flip your hair while bobbing emphatically contingent. It annoys all the non-violinists, and reminds me of a Meg Ryanesque orgasm (sound and fury signifying nothin'). Ms. Josefowicz should patent (Trademark? Copyright? Whatever, ask J.) hers- she does the gumby bend described above while making a distinctly jazzery face with a pinch of the hair flip and a rounded tablespoon of the faux-jowly nod. She plants her feet as though in a strong wind- I wonder if she'll heel up for the concerts...

In any case, I would go to her shows if she came to my town. That's saying a lot because I'm a lazy old cheap bird and only a handfull of players will inspire me to bother.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Creepity crawler (not a Toby post)

Isn't she pretty?
She was hanging out by our front door acting all lazy in the cool air.
She's a cross orb weaver, and most likely just finished mating and laying eggs and will soon go the way of Charlotte. My mom won't shed any tears- spiders like mom in all the wrong ways.

While I was typing this (my friend Louise says "whilst", which I wish I could say without feeling pretentious because it is a lilt of a word) the Spiderman 3 trailer came on. Spiders... spiderman... see? See??

Potpouri made from my very own brand of cheap!

There are so many ways in which I am unhip. Let's take a closer look at just one of 'em, shall we?

I have always had a thing for making Christmas gifts.

One year in high school a friend taught me to do Athabascan beading and I spent months in our basement making oddly lopsided hippy-looking earrings, necklaces and bookmark doo-dads (operative word there being 'Dad'- because not so much into earrings + can read = bookmark). Another ill-fated holiday I took some rose petals from our garden and made what I thought was completely legit potpouri until I saw it molding before my sister could even get it home. Last year I cooked up candies and chocolates, being careful to make them with ingredients I'm allergic to so I would't personally be tempted. Mean, no?

This year... I dunno, fruitcakes? As you may remember, I have a dilemna as I'm trying to stop leeeeaking money. *Most* of the people on our lists are not particularly interested in the grown-up version of "look what I made you, mommy!" and while I am learning to embrace the gift card revolution, it's hard to make it look like anything more than what it is.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Autism is one of my greatest fears. It used to manifest in an appetite for reading about it, but since I went and had a baby it has become a deep-seated fear.

I still read all I can find about it. Sometimes, morbidly, I look for blogs written by parents of Autistics. I don't comment because I think that would be the ultimate self-indulgence.

Kids don't generally have symptoms for the first few years. Let that sink in. Kids are happily gazing into your eyes, enjoying play with you, laughing, reacting. The change must be wrenching, heart-breaking, horrible.

Tobias is a cool customer. He was sitting in my lap at a coffee shop today, a little tired, gazing at the lights overhead and sucking on his rock star hand (two middle fingers go in the maw). My friend says to her friend, "Can you believe how quiet he is? Can you imagine our kids just sitting in our laps like that? I hope my next one is like that."

And my first thought is not, Yeah, eat your heart out.

It's, No. No nononono.

I should be grateful, I should savor whoever Toby is. I think worry can be evil, and self-centered and obsessive. My Gramma has always called me a worry-wart, since I was tiny, and I think not only is she right, but that wart is an excellent descriptive. Ugly, sad, festery.

My mom-in-law says parent is spelled g-u-i-l-t, but w-o-r-r-y w-h-o-r-e seems just as appropriate.

ZZZzzzzzzzzz baaaa-aaaaaaa!

Toby used to laugh and (rarely) cry in his sleep. Now he babbles. Scares the crap out of me when he shouts out of nowhere through the monitor.

Last night at 2:30 he cried in my sleep.

In other words, I just turned off the monitor like a snooze-alarm, notified the authorities that I planned to neglect him and went back to dreaming I was in Marshalls finding all sorts of shoes.
We've decided he shouldn't be up then, anyway. Physiologically he's a butterball, and could live for a week off his left cheek fat alone. He wasn't in on the decision-making and is apparently unconvinced. Sleeptard.

I still woke up feeling like I've already screwed up today, though he was happy enough. We jumped into the minivan (one more day without our car... shudder!!!! I will not go gently, Chrysler) and as I was strapping him in my heel poked a hole in the floor. Just like it did a few days ago in an entirely different part of the interior. What kind of vehicle has floors that craptastic? I may be roughly twice the woman Nicole Richie is, but still, I have my pride.

I know what you're thinking, and these weren't even my transvestite dominatrix stilettos, they were classy- as classy as I get anyway, see:

And yes, fall just got rolling and I'm already that pasty. Tragically lacking any meaningful pigmentation, I've been pasty since the seventies, people. Give it up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Shameless cry for help

I know from reading (and reading... and reading- just ask J if he ever gets to use the laptop anymore) that the average blogger is a highly resourceful person. I know from ramming my thick head repeatedly against our budget every other week that I am not.

I am soliciting advice from the internet. *responsible folks cringe here*

If the www were a road, I'd be standing next to a stop light with a sign reading, "Veteran shopper. Need help. Give pointers." By the end of the day I'd be surprised to be out ten bucks.

What makes your budget do-able? Do you have any fun?
How did you set it?
Got any change?

If I tell you...

...I'm Christian, will you click yourself away?

But you might think these are interesting first.
They may not be what you expect.

The Nooma videos

Rhythm (it ain't Christian rock, I promise)

There are some pretty creative ideas rattling around.

And also, sorry about that guy. You know, the obnoxious preacher who walks into a bar to buy drugs and sex from a prostitute? I can't quite think of a punchline.

Monday, November 06, 2006

My own "three things"

I spent three hours in the minivan tonight doing three things:
1. waiting for a locksmith who never came (finally called another)
2. thanking God the van was unlocked so Toby didn't freeze in the rain and
3. trying to come up with some spin to make a riveting story where I look less stupid.

Still working on that last one.

GLUTTuttuttONY and waste!

We went to an open house today in a wildly expensive yet predictably bland neighborhood where the homes are all named after British cities. (Sorry, England. I don't think you're boring.)

I know, what is the matter with us? We still live with boxes (boxen!) all around and our walls are so bare as to be banned by international laws regarding sensory deprivation. We have enough student debt to endow several tenured chairs and it beats us down and ties our butts to a tight little budget with long ribbons of receipts from the discount suburban life store. And still we leave our greasy noseprints on the window of affluence and wanton expense.



The upside of the ridiculous house drooling (because even the expensive-bland is pretty sweet) was that the leaves here have gone berserk. Sadly, it's raining in Portland and soon they'll be so much fruity pebble debris; what a shock that is, right? Today it was still pretty and we drove around for a long while in our portable gutless living room (aka the hamster van).

We would have stayed out longer, but we had to get back for the DirectTV guys. You know how that is, how prompt they are. So they get here and notice that we have not one but TWO extravagant stories in our townhome. It's crazy unusual, right? And since we failed to notify them of the freakish nature of our home, they didn't have a ladder tall enough. Does rolling your eyes burn any calories?

That wasn't even the oddest thing about their little non-installation visit. One of them complimented my practising (Wagner pbbbbbt), then explained he studied cello at Juilliard for a while in '93.

And now he's a skinny scruffy install man who may love his job, but still! STILL! (I told you playing auditions sucks.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Lessons from the Randomizer

One little button, so much time. Oh thank you, thank you Lane!! (I hope you don't mind too much that I somehow read your addy as Pinkle Pants.) The randomizer is like clubbing by blog for a washed-up 30-something recent breeder like myself. With this in mind, if I found myself living as a Matrix battery, I don't think I'd be one of those to reject the program. Blue pill, blue pill!

My identity, were I (any more of) a superhero, would be THE RANDOMIZER. But really, if you have eight or nine hours and a morbid curiosity click on that thingy over there --> that says "Hit Me". I am nothing if not a student of life my dears, and here is what I have learned:

~There are a lot of sickos on the internet.
Not that kind- I mean the viral sickness incubator type. Judging by the number of posts listing often disgusting symptoms, it's a very good thing we ain't all in the same room.

~Some really do post about what they ate, (like the book says) and as long as they include pictures I'll still read every word. I would never do something like that.

~There are a ton of Portlanders. Lots and lots. Also a woman in Istanbul, a guy in Hyderabad and a woman in Africa. Hi! There are also many musicians, including at least two violists. I am but a cog in the clone army.

~I found a guy working for the Japanese Department of Education, just like I used to do. Lately I've been so nostalgic for Japan, and I can't wait to go with my men. Even a shopaphobe like J will love the dollar stores.

~Lastly, I have one small observation in regard to style. Writing without use of the shift key a la ee cummings and in long run-on paragraphs is the equivalent of baring your midriff, wearing leg-warmers and lodging large pieces of cheap jewelry in your navel. And both looks make my optical nerve curdle just a bit. I'm too old for that crap and I'd need a monitor the size of Whales to read it. Just say no.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Congratu- WHAa?

I just got an email that friends of ours from Madison had a baby boy Wednesday night. I didn't even know they were pregnant, so envisioning them with a baby is SHOCKing. (Why do we say "they" were pregnant when it's really just "she"? Annoying.) Getting news like this is the mental equivalent of the one-day pregnancy. I cannot fathom those stories about women who only realize they're pregnant when they go into labor. Sigh.

So there they are, thousands of miles away with a three day old. For me, those first few months with a tiny little eat-n-sleeper felt similar to playing under a living room blanket tent all day as a kid. All cozy and close, the outside world tended to fade. The absolute control over the perfect micro-environment yielded this addictive feeling of complete security.

And then, when the kid is just a week old, you have to take him to his check-up. In the sicko-filthsville-nastoid HOSPITAL! This is the atmosphere breaking equivalent of your mom ruthlessly ripping away your roof blanket, telling you your playmate's parents are waiting outside and it's time for you to clean the toilets.

When I rule the world, the president of the Oregon Health Sciences University will come out to meet me at each of Toby's appointments with a germ-proof bubble to escort the precious babe to the exam room. No, wait; the doc will come here. And! he'll stay to babysit for a couple hours because my child impresses him so. And!! when I come home Toby will walk to the door and say, "I love you, Mama" before showing me how much he loves to vacuum. Those vets- I mean pediatricians- really know how to bring out the best in an infant.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I just tried to find myself by Googling "rad violist" and the bastards came back all "Did you mean 'rad violinist'?"

Mwahahahahaha= Look, Grampa W!

It's Toby's favorite new toy!! A DOLL!!!

His favorite doll activity? Gnawing on his plastic hands. Second favorite? Hugging it while squirming for joy and biting its forhead. Third? Chewing on its little pacifier.

No wonder I keep saying we saw the vet yesterday instead of the pediatrician. Hail Cesar!

Familiar face.

I'm sure you've all been wondering what we dressed Tobias as for Halloween. Here he is on our trip to the zoo:

...and flirting with a little girl we bumped into.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

How cool is that?

More reasons you should stop reading immediately and never return my emails...

In seventh grade while seated near a boy on whom I was crushing, I sneezed and plugged my nose. It's apparantly completely true that that pressure must escape from somewhere (dot dot dot).

Later that same year I was drinking something near another crush-receptor and choked so hard it sounded like the set-up scene for an episode of House. Did you know you can blush while suffocating? Y'do now.

In my first recital at Manhattan School I played a five-movement solo viola piece by Hindemith. It's dramatic, dark, intense, moody, sweaty music. When I got to the middle of the third movement I had to stop because I had forgotten to arrange my pages on the stand to see the rest of the page. Stopping in the middle of a long, unreleased solo passage would be bad enough if I had just done it quickly and kept going, but I heard myself begin to mumble. Uh... I need to set up the page and forgot to before so sorry don't hate me heh snort heh. Yeah, so, the mood- it broke. And then I began to sweat. Nothing like the scent of nervous sweat in a degree recital performed in a small hall. My poor poor teacher.

I saw Ben Harper play in Tokyo once and really liked the show. No, I mean I really liked it. And the beer I'd had. A lot. I liked it all a lot. So when he said, Thanks for coming out tonight! like the rock star he is, I shouted, No, Thank YOOOU! I thought I was being cool. After all, I had been here! I thought I was hip. Judging by the scowling faces and the admonition to "have some respect" I was just being drunk. Big shock, then, that the bouncers at the end of the show picked ALL the other groups of foreign chicks to the afterparty. Too bad- that may have yielded some interesting blog fodder content.

Just one more.
It's not really me, but it makes me chuckle because my heart is a shriveled little charred thing. Sometimes the string players will decide to set our bows in our laps during a long passage played pizzicato. It just looks prettier than all those random sticks flailing about, and we can play faster and cleaner. So in the middle of one of those sections, my poor stand partner was really having a time of it. He was a short, squat thing perched on a too-tall chair. So he would set the stick across his ample thighs, raise his hand to pluck the string, then snatch the bow just as it was about to roll off onto the floor. This happened at least ten times. It would have just been a quiet embarrassment for the dude, except that I accidentally caught the eye of my friend Tom. We were wheezing, gasping, tears streaming from there on out. I am not a mean person. Am NOT! Lucky for me, the bow roller was genuinely laughing backstage afterward.

Let's face it, if he had cried the rest of the violas would have just beaten him with our g-strings until he saw it our way.

Don't read too much into it.

Here's yesterday's page from Toby's nightly devotionals book. (We're trying to rid him of the biting habit with that old-time religion, see?) Let's discuss:

Go with the Flow
November 1
Some days I like to be all by myself. But like my heart, this day is God's. Will I get to do what I want to today? Maybe. But God may have other plans. So I won't clog them up. I will go with the flow!

[There's a creepy kiddy cartoon here of what appears to be a young Carrot Top carrying TWO plungers into a bathroom. It's similar to this image.]

Do you know that... you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

So this is why folks think Christians are full of crap, right? I mean, seriously. God's plans are analogous to a toilet? I should be writing kid's books. For Pete's sake, Madonna should be- oh, wait.

Anyway, why is it that so much devotional / bible study literature is of such poor quality? You know what I mean- the overuse of rhetorical questions, the dodging of difficult subjects by resorting to cheap emotion, the refusal to admit more than one argument, the rickety construction of reasoning- these fill Christian catalogs. Certain publishers in this genre must have a dim view of the intelligence of their audience (me).

It's not all bad. I can think of a handful I like, including the warhorses: Lewis, Yancey, Os Guinness, Zacharias, and others for deeper study. I guess I need to get into the kid-lit. It's just so hard, gentle reader, to walk through the Christian book store without becoming either irate or nauseous. And that's just the cd section. The staff are always wary of the chick wandering listlessly around muttering pseudo-swears, slapping books back into their insipid little shelves and rolling her eyes. Last time I was sure they had their fingers on the emergency "Call Pat Robertson" button under the counter.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ready, steady... Go!

You’ve learned of our destructive pasts, our love for movie-trailer music as a soundtrack for Toby’s infancy, and our secret penchant for candy corn (we just told you that one). Now, the time has come for the revelation of another foible. I love the word foible. Reminds me of that little scientist guy on the Simpsons who says “flavel” in a strange swallowy voice all the time. And that all the names in that show are from our fair Portland because Matt Groenig grew up here.

But none of that is the foible of which I speak… write. Whatever.

I’m talking about my tendency to get all hot & bothered about something !NEW! and feeling like I have completely changed my entire life when in reality I am about to lose interest and run off in another direction, trailing the original excitement behind me in a tattered streamer of shame.

Shame streamers, they follow me.

There’s one for dobro playing, stained glass making, unpacking and decorating, breastfeeding… wait- that’s no streamer- it’s a trail of drool and bite marks. We are still all way into that one.

Ah, well. Hope springs eternal, so on to the latest !new!. It’s National Blog Post Month: the best excuse for pointing a gun at a visitor since ski masks and panty hose. See the seal over there to the right? Mrs. Kennedy made it and I really like her sense of humor (MMMMMWAHHH on her little yoga heini) so I signed up.

Every day. Even weekends. Even Thanksgiving. Even though I’m driving (one more week) a mini-van, I’ll try not to make it all about soccer.